Biography of Frank A. Landee
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It is a safe presumption that Frank A. Landed the widely known retail grocer of Moline, is an example of self made manhood that is worthy of the most persistent and conscientious emulation. Mr. Landee was born in Kalmar, Sweden, August 11, 1852, and from the moment of his arrival in this country, his career has been marked by unceasing toil and honorable occupation and transactions. From a lad, wholly unknown, his rise has incessantly been in the ascendancy.
He is at the present time a member of the Board of Directors of Augustana College; and is a member of the purchasing and building committee for the same institution; Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Swedish Lutheran Church; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Independent Order Odd Fellows Lodge No. 583 (Swedish) of Moline; Director of the Peoples Trust and Savings Bank; Vice-President of the Moline Furniture Works; Trustee of Court of Honor Lodge No. 100, of Moline; was President of the Swedish Republican State League during Yates governmental campaign; is an active member of the Moline Business Men’s Club; is one of the directors of the Retail Merchants Association in his home city, and holds and has held numerous other positions of trust and responsibility during his diligent lifetime.
His attitude toward those who toil is best exemplified by the signal honor bestowed upon him by the linemen of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific general system in the year 1903. For twenty-two years Mr. Landee had charge of the telegraph and electrical department of the Rock Island System, and had during that time, in the face of the most discouraging vicissitudes and resources, so ingratiated himself into the esteem and affections of the thousands of men under his personal direction that they found expression of their appreciation of his equity and consideration only after they had presented him with a valuable gold watch, fittingly inscribed, and a solitaire of great size set in a ring of purest gold, and then after it became generally known that he had retired from railroad life for good. To further denote the widespread popularity of Mr. Landee’s laudatory qualities that he always exhibited toward the workmen under his control, it should be stated that the division west of the Missouri River presented the watch, while the division east of the Big Muddy bestowed the diamond ring. But with all the powerful friendships to call his, and notwithstanding the gigantic strength he wields in the labor business world, Mr. Landee seems a misnomer, taken from a political standpoint. He has not once solicited, nor held a political favor, elective or appointive, regardless of the fact that he has been selected as delegate to City, County, Congressional and State conventions, has served his party with a zeal and compunction which invokes the greatest commendation, has voted the Republican ticket since 1876, when he cast his first vote for . President Hayes, and has many times been proffered public honors of various kinds.
As a sturdy, enterprising and up-to-date citizen, Mr. Landee has accomplished an incomprehensible amount of good for the City of Moline and Rock Island County. His aggressiveness, coupled with his energy and prolific mind; his honesty as an example and precept; the obstenerous life he has lived; his patriotism; for his devotion to his family, his county and state and to the welfare of the people generally; his decisive and resolute integrity and fearlessness; his capability as a man of opinions, public and private, all have conspired to entitle him to the appellation by which he is known-one of the most valuable and highly regarded men in the county, in social, provincial, commercial and educational circles.
In company with his brother, George, he settled first in Knox County, in 1866. He acquired such education as was afforded by the schools at that time, working many hours each day the while. Four years afterwards he went to Peoria, where he became a telegraph operator of such unusual speed and accuracy that a year and a half later he was detailed to Chicago, during the great fire of 1871, to augment the force of telegraphers needed during that memorable catastrophe. Chicago then became his home until 1883 when well earned promotion came, and he was appointed traveling representative of the Western Union, the Atlantic and Pacific, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the National Union Companies, and afterward installed telephone exchanges in various posts of Illinois, including thirty of the first telephones used in Chicago. It was his hand which superintended the work when systems were placed in Quincy, Keokuk, Rock Island, Davenport, Moline, Springfield, and other well known ports. The Mutual Telegraph Company entrusted him with the work in their territory from the Allegheny Mountains, west to St. Paul, and Kansas City south to Louisville. For two years he was office electrician for the Western Union, after which he became general foreman of the Rock Island System, a position he so long filled with unprecedented dexterity, expertness and success. As above stated he is now engaged in the retail grocer business at the corner of Twelfth Street and Fifth Avenue, Moline.
It may truly be said of Mr. Landee, that he has been a “hewer of wood and a drawer of water” from his early boyhood. Unselfish in his labors for the benefit of his friends and the public, coming as he did from the brawn and sinew which have built up the nation, and with which he every day brushes elbows, being a moral, highly respected citizen of which his home city and county may well be proud, he is indeed receiving nothing but his just desserts when the endearment of an appreciative people and an untarnished career designates him a man among men.
The people of the Twin Cities and of the County are under a lasting obligation to Mr. Landee for the material services he has willingly performed by reason of his personal endeavor and influence, and should the opportunity for a reciprocal and mutual interchange of appreciation ever be afforded, it is safe to predict that Mr. Landee will discern that his labors in behalf of progress, prosperity and good citizenship have not been in vain. What more need be said? What can be said? Public approbation is all sufficient and more impressive than citations or rhetoric.
He was united in marriage to Miss Hannah Johnson, of Knoxville, Illinois, April 9, 1879.
There are four children living, namely : George E., a partner with his father, at Moline; Frank J., a law student at Northwestern College, Chicago; Marrion C. and Anna I.
He was elected as a member of the State Senate in 1906.