Biography of Heber Judson Morehouse
Heber Judson Morehouse. In acknowledging the valuable services of Mr. Morehouse as a member of the advisory board of editors in this publication, the publishers are but doing justice in presenting an appropriate sketch of his career. Mr. Morehouse has been a resident of Champaign County for over forty years, has always taken a keen interest in the county’s affairs and can speak with authority on the many varied developments of his time, especially in and around Mahomet.
Mr. Morehouse was born in Ionia County, Michigan, May 18, 1856, a son of Albert F. and Sarah C. (Freeman) Morehouse. He was next to the youngest in a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, five of whom are still living. He is the only member of the family in Champaign County.
His father was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1818 and died in 1901. He had limited education and as a youth was apprenticed to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner. He became an expert carpenter and he also possessed that judgment and energy which ^made for a successful business career. He married at Troy, New York, and afterwards moved west to Portland, Michigan, where he did a large business as carpenter and contractor. Many houses in that section of the state still stand to testify to his skill and ability. He acquired considerable farm and town property and was also a popular citizen. For forty years he filled the office of justice of the peace and at the time of his death he was secretary of his Masonic lodge and had filled that office for many years. He was also chairman of the Michigan State Historical Society, and his son Heber now has the gavel presented his father by the society. He was one of the leading members of the Baptist Church and a deacon. His death occurred in Portland, Michigan, and he and his wife both rest in the local cemetery there. His wife was a native of New York, but finished her education in the Female Academy at Bennington, Vermont. She was born in 1818 and died in 1900.
Heber J. Morehouse spent his early youth in Ionia County, Michigan, and while there had the advantages of the common and high schools of Portland. It was in 1875 that he came to Champaign County and took up the vocation of agriculture. For sixteen years he was one of the successful teachers of the county.
On October 17, 1876, he married Miss Laura E. Abbott. They are the parents of five children, one son and four daughters, all living. Myrta E., the oldest, was educated in the Mahomet High School and for six years was a teacher in the country and city schools of that county. She is now the wife of Charles W. Dale, editor of the St. Joseph Record in Champaign County. Their three children are Ralph E., Virginia and Kent. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Sylva W., the second child, is a graduate of the Mahomet High School and is the wife of Frank O. Benson, cashier of the Iola State Bank at Iola, Kansas. Their children are named Jesse C., Laura E. and Frank M. Nelle R., who graduated from the Mahomet High School and from Brown’s Business College at Champaign, was an able assistant to her father in his business for some years, but is now the wife of E. W. Morrison, a farmer in Mahomet Township. They have a youthful son, Heber J. The only son of Mr. Morehouse is Chester A., fourth in order of birth. Further reference to his career is made in the following paragraphs. Mary, the youngest child and daughter, pursued her studies in the Mahomet High School and is the wife of Clark I. Pfiester, a farmer at Mahomet. Their two children are Paul M. and Charles W. Mrs. Pfiester is a member of the Baptist Church.
Chester A. Morehouse has for some years been actively associated with his father in business. He received a good educational training in the local high school and is also a graduate of Brown’s Business College. He is a young man of more than ordinary business ability and also takes an active part in the affairs of his home town. He is superintendent of the Baptist Sunday school and an active member of that church, and is also scout master of the local organization of Boy Scouts, numbering about thirty. In July, 1916, he took the military training at the Plattsburg camp at Lake Champlain, New York, and on November 16, 1916, he stood a successful examination at Chicago for a commission in the Reserve Corps. He was the seventieth man commissioned in the Central Department and now enjoys the rank and title of captain in the Quartermaster’s Corps of the United States Army. Fraternally he is affiliated with Mahomet Lodge No. 529, I. O. O..F., Camp No. 2247, Modern Woodmen of America, which he is serving as consul, and is a member of Sioux Tribe No. 313 of the Improved Order of Red Men at Urbana. He is a Republican, and cast his first vote for William H. Taft. He married a popular Urbana girl, Miss Roma Renner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Renner of Urbana. Mrs. Morehouse was born in Champaign and is a liberally educated and cultured young woman. She graduated from the Thornburn High School with the class of 1906, and afterwards specialized in vocal and instrumental music, studying a year under Professor Beresford in Chicago. She is one of the most finished contralto singers in Champaign County.
Mrs. H. J. Morehouse was born in Champaign County, October 2, 1858, a daughter of Stephen C. and Mary E. (Rea) Abbott. She was reared and educated in this county and had a high school training. Mrs. Morehouse is an active member of the Baptist Church and was formerly director of its choir.
In 1892 Mr. Morehouse engaged for a short time in the manufacture of tile and brick, but from that entered the real estate, loan and insurance business, and for years his office at Mahomet has been the medium for many large transactions in those lines. For twenty years he has held a commission as notary public. Mr. and Mrs. Morehouse own about 300 acres of rich land in Champaign County and also have their comfortable home and other properties in Mahomet. When Mr. Morehouse came to Mahomet forty-two years ago his cash capital was very limited, but by strict economy and good business management, and with the aid of his capable wife, he has been blessed with a goodly competence. In 1898 he engaged in the undertaking business, buying the interests of J. C. Pittman at Mahomet. In the same year he was given a diploma in a school of embalming and he and his son Chester have since conducted the leading business of this kind at Mahomet.
In politics Mr. Morehouse is a stanch Republican and for years has filled official places in the town and village. He is a member and clerk of the local camp of Modern Woodmen of America and is a member and director of the Court of Honor at Mahomet. He has always been one of the leaders of the Baptist Church, has served as deacon and treasurer, and takes especial pride in the fact that he has had one class in the Sunday school for thirty-six consecutive years.