Dozen years ago no man perhaps was better known throughout Rock Island County than Samuel Heagy, the subject of this sketch, for years one of the county’s influential and respected citizens.
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He was born in Taneytown, Maryland, April 20, 1838, and died January 28, 1896. He was the son of a widowed mother, his father having died shortly before his birth. Six years later his mother also passed away, leaving the lad alone in the world. The little boy was taken into the home of a man and his wife in the neighborhood, and with this couple he made his home for ten years, or until he was sixteen years of age, when he left them and went to Baltimore. In that city he secured a position with a wholesale notion house, and remained with that firm until 1857, when he came to Illinois, locating in the Village of Hampton in this county.
Mr. Heagy married Miss Henrietta Birchard April 20, 1863, a young lady whose home was in Scott County, Iowa, just across the river from Hampton. Mrs. Heagy died March 17, 1907, at Rock Island, Illinois. She was the daughter of Jabez Avery Birchard and Lydia (Chamberlin) Birchard. Her parents were early settlers and pioneers of Scott County, Iowa, where they had removed from New York in 1836. Mr. Birchard died October 21, 1871, and his wife ten years later, July 17, 1881.
In 1864 Mr. Heagy embarked in business for himself at Hampton, opening a general store.
March 7, 1866, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Heagy, Morris S. Heagy who now resides in Rock Island.
Mr. Heagy was successful in his business at Hampton and determining to enlarge the scope of his operations he also engaged in the coal business in a small way. This venture also proved a success and in 1868 he formed a partnership with A. R. Stoddard. Continuing in business together under the firm name of Heagy & Stoddard, these gentlemen in 1871 opened the first coal mine in the upper end of the county. The business was soon after incorporated under the name of The Hampton Coal Mining Company, which Company carried on the business for about twelve years. This Company opened and operated seven different mines during this time and around these works grew up the little mining village of Happy Hollow. After the coal deposit was exhausted around Happy Hollow the business was moved over to the southern part of Hampton Township, two miles south of the Town of East Moline, where operations were carried on in a small way until 1892.
In politics Mr. Heagy was a Democrat, and although his active business life did not give him time, nor did he have the inclination, to seek political reward, yet he was ready at’ all times to serve his party in what-ever manner it was considered he could best further its interest and that of the locality in which he made his home. During his lifetime he was a prominent figure in the conventions of his party, was elected to the office of trustee of the Village of Hampton, and for more than twenty years was school treasurer of Hampton Township.
He was a member of the Masonic order and was a charter member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and of the Modern Woodmen of America.
As has been stated, his death occurred January 28, 1896, ‘interment being in the beautiful Oakdale Cemetary at Davenport. No eulogy of Samuel Heagy is necessary to recall to those who knew him in life the sterling character that he possessed and the splendid reputation that he bore. He was a man of scrupulous integrity, a man who did unto others as he wished others to do unto him.