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Delong Brothers. That push and enterprise which take men over the heights of success has been the distinguishing quality of DeLong Brothers at Sadorus. In the southwestern part of Champaign County at least their achievements and their circumstances are almost too well known to need special reference, but for the benefit of the more remote sections of the county, and also as a record for the future something should be given as an outline of their careers.
The firm consists of William H. and Edward B. DeLong. Both of them are natives of Champaign County and belong to an old and honored family. William H. was born in Sidney Township, November 2, 1873. The parents were Charles G. and Edna (Moore) DeLong, the former a native of New York and the latter of Massachusetts. They came to Champaign County in 1859, living one year in Philo Township, and the next year they spent in Wisconsin. On returning to Champaign County they located in Sidney Township in 1861 and brought with them from Chicago a flock of sheep, which they drove overland. Charles G. DeLong was a successful farmer of the county and died here in 1913. His widow is still living at Sadorus. They had eight children: George A., of Foosland; C. B., of Fithian, Illinois; Erne M., deceased; Minnie, wife of Eugene Burr, of Sidney Township; Clinton E., of Rocky Ford, Colorado; Clarence, deceased; William H. and Edward B.
Thus the DeLong Brothers are the youngest of the family. They began business as a firm in the grain trade on July 1, 1896, with headquarters at Sadorus. They did not have a dollar of money of their own, and it serves to heighten the appreciation of their subsequent success when it is remembered that nothing has been given them which they have not earned. In order to purchase the local elevator from David Rice they gave notes for $5,500, secured by the names of their father, C, G. DeLong, and their brothers George A. and C. B. DeLong. They also borrowed money from their brothers to buy the first consignment of grain. There were many people who wished the young men well, and doubtless there were others who were pessimistic as to their future. However, they justified the favorable expectations, and in a short time had their credit thoroughly established and owned their plant outright. Since then the business has been growing apace. They have a large amount of money invested in their elevator, coal house and other local properties and besides being grain merchants they have kept in close touch with the great agricultural industry. The brothers own about 2,700 acres of rich land in Western Canada in the Province of Saskatchewan, besides 320 acres in Washington County, Mississippi, 320 acres of rice land in Arkansas, and several hundred acres in Champaign County. In 1915 they raised a crop of over 40,000 bushels of wheat and oats in Canada and in that year and 1916 they sold their crops on Canada soil for over $60,000, leaving a profit of $40,000 for their transactions of two years. At Sadorus DeLong Brothers handle an extensive business in grain, automobiles, insurance and as bankers, and have about fifteen men in their employ and pay out over $1,000 a month in wages.
The Bank of Sadorus is another enterprise of DeLong Brothers, and behind it stands their unassailable integrity and financial resources, which have been estimated at well upwards of $300,000. The Bank of Sadorus was opened for business May 21, 1899. In June, 1917, $181,000 was deposited in the bank, amply secured by the reserve handled in several state and national banks in Illinois and by the net worth of DeLong Brothers, which is considerably more than the total liabilities of the institution.
The chief point of all these details is that DeLong Brothers belong in the ranks of the highly successful men of Champaign County, those who began on the first round of the ladder and have climbed steadily to larger things, their capacities increasing with their opportunities and their ability to serve growing with their success.
William H. DeLong married, June 24, 1896, Lydia Lavenhagen, a native of Raymond Township and a daughter of Louis and Theresa (Moore) Lavenhagen. Her parents were natives of Germany and in 1874 settled in Philo Township of Champaign County. In the Lavenhagen family were four children: John, of Philo; Phena, wife of William Anders, of Sidney; William, of Philo; and Mrs. DeLong. Mr. and Mrs. William H. DeLong have two children: Edna Theresa, born June 19, 1897, and Kenneth, M., born October 25, 1907. William H. DeLong is a Republican and a member of the Methodist Church.
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His brother Edward married, in November, 1903, Bertha Attebery. They also have two children, Clifton Charles and William Wayne. Edward DeLong is a Republican, a Mason, a Knight of Pythias and a Woodman and is active in the Presbyterian Church.