Location: Belfast Ireland

Biography of David Ranken, Jr.

David Ranken, Jr., was born at Boystown, County Londonderry, Ireland, October 9, 1835. He was the son of David and Ann Ranken of old Scotch-Irish Presbyterian ancestry which had emigrated from Scotland to the north of Ireland several centuries ago and engaged in the linen industry, in which they were highly prosperous. He was educated in Belfast Academy, Belfast, Ireland. His mother’s last surviving brother, David Ranken, who had come to this country in 1816, died a bachelor in St. Louis in 1859, leaving a large estate which was inherited by the families of his two deceased brothers, Thomas and John and his two sisters, Mrs. Mary (Ranken) Patton and Mrs. Ann (Ranken) Ranken, mother of David, Jr. David Ranken, Jr., came to St. Louis in 1862 at the age of twenty-five to assume charge of this large estate of his uncle and he continued to reside here during the remainder of his life. He never married but lived a quiet and simple life, devoting his energies to the care of his real estate and financial interests. He was not, however, indifferent to civic affairs. In 1870 he was elected a director of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which was afterward sold to Jay Gould. He was a director in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and a member of the St. Louis Business Men’s League. He devoted much attention to railroad...

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Biography of Hugh Jackson Robinson

Hugh Jackson Robinson. Going about the streets with firm step, attending to his affairs with unclouded mind, Hugh Jackson Robinson has attained the dignity and distinction of eight-three years of useful and honorable life. He is one of the oldest residents of Champaign County and has known this section of Illinois for over sixty years. He was born near Belfast, Ireland, March 28, 1833, a son of Robert and Maria Margaret (Jackson) Robinson. His mother, it is said, was a first cousin of President Andrew Jackson. The Robinsons are of Scotch stock. The mother died in Ireland and the father subsequently came to the United States and first located in Dutchess County, New York. He lived there until 1848, and in that year moved west to Wisconsin, which had just become a state. He took up a claim in Fond du Lac County and cleared up a farm. This was his home until his death on June 15, 1852. They had six children, Mary, Jane, Eleanor, John, Hugh J. and William, Hugh being the only one now living. The sister Mary died when nearly ninety years of age. Hugh J. Robinson acquired his early education in New York State, and at the age of nineteen, in the fall of 1852, came to Urbana, Illinois, with the Gere Brothers, tie and timber contractors. He spent four years with this firm...

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Biography of Alexander Owens

June 17, 1830, near Belfast, Ireland, the subject of this sketch was born. He was the son of Archibald and Mary (McMaster) Owens, both lifelong residents of the Emerald Isle. Their children were Jane, Mary, Alexander, Margaret, Anna, William and Jennie, all of whom became citizens of the United States, and all of whom, with the exception of Jennie and the subject of this review, are now deceased. Alexander came to America when but sixteen years of age and settled at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. There he earned the carpenter’s trade, which he has followed the greater part of his life. At Pittsburg, October 15, 1852, he married Miss Helen Wyman, a native of New York, born January 31, 1834. She was the daughter of Moses C. and Ann (Lamb) Wyman. A year after his marriage Mr. Owens removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where he followed his trade for three years, at the end of that time becoming a resident of Rock Island, Illinois. In the Spring of 1857 he settled in the Village of Milan, then a thriving young manufacturing place, and has made this his home since, with the exception of two years spent in California. After coming to Milan Mr. Owens engaged extensively as a builder and contractor, operating in Rock Island, Mercer and Henry Counties. In 1891 he was appointed master carpenter on the western section of the...

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Biography of William P. Boyd

WILLIAM P. BOYD. – The subject of this sketch is the senior member of the well-known dry-goods house of W.P. Boyd & Co., of Seattle. Mr. Boyd was born in Belfast, Ireland, April 2, 1849, and is of the hardy Scotch-Irish race that believe in themselves, and through their own exertions have done much towards the building up of the Pacific Northwest. Our subject, when but fifteen years of age, was apprenticed with a large dry-goods, mercantile firm in his native city, and served four years, afterwards being a salesman with the same firm. In the fall of 1869, Mr. Boyd concluded to seek his fortune in the new world, and in September of that year arrived in San Francisco, and a short time after entered as salesman the well-known establishment, “The White House,” with whom he remained for fifteen months, and then entered the employ of J.J. O’Brien & Co. After eighteen months with this firm, he came under engagement with Schwabacher Bros. & Co. to Seattle, with whom he remained for seven years. He then embarked in business for himself as the senior member of Boyd, Poncin & Young, in a small dry-goods store then located where the Star block now stands. In 1879, on account of the death of Mr. Young, the firm was changed to Boyd & Poncin; and, in 1882 they built the present...

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Biography of Cyrus F. Clapp

CYRUS F. CLAPP. – This leader in the business circles of the Lower Sound was born in Piscataquis county, Maine, July 29, 1851, and was the son of Stephen and Alvina Hunt Clapp. He lived in Maine until 1865, receiving the foundation of an education at the public school and continuing his studies at Hanover Academy of Massachusetts. Still ambitious for further acquirements, he crossed the Atlantic and spent two years at the Royal Institute of Belfast, Ireland, and completed his course at Saint Andrews College in Scotland. Returning to his home in America, he soon found a business situation in Boston, Massachusetts, in the house of Jordan, March & Company, of extensive fame. By 1870 he had reached the conclusion that the best place for young men of ability and ambition was in the great West, and in the spring of 1870 came to California, remaining during the summer, and finishing the journey to Port Townsend in the autumn. Although having no capital in money other than a five-dollar gold piece, he easily made financial headway, first accepting a position as clerk in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, and later as clerk in the lace house of D. Samuels, in San Francisco, and again as hotel clerk. He accumulated means sufficient to purchase of J.J. Hunt the Cosmopolitan, and in 1876 assumed the proprietorship of the hotel. In this semi-public...

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