Location: Champaign Illinois

Biographical Sketch of W. W. Pepper

W. W. Pepper, a popular lawyer and a successful young business man, was born on a farm seven miles south of Newman May 24, 1866, and is the eldest of seven children born to Dudley H. and Nancy Liston Pepper. His father was a native of Kentucky and resides at Oakland. Mr. Pepper received his early education in the public schools of Oakland and afterward took a three-years’ course in the University of Illinois in Champaign. After leaving the university he took a two-years’ law course at the Northwestern University at Evanston and was graduated with honor in 1893, shortly afterward being admitted to the bar. On June 28, 1890, Mr. Pepper married Miss Nora Hinds, of Hindsboro. In March, 1894, Mr. Pepper located in Newman and commenced the practice of law. He became at once deservedly popular and in May, 1895, was chosen city attorney, which office he filled with due honor until the expiration of his time. He was re-elected to the same office, but resigned to look after his other business. It can be truly said of him that he is a man peculiarly after his own style. He has no model and seeks after none, save that which is the creation of his own mind. Starting out in life as he did, without means, perseverance and energy constituted his only capital. He entered his profession...

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Biography of Oliver O. Hockett

Oliver O. Hockett, one of the younger members of the medical fraternity of Douglas County, and one of the leading men in the social, professional and educational life of Newman, was born in Paris, Edgar County, Illinois, March 2, 1866. He was graduated from the high school of Paris in 1882 and subsequently entered the state university at Champaign, where he remained for three years. He then took up the study of medicine with Dr. M. P. Smith, with whom he remained until he entered Chicago Hahnemann College, from which well known institution he was graduated in the class of 1880, and the following year he spent in the Hahnemann hospital. In March, 1890, he came to Newman and opened out in the general practice of medicine, and has succeeded far beyond his expectations. He is skilled and successful, and although having been in Newman but a few years, he enjoys one of the most extensive and lucrative practices in the County. He is a member of the Hahnemann Medical Society, contributes to the medical journals and keeps himself thoroughly in touch with the advancements being made in his profession. As a diagnostician in his profession, as well as in his judgment of human nature, he would pass muster in any community. Dr. Hockett is a son of Mahlon and Mary (Kimble) Hockett, natives of Vermilion and Edgar counties...

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Biographical Sketch of Walter C. Blaine

Walter C. Blaine was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, in the class of 189$. He commenced the practice at Murdock, where he remained until October, 1898, when he formed a partnership with Dr. William E. Rice, of Tuscola. Dr. Blaine is a native of Champaign, Illinois, and was born June 1 866. He graduated from the Champaign high school, and after four years attendance was graduated from the University of Illinois, at Champaign, on certificate. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, member of the Woodmen, and a member of the Douglas County Medical...

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Biographical Sketch of Paul J. Strahle

Paul J. Strahle is one of the younger business men of Champaign, is active and aggressive, and has already acquired a secure position as a unit in the commercial community. A native of Champaign, he was born February 20, 1892, the only son and child of John G. and Catherine (Dawson) Strahle. His mother was born in England and died at Champaign, March 1, 1912. John G. Strahle is also a native of Champaign County, was for a number of years a tailor by trade, but is now associated with his son in business. Educated in the public schools of Champaign, Paul J. Strahle early evinced a strong inclination and tendency for mechanical pursuits and he served an apprenticeship which in itself constituted the equivalent of a technical university course. For a time he was in the engineering department of the Cadillac Company at Detroit, also with the Studebaker Company, and from there removed to Dayton. Ohio, and had a thorough course of training in the engineering departments of the Delco plant. Mr. Strahle is an expert electrician and is master of practically every technical detail connected with the construction, assembling and repair of automobiles. In March, 1915, he engaged in business for himself at Champaign in electrical supplies and garage. He is now manager and proprietor of the Willard Service Station there. Mr. Strahle is unmarried. He is...

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Biographical Sketch of Leo H. Bireline

Leo H. Bireline, one of the youngest business men of Champaign, is successfully engaged in the metal roofing business, an industry which he learned during his youth, his father being also connected with the same line of business. Mr. Bireline was born in Danville, Illinois, June 19, 1894, a son of Henry and Emma (Diehl) Bireline, both of whom were also natives of Danville. His parents are still living at Danville and his father conducts a roofing and sheet metal works in that city. There were five children in the family: Catherine Ellen, wife of W. A. Meek of Danville; Robert, who is associated with his brother Leo in business at Champaign; Leo; Florence and Emily, both at home with their parents. Leo H. Bireline grew up in Danville, attended the city schools, spent two years in high school and finished his education in Brown’s Business College at Danville. There he took a bookkeeping and general business course, and with that equipment and with the experience he had acquired under his father he came to Champaign to take charge of the local branch of the sheet metal and roofing business. This business in its subsequent growth now requires all his time and active attention. The headquarters of the business is a large building 25×125 feet, with ample facilities for a perfect service in their particular line. Mr. Bireline married...

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Biography of Peter Peterson

Peter Peterson. For many years the late Peter Peterson was a resident of Champaign, was a quiet and industrious business man, acquired considerable property and made his name influential and honored in this community. A native of Sweden, Mr. Peterson was born in 1848. He was twenty-one years of age when he left his native land and came to America in 1869, soon afterward locating in the city of Champaign. He had received his education in Sweden and was well fitted for a life of activity. He engaged in the dray and transfer business at Champaign, and conducted that actively for nearly forty years. He was in the full vigor of his powers almost until the last, and his death occurred in Champaign in August, 1909. He was married in 1871, at Champaign, to Marian Christina Olson. She was born in Sweden and came to Champaign in 1870. Mrs. Peterson is still living, but an invalid and has lost the power of speech. She has one of the comfortable homes of Champaign, owns considerable property, and her constant attendant in her declining years is her daughter, Mrs. Sophie J. Parr. The only son of Mrs. Peterson, Charles J. Peterson, lives in Chicago, Illinois. Mrs. Sophie J. Parr was born in Champaign. She is a highly educated woman and has long been identified with public school work in Champaign. She...

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Biography of William H. Zorger, M. D.

William H. Zorger, M. D. For thirty-one years Doctor Zorger has practiced his profession in DeWitt and Champaign counties. He is a talented physician, has the advantage of long and thorough experience, and has been trained in the best schools of this country and by extensive observation and study here and abroad. His able assistant and partner not only in life but in his profession is his wife, who is one of the pioneer women of the state to take up medicine as a profession and is one of the best equipped specialists in Champaign County. Doctor Zorger was born in DeWitt County, Illinois, September 5, 1860, a son of Jacob S. and Margaret (Miller) Zorger. His father was born in York County, Pennsylvania, and in 1833 removed to Monticello, Illinois. He established a mill, which for a number of years was the only mill to supply flour and meal to a large section of country. The mill was sold to Mr. Collins in 1858, and he in turn sold it to Mr. McIntosh, and for many years it was known as the McIntosh Mill. Jacob S. Zorger died at Weldon, Illinois, in 1902, and his widow is still living there. Of their ten children five are living, and Doctor Zorger was the fifth in order of birth. Doctor Zorger spent his early life in his father’s home, had...

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Biography of David G. Fisher

David G. Fisher, now living retired at Champaign, began farming in this county nearly half a century ago. He realizes as few men still living do the difficulties and the handicaps to which farming was subject in those early years, and he has also realized along with extensive experience financial independence and the success which is the object of all ambitious men. Mr. Fisher was born in Fulton County, Illinois, December 3, 1839. His parents, Frederick and Sarah (Fouts) Fisher, were both born in Clark County, Indiana. When they went to Illinois in 1833 they passed through Champaign County, but sought what to them seemed a better location in Fulton County. There they lived prosperously the rest of their days as farmers and both of them died in that county. Their children were: Jacob, John, Henry, Cynthia, all now deceased; Mary, who still resides in Fulton County; Sarah, wife of Marion Kimberland, of Missouri; David G.; Clara, deceased; Isabel, living at Canton in Fulton County, widow of Jacob Fouts; Elizabeth, deceased; Ellen, wife of Thomas Beets, of Kokomo, Indiana; and Fred L., of Canton, Fulton County. David G. Fisher was reared and educated in Fulton County. He left home at the age of twenty-four and bought a farm of 140 acres near Canton and was busy with its cultivation and management until ill health compelled him to give up...

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Biographical Sketch of Egbert Davison Burnham

Egbert Davison Burnham is the only surviving son of the late Albert C. Burnham, long prominent as a pioneer lawyer and banker at Champaign and whose career is more fully noted on other pages. Robert Davison Burnham learned banking with his father, but for many years has been actively engaged in the farm loan business, with offices in the First National Bank Building. He was born in Champaign, February 19, 1872, one of the five children of the late A. C. Burnham and wife. Three of these children died in infancy. Mr. Burnham was the oldest and the second in age was Mary Bruce, now wife of Newton M. Harris. Mr. Burnham was liberally educated, though he did not complete a university course. He attended the University of Illinois and also the famous college preparatory school at Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He left school to take a position in his father’s office in the Burnham, Trevett & Mattis Banking Company. He was well trained in the details of banking, but in a short time left his father’s office to form a partnership with his brother-in-law, Newton M. Harris, in the farm loan business. Mr. Burnham has the public spirit of his honored father, has been a member of the Park Commission of Champaign, and is now serving on the Public Library Board. He is a member of the Episcopal church....

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Biography of William W. Earnest

William W. Earnest. Firmly entrenched in the American heart is the public school system, which, while not perfect perhaps, is continually being improved, largely as the result of the efforts of conscientious, intellectual leaders. The city of Champaign in its superintendent of schools has a well qualified, constructive man, a graduate of the University of Illinois and a thorough teacher as well as executive. He is William W. Earnest, who has occupied this responsible office for the past nine years. William W. Earnest was born in Mississippi, October 1, 1863, one of a family of three children born to his parents, who were John W. and Julia J. (Woolley) Earnest. Both parents were natives of Illinois, the father born in Sangamon and the mother in Greene County. Both are now deceased, the death of the father occurring in 1902. He was one of the Argonauts who, in 1850, went to California in search of gold, of which he found enough to pay for his time, and he had many interesting experiences and adventures. From California he returned to Illinois, but afterward went to Mississippi and was engaged in managing sawmills there at the outbreak of the war between the states and found it impossible to escape from a situation embarrassing to a northern man until the opening of the Mississippi and Yazoo mines in the spring of 1864. Later...

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Biography of Edwin S. Swigart

Edwin S. Swigart, a former mayor of the city of Champaign, is a thorough business man, and his reputation as a successful manager of large and important interests was one of the chief reasons why the people of Champaign desired him as their mayor. A native of Illinois, he was born near Farmer City in DeWitt County, December 11, 1861. His parents, Jacob and Rebecca (Davis) Swigart, were both born in Ohio. Jacob Swigart, who was born in 1827 and died in 1907, removed to DeWitt County, Illinois, in 1847. Rebecca Davis was taken to DeWitt County in 1837, when a small child, and she is still living, being now one of the oldest settlers of that county. Jacob Swigart followed farming during his active career, and became well known in politics and business affairs. In 1868 he was elected a member of the State Legislature. In a family of nine children, Edwin S. Swigart was the sixth in order of birth. His early advantages were those of the common schools of DeWitt County and for three years he was a student in Lombard College at Galesburg. He had considerable experience as a farmer, and after his marriage in 1885 he remained on the home place for a year. Mr. Swigart was one of the organizers of the Creamery Package Company, then located at Morrison, Illinois, and for a...

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Biography of the English Brothers (Richard and Edward)

English Brothers. Former students of the University of Illinois, where both were thoroughly trained in the technical branches of their profession, the English Brothers, Richard Caleb and Edward Carey, Jr., have for the past sixteen years been general contractors and structural engineers at Champaign, with offices in the Lincoln Building, they have developed a splendid prestige and reputation and their clientage constitutes a business that is one of the largest and most valuable of its kind in this section of the state. Of the two brothers Richard Caleb English, the older, was born March 1, 1873, at Jonesboro in Union County, Illinois, while Edward Carey, Jr., was born November 19, 1876, at Anna, in Union County, Illinois. Their parents were Edward Carey and Marga Ann (Hartline) English, the former a native of St. Johns, Newfoundland, and the latter of Union County, Illinois. Both parents are now deceased. The Hartline family came from Eowan County, North Carolina, and have been residents of the State of Illinois since 1798. It was in 1898 that the English brothers came to Champaign County as students in the University of Illinois. Edward C. was graduated in 1902. In the previous year they had engaged in business together as general contractors and builders, and with maturing experience they have extended their work to cover a large field and they have an immense amount of capital...

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Biography of Henry Hickman Harris

Henry Hickman Harris, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer and cattle feeder, and who, accepting the character and principles which his father had introduced into the First National Bank of Champaign at its founding, took it upon himself to apply these principles and broaden them for forty years, was born on the Sangamon Paver farm in Champaign County, where his father first settled. He was born on April 27, 1844, and lived seventy useful years, passing away July 15, 1914. Henry H. Harris was a stalwart citizen and under his skillful hands the fortune of his father had greatly increased and he had managed his varied interests and affairs, including the First National Bank in which he succeeded his father as president, in such a way as to justify his stewardship, and all that came to him in the way of fortune and influence. His good judgment and wise administration carried the bank successfully through several financial panics. He was one of the organizing members of the Illinois Bankers Association and served as its president in 1908-09. He was for many years a member of the city council of Champaign and to his aggressiveness and good judgment the city is indebted for many of its best improvements. He served for a number of years as president of the Champaign County Fair Association and established that organization...

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Biographical Sketch of Newton M. Harris

Newton M. Harris, vice-president of the First National Bank of Champaign, was born in that city July 27, 1872, a son of the late Henry H. Harris and a grandson of B. F. Harris, Sr. He was liberally educated, being a graduate of Yale University with the class of 1895, and for fully a quarter of a century has been actively identified with the interests of the Harris family as farmers, stock raisers and bankers. During his father’s life he shared the responsibilities of vice-president with his brother of the First National Bank, and still fills that post. Newton M. Harris married Mary Bruce Burnham, of the well known Burnham family of Champaign County elsewhere referred to. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are members of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, respectively. Their three children are Bruce, Barbara B. and Mary Julia. Mr. Harris is a member of the Sons of American Revolution and is a thirty-second degree Mason and a...

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Biography of Samuel P. Atkinson

Samuel P. Atkinson. Perhaps Champaign has no more sturdy and progressive citizen than is found in Samuel P. Atkinson, manager of the S. P. Atkinson Monument Company. He is a thorough American, with a backing of colonial ancestry and Revolutionary stock; and is a veteran of the great struggle which prior to 1914 the people of the United States has called the saddest page on the world’s history. Mr. Atkinson is a vigorous and able business man, but he is much more, for he has the true welfare of his city at heart and is zealously working to advance movements that will be of the greatest permanent benefit to the whole community. His entire life has been a busy, useful and interesting one. Samuel P. Atkinson was born in Central Ohio, November 26, 1844. His parents were Peabody and Marenda (Elliott) Atkinson, both of whom were descendants of Revolutionary heroes and natives of New Hampshire. The old Atkinson homestead situated ten miles from Concord, New Hampshire, was the cause of a pilgrimage made by Samuel P. Atkinson in 1916, and in the vicinity, with other kindred of generations gone, rest the ashes of his grandfather, Joseph C. Atkinson. To Peabody Atkinson and wife seven children were born, namely: Henry and Mary, both of whom are deceased; Joseph, who is living in Ohio; George, who is deceased; Samuel P.; and...

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