Location: Champaign Illinois

Biography of Dell E. Harris

Dell E. Harris. In the University district of Champaign there is no merchant better known to the student population and citizens generally than Dell E. Harris, who for over twenty-five years has been in active business as a confectioner. Mr. Harris has succeeded because he has concentrated his energies largely along one line, has studied and worked to develop a product of superfine quality, and has made that product of such a standard of perfection that it now signifies quality and is distributed over a market by no means confined to Champaign or even to the state of Illinois. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now Mr. Harris was born at Normal, Illinois, June 16, 1870, a son of Zera W. and Julia A. (Dyke) Harris, both of whom are still living. His father was a Union soldier during the Civil War, serving thirty-seven months in Company C., Fifth Illinois Cavalry. There were six children: Frank D., who is engaged in the real estate business at Champaign;...

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Biographical Sketch of Virgil W. Johnston

Virgil W. Johnston, banker, with offices at No. 10 Main Street in Champaign, has been a resident of this city for the past eighteen years. He was born in McLean County, Illinois, March 15, 1871. His father James Johnston, a native of Ohio, grew up in Indiana and in 1852 removed to McLean County, Illinois, bought land from the government, developed it as a farm, and lived there prosperous and an influential citizen until his death in 1905. He was a Republican in politics and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. James Johnston married Eleanor Marrs, who was born in Ohio in 1831, and was a young bride when she came to Illinois in 1852. Her death occurred in McLean County in 1901. Virgil W. Johnston was one of four children. His brother Lucien C. lives at Seward, Nebraska; his brother Alva E. lives at Monticello, Indiana; and his brother Milo D. at Olustee, Oklahoma. Virgil W. Johnston was educated in country schools, had the environment of a typical Illinois farmer boy, and subsequently continued his education in the Fairbury High School. He was graduated from the Bloomington Law School in 1896. He has given most of his time and energies to the abstract business. He was in that business at Pontiac, Illinois, from 1896 to 1899, and in the latter year bought the old established abstract business...

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Biography of Alba J. Flatt

Alba J. Flatt. In a business way Mr. Flatt has been most prominently known in the community of Leverett in Champaign County, when he has the finest grain elevator in this section of the state and where for many years he has been the active medium through which an important bulk of the local grain production has been marketed. Mr. Flatt in recent years has had his home in the city of Champaign. While a resident of Champaign County most of his life, Mr. Flatt was born near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, July 6, 1863. His parents, James H. and Matilda L. (Campbell) Flatt, both natives of Canada, came to Champaign County in 1865, and both lived here the rest of their days. The father died in July, 1908, and the mother in June, 1912. James H. Flatt was for many years a well known farmer in Champaign County. They were the parents of eight children: Charlotte, wife of William Whittmore, of Emporia, Kansas; Silas Edgar, who died at the age of eighteen; Ormond B., of Champaign; Alba J.; Carrie, wife of L. S. Rupert, of Bloomington, Illinois; Annie L., deceased; George J. of Champaign; and Ira J. W., of Denver, Colorado. Alba J. Flatt grew up on the home farm in Champaign County, attended the local schools, and at the age of twenty-one began helping his father in the...

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Biographical Sketch of Eugene H. Russell

Eugene H. Russell is one of the younger business men of Champaign, and is successfully managing his mother’s Belvoir Theater. The Belvoir stages high class theatrical productions and fills it with the best of the modern film productions. Recently there was installed in the theater a $5,000 Bartolo organ, and its music is now one of the important features and attractions of this fine house. Mr. Russell was born in Champaign November 12, 1893, a son of Charles H. and Lizzie V. (Hamilton) Russell. Both parents were born in Illinois, his mother being a native of Carlinville. His father came to Champaign County when a young man and was in the hardware business for a number of years. Mr. Russell is a nephew of C. F. Hamilton, and the Hamiltons have been long prominent and wealthy citizens of Champaign County. This branch of the family history is taken up in more detail on other pages. Eugene H. Russell was the second in a family of four children. The oldest, Fenton, is now deceased. Virginia and Helen still live at home. Mr. Russell, who is yet unmarried, was graduated from the Champaign High School in 1914 and then took a year in the agricultural department of the State University. For about four months he was connected with the Williams Garage, and he then took the active management of his mother’s...

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Biography of John C.Dallenbach, M. D.

John C. Dallenbach, M. D. Among the leaders in the medical profession at Champaign is a native son, Dr. John C. Dallenbach, who belongs to one of the old pioneer families of the county, which was founded by the grandfather, John Dallenbach, who came here when his son, John J. Dallenbach, was three years old. Few names in this section have been more continuously or justly held in esteem and the present representatives perpetuate the sterling characteristics of the older generations. John C. Dallenbach was born at Champaign, Illinois, December 22, 1881. His parents are John J. and Anna (Mittendorf) Dallenbach, the former of whom was born in Ohio and the latter in Cook County, Illinois. When the grandfather, in 1857, came with his family to Champaign County he located on a farm in Champaign Township, but only for one year, moving then to Champaign and establishing the meat business, which continued a stable industry of the city, until his descendants sold it in 1917, under the old family name, the grandfather being succeeded by his two sons, John J. and William C. Dallenbach. Of his parents’ three children, Doctor Dallenbach is the eldest, his next younger brother, Karl M., being an instructor in psychology in Cornell College, Ithaca, New York. The youngest of the family, Louis E. Dallenbach, owns and manages a large chicken farm near Champaign. In...

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Biography of Egbert P. Little

Egbert P. Little is one of the old residents of Champaign County, having come here with his parents nearly fifty years ago. The business to which he successfully applied his efforts through many years was farming, but he is now living retired in the city of Champaign. Mr. Little prospered as a farmer and stock man, and his material circumstances have added to his own comfort and have also provided means and training for the careers of his children, in whom he takes special pride. Mr. Little was born in La Salle County, Illinois, September 3, 1857, a son of John and Frances (Bassford) Little. His parents were New Englanders, his father a native of New Hampshire and his mother of Vermont. Both are now deceased. His father was for many years a farmer and ‘was long identified with the agricultural interests of Champaign County. Of the nine children in the family four died in infancy. Addie A. is the wife of John Blair of Syracuse, New York; Leslie resides at Tolono in Champaign County. The next in age is Egbert P.; Luella is the eighth in the family and Linnie is the wife of Charles DeForest, of St. Joseph, Illinois. Egbert P. Little was eleven years of age when he came with his parents to Champaign County in 1868. He grew up on a farm at Tolono, and...

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Biography of Thomas R. Hopkins

Thomas R. Hopkins. Modern business requires practical and thorough training in the same degree as the professions and sciences. In Champaign County there is no institution which affords a better curriculum and practical business education than the commercial college formerly known as Brown’s Business College and now owned and administered by Mr. Thomas R. Hopkins, himself a thorough educator of long experience and a man who has trained hundreds of young men and women and given them a thorough preparation for entrance into business affairs. Mr. Hopkins was born in Peoria County, Illinois, January 24, 1877, a son of Griffith G. and Anna (Collier) Hopkins. His father was of Welsh descent and a native of Ohio, and the mother was born in England. Griffith Hopkins came out to Peoria County, Illinois, many years ago and was first engaged in mining and subsequently in farming. He finally retired and died at Peoria. The children were six in number: Grace, who died in infancy; Jesse G., of Jerseyville, Illinois; Lucile E., wife of Frank C. Keach, of Los Angeles, California; Thomas E.; Chauncey J., deceased; and Maurice E., of Chicago. Thomas R. Hopkins had a public school education in Knox County, Illinois, and for two years was a student in the Independent Normal at Dixon. For another year he pursued his studies in Knox College at Galesburg, and then became associated...

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Biography of Harry C. Kariher, M. D.

Harry C. Kariher, M. D. Perhaps no call is so insistent in man as that of personal service to others. It is one of the beautiful elements of humanity; it lies at the root of religion and permeates every brotherhood organization. The appeal for help made by the physically sick and maimed has led many a noble-hearted young man to prepare for and devote himself to the arduous profession of medicine, occasionally thereby to a large extent turning aside from the pleasures of the leisurely life that ample means might have afforded him, finding compensation in the knowledge of the facts of science and his ability to helpfully apply them. It can but be acknowledged that no body of men as a class give so much of themselves to others as do physicians and surgeons, and that individually few men of this profession have ever been known to turn a deaf ear to suffering they could relieve. The city of Champaign has, among other advantages, a skilled and generous body of medical men, and an eminent representative is found in Dr. Harry C. Kariher, widely known in the state. Harry C. Kariher was born at Chicago, Illinois, September 22, 1878. His parents were Harry and Mary E. (Sullard) Kariher, the former of whom was born at Delphi, Indiana, and the latter in the State of New Jersey. For many...

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Biography of Shelby D. Taylor

Shelby D. Taylor. A large tract of Champaign County’s fertile acres have been developed and improved by Shelby D. Taylor, who still owns one of the valuable farms of the county, though for a number of years he has lived retired at Champaign. Mr. Taylor came to Champaign County thirty-five years ago. He was born in Morgan County, Illinois, May 15, 1851. His parents, both natives of Kentucky, were George and Polly E. (Tucker) Taylor. His father was born July 20, 1805, and died September 23, 1886, and his mother was born August 15, 1807, and died January 22, 1894. Both of them died in Jacksonville, Illinois. George Taylor spent his active years as a farmer. He and his wife had ten children: Maxmillie, who was born January 6, 1831, and died in February, 1916; Edward A., born January 9, 1833, and died in February, 1912; Benjamin H., born October 2, 1835, and died October 26, 1892; William P., born December 22, 1837, now lives at Springfield, Illinois; Casabianca B., born December 2, 1839, is a resident of Jacksonville; Phoebe, born March 13, 1842, wife of George Scott of Norfolk, Virginia; Sarah F., born May 5, 1844, wife of Edward E. Telling of Champaign County; George Z., born September 20, 1846, died October 21, 1907; John H., born February 20, 1849, a resident of Mattoon, Illinois; and Shelby D.,...

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Biography of James B. Russell

James B. Russell. During his long and active career in Champaign James B. Russell made his impress on the financial life of the city and was a business man implicitly trusted, and the success he won in material affairs was only a part of the splendid record of his entire life as a man and citizen. Mr. Russell was born in the city of Philadelphia in October, 1837. At the close of a long and active career he passed away at his home in Champaign, November 4, 1914, aged seventy-seven. His parents were Jonathan and Sarah (Burt) Russell, the former a native of Philadelphia and the latter of New Jersey. The late Mr. Russell was educated in the grammar schools of Philadelphia until he was sixteen years of age and then for a time attended an academy in New Jersey. When about twenty-one years of age he married and soon afterward he and his young wife came West to Champaign County. He bought land at Tolono and was getting well started and had considerable business interests when the war broke out. Early in the war Mr. Russell went back to visit friends and relatives in New Jersey. While there he witnessed many of his boyhood friends joining the army, and he. too, caught the infection and, placing patriotism above all business and personal considerations, he enlisted in Company D...

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Biography of Carl Henry Gehrke

Carl Henry Gehrke has been a resident of Champaign, for thirty-three years and many years ago he established a bakery which has grown and prospered, every year seeing additional equipment and increased trade, until the Gehrke Illinois Bakery now does an immense wholesale and retail business extending all over this section of Illinois. His business success consists in building up this large plant, and along with his prosperity has come the esteem of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Mr. Gehrke was born in the city of Velpke, Province of Brunswick, Germany, June 18, 1852, a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Schultz) Gehrke. Both parents were born, lived and died in Brunswick, Germany. His father was a stone cutter by trade, while the grandfather, Henry Gehrke, was a school teacher. Mr. Gehrke thus represented the substantial stock of German citizenship, many of whose virtues his own life has amplified. Henry Gehrke and wife had eight children: Henry, now deceased; Carl H.; Herman, also a resident of Champaign, Illinois; Otto, deceased; August and Mary, still in Germany; Minnie, wife of Henry Schroeder, of Sidney, Illinois; and Alvina, still in Germany. The compulsory system of education in Germany requires a boy’s attendance at school until fourteen. At that age Carl Henry Gehrke left school to begin an apprenticeship in a baker’s shop at Helmstead. Having completed the apprenticeship he returned...

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Biography of James F. Rankin

James F. Rankin has proved his ability both in general business affairs and as a banker, and is the organizer and active official of the State Bank of Sidney. Mr. Rankin was born near Deland, Illinois, October 31, 1879, a son of Joseph H. and Emma (Brown) Rankin. His parents were natives of Ohio, and his father was for a number of years a general merchant at Deland, but about 1902 removed to Champaign County and located in the city of Champaign, where he is still living. James F. is the only surviving child, his younger brother, Willis D., having died in infancy. Mr. Rankin was graduated from the public schools of Deland in 1898, and soon afterward entered the employ of John Kirby, a private banker. With that experience he assisted in organizing the State Bank of Deland, which he served as assistant cashier. Then, realizing the needs of further education, he entered the Bryant & Stratton Business College at Chicago, and from there in 1901 went to the National Bank of Commerce at Kansas City, Missouri, one of the largest banks in the Missouri Valley. He served as teller there two years, and with this metropolitan experience returned to Champaign County and for four years was draft and collection teller with the First National Bank of Champaign, Illinois. He then gave up banking and for four years...

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Biography of William E. Schowengerdt, M. D.

William E. Schowengerdt, M. D. As even the layman finds wonder and interest in scanning the progress made by medical science from time to time, it is not remarkable that trained medical men should continue enthusiastic students and thereby still further deserve the faith and confidence of those who seek their healing ministrations. No men of any profession are so continuously students as are physicians, and the more competent and skillful they are the more closely do they devote attention to investigating the cause, prevention and cure of disease. They usually are real founts of wisdom; in fact, they must be. The city of Champaign has a very representative body of physicians and surgeons, and in the foremost rank stands Dr. William E. Schowengerdt, who has been identified with the professional, civil and social life of this city for two decades. William E. Schowengerdt was born in Warren County, Missouri, September’ 16, 1872. His grandparents were both natives of Germany and were early settlers in Warren County, Missouri, where Doctor Schowengerdt’s parents, Henry and Louise (Schoppenhorst) Schowengerdt, were born, the former in 1842 and the latter in 1846. The father during life was a farmer. His death occurred in Lafayette County, Missouri, January 2, 1909. The mother survives and resides at Higginsville, Missouri. They reared a family of seven children: Louis, who is engaged in farming at Higginsville, Missouri;...

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Biography of John C. Kruse

John C. Kruse is one of Champaign’s oldest business men in point of continuous service, having lived in that city for almost half a century. He has been an independent merchant for over forty-five years, and he has wisely looked after and directed the business training of his sons and assisted each one to get established in business. Mr. Kruse is a native of Germany, where he was born July 23, 1840, son of John O. and Minnie (Martens) Kruse. His parents spent all their lives in Germany. John C. Kruse had that substantial training afforded by the public school system of Germany. His father intended that he should go to a seminary and qualify for the profession of teacher. His father was a cabinetmaker, and before the plan had been carried out with respect to the son’s education he became so deaf that his son had to leave school and take charge of the business. Thus when Mr. Kruse came to the United States in 1867 he had mastered a trade and had considerable business experience. He first located in Cleveland, Ohio, but after a year there moved to Champaign, Illinois. Being an expert workman, he found employment in the furniture factory of Walker Brothers, with whom he remained four years. Out of his modest savings he then engaged in a business for himself and has been one...

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Biography of John Frederic Hessel

John Frederic Hessel. There are many avenues of honorable business open to men of education, initiative and talent, and it is a claim proudly made by the great University of Illinois that from her halls go out graduates thoroughly prepared for any career. Many of these young men of the thousands who have hopefully crossed her doorsill undoubtedly have proved the truth of this claim, and many have settled down under her walls, as it were, and through their achievements have reflected credit on their alma m#ter. In this connection may be mentioned a prominent business man of Champaign, John Frederic Hessel, who is a worthy representative of one of the sterling old pioneer families of Champaign County. John Frederic Hessel was born at Champaign, Illinois, September 18, 1866. His parents were Gustavus Edward and Mary (Davorn-Dixon) Hessel, the latter of whom survives. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, of Irish and Scotch parentage, on April 4, 1841. In 1856 she was married to Gustavus Edward Hessel at Brooklyn, New York, and five children were born to them, of whom John Frederic is the only survivor. The others, who bore the names of Frank L., Cora Mae and Emma H., all died of scarlet fever on April 24, 1878, aged respectively six, ten and fourteen years. This heart breaking domestic affliction was one that from lack of medical knowledge...

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