Location: Charleston Illinois

Biographical Sketch of Edward Conaghan

Edward Conaghan, merchant, Oakland; born in County Donegal, Ireland, Aug. 15, 1841, where he engaged in farming until 18 years of age, when he emigrated to America, landing in New York in the fall of 1859; coming directly to Charleston, he engaged with his brother peddling, taking his stock of goods upon his back and selling from house to house; after following this for nine months for his brother, he commenced peddling on his own account, taking his first stock of goods, which invoiced at $20, in a pack upon his back, working in all kinds of weather, until 1863, when he associated with his brother and engaged in the hotel business at Peoria, Ill., which, proving unprofitable, they closed out, and, after paying all their indebtedness, he had barely enough means left to again start his portable dry goods and notion store, which consisted, as described above, of his pack, which he carried upon his back, buying his goods direct from first hands in New York, which enabled him to compete with the largest dealers in Coles Co.; he continued doing business in this manner until 1871, when he associated with David Jones, and located in Oakland in the grocery and queensware trade, which they continued until Jan. 3, 1876, when, purchasing his partner’s interest., he added a stock of dry goods, clothing, etc., until he now carries...

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Biographical Sketch of Francis M. Waters

Francis M. Waters, Ashmore; dealer in dry goods and notions, boots and shoes, hats, caps and clothing; was born in Ross Co., Ohio, March 16, 1838, and is a son of Baker and Mary Waters; in 1847, his parents removed to Coles Co., and settled in Charleston, where his father carried on the wagon and carriage. Making business about ten years; he then removed to a farm in Ashmore Tp., where he lived till his death, in 1875; Mr. Waters’ mother died the year before; the family consisted of eight sons and one daughter, all residents of Coles Co.; when he was 12 years old, Mr. Waters entered his father’s shop to learn the wagon-maker’s trade. He was married Feb. 14, 1861, to Miss Edith Austin, a daughter of John and Susan Austin, of Ashmore; she died Jan. 4, 1862, leaving one child-Edith E.; in 1862, he entered the 123d Ill. Vols. as principal musician, and on the re-organization of his regiment as mounted infantry, he was made regimental bugler; he served with his regiment till the close of the war, participating in all of its engagements-numbering over one hundred and twenty; among them, Perryville, Ky.; Milton, Tenn.; Hoover’s Gap, Chattanooga; Chickamauga, Farmington, Peach-Tree Creek, Kenesaw Mountain, Resaca, siege of Atlanta, Selma, Ala., Columbus and Macon. Returning, he carried on the carriage-making business one year, and at the same...

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Biography of Joshua Ricketts

Joshua Ricketts, dealer in grain and produce, groceries, glassware, queens-ware, etc., Ashmore; was born in Muskingum Co., Ohio, March 13, 1821. He is a son of Joshua and Sarah (Taylor) Ricketts. He remained at home until he was 13 years old, when he went to Knox County, Ohio, and engaged in study with a view to preparing for the ministry, but meeting with a change in his religious belief he abandoned the idea and engaged in farming, afterward learning the trade of a marble cutter. At the age of 23 he went to Coshocton, Ohio, and followed farming for a while, afterward removing to Terre Haute, Ind., where he engaged in the marble business. In 1849, he came to Illinois, remained one year in Clark County, and removed thence to Charleston, Coles County, in 1850. There he carried on the marble business till 1861, when he enlisted as a private in J. W. Bissell’s Engineer Regiment of the West; was promoted to Second and afterward to First Lieutenant. He served in this regiment twenty months; when Gen. Morgan made his raid into Indiana Mr. Ricketts again enlisted in the 109th Ind. Vols. and was commissioned by Gov. Morton, Adjutant of the regiment. After a brief service of eight days the regiment was mustered out, the occasion for their enlistment having ceased. On the call for 100-day men, in 1864,...

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Biographical Sketch of Allison M. Mitchell

Allison M. Mitchell, of the firm of Ashmore & Mitchell, dealers in boots and shoes, Charleston; is a native of Coles Co; he was born in Charleston Dec. 29, 1852, being the son of Rev. Robert A. and Ann E. Mitchell; his father was born in Washington Co., Tenn., and came to Coles Co. with his parents in 1833; he received a collegiate education, and after pursuing a theological course, located in Charleston as Pastor of the Presbyterian Church, of which he remained in charge for twenty years. Allison M. Mitchell, the son, was raised on a farm until he was 19 years old, and then entered the grocery store of his uncle, I. B. Mitchell, where he remained for three years, after which he spent about two years in the employ of W. M. & E. A. Jenkins; on the 18t of January, 1878, in company with W. J. Ashmore, he purchased the boot and shoe business of B. M. Payne, in which he has since...

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Biographical Sketch of Isaac B. Mitchell

Isaac B. Mitchell, dealer in groceries and provisions, Charleston; is the youngest son of James A. and Esther Mitchell; he was born in Charleston, Ill., Jan. 6, 1841; he remained on the farm until the age of 15 years; the next four years he spent in the Charleston Academy, where he prepared for the Sophomore class in college, intending to pursue a college course; but, in 1861, owing to circumstances, he abandoned the idea and engaged in farming. In April, 1862, he enlisted in Co. A, 68th I. V. I., for three months. He continued farming until 1865, teaching school during the winters; in 1865, he engaged in mercantile business in Charleston. He was married Dec. 11, 1866, to Miss Florida A. Miles, a daughter of John A. Miles, of Charleston, and has four children – John M., Charles B., Richard R. and Paul. He continued merchandising until 1867, and then farmed for one year, starting in his present business in...

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Biographical Sketch of Alexander C. Mitchell

Alexander C. Mitchell, dealer in books, stationery, toys, etc., Charleston; is a native of Coles Co., being a son of James M. and Esther (Collom) Mitchell, a sketch of whom is given above; he was born in Charleston Dec. 6, 1836; until 1860, he remained on the farm, receiving a common school education. He was married Dec. 27, 1859, to Mrs. Carrie Roberts, of Charleston. In 1860, he engaged in the boot and shoe business in Charleston, and continued in that two years; the next two years were spent in farming, after which he followed the grocery business until 1876; he was engaged for a short time in the drug business, after which he entered upon his present business; he has two sons-Walter G. and Wirt...

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Biographical Sketch of Luther C. Mitchell

Luther C. Mitchell, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Charleston; a son -of James A. and Esther (Collom) Mitchell; was born in Washington Co., Tenn., June 2, 1830; in 1833, his father’s family removed to Charleston; he was raised on the farm, and at 19, started for himself; after farming two years, he made the trip to California, where he spent eight months in mining; going thence to Australia; there he remained seven years, and, returning in 1860, he resumed farming and dairying; he removed in 1871 to his present farm on Sec. 19, where he owns eighty acres of land. He was married March 5, 1861, to Miss H. A. Waddle, of Coles Co.; they have seven children living – Kittie B., William A., Rhoda H. Ella, Alice, James and Emily E. Mr. H., has served six years as School...

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Biographical Sketch of James A. Mitchell

James A. Mitchell (deceased); one of the early pioneers of Coles Co., was born in Washington Co., E. Tenn., Aug. 27, 1797; he was a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Allison) Mitchell; his father was a native of North Carolina and emigrated to Tennessee in an early day. He passed his early life on his father’s farm near Jonesboro Tenn., and after obtaining a thorough preparatory education entered Washington College, in his native State, but, after a time, left college and engaged in merchandising. He was married May 12, 1818, to Miss Esther Collom, of his native county; she was born Oct. 28, 1799. He came to Coles Co. in 1833, and entered a large quantity of Government land, and engaged in farming, dealing in stock, etc. For a number of years, he resided in Charleston, but afterward retired to a farm near town, on which he resided till his death. He was a prominent citizen and a prosperous business man. He was for several years School Commissioner of Coles Co. He died Oct. 14, 1843, while on a visit to his old home in Tennessee, leaving a wife and nine children – Robert A., for twenty years Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Charleston, and now of Kansas, Ill.; Jonathan C., now a farmer in Missouri; John D.,. a physician of Terre Haute, Ind., Sarah E., wife of...

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Biographical Sketch of Gen. G. M. Mitchell

Gen. G. M. Mitchell, Postmaster, Charleston, was born in Warren Co., Ky., Oct. 5, 1835. His father, Bedford Mitchell, came to Coles Co. in 1851 and settled in Paradise Township, where he died in 1856. In 1852, the subject of this sketch, then a lad of 17, entered a store in Paradise, as clerk for Cunningham & Son, where he remained six years. He then followed merchandising for himself until 1859, when he was appointed Deputy Sheriff under Malden Jones, and served until May, 1860. On the 18t of May, 1860, he married Miss Kate Miles, daughter of John Miles, of Charleston, and has seven children. Removing to Mattoon, he formed a partnership with John Cunningham, under the firm name of Mitchell & Cunningham, and continued in general merchandise business until the breaking-out of the rebellion. In June, 1861, he entered the army as Captain of Co. C 18th. V. C. – the first three-years regiment to leave the State. He served with that regiment till February, 1862, when he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the 54th I. V. I. In October, 1863, was promoted to Colonel. In 1864, he re-enlisted with his regiment as a veteran, and in the fall of the same year was brevetted Brigadier General, and was mustered out of the service Nov. 3, 1865, having served actively and continuously for nearly five years; he...

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Biographical Sketch of Jacob Linder

Jacob Linder, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Charleston. Among the pioneers of Coles Co. who settled here prior to the year 1830, was Jonathan Linder, who was born in West Virginia Aug. 8, 1808. He was the son of a farmer, and on becoming of age he came West, accompanied by his father’s family; they made the journey in wagons, and on arriving in Coles Co., they took up some land and purchased other land, and engaged in farming. After a few years, he revisited his native State, performing the journey there and back on horse-back. In 1834 or 1835, he married Miss Margaret Cossell, a daughter of Michael Cossell, another of the pioneer settlers; she was born in West Virginia, and came to the county with her parents in 1830. They continued to reside in Charleston Tp. till their death. Mr. Linder died in April, 1877, his wife having died in 1872. They left one son, Jacob Linder, who was born in Charleston Tp., Jan. 6, 1836, and who now owns and occupies the old homestead on Sec. 4, consisting of 207 acres of land. He also owns sixty-five acres nearer town. He was married May 31, 1860, to Miss Rachel A. McIntire, of Seven Hickory Tp., and has one child living – Minnie...

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Biographical Sketch of Isaiah H. Johnston

Isaiah H. Johnston, President of the Second National Bank, Charleston; was born in Russell Co., Va., April 24, 1827; his father, Abner Johnston, came to this county in 1830, and settled in what is now Pleasant Grove Tp., and lived there until his death, which occurred in 1848. Mr. Johnston followed farming until he was 27 years old, and then engaged in merchandising, and, in 1857, removed to Mattoon, and continued in business there till 1860; he was then elected Sheriff, of Coles Co., and removed to Charleston; he served as Sheriff two years, and afterward served out the unexpired term of John H. O’Hair. He afterward followed the dry goods trade one year, and during this time was engaged also in farming and dealing in stock. In 1869, he built the first pork-packing house in the city, and the same year, in company with T. A. Marshall and John W. True, he established the banking house of T. A. Marshall & Co., which was superseded by the Second National Bank two years later. In 1871, he, with John B. Hill and Thomas Stoddert, erected the Charleston Pork-Packing Houses, and he continued in the packing business until 1873, when he became President of the Second National Bank; he has served two terms as member of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Johnson was first married Feb. 10, 1848, to Miss...

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Biographical Sketch of Rice P. Hackett

Rice P. Hackett, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Charleston; was born in Coles Co., Ill., Nov. 28, 1838; he is a son of Levi Hackett, who came from Scott Co., Ky., and settled in Coles Co. in 1835, and now lives in Douglas Co., to which he removed in 1861. Mr. Hackett is the second of a family of eight children, five of whom are living. He was married Feb. 25, 1857, to Miss Ann M. Waltrip, of Hutton Tp., also a native of the county, and a daughter of John Waltrip, one of the early settlers of the county. They have nine children – William J. Eliza E., Noah M., Legrand A., Henry J., Ida J., Lula E., Eva R. and Reason A. In August, 1862, Mr. Hackett enlisted in Co. K, 123d I. V. I., and served three years, participating in all the principal engagements of that regiment; he was severely wounded at the battle of Milton, Tenn., and carries to this day a bullet in his hip as a memento of that engagement; he was again slightly wounded during a skirmish while on a foraging expedition below Murfreesboro; he settled on his present farm in 1872, where he owns 205 acres of land, well improved. Mr. Hackett and family are members of the Church of god, of which he is a Trustee and Deacon; he took...

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Biographical Sketch of Eli Huron

Eli Huron, dealer in books, stationery, musical instruments, toys, etc., Charleston; was born in Hendricks Co., Ind., Oct. 14, 1836; up to the breaking-out of the rebellion he remained on his father’s farm. In February, 1862, he entered the Union army as a member of Co. A, 53d Ind. V. I., serving in the Army of the Cumberland; he participated in the siege of Corinth, and was wounded at the second battle of Corinth, on the 5th of October, 1862, from which he lost his right arm. He spent the spring and summer of 1864 as a student in Bryant & Stratton’s Business College, Indianapolis, after which he went to Washington, D. C., and entered the office of the Indiana State Military Agency as a clerk under Gen. Hannaman; here he remained several months and then obtained an appointment in the War Department as a clerk in the Quartermaster General’s office, where he remained till 1869, when he resigned his position and came to Charleston; he entered upon his present business, starting at first with a small stock; his business has continued to increase until he now has the largest business in his line in the city. He was married July 1, 1869, to Miss Annie Harding, of Charleston, and has one son – Rolph...

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Biographical Sketch of J. P. H. Harrah

J. P. H. Harrah, attorney at law, Charleston; is a native of Putnam Co., Ind.; he was born near Greencastle June 4, 18485 and is a son of Daniel F. Harrah; in 1858, he removed with his father’s family to Jasper Co., Ill., where he remained on the farm until 1867; he then engaged in teaching school in Jasper Co.; in August, 1868, he entered Westfield College, Ill., and remained as a student in that institution two years; returning home in 1870, he began reading law, and, in the fall of 1871, went to Newton, the county seat of Jasper Co., as deputy in the office of the County Treasurer, continuing his law studies under the direction of Col. John H. Halley, a prominent attorney of that city; in November, 1872, he was elected State’s Attorney for Jasper Co., although he was not admitted to the bar until October, 1873, owing to a rule of the Supreme Court of the State requiring candidates for admission to spend two years in an attorney’s office; he continued to hold the office of State’s Attorney until 1876; he also served one term as City Attorney; he was appointed a Justice of the Peace in December, 1876, by Gov. Cullom; in 1877, he came to Charleston and has since been engaged in the practice of law in this city. He was married Jan....

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Biographical Sketch of Charles Gramesly

Charles Gramesly, dealer in wines and liquors, Charleston; was born in Palmyra, Wayne Co., N. Y., June 2, 1842; he is a son of William S. and Phebe J. (Hildreth) Gramesly; his father was born in Orange’ Co., N. Y., Nov. 17, 1809, and his mother in Bridgehampton, Long Island, March 5, 1819; in 157, his parents removed with their family to Coles Co., and settled in Charleston Tp., where his father now resides; his mother died in January, 1876, leaving two sons-Charles and Henry; on becoming of’ age, Mr. Gramesly engaged in teaching school, and followed it during three successive winters; in 1872, he entered the Charleston post office as deputy, under John A. Miles, and remained till December, 1873, when he left the office to attend to his duties as collector of the township, to which office he had been elected in the spring of that year; in the spring of 1875, he started his present business. He was married Aug. 28, 1877, to Miss Katurah Hildreth, a daughter of John Hildreth, of South Onondaga, Onandaga Co., N. Y.; they have one...

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