Location: Charleston Illinois

Biographical Sketch of Charles R. Briggs

Charles R. Briggs, portrait-painter, Charleston; was born in Washington Co. N. Y., Jan. 5, 1816; his father was a farmer and carriage-manufacturer in Easton; at the age of 17 years, he left home, and going to Troy, apprenticed himself to the trade of a coach-painter; he remained there four years and helped to paint the first passenger-coaches on the Albany & Schenectady Railroad; thence he went to Buffalo, N. Y., and entered the employ of Benjamin Rathbone, the great contractor of that city; about a year later, he went to New York City, and thence, shortly afterward, came West; this was in 1839; after spending a few months in St. Louis, he located in Coles Co., and, after farming one year, engaged in carriage, house and sign painting in Charleston. He early turned his attention to portrait painting, for which he had a decided talent, and for the past few years has made a specialty of the painting of fine stock, a branch of the art in which he is excelled by none in the State; he started the first livery-stable in Charleston about 1843, with one horse, and continued it about a dozen years, running it up to forty-two horses; in 1848, he opened a farm of 363 acres in the timber adjoining the city, fencing it in eastern style, mostly in ten-acre lots, and followed farming for...

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Biography of George Birch

George Birch, farmer; P. O. Charleston; was born near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, March 25, 1815; he is a son of William Birch, a farmer who, in 1833, came to America with his family, and lived for three years near Philadelphia, occupying an old house, once the residence of William Penn, on the bank of the Schuylkill, near Fairmount Park; in 1836, they removed to Illinois, and settled near Hitesville, Coles Co., where his father died April 15, 1864, at the age of 88 years; Mr. Birch spent the first few years of his residence in this county in working at farm labor; he has worked for 50 cents a day and waited until Christmas for his pay. He was married on his twenty-sixth birthday, March 25, 1841, to Miss Catherine Jones, a daughter of William Jones; she was born in Jefferson Co., Ky., March 19, 1820, and came with her parents to Coles Co. about 1831; in 1844, they settled on a farm near Hitesville, where they resided for more than thirty-three years, and, in 1878, removed to Charleston, where they now reside; Mr. Birch, in 1842, hauled wheat to Chicago, a distance of 180 miles, and there sold it for 62 cents per bushel; he has driven hogs to Clinton, Ind., and sold them for $1.25 to $2 per hundred, net weight; Mrs. Birch, when a girl, has...

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Biographical Sketch of Tillman Bagley

Tillman Bagley, horticulturist; Charleston; was born in Loudoun Co., Va., June 6, 1828; being left fatherless when but a child, he accompanied his mother, at the age of 9 years to Muskingum Co., Ohio, where they settled on a farm about twelve miles north of Zanesville; at 19, he left the farm to learn the trade of a marble-cutter, after completing which he worked as a journeyman until 1853; he then came to Charleston, and after working two years, started in the marble business for himself, in which he continued till 1869; at which time he purchased what is known as the True farm, in La Fayette Tp., and followed farming four years. Having a natural taste for horticultural pursuits he sold his farm and, returning to Charleston, purchased sixteen acres of returning lying within the corporation, which he began to improve; he built his residence and set his land to peaches, apples, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries; his aim was to secure the very earliest as well as the very latest varieties of fruit which it was possible to obtain, thus commanding the highest prices for his products. Mr. Bagley was married March 26, 1856, to Miss Ann Craig, a daughter of Elijah Craig, an early settler of Coles Co.; she was born in Boone Co., Ky., April 21, 1829, and came to Coles Co. in 1836; they have...

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Biography of A. N. Bain

A. N. Bain, proprietor of the Charleston Foundry, Charleston; was born in Erie Co., Ohio, April 3, 1828; his father was a ship-carpenter, with a family of nine children; at the age of 14, Mr. Bain began working on a farm, which he continued until the spring of 1845, when he entered the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad shop at Sandusky, Ohio, as an apprentice, remaining there until 1852, and thoroughly mastering the machinist’s trade. He then went to New Albany, Ind., where he was married, Feb. 3, 1853, to Miss Catharine Caldwell, of that city, who was born in Appomattox Co., Va., Feb. 8, 1832. While in New Albany, he worked as a mechanic in the shops of the New Albany & Salem Railroad; in April, 1853, he removed to Terre Haute, Ind., and entered the foundry of Grover & Madison, and remained in their employ until April 1, 1857; he then came to Charleston, and, with his brother, William Bain, and George 0. Carr, erected a small building, 25×50 feet in size; Mr. Carr soon retired from the firm; they ran a general repair foundry till 1863, when they made their first stove, and enlarged their buildings, which now cover four town lots, while their trade extends from Indianapolis on the east, to the Rocky Mountains on the west; in 1869, Mr. Bain engaged in the...

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Biography of Eugene B. Buck

Eugene B. Buck, editor and proprietor of the Charleston Courier. Charleston; was born in Fayette Co., Ind., Oct. 12, 1834; when he was about five years old, his father’s family removed to McLean Co., Ill.; he served his apprenticeship to the printer’s trade in Bloomington; in 1852, he went to Peoria, Ill., and, in 1855, was connected with the publication of the Pekin Plaindealer; in 1856, he was associated with four other journeymen printers in running a co-operative daily paper in Peoria; in 1857, he conducted the Washington Advertiser, in Franklin Co., Mo.; in 1859, he edited the Daily Enterprise, in Decatur, Ill., and, in 1861 and 1862, the Magnet in that city; in 1864, he run the Constitution, a campaign paper, in Pontiac, Livingston Co., Ill., and, the next year-1865-he started the Bloomington Journal; in 1868, he became connected with the Charleston Courier, a live weekly newspaper and a vigorous advocate of the principles of the Democratic party, and, in 1874, became sole proprietor and editor; the esteem in which Mr. Buck is held by ,the editorial profession is manifest from the fact that, in 1865, he was chosen President of the Illinois Press Association, a member of the Executive Board in 1877, and is at present a Vice President of that body; he is a Director of the Second National Bank; in 1876, he received the nomination...

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Biography of Jacob I. Brown

Jacob I. Brown, Justice of the Peace, Charleston; a sun of John and Rachel Brown; born Oct. 12, 1819, near Jonesboro, Washington Co., Tenn.; his parents afterward removed to Wayne Co., Ind., but soon returned to Tennessee; their next move was to the White Water River, where his father and eight brothers and sisters died of yellow fever inside of a few months. His mother soon afterward removed with her remaining children, consisting of three sons and one daughter, to Bloomington, Ind. In 1832 or 1833, he went to learn the printing business, and worked for different parties till 1840, when he came on foot to Paris, Ill., and bought the Minas Statesman printing office, and began the publication of a Democratic newspaper; in 1844, he moved the office to Charleston, and started a paper called the Investigator, in connection with which he published a religious periodical, edited by Rev. Richard Newport. In 1845, he was elected Assessor for the county. He was married June 24, 1845, to Miss Ann E. Javins, who was born near Alexandria, Va., and after the death of her father removed with her mother to Vincennes, Ind., and after her mother’s death, came to Charleston, and resided in the family of her uncle, Albert Compton. In 1846 or 1847, in company with W. D. Latshaw, he began the publication of the Illinois Globe, Democratic...

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Biographical Sketch of Randall Alexander

Randall Alexander, breeder and shipper of Poland-China swine, Charleston; about ten years ago this gentleman, in company with S. M. Shepard, made his first start in the introduction and breeding of thorough-bred swine in Coles Co. After having experimented thoroughly with the various breeds of hogs, they became convinced that the Poland-China possessed all the requisites of size, docility, fertility, early maturity, aptitude for taking on flesh, and great constitutional vigor, necessary to render it pre-eminently the hog for the farmer. From a small beginning, the business has grown to its present proportions. Mr. Alexander is now one of the most prominent breeders in the State; his trade extends to every part of the country, to the Pacific Coast, Canada, the Southern States, etc.; his farm, near Charleston, possesses all the advantages of a perfect hog farm, such as pure running water, sheltered location, shade, range, etc. Mr. Alexander was born in Madison, Jefferson Co., Ind., Aug. 5, 1842; when about 10 years old, he removed with his parents to Tipton Co., Ind.; at 14, he left home, and going to Louisiana, Mo., engaged as a clerk in a dry goods store. In 1861, he went to Tuscola, Douglas Co., Ill., and clerked one year; he then, with Mr. Robert Beech, built the Beech House, the finest hotel on the Illinois Central Railroad, from Chicago to Cairo; after running...

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Biographical Sketch of W. J. Ashmore

W. J. Ashmore, dealer in boots and shoes (firm of Ashmore & Mitchell), Charleston; was born in Coles Co., Ill., May 15, 1853; he is the youngest son of Samuel C. Ashmore, who came to Coles Co. among the early settlers, and entered a large tract of Government land, and when Douglas Co. was formed, the line passed through the middle of his land; he was a prominent farmer and stock-raiser, and for many years held the office of Justice of the Peace. He died in 1855; his widow Sarah Ashmore and six children still surviving. The son, W. J. Ashmore, when about 20 years of age, went to Lebanon, Ohio, and spent one year as a student in the State Normal School. In 1874, he came to Charleston and engaged as a clerk for B. M. Payne, and on the 18t of January, 1878, engaged with A. M. Mitchell in the boot and shoe trade. He was married Oct. 2, 1878, to Miss Belle Arterburn, of Kansas, Edgar Co.,...

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Biography of Capt. James M. Ashmore

Capt. James M. Ashmore, Charleston; is a native of Coles Co.; he is a son of Hezekiah J. Ashmore, one of the pioneers of the county, who was born in Kentucky, Sept. 30, 1802, and came to Coles Co. with his family, consisting at that time of a wife and two children, in 1830, and settled in the northeast part of the county, in what is now Oakland Tp.; in 1836, he removed to the eastern part the county, and for him the town of Ashmore was named, as well as the village of that name, which he laid out in 1855; he came to Coles Co. a poor man, with but thirty-seven and a half cents in his possession, but went to work and as fast as he accumulated a little money, he invested it in land, owning at his death, which occurred in 1872, about 1,600 acres; he was for many years a Justice of the Peace, and one of the Commissioners of the county. He left a family of ten children, of whom James M. is the second in age. He was born April 4, 1832; he remained at home on the farm until 1859, when he engaged in merchandising in Charleston. In 1861, he entered the Union army as Captain of Co. C, 8th Ill. Vols., for three months, and on the expiration of his...

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Biography of Capt. William E. Adams

Capt. William E. Adams, attorney at law, Charleston; was born in Bedford Co., Tenn., Oct. 15, 1830, being the son of John J. and Martha (Gammell) Adams, who came to Coles Co. in December, 1830, settling in what is now Pleasant Grove Tp., on the farm where his father still resides; he made his home at his father’s until about 1855, when he engaged in buying and herding stock, and driving it to Wisconsin; he continued in this business until 1860. He was married in August, 1859, to Miss Olive A. Holton, of Blue Mounds, Wis., and has a family of five children – John H., Jennie M., Sarah S., Willie and Helen. He had previously read law and been admitted to the bar, and, in 1860, located in Mattoon and entered upon the practice of his profession; in August, 1862, he enlisted in the 123d Ill. Vols., and on the organization of the regiment was chosen Captain of Co. I; he participated in the battles of Perryville, Ky., Milton, Tenn., Chattanooga and Chickamauga, after which, his regiment, having previously been attached to Wilder’s Brigade of Mounted Infantry, pursued Gen. Wheeler, who was then making a raid on the rear of Gen. Rosecrans’ army; his regiment had a severe engagement at Farmington, Tenn., in which the Colonel was killed and fully half of Capt. Adams’ company either killed, wounded...

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Biographical Sketch of Gunther Weiss

Gunther Weiss, of the firm of Weiss & Frommel, proprietors of the Charleston Woolen-Mill, Charleston; was born in Leutenberg, Sharzburg, Rudolstadt, Germany, July 6, 1823; he attended school till the age of 14, and was then apprenticed to learn the weaver’s trade; in 1845, he came to the United States, landing in Galveston, Texas; on the breaking-out of the war with Mexico,. he volunteered in the 18th Tex. V. I., and served under Gen. Taylor; in the spring of 1848, he went to Cincinnati, where he remained until 1852, when he went to Terre Haute, Ind., and began business as a grocery and provision merchant, which he continued for twenty-two years; in 1874, he came to Charleston, and assumed an active part in the management of the Charleston Woolen-Mill, in which he had been a partner since 1869. Mr. Weiss was married Nov. 17, 1853, to Miss Carrie Newhart, of Cincinnati, a native of Bavaria, Germany; they have eight children – Otto P., Emma (wife of Alfred C. Ficklin, of Charleston), Louise, Aurora, Helena, Adolph G., Carrie and...

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Biographical Sketch of John Weber

John Weber, the junior member of the firm of Weber Brothers, was also born in Westfield, Clark Co., Ill., April 19, 1856, and came with the other members of the family to Charleston, at the age of 10...

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Biographical Sketch of Daniel Weber

Daniel Weber, of the firm of Weber Brothers, bakers and confectioners, Charleston, is a son of Godfrey and Frances (Muller) Weber; he was born in Westfield, May 31, 1854, and came with his parents to Charleston in 1866; he spent a part of his time on his father’s farm in Hutton Tp., and a portion in the store in Charleston, and on the death of his father, in 1877, he, with his brother John, succeeded to the business. He was married April 29, 1878, to Miss Rosa Riegger, of Bloomington,...

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Biographical Sketch of Samuel Wright

Samuel Wright, Charleston; was born in Delaware Co., Penn., Feb. 29, 1808; when he was 9 years of age, he removed with his parents to Washington Co., in the same State, where he learned the trade of a carpenter and builder, and afterward taught school for seven years. He was married Aug. 20, 1829, to Miss Ruth Gordon, of Washington Co., Penn., and has four children living – William G. (of Charleston), Maria B. (wife of Dr. A. K. Spears, of Charleston), Matilda R. (Mrs. W. S. Minton, of Charleston), and Samuel H. (Corresponding Secretary of the National Surgical Institute, of Indianapolis, Ind.); the last named served three years in the last war; was promoted to Major of the 318t Mo. V. I., and after his return, was for four years Adjutant General of the State of Missouri; in 1835, Mr. Wright removed to Ripley Co., Ohio, returning in 1846 to Pennsylvania; in 1856, he came to Charleston, and followed his trade here till 1860; he was then elected Justice of the Peace for four years, and again elected in 1864; since the expiration of his term of office in 1868, he has been employed as a clerk in the store of his son, W. G. Wright, in...

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Biography of Charles Edward Wilson

Charles Edward Wilson, son of Thomas Jefferson Wilson; was born in Greensburg, Green Co., Ky., on May 1, 1849; when his father died in 1835, he, being the only child and only remaining one of the family, went to Charleston and lived with relatives, finishing a common-school education during the following winter; in the spring of 1867, he went to Omaha, Neb., and remained one year; returning then to Charleston, he became a salesman in the queensware store of V. Craig, and afterward book-keeper for George Tucker, who was a manufacturer of pressed brick; in the spring of 1871, he was elected to the office of City Clerk of the city of Charleston, for one year, and was appointed by the City Council in the spring of 1872, to the same position for another year in the fall of 1871, he was employed at the infirmary of Dr. S. Van Meter; ultimately became a partner in the firm, and retired from the same on Sept. 18t, 1876. On Nov. 4, 1873, he was married to Miss Emily Johnston, daughter of I. H. Johnston, of Charleston; she was born in Coles Co., on June 15, 1851; three children are the result of this marriage, all daughters, as follows: Olive, born Sept. 3, 1874; Clotilde, born Dec. 23, 1876, and Emily, born Dec. 4, 1878. In November, 1873, he was elected...

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