Location: Charleston Illinois

Biographical Sketch of Thomas Jefferson Wilson

Thomas Jefferson Wilson was born in. Barren Co., Ky., on Nov. 22, 1825, and moved to Greensburg, Green Co., Ky., in 1847, where, on June 8, 1848, he was married to Lucy Ann Hutchason; he was a wagon-maker by trade; Lucy Ann Hutchason was born in Greensburg, Ky., on June 27, 1826; in April, 1857, Mr. Wilson removed with his family to Charleston, Ill., where he went into the employ of L. R. & B. M. Hutchason, his brothers-in-law, who were in the dry goods trade. On Jan. 12, 1859, his wife died in Charleston. In 1860, he began business for himself, by buying the stock of dry goods owned by Jos. Peyton, in Charleston, and he removed his stock of goods, in 1861, to Ashmore; there, by his methods of fair dealing and strict integrity in business, he soon established a flourishing trade, and became extensively known over the eastern portion of the county; he died in Ashmore on Oct. 12, 1865, and lies buried by the side of his wife, in the old cemetery near Charleston. He and his wife were both members of the Christian Church, and he was an Elder in the same while a resident of Charleston; both their lives were those of the most exemplary Christians, and they were respected, trusted and beloved where-ever they were...

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Biographical Sketch of Isaac Vail

Isaac Vail, proprietor of livery, feed and sale stable, Charleston; was born in Dutchess Co., N. Y., Nov. 29, 1833; in 1839, his father removed with his family to Chautauqua Co., N. Y., and after residing there ten years, to Erie Co., Penn., thence the next year to Steuben Co., Ind., and, in 1851, to Coles Co.; his father located 800 acres of Government land in Hickory Tp., four miles north of Charleston, at a cost of $700. Three years later he removed to Livingston Co., where he is a prominent farmer. Mr. Vail left home in 1852, driving an ox-team across the plains to Oregon, and spent three years in that State and California. He returned in 1855, and, the following year, erected a mill in Livingston Co., which he ran till the breaking-out of the rebellion. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the 129th I. V. as Sergeant in Co. E; he was with Sherman from Chattanooga to Atlanta. and on the famous march to the sea, and up through the Carolinas and Virginia to Washington, participating in all the battles of his regiment. He returned in 1865, and the same year located in Charleston, and ran a planing-mill for two years. He then sold out and went to farming, and, in 186S, built his livery-stable, and engaged in his present business. He was a member of...

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Biography of Daniel A. Van Sickle

Daniel A. Van Sickle, proprietor of the Charleston Hotel, Charleston; was born in Trenton, Butler Co., Ohio, Oct. 20, 1833, being the oldest son of J. C. and Belinda (Craig) Van Sickle; his father was born in Trenton, Ohio, May 31, 1811, and his mother at Ball’s Ferry, on the Miami River, in Butler Co., Ohio, Dec. 17, 1815. The family consisted of nine children, as follows-Daniel A. Jasper, born Jan. 3, 1836, and died Nov. 12, 1868; Sally A., born March 19, 1838; Caroline, born June 20, 1841, and died Feb. 26, 1866; John Wesley, born March 18, 1843; George W., born Aug. 17, 1846; Newton, born Dec. 23, 1848, died Aug. 24, 1850; Craig, born Feb. 23, 1851, died March 15, 1853, and Charles P., born July 10, 1853. At the age of 17 years, Mr. Van Sickle began with Schenck & Denice, of Franklin, Warren Co., Ohio, to learn the horseshoeing business, and followed that trade altogether about fourteen years. In 1851, his father removed with the family to Coles Co., and about ten years ago, he removed to Girard, Macoupin C6., Ill., where he died Sept. 25, 1876. His mother still resides in Girard. During his residence in Charleston, he has been engaged six years as a clerk in the wholesale and retail grocery house of Wright, Minton & Co.; has served as City Marshal,...

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Biography of Samuel Van Meter, M. D.

Samuel Van Meter, M. D., physician and surgeon, Charleston; was born in Grayson Co., Ky., Nov. 8, 1824; he is a son of John and Catharine (Keller) Van Meter, the former of whom died in 1827; his mother then removed with her family to Illinois, settling in Coles Co.; he received such education as the common schools in those pioneer days afforded; at the age of 15 years, he was apprenticed to the tanner’s trade, but before completing his apprenticeship he purchased his time of his employer, and was in turn bound to Dr. T. B. Trower, and entered upon the more congenial employment of studying medicine; he remained under Dr. Trower’s instruction five years; in 1849, he made the overland trip to California, the journey occupying five months, during which time he had an extensive practice as a physician among the emigrants crossing the plains; he remained eighteen months in California and then returned to Charleston and practiced medicine three years with Dr. Trower, after which he began practice by himself; in 1857, he founded the Illinois Infirmary in Charleston, the fame of which extended to all parts of the country, patients coming from the Pacific Coast, and from England and other countries beyond the sea; his partner in this institution for a number of years was Dr. H. R. Allen, now one of the proprietors of the...

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Biography of Thomas B. Trower, M. D.

Thomas B. Trower, M. D., deceased, late of Charleston; was born in Albemarle Co., Va., Nov. 15, 1807, his parents removing to Kentucky a few years later; his father died in 1816, leaving a wife and nine children; he began the study of medicine when he was 19 years old, spending three years under the instruction of Drs. Beamiss and Merryfield, of Bloomfield, Ky., teaching school a portion of the time to obtain means to defray his expenses; he came to Illinois in 1830, and practiced medicine six years in Shelbyville; in 1836, he removed to Charleston and engaged in merchandising, which business he abandoned after three years and resumed the practice of his profession; his practice was a large and lucrative one, extending over a wide scope of country, embracing all of Coles Co., and a portion of surrounding counties, and his acquaintance with the pioneers of this section of the State was correspondingly extensive; his standing among physicians was very high, indeed, and his opinions in their councils most thoroughly respected; he was a member of the Eberlean Medical Society, of the Æsculapian Society of the Wabash Valley, and of the State Medical Society; not only was he prominent as a physician, but was possessed of business abilities of the highest order, and by his financial skill and industry amassed a large fortune; he was President of...

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Biography of Daniel H. Tremble

Daniel H. Tremble, Deputy County Treasurer, Charleston; was born in Harrison Co., Ind., Aug. 28, 1829; the following year, his father, Hiram M. Tremble, came with his family to this county, and, after spending a short time in what is now Mattoon Tp., went to Shelby Co., and there resided until 1833, -when he returned to Coles Co., arid is now a prominent farmer in Mattoon Tp. The subject of this sketch started for himself in 1851, as a teacher; he taught school two winters; in 1852, he engaged in farming, and, after gathering his first crop, came to Charleston, where he worked three months at the carpenter’s trade, which he had learned of his father, who was a carpenter by trade; after this, he spent six months in an academy in Georgetown, Vermilion Co., Ill.; the following spring, his father took a contract to grade twenty miles of the Illinois Central B. R., and Daniel H. assisted him in the work; in 1854, he engaged in merchandising in Paradise, and, in 1856, removed to Mattoon and continued in trade there two years, when he sold out and engaged as a clerk; in 1862, he was elected -Constable, and, in the spring of 1863, Collector of his township; in the fall of the same year, he was elected Treasurer of Coles Co., and held that office three terms in...

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Biography of R. A. Traver

R. A. Traver, of the firm of Traver & Nixon, manufacturers of and dealers in brooms, brushes, etc., Charleston; was born in Schenectady Co., N. Y., Aug. 19, 1837; he was raised on a farm; in 1856, he removed with his parents to Brooklyn, N. Y., where, for two years, he was employed as a book-keeper for A. W. Hendrickson & Co., coal-dealers; in 1858, he went to Harrison Co., W. Va., where he was engaged in farming and carpentering till 1867; he then came to Clark Co., Ill., and engaged in the broom business, but soon afterward removed to Charleston, where he established the Charleston Broom-Factory, and has been an enterprising citizen of the city ever since; he is at present a member of the Board of Aldermen. His partner in the business, M. C. Nixon, is a native of Harrison Co., W. Va., his father being one of the most prominent farmers in that part of the State; at the age of 18, he went to Pittsburgh, Penn., where he received a thorough business education in the Iron City Business College; he then spent a few years in traveling in the West, and, in 1874, came to Charleston and entered into partnership with Mr. Traver. When Mr. Traver came to Charleston, there were but about fifteen acres of broomcorn cultivated in Coles Co.; its culture is now...

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Biographical Sketch of George Steigman

George Steigman, Charleston, of the firm of Steigman, Wilson & Co., proprietor of the Charleston Pork-Packing Houses; was born in Dimboch, County of Weinsberg, Kingdom of Wurtemberg, Germany, Aug. 5, 1827; he was raised on a farm, and, in 1853, came to the United States, spent one year in Meadville, Crawford Co., Penn., and coming thence to Owen Co., Ind., where he followed farming year; in 1855, he came to Charleston and engaged in farming, which he continued eight years; he then kept a meat-market until 1871, when he revisited his native country, spending eight months; returning, he followed the hardware and lumber business four years; in August, 1878, he became one of the proprietors of the Charleston Pork-Packing Houses, a full description of which will be found in the historical part of this work. Mr. Steigman has been prosperous in business, and is one of the solid men of the community, owning two farms in the county besides his property in town; he has served three terms as a member of the City Council, and has been City Treasurer for the past three years. He was married Feb. 26, 1854, to Miss Rosina Ernst, of Wurtemberg, Germany; they have had one child -John C., born Dec. 3, 1854, and died March 22,...

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Biography of Arthur C. Shriver

Arthur C. Shriver, of the firm of A. C. Shriver & Sons, dealers in stoves, tinware and house-furnishing goods, Charleston; was born in Fleming Co., Ky., Jan. 30, 1813; when he was about 10 years old, his parents removed to Adams Co., Ohio; at the age of 18, he went to Hillsboro, in Highland Co., Ohio, to learn the tinner’s trade; after which, he worked as a journeyman in Ohio and Kentucky for a number of years; in 1836, he began business for himself in Augusta, Ky., removing a few years later to Felicity, Clermont Co., Ohio, and there carried on the stove and tinware business for nearly twenty years with the exception of a short time when he was in the same business in Cincinnati; in 1858, he removed to Charleston, and engaged in business, Dr. Byrd Monroe being his first Western partner; since then, many changes have occurred, but Mr. Shriver has remained the leader in his line of business during all the changes of the past twenty years; the firm now consists of himself and two sons -George A. Shriver and Charles W. Shriver; they do the largest business in their line of any house in the smaller towns of Illinois, carrying a well selected stock of stoves, tinware, queensware, glassware, silverware and cutlery; they keep everything of the kind that any one could want, are...

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Biography of Thomas Stoddert

Thomas Stoddert, merchant, farmer and stock-dealer, Charleston; among the early settlers of Coles Co. was the Stoddert family, consisting of the mother, Mrs. Mary Stoddert, and nine children, who came from Grayson Co., Ky., at different times from 1836 to 1838; they are descended from the old Massachusetts family of Stodderts, their grandfather, Benjamin Stoddert, being a Major in the Revolutionary war, and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine; he was afterward the second Secretary of the United States Navy; Gen. Ewell, of the Confederate army in the war of the rebellion, was a cousin; their father, Benjamin Stoddert, removed to Kentucky about 1810, and died about 1833; of the nine children who came to Coles Co., as above stated, Richard and Thomas reside in Charleston; Benjamin, William and Campbell are deceased; Sarah is living in Covington, Ind.; Harriet lives in Charleston, the wife of C. R. Briggs; Elizabeth is the wife of Dr. A. M. Henry, of Mattoon, Susan (Mrs. Glover) resides in Ottawa, Kan., and the youngest, Artimisia, died in Charleston; their mother died in Charleston some ten years ago; Thomas Stoddert was born in Grayson Co., Ky., Feb. 28, 1815; he was the first of the family to come to Coles Co.; he came in 1836, and engaged in tanning, continuing in that business till 1851; in 1849, he drove an ox-team across the plains...

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Biography of Richard Stoddert

Richard Stoddert, farmer, stock-dealer and merchant, Charleston; was born in Grayson Co., Ky., March 28, 1812; his early life was passed on his father’s farm, and when quite young, he was apprenticed to learn the tanner’s trade; about the year 1831, he went to Madisonville, Hopkins Co., Ky., where he remained until 1838, when he came to Charleston; he engaged in the tanning business with his brother, Thomas Stoddert, the firm being R. & T. Stoddert, the partnership continuing for about thirty years in tanning, merchandising, farming and dealing in stock; they had at one time about 800 acres of land in the county; in 1870, Mr. Stoddert began the hardware and lumber business with W. S. Minton, who afterward disposed of his interest to George Steigman; since 1876, the firm has been R. Stoddert & Sons; Mr. Stoddert still continues his farming and stock operations, having a farm of nearly five hundred acres in Charleston and Hickory Tps. His first county office was that of Treasurer of Coles Co., to which he was elected in 1839, serving two terms, after which he was for two years Sheriff of the county; he has served as Commissioner of Highways, School Trustee and two terms on the Board of Supervisors; in 1873, he was elected County Clerk, and held that office four years. He was first married Dec. 25, 1844, to...

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Biographical Sketch of L. L. Silverthorn, M. D.

L. L. Silverthorn, M. D., physician and surgeon, Charleston; was born in Stroudsburg, Monroe, Co., Penn., Oct. 21, 1830; his early life was passed upon a farm; he was the youngest of a family of twelve children, and his father being in moderate circumstances, he was thrown upon his own resources, and obtained only such an education as the common schools afforded; in 1850, he began teaching school, which he continued at intervals for three years; in 1852, he entered upon the study of medicine, in Fond du Lac, Wis.; in 1854, he came to Charleston and continued his studies under the instruction of Dr. T. B. Trower; in September, 1855, be went to Philadelphia, and attended a course of lectures in the Jefferson Medical College, in that city; returning to Charleston, he began the practice of his profession, which he has continued for twenty-two years; he is a member of the ̠sculapian, Society of the Wabash Valley, of which he has been Vice President, and also of the American Medical Association. He was married October 8, 1856, to Miss Amerial Trower, a daughter of the late Dr. T. B. Trower, of Charleston, and has two children РJohn T. and Clara...

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Biographical Sketch of A. F. Shaw

A. F. Shaw, Police Magistrate, Charleston; is a native of Illinois; he was born in Paris, Edgar Co., Feb. 10, 1824; he is a son of Smith and Elizabeth Shaw; his father was born in North Carolina; was raised in South Carolina, and when a young man, emigrated to Tennessee, and from there to Kentucky; he was one of the pioneers of Missouri, from which State he was several times driven by the Indians; he afterward came to Illinois, long prior to its admission as a State, and finally, in 1822, settled in Paris, where he died about sixteen years later; Mr. Shaw learned the saddler’s trade at the age of 15, and followed it till the breaking-out of the Mexican war; he then volunteered in Col. Baker’s 4th I. V. I., and was elected 2d Lieutenant of Co. H; he marched with Gen. Taylor’s army through Mexico, from Matamoras to Tampico, and afterward participated in the siege of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo; returning at the end of a year’s service, he engaged in business in Paris. In 1850, he crossed the plains to California, and engaged in mining; on his return, three years later, he went to Carthage, Hancock Co., Ill., where he carried on the saddlery business till 1856. He was married in May, 1854, to Miss Lucy A. Bunnell, a daughter of...

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Biographical Sketch of William Ricketts

William Ricketts, land agent and conveyancer, Charleston; was born in Alleghany Co., Md., March 3, 1813; his father, Joshua Ricketts was of an old Maryland family in Colonial days; his mother was Sarah Taylor, a daughter of John Taylor, of Connecticut, who was a soldier of the Revolution, and was wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill and afterward at the battle of Brandywine; Mr. Ricketts’ parents removed, in 1813, to Zanesville, Ohio; he is the seventh in age of a family of thirteen; he was raised on a farm. He was first married Sept. 11, 1834, in Putnam, Ohio, to Miss Ellen Alexander of that place, who died Sept. 8, 1850, leaving five children – John A., Ann (wife of T. E. Wood), Andrew A., Joshua T. and William G.; they are all residents of Charleston except Andrew A., who is a traveling agent for the Chicago & Paducah Railroad Co.; and resides in Windsor, Shelby Co., Ill. Mr. Ricketts was married again Sept. 11, 1851, to Miss Susan Falls of Zanesville, Ohio; they have four children living – Charles L., Emma (now Mrs. Henley Anderson, of Charleston), Ella and Edward W. In April, 1854, Mr. Ricketts removed with his family to Charleston, and engaged with his brother Joshua Ricketts in the marble business, in which he continued until about the breaking-out of the late war, when he...

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Biographical Sketch of S. E. Ray

S. E. Ray, dealer in dry and fancy goods, boots and shoes, etc., Charleston; was born near Montpelier, Vt., Aug. 5, 1833; in early childhood, he accompanied his parents to Geauga Co. (now Lake), Ohio; there, his father resided until his death, and his mother still resides there; at about the age of 20 years, Mr. Ray went to La Fayette, Ind., and engaged as a traveling salesman for Luce Brothers in the stationery business; and, after remaining with them four years, went to Chicago, and for about six years traveled for the well-known stationery house of Culver, Page, Hoyne & Co., establishing the Memphis branch of that house, under the name of C. H. Chamberlain & Co., which continued until after the breaking-out of the war; in 1862, he returned to Chicago, and the following year came to Charleston and engaged in the livery business; in 1875, he disposed of his business, and engaged in merchandising. Mr. Ray was married March 31, 1863, to Miss Josephine Bunnell, of Charleston; she died Sept. 18, 1867, leaving one child-Henrietta, since deceased. He was married again Dec. 10, 1867, to Mrs. Elizabeth J. Willhoit, of Edgar Co., Ill., and has one child -Samuel A. Mr. Ray is President of the Board of Education of Charleston, of which he has been a member for the .past two years, and has served two...

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