Location: Danville Illinois

Illinois Burial Customs

The term Illinois Indians as used by some early writers was intended to include the various Algonquian tribes, encountered in the “Illinois country,” in addition to those usually recognized as forming the Illinois confederacy. Thus, in the following quotation from Joutel will be found a reference to the Chahouanous – i. e., Shawnee – as being of the Islinois, and in the same note Accancea referred to the Quapaw, a Siouan tribe living on the right bank of the Mississippi, not far north of the mouth of the Arkansas. Describing the burial customs of the Illinois, as witnessed by him during the latter years of the seventeenth century, Joutel wrote: ” They pay a Respect to their Dead, as appears by their special Care of burying them, and even of putting into lofty Coffins the Bodies of such as are considerable among them, as their Chiefs and others, which is also practised among the Accancea’s, but they differ in this Particular, that the Accancea’s weep and make their Complaints for some Days, where as the Chahoaanous, and other People of the Islinois Nation do just the Contrary; for when any of them die, they wrap them up in Skins, and then put them into Coffins made of the Barks of Trees, then sing and dance about them for twenty four Hours. Those Dancers take Care to tie Calabashes, or...

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Biography of T. W. Swigart

T. W. Swigart, the leading harness dealer and one of the most successful business men in Newman and Douglas County, was born in Carroll County, Maryland, in sight of A Westminister, July 3, 1831, and was a son of Joseph Swigart. When nine years of age T. W. Swigart removed with his parents to Seneca County, Ohio, where he spent a large portion of his life on a farm. From the years 1848 to 1851 he devoted his time to learning the trade of harness maker at Bellefontaine, Ohio. He was a young man of good habits and of splendid mechanical turn of mind; he learned the trade thoroughly and soon became a first-class work-man. In the year 1852 he removed to Attica, Indiana, where he resided and worked at his trade successfully up to the year 1870, when he went to Princeton, Illinois. There he met Miss Sarah Jane Martin, who, in 1871, became his wife. In the same year he came to Danville, Illinois, where he followed his trade until the month of February, 1873, when he came to Newman and succeeded Speelman & Ogden in the harness business. During his residence in Newman he has become one of the most successful business men in the city and has accumulated quite a lot of property. In politics he is thoroughly independent and there is very little of...

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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 James A. Talbott

James A. Talbott has not only achieved that success represented by large land holdings and rich and prosperous farms, but also the riches of friendship and community esteem. All this is well indicated by the title affectionately bestowed upon him and most people know him as “Uncle Jimmie” Talbott. Mr. Talbott and his family reside in Harwood Township, in section 36, near Gifford, but his farm possessions spread over a large area and include 1,600 acres of choice Illinois soil. Mr. Talbott is a native of West Virginia, and was the fourth of eight children born to J. V. and Sarah (Parsons) Talbott. He is of English stock on both sides and the families have been in America for many generations. Mr. James A. Talbott grew up in West Virginia and attended a school known as the Wise school, from the name of the land owner there. He was still young when his parents, in April, 1865, left West Virginia, soon after the surrender of Lee’s army, and migrated to Illinois. They heard the news of Lincoln’s assassination on arriving at Danville. J. V. Talbott bought ninety acres of land in Middle Fork Township in Vermilion County, paying $25 an acre. The family encountered many hardships and privations. J. V. Talbott had always suffered somewhat delicate health and the change of climate not agreeing with him he died in...

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Biography of Frank Kern Robeson

Frank Kern Robeson. Of the many business establishments in Champaign County perhaps none has a wider connection with the families of this section of Illinois and a better reputation due to many years of successful business relations than the Robeson Department Store, founded and built up by the veteran merchant Frank Kern Robeson, who has the distinction of having developed the first real department store in the city of Champaign. While his success and position in the community are now so well established, it is noteworthy that Mr. Robeson did not always have an easy course and one free from obstacles. He was born in the state of Pennsylvania. His parents, Alexander M. and Jane (Kern) Robeson, were natives of the same state. Their ancestors had come to America prior to the Revolutionary War. Both the Robesons and the Kerns were engaged in the great iron industry of Pennsylvania until a short time before the Civil War. In 1863 Alexander M. Robeson and his family moved to the pineries of Northern Michigan. During the next winter they and four other families endured the hardships of frontier life. When navigation closed in the fall there was no communication with the outside world except mail every two weeks brought in on sledges drawn by dogs. When navigation opened in the spring the Robesons took the first boat, a sailing vessel that...

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Biography of John E. Gallivan

John E. Gallivan is a native of Champaign County, but his name is widely known over this entire part of the state. He is now serving as deputy state fire inspector. Mr. Gallivan was born at Ivesdale, Champaign County, August 18, 1860, son of Patrick T. and Anne (Doyle) Gallivan, both natives of Ireland. His father was born in County Kerry and his mother in County Wexford. Patrick T. Gallivan at the age of fourteen came to this country with his parents, Thomas and Margaret (Ferriter) Gallivan, who first located in the East and gradually kept moving westward until they reached Michigan. Patrick Gallivan eventually came to Ivesdale, Champaign County, and at the age of fifteen was driving a team in railroad construction work in that locality. At the same time he used some of his leisure time at night to educate himself. He remained with the railroad work on the Great Western, now called the Wabash, until that line was constructed through to Danville. After that for four years he worked for the Wabash in the railroad yards at Danville, and was finally appointed foreman of the section at Ivesdale in Champaign County, a position he held until 1867. In the meantime, hard working and thrifty as he was, he had invested his earnings in a 240-acre farm in Champaign County, and in 1867 he was ready to...

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Biographical Sketch of Frank G. Russell

Frank G. Russell came to Champaign after an extensive business as a meat merchant both in local houses and on the road, and now enjoys high financial rating and a successful business as proprietor of the Chicago Market Company, dealers in meats and packing house products. Mr. Russell was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, October 1, 1888, a son of William and Emma (Braiser) Russell. His father was born in Burlington, Iowa, and his mother at Terre Haute, Indiana. Both are now living at Danville, Illinois, where his father for many years has been in the sign business. There were three children: Louis, associated with his father at Danville; Frank; and Harry, who is in the employ of his brother at Champaign. Frank G. Russell was educated at Danville, and at the age of eighteen entered the American Bank & Trust Company at Danville, where for about three years he had a practical training in bank work and general business which has proved of inestimable value ‘to him in subsequent years. From the Danville bank he went to Terre Haute and became assistant bookkeeper with Dowdall & Baker, wholesale meat dealers. He was with them two years in the offices and then about a year traveled on the road as their representative. This house eventually put him in charge of the market at Champaign, which he opened in 1912,...

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Biography of George L. Inman

George L. Inman was for many years a. business man of power and influence in Champaign County. He was accustomed to handling large things in a large way, and besides the New Inman Hotel at Champaign, citizens of the county have reason to remember him for many other influences and activities. Mr. Inman was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, March 8, 1867, and was only a little past his fiftieth birthday when he died April 5, 1917. His death occurred at Cramer, Indiana, but he was laid to rest at Champaign, where he had his home for over a quarter of a century. Mr. Inman’s mother, Emily Drake, was a direct descendant of the great English admiral, Sir Francis Drake. Mr. Inman was the youngest of six children, the others being: Mrs. Dora Orton, of Erie, Pennsylvania; Sylvester C., of Erie; Fred, of Erie; Herbert and Emily, both deceased. George L. Inman grew up in Erie County, Pennsylvania, where his father was a lawyer, and he studied law under his father’s direction as part of a liberal education, not for the purpose of practicing. His first important enterprise was promoting the publication of a paper called the Farmers Ledger, located at Danville, Illinois. In the interests of that publication he traveled extensively throughout the Middle West. About 1891 Mr. Inman came to Champaign and engaged in the real estate...

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Biography of James M. Current

James M. Current. One of the oldest business men in Champaign County is James M. Current, of Homer. He and his family have conducted a grain business for a great many years in this and in Vermilion County. His life has ‘been one of constant activity and from small beginnings he has acquired a competence and an honorable reputation. Mr. Current was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, January 21, 1842, a son of William and Mary (Bastion) Current. His parents were both born in Virginia, his father in 1803 and his mother in 1807. His father located in Vermilion County among the pioneers in 1826 and six years later was a soldier in the Black Hawk War. He was a farmer and his death occurred August 6, 1851. There were fourteen children in the family, and four sons are still living: George, now in the Soldiers Home at Danville, Illinois; James M.; Isaac, of Danville; and Samuel, who lives in Nebraska. Another son, Samuel, was a soldier and was one of the guards at Lincoln’s funeral in Washington. James M. Current grew up in Vermilion County and remained there as an active farmer until 1871. For three and a half years he was in the meat and grocery business at Danville, but in 1875 moved to a farm six miles southeast of Homer in Vermilion County. In 1892 he...

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Biography of Andrew, Scott Rev.

Rev. Andrew Scott. The qualities of real manhood and the power of leadership were never in greater demand in church work than today. The clergy have always been men of education and of fine moral standing, and with these qualities the successful pastor must now combine the spiritual enthusiasm and some of the same enterprise and energy which are such vital assets in the business world. A better type of this modern minister Champaign County does not have than in the case of Rev. Mr. Scott, pastor of the Christian Church at Fisher. Mr. Scott is a man of letters, has had the benefit of extensive travel, is a fluent and logical speaker, and in the course of his active career has shown unusual capacity as an organizer, administrator and a real church builder. Some of these qualities he undoubtedly inherited from the land of his birth. He is a Scotchman by nativity, and was born at Melrose in Roxborough. His birth occurred February 13, 1857. He was the third in a family of six children, three sons and three daughters. All these children are living and all in Canada except Mr. Scott. His parents were Adam and Agnes (Gilroy) Scott. His father, who was born in the same locality as the son, was a Scotch teacher, an occupation also followed by the grandfather of Rev. Mr. Scott. In...

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Biography of J. W. Bensyl

J. W. Bensyl, whose home is an attractive place just east of Urbana, enjoys the honor and respect of all the people of Champaign County, particularly for the valiant service he rendered as a soldier of the Civil War. Mr. Bensyl was in the army for over four years, and his subsequent life and activities have been of a piece with the loyalty and devotion he showed his country in time of stress. Mr. Bensyl was born at Danville, Illinois, November 23, 1839, a son of John and Elizabeth (Corray) Bensyl. Both parents were natives of Ohio. Elizabeth Corray, a daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Corray, was born in that state January 29, 1820. John Bensyl was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, December 5, 1808, a son of John and Mary Bensyl. John and Elizabeth Bensyl were married December 27, 1838, before a justice of the peace, Walter Roads. John Bensyl died January 23, 1844. J. W. Bensyl was one of two children. His sister, Mary Matilda, was born January 27, 1842, and died in Nevada. The Bensyl family were pioneer settlers in eastern Illinois and the parents were married at Danville. John Bensyl took part as a soldier in the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832, a brief campaign in which many men had their first experience in military affairs. It will be recalled that Abraham Lincoln was...

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Biography of John H. Moores

J.H. MOORES. – Among the immigrants who came to the Sate of Oregon in 1852 was Honorable John H. Moores, the subject of this sketch, who deserves more than passing mention for the service rendered by him to the commonwealth during an active business career in the state extending over a period of twenty-eight years. Among the older residents who played a prominent part in the earlier development of the state was his father, the late Colonel I.B. Moores, Sr., whose love of novelty and adventure brought him as one of the first pioneers to Oregon, where he located in Lane county. He was a man of great energy and activity, and had seen considerable military service, having served in the Seminole Indian war in two campaigns with Jackson in Florida. He also commanded a regiment in the Black Hawk war in 1831, and afterwards in 1846 enlisted for the Mexican war. He came to the Sate of Oregon in 1852, locating near Eugene. He represented Lane county in the legislative assembly, and afterwards in 1857 in the state constitutional convention. He was afterwards, a Republican candidate for state senator from the county. He died in 1861, and is buried in the Odd Fellows Rural Cemetery near Salem. John H. Moores was born on the 21st of June, 1821, near Huntsville, in Lawrence county, Alabama, where he remained until...

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Biography of Perrin Beza Whitman

The name of Perrin Beza Whitman is indelibly inscribed on the pages of the history of the northwest, for throughout the period of its development he was an active factor in promoting its interests and is numbered among the honored pioneers who made possible its later-day progress and prosperity. The lot of the pioneer of the northwest has been a peculiarly hard one. The Indians, driven from their hunting grounds farther east, have cherished the resentment characteristic of the race, and have met as foes the brave band of white men who came to the western wilderness to reclaim the lands for purposes of civilization and to garner the riches of nature for themselves and families. Not only were the pioneers met by the hostility of the Indians, but vast stretches of sandy plains and almost impassable mountains separated them from the comforts and conveniences of the east, and their lot was one of danger, difficulty, hardship and toil. A courageous spirit, an unconquerable determination and steadfast purpose, these were the qualities demanded of the pioneers, and such characteristics enabled Mr. Whitman to meet conditions before which many another man would have quailed. He was the adopted son and nephew of the renowned Indian missionary, Dr. Marcus Whitman, who was massacred by the Indians in 1847. His birth occurred in Danville, Illinois, March 4, 1830. In 1840 he went...

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Biography of William E. H. Anderson

William E. H. Anderson. The importance of the practical real estate man to any community is very well demonstrated in the recognition which he receives in his locality, a recognition which is based upon his activities in developing his city and county and of interesting outside capital in its realty. While, unfortunately, there are some who take an unfair advantage of their position, the men who really succeed are those whose advice and recommendations can be depended upon by investors. Cherryvale is one of the communities which has been largely built up by this class of men, among whom, in a prominent position, stands William E. H. Anderson, who has occupied a leading place in real estate and insurance circles here since his advent in 1895. Mr. Anderson was born at Danville, the county seat of Vermilion County, Illinois, June 1, 1861, and is a son of John F. and Ordella (Fairchilds) Anderson. The branch of the Anderson family to which he belongs originated in Ireland, and the first emigrant to America was his great-grandfather. His grandfather was William Anderson, who was born in 1795 and who became a pioneer into Vermilion County, Illinois, where he located during Indian days and experienced all the dangers and hardships incident to the life of the intrepid settlers opening up a new country and paving the way for civilization. Mr. Anderson was...

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Biography of John Downing Benedict

John Downing Benedict was born in Clermont, a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana, on the 27th of May, 1854, and there began his education in the common schools. Accompanying his parents on their removal to Vermilion county, Illinois , he there worked on a farm during the summer months, while the winter seasons were spent as a student in the Rossville high school. When eighteen years of age he took up the profession of teaching, which he followed through the succeeding five years in the country and village schools. Subsequently he attended the University of Illinois for one year and then began the study of law in Danville, Illinois. In 1881 a vacancy occurred in the office of county superintendent of schools of Vermilion county and his love of educational work prompted him to accept it. He was a pioneer, in the work of grading the rural schools of his state and was a member of the first commission appointed to prepare a uniform course of study for the rural schools of Illinois. This course of study was afterward adopted by several other states, including Kansas and Oklahoma and Indian Territories. After serving as county superintendent of schools for eight years, he was appointed assistant state superintendent of Illinois, with headquarters in Springfield. In this position he was required to write all the official opinions upon questions of school law...

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