Location: Ford County IL

Biography of A. P. Johnson

A. P. Johnson. Among the learned professions there are, probably, none that demand so much tact, judgment, patience, natural executive ability and specialized knowledge as that of the educator. The individual who enters into this field, selecting it as his chosen life work and calling, must be prepared to make many sacrifices, to endure numerous disappointments, to often spend himself for others without apparent return of gratitude, and to give the best years of his life often without the emoluments that equal efforts would in all probability bring in any other profession. It is a vocation for which there are no weights and measures. The material with which it deals is the youth of our land upon which impressions are often eternal and which affords the man who would serve the race an opportunity than which there are none greater. Of the men of Champaign County who have dedicated their lives to this work, one of the best known is A. P. Johnson, superintendent of the public schools of the city of Urbana. Born December 16, 1863, in Sussex County, Delaware, A. P. Johnson, is a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Smith) Johnson. On both sides of the family he is descended from English ancestors, and his ancestors lived for many years in Delaware, where both his parents were born. Benjamin Johnson was a fanner by vocation and in...

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Biography of John I. Groves, M. D.

John I. Groves, M. D., was born in Cass County, Illinois, May 2, 1854, a son of Isaac and Mary E. (Coal) Groves. His father was born in England and his mother in the State of Maryland. Isaac Groves was for many years an active minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1878 he removed to Champaign, and died there December 12, 1906. By his first marriage he had two children, Elizabeth J., wife of Hugh Mitchell, of Fisher, Illinois; and Harriet A., wife of Thomas M. Foster, of Dickens, Iowa. Rev. Mr. Groves’ second wife died March 22, 1905. She was the mother of two sons: Dr. John Groves; and Charles W. Doctor Groves remained at home with his father until he was twenty years of age. In the meantime he had acquired a substantial education, and he then took up teaching and followed that profession for four years in country districts. For three years he was a teacher in Vermilion County, Illinois. He then entered the Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago, from which he was graduated M. D. in 1880, and spent seven years. in the practice of medicine in Indiana and Illinois. His first practice was done in Indiana, and after two years he removed to Gibson City, where he practiced for four years before coming to Champaign, and since locating here he has devoted his...

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Biography of Oliver B. Dobbins

Oliver B. Dobbins. As a lawyer Oliver B. Dobbins has gained some of the better distinctions and successes of the profession. He has been in practice in the profession in Champaign County twenty-three years. His ability is sought in cases of more than ordinary importance. During his career Mr. Dobbins has appeared in more than a hundred cases in the Supreme and Appellate Courts of the state. Of such cases he has succeeded in winning at a ratio of three out of four, and at one time he secured favorable decisions in twelve successive appeals. An individual distinction of which any lawyer might be proud is that he procured the largest judgment ever rendered in Champaign County in an action for fraud sixty thousand dollars. Mr. Dobbins has made a specialty of organizing and representing drainage districts, having organized and appeared as attorney for fifty such districts. His work in that line now covers a dozen counties. As a public leader Mr. Dobbins’ name is synonymous with high ideals and the better element of local citizenship. In national politics he has always been a Democrat, and has also been closely identified with anti-saloon work. In 1896 as county chairman of the Democratic party he had th,e honor of piloting the party to its first county victory in fifty years. From 1913 to 1915 Mr. Dobbins was mayor of Champaign....

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Biography of Jacob Moudy

Jacob Moudy. The community of Ludlow in Champaign County pays special honor and respect to Jacob Moudy and his family. Mr. Moudy has had a long and active career. His years have been spent with benefit to himself and also to his family, friends and neighbors, and he has done something to make every community with which he has been identified a little better and to elevate the standards of life and morality. Mr. Moudy is a son of Peter and Elizabeth Moudy, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. In the early days they migrated from Pennsylvania down the Ohio River, traveling on a flatboat to Cincinnati. Later they went still farther west to Illinois, making this journey in the old-fashioned prairie schooner. Peter and Elizabeth Moudy had eleven children, Jacob being next to the youngest. When Jacob Moudy was twenty-three years of age the war cloud arose over the land and he enlisted with the boys in blue and went to the front at Columbus, Kentucky, on the Mississippi River at Columbus Ford. Later his command was moved to the Little Obion River in Tennessee, and he was employed there chiefly in guard duty and in protecting railroads. With the close of his term he went to Chicago and was mustered out, but was still desirous of continuing his service to his country and sought to get...

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Biography of C. O. Nelson

C. O. Nelson. A thriftier body of citizens the United States has obtained from no one country than from Sweden. While representatives of that land are not so numerous in Champaign County as in other sections of Illinois, to at least one family, that of C. O. Nelson, the county owes a tribute for what it has accomplished in the years that have passed. Mr. Nelson and his wife came to this county many years ago and began work on a tract of raw prairie land. Their possessions have increased and they now enjoy the comforts of one of the most beautiful country homes in the entire county. Mr. Nelson was born in Lockneve, Province of Kelmar, Sweden, a son of Nels Magnus and Annie Marie. He grew up in his native land, and in 1872 married Miss Charlotte Nelson, who was born in the same province in Sweden. For their wedding journey they crossed the ocean to America, landing in New York and going on to Paxton, Illinois, where they had friends and relatives from the old country. Here they started out to make a home and living, and for two years lived in Ford County, where Mr. Nelson worked at regular wages. While he and his wife did the duties that lay nearest them, they were also seeking a long look ahead and were making their present...

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Biography of John J. Hanson

John J. Hanson, who has a splendid farm partly in Champaign and partly in Ford County, is one of that type of citizens who begin life without special advantages or the inheritance of means except ability to toil and make the best of an environment, and has proved himself one of the sturdy characters in this section of Illinois. His home is just beyond the Champaign County line in Ford County, opposite section 4 of Harwood Township. He gets his daily mail delivery over Route No. 3 from Paxton, Illinois. Mr. Hanson is a native of Sweden but has spent most of his life in Champaign County. He is a son of Charles and Martha Hanson, and his mother died when he was two years of age. He then grew up in the home of his grandmother and also an uncle, who brought him to America when John was nine years old. He received the bulk of his education in the public schools at Paxton. At the age of twenty-six Mr. Hanson married Miss Annie Danielson, who was born near Rantoul, daughter of G. and Hilda (Staff) Danielson. Her parents were also natives of Sweden and had a family of nine children. Mrs. Hanson was educated in the Gallagher school near Ludlow. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hanson started farming in Ford County, and four years later moved...

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Biography of Alexander Mahaffie

Alexander Mahaffie. An honored survivor of the great Civil War and a substantial retired farmer of Harwood Township is found in Alexander Mahaffie, who was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, in 1835. For many years Mr. Mahaffie has been a respected and esteemed resident of Champaign County and he has been identified with many of the things which have been beneficial to this section. The parents of Alexander Mahaffie were William and Elizabeth Mahaffie, who moved from Ohio to Indiana when he was eighteen months old. There he grew to manhood and obtained a district school education. When the Civil War came on he demonstrated the sincerity of his patriotism by enlisting, at Loganstown, Indiana, and was mustered in at Laporte as a member of Company F, One Hundred Fifty-first Indiana Volunteer Infantry, which regiment soon marched southward and took station at Nashville, Tennessee. During the time the regiment remained at Nashville Mr. Mahaffie, with many other soldiers, contracted measles, and as it prevailed in a malignant form in his case he was sent to the hospital at Nashville for treatment, but when able to return home was found incapacitated for further military service. When he enlisted he was a robust young man weighing 145 pounds, but when returned to his people he was almost a shadow of his former self and weighed but eighty pounds. Before entering the...

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Biographical Sketch of James P. McPherren

James P. McPherren, present postmaster of Homer, and a native of this section of Illinois, has been a successful business man for many years and has exemplified the energetic qualities of the real business “builder. Mr. McPherren was born in Ford County, Illinois, July 22, 1871, but has spent practically all his life in Champaign County. His parents were Thomas J. and Amanda J. (Roberts) McPherren. They were born in Indiana and came to Illinois in 1857, locating on a farm in Champaign County. His father died at Homer November 16, 1891, and the mother is now living with her son James. There were ten children in the family: Maria, widow of Dan Miller, living in Indiana; Rachel, deceased; Alice, wife of Nels Christison, of Nebraska; Josephine, wife of J. C. Flanding, of Indiana; Thomas, of Mount Vernon, Illinois; James P.; Robert, of Denison, Texas; Cyrus, living in this state; Mary, whose home is at Homer; and Nellie, wife of L. N. Hall, of Champaign. James P. McPherren grew up on his father’s farm, receiving a common school education, and stayed with his parents and helped manage the farm until 1896. He then took up the contracting business, and for three years was a manufacturer of brick and tile at Homer. Following that for eight years he was a concrete contractor, and then during President Wilson’s first term was...

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Biography of Orie A. Cook, D. V. M.

Orie A. Cook, D. V. M. The important responsibilities of carrying on the world’s work are devolving upon younger men in every generation. It is the young men who furnish the enthusiasm and energy to industry and business and also to the professions. One of the young professional men of Fisher is Dr. O. A. Cook, a young veterinarian who has quickly gained the confidence and esteem of his patrons in veterinary surgery and is well deserving of that confidence. He is a native of Ford County, Illinois, born April 11, 1894. His parents are Carvosso W. and Elma (Arnold) Cook. There were seven children, five, sons and two daughters, in the family, and four are still living. Carvosso Cook was born in Indiana, was educated in the common schools, and his life has been successfully spent as an agriculturist, though for a short time he was a dealer in drugs. From Indiana he removed to Livingston County, Illinois, and later to Ford County, which has been his home for many years. His first purchase of land was eighty acres and after disposing of that he bought forty acres and still later 160 acres, and having accumulated a fine property of 200 acres of fine land in Ford County is now well deserving of the comforts which surround his retirement. In politics he is a Republican and is a...

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Biography of Robert Allen Sturgeon

Robert Allen Sturgeon. For more than a quarter of a century Robert Allen Sturgeon has been a resident of Champaign County, and during this time it has been his fortune to have built up a prosperous business, to have established an extremely creditable record as a public official and to have made a lasting place for himself in the confidence of. the community through honorable conduct of the activities of life. In the difficult field of realty operation Mr. Sturgeon has achieved standing and reputation, and in the office of justice of the peace has proven a conscientious and efficient official. Robert A. Sturgeon was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, October 29, 1861, being the third in a family of five sons born to Samuel and Margaret J. (Wilson) Sturgeon, all of these children surviving. His brothers are: William S., who is engaged in business at Chicago, Illinois, is married; Samuel W., who is married and engaged in agricultural operations in the vicinity of El Paso, Woodford County, Illinois; James F., who is married and a resident of El Paso, where he is cashier of the Woodford County National Bank, a graduate of Knox College, and admitted to practice in the courts of Illinois; and Charles B., a resident of Peoria, Illinois, where he is identified with the United States Mail service. Samuel Sturgeon was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,...

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Biography of Frank A. Parker, D. O.

Frank A. Parker, D. O. Among the different recognized schools of the healing art, the science of osteopathy has undoubtedly made notable progress within the last decade. Its principles have been found to be so sound and its cures of the ills of the human body so remarkably successful that its practitioners can show lists of satisfied patients each year increasing, from every walk of life. Among the leading osteopathic practitioners at Champaign no one is better known or more thoroughly relied on than Dr/ Frank A. Parker, who has been engaged in the practice of his science here since 1906. Frank A. Parker was born in Ford County, Illinois, November 6, 1866. His parents were Henry J. and Susanna (Walton) Parker, the former of whom was born in New York and the latter in Ohio. Both are now deceased. The father was a merchant and also was a farmer in Indiana. The youngest of a family of twelve children, Frank A. Parker had no exceptional advantages in youth but grew to the age of eighteen years as a farm hand during the summer seasons, attending the common schools during the winters. This educational training was later supplemented with a course of instruction at Valparaiso, Indiana. He was ambitious and an agricultural life as a finality did not appeal to him. Therefore he went to Chicago, the great city...

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Biography of Engward Bengtson

Engward Bengtson. While good Americans today find it entirely unnecessary to refer to other countries in order to establish honorable standing, it is but natural that a kind feeling should ever be preserved for the land of one’s ancestors, and especially may this be the case when attention can be centered on Sweden. That country has contributed nobly to. the good citizenship of America, and in every part of the United States may be found men of Swedish extraction who have proved their dependable qualities. They are found in Champaign County among the representative citizens and progressive farmers. Here the Bengtson and Gilburg names have been held in the highest regard for very many years. Engward Bengtson, one of the large farmers and successful cattle growers of Champaign County, was born in Ford County, Illinois, and is a son of Charles and Clara Bengtson. They were born in Sweden and came early to Illinois. They endured many hardships, as did all the early settlers, but they acquired property through their perseverance and industry and the father still lives to enjoy the comfortable surroundings which seem to be the rightful accompaniments of age. About 1900 they removed from their farm of 245 acres, situated in Harwood Township, to Paxton, Illinois, where the beloved mother passed away April 15, 1917, attended carefully, tenderly and scientifically by their daughter, Tillie Bengtson, who...

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Biography of Frederick Rose

Frederick Rose is in the grain business and handles his share of the grain that comes to Homer. He has been connected with the grain trade for the better part of his active career, and came to Champaign County about ten years ago, and his name and his enterprise are now known throughout that rich and splendid farming district surrounding Homer on all sides. Mr. Rose was born in New York City, November 3, 1861, a son of Henry and Anna (Smith) Rose. Both parents were natives of Germany and his father came to America in 1846. He had served an apprenticeship at the blacksmith’s trade in Germany and he worked at his trade in this country both in the East and West. In 1864 he located in LaSalle County, Illinois, and subsequently took up the business of farming. Both parents are now deceased. There were four children: Henry of Zion City, Illinois; Mary, wife of August Beck of Ford County, Illinois; George W. of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Frederick. Frederick Rose grew up on his father’s farm in LaSalle County and received a common school education. At the age of twenty he left home and engaged in the merchandise business at Melvin, Illinois. Four years later he concentrated his attention upon the grain trade and from Illinois removed to Boswell, Indiana, where he bought and conducted an elevator for...

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Biography of Austin H. Jennings

Austin H. Jennings. For many years the name of Jennings has been honorably associated with business enterprises of importance in Kansas City, through the efforts of Austin H. Jennings, who is president of the Crystal Springs Ice, Fuel & Grain Company and is interested in other concerns that occupy a prominent place in the commercial field. Although not quite so active as in earlier years, Mr. Jennings continues one of the most stable and dependable of the city’s business men and one of the most reputable and highly esteemed citizens. Mr. Jennings was born May 25, 1850, on a farm near Delaware, Ohio. His parents were Austin H. and Jane H. (Pratt) Jennings. Austin H. Jennings was born in Ohio, a descendant of an old north of Ireland family that had emigrated to the United States in colonial days. The parents of Mr. Jennings were pioneers in Delaware County, industrious but of limited means, and he had no educational opportunities in his youth, in fact was educated by his wife after their marriage. All his life he had the highest respect for every educational measure and was one of the willing organizers of what became the Ohio Wesleyan University, in which institution a number of his children were educated, assisted by their father as he was able, but of enough enterprise and independence to earn the means for themselves....

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