Location: Grundy County IL

Biography of Dallas Sprague

Dallas Sprague has for many years been a resident of Champaign County, and his fine farm and home are located in Compromise Township, in section 8. He is one of’ the best known citizens of northeastern Champaign County and his own record and that of the family deserves a prominent position in this publication. Mr. Sprague is a native of West Virginia, born at Moundsville, on the Ohio River, in Marshall County, twelve miles below the city of Wheeling. His parents, John J. and Jane (Hull) Sprague, were also natives of the same state. When Dallas Sprague was about twenty-seven years of age, having acquired his education in his native state, he came to Illinois to seek better opportunities and began farming in Grundy County. Soon afterward he met and married Suzan Severson. Mrs. Sprague has the industrious capability characteristic of her ancestry. She was born at Bergen, Norway, a daughter of Seward and Suzan Severson. She was reared and educated in her native country and at the age of twenty-six came with a number of young friends to America to find and utilize the splendid opportunities of this country. From New York she traveled by railroad to Chicago and from there to Morris, Illinois. Being an industrious young woman, she readily found employment and while thus engaged made the acquaintance of Mr. Dallas Sprague. This acquaintance ripened into...

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Biographical Sketch of Jerry Gorman

Jerry Gorman. One of the most widely known men of Champaign County is Jerry Gorman. Mr. Gorman has had an unusual career of achievement. He is a hard working and thrifty Irishman,’ never had any special advantages when a boy, and has relied on honest toil and judgment born of experience to place him in the front rank of farmers and land owners. He was born in Ireland, came to America when a young boy grew up on farms in Grundy County, Illinois, where he worked out as a hired laborer, and in 1875 he came to Champaign County. At that time he located on section 7 of Raymond Township, and began as a modest but substantial farmer. His success has been growing year by year, and out of the proceeds of his work as a general farmer and stock raiser he has increased his holdings to 1,200 acres and has some of the best improvements found on any individual tract of land in the southern part of Champaign County. Mr. Gorman is a vigorous Democrat, and he and his family worship as members of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Crittenden Township. He married Mary Fitzgerald, a native of Champaign County, and sixteen children were born to their union. Fourteen of these are still living, named as follows: John, on the home place; Maggie, wife of Terrence Williams...

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Biography of George W. Pennell

George W. Pennell. It is given to few men to win the prizes of life, and George W. Pennell, of Atchison, belongs to that much favored class. In the building of the great West Mr. Pennell had played a major part. As a young man he had the instinct and the vision uncommon in the average man, which led him away from a comfortable home in a settled community out into the Mississippi Valley, the wonder land of the world. From an inconspicnous youth of vigorous Revolutionary stock, raised on a New York farm, he had become one of the great lumber merchants of the West. Mr. Pennell’s great-grandfather fought as a soldler in the Revolutionary was and his progenitors were substantial New Englanders. His grandfather, John Pennell, was born in Massachusetts in 1774. John Pennell as a young man settled with his family in Ontarlo County, New York, and as one of the pioneers cleared the wildernees in that section, where he lived until his death in Honeoye, that county, in 1859. The father of George W. Pennell was John Pennell, Jr., who was born in Massachusetts in 1798. He married Sally Green, who was born in Vermont in 1817 and died at Honeoye, New York, in 1902, at the ripe old age of eighty-five. Like his father, John Pennell followed the plow. He was a staunch Presbyterian,...

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Biography of John C. Kirby, M. D.

John C. Kirby, M. D. For the past fifteen years the name of Dr. John C. Kirby had been increasingly identified with the best tenets of medical and surgical science in the city and vicinity of Cedar Vale. By many of the longest established and most conservative families his skill, resource and obliging temperament have come to be regarded as indispensable, and there exist many who are indebted to him for their restoration to health, happiness and usefulness. Doctor Kirby had the zeal which recognizes no limitations in his profession, and the great unrest which projects him into ever-widening channels of research. His most prized attributes in part are inherited from colonial sires, who braved the perils of early Carolina and whose successors, when duty called, followed the martial fortunes of Washington in the winning of American independence. John C. Kirby was born in Benton County, Missouri, January 7, 1864, and is a son of Robert and Nancy J. (Davis) Kirby. The earliest American ancestor of the family came to North Carolina from England, prior to the War of the Revolution, in which the great-grandfather of Doctor Kirby fought as a soldier of the Continental line. Robert Kirby, the grandfather of the Doctor, was born in North Carolina, fought as an American soldier during the War of 1812, became a pioneer into Tennessee, and in 1843 moved to Benton...

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Biography of Elmore W. Snyder

Elmore W. Snyder. A resident of Kansas since 1878, and with possibly one exception the oldest living bank president in the state, Elmore W. Snyder, president of the Manufacturers National Bank of Leavenworth, had been actively identified with the commercial and financial history of Kansas for nearly forty years. He was born in the Village of Red Creek, Wayne County, New York, November 23, 1850. Jacob Snyder, his great-grandfather, settled in that section of York State in pioneer times and operated a grist mill for many years. His grandfather, Amos Snyder, was there reared, engaged in farming, practiced law and served as judge of Wayne County. James W. Snyder, father of Elmore W. Snyder, was born and reared in Wayne County, New York. He achieved prominence during the Civil war by recruiting Company A, Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, of which he was elected captain, and after serving two and one-half years was honorably discharged as colonel of his regiment. Colonel Snyder followed farming and grain buying principally during his active career, and when Oklahoma lands were thrown open for white settlement, joined the rush, although then well advanced in years, and succeeded in securing a claim where now stands the City of Guthrie. He took an active part in the early history of that city and for a period served as city treasurer. In his later life he...

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Varland, Paul Thomas – Obituary

La Grande, Oregon Paul Thomas Varland, 53, of La Grande, died at his residence Thursday. A Celebration of Life service will take place Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in La Grande. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is handlling arrangements. The Observer – August 2, 2008 __________________________________ Aug. 5 — Paul Varland, celebration of life, 2 p.m., Zion Lutheran Church; reception to follow August 4, 2008 _________________________________________ Paul Thomas Varland, 53, of La Grande, died July 31 at his home. A celebration of life begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Zion Lutheran Church. A reception will follow. Loveland Funeral Chapel and Crematory is in charge of arrangements. Paul was born March 27, 1955, to John and Freda (Schmitke) Varland in Morris, Ill. He was raised and educated in Morris. Paul married Carla Larsen Nov. 26, 1977, in Huron, S.D. The couple lived in Nebraska from 1977 to 1986 until they moved to Torrington, Wyo. They have lived in La Grande for the last 10 years. Paul was employed by Union Pacific Railroad for 31 years — the past 10 years as manager of Operating Practices. Paul’s hobbies included riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. His passion was walleye fishing. He is survived by his wife Carla; children, Amber and her husband, Larry Villegas, of Richland, Wash., and Aaron and his wife, Rebecca Varland, of Fort Drum, N.Y.;...

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Biography of Abraham James Holderman, Sr.

Abraham James Holderman, Sr. Perhaps a great majority of successful Kansans came to the state poor men and carved their fortunes from the opportunities here presented and by a wise and capable direction of their private affairs. There were some, however, who brought with them considerable capital and left behind in their older communities a record of successful business experience. One of these is Abraham James Holderman, banker, farmer and business man of El Dorado. For a great many years the Holdermans have been numbered among the wealthiest and most influential farmers and stock men in Northern Illinois. In that section of the prairie state, at the Town of Morris, county seat of Grundy County, Abraham James Holderman, Sr., was born May 17, 1854. His paternal ancestors go back to Pennsylvania, where they were of the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch stock. Mr. Holderman’s paternal grandfather, Abraham Holderman, Sr., was a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and from there removed to Ross County, Ohio, where he became extensively interested in farming and stock raising. He operated there in the early days before railroads became common, and frequently drove his cattle across the mountains to markets in Philadelphia and Baltimore. In 1831 he removed still further west to Illinois, and acquired land at what is now known as Holderman’s Grove near Newark in Kendall County. That was his home the rest of...

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