Location: Homer Illinois

Biography of Alonzo O. Morrison

Alonzo O. Morrison. One of the families that was established in Vermilion County, Illinois, in the early ’40s and has ever since been a representative agricultural one in east central Illinois bore the name of Morrison. This branch of the family was of pioneer stock in Ohio and doubtless can trace its far back ancestry to Scotland. The leading representative in Champaign County is Alonzo O. Morrison, a highly respected resident of Homer, Illinois. Alonzo O. Morrison was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, November 17, 1859. His parents were James Perry and Harriet A. (Sterns) Morrison. The father was born in Ohio and the mother in Virginia. When they came to Illinois James Perry Morrison secured land from the government, and this land he developed and his subsequent life was devoted to general farming and stock-raising. He was a man of sterling character, just in all his dealings with his neighbors and generous to his children. His death occurred in 1888. His widow survived until 1894. They were the parents of the following children: Elijah, who is a resident of Homer, Illinois; James, who died in infancy; Alonzo O.; Jasper, who died in childhood; Florence, who is the wife of J. M. Boggess, of Homer; and Harland P., who resides at Homer. Alonzo O. Morrison attended the public schools and remained at home assisting his father. When he was...

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Biography of James J. Freeman

James J. Freeman, of Homer, represents the second generation of a family that has played a worthy part in the affairs of Champaign County for over sixty years, and he is managing with thrift and a high degree of prosperity a fine farm in the locality where he was born. Mr. Freeman was born in Champaign County, May 27, 1858. His parents were Thomas and Nancy {Redman) Freeman, the father born in Ohio and the mother in Illinois. His father was one of the early agriculturists in this county and died in Champaign County in 1910, while the mother died here in 1902. Both of them died in the month of April and their birthdays were in the same month. There were six children: Mary M., deceased; Edmund E. of Ogden, Illinois; John T. of Homer; James J.; and William and Margaret, both of whom died in infancy. James J. Freeman lived with his father until he was twenty-five years of age, and in the meantime had the advantages of the local schools and also a training which well fitted him for the responsibilities he has later assumed. At the age of twenty-five he bought a farm, subsequently having a brief mercantile experience in Homer, then returned to the farm, and for another short period was engaged in the lumber business at Homer. Mr. Freeman owns 110 acres of...

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Biography of Benjamin M. Custer,

Benjamin M. Custer, of Homer, where he lives retired, is now serving as township supervisor. His main business in life has been farming, and he still owns a fine place in Champaign County, where the family were among the pioneer settlers. Mr. Custer is one of the many men in Champaign County who have won financial independence through the avenue of agriculture. He was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, January 23, 1852, a son of Jacob M. and Elizabeth O. (Ochiltree) Custer. His parents were both natives of Virginia, and they came to Illinois in 1848, locating in Vermilion County. In 1856, soon after the village of Homer was started on the newly completed Wabash railroad, the family moved to that town and Jacob Custer erected the first hotel in Homer. After managing it for three and a half years he turned to farming and in that occupation spent his life until his death on September 13, 1865. His widow survived him until November 1, 1899. They were the parents of nine children, the record of each being briefly stated as follows: Margaret, born October 6, 1834, died November 5, 1843; Martha E., born September 4, 1836, died April 14, 1907; Mary E., born October 10, 1838, is the widow of James Hays, of Chicago; William C., born January 8, 1841, died April 8, 1899; John M., born April...

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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 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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Biographical Sketch of Harvey Allison

Harvey Allison is one of the prominent land owners and agriculturists in the vicinity of Homer, where he has spent the best part of his active career. Mr. Allison knows farming from A to Z and his capabilities have been developed by long and thorough experience. He was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, January 16, 1870, a son of James A. and Willmoth (Dunnivan) Allison. His father was born in Indiana and died at Homer July 10, 1899. The mother is a native of Vermilion County and is still living on the old home farm. The parents removed to Champaign County in 1889. They had only two children, the older being Nora, who died January 28, 1892. Mr. Harvey Allison has always lived at home, prepared for life by an education in the common schools, and gradually took over the management of the farm and he now owns and operates 500 acres on a systematic plan of efficiency. He has been successful in spite of several serious setbacks as a result of fire. His home was burned in 1903 and in 1913 there was another destructive fire which destroyed his barns and silos. Mr. Allison has named his farm Piety Knob, and as such it is one of the valuable and picturesque parts of the landscape around Homer. He does general farming and considerable stock raising. The only important...

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Biography of Herman M. Smoot

Herman M. Smoot has had a very determined and energetic business career at Homer and at the age of forty his prosperity is now assured as well as his position as a man of affairs and influence in his community. Mr. Smoot was born on a farm in Vermilion County, Illinois, June 19, 1877. His parents were John and Sarah C. (Lewis) Smoot, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were brought to Illinois when children, and grew up in Vermilion County, where after their marriage they lived on a farm in Vance Township. In 1895 John Smoot moved to Homer and with Mr. J. Stingle opened a lumber business. He remained in that business until 1898, when he was succeeded by his son Herman, and he then retired. His death occurred January 4, 1917, but his widow is still living in Homer. John Smoot was a member of the Masonic Order and of the Episcopal Church. There were five children, the two oldest, both sons, dying in infancy. William S. is a carpenter by trade and lives in Kansas City, Missouri. The fourth in age is Herman M. Bertha E., the only daughter, is the wife of J. Charles Franz, of Homer. Herman M. Smoot was eighteen years of age when the family left the farm and removed to Homer. Up to that...

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Biography of George W. Hill

George W. Hill. As the nation grows older more and more honor is paid the men who offered their lives as sacrifice to the preservation of the Union in the dark days of the ’60s. One of these veterans still living in Champaign County is George W. Hill, whose life since the war has been one of peaceful industry as a farmer and he is now enjoying a well earned retirement at his home in the village of St. Joseph. He was born at Paola, Orange County, Indiana, February 22, 1840. It will be noted that his birth occurred on Washington’s birthday and he was given the name of the father of his country. His parents, Erasmus and Huldah (Fawcett) Hill, were both natives of North Carolina and were early settlers in Indiana. George W. Hill received his education in a subscription school known as the Prospect School, kept in an old log schoolhouse. He grew up in Indiana, and was twenty-one years of age when the war broke out and he volunteered his services, enlisting in Company B of the Twenty-fourth Indiana Infantry. He enlisted at Orleans, Indiana, went South to St. Louis, up the river to Jefferson City, on to Sedalia, and from there to Springfield in the southern part of the state, returned to Sedalia and at St. Louis again took boat and went down the...

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Biography of Levi Mead Hall

Levi Mead Hall, who recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday, still walks with firm step and unclouded mind the streets of Homer, and during his long and useful life in Champaign County has witnessed almost its entire development and has borne a share in its progress. He still manifests a keen and intelligent interest in all that affects the welfare of his community and country, and is widely and favorably known as a man of progress and public spirit. He was born in Indiana, a son of Frost Underlin and Maria (Mead) Hall. The traditional account is that the founder of this branch of the Hall family came to America with General Braddock’s army and participated in that notable campaign which ended in western Pennsylvania on the march to Fort Duquesne, where Braddock was defeated and where the day was only partially saved by George Washington and his Virginia frontiersmen. This British soldier and his wife came from the vicinity of Edinburgh, Scotland, and they remained in this country and died in New York City. They left only one son, David Hall. David Hall married Phoebe Allen. Her father, Andrew Allen, had come from Falkirk, Scotland, to America before 1756. Frost Underlin Hall, father of Levi M., came from the East and was an early settler in Ohio. It is said that while he was traveling with the Mead family...

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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 Joseph E. Lowery, M. D.

Joseph E. Lowery, M. D. As a competent physician and surgeon Doctor Lowery has been known in Champaign County for a number of years. He began practice over thirty years ago, his early experience in the profession being in the State of Iowa. Doctor Lowery is a native of Stark County, Ohio, where he was born November 13, 1861. His parents, Joseph and Mary (Simmons) Lowery, were natives of Pennsylvania. His father was a farmer and school teacher. In 1869 the family located in McLean County, Illinois, and in 1882 went to Greene County, Iowa, where Joseph Lowery died in 1888 and his wife 1893. They were the parents of eight children: Frances, Wesley W. and Warren W., all deceased; Walter W., a farmer at Oxford, Nebraska; Nancy, wife of William Fleetwood, of Nebraska; Alice, wife of Dr. A. C. Allbright, of Danville, Illinois; Joseph E.; and Minnie Florence, deceased. Doctor Lowery spent most of his early life on his father’s farm in McLean County, Illinois. Besides the advantages of the country schools he attended the high school at Lexington, Illinois, and subsequently took up the study of medicine in the State University of Iowa City. He was graduated M. D. from Drake University at Des Moines in 1885, and the following year he practiced at Waukee and another year at Rippy, Iowa. Returning to Illinois, Doctor Lowery practiced...

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Biographical Sketch of D. A. Bowman

D. A. Bowman, blacksmith and general jobber; P. O. Humbolt, Ill.; was born in Perry Co., Ohio, Dec. 5, 1845. He married Miss Sarah McCravy Oct. 1, 1867; she was born in East Tennessee; they had three children, two living, viz., Charles A. and Lydia L. He lived in Ohio three years, when, with his parents, he came to Illinois, and settled near Robinson; in 1860, he began to learn his trade with T. J. Sims, plow-manufacturer at that place, In 1864, he enlisted in the 135th III. Regt., he being Regimental Fifer; was discharged in November following, and began work at his trade with Mr. Stifle, of Stiflesville; next worked at Oblong City with Mr. Zugler; next with Mr. Sentney, in Humbolt; then with Miller & Miller, of Mattoon, and, in August, 1866, he began work in Arcola for Mr. Jacobs, and, in June, 1867, he worked in Humbolt for Mr. Sentney, and, in October, after his marriage, he went in partnership with Mr. Jacobs, of Arcola; in 1868, he worked for Mr. Garrett, in Windsor, and, in 1869, he opened a shop of his own in Arcola; in the fall of the same year, he came to Humbolt and carried on wagon and carriage making and blacksmithing; in 1874, he sold his wagon business and rented out his blacksmith-shop and took a position at Homer in the...

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Biography of Charles H. Wallace

Charles H. Wallace. Among the ambitious young men who came to Champaign County some forty years ago with the intention of making it his future home and has proved his foresight and good judgment in making his selection was Charles H. Wallace, who needs little introduction to the people of Homer, which has always been his place of residence. His present position in the financial field places him among the capitalists of the state, his large possessions make him one of the great landowners. Mr. Wallace is a graduate of the agricultural department of the University of Illinois, and his vast agricultural operations are based on sound scientific knowledge. Charles H. Wallace comes of Scottish ancestry but of American parentage. He was born at North Ridgeville, Lorain County, Ohio, November 4, 1856, and is the second born son of William S. and Helen (Bryant) Wallace. The father was a farmer, later a manufacturer, and still later became identified with banking interests, being a man of great business enterprise. His death occurred at Trinidad, Las Animas County, Colorado. The mother died at Elyria, Ohio. They were the parents of seven children, namely: James E., who is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio; Charles H.; Frances A., who is deceased; Nellie J., who is the wife of the Hon. F. R. Wood, of Trinidad, Colorado; and Lewis D., Margaret and Rosaltha, all...

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Biography of Frank Morton Conkey

Frank Morton Conkey has for more than a quarter of a century been identified with the town of Homer in his profession as a dentist. He is one of the most progressive men in his calling in the county, and began his work with splendid equipment and has always kept up with every advance and improvement in the profession. Doctor Conkey was born at Homer, Illinois, May 3, 1868. He is a son of William Alexander and Sarah Virginia (Sadler) Conkey, his father a native of Pelham, Massachusetts, and his mother of Wheeling, West Virginia. The Sadler family were early settlers in Champaign County and Sarah Virginia came with her family when about twelve years of age, and rode into the county on horseback. William A. Conkey was graduated from the Louisville Medical College at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1856. In 1840 his family had located at Cayuga, Indiana, when he was ten years of age, and he lived in that vicinity until about twenty-two or twenty-five, when he removed to the district east of Champaign County on Salt Fork River, where a town was named for him Conkeytown. From there he removed to the old town of Homer, lived there about ten years and when the Wabash Railroad was built, causing a change in the location and the founding of the new town of Homer, he bought farming land...

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Biography of Joseph Brayshaw, M. D.

Joseph Brayshaw, M. D. The success of the capable and competent surgeon has attended the career of Dr. Joseph Brayshaw, who for the past fifteen years has been successfully engaged in practice at Homer. Doctor Brayshaw was born in Perry County, Illinois, January 15, 1868, son of Helvetius Pyle and Elizabeth (Brayshaw) Brayshaw. His father, who was of mingled English and Greek descent, was born in Perry County, Illinois, while the mother was a native of England. The father was a farmer and spent the last twenty years of his life in Missouri, where he died January 1, 1895. Besides farming he was a skilled landscape gardener and a nurseryman. The widowed mother is still living at the old home in Missouri. Her six children are: James Edward, in Missouri; Sarah Ellen, wife of J. S. Langston, in Missouri; Anna D., widow of H. F. Welsh, in Missouri; Doctor Brayshaw; Lucinda, at home; and Charles William, who was killed by a stroke of lightning in 1916. Doctor Brayshaw spent the latter part of his youth in Missouri and besides the common schools attended the Baptist College at Pierce City, Missouri. He graduated in 1888, at the age of twenty, and following this for three years he worked on the home farm. His ambition from an early age was to become a physician, and largely through his own earnings he...

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