Location: Ogden Illinois

Biography of Patrick Brennon

Patrick Brennon was for many years identified with the community of Ogden as a stanch and reliable merchant, a citizen who was never negligent of his responsibilities and duties, and altogether completed a well rounded life of activity and service. A native of Dublin, Ireland, where he was born in 1844, he came to America at the age of fourteen. He had limited advantages in his youth, and by sheer force of will and determination gained a substantial position in the world. He lived in New York State for a time and then came west and located in Vermilion County, Illinois. He went from that county into the ranks of the Union army and three years after his honorable discharge in 1868 he laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Miss Cornelia Terrell. Mrs. Brennon, who is still living at the old home in Ogden, was born at Georgetown, Illinois, and grew up and married there. Her parents were William and Artemesia (Douglas) Terrell, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Kentucky. Artemesia Douglas’ family was related to that which gave Illinois and the nation the great figure of Stephen A. Douglas. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Brennon came to Ogden, which was then a small hamlet consisting only of a post office and a general store. Mr. Brennon taught school...

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Biography of Jacob Redmon

Jacob Redmon. In these days when the American nation is, once more girded for battle, the people pay increasing honor and respect to the comparatively few survivors of that great struggle of fifty years ago when the object was the destruction of the institution of slavery as it is now the abolition of autocratic governments from the face of the earth. One of the veterans of that war against slavery living in Champaign County is Mr. Jacob Redmon of Ogden. He has lived to attain and pass the age of three quarters of a century and practically all his life has been spent in Champaign County. He was born near Sidney, Illinois, in 1841, a son of Isaiah and Mary (Thomas) Redmon. His father was a native of Pennsylvania. He was only a small child when his mother died, and he grew up practically among strangers near Homer. Jacob Redmon had one sister, Elizabeth, who became the wife of Gersham Wright. Jacob Redmon was twenty years of age when war broke out between the North and the South. One day he was attending Sunday school at the old Cottington schoolhouse. At this session of Sunday school there was also present Lieutenant Ed Hall. The lieutenant had in his pocket a company roll and young Redmon before the session was over asked Hall to put down his name for enlistment....

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Biography of J. B. Bensyl

J. B. Bensyl. The Bensyl family came to Champaign County in pioneer times, and one of the number is Mr. J. B. Bensyl, now in business at Ogden. His active career has been spent in the county, and he was born in St. Joseph Township May 9, 1855. He was the fourth in the family of nine children born to Lewis and Mary (Corray) Bensyl. His parents were both born in Ohio, and each was two years old when their respective families came to Illinois. Lewis Bensyl and wife were married in this state, and Lewis Bensyl was long a prominent figure in the life of this county. J. B. Bensyl grew up at home and attended with his brothers and sisters the Clark school a mile north of Mayview. When not in school he assisted his father on the farm, and at tire age of twenty-two he married Miss Mary Braten. Mrs. Bensyl was born in Urbana Township, daughter of August and Anna (Winkleman) Braten. Her father was a native of Germany and her mother of Switzerland, and they married after coming to America. The Bratens acquired a fine farm in Champaign County. Mr. Braten served as constable in Somer Township and for many years as deputy sheriff at Urbana. Mrs. Bensyl was one of nine children, all of whom were educated in the public schools. Mr. and...

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Biography of James Sperry

James Sperry, a well known contractor and builder at Ogden, is a native of Champaign County, and has spent his active career to good purpose early as a farmer and later in the business which has brought him such generous success. Mr. Sperry was born north of St. Joseph, November 27, 1859, a son of Elias and Serena (Helton) Sperry. His father was born in Ohio and his mother in Virginia. Serena Helton was a daughter of Simeon and Sally Helton, who moved from Virginia to Kentucky and when Serena was twelve years of age settled in Indiana. Serena Helton was educated in the public schools of Indiana. She was a member of a family of nine children, three sons and six daughters. The Heltons afterwards settled in Champaign County north of St. Joseph. Serena Helton and Elias Sperry were married near Greencastle, Indiana, and then went to farming in this county. They had five children: Mary Ellen, now Mrs. Church Rush; Sarah Josephine, deceased; James, Elmer and Arthur C. James Sperry attained his education in the public school known as the Old Blackberry Schoolhouse. When the Sperry family came to Champaign County the country was a virgin prairie, deer roamed about over the country, and wild fowls were in such abundance as at times to darken the skies in their flight. The Sperrys experienced many of the hardships...

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Biography of John T. Freeman

John T. Freeman. Because of the intelligence and good judgment of many of the large farmers of Champaign County, this section of the state contributes much to the general food supply and scarcely any other industry is so well worth engaging in or so compensating when everything else is considered. One of the wide awake, modern and prosperous farmers of this section of Illinois is found in John T. Freeman, who owns large tracts of cultivated land in Homer and Ogden townships. John T. Freeman was born in Champaign County, Illinois, July 25, 1854, and is a son of Thomas and Nancy (Redman) Freeman, both of whom were born in Ohio. From that state they came to Illinois and during the first year lived in Vermilion County, moving in 1851 to Champaign County and settling in Homer Township, where Thomas Freeman engaged in farming during the rest of his active life. He was born in 1826 and died in 1908. His wife was born in 1826 and died in 1902. They were estimable people and are kindly remembered by their neighbors. They were the parents of six children, namely: Mary M., who is deceased; Edmund R., who is a resident of Ogden, Illinois; John T.; James J., who also lives in Homer Township; William H., who died at the age of two months; and Martha, who died in infancy....

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Biography of William Hayes

William Hayes. For many years some of the burdens of agricultural industry and business affairs have been carried by members of the Hayes family in Ogden Township. Mr. William Hayes is a young and progressive business man, manager of the local elevator at Ogden, and has also had practical experience from early boyhood as a farmer. Mr. Hayes was born at Ogden, February 8, 1881, son of John and Elizabeth (Huckin) Hayes. His father was a native of Ireland and his mother of England. They married in Indiana, and about fifty years ago came to Champaign County, where the father lived to develop a good farm and witness the magnificent transformation of the county from a prairie to a landscape that has been fitly characterized as a garden. In the family were six children, four sons and two daughters, William being the third in age. Mr. Hayes graduated from the Ogden High School in 1899. His boyhood days were spent on the farm and at the age of twenty-one he married Miss Laura A. Green. She was born in Oakwood Township, daughter of Wilson and Julia (Fredrick) Green. She was educated in the Union district school. Mr. and Mrs. Hayes after their marriage moved to Vermilion County, Indiana, and for six years farmed there. They then returned to Ogden and Mr. Hayes took charge of his father’s homestead and...

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Biography of William H. Thompson

William H. Thompson of Ogden first knew Champaign County in the years just before the outbreak of the Civil War, when most of this section of Illinois was a country of swamp and prairie and when its magnificent development had hardly begun. Mr. Thompson’s individual career has been a factor in the improvement and development of Champaign County farm land, and out of that work he has acquired a commendable degree of prosperity that now enables him to live in comfort and plenty. Mr. Thompson was born at Waynesburg in Greene County, Pennsylvania, a son of Andrew J. and Catherine (Shape) Thompson. He was one of a family of nine children, six sons and three daughters, who received their education in the district schools. In 1859, when William H. Thompson was fourteen years of age, the family came to Illinois and settled east of Homer in Champaign County. They were pioneers here and William H. Thompson grew up acquainted with the hardships and privations endured by the early settlers. At the age of twenty-one he married Valencia Eice. She was born in the Blue Grass State of Kentucky. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Thompson located at Burr Oak, Illinois, on rented land. There they began to carve the future according to their own desires and ability, and for a number of years they lived on a virgin prairie...

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Biography of Elias Freeman

Elias Freeman. For sixty years a resident of Champaign County, Elias Freeman is one of the citizens whose name and a brief record of whose career should be permanently recorded. He represents a family which had its start in the early development of the county, and his own life of substantial industry brought a generous reward in material circumstances and civic honor, and he is now properly enjoying the fruits of well directed toil in a comfortable home at the village of Ogden. Mr. Freeman was born in what is now Ogden Township of Champaign County, June 22, 1857, a son of Edmond and Jemimah (Rush) Freeman. His parents, natives of Ohio, came to Illinois at an early day. James Freeman, the grandfather of Elias, came to this state when Edmond was two years of age. At that time there was not a house between Salt Fork and Burr Oak. It was all one stretch of raw prairie. The Freeman family settled at Salt Fork and some of the good land in that section was developed through their energies and purposeful activities. Edmond Freeman had a family of eleven children, Elias being the third in age. The latter attended the local district schools with his brothers and sisters, grew up as a farmer on the home farm, and at the age of twenty-five, in 1883, married Miss Jennie Fisher....

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Biography of Charles D. Thompson

Charles D. Thompson has been a resident of Ogden for many years, and enjoys a substantial position in that community because of his record as a good citizen and his honest workmanship as a painter and paper hanger. Mr. Thompson was born August 24, 1853, at Leesburg in Kosciusko County, Indiana, son of John and Hester (Rhodes) Thompson. His father was born near Chillicothe and his mother in Marion County, Ohio. From Ohio the parents removed to Indiana and two months after the birth of Charles his mother died. Bereft of his mother, the infant was taken into the home of an aunt in Ohio, where he lived until 1861. He then joined his father and the other five children in Illinois. Charles D. Thompson is the only one of his brothers and sisters still living. He attended public school in Ohio and finished school at Sidney in Champaign County. He grew to manhood near Homer and in 1881, at the age of twenty-eight, married Miss Frances Sweet. Mrs. Thompson was born near Manchester in Delaware County, Iowa, daughter of Samuel and Maria (Lee) Sweet. Her father was born near Rutland, Vermont, and her mother in Virginia. Her mother was a second cousin of General Robert E. Lee. Maria Lee’s grandfather, James Lee, and the famous “Light Horse” Harry Lee of Revolutionary fame were brothers. When Mrs. Thompson was...

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Biography of Lintner W. Baird

Lintner W. Baird was long a fixture in the business affairs of the town of Ogden as a lumber merchant, and is now living retired in that quiet village, surrounded with all the comforts and conveniences that a life of industry and honor have brought him. Mr. Baird was born at Washington in Tazewell County, Illinois, son of Thomas N. and Mary (White) Baird. Both parents were born in Ohio. L. W. Baird was the third among twelve children, all of whom were educated in the Franklin District School. Two of his brothers fought as soldiers in the Union army, Thomas R. and George W. Baird. In 1868 L. W. Baird married Lucinda Gland, a native of Ohio and a daughter of William and Nancy Gland. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Baird located near Bloomington, Illinois, where, he engaged in farming for some years. They were getting established with a good home and were rearing their children when death came upon the scene and took away Mrs. Baird on April 1, 1879. Four children were born to their union: Olive N., Charles Lossen, Minnie and Fred. These children were educated chiefly in the high school at Ogden. Olive N. is now Mrs. Wampler and has three children: Flossie, Otho and Minion. Charles Lessen is a practical farmer in northwestern Missouri and by his marriage to Laura Young has...

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