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Location: Port Byron Illinois

Biography of James Blair Lower

James Blair Lower, president of the First National Bank of Washington, is a banker of long and active experience, and represents a family in which the financial ability had been highly developed, two of his brothers being also well known western bankers. Mr. Lower had spent most of his life in Kansas, but was born at Lenark in Carroll County, Illinois, July 30, 1860. A number of generations back his first American ancestors came out of Europe and settled in Pennsylvania. His father was of German descent and his mother of Irish-Scotch descent, her father being Irish and her mother Scotch. Mr. Lower’s great-grandfather, Adam Lower, fought as a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The grandfather, David Lower, a native of Pennsylvania, married in that state and subsequently became a pioneer farmer in Illinois and died at Lenark. He married Susan Rhodes, a native of Pennsylvania, who also died at Lenark. Of their children two are still living: Eli, a retired farmer at Lenark, Illinois, and Hannah Leah, wife of George Weed, a farmer at Lenark. Levi Lower, father of James B., was born in Pennsylvania, April 16, 1830, and in his early youth accompanied his parents to Illinois. He followed farming there, also the business of contractor and builder, and in the spring of 1870 he arrived in Washington County, Kansas, homesteading 160 acres in Strawberry Township, Here...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. L. B. Powell

Dr. L. B. Powell, drugs, was born near Frankfort, Ky., September 3, 1847. Remove to Illinois. In March, 1862, enlisted in Company D, Sixty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry; transferred to Company G, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry; was discharged in August, 1865, when he returned to Port Byron, Ill., and in 1869 went to Texas. In 1871 the Doctor was crossing the Staked Plains, at the head of the Concho River, when he, with his party of nine, was attacked by the Indians. Three of the men were killed and one committed suicide, and all of his party, including himself, were wounded. The Indians stole 1,000 head of cattle from the party. Dr. Powell, while in Texas, was appointed one of the State police by Gov. Davis. He came to Jewell County Kan., in 1872. In 1875 he graduated at the Eclectic Medical College, at Cincinnati, Ohio, and returned to Jewell City, Kan., and engaged in the practice of his profession. Came to Mankato and went into the drug business under the firm name of Reynolds & Powell. Was elected Coroner of Jewell County in 1881. Is a member of the G. A. R. at Jewell...

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Biography of Albert M. Beal, M. D.

The technical education of the doctor of medicine avails him but little unless he has laid a foundation for it of broad general knowledge and made a careful study of human nature. When he took up the practice of medicine Doctor Albert M. Beal brought to the profession a mental equipment such as few men acquire in a lifetime. For years he had been an educator, teaching the common branches in the public schools and later specializing in college. Having as a student earned the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts, he later found opportunity to perfect his knowledge of law so that he was admitted to the bar after successfully passing the prescribed examination. With this preparation the mysteries of medicine and surgery were quickly mastered and success was his from the beginning of his professional career. Doctor Beal was born October 31, 1853, in Zuma Township, Rock Island County. His parents were Daniel N. and Betsy (Spencer) Beal, pioneers of the community. The son attended the country schools and later the public institutions of learning of Port Byron and Rock Island. At the age of seventeen he began teaching school at what is now Barstow. He entered Western College of Iowa when his preparatory studies had been completed, and graduated with the class of 1876, taking the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The following...

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Biography of H. E. Casteel

Herbert E. Casteel, one of Rock Island County’s most enterprising and highly regarded citizens, prominent in banking and business circles and a self made man, was born in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, March 15, 1860, and was the son of Appleton and Elizabeth Gardner Casteel. Mr. Casteel’s strides to prominence are the result of hard toiling and struggle in his early days and his keen business methods and perseverance in later years. Terminating his studies in the public schools of Davenport, he was not any too well provided with education with which to enter the great field of business struggle, but with optimistic ideas he quietly worked them to a point of value and with each change of position came a promotion and higher salary. To this end he directed his ardent ambition until he reached the estimable position of bank president. Mr. Casteel’s business career dates back many years, owing to the fact that he started out for his own livelihood at an early age. When only thirteen years of age he went to Port Byron, Illinois, and two years later, in 1875, he entered the employe of the Port Byron Lumber Company as bookkeeper, which position he held for two and a half years. In 1875 he went to Rapids City, Illinois, where he entered the employe of Taylor Williams at the same occupation and, for two...

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Biography of Mark Ashdown

Mark Ashdown, deceased, for many years a resident of Port Byron and Coe Townships, was, during his lifetime, one of the best known and respected of the many long time residents of this county. He was born in County Kent, in England. on the third day of June, 1851, and died May 31, 1907. He came to America early and in late years became prominent in local public life as an ardent Prohibitionist and the holder of various public offices in this county at various times. Not until early in 1907 did death finally claim Mr. Ashdown, after he had suffered for six years with paralysis. The late citizen of Rock Island County, here mentioned, was the son of Edward and Ann Bakurst Ashdown, both of County Sussex, England. Edward Ashdown, father of Mark, came to America in 1842, accompanied by his two sons, Henry and Mark, and after spending thirteen months in Macedon, Wayne County, New York, they returned to England, where the elder Mr. Ashdown died soon afterward. In the fall of 1850 Mark and his brother returned to New York State and again located in Wayne County. Until 1855 Mark remained there and in that year emigrated to Illinois, spending one Summer in Port Byron. Then going to Canoe Creek Township of Rock Island County, he remained until 1863, engaging in agricultural pursuits. Going into Coe...

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Biography of Judson D. Metzgar

One of Moline’s younger attorneys, who has achieved success in his profession, and who has acquired a lucrative office and probate practice, is Judson D. Metzgar. He was born at Port Byron, Illinois, December 5, 1870, and here his parents, Marcellus R. and Mary E. (Brown) Metzgar, resided until he was ten years of age, when they removed to Davenport, Iowa, where they remained three years, going from thence to Moline, which has since been his home. His early education was obtained in the common schools of Port Byron, the Moline High School of which he is a graduate, as well as of the Port Byron Academy which he attended later. His professional education was obtained in the Denver Law School. Upon finishing at this latter institution he was admitted to the Bar of Rock Island County in 1894 and to the United States District Court in 1899. On January 28, 1895, Mr. Metzgar was married in San Bernardino, California, to Miss Alice S. Peterson. Two children were born to them, Mary Alice, aged seven, and Wallace Judson, aged four. He was bereaved by the death of his wife at Phoenix, Arizona, January 2, 1904, where she had gone in an effort to recuperate her failing health. Mr. Metzgar’s church affiliation is with the First Baptist Church of Moline. He is also a member of the Young Men’s Christian...

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