Location: Rantoul Illinois

Biography of John A. Clark

John A. Clark. Among the numerous families of Champaign County whose activities have contributed materially to its upbuilding and the promotion of its best interests that of Clark stands prominent. Now living retired at Rantoul, Mr. John A. Clark spent the best years of his active career as a successful farmer, and he reared and liberally provided for his family through the fruits of his toil in the fields of this county. Mr. Clark is a son of John and Jean (Butters) Clark, both of whom were born and reared among the hills and heather of Scotland. John Clark’s heart was won by a Scotch lassie and he succeeded in persuading her to change her name. The young people were possessed of characteristic energy and progressiveness, strong traits of the native Scotch. It was their ardent desire to cast their lot with the New World, concerning which they had heard wonderful stories. On the day following their wedding, when the festivities of the occasion were scarcely ended, John and Jane Clark started for America. The future was rainbowed with promises, and seen through a rosy tint of bright anticipation they courageously undertook to carve out their own fortune. After landing in New York they lived there two years and then removed to Cook County, Illinois, and still later to Champaign County. From time to time children came into their...

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Biography of G. W. Hartsock

G. W. Hartsock. The record of a true and upright Christian gentleman, a man of more than ordinary business acumen fortified by years of industry, is that of G. W. Hartsock, who with his noble wife is now spending years of retirement at their home on Belle Avenue in the City of Rantoul. Mr. Hartsock was born in Greene County, Ohio, son of David and Sarah J. (Cornell) Hartsock, both natives of Ohio. His grandfather, Sylvanus Cornell, was a soldier of the War of 1812 under General Harrison, and for many years he drew a pension until his death. G. W. Hartsock had a district school education. He was one of the following families of sons and daughters: Jessie L., Sylvanus, Ruth A., Elizabeth, Flora, Eli and G. W. Flora and Eli are both deceased. As a young man G. W. Hartsock, hoping to obtain better conditions in the region of cheaper lands, made a visit to his uncle at Clinton in DeWitt County, Illinois. His investigations extended as far as Rantoul, where he was particularly impressed with the outlook, and he bought eighty acres of land at $13.50 an acre. Having made this purchase he went back to Ohio and then came on with a covered wagon and his only companion was “Dash,” an English terrier dog. This dog was a most faithful animal and in a way...

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Biography of W. R. Cole

W. R. Cole is one of the former prominent business men of Champaign County now living retired. He and Mrs. Cole occupy a very attractive home on Belle Avenue in Rantoul. Mrs. Cole is a member of an old and prominent family of Champaign County, and is a sister of one of the foremost physicians and surgeons in the world, Dr. D. A. K. Steele, one of the founders of the University of Illinois medical department. Mrs. Cole and her brother both taught in the school at Rantoul and they are of a family of teachers, preachers and lawyers. A native of Canada, W. R. Cole was born at Adolphostown, a son of Conrad B. and Sarah Ann Cole. He was only an infant when his mother died. He grew up and received his early education at Nappanee, Canada, and at the age of twenty-six, in 1870, came from Kingston, Ontario, to Rantoul, Illinois, to visit his brother, L. B. Cole, who was at that time a coal, grain and lumber merchant. He assisted his brother in the business for several years. In 1872 Mr. Cole married Mary E. Lavinia Steele. She was born at Grandcote in Perry County, Illinois, daughter of Rev. Daniel and Mary Leatham Orr (Anderson) Steele. Her parents were natives of northern Ireland. Rev. Daniel Steele came to America in 1851, locating in Ohio, and...

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Biography of Joseph Fultz

Joseph Fultz, now living retired at Rantoul, has had a career filled with labors and ministrations of kindness, and has done what good he could as he went through the world. The practical side of his career has been as a farmer, and for a number of years he served as a local minister of the Methodist Church, a work of inestimable value which cannot be measured by any ordinary human standards. Mr. Fultz was born in Washington County, Indiana, a son of Frederick and Mary Fultz, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Indiana. Frederick Fultz was twice married, had eight children by his first wife and seven by the second. Joseph Fultz was the youngest of the first family. He was carefully reared, had a common school education and became a farmer even before he reached his majority. At the age of twenty-one Joseph Fultz married Mary Bottorff, daughter of James and Lydia Bottorff, both of whom were born near New Albany, Indiana. James Bottorff was of German parentage. After their marriage Joseph and Mary Fultz began their wedded life on a farm in Washington County, Indiana, and farming was the work which Mr. Fultz pursued in order to provide the advantages and home life of his growing family. Eight children were born to them, Lewis B., Herman, Ernest, Elsie, Orval, Grover, Goldie and...

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Biography of Solomon Mantle

Solomon Mantle. Of the families whose lives of integrity and industry have identified them permanently with the best interests of Champaign County, one that deserves special mention is that of Solomon Mantle, who now lives with his family in Rantoul, and from that village still superintends his extensive farming interests. Mr. Mantle is a son of Isaac and Mary J. (Kuder) Mantle. Mary Kuder’s father was born in Pennsylvania. Isaac Mantle, a native of Ohio, came to Illinois when a young man, lived for a number of years in Champaign County and afterwards moved to Vermilion County. Solomon Mantle had grown to young manhood before they removed to Vermilion County. Isaac Mantle and wife had eight children, four sons and four daughters, all of whom were educated in the district schools. Their names were John, George, Charles, Solomon, Mary J., Francis M., Lizzie and Alice, two of whom died in youth. Solomon Mantle was twenty-seven years of age when his father’s death occurred. He then assumed the active responsibilities of looking after his widowed mother and his two sisters. Through the remaining years of his mother’s life he provided and tenderly cared for her and repaid by filial devotion the love and care she had given him and all her children when they were young. It was a sad day in the Mantle home on September 3, 1898, when...

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Biography of Henry Bernard Clark

Henry Bernard Clark. Life is a great drama, and many men play various roles and on many stages of activity. Such has been the experience of Henry Bernard Clark, a veteran jeweler, now living retired from a long business career at Rantoul. Mr. Clark is probably the only man in Champaign County and perhaps the only one in Illinois whose birthplace was the historic Isle of St. Helena, associated in the memories of men chiefly because it was the prison home of Napoleon Bonaparte and also the place where he died. He was born there, a son of Thomas and Louisa (Lowden) Clark. His father was a native of England and the mother was born at St. Helena of Scotch parents. When H. B. Clark was a few days old his father died, and when he was seven years of age his widowed mother came to America. His mother was a school teacher, and the English Government gave her the management of the fortified village of Longwood, where Napoleon had had his home. A strong guard of English troops had been kept at Longwood while Napoleon was there in order to prevent his escape and foil any attempts made by the French to spirit him away from the island. In such surroundings Mr. Clark spent the first seven years of his life. His brothers were James, Thomas, William and...

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Biography of Francis M. Avey

Francis M. Avey. Of the men whose ability, industry and forethought have added to the character, wealth and progress of Champaign County none stands higher than Francis M. Avey, now living retired at Rantoul, which has been his home for over forty-five years. Among other enviable distinctions Mr. Avey is one of the honored survivors of the great war of the rebellion, and he was a member of the first regiment that marched away from Illinois to fight in the South. His entire career has been in keeping with the high standards of patriotism which caused him to enter the army as a youth. He was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, January 24, 1835, and is now past four score. He is a son of Daniel and Hannah (Van Hise) Avey, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Maryland. Francis M. was the third of five children. His father was a farmer, and F. M. Avey grew up and obtained his early education in Butler County, Ohio. As a boy he heard much of the country of Illinois and Indiana, and at the age of sixteen his ambitions prompted him to go out to Fountain County, Indiana, where he had a brother. There he began an apprenticeship to the blacksmith’s trade. Having learned the trade, he took his accomplishments into western Missouri. At that time western Missouri...

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Biography of Thomas A. Little

Thomas A. Little. One of the most interesting homes of Rantoul is that of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Little in the extreme northeast quarter of the town. They live there enjoying a happy combination of both the rural and the urban facilities. They have sufficient ground to afford Mr. Little an opportunity to indulge his favorite pastimes of agriculture, not without considerable profit, and they also have sufficient means to live comfortably without fear of the future and enjoy their many friends. Mr. Little was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1851, a son of John and Charlotte (Coon) Little. His parents were natives of Ohio, and his mother was of an old and prominent family of that state. In 1916 Mr. and Mrs. Little attended the annual reunion in Ohio of the Coon family and spent two weeks in and around Newark renewing old acquaintances. Thomas A. Little was educated in the district schools of Vermilion and Champaign counties, Illinois, and became a practical farmer. He was also engaged in a mercantile business in Rantoul, from the spring of 1872 to 1905. At the age of thirty-five he married Lizzie Cole. Three children were born to their union, two of whom died in infancy. Lewis C., the only one to grow up, proved a boy of fine capacity and of studious ability. He was graduated with honors...

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Biography of William L. Sturdyvin

William L. Sturdyvin. A resident for more than forty-five years in Champaign County has made William L. Sturdyvin one of his community’s best known citizens, and the honorable and industrious life he has led has given him a substantial place among his people. The years have dealt kindly with him and with his efforts, and he and his good wife now reside in a comfortable and hospitable home in Rantoul. Theirs is one of the fine residences facing the park in Rantoul, and stands on a street corner about two blocks from the interurban station. Mr. Sturdyvin is a native of Illinois and was born in Tazewell County, twenty-two miles south of Peoria. He is a son of Obadiah and Cynthia (Musick) Sturdyvin. His parents were born in Ohio and in pioneer times migrated to Illinois, locating south of what was then an Indian trading post consisting of a single log cabin on the site of the present vigorous City of Peoria. In the Sturdyvin family there were the following children besides William L.: Grant, Abraham and James, deceased; Steven, Allen and Robert; and two deceased daughters. The children were able to attend school in their pioneer district of Illinois only about three months a year. The Sturdyvins lived forty-five miles from Springfield, and in the early days there were only two houses on the entire road. Besides farming...

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Biography of J. H. Blue

J. H. Blue. Many years have passed since Mr. and Mrs. Blue took up their residence in Champaign County and began their careers as progressive farmers, and at the present time they live in the comforts of a good town home at Rantoul. In the meantime their children have grown up, most of them have married and have homes of their own, and Mr. and Mrs. Blue are able to take the greatest satisfaction out of the large family circle that surround them. Both of them are natives of Germany. J. H. Blue was born in the little Town of Leer on the River Ems near Hanover, Germany, one of the seven children of Henry A. and Alma J. (Buscher) Blue. His father was a sailor and lost his life at sea. At the age of thirteen J. H. Blue asked permission of his school teacher to leave school and begin an apprenticeship as a sailor. The family lived on the sea coast and the activities of the sea naturally appealed to all the boys of that district. Some time later he and a young Scotchman came to America for the purpose of entering the United States Navy. The North was then engaged in the struggle with the South over slavery. They landed at Boston from the sailing vessel Kensington, and the first news they heard was that peace...

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Biography of J. S. Mason, M. D.

J. S. Mason, M. D., who was graduated in medicine over twenty years ago, has found his time and abilities more and more taxed as a. competent physician and surgeon, and in that field he ranks among the foremost in his section of the state. Doctor Mason is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, an honor conferred only upon surgeons of distinctive rank and attainment. He was born at Newark, Ohio, May 22, 1868, a son of Jacob W. and Elizabeth (Smith) Mason, both natives of Ohio. His father came to Vermilion County, Illinois, in 1881 and followed farming his entire active career. There were six children: J. Smith, a lumber dealer and hardware merchant at Oakwood, Illinois; Frank M., a physician practicing at Rossville, Illinois; Dr. J. S. Mason; Leora, living at home and a school teacher; Archie R.; and Etta Florence, at home with her parents. Doctor Mason grew up on a farm, attended country schools, and when about eighteen years of age began teaching in the country. This vocation he followed five years and in the meantime took special courses in a Normal school and acquired a first grade teacher’s certificate. It was through his individual earnings that he paid his way until graduation from medical school. He took up the study of medicine privately, and afterwards entered the Northwestern University School of Medicine...

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Biography of Louis Glenn Collison

Louis Glenn Collison, vice president of the First National Bank of Rantoul, is one of the youngest bankers of Champaign County, and has attained a distinctive position in business affairs which would be creditable to many older men. Mr. Collison was born at Rantoul, August 30, 1894, a son of the late Fred Collison and Emma B. Collison. His mother is now Mrs. S. C. Tucker of Champaign. Mr. Collison was liberally educated, attending the grammar and high schools at Rantoul, spent one year in the University of Illinois and one year in Northwestern University at Chicago, and also had a business course in the Gem City Business College at Quincy. His father’s death caused him to leave school and assume an active part in the management of his father’s estate. He first became connected with banking as bookkeeper and director of the First National Bank at Rantoul, and in the fall of 1915, soon after his twenty-first birthday, was made assistant cashier and has been vice president since January, 1917. Mr. Collison has been a director in the First National Bank of Thomasboro, Illinois, since the summer of 1914, and has been a director in the First National Bank of Gilman for over a year. Thus his position makes him a factor in the financial life of Champaign County and he also has some valuable farm land in...

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Biography of Alexander Craigmile

Alexander Craigmile. Of the men whose ability, industry and fore-thought have added to the character, wealth and progress of Champaign County none deserves better mention than Alexander Craigmile, a veteran of the Union army, long and successfully identified with agriculture, and now with his good wife living retired in a comfortable home at Rantoul. His public spirited citizenship has stood every test of time and service. Forty years he has known Compromise Township, and during that time has again and again been chosen to fill places of trust and responsibility. He was elected to serve as assessor, collector, supervisor and road commissioner, and is now on his second term as justice of the peace at Rantoul, having been reelected in April, 1917. He gave the best of his ability to the various offices, and his work in civil office has been characterized by the same fidelity which he displayed when following the flag of the Union during the Civil War. Mr. Craigmile is now commander of Seaver Post No. 253 of the Grand Army of the Republic at Rantoul. He is of Scotch nativity and ancestry, and was born near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1843. When a child he immigrated with his parents to Upper Canada, and in 1852 the family came to Illinois. When Alexander Craigmile was twenty-one years of age he enlisted at Chicago in Company D of...

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Biography of H. M. Morris

H. M. Morris has long been a resident of Rantoul and is proprietor of a beautiful home and a large greenhouse at the north end of the village. Mr. Morris has a creditable record as an old soldier of the Union, though he was a very young man when the war was in progress. His life has been a busy one and he and Mrs. Morris have well earned the esteem and the comforts which they now enjoy. He was born in Ohio, a son of Edwin and Mary (Benson) Morris, both natives of Ohio. The Morris ancestors were pioneers in Ohio from the State of Connecticut. H. M. Morris was seven years of age when his mother died and his father afterwards married again and in 1864 brought his family to Illinois. H. M. Morris secured his early education in the public schools of Ohio and subsequently attended school in Champaign County. While living in Ohio his ardent patriotism shone forth, and though he was much younger than the accepted age at which enlistments were taken he managed to get into the army and went to the front. He was finally taken prisoner and paroled. He was eighteen years of age when his father came to Illinois and located on a farm near Rantoul. Still the war was in progress and the nation’s trials and difficulties were not...

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Biography of J. O. Alexander

J. O. Alexander. It is now nearly half a century since Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Alexander laid the foundation of their home and fortune by their marriage and during all that time they have lived in the vicinity of Rantoul, have been materially prospered and have also fulfilled that great duty of bearing and rearing children to usefulness and honor in the world’s work. Mr. Alexander is one of the honored old soldiers of Champaign County. He was born near the Sangamon River in Illinois, a son of Henry and Polly Alexander. He grew up on the farm and had a district school education. He was twenty-four years of age when the war broke out and he soon afterward enlisted in Springfield in the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry. He saw three years of active service. He went to the front at Cairo, then to Memphis and on to Vicksburg, and altogether fought in thirty distinct engagements. He was wounded in the breast and wrist and was mustered out at Memphis. In October, 1868, he married Sarah Hamm. Mrs. Alexander was born in Indiana, a daughter of John and Harriet Hamm. They started house-keeping seven miles west of Rantoul and lived and prospered as farmers until they removed to their present comfortable home on Main Street in the village of Rantoul. The children born to their marriage...

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