Location: Stephenson County IL

Biography of Rev. Thomas Mackin

Reverend Thomas Mackin was born in County Armagh, Ireland, January 4, 1841, the son of Daniel and Ann Mackin. His rudimentary education was received in the Government schools of his native land, and upon his completion of the course afforded there, he turned to teaching as a means of livelihood, and to pave the way for the attainment of wider educational advantages. In 1861 Thomas Mackin came to America, settling in Leland, Illinois. Here his brother James, was engaged in the dry goods, commission and land business. It was during war time and they did an extensive business. Thomas, however, despite that he was on the road to sure fortune in the business, was not content to devote his life to commercial pursuits. He craved knowledge, and his studious nature and literary inclinations developed a desire for the priesthood. With a view to fitting himself for holy orders, first he entered Notre Dame University, but remained there only a brief period, when he enrolled at Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia. Here he received his classical education-graduating at the head of his class in 1871. His diploma was conferred by General William Tecumseh Sherman. He was made Bachelor of Arts in 1871, by the university, and Master of Arts in 1888. From Georgetown he went to St. Mary’s, Baltimore, Maryland, to complete his theological studies, and was ordained in...

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Biography of John W. Potter

Newspaper work is essentially transitory in its nature. The newspaper article that may be read with the most absorbing interest today by thousands is tomorrow forgotten by the eager public as it is then no longer “news” and some more recent event has occurred upon which public attention is centered for a few brief hours. Consequently the newspaper article possesses none of the stability of other literary effort. Rarely is it kept for general reference except in the files of the newspaper office itself. It is read, makes more or less of an impression for a time and is superseded by the next day’s issue and tossed aside. To make a permanent impression upon this particularly kaleidoscopic field of the world’s work requires something more than mere talent; it requires absolute genius, and the fact that a publisher and editor can make a deep and lasting imprint upon the public conscience-an imprint that remains unobliterated for years after his decease shows him to have possessed that genius. Such a man was John W. Potter deceased, for years publisher and editor of the Rock Island Argus. He was born August 17, 1861, at Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, his parents being John W. and Josephine (Ryan) Potter. That in his early youth he should enter the newspaper field seemed only natural as his environment tended strongly in that direction, both his...

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Biography of J. Clark Hicks

J. Clark Hicks. When 600 live and progressive business men of such a city as Fort Scott, all members of the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, choose one of their number as president, the choice is in the nature of one of the highest compliments and honors that could be paid, and is a responsibility which any man would appreciate. Recently the Chamber elected as president Mr. J. Clark Hicks, who is by no means one of the oldest business men of the city, but who by hard work and progressive methods has built up what is appropriately considered one of the largest and most complete exclusive furniture houses in Southeastern Kansas. Mr. Hicks spent his early life on a farm in Bourbon County. His opportunities he largely made for himself. He began his commercial career in the humble role of a clerk. No hours were too long for him to work, and no problem that arose was too difficult for him to solve. He has made a success by conscientious performance of those duties which lie nearest and which are the important things in the life of any man. Mr. Hicks was born at Lena in Stephenson County, Illinois, October 13, 1876. His parents Edward L. and Clementine (Weary) Hicks, were also born in the same county and were married there. They lived on a farm until they...

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Biography of John F. Fosha

John F. Fosha. Some of the finest lands of Riley County are responding to the intelligent management of John F. Fosha as a farmer and stock raiser. His home is in Madison township, and his record of enterprise in that locality covers a period of nearly twenty years. In that time he has had the usual vicissitudes which beset Kansas farmers, such as dry weather, floods, poor markets, but through good years and bad he has contrived to prosper and is now the owner of a splendid estate comprising 1,040 acres. He is one of the large crop raisers of the county, and in live stock his specialty is Hampshire hogs. The presence of the Fosha family in Kansas is accounted for by the investment of a prosperous Illinois farmer in the lands of this state. About thirty years ago John F. Fosha, Sr., visited Riley County, and acquired three and a half sections of land in the vicinity of the town of Riley. He never became a permanent settler of Kansas, but after making this investment he returned to his home in Stephenson County, Illinois, where he had become wealthy as an Illinois farmer and where he spent the rest of his days. Because of his extensive investments in Kansas and the presence here of several of his children, it is appropriate to quote some portions of an...

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Romtvedt, June Schulz Mrs. – Obituary

June Romtvedt, 80, a resident of Keating valley, died May 18, 2006, at St. Elizabeth Health Services. At her request, cremation was held. A memorial service for Mrs. Romtvedt will be scheduled later. June was born on January 17, 1926, to Frederick and Edna Schulz. She grew up farming in northern Illinois near the small town of Lena. She graduated Carthage College with a teaching certificate, specializing in home economics. While attending school she met Eric Romtvedt whom she married in1949. They continued farming on the home place adding two more farms to the mix. They had two sons, Paul and Keith. In 1980, June and her family moved to Oregon, her husband’s birth state, and began ranching in Baker County. She enjoyed gardening and reading, playing the piano and she loved to write letters, keeping in touch with her friends and family back in Illinois. She also loved playing cards and dominos with her grandchildren. She enjoyed the many trips she got to take traveling with her husband. She was a lifetime member of the Lutheran church and loved her church family. June had a big heart and a beautiful smile that will be missed by all who knew her. Survivors include her husband, Eric; their son, Paul, and his wife, Alcera, and daughter, Mariette; son, Keith, and his wife, Paulette, and their children, Brady and Elizabeth. She...

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Biography of Richard Meyer

Richard Meyer. When he was twenty years of age Richard Meyer came to Kansas with his parents and since then, for thirty-six years, has been a resident of Riley County. He was born at Freeport, Illinois, March 3, 1860, and was reared and received his education in that locality. Farming, stock raising and stock feeding have given him abundance of opportunity to work out his destiny, and the work has not only been congenial but on the whole profitable. Mr. Meyer probably ranks as one of the chief stock feeders in Riley County. The spirit of progressiveness has kept him out of the ruts of agricultural industry, and while some of the experiments that he has made have not proved financially profitable, yet they have been not without benefit to himself and others. He has developed some original methods and plans of farm husbandry, and has reached a promising degree of financial success. Along with his inclination to take some of the untried and untested methods of doing business, he has shown a great deal of courage and determination and resourcefulness in the face of difficulties and misfortune. Some years ago an unsuccessful deal in cattle caused him the loss of his entire farm. That was not a permanent setback. He immediately began retrieving his lost possessions, and gradually paid off the indebtedness until he now owns the farm...

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Biographical Sketch of John F. Hineline

John F. Hineline, son of Hugh B. and Rebecca (Lattig) Hineline, was born in Fremont, Ohio, April 7, 1855. His parents were both natives of Easton, Pa., where his father engaged in merchandising until the spring of 1854, when he removed to a farm at Fremont, Ohio, and resided there until his death in 1871. His wife survived until 1891. They were the parents of fourteen children, nine of whom are still living, as follows: Anna, wife of Jacob Ruth, of Fremont, O.; C. M., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Elizabeth, widow of Charles Richards, resides in Fremont, O.; William H., resides in Fremont, O.; Alinda, widow of John Furry, lives in Woodville, O.; Thaddeus, lives in Lansin.-, Mich.; Emma, widow of John Speller, lives in Fremont, O.; Sarah, widow of John B. Cole, resides in Fremont, O.; John F., our subject; those deceased are Jacob, Able, Simon, Hugh, and Augustus. Mr. Hineline received his education in the common schools finishing at the Western Reserve Normal at Milan, Ohio. In 1874, when nineteen years of age, he came west locating in Freeport, and taught in the neighboring country schools in winter, and worked at the carpenter’s trade in summer, until 1892, when he abandoned teaching and devoted his time to his trade. He is well known throughout the county, having taught in six different townships. In 1891,...

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Biography of Michael Stoskopf

Michael Stoskopf,  Freeport,  is one of the most prominent members of the  Stephenson county bar, and takes high rank among the leading lawyers of the northwest. He is thoroughly rooted and grounded in the fundamentals, understands profoundly the great principles of justice and equity on which human society rests and sees with the eye of a master the application of these basic principles to all the details of business and commerce. He knows what he has to say before he is on his feet, and when he stands before a jury there is an energy and a force in what he says that comes only from knowledge and belief. He has a clear and analytical mind, and reasons out a proposition in law with all the clearness and force with which he would demonstrate a theorem in Geometry. Step by step he leads the way, and the jury cannot refuse to follow. As an orator he is convincing and wins his case, not only by mastery of the law and argument, but by his candid and earnest manner. Leonard Stoskopf, the grandfather of Michael, was a blacksmith and farrier by trade and spent his entire life in his native Alsace, then a province of France. He taught his business to his son, Valentine, who was born in Engenheim, Alsace, March 8, 1817. Valentine attended the local school until he...

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Biographical Sketch of T.V.E. Sweet

T. V. E. Sweet, was a native of the city of Freeport, where he was born August 3, 1849. He derived his education from the public schools of the city, and in the more advanced branches of learning from the Northwestern University at Evanston, where he was a student two years. He worked at the printing trade until 1870, and in 1875 entered upon that clerical career in in which he has accomplished so much good, as a local preacher in the Rock River conference. His first religious work was at Thompson, ‘Illinois. At Shirland he was local supply, and was ordained to the full ministry in 1879. His first regular ministerial charge was at Dundee, where he spent a year. He was two years at Seneca and Marseilles, at Kankakee one year, LaSalle one year, Warren one year, Amboy one year, Morrison three years, Princeton three years, Joliet three years, Austin two years, and at Embury church in Freeport two years. In 1895 he was appointed presiding elder and was re-appointed to that delicate and responsible position in 1899. Elder Sweet and Adelaide Goodrich were married December 29,1875, at Pearl City, Illinois, where Mrs. Sweet was born, being a daughter of Hiram and Susie (Gable) Goodrich. Her maternal grandparents were Jacob and Elizabeth (Machamer) Gable; the former is still living at the age of ninety-six, while the latter...

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Biography of John Piper

John Piper, now living a retired life in Freeport, was born Feb. 7, 1832, in Washington county, Maryland, at the place where, thirty years later, the great battle of Antietam was fought. His parents were Jacob and Anna (Kitzmiller) Piper, both of Washington county, and his grandfather, Daniel Piper, was born February 4, 1780, and died March 3, 1857. He was a farmer and spent all of his life in the above county. His wife, whose maiden name was Brown, was born September 2, 1774, and died July 8, 1851. Grandmother Kitzmiller was born January 23, 1777, and died July 30, 1860. May 15, 1845, Jacob Piper started for the west by wagon train, in a pasty composed of twenty-one persons, eleven of whom are now living, as follows : Mrs. Henry Dovenberger, Forreston, Illinois; John Dovenberger, Forreston; D. J. Piper, Brookville township, Ogle county, Illinois; Elizabeth Shearer (now married), Maryland township, Ogle county; Mrs. August Bergman, Freeport; Mrs. D. D. Iler, Ridott Village; Sarah Kitzmiller, Ridott; John Piper, subject of sketch; Elizabeth A. Trime, Le Grande, Iowa; Jacob W. Piper, Le Grande, Iowa; J. M. Piper, county superintendent of schools of Ogle county, Illinois. Those deceased are: Jacob Piper and wife; Anna Piper; Henry Shearer and wife; Mrs. Shearer; Jacob Dovenber and wife ; Henry Dovenberger; Mrs. Geo. Dowel; Samuel Fiper (soldier in Union Army); John Kitzmiller (drafted...

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Biography of John J. Pluemer

John J. Pluemer, for many years a resident of Freeport, is now passed eighty-two years, and has given up all active business enterprises. He has been an active and pushing man of affairs, and has borne his part in life manfully. He was born in Ost Friesland, now a part of Prussia, Jan. 3, 1817, where he attended school until he was about 16. To secure for him a better education his father put him into a lawyer’s office where he remained until he was nineteen. His father was a farmer and dealer in peat for fuel purposes, the latter on an extensive scale, and as John J. was an only son, the business required and received personal attention. When he reached the age of twenty-seven his father retired and turned the entire business over to him. Mr. Pluemer conducted it until 1852, but as he was outspoken in his convictions and antagonized the opinions of the world around him, he sold out and sought a home in the freer world of the new west. Despite his peculiar views and the opposition of the ministers, he had been elected to a position in his German home corresponding to that of supervisor in this country. In March 1852 he sailed from Bremen, leaving his wife and family to follow him the next August. He landed in New York May 1,...

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Biography of Gen. Smith D. Atkins

Smith D. Atkins, who is a lawyer, soldier, journalist and politician, was born on the 9th of June, 1836, near Elmira, Chemung Co., N. Y.; he came with his father’s family to Illinois in 1848, and lived on a farm until 1850. He then became an apprentice in the office of the Prairie Democrat, which was the first paper published in Freeport. He was educated at Rock River Seminary, Mt. Morris, Ill., working in the printing-office and studying during his spare hours, and in 1852 obtained the foremanship of the Mt. Morris Gazette, while he was yet a student in the seminary. In 1853 he became associated with C. C. Allen, who, during the war, was a Major on the staff of Maj. Gen. Schofield; they bought this paper and established the Register at Savanna, Carroll County. In the fall of the same year he entered the office of Hiram Bright, in Freeport, as a student of law, and was admitted to practice June 27, 1855. After his admission he continued to read law for some time in the office of Goodrich & Scoville, of Chicago, Ill., and then entered upon his practice in Freeport, dating his entry into the active duties of his profession Sept. 1, 1856. In 1860 Mr. Atkins made a spirited canvass for the election of Lincoln to the Presidency and one address of his...

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Biography of Charles Betts

Honorable Charles Betts, Freeport, is one of the most prominent figures of the Stephenson county bar, and his long association with legal affairs gives him the colloquial title of “Judge” Betts. He is called the Nestor of the bar, and is now living in an honorable retirement from professional life. He was born in Batavia, Genesee county, New York, June 13th, 1825, and up to the time of his admission to the bar his life was passed in the Empire state. His educational privileges eminently fitted him for the profession of his choice. At all times he has made the most of his opportunities, and endowed by nature with, strong mentality, his advance has been rapid and commendable. While still a youth he began the study of law in his native state with Honorable Heman J. Redfield and Honorable Benjamin Pringle as his preceptors, and completed his course in the office of Hon. Isaac A. Verplanck and General John H. Martindale, of Batavia. The counsel and assistance of these distinguished gentlemen and able attorneys had great influence in moulding his character and educating him to a standard of excellence in the profession before him, from which he has never deteriorated. Honorable, high-minded and faithful through inbred moral principles, he early gave evidence of fitness for that high career that was opening before him. He was esteemed and loved, not more...

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Biography of C.N. Bentley

C.N. Bentley, whose home is on section 21, Harlem township, is one of the venerable figures of the pioneer gatherings of Stephenson county. It indeed has few if any residents whose settlement antedates his own. He knows what it means to open up a new country to civilization, and he is now living in the peace and comfort that follows a long and useful career. Eldred Bentley, the grandfather of the subject of this article, was born in Rhode Island, but spent the greater part of his life in Rensselaer county, New York, and died in Chautauqua county of that state in 1851, at the age of ninety-three. His wife, Nata, was an own sister of that Ethan Allen, who linked his name with fame beyond divorce in the capture of the fort at Ticonderoga at the opening of the Revolutionary struggle. Eldred Bentley, Jr., the father of C. N. Bentley, was born in Rensselaer county in 1793, and died in Chautauqua county in 1843. Mr. Bentley was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, July 24th, 1826, and of his brothers and sisters mention is briefly made. John lives in Winnebago county, and Eldred at Ellington, Chautauqua county, New York. Louisa married Norman Carr, and died in Ellington in 1891. Jemima married Mr. Jeffords, and died in Pennsylvania in 1896. Sarah died at Ellington while still a young girl, and...

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Biography of Tobias Engle

Tobias Engle, one of the early settlers of Freeport, is a native of Lancaster, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he was born May 9, 1829. He is the son of Jacob and Nancy (Myers) Engle. Jacob Jingle was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In early days he ran a clover huller, later. a grist mill, and afterward took charge of his father’s farm in Lancaster county, residing there until 1851 when he removed to Stephenson county, Illinois, locating in Freeport where he remained two years. Deciding to return to Pennsylvania they started eastward but stopped in Montgomery county, Ohio, where Mr. Engle purchased a farm on which he spent the remainder of his life. His wife was a native of Lebanon county, Pennsylvania. They had eleven children, as follows : Benjamin, who died in Kansas ; Tobias; Jacob, who resides in Montgomery county, Ohio, on the old homestead; Abram, who lives on part of the old farm in Montgomery county, Ohio ; Betsy, wife of Jacob Huntzbiger, both deceased; Annie, wife of Adam Hocker, a farmer in Montgomery county, Ohio; Leah, wife of Jacob Castle, of Montgomery county, a farmer; Martha married Eli Boyer who runs a boarding house in Dayton, Ohio, and three others deceased. Tobias Engle received a limited education in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, where he worked on his father’s farm until 1851, removing at that time with...

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