Location: Stephenson County IL

Biography of Adam Miller

Adam Miller, retired blacksmith, and one of the pioneer settlers of Stephenson county, is a native of Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, where he was born March 13, 1826. His parents, Ludwig and Barbara (Klein) Miller, both of the same country in Germany, came to America in 1851 with his entire family and located in Freeport, where he worked at the blacksmith’s trade until his death about 1885. His wife died at the age of 66 years. They had six children, as follows: Adam, Catherine, widow of Joseph Nix, resides in Ridott Township, Stephenson county; Charlie, who died in 1896, was a farmer in Iowa; Barbara, wife of John Dilly, a farmer, lives in Ridott Township; and two others who died in infancy. They were all educated in the common schools. Adam Miller learned the blacksmith’s trade which he followed until the age of fifty years when he retired from active business. In June 1854, he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Dilly, a native of Germany, born Jan. 8, 1830. She was the daughter of Johan and Dortha (Schmidt) Dilly, both of Germany, who emigrated to this country Oct. 13, 1853, and settled on a farm in Ridott township, Stephenson county, where they both died aged 86 and 88 years respectively. Mrs. Miller died Sept. 25, 1897. She was the mother of eight children, five of whom died in...

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Biography of Henry H. Mynard

Henry H. Mynard, retired farmer, who has been a resident of Stephenson county since 1863, was born in Greene county, New York, November 3rd, 1822. After marriage his parents, Elisha B. and Persis (VanHorn) Mynard, both of Columbia county, New York, moved to Greene county where they resided until 1841 when they removed to Cook county, Illinois, and there engaged in farming until the death of the former in 1845. He served in the war of 1812. Mrs. Mynard died in Lee county, Illinois, in 1865. They had six children, two of whom are now living- Henry H., our subject, and Francis V. H., a retired farmer, now living in Blue Island, Cook county, Illinois. William H., George W., Julia Maria and Mary Eliza are deceased. Henry H. Mynard received his education in the common schools, after which he began farming in Cook county, Illinois. March 13th, four children, three are living. Edward F. is a fireman on the St. Paul road. George is a clerk in Walton’s store and Florence is a student at the State Normal school at Normal, Illinois, fitting herself for the teacher’s vocation. In 1845, he married Miss Caroline C. Cool, who was the daughter of Benjamin R. and Lois Cool. Her father was a farmer in Cook county where he and his wife both died. Mrs. Mynard died January 25th, 1885, leaving one...

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Biography of Willard P. Naramore

Hon. Willard P. Naramore, the veteran physician and surgeon of Lena, is probably the most prominent of the older pioneers who have witnessed the development of the county from the open prairies to the present highly cultivated agricultural and manufacturing community. He combines two qualifications seldom found in the medical profession-a high proficiency in the art of healing and exceptional financial ability. Too often the practitioner devotes his time and strength to his clientage for many years neglecting the financial side of the profession and finds himself late in life with little to sustain his declining years and the old families that he had attended from birth to maturity forgetting him when in need of the services of a physician. Dr. Naramore is descended from old New England stock that had its origin in Old England. His father, Ezra Naramore, was a native of Vermont where he attained his majority and married. Soon after that event he emigrated to what was then the western wilds, Seneca county, New York, where he secured a farm in Clyde township. Here he was employed in agricultural pursuits until his death in 1831 while yet in early manhood. He was a man of strong force of character such as push out to the frontier and, braving the dangers and hardships of a wilderness, blaze the way for others of a less forceful nature...

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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 Thomas Carroll

Thomas Carroll  is an engineer who has seen many years service with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Road. Beginning on the engine when only eighteen years old, he has come to understand its very life, and almost make it a part of himself. He knows every whim and fancy of the iron horse and can coax it to its utmost exertion. Thomas Carroll, Sr., the father of the Freeport engineer, was born in county Monaghan, Ireland, and came to America when a young man. He lived in New York for a time and came to Freeport in 1854, the year after the Northwestern was built into the city, securing a place on the road and held it until his death in 1863. He was a democrat and a member of St. Mary’s Catholic church. His wife, Ann Duffy, a native of the same county, still survives, making her home with the subject of this writing, and is upwards of eighty years old. She became the mother of six children, four of whom survive. Thomas Carroll was born December 23, 1847, and came to Freeport when a lad only seven years old. He had the usual school privileges of the time and when he was eighteen years old began life for himself as a fireman on the Racine & Mississippi Railroad, since incorporated into the St. Paul System. Four...

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