Collection: A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois

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 James A. Talbott

James A. Talbott has not only achieved that success represented by large land holdings and rich and prosperous farms, but also the riches of friendship and community esteem. All this is well indicated by the title affectionately bestowed upon him and most people know him as “Uncle Jimmie” Talbott. Mr. Talbott and his family reside in Harwood Township, in section 36, near Gifford, but his farm possessions spread over a large area and include 1,600 acres of choice Illinois soil. Mr. Talbott is a native of West Virginia, and was the fourth of eight children born to J. V. and Sarah (Parsons) Talbott. He is of English stock on both sides and the families have been in America for many generations. Mr. James A. Talbott grew up in West Virginia and attended a school known as the Wise school, from the name of the land owner there. He was still young when his parents, in April, 1865, left West Virginia, soon after the surrender of Lee’s army, and migrated to Illinois. They heard the news of Lincoln’s assassination on arriving at Danville. J. V. Talbott bought ninety acres of land in Middle Fork Township in Vermilion County, paying $25 an acre. The family encountered many hardships and privations. J. V. Talbott had always suffered somewhat delicate health and the change of climate not agreeing with him he died in...

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Biography of Edwin S. Swigart

Edwin S. Swigart, a former mayor of the city of Champaign, is a thorough business man, and his reputation as a successful manager of large and important interests was one of the chief reasons why the people of Champaign desired him as their mayor. A native of Illinois, he was born near Farmer City in DeWitt County, December 11, 1861. His parents, Jacob and Rebecca (Davis) Swigart, were both born in Ohio. Jacob Swigart, who was born in 1827 and died in 1907, removed to DeWitt County, Illinois, in 1847. Rebecca Davis was taken to DeWitt County in 1837, when a small child, and she is still living, being now one of the oldest settlers of that county. Jacob Swigart followed farming during his active career, and became well known in politics and business affairs. In 1868 he was elected a member of the State Legislature. In a family of nine children, Edwin S. Swigart was the sixth in order of birth. His early advantages were those of the common schools of DeWitt County and for three years he was a student in Lombard College at Galesburg. He had considerable experience as a farmer, and after his marriage in 1885 he remained on the home place for a year. Mr. Swigart was one of the organizers of the Creamery Package Company, then located at Morrison, Illinois, and for a...

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Biography of Louis Arthur Busch

Louis Arthur Busch. The legal profession of Champaign County and the civic government of Urbana have a worthy representative in the person of Louis Arthur Busch, state’s attorney. A native of the city of Urbana, he has passed his entire life here, and his career among its citizens is looked upon as particularly worthy, as he has trod the hard self-made road to success and has triumphed over a number of discouraging obstacles which have arisen in his path. A member of the legal brotherhood since 1908, he has made rapid advancement in his calling, and since 1912 has been the incumbent of the official position which he now occupies. Louis Arthur Busch was born June 4, 1886, at Urbana, Champaign County, Illinois, and is a son of Carl T. and Carolina S. (Hank) Busch. His father was born in Prussia, Germany, and was a child when brought to America in 1868, the family originally locating at Champaign, where he was reared and received his education in the public schools. Upon his removal to Urbana, in young manhood, he embarked in the furniture business, and continued to be identified with that enterprise during the remaining years of his life, his death occurring June 8, 1896. Mr. Busch was a Democrat in his political views, but not an active participant in politics. He religious faith was that of the Lutheran...

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Biography of Heber Judson Morehouse

Heber Judson Morehouse. In acknowledging the valuable services of Mr. Morehouse as a member of the advisory board of editors in this publication, the publishers are but doing justice in presenting an appropriate sketch of his career. Mr. Morehouse has been a resident of Champaign County for over forty years, has always taken a keen interest in the county’s affairs and can speak with authority on the many varied developments of his time, especially in and around Mahomet. Mr. Morehouse was born in Ionia County, Michigan, May 18, 1856, a son of Albert F. and Sarah C. (Freeman) Morehouse. He was next to the youngest in a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, five of whom are still living. He is the only member of the family in Champaign County. His father was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1818 and died in 1901. He had limited education and as a youth was apprenticed to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner. He became an expert carpenter and he also possessed that judgment and energy which ^made for a successful business career. He married at Troy, New York, and afterwards moved west to Portland, Michigan, where he did a large business as carpenter and contractor. Many houses in that section of the state still stand to testify to his skill and ability. He acquired considerable farm...

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Biography of A. P. Johnson

A. P. Johnson. Among the learned professions there are, probably, none that demand so much tact, judgment, patience, natural executive ability and specialized knowledge as that of the educator. The individual who enters into this field, selecting it as his chosen life work and calling, must be prepared to make many sacrifices, to endure numerous disappointments, to often spend himself for others without apparent return of gratitude, and to give the best years of his life often without the emoluments that equal efforts would in all probability bring in any other profession. It is a vocation for which there are no weights and measures. The material with which it deals is the youth of our land upon which impressions are often eternal and which affords the man who would serve the race an opportunity than which there are none greater. Of the men of Champaign County who have dedicated their lives to this work, one of the best known is A. P. Johnson, superintendent of the public schools of the city of Urbana. Born December 16, 1863, in Sussex County, Delaware, A. P. Johnson, is a son of Benjamin and Sarah (Smith) Johnson. On both sides of the family he is descended from English ancestors, and his ancestors lived for many years in Delaware, where both his parents were born. Benjamin Johnson was a fanner by vocation and in...

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Biography of Lewis D. Oliver

Lewis D. Oliver. Bankers and financiers have been happily compared to pendulums of commerce and progress, and it is very true that they furnish the stability and the steadiness chiefly required for the business world. Every financial institution acquires estimation and influence in its community largely through the character and reputation of the men whose names are most intimately associated with the undertaking. One of Champaign County’s most prosperous banks is the First State Bank of Fisher and the success and prosperity of that institution are in no small degree a reflection of the personal integrity and business standing of its vice president, Lewis D. Oliver. Mr. Oliver has been identified with Champaign County many years, and his activities have been of such character as to merit the confidence reposed in him by a large community. He was born in McLean County, Illinois, January 20, 1857. He is the fifth in a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, born to Jackson and Clarissa (Courtright) Oliver. Four of these children are still living. Henry is a retired agriculturist living at Hennessey, Oklahoma, is a Democrat in politics and is married. Leroy P. is a resident of Morristown, Indiana. John W. is an agriculturist, live stock breeder and dealer living at Ottawa, Kansas. Jackson Oliver was born in Ohio in 1817, grew up in that state, was educated...

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Biography of the English Brothers (Richard and Edward)

English Brothers. Former students of the University of Illinois, where both were thoroughly trained in the technical branches of their profession, the English Brothers, Richard Caleb and Edward Carey, Jr., have for the past sixteen years been general contractors and structural engineers at Champaign, with offices in the Lincoln Building, they have developed a splendid prestige and reputation and their clientage constitutes a business that is one of the largest and most valuable of its kind in this section of the state. Of the two brothers Richard Caleb English, the older, was born March 1, 1873, at Jonesboro in Union County, Illinois, while Edward Carey, Jr., was born November 19, 1876, at Anna, in Union County, Illinois. Their parents were Edward Carey and Marga Ann (Hartline) English, the former a native of St. Johns, Newfoundland, and the latter of Union County, Illinois. Both parents are now deceased. The Hartline family came from Eowan County, North Carolina, and have been residents of the State of Illinois since 1798. It was in 1898 that the English brothers came to Champaign County as students in the University of Illinois. Edward C. was graduated in 1902. In the previous year they had engaged in business together as general contractors and builders, and with maturing experience they have extended their work to cover a large field and they have an immense amount of capital...

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Biography of Benjamin Franklin Harris

Benjamin Franklin Harris. Love of land, of peace and industry, cardinal virtues in the lives of men and nations, were ever present influences in the long life of the late B. F. Harris of Champaign County. To say that he left “a good name” as a legacy to his family, is to state only part of the truth. It was a strong name, one that is vital today, and the memory of it has an inspiration to all those who have the resolution and the will to labor in order to secure worthy places in their respective spheres. Without disparaging the remarkable material achievements associated with the name in Champaign County, there is need to emphasize the wonderful virility of the family stock and its permanence. America, and this is particularly true of the Middle West, can show comparatively few families who can take root and grow and flourish generation after generation in one spot. In fact mobility in population has been exalted in some quarters almost to a virtue. Of the Harris family five generations have lived in Champaign County, beginning with the father of B. F. Harris, Sr., and coming down to his great-grandchildren. More important still, each generation has amplified and expanded the interests of the preceding. The word virility is as applicable to the family today as it was when Champaign County was on the...

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Biography of Henry Hickman Harris

Henry Hickman Harris, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer and cattle feeder, and who, accepting the character and principles which his father had introduced into the First National Bank of Champaign at its founding, took it upon himself to apply these principles and broaden them for forty years, was born on the Sangamon Paver farm in Champaign County, where his father first settled. He was born on April 27, 1844, and lived seventy useful years, passing away July 15, 1914. Henry H. Harris was a stalwart citizen and under his skillful hands the fortune of his father had greatly increased and he had managed his varied interests and affairs, including the First National Bank in which he succeeded his father as president, in such a way as to justify his stewardship, and all that came to him in the way of fortune and influence. His good judgment and wise administration carried the bank successfully through several financial panics. He was one of the organizing members of the Illinois Bankers Association and served as its president in 1908-09. He was for many years a member of the city council of Champaign and to his aggressiveness and good judgment the city is indebted for many of its best improvements. He served for a number of years as president of the Champaign County Fair Association and established that organization...

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Biographical Sketch of Newton M. Harris

Newton M. Harris, vice-president of the First National Bank of Champaign, was born in that city July 27, 1872, a son of the late Henry H. Harris and a grandson of B. F. Harris, Sr. He was liberally educated, being a graduate of Yale University with the class of 1895, and for fully a quarter of a century has been actively identified with the interests of the Harris family as farmers, stock raisers and bankers. During his father’s life he shared the responsibilities of vice-president with his brother of the First National Bank, and still fills that post. Newton M. Harris married Mary Bruce Burnham, of the well known Burnham family of Champaign County elsewhere referred to. Mr. and Mrs. Harris are members of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, respectively. Their three children are Bruce, Barbara B. and Mary Julia. Mr. Harris is a member of the Sons of American Revolution and is a thirty-second degree Mason and a...

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Biography of Thomas M. Lyman

Thomas M. Lyman gave many consecutive years to the management of an Illinois farm, and through hard work and intelligent management obtained the financial competence which enabled him a few years ago to retire from business and enjoy the comforts of a good ‘home in the city of ‘Champaign. Mr. Lyman was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, February 6, 1866. His parents, Bernard and Mary (McLennan) Lyman, were both natives of Ireland. His father came to America as a young man about 1854, lived for a time near Eaton, Ohio, and subsequently removed to Vermilion County, Illinois. He farmed a few years near Ridge Farm and made his farm in Champaign County the scene of his productive labors for many years. He died in Champaign County in 1904 and his wife passed away in 1902. Their children were: Lucinda, wife of John Martin, living in Adams County, Nebraska; John, a retired farmer in Champaign; Mary Jane, who died in childhood; Bridget, who married John W. Early, both now deceased; Thomas M.; William, deceased; Catherine,’ deceased wife of James B. Hagan; and Mary, wife of William McMahon, of Champaign. Thomas M. Lyman was born in Vermilion County but was reared and educated in Champaign County. The country schools supplied his early instruction. He lived in the wholesome atmosphere of a farm and that was the vocation he took up when...

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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 Samuel P. Atkinson

Samuel P. Atkinson. Perhaps Champaign has no more sturdy and progressive citizen than is found in Samuel P. Atkinson, manager of the S. P. Atkinson Monument Company. He is a thorough American, with a backing of colonial ancestry and Revolutionary stock; and is a veteran of the great struggle which prior to 1914 the people of the United States has called the saddest page on the world’s history. Mr. Atkinson is a vigorous and able business man, but he is much more, for he has the true welfare of his city at heart and is zealously working to advance movements that will be of the greatest permanent benefit to the whole community. His entire life has been a busy, useful and interesting one. Samuel P. Atkinson was born in Central Ohio, November 26, 1844. His parents were Peabody and Marenda (Elliott) Atkinson, both of whom were descendants of Revolutionary heroes and natives of New Hampshire. The old Atkinson homestead situated ten miles from Concord, New Hampshire, was the cause of a pilgrimage made by Samuel P. Atkinson in 1916, and in the vicinity, with other kindred of generations gone, rest the ashes of his grandfather, Joseph C. Atkinson. To Peabody Atkinson and wife seven children were born, namely: Henry and Mary, both of whom are deceased; Joseph, who is living in Ohio; George, who is deceased; Samuel P.; and...

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