Collection: A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois

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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Biography of Herman Schwanderman

Herman Schwanderman has his farm home in section 17 of Harwood Township, with postoffice at the village of Ludlow. He has contributed to the development and farm improvement of that locality for a number of years and he represents that sterling and industrious stock of people that came out of Germany. Mr. Schwanderman was born at Dewey, Illinois, a son of Leopold and Rebecca Margaret (Behrens) Schwanderman. The parents were both born in Germany, came to America in early life and married in this country. They had only two sons, twins, Herman and Henry, the latter died at the age of seven months. On December 25, Christmas Day, 1902, Herman Schwanderman married Ruth Mary Dodson of Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky. She was the oldest of the thirteen children of James R. and Harriet (Simpson) Dodson. Among her family Mrs. Schwanderman was always called “Mollie.” Mr. and Mrs. Schwanderman married in Kentucky, and their wedding trip was the journey north to Champaign County, where Mr. and Mrs. Schwanderman located in the home of his parents. They took charge of the farm of eighty acres and gave the tenderest care to Mr. and Mrs. Schwanderman during the rest of their lives. This farm is the result of the accumulations and the hard work of Father and Mother Schwanderman after they came to America. The elder Schwanderman, who was born at Strassburg,...

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Biography of Benjamin Franklin Harris

Benjamin Franklin Harris, grandson of the late B. F. Harris and son of Henry Hickman Harris, was born on the old Harris farm in Champaign County, where his father was also a native, on September 30, 1868. He had of course liberal advantages during his youth and every incentive to make the best of his personal talents. Besides the common and high schools he attended the University of Illinois 1887 to 1889, and in 1892 was graduated from the law department of Columbia University. The law was only part of his preparation for life, not a profession. He returned home to assist in the management of farm lands and business enterprises, and he has continued the work of his father and grandfather as livestock farmers and bankers. From 1892 to 1899 he owned and developed and consolidated all electric street railway, lighting, power and gas plants in the twin cities. He succeeded his father as president of the First National Bank of Champaign, and in 1911-12 he served as president of the Illinois Bankers Association and has identified himself actively with many of its most important committees. He has also served as chairman of the Agricultural Commission of the American Bankers Association, and president of the Conference Committee on agricultural development and education of all state bankers associations. It was he who inaugurated the banker-farmer movement in 1908, and...

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Biography of Charles B. Johnson, M. D.

Charles B. Johnson, M. D. Valuable work in his profession and an unusual variety of experience contribute to make the career of Dr. C. B. Johnson one of note in Champaign County, where he has lived for the past forty-six years. Doctor Johnson is a veteran Union soldier, is grandson of a Revolutionary soldier, and’ during the half century since he came out of the Northern army he has been in the active practice of medicine and is still a competent member of his profession and one of Champaign County’s most useful citizens. Doctor Johnson was born at Pocahontas in Bond County, Illinois, October 8, 1843. His grandfather, Charles Johnson, was a native of North Carolina, and went with the troops of that state to battle against the British armies and the Tories in the times of the struggle for independence. Doctor Johnson’s father was James Johnson, an early settler in Illinois and a farmer. In 1849 he went out to California when that was the mecca of gold seekers and adventurers from all parts of the world, and he died soon after his arrival on the gold coast. James Johnson married Elizabeth Jane Volentine. Doctor Johnson spent his early life on a farm, attended the public schools, and early showed a tendency and desire for studious pursuits. On August 7, 1862, he enlisted in Company F of the...

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Biography of Patrick Brennon

Patrick Brennon was for many years identified with the community of Ogden as a stanch and reliable merchant, a citizen who was never negligent of his responsibilities and duties, and altogether completed a well rounded life of activity and service. A native of Dublin, Ireland, where he was born in 1844, he came to America at the age of fourteen. He had limited advantages in his youth, and by sheer force of will and determination gained a substantial position in the world. He lived in New York State for a time and then came west and located in Vermilion County, Illinois. He went from that county into the ranks of the Union army and three years after his honorable discharge in 1868 he laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Miss Cornelia Terrell. Mrs. Brennon, who is still living at the old home in Ogden, was born at Georgetown, Illinois, and grew up and married there. Her parents were William and Artemesia (Douglas) Terrell, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Kentucky. Artemesia Douglas’ family was related to that which gave Illinois and the nation the great figure of Stephen A. Douglas. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Brennon came to Ogden, which was then a small hamlet consisting only of a post office and a general store. Mr. Brennon taught school...

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Biography of Alonzo O. Morrison

Alonzo O. Morrison. One of the families that was established in Vermilion County, Illinois, in the early ’40s and has ever since been a representative agricultural one in east central Illinois bore the name of Morrison. This branch of the family was of pioneer stock in Ohio and doubtless can trace its far back ancestry to Scotland. The leading representative in Champaign County is Alonzo O. Morrison, a highly respected resident of Homer, Illinois. Alonzo O. Morrison was born in Vermilion County, Illinois, November 17, 1859. His parents were James Perry and Harriet A. (Sterns) Morrison. The father was born in Ohio and the mother in Virginia. When they came to Illinois James Perry Morrison secured land from the government, and this land he developed and his subsequent life was devoted to general farming and stock-raising. He was a man of sterling character, just in all his dealings with his neighbors and generous to his children. His death occurred in 1888. His widow survived until 1894. They were the parents of the following children: Elijah, who is a resident of Homer, Illinois; James, who died in infancy; Alonzo O.; Jasper, who died in childhood; Florence, who is the wife of J. M. Boggess, of Homer; and Harland P., who resides at Homer. Alonzo O. Morrison attended the public schools and remained at home assisting his father. When he was...

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Biography of William J. Quinlan

William J. Quinlan. Any list of the big farmers and land owners of Crittenden Township would include the name of William J. Quinlan. Mr. Quinlan has been a resident of Champaign County for nearly half a century, and he used the generous rewards of his agricultural labors here to extend his investments to several states. Mr. Quinlan was born near Covington, Kentucky, March 15, 1856, a son of Daniel and Margaret (Harty) Quinlan. Both parents were born in Ireland. His father came to America in 1847, locating in Kentucky. In June, 1856, a few weeks after the birth of William J., the family moved to Illinois, locating in Peoria County, and in 1868 they came to Champaign County, locating in section 20 of Crittenden Township. Daniel Quinlan was a man of marked prosperity and industry. He died at Tolono, Illinois, in 1899. His widow is still living in Ohio, at the advanced age of ninety-two. They have six children: Margaret, who died in infancy; William J.; John, who died in childhood; Bridget, wife of Frank Hesler, of Ohio; Mary, who died in 1891; and Ellen, wife of W. J. Reinhart, of Ohio. William J. Quinlan has always lived close to the old home, grew up and received his education largely in Champaign County, and after reaching manhood his father gave him as a start eighty acres. The passing years...

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Biography of John Russell Stewart

John Russell Stewart. As a citizen who for many years was closely identified with journalism and local affairs in Champaign County, the people of this section feel a corresponding interest in the personality and career of John Russell Stewart. As supervising editor of this publication, the publishers feel that this interest should be gratified by the inclusion of a brief personal biography. He was born on his father’s farm in Butler County, Pennsylvania, November 6, 1840, a son of William and Eliza Jane (Gibson) Stewart, who were both of direct Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. Stewart received his education in the local public schools and private academies, grew up on his father’s farm, and at the age of eighteen qualified for work as a teacher and was in the schoolroom in that capacity for four terms. Coming west in 1863, he found work in the public schools of Scott County, Iowa. In the same year he had volunteered his services to the Union army in the Civil War, but was rejected on account of defective eyesight. After four years in Scott County, Iowa, he moved to Tama County, and became superintendent of schools at Toledo, the county seat. In 1868, he was elected superintendent of the Tama County public schools and filled that office until the time of the Chicago fire in 1871. As early as 1860 Mr. Stewart became deeply...

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Biography of Marion M. Ricketts, M. D.

Marion M. Ricketts, M. D. The leading physician and surgeon of Ivesdale and well known for his ability and service all over southwestern Champaign County is Dr. Marion M. Ricketts, who has enjoyed a successful practice there for the past six. years. Doctor Ricketts was born in Clay County, Illinois, October 20, 1877, a son of Jasper and Hannah (Stanford) Ricketts. His father was born in Ohio and his mother in Illinois. Jasper Ricketts has had an industrious career as an agriculturist and is still living at Pesottim. He moved to Champaign County with his family in 1881. The mother had died in Clay County before the removal to Champaign County. They had six children: Mrs. Emil Andre, of Eaton, Colorado; Harvey, of Vincent, Iowa; Charles, deceased; Homer, of Eaton, Colorado; Doctor Ricketts; and Lyda, deceased. Doctor Ricketts was four years of age when the family came to Champaign County and grew up on his father’s farm, at the same time wisely improving the advantages offered in the local schools. His active career began at the age of sixteen, when he hired out to work as a farm hand,, taught school one year, took the normal course in Austin College at Effingham, Illinois, and after that was one of the successful and popular teachers of Champaign County for twelve years. Thus Doctor Ricketts from his own earnings paid for...

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Biography of John W. Brown

John W. Brown. From a twentieth century point of view it may be difficult to fill out a picture of comfortable living in Champaign County in the primitive days when even no railroads reached this section, bringing news, commodities and visitors from the outside world, but it must be remembered that life is more complex now, that horizons are wider, demands greater and expectations higher. Undoubtedly those whose lot it was to carve out the pioneer path here and elsewhere ultimately found happiness and contentment despite the dangers and deprivations. Among the settlers of an early day in Homer Township, Champaign County, was John Brown, for many years an honored resident of this part of the county and’ the father of John W. Brown, one of the substantial men and leading farmers. John W. Brown was born in Homer Township, Champaign County, Illinois, February 2, 1877. His parents were John and Jane (Stafford) Brown. The father was a native of Ohio and the mother of Pennsylvania. When they came to the county many parts of it were practically unsettled. John Brown devoted all his active years to developing his land in Homer Township and accumulated 214 acres, a fine property on which all the rest of his life was spent, his death occurring March 23, 1913. He had survived his wife since 1884. They were the parents of eight...

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Biography of James A.Creamer

James A. Creamer, one of the business leaders of Tolono, has lived in this locality all his life, began his career as a farmer and still owns a large amount of Illinois soil, though most of his time and energies are taken up with local business affairs at Tolono. Mr. Creamer was born in Tolono Township, February 25, 1870, a son of Ephraim C. and Sarah (Espy) Creamer, his father a native of New Jersey and his mother of Ripley, Ohio. His mother’s father was killed by a stroke of lightning about forty-eight years ago. Ephraim Creamer came to Champaign County about 1857, locating on a farm in Tolono Township and followed farming for a great many years but is now living retired in Tolono. Through his efforts he accumulated a considerable fortune in land. He and his wife had nine children: Mary, deceased; James A.; Edward, who died in 1897, being a graduate of the law department of Wesleyan University at Bloomington; Howard, deceased; Etta, wife of F. E. Williamson, of Urbana; Estella, wife of W. W. Hill, of Tolono; Lyda, wife of Albert McBratney, of Tuscola; William C., who lives on the old home farm; and Charles F., of Tolono Township. James A. Creamer finished his education with the Tolono High School. He lived at home until twenty-seven, and then took charge of the homestead of 414...

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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 Ambrose W. Strong,

Ambrose W. Strong, who is spending the quiet years of his retirement in a beautiful home at 706 Main Street in Urbana, is one of the few men now living whose recollections go back in Champaign County for nearly eighty years. Though not a native of the county Mr. Strong came here in early infancy and as a boy he knew many of the first settlers and his own life has been closely identified with those changing developments which have transformed this part of the state into a garden spot of the world. Mr. Strong was born in Hancock County, Ohio, October 4, 1834, a son of John and Mary (Moore) Strong. His parents were also natives of Ohio. When Ambrose was one year old the family came to Illinois. There were six children, three sons and three daughters, Ambrose being the oldest. The family located in St. Joseph Township, where they improved a tract of raw land and where the parents spent the rest of their lives. Grandfather Cyrus Strong had preceded his son John to St. Joseph and was a prominent character among the pioneers. It was his distinction to erect the notable old tavern known as the Kelley Tavern. It was a popular and notable hostelry and a famous landmark of early days. Much of the fame that is associated with this tavern is due to...

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Biograpy of Delong Brothers

Delong Brothers. That push and enterprise which take men over the heights of success has been the distinguishing quality of DeLong Brothers at Sadorus. In the southwestern part of Champaign County at least their achievements and their circumstances are almost too well known to need special reference, but for the benefit of the more remote sections of the county, and also as a record for the future something should be given as an outline of their careers. The firm consists of William H. and Edward B. DeLong. Both of them are natives of Champaign County and belong to an old and honored family. William H. was born in Sidney Township, November 2, 1873. The parents were Charles G. and Edna (Moore) DeLong, the former a native of New York and the latter of Massachusetts. They came to Champaign County in 1859, living one year in Philo Township, and the next year they spent in Wisconsin. On returning to Champaign County they located in Sidney Township in 1861 and brought with them from Chicago a flock of sheep, which they drove overland. Charles G. DeLong was a successful farmer of the county and died here in 1913. His widow is still living at Sadorus. They had eight children: George A., of Foosland; C. B., of Fithian, Illinois; Erne M., deceased; Minnie, wife of Eugene Burr, of Sidney Township; Clinton E.,...

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Biography of Herman J. Bialeschke

Herman J. Bialeschke. For upward of sixty years the Bialeschke family has had a prominent part in the farming and business activities of southwestern Champaign County. Herman J. Bialeschke came to this county when a small child, industriously followed farming for many years, has played a very vigorous and public spirited part in local affairs, and is now enjoying the comforts of retired life in the village of Sadorus. He was born in Germany, July 28, 1855, a son of Frederick and Minnie (Nofftz) Bialeschke, who were also natives of the fatherland. In, 1857, when he was about a year old, the parents came to America, first, locating in New York and afterwards in Chicago, and about 1858 settled in Champaign County. His father did farming at Sadorus and for two years lived on the farm of the old pioneer, Henry Sadorus. In 1865 the fruits of his industry enabled him to buy forty acres in section 8 of Pesotum Township. In the past fifty years his name has become associated with the ownership of some of the best farming land in that township and he is still owner of 320 acres. He is now eighty-six years of age and his wife is eighty-eight. This venerable couple had eight children, Herman J. being the oldest. Amelia and Hulda are both deceased; Lafayette and Albert live in Pesotum Township; Emma...

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