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Collection: Biographical History of Rock Island Illinois

Biography of Walter Judson Entrikin

After sixty-two years of experience of the most varied nature, Walter Judson Entrikin, prominent attorney, died August 3, 1908, at his residence in Moline, at 316 Sixteenth Street. Unlike many of the older settlers in this county, Attorney Entrikin was born on American soil and spent his entire life in the United States of America – in the great middle west. Born on February 8, 1846, he spent his early youth in Salem Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, but later choose to roam farther vest. After many years of work in various capacities in Rock Island County, Mr. Entrikin became city attorney of the City of Moline, 1873-4 and 1881-2; state’s attorney of Rock Island County, 1884-8; master in chancery of Rock Island County, 1902-4. His parents were Brinton Entrikin and Eliza Jane (McCraken) Entrikin. Their history is of great interest and it was due to their efforts and labor in the “pioneer days” that their descendants became influencing powers in communities in which they have labored in later years. Brinton Entrikin was born on December 8, 1811, at Westchester, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Eliza Jane McCraken was born on November 19, 1814, at Salem Township, Columbiana County, Ohio. The father of the local man was a schoolmate with Bayard Taylor, the author, and his mother was an important station agent on the “Underground Railroad ” – that railroad which...

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Biography of Dr. James F. Myers

Doctor James F. Myers, one of Rock Island County’s prominent physicians, was born December 29, 1856, at Hebron, Ohio, and was the son of Henry A. and Lavina Myers, both of whom are living in their eighties at Eureka, Illinois. Dr. Meyers’ father was a Baptist minister by vocation, but at an early age retired upon a farm in McLean County, Illinois. He was a native of Alleghany County, Pennsylvania. Doctor James F. Myers attended the common schools of his own neighborhood until he reached his eighteenth year, when he took up his studies at Westfield College. Before receiving his degree there he entered the business college of Marquam and Baker at Bloomington, Illinois, and after completing his course of study in this college, entered Rush Medical College and graduated from that institution February 20, 1883. During the time spent in college he studied art, and during the last three years of his studies he taught music, namely: piano, violin and vocal. James F. Myers was born on a farm and spent his boyhood days there. Even when a mere boy he was noted for his musical inclinations, if not his ability, and at the age of fifteen years was leader of a brass band also leader of an. orchestra, played the church organ and taught the old fashioned singing school in the school houses and churches and in...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. F. H. Gardner

Doctor F. H. Gardner, a physician residing at 507 Fifteenth Street. Moline, Illinois, is a native of the state, having been born at Sublette March 16, 1839. After acquiring a common and high school education he entered the Chicago College of Pharmacy and Medical Department Union of Illinois, from which he graduated. He served briefly as a military man as a member of the Chicago Zouaves, this service extending from the year of 1886 to 1887. Politically he was every hair a Republican, and in 1897 he received the appointment of United States pension examiner, which position he holds to date. Fraternally he is affiliated with Doric Lodge, No. 319, of Moline, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. In 1897, the same year in which he was appointed United States pension examiner, he married Miss Anna Van Horn, of LaFayette, Indiana. As a physician he ranks high and as a citizen his pleasing personality and characteristics have stamped him among the most agreeable and respected of...

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Biographical Sketch of Harry Landon Chapman

Harry Landon Chapman, a native of Illinois, was born at Jerseyville, in this state, on October 29, 1875, and was the son of T. S. and Sarah E. Chapman. His mother was formerly Miss Sarah E. Landon, of German parentage, while his father was an Englishman. Mr. Chapman is now prominent in banking circles in the City of Moline, where he holds the honorable position of vice-president of the Peoples Bank and Trust Company. He took up his residence in Moline February 1, 1904, and since that time has made many staunch friends. After obtaining a public school education he entered the Michigan law school and upon completion of his studies, graduated and was admitted to the bar of Illinois and Michigan at the age of twenty-three years. He practiced law for some time, but decided that his interest in banking would be of greater value, and consequently turned his attentions to that profession, to which he still adheres. Mr. Chapman is a Republican but never run for public office. He has always, and is still, ready to exert his efforts for a fellow Republican. Mr. Chapman is also a constant church goer and can be found in the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Moline on most every Sunday. His people were all honorable and ranked high in their respective lines of business, and like his ancestry,...

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Biography of Mark Ashdown

Mark Ashdown, deceased, for many years a resident of Port Byron and Coe Townships, was, during his lifetime, one of the best known and respected of the many long time residents of this county. He was born in County Kent, in England. on the third day of June, 1851, and died May 31, 1907. He came to America early and in late years became prominent in local public life as an ardent Prohibitionist and the holder of various public offices in this county at various times. Not until early in 1907 did death finally claim Mr. Ashdown, after he had suffered for six years with paralysis. The late citizen of Rock Island County, here mentioned, was the son of Edward and Ann Bakurst Ashdown, both of County Sussex, England. Edward Ashdown, father of Mark, came to America in 1842, accompanied by his two sons, Henry and Mark, and after spending thirteen months in Macedon, Wayne County, New York, they returned to England, where the elder Mr. Ashdown died soon afterward. In the fall of 1850 Mark and his brother returned to New York State and again located in Wayne County. Until 1855 Mark remained there and in that year emigrated to Illinois, spending one Summer in Port Byron. Then going to Canoe Creek Township of Rock Island County, he remained until 1863, engaging in agricultural pursuits. Going into Coe...

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Biography of Walter Johnson

Mr. Walter Johnson, the subject of this sketch, died in Rock Island, November 23, 1903. He was for a third of a century one of the vital forces of the community. For twenty-seven years he occupied the editorial chair of the Daily Union, in which position he at all times was an able and courageous champion of that which he considered right, and calculated to make the community better. His editorial utterances carried weight not only because of their intrinsic merit and evident fairness in the presentation of the subjects under discussion, but because it was recognized throughout the community that they represented the honest and calm judgment of a man who in his private life exemplified his public utterances, and who at all times was actuated by the principles and motives of the Christian gentleman of the highest type. Mr. Johnson was born in London, England, April 27, 1843, being a son of John F. and Harriette Augusta (Ryley) Johnson. The elder Mr. Johnson, who was a ribbon manufacturer in England, came to this country in 1851, settling at Welton, Iowa, at which place and Lyons, Iowa, he engaged in general merchandising, in connection with farming, until 1862, when he removed to Davenport, where he engaged in the grocery trade until 1867, when he removed to Rock Island, which city was his home until his death in 1888....

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Biography of Samuel Sharper Davis

In considering those among Rock Island’s citizens whose activities have been directed toward developing that City’s industries, and whose foresight has been rewarded in a most substantial manner, one’s mind instinctively turns to the subject of our present sketch, Samuel Sharpe Davis. He was born February 1, 1858, at Covington, Kentucky, his parents being John B. and Anna E. (Sharpe) Davis. To this couple three children were born: Thomas B., Samuel S., and Mary. The parents were of Scotch-Irish origin. Thomas Bodley Davis, the paternal grandfather was a native of Pennsylvania. In early life he moved to Kentucky, and for some years served as captain of a steamboat plying between Pittsburg and New Orleans on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Upon one of the trips up river from New Orleans he was stricken with yellow fever, and died for the completion of the journey. At the time of his death he was thirty-four years of age. The maternal grandfather, Samuel K. Sharpe, was a native of Kentucky. He was a practicing physician and surgeon. The greater part of his life was spent in Maysville, Kentucky. He removed to Rock Island with his wife in 1875. Her death occurred in 1881 at the age of seventy-six years. Her husband survived her nine years, his death occurring in Rock Island in 1890, at the extreme age of ninety years. Dr. Sharpe...

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Biography of Henry Stelck

Henry Stelck, a promising young member of the Rock Island County bar, is a native of the City of Rock Island, having been born there February 12, 1878. His father was Peter Stelck and his mother Caroline (Koester) Stelck. Both the parents immigrated to America from Germany. Mr. Stelck, the elder, was born in 1833 in Wisch, Propstei, Schleswig-Holstein. The mother was born in Lensah in the same state in 1845. The father located in Rock Island in 1867, after having for ten years immediately following his removal to America, been a resident of Davenport, Iowa. The parents of the subject of this sketch were married in 1869, the mother dying May 27, 1883, and the father January 4, 1897. Of the seven children born to them five are living: Emma, wife of W. W. Harris, of Rock Island; Bertha, wife of Dr. O. P. Sala, of Davenport; Elizabeth G., and Henry, of Rock Island, and William, of Lakefield, Minnesota. Our subject obtained his first schooling in the Roessler German school of Rock Island. Later he attended the German Lutheran school and eventually he entered the public schools, from which he graduated in 1894, after completing the high school course. After one year spent as a student at Augustana College he took up the study of law with Wood, Butterworth & Peek, of Moline. His professional training was completed...

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Biography of Benjamin Harper

The subject of this sketch needs no introduction to the older generation of Rock Island County, the larger enterprises of which he was intimately associated with throughout the many years of his residence here. Benjamin Harper was born February 12, 1817, in the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died April 3, 1887, in the City of Rock Island, Illinois. When about fourteen years of age his parents removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he served his apprenticeship to the wagon-maker’s trade, upon completion of which, that spirit of bold initiative and energy which characterized his whole after life, asserted itself in a determination to launch out upon an independent business career. The story of his start, and his rapid conquest of fortune, affords an interesting contrast to the conditions of success demanded by our modern youth. Young Benjamin’s father was a small farmer, on what was then the Western frontier. Naturally, he possessed scant means that he could afford to venture as a capital stake for his young son, but the boy needed only half a chance, as the event will show. Mr. Harper happened to have in his cellar a considerable stock of cider. This he gave to Benjamin, telling him to dispose of it as he pleased. Young Harper loaded the cider on to a flat-boat, floated it down the Ohio River to St. Louis, and sold it....

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Biography of Luke E. Hemenway

Mr. Luke E. Hemenway, father of Charles, F., was born in Shoreham, Vermont, August 7, 1816. His father was Francis S., born at Grafton, Massachusetts, January 23, 1784, and his mother was Clara Turrill, born in the year 1786. He was a direct descendant of Ralph Hemenway and Elizabeth Hewes, who were married at Roxbury, Massachusetts, July 5, 1634. He received a common school education at Shoreham, Vermont. Leaving home at the age of thirteen, he worked in a store at Bethel, Vermont, until the year 1838, when he removed to Grand de Tour, Illinois, where he married Jane E. Marsh, June 23, 1842. On August 7, 1855, Mr. Hemenway removed to Moline, Illinois, to take charge of the offices of the John Deere Plow Works. In the year 1860 he became a member of the firm of Hemenway, Wyckoff & Company, now the Barnard & Leas Manufacturing Company, and 1864 the call of his country prevailed against the demands of business. He was elected Captain of Company H, One Hundred and Thirty-second Illinois Infantry, and served until the close of the war. Then, his public duty discharged, he returned to Moline and took charge of the office of the Moline Plow Company, in which connection he continued until failing health led him to resign his position in 1875. Subsequently, he was agent for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy...

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Biography of Charles F. Hemenway

A prominent and active figure in the business life of Moline, Illinois, has been, and still is, Mr. Charles F. Hemenway, the well known dealer in real estate and loans. Mr. Hemenway was born November 1, 1846, at Grand de Tour, Illinois. His father’s name was Luke E. Hemenway (to whom a special article is devoted in this book), who married Jane E. Marsh, at Grand de Tour, June 23, 1842. The Hemenways are direct descendants of Ralph Hemenway and Elizabeth Hewes, who were married at Roxbury, Massachusetts, July 5, 1634. Their grandson, Daniel Hemenway, was a delegate to the convention that framed the Constitution of Massachusetts. He was Treasurer for the Patentees of the Town of Shoreham, Vermont, in the year 1873. From him is descended the subject of this sketch. Mr. Hemenway received a common school education in the Schools of Grand de Tour and Moline, finishing at the latter place at the age of fourteen. He left home at the age of fifteen, to accept a position in the post office at Lansing, Iowa, November 15, 1861. On August 13, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, Volunteers, at the age of fifteen years, and was honorably discharged at Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 6, 1865, with the rank of Corporal. Mr. Hemenway served with his company during the campaign in Northern Mississippi, being present at...

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Biography of George W. Stephens

George W. Stephens was born February 22, 1799, in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and died at Moline, Illinois, July 12, 1892. He was christened George Washington Stephens because of his birthday being the same as that of the Father of our Country, but he dropped the ” Washington” from his name because of a dislike of seeing the names of distinguished men attached to others. His father was Randall Stephens, a soldier of the war of 1812 and the grandson of Captain Alexander Stephens who was attached to the Army of the Second Edward the Pre-tender. After the battle of Culloden in which the forces of Edward were disastrously defeated, Alexander Stephens fled to this country, where he entered the Army of Washington and fought under him in the French and Indian wars. He founded what was known as the Penn Colony at the junction of the Susquehanna and Junniata Rivers in 1746. Some years later a son. Amos, was granted 11 acres of land in Westmoreland County by the State for distinguished service of his father in the Revolution, and this land is still in the possession of the family, the son of a sister owning it. Alexander afterward went to Georgia, where his grandson, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, became a United States Senator and the Vice-President of the Confederate States. His mother, Martha Boggs, was a resident...

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Biography of Major Charles W. Hawes

Major Charles W. Hawes is probably the oldest male “native” of Rock Island, Illinois, born within the Village of Stephenson, now embraced in the city limits of Rock Island, prior to 1842. His father was David Hawes, a native of Belchertown, Massachusetts, and his mother was Julia M. Babcock, a native of   Ware, Massachusetts, both of Revolutionary stock. (See biography David Hawes) Major Hawes’s father arrived in Rock Island from Massachusetts via St. Louis and the Mississippi River in October, 1835, where Mrs. Hawes joined him later, and Major Hawes was born March 7, 1841. He had the advantage of a better education than most frontier boys of his day, attending the Harsha Academy at Dixon, Illinois, after graduating from the local schools. At the outbreak of the War in 1861, he was serving as deputy sheriff under his father, who was then Sheriff of Rock Island County. On July 20, 1861, Major Hawes enlisted in Company A, of the Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry, Volunteers, being made first sergeant of the Company. The Companies of the Regiment assembled at Camp Webb, Chicago, Illinois, and it was there, while the Regiment of raw recruits was being whipped into fighting condition, that Major Hawes received his first promotion. He was commissioned second Lieutenant on August 10, 1861. On December 31, 1861, he was commissioned as first Lieutenant, and on July 20, 1862,...

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Biography of John Deere

No citizen in Rock Island County, or throughout the country, was probably more widely known than John Deere of Moline. He was born at Rutland, Vermont, February 7, 1804, and died May 17, 1886. 1805 the family moved to Middlebury, Vermont, where the children attended school in a district schoolhouse, which had a long fire place across the end of the room. The reading, writing and little arithmetic obtained here, before he was twelve years old, was the principal educational start Mr. Deere had for life. He afterwards attended private school for a few months, but the inborn inclination for active practical work must assert itself, and the career began, which, for unconquerable energy, determined will, and self-made success, has few equals, if any superiors. Becoming tired of the schoolroom, he hired himself to a tanner to grind bark, and the pair of shoes and suit of clothes purchased with the wages were the first inclination the mother had of John’s doings. At the age of seventeen he became an apprentice to Captain Benjamin Lawrence, and began learning the blacksmith trade. He faithfully worked out his engagement of four years, and was then employed in the shop of William Wells and Ira Allen, to construct iron wagons, buggies and stagecoaches. A year later he was in Burlington, and did the entire wrought iron work on the saw and linseed...

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Biography of Frank A. Landee

It is a safe presumption that Frank A. Landed the widely known retail grocer of Moline, is an example of self made manhood that is worthy of the most persistent and conscientious emulation. Mr. Landee was born in Kalmar, Sweden, August 11, 1852, and from the moment of his arrival in this country, his career has been marked by unceasing toil and honorable occupation and transactions. From a lad, wholly unknown, his rise has incessantly been in the ascendancy. He is at the present time a member of the Board of Directors of Augustana College; and is a member of the purchasing and building committee for the same institution; Treasurer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Swedish Lutheran Church; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Independent Order Odd Fellows Lodge No. 583 (Swedish) of Moline; Director of the Peoples Trust and Savings Bank; Vice-President of the Moline Furniture Works; Trustee of Court of Honor Lodge No. 100, of Moline; was President of the Swedish Republican State League during Yates governmental campaign; is an active member of the Moline Business Men’s Club; is one of the directors of the Retail Merchants Association in his home city, and holds and has held numerous other positions of trust and responsibility during his diligent lifetime. His attitude toward those who toil is best exemplified by the signal honor bestowed...

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