Carroll County IL Biographies

John B. Petty

John B. Petty, one of the prominent and well-to-do farmers of Mt. Carroll Township, is the younger son of Robert and Jane (Patterson) Petty, of whose history a sketch will be found under the name of their eldest son, William Petty, on another page in this volume. Our subject was born Oct. 23, 1844, in the township which has ever since been his home. He received his education in the district schools of the county, and, his father dying when he was quite young, he remained with his step-father, John Kinney, until he was twenty-four years of age.

Our subject first started in life for himself on eighty acres, which he inherited from his father’s estate. He later bought forty aces more adjoining it and in 1871 added still another forty acres. As he accumulated means, he bought more land, and in a year added still fifty acres more. About ten years ago he decided to engage in the creamery business, and, having bought still 160 acres more of land, which he selected with a special fitness for that business, he embarked in the enterprise which has made him so well-known throughout this part of the State. He began at first in partnership with Mr. John M. Stowell, of Mt. Carroll, and established a cheese factory. One year afterward they gave up the manufacture of cheese, giving their attention entirely to the making of butter. One year later they sold out to L. F. Twitchell, who continued the business until the fall of 1888, when he was burned out, and then removed to Dakota.

In 1886 our subject erected a creamery for himself on the “Joseph Ferren place.” The first year he milked thirty cows and used a separator, but his business increased so largely that he was obliged to do away with the separator, and run wagons to collect the cream from the neighboring farmers. At present he has twelve collecting routes, and gets the cream from about 1,500 cows. His creamery buildings are models of their kind, having all the latest improvements, everything connected therewith being of the first class, and is regarded as the finest establishment of its kind in this part of the country. Outside of his buildings is a living spring which furnishes pure water for the establishment, to every part of which it is conveyed in pipes and under the vats for cooling the cream. Having performed its duty in the creamery, the water is again conducted outside, and carried down a distance of 300 feet to the horse-barn. This spring also supplies the water for a 10-horse-power boiler; the power being furnished by an 8-horse-power engine. To facilitate his business, Mr. Petty has erected an ice-house, with a capacity of 150 tons of ice. The creamery refrigerator is of the Jackson patent, cost $150, and is capable of holding 100 tubs of butter at a time. Buttermilk is utilized by feeding it to the hogs, of which he fattens a large number. It is carried through pipes to the pen, which is at a distance of between 300 and 400 feet. The superintendent of the butter-making department is a first-class man for the position, and receives a large salary, and the butter from this establishment finds a ready market in the prominent Eastern cities. Mr. Petty has turned out as high as 1,280 pounds per day; the average during the season being about 800 pounds per day. The creamery is a model of cleanliness, neatness and purity, to obtain which result unusual pains have been taken, and the effect is shown in the unusually fine quality of its product.

All these buildings have been erected, the business created, connections made, and the business pushed to its present proportions by the individual efforts of Mr. Petty, who may be justly proud of his achievements in this line. In addition, he has also kept his farms running, cultivating himself 150 acres of his home farm, and renting the balance.

Feb. 26, 1867, our subject was united in marriage with Miss Maggie Devine. Of their union three children have been born, who make their home under the paternal roof. Elsie Viola, the eldest, graduated at Mt. Carroll Seminary, and is now teaching school; Howard B. and Harry are with their father. The wife and mother passed from earth Feb. 18, 1888, at the age of thirty-eight years. Her early death was a great blow to her husband and children, and her loss is sincerely mourned.

Mr. Petty is a man of sterling integrity of character and the highest morality, but is not now a member of any church, having in contemplation, however, uniting with the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the support of which he contributes liberally. He takes an active and prominent part in all affairs having for their object the bettering of the condition of his fellow-beings, and is noted as a charitable and benevolent man. In educational matters he is warmly interested, and for many years has been School Director. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and in politics he is a stanch Republican. The enterprise which he has established in this county is one of the most flourishing institutions of its kind in the country, and is proving of immense value to the farmers of this and surrounding townships, and to Mr. Petty is due great credit for the business-like method which he has followed in creating and fostering this great industry.

Transcribed and Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits & Biographical 1889 Pg 865

John Kinney 2nd husband of Jane (Patterson) Petty

Back home