Carroll County Biographies

Mt. Carroll

Mt. Carroll is the home of many of the old pioneers of this county, and among them may be numbered the subject of this history, who came to this region half a century ago, in the year 1839, and entered half of section 35, in Mt. Carroll Twp. This was totally uncultivated, and his first business was to provide a shelter, which he did by putting up a log building in the most primitive manner, employing not even a nail in its construction.

The journey to this region had been performed mostly by water from Steuben County NY to Chicago. Our subject was then a youth of 18 years, and there were only 3 families in the neighborhood. He worked a little on his land, and then engaged in a saw mill, in which he was employed most of the time the first year. He kept bachelor's hall and was obliged to travel to Savanna for his groceries. The second year he commenced in earnest the cultivation of his land, and began raising wheat, corn and oats, which he hauled ot Chicago; the round trip consuming nine or ten days.

After a few years Mr. Tomlinson drifted into stock-raising, which he found more profitable and less laborious than general farming. He was the first man in this vicinity to own a thoroughbred running horse, which he brought from Kentucky, and kept seven years. This was a very valuable animal, and from him Mr. Tomlinson obtained a fine lot of improved stock. Since that time he has been m ore or less engaged in breeding blooded horses, and now has eleven valuable trotters, two of them showing 2:30 the first year and a three year old making his 2:40. His stable at present comprises stock altogether from Waveland Chief, including two valuable young stallions. He is his own trainer, assisted by his son. For this purpose he retains his farm of 225 acres, which is considered one of the finest country estates in the county, and admirably adapted to stock purposes. Upon it he has a mile track and all the other appliances and conveniences for developing the best points of this equine race.

Mr. Tomlinson, however, removed from his farm to Mt. Carroll in April, 1887, and leaves his business largely in the hands of his son. He has always distinguished himself as a public-spirited citizen, interested in the establishment of schools, and all the projects calculated ot advance the people. He assisted in the organization of the first school district in his neighborhood, and was one of the leading members of the Board, officiating as Director, and doing everything in his power to further educational inerests. Aside from these duties he has avoided the responsibilities of office. He cast his first Presidential vote as a member o the old Whig party, and on its abandonment cordially endorsed Republican principles. No man has done more to build up the county, and especially to further its agricultural interests. His stock operations have gained him an enviable reputation throughout this region. In addition to his farm and his city residence, he is also owner of the Occidental Hotel at Savanna.

Our subject was married Aug. 23, 1843 to Miss Harriet Kenyon and to them were born six children of whom four are living; DeWitt C. is married and lives in Savanna; John is farming in Mt. Carroll Twp.; Daniel K is in Southern Dakota and Seward W. occupies the home farm. The father of our subject was Beers Tomlinson Sr., a native of Connecticut and born in 1785. He married Miss Susan Bailey and they reared a family of six sons. He came to this county in 1838 from New York State to which he had emigrated from CN. Here he took up a tract of wild land and improved a farm, which he occupied until his death in 1845. The wife and mother survived her husband a period of 30 years, spending her last days at the old homestead. The elder Tomlinson was a man of decided ideas, and on the defeat of Clay, in 1844 he predicted the approach of the Civil War. Upon being asked the reasons for his opinions, he replied; "Calhoun's chickens will be full-fledged and ready to fly before or about 1857."

Daniel Kenyon, the father of Mrs. Tomlinson was born in NY and married Catherine Simpson. They came to IL in 1839 and settled on a tract of land near that of the Tomlinsons, where they spent the remained of their lives; the mother dying in 1853, and the father the year following. Mrs. Harriet (Kenyon) Tomlinson was born in Warren Co. NY Aug. 22, 1825 and lived there until coming to IL. She is a lady of much intelligence and worth, and a member of good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Tomlinsons flourished in Connecticut through several generations, and this branch of the Beers Family descended from Gov. Beers.

Portrait & Biographical Pg 951

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