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Lee County Biography

Walter Lockwood & Hannah (Fellows) Rogers
Palmyra Township


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Hannah Fellows and Walter L. Rogers were among the honored pioneers of Lee County, where for more than half a century they made their home. Walter came here in 1839, and followed farming in Palmyra Township until the autumn of 1890, when he moved to Dixon, where he lived a retired life.

Walter was born in Prince Edward County in the Province of Ontario, Canada, Sep. 26, 1815, and was the son of Gilbert and Nancy (Lockwood) Rogers, both of whom were natives of the Empire State and were of English descent. Upon a farm in Dutchess County, they resided for some years and there five children were born unto them. In the early part of the 1800's they removed to Canada, and began life in that country on a new timbered farm in Prince Edward County, where the father made a comfortable home for his family. He died in middle life, in 1817, of brain fever. His wife, who survived him many years, passed away in 1851. Under the auspices of the Friends Church she had been reared and afterward became a member of the society.

Walter remained in his native land until he had attained his majority, when, in 1836, at the age of twenty-one, he went to the Empire State, where he spent two years. On the expiration of that period, he determined to try his fortune in the West, and, carrying out that resolution, located in Lee County, IL in 1839, where he made his home. From the Government he purchased a claim of 160 acres on section 21, Palmyra Township, and began the development of a farm, carrying on his labor alone until 1844, when he secured as a helpmate and companion on life's journey Miss Hannah Fellows, their union being celebrated in Palmyra Township.

Hannah Fellows was born in New Hampshire, on October 12, 1824, and when a maiden of ten summers came to Lee County with her parents, Stephen Jr. and Rachael (McGaffey) Fellows. They made the journey by land and water, and Stephen Fellows secured a new farm in Palmyra Township, purchasing the same from the government. His family were among the first to locate in Palmyra Township, with the history of which they have been connected. Stephen Fellows died there in 1840, after which his widow eventually went to Iowa, and in the home of her daughter, Mary, departed in 1883. In religious belief they were both Methodists and were highly respected people.

Hannah was one of a large family. She spent the days of her girlhood under the parental roof, leaving her father's home on her marriage with Walter. They began their domestic life on the farm which Walter had previously puchased, living in true pioneer style, but as the years went by and their financial resources were increased, comforts and luxuries were added and their home became one of the most pleasant in the community. A fine brick residence was built , large barns and other outbuildings were erected and well-tilled fields yielded a golden tribute. Walter and Hannah also purchased one hundred and fifty-one acres of fine timber land on section 28, Palmyra Township, which, in addition to the old homestead, they owned for several years.

The union of this worthy couple was blessed with seven children including: Alvin, who died at the age of one year and Gilbert, who died in the prime of his life, leaving a wife and two children to mourn his loss. The others were Alice A., who was the wife of Howard Johnson; Mary, wife of Hon. James P. Wilson, Who lived in Ogle County; Eliza, Wife of Thomas Johnson, who was a miner and farmer in Colorado; Mahala, who never married and Flora, wife of Mr. Baum.

On Feburary 26, 1890 Walter was called upon to mourn the death of Hannah. Throughout this community, she was widely known and had a host of friends, who held her in high esteem. She had proved a faithful companion to her husband, was a fun loving mother and a kind neighbor. She held membership with the Methodist Church, to which Walter also belonged.

Walter L. Rogers died Feburary 27, 1897. He was a staunch Republican in politics, and held many local offices, discharging the duties with promptness and fidelity. The success which had crowned his efforts brought him a handsome competence which enabled him to live a retired life with the enjoyment of rest which he had truly earned.(

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 195

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