Lee County Biography

Charles J. Rosbrook


Charles J. Rosbrook, is one of the successful merchants of Dixon. In the spring of 1886, he established business in this city as a dealer in hardware and agricultural implements and so rapidly has his business grown and developed that he has now one of the largest houses of the kind west of Chicago. His establishment is situated on First Street and the building, which is 120x 50 feet and two stories in height, is well filled with the best grade of goods turned out from the manufactures of hardware and agricultural implements: consisting of Deere & Co.'s plows and cultivators, Deere & Mansur Co.'s planters and seeders,Nicholas the Shepherd's threshers, Moline wagons,and Henney Co.'s buggies. His sales are made on the merits of his stock, not by false representations; and by earnestly trying to please his customers and giving them just what they desire, he has secured a most liberal patronage.

Mr. Rosbrook has long been a resident of Lee County. He was born in Lock port, N. Y., in 1845, and is the youngest child of John and Lucretia (Green) Rosbrook. His father was a native of New Hampshire and came of an old New England family. When a lad, he accompanied his parents to Niagara County, N. Y., where he grew to manhood and became familiar with the life of a farmer. He was there married, the lady being a native of Niagara County, born of French and English parentage. With their family, Mr. and Mrs. Rosbrook emigrated Westward in 1855, locating in Lee County, 111. They became the first settlers in Harmon Township and broke the first prairie within its borders. It was no easy task to develop a farm from the wild land, but the work was accomplished by the father and his children, and upon the old homestead the parents resided until called to their final rest. The father died in 1861, at an advanced age. On coming to the county he had secured thirteen hundred acres of land near Rosbrook Lake, which he sold at a moderate price to those who wished to make homes in this locality. He took an active interest in all that pertained to the public welfare and in his death the county lost one of its best citizens.

Our subject was but a lad of nine summers when he came to Illinois. Amid the wild scenes of the frontier, he was reared to manhood and experienced many of the hardships and trials of pioneer life. Many an acre of raw prairie has he broken with the old time plow, drawn by oxen, and with the ox-team he hauled the grain to market in those days. In his youth he was inured to hard labor but thereby developed a self-reliance and force of character which have proved of incalculable benefit to him in later years. After attaining his majority, he engaged in farming for himself for some time in Harmon Township and subsequently engaged in the hardware and lumber business in the village of Harmon for a couple of years. He then came to Dixon and entered upon his present line of trade, carrying on operations with the success before mentioned.

In Lee County, Mr. Rosbrook married Miss Anna Siefken, who was born in Germany, in 1848, and when a small child came with her parents to Illinois, the family settling in Harmon Township in 1858, where the father improved a farm and where the mother died. Mr. Siefken is yet living on the old homestead at the age of seventy-three years. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Rosbrook have been born five children yet living, and they have lost two—John and Edith. Frank J. is now his father's bookkeeper; Fred D. also is in the employ of his father; Harrison J., Lenora and Edna are yet at home. Mrs. Rosbrook is a member of the Lutheran Church. In politics, Mr. Rosbrook is a stanch Republican who warmly advocates the principles of that party and does all in his power to advance its interests. He is now serving as Alderman of the First Ward and proves himself an efficient officer.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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