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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



THOMAS Z. CHICK, of the firm of Chick & Covey, grocers of Le Roy, was born in Empire Township, on section 21, Aug. 28, 1857. His father, Zachariah Chick, a native of Somersetshire, England, was born June 6, 1826, and was the son of John and Harriett (Combs) Chick, both natives of Somersetshire. The great-grandfather of our subject, Thomas Chick, was a native of Dorsetshire, where he carried on farming the greater part of his life, and later removed to Somersetshire, where he spent the remainder of his days. His son John, the grandfather of our subject, followed the trade of a carpenter and joiner, and finally became a contractor and builder, and spent his entire life in Somersetshire, as also did his wife. The former died in 1858, and the latter in 1884. Their seven children, who grew to become men and women, were named Jane, Thomas, Harriett, Mary, Zachariah, John and Louisa Ann. Zachariah and John were the only ones who came to America. The latter lives in Essex County, Ontario, Canada. Zachariah Chick, the father of our subject, learned his trade of his father, and lived with him until he was twenty years old. He then went with a cousin to the Isle of Jersey, where he worked at his trade one year, and then volunteered in the Great Britain naval service, and was assigned to duty as carpenter and joiner on the man-of-war Penelope. They set sail from Portsmouth, Jan. 9, 1847, and went via the Western and Cape Verde Islands to the west coast of Africa, the mission of the vessel being to suppress the African slave trade. After fifteen months service, Zachariah Chick was sent home on account of failing health. During this trip he visited the Madeira Islands, Cape Palmas and the Island of Fernando Po, and was invalided at Ascension Island. After his return to Portsmouth he was discharged, and resumed his trade, being employed part of the time for the Government.

On the 6th of April, 1851, Mr. Chick set sail from Plymouth, bound for America, and landed at Quebec May 9. He went thence to Montreal, where he worked four months at his trade, then proceeded to Chicago in the fall of the year, and after four months spent there, went to Griggsville, Ill., and later to Maysville, Pike County, where he worked at his trade until September, 1854. In the meantime there had been waiting in England, a lady who was expecting to become the sharer of his home and fortunes. Considering now that his prospects for the future justified the step, Zachariah Chick returned East to New York City, from which he set sail on the 5th of October, for his native England. He landed at Liverpool on the 16th of November following, and on the 16th of December was united in marriage with the maiden of his choice, Miss Caroline Bond. She was born in Barrington, Somersetshire, being the daughter of Thomas and Edith (Swain) Bond, who were natives of the same shire. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Chick were Charles and Sarah (Upstill) Bond, natives of Coventry and Shipton respectively. Thomas Bond during his lifetime was a very prominent contractor and builder in Southern England, and at times had as many as thirty men in his employ.

The 1st day of March following their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Zachariah Chick set sail from Liverpool, and landed at New York City April 16. Thence they came directly to Illinois, locating first at Ottawa, where they lived until June, 1856.

They then removed to this county, which Mr. Chick had visited the fall before, and had purchased 120 acres of wild prairie land in West Township, on section 24. He did not settle upon this at once, however, but located at Le Roy and worked at his trade. Two years later he traded his land for eighty acres on section 28, of West Township, to which he removed, and engaged in farming until 1863. He then sold and returned to Le Roy, where he opened a wagon-shop, and has been engaged in the manufacture of road vehicles since that time. He has a pleasant residence on Center avenue, at the corner of Cherry street, owning the entire block on which he lives, with the exception of two lots occupied by our subject. He erected his present dwelling in 1876. It is a handsome and tasteful structure, and the yard is planted with choice shrubs and ornamental trees. Mr. and Mrs. Chick became the parents of six children Thomas Z. (our subject), John B., Sarah B., Carrie B.; William L., the youngest child, died at the age of one year and six months; the eldest died in infancy unnamed. The parents are members of the Episcopal Church.

The mother of our subject was the ninth of eleven children born to her parents, and the only one who came to the United States. Her brother William went to Australia in 1848, where he carried on the business of a merchant tailor at Sidney, New South Wales, and was very successful. He died there in March, 1885. The rest of the family remained in England.

Zachariah Chick has always been Democratic in politics and prominent in the affairs of this locality since coming here. He served one term as Mayor of Le Roy, and three terms as Alderman and Collector. He has been an Odd Fellow [ed., I.O.O.F.] thirty-eight years, and has attended the Grand Lodge in this State.

Thomas Z. Chick remained with his parents during his childhood and youth, and received a fair education in the public schools of Le Roy. At sixteen years of age he commenced clerking for N. I. Umphrey & Son, and was thus employed for this and other firms the greater part of the time until 1880. He then established himself in the dry-goods trade. After a few months he visited Dakota with a view of removal in case the country suited him, but not being satisfied with the outlook, returned, and resuming his occupation as a clerk, continued until December, 1885. He then, in company with a partner, purchased the grocery store of N. I. Umphrey, and since that time they have operated under the firm name of Chick & Covey. They carry a good line of groceries, queensware and notions, and are building up a good trade.

Mr. Chick was united in marriage with Miss Clara Lackey, Sept. 6, 1881. Mrs. Chick is the daughter of Richard and Matilda (Kirby) Lackey, and by her union with our subject has become the mother of two children Edith B. and Edwin Z. Mr. Chick is Democratic in politics, and belongs to Le Roy Lodge No. 149, I. O. O. F. , also Legion of Honor of Bloomington.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 469. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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