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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



ALFRED FREEMAN, who is engaged in the harness and saddlery business at No. 215 West Jefferson street, Bloomington, has been a resident of McLean County since 1876. He is a native of Johnson County, Ind., and was born on the 14th of June, 1828. He is the son of Matthias and Sarah (Bowers) Freeman, natives of New Jersey. Matthias Freeman, when a young man, went with his parents to Cincinnati, Ohio, and there worked at wagon-making and blacksmithing. In 1826 be moved on westward into Indiana, where, to his former business he added the manufacture of plows. He then took up 204 acres of land; in Johnson County, Ind., where he permanently located and remained until his death, which occurred in 1859. The wife and mother survived until 1875. The parental household included seven children, four of whom are now living George W., Alfred, Sarah J. and Hannah C. Alfred Freeman remained on the farm until fourteen years of age, and then learned harness-making. After he had gained a good knowledge of the business he had a shop erected on the farm, purchased a team, and there manufactured the articles of his trade, and when he had secured a load carried it around and sold it to the people in that vicinity. He operated thus until 1849, when he went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where for one winter he operated a shop, then returned home, and until 1858 carried on a harness-shop in Franklin, giving employment to eight boys and six men. This enterprise he finally abandoned, and for two years afterward engaged in milling. For this purpose he built a mill in 1858, which he subsequently moved to Texas, and located in Cameron, the county seat of Milam County. There he took in two partners, and they added a distillery and gristmill, all three operating together for four and a half years. While in Texas Mr. Freeman bought sixty-six acres of land, which he laid out in town lots which he sold at good figures, and after his return to Franklin, Ind., he also made purchases of land and platted some town lots, which were also disposed of to a good advantage. Mr. Freeman then sold out his interest, went first to Mexico and then, returning to Indiana, engaged in mercantile pursuits for two years, and afterward built a sawmill, which he operated for over four years. In connection with this he also had a stave factory. He then abandoned this to engage in farming and the raising of seeds for market. He was particularly fortunate in the raising of vegetables also, and at the State Fair [ed., Illinois State Fair] of 1869 received twenty-two first premiums for all kinds of vegetables and farm produce, and in 1870 received nineteen first premiums. After seven years thus occupied he engaged in the hardware trade at Martinsville, and also resumed his harness and saddlery business, which, after continuing six years, he sold to remove to Indianapolis. Thence he went to Mt. Carmel, Ill., and opened up a harness and saddlery shop, which, with other property, was swept away in a cyclone in 1876. He then came to Bloomington, where he established his present business, at which he has continued since that time.

Alfred Freeman and Miss Mary W. Candy were married in 1876, at Mt. Carmel. Mrs. F. is a native of Maryland, and removed with her parents to Lexington, Ky., when a small child. The residence of our subject and his wife is pleasantly located at No. 511 South Madison street, and they enjoy the society and friendship of a large circle of acquaintances. They are members in good standing of the Unitarian Church, and Mr. F. politically belongs to the Greenback party, and is a strong temperance man, and a vigorous advocate of woman suffrage. A lithographic portrait of Mr. Freeman is shown on another page of this work.

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), 464. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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