EDGAR M. HEAFER is one of the firm of N. B. Heafer & Co. manufacturers of brick and drain tile, which is carrying on an extensive and lucrative business. This was established in July, 1874, by our subject, on a small scale, and at first was limited to the manufacture of tile only. The brick kiln was established in 1861, by Napoleon B. Heafer and James H. McGregor, and was continued for about twenty-three years, and until its dissolution by the withdrawal of Mr. McGregor. This yard, the first one established in Bloomington, became the most extensive, and Mr. Heafer, after dissolving with his partner, operated it alone for about one year and then sold it to his son-in-law, Joseph B. Holmes, and his two sons, Arthur and Edgar M. In 1884-85, the brickyard was removed to its present location. The clay of which this brick is manufactured lies about four feet beneath the surface in a strata about eleven feet thick, and after being manufactured resembles in appearance the famous brick of Milwaukee, the grain being fine and the quality strong and durable. The tile yards and factory occupy about seven acres of ground, the main building being 150x252 feet in dimensions, two stories in height, and furnished with the most modern machinery and appliances. This is under the management of N. B. Heafer and his son, Edgar M., and affords them a fine income. In 1883 they turned out 4,000,000 feet of tile. They manufacture it in all sizes, from three to twelve inches.
Napoleon B. Heafer, the father of our subject, was born in Charleston, W. Va., in 1823, and at the early age of ten years began his battle with the world to obtain the necessaries and, if possible, the comforts and luxuries of life. He possessed but a limited education, having been only six months in school, and employed himself at whatever he could find to do. His wanderings led him northward and he drifted into Kentucky, where he lived for several years and was prospered in his efforts to obtain a livelihood. After arriving at a suitable age he was married, in Jamestown, Ky., to Miss Elizabeth C. Clark, a native of the same place. He remained there with his family until his removal to Bloomington and soon afterward engaged in the manufacture of brick. He was possessed of much natural genius and very soon became a master mechanic, with a good knowledge of his business. He is the inventor of the brick pavement being used in this city, Jacksonville, Champaign and Decatur. After a few years thus occupied, he was obliged to retire on account of failing health and is now in California.
Edgar M. Heafer, who is now the manager of the tile business, was born in Jamestown, Ky., March 20, 1851, and was about two years old when he came to Bloomington with his parents. He received his primary education in the schools of this city and subsequently took a course of study in Wesleyan University, being in the Junior Class at the time of leaving. In February. 1876, he was married to Miss Ida M., daughter of William S. Depew, of Bloomington, whose father was one of the early settlers of the Prairie State. Of this marriage there have been born three children Stella P., Edgar N. and Roscoe Lionel. Mr. Heafer, although still a young man, is serving a term as Alderman of the city, and takes an active and intelligent interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of his county and city. He is a wide-awake and enterprising business man and has a tile factory of his own a half mile southeast of that which we have mentioned, which he operates independently.
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), 213-14. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards