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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



FRANK HENDER, the proprietor of one of the finest farms in Belleflower Township, is located on sections 8 and 9, where he has made his home since 1871. He has a handsome and substantial residence, a good barn and all other necessary out-buildings, and a good supply of fruit trees. Around the dwelling are planted handsome shade and ornamental trees, and the homestead in all respects presents one of the most attractive spots in the landscape of this section. Mr. Hender is very actively engaged in stock-raising, and at present has eighty head of cattle, 100 head of Cotswold and Southdown sheep, besides about fourteen head of horses. Owing to cholera his hog crop is rather light at present, he having only about twenty head.

Mr. Hender is an Englishman by birth, and possesses in a marked degree the reliable and substantial elements of his countrymen. His birth occurred in Hull, Yorkshire, Feb. 13, 1831. His parents were Matthew and Eleanor (Holingsworth) Hender. The father of our subject followed the sea for many years on a merchant vessel, and came to the United States in about 1854. Coming to the vicinity of Quincy, Ill., he purchased a small farm, which he occupied until 1859, when he started overland for Pike's Peak, Col., accompanied by his son, Thomas. There they purchased claims and dug for gold, and the father remained there the greater part of the time for three years following, in the meantime, however, visiting his family two or three times. He returned to this State during the war, and removing to Davenport, Iowa, lived there for a time, and thence removed to De Witt, Clinton County, where he spent the last years of his life. His widow now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Fred P. Kittenring, at De Witt, Clinton County.

The parental household included nine children, of whom the record is as follows: James, the eldest, is a resident of Washington Territory; Frank, our subject, is the second son; Mary, Mrs. Dixon, lives in Washington Territory, and Walter in Davenport, Iowa; Thomas, when last heard from, was in one of the Territories; Matthew during the late war served in the 8th Iowa Infantry and was wounded and taken prisoner at Shiloh; he died at his home in Davenport about 1878; Henry, now of Washington Territory, also served as a soldier in the 7th Missouri Cavalry; Holingsworth, also in Washington Territory, served in the 28th Illinois Infantry; Eleanor, Mrs. Kittenring, lives in De Witt, Iowa.

Our subject commenced the life of a sailor on a coaster with his father when young, which he continued until sixteen years old. He was then placed in charge of five small vessels called "lighters" and which were used in removing the cargos from large ships to the land, via the rivers. He was thus employed till 1849, and in December of that year set sail from Liverpool for the United States, landing in New York City after a voyage of forty-nine days. His first business there was in assisting to dig a canal at Bordentown, N. J. Thence he soon afterward went to Pittsburgh, Pa., and was employed in a warehouse, of which he had charge for one year, and then started for the Southwest. Arriving at St. Louis, he engaged on the steamer "Arizona," which plied between St. Louis and Memphis. After making four trips, winter coming on the steamer became ice-bound in the river, and he with others went on shore and chartered an ox-team to take them to St. Louis. This mode of locomotion being too slow, they abandoned the team and pushed ahead on foot. There were no houses on the road, and one night they were obliged to lay out on the ground and this in mid-winter. The second night they arrived at the route of the Iron Mountain Railroad then in process of construction, and there our subject engaged to superintend the cooking for 300 men. He was thus employed for six months, and then returning North to Quincy, Ill., engaged with Samuel Holmes, who was a contractor, and with whom he remained three years.

Mr. Hender then engaged with Comstock Bros., stove manufacturers, two years, after which his employers sent him to Galesburg in charge of a stock of stoves and tinware, and he there opened a store, which he managed for the firm until they sold out. He then engaged with another firm, with whom he continued six years and after this, in company with two partners, carried on the same business four years, the firm name being Hender, Zigler & Andrews. At the expiration of this time he disposed of his interest in the business to his partners and erected a building in connection with the Union Hotel, where he established in business alone. This building was destroyed by fire in 1871, and he then concluded to try farming. Coming to McLean County he purchased 140 acres, to which he has added until he now has 300 acres, which constitutes his present homestead, and upon which he has made great improvements since taking possession. The history of our subject thus briefly told, indicates him as a man possessed of more than ordinary ability, with a remarkable faculty of adapting himself to circumstances. He has been uniformly prosperous in his business transactions, as the fine property which he now owns amply testifies. Mr. Hender was married, April 12, 1858, to Miss Lucretia McCrary. Mrs. H. was born in Alabama, her father, Joseph McCrary, being a native of South Carolina and of Scotch descent. He removed to Alabama when young, where he was married and lived until 1843. He then removed to this State and settled in Jefferson County, where he lived two years, whence he removed to Peoria County and from there to Galesburg, where he spent the last years of his life. His wife, the mother of Mrs. H., also died there. Mr. and Mrs. H. have five children Frank, Albert M., Lulu, Mary and Gertrude. The parents and three of the children are members of the Episcopal Church.

The mother of Mrs. Hender, who before her marriage was Miss Elizabeth Carter, was born in Virginia, and was married first in her native State to Mr. Philgo, and went with him to Alabama, where he died about six months later. She departed this life at Galesburg in 1884.

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), 540. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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