DAVID H. ROUNDS, formerly a prominent contractor and builder of Bloomington Township, is now one of the most
successful breeders of fine horses in McLean County. He was formerly associated in business with a partner, and
they engaged in building operations for about ten years under the firm name of Vanschoick & Rounds. The firm
is now dissolved, and Mr. Rounds devotes nearly the whole of his time and attention to developing the qualities
of that noble animal, the horse.
He is making a specialty of roadsters, and is the only man in McLean County who has raised a horse that has made a record by his training, coming within 2:30, and the only man in the county who has developed the speed of a horse to a record of 2:24 1/2, which is the record of the chief of his stables, which is known as Rounds Sprague, and is registered as No. 4194. This animal is the son of Governor Sprague, his dam being Davis Maid. Mr. Rounds purchased him at the age of twenty months, and has made him what he is.
There is also attached to his stables, Belmont Sprague No. 4527, which, although young, gives indications of something beyond the ordinary, which will soon place him upon an equality with his sire, Rounds Sprague, and dam, Lady Rodman, by Belmont No. 64, and grand-dam, Patty Rodman, by Alcalde No. 103. Mr. Rounds also owns the fine colt Brownell, No. 6064, which possesses the most style of any in his stables. He was sired by Lumps, whose record is 2:21, his dam being Mambrunello, and the second dam by Pilot, Jr. His coach stallion, Abdallah Bruce, and which possesses particularly graceful movements for a large horse, is on record, and when upon exhibition received the highest praise from Judge Arthur Caton [ed., Judge Arthur Catonís widow later married Marshall Field], whose knowledge of a good horse, and success in developing, proves him to be a man of no ordinary judgment. With these horses Mr. Rounds has built for himself an enviable reputation as a breeder and developer.
He has followed his present business for nearly thirty years, although a part of the time he was engaged as a builder and contractor. He lives near the city limits of Bloomington, and is well and favorably known throughout this section, as much for his personal traits of character as for his success in his chosen calling.
The "Mark-Field Monthly" of March, 1886, has given a lengthy notice of the Vanguard Stud, by which the collection of horses bred by Mr. Rounds is familiarly known throughout this section. It editorially remarks: "The truth of the matter is that Mr. Rounds has employed his brains in the most effective manner, and to the greatest possible advantage. In addition to this he has been wonderfully fortunate in getting hold of a lot of dams whose pedigrees contain in harmonious union about all the elect blood lines which are known to the trotting register, and whose forms and breeding qualities are admirably adapted to the head of the stud. The splendid success with which the efforts of the owner of the Vanguard Stud have been crowned, is easily traced to the sound judgment and practical wisdom that were employed in laying the foundation of that interest. That the plucky, intelligent and thoroughly honest labors of Mr. Rounds are an enduring credit to himself and a source of untold profit to the city of Bloomington, cannot for one moment be denied."
We cannot, in the space of a brief biography, name the various members of his family of equines, but it will be safe to say that the collection has no superior, if any equal, in this portion of Illinois. The animals are models of beauty and symmetry, and those whose speed has been tested, give indications of remarkable feats to be performed in the future.
Mr. Rounds is a native of Lewis County, N. Y., and was born Oct. 28, 1830. When a young child his parents removed to Medina County, Ohio, and later, in 1841, journeyed still further Westward, coming to the prairies of Illinois, making their location in Fulton County. In 1856 they all came to Bloomington, which has remained their home since that time.
The parents are still living, and make their home with their son, our subject. The father, Samuel D. A. Rounds, was a native of Boston, Mass., and the mother, who, before her marriage was Miss Amy Hatfield, was born in the State of New York.
David H. remained with his parents until he had attained to years of manhood, and was married at Farmington, Ill., in 1852, to Miss Laura Sweet, a native of Allegany County, N. Y., who had come West with her parents one year previously. Of this union there have been born eight children, four of whom are now deceased: Alice, who became the wife of J. M. Grant, a farmer, and resides at Elwood, Ill.; Nellie, Olivia and Amy are at home. The deceased are George A., Mary, Spencer and Samuel D.
Mr. and Mrs. Rounds are prominently connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics the subject of our sketch is a Republican.
Among the numerous portraits of the leading citizens of McLean County given in this volume, we are confident none are more deserving a prominent place or will be received with greater favor than that of Mr. Rounds.
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), 321. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.