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Putnam County, Illinois History and Genealogy
Biographies

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John H. Weissenburger
John H. Weissenburger, Hall Township, was born in Putnam County, Ill., June 16, 1850. His parents, George and Eva Weissenburger, were natives of Bavaria, Germany. The former is now living in Dimmick Township, LaSalle Co., Ill. The latter died in Section 4, Hall Township, Bureau County, January 31, 1862; they having come here in 1859. There were the parents of the following children, viz: Corad, of Iowa; Catharine of Putnam County Ill.; Eva, of LaSalle County, Ill; George of Hall Township; Valentine of Hall Township; Louis of Peru and John H., our subject. John H. Weissenburger was married in this county March 14, 1871 to Catharine Dorn, who was born in Westfield Township June 12, 1852, a daughter of John and Carrie (Snyder) Dorn, old settlers of Bureau County. Mrs. Weissenburger died September 30, 1883, leaving two children, viz: Jennie E., born May 29, 1873; John H., March 14, 1877. Mr. Weissenburger is a Democrat in political views.
[Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, by Henry C. Bradsby, Chicago Publishing Company, 1885]



David L. and Elizabeth (Daggar) Whitten
William Whittin (deceased) was born in Erie County, Penn., May 28, 1819 and there grew to manhood and then came West, and subsequently made Illinois and Iowa his home. In 1851 he was married in Lee County, Iowa to Eliza J. Larison, who was born near Ithaca, N.Y., December 27, 1830, and in childhood went to Iowa. In 1860 Mr. Whittin came to Bureau County, Ill., and settled the farm of 160 acres now occupied by his family and died January 20, 1877. His only son, David L. Whitten was born in Putnam Co., Ill., August 31, 1858 but was mostly reared and educated in Bureau County. He was married January 7, 1880 to Miss Elizabeth Daggar. She was born in Putnam Co., Ill., October 20, 1856, and is the daughter of Peter and Janet Daggar. The father is deceased, but the mother resides at Storm Lake, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. David L. Whittin are the parents of one daughter, viz: Lucy E., born July 4, 1883. Mr. D. L. Whittin is a stanch Republican in politics as was also his father.
[Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, by Henry C. Bradsby, Chicago Publishing Company, 1885, Biography of William Whitten]



Theodosia Holmes (Lyon) Williams
William Hunter Williams


William Hunter Williams, deceased, was for many years a prominent representative of the farming and stock-raising interests of Putnam County. He traced his ancestry back to John Williams, a native of Wales and Ann Williams, a native of Plymouth, England. They resided before the Revolutionary War in the colony of New Jersey and during the period of hostilities their home was burned by the British army. The family then became scattered and it is supposed the family records were lost or destroyed at that time. Thomas Williams, son of John and Ann Williams, was bound out for a number of years to a farmer, after which he removed to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he learned the trade of house-painting. On the 2d of May, 1807, he married Frances Hunter, a daughter of William and Frances Hunter of that city and unto them was born on the 15th of January, 1811, a son, William Hunter Williams, whose name introduces this review.

When he was a lad of about seven his parents removed to Baltimore, Maryland, where on the 17th of October, 1822, the father died, leaving a widow with four children. They returned to Philadelphia, where William Hunter attended the public schools until about fourteen years of age, when he was apprenticed to William Ford to learn the business of silver-plating. In May, 1837, in consequence of the financial conditions that existed at that time, the country being involved in a money panic, he sought to better his circumstances by removing to the western states.

Accordingly in the early part of June, 1837, Mr. Williams arrived at the village of Hartford in Dearborn County in the southern part of Indiana. In the month of August of that year he made a prospecting tour on foot to Indianapolis and thence west to the eastern part of Illinois, where his further progress was arrested by fever and ague. His objective point was Alton, Illinois, but the illness which he suffered caused him to endeavor to retrace his steps to Hartford, Indiana. This however, was accomplished with great effort, but he reached that place during the month of September. In the year 1838 he had his first experience as a farmer, but suffered from a relapse of the fever and ague. He had rented seven acres of land, whereon he raised a crop of corn. In the latter part of the summer of 1838 he accepted a position as a clerk in a country store and a few months later he became a clerk and employee on a flat-boat which was to take a cargo of flour and pork to the lower Mississippi River. This task accomplished in the spring of 1839 he returned to Hartford, Indiana, making a detour to visit a brother in Putnam County, Illinois, upon which occasion he concluded to settle permanently in this state.

Returning to Hartford, Mr. Williams was offered a position on a store-boat and continued in the boating business until some time in September, 1839. On the 21st of that month he started on horseback for Marshall County, Illinois, where he arrived on the 1st of October. It was on the 1st of May, 1843, that he entered eighty acres of land on section 19, Senachwine Township, receiving the government patent for the same under the administration of President John Tyler, and on the 20th of December, 1846, he purchased eighty acres of land adjoining the farm of Samuel C. Bacon.

On the 29th of June, 1843, Mr. Williams was married to Miss Theodosia Holmes Lyon, a daughter of Abijah and Comfort (Holmes) Lyon, who were natives of Westchester County, New York and the father removed from New York City to Marshall County, Illinois in the spring of 1839, the mother passing away in New York. Mr. and Mrs. Williams commenced housekeeping on the first purchase of land in the spring of 1844, passing through all of the pioneer experiences incident to that period in the history of this part of the state. In 1847 Mr. Williams was elected to the office of justice of the peace of Senachwine Township and continued in the office for many years. He was also county judge for a period of six years, succeeding Joel W. Hopkins, who was elected a member of the state legislature. For nearly a decade he served as postmaster of the village of Senachwine, now called Putnam, and was township clerk for a number of years. He was likewise township school treasurer for thirty years and for several years was collector. In all of these duties with promptness and fidelity and his record therefore reflects credit upon himself and his service was entirely satisfactory to this constituents.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Williams were born nine children, seven of whom are yet living: France H., the wife of Samuel A. Wilson, a resident of California; William A., who is living in Texas where he has a large fruit ranch; Martha, the wife of c. M. Hobbs, who is living in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and has been yardmaster at the Union Pacific Railroad transfer for thirty-five years; Mary, the wife of O. H. Lincoln, a farm and successful raiser of fine horses living in McHenry County, Illinois; John Howard, who is living on the old homestead; Emma Elizabeth, the wife of W. B. Berry, who is a minister of the Christian Church and editor of the Christian Pacific, living in San Francisco, California; James A., a resident of Chicago; Theodosia Ann, the deceased wife of Thomas Hill, a resident of Adin, California; and David Herbert, who was drowned in Tennessee.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Williams were members of the Henry Society of the New Jerusalem or Swedenborgian Church and Mrs. Williams has been identified therewith for forty-six years. She is still living on the old homestead with her son, John H.

The death of Mr. Williams occurred August 22, 1898. He had for a long period been an active factor in the agricultural development of this locality and at all times was a busy man, leading an active, useful and honorable life. While he carefully controlled his own farming interests and developed a productive tract of land, whereon he annually harvested good crops, he always managed to find time to aid in the promotion of interests which were of utmost benefit to the community and to assist those who were less fortunate than himself. Any plan or measure that was promulgated for the welfare of the county received his endorsement and support and he was widely recognized as a valued citizen. Mrs. Williams still survives her husband and is now the oldest resident of Senachwine Township. She was born and educated in New York City and although now eighty-five years of age is a most bright and intelligent woman and of excellent health for one of her years. She recalls many interesting pioneer experiences.

Her father built the first log house on Whitefield prairie in 1839, at which time wolves and other wild animals were very numerous in the county, while herds of deer were frequently seen. The pioneer families largely lived in log cabins, did their cooking over fireplaces and lighted their houses with candles, while the work of the fields was largely done with the hand plow, the sickle, the scythe and the hoe. Mrs. Williams has lived to see many great changes in the methods of farming and in ways of life here. She still owns the home farm of eighty acres which her son John Howard is conducting for her, and he also owns eighty acres.
[Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties, By John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Printed by the Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago, 1907, Page 182, 187]





 Amos Wilson

Taken From the Henry Republican
November 4, 1880


The subject of this sketch was born Sept. 16, 1794, in Chester county, Pa., of Quaker parentage, consequently he inherited a birthright in the time honored society of friends, which he has maintained in good faith up to the present time. He married Hannah Brown in 1818, and to this time was born five children, Joshua B., David, Hannah, Margaret and Thomas; with his family he moved to Bellmont county, Ohio, in 1826, and in that year his wife died.

In 1827 he married Anna Morris in Bellmont county, Ohio, who still survives, and to this union 9 children have been born, Ruth Anna, Rebecca, Sarah, Elizabeth, Morris, Mary, Oliver, Amos and Laura; six of these children are still living. We believe that all of his first wife's children married in Ohio, before immigrating to this state.

He came to Putnam county, Ill., in 1851, and settled on the wild prairie, about two miles north of Magnolia, in what is now known as the Quaker neighborhood, and to that society he has been one of the main pillars ever since. He is the father of 14 children, 10 of whom are still living; 84 grandchildren, of whom 67 are still living and 37 great grandchildren, or a total of 135 descendants.

A reunion was held at the residence of Mrs. Rose Wilson in this township on the 24th of Sept. 1880, to celebrate his 86th birthday. About 70 of the family were present, consisting of all the living children, with their husbands and wives, and many of the grand and great grandchildren. A table was spread large enough for all, and well filled with all that an epicure could ask by the ladies of the reunion. At this table the aged couple were seated, and around them their middle aged children and many grand and great grandchildren, from infancy up. Many were in the reminiscences and retrospectives in the family conversation, yet the day passed off pleasantly, and all went away satisfied that it was well to be there. - Wenona Index.

Amos Wilson
On his mother's side, Mr. Merritt's grandfather was Amos Wilson, a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1794. Mr. Wilson was twice married. His first wife, Hannah Brown, a native of Pennsylvania, and whose father was an Irishman, he married in Pennsylvania and by her had five children. The family moved to Ohio and located on a farm in Belmont County in 1826, and the same year the wife and mother died, at the age of twenty-six years. In 1828 Mr. Wilson married Miss Anna Morris, by whom he had nine children. They came to Illinois in 1851 and located in Putnam County, on a new farm, where he passed the rest of his life, and where he died January 15, 1881, in his eighty-seventh year.
[Source: Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois, Volume 2, Lewis Publishing Company 1900, Biography of Amos W. Merritt]




Garrison Wilson
Mr. Wilson is a son of Garrison and Ann (Dugan) Wilson, natives of Kentucky and Pennsylvania, respectively. In their family were nine children, five sons and four daughters, and of this number seven are now living: Elizabeth D., wife of D. C. Hull, of Canton, South Dakota; Matilda A., wife of H. L. Hammitt, also of Canton; William G., of Lostant, Illinois; Mary A., widow of Daniel Kemp, of Streator, Illinois; Thomas M., of Chicago; Robert T., of Granville, Illinois, and Edward H., of Lostant. Garrison Wilson, the father, was a farmer. He came to Illinois in 1829 and located in Putnam County, being a boy at that time accompanying his parents hither. Their settlement was in Magnolia township. There he grew to manhood and married and reared his family and there also the evening of his life was passed. He died at the age of seventy-two years. His widow still survives and lives in Lostant with her sons. She is a Presbyterian, while he was a Methodist. In politics he was in early life a Whig and later a Republican. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, serving under Captain Hawes. The Wilsons are of Scotch origin. Thornton Wilson, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came from Kentucky to Illinois in 1829 and as already recorded made a settlement in Putnam County. His life was spent in agricultural pursuits and he lived to a venerable age. In his family were five sons and two daughters. He is buried at Princeton, Illinois.
[Source: Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois, Volume 2, Lewis Publishing Company 1900, Biography of William G. Wilson]



Thornton Wilson
The Wilsons are of Scotch origin. Thornton Wilson came from Kentucky to Illinois in 1829 and as already recorded made a settlement in Putnam County. His life was spent in agricultural pursuits and he lived to a venerable age. In his family were five sons and two daughters. He is buried in Princeton, Illinois
[Source: Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois, Volume 2, Lewis Publishing Company 1900, Biography of William G. Wilson]



J. B. Williamson

Donated by Lois Osborn

Taken From the Biographical History of Crawford, Ida, and Sac counties, Iowa by the Lewis Publishing Company Chicago: 1893 pg. pgs 573 & 574

J. B. Williamson.--Prominent among the men who have been instrumental in the upbuilding of Sac county is J. B. Williamson, who located in the county in 1882, coming form Marshall County, Illinois. He was born in Juniata county, Pennsylvania, in 1844 a son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Burton) Williamson, natives of Pennsylvania. In 1852 they came to Illinois, settling in Putnam county, and later in LaSalle county, where the father died in 1878, the mother having died in Putnam county in 1854. By occupation the father was a farmer. Our subject was reared in Putnam and LaSalle counties, Illinois, and educated in the schoods of the latter county. In October, 1861, he enlisted in the service of his country, at Magnolia, in company A, First Illinois Cavalry, for three years. After nine months of service he was discharged on account of sickness at Rolla, Missouri. He again enlisted in February, 1864, in Company H, One hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry, joining the regiment at Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was first under fire at Buzzard's Roost, then at Resaca and later at Kenesaw Mountain and Jonesville. He then participated in the battle at Peach Orchard, Atlanta and went on the famous march to the sea, and through the Carolinas, participating in the battle of Bentonville, North Carolian. They then marched to Richmond, from there to Washington, and participated in the grand review at Washington, District of Columbia. Mr. Williamson was transferred some time prior to this to the Thirty-fourth Verteran Infantry and his regiment was stationed at Louisville, Kentucky for some six weeks before they were discharged, July, 1865, at that city.

At the close of the war he returned home and resumed farming. Two years later, in 1867 he went to Marshall county, Illinois settling near Wenona, where he followed farming until removing to Sac county. On his arrival to this county, in 1882, he engaged in farming and stock-raising, which he continued till September, 1892, when in partnership with J.W. Fleming, he bought the coal and live-stock business of J.W. Dixon, of Auburn, Iowa. When he settled in Sac county he selected Cedar township as his place of location, purchasing a partly-improved farm of 320 acres, all of which was broken and on which was a frame residence, one and one-half stories in height, with dimensions of 16 X 22 feet, and a L, 12 X 16 feet, one story in Height. This he repaired and built a good bar, 50 X 52 feet. Three acres of the farm are devoted to a good grove and orchard, while all the land is under fence. He has disposed of this property and purchased other land in Calhoun county.

Mr. Williamson was married in LaSalle county, Illinois in 1867, to Miss Rachel M. Packingham, a native of LaSalle county, Illinois, daughter of Benjamin and Sarah Packingham, natives of Pennsylvania. They were pioneers of LaSalle county, Illinois, where the father died. The mother still resides there. She and her husband pursued an agricultural life. One of their sons, Allen, served in an Illinois regiment and now resides in Marshall county, illinois. Mrs. Williamson died in 1879, in Marshall county, Illinois, after bearing her husband the following children: Frank; Libbie, a successful teacher of Sac county; Benjamin; Hattie, also a successful teacher of Sac county; and James. Hattie and Libbie are now teaching in the county. Our subject was married a second time in LaSalle county, Illinois, in 1881, to Miss Nellie G. Cunningham, a native of Oxford, Butler county, Ohio, daughter of James and Zenobia (Hinekley) Cunningham, natives of Ohio, who early emigrated to LaSalle county, settling near LaSalle. The father was a farmer. His death occurred in 1889, the mother having died in Ohio. Th his second marriage two children have been added, namely; Zerelda and Lotis. Socially, Mr. Williamson is connected with the William T. Sherman Post, No. 284. He takes some interest in politics, voting with the Republican party.

During his residence in Cedar township he served as Trustee and Secretary of the School Board. Since his coming to the State, the country in this portion of Iowa has improved 25 per cent, and many of the improvements Mr. Williamson has been instrumental in effecting. Although not at present a resident of Cedar township, he takes an interest in her welfare, as well as in that of his new home, Auburn.



EDMOND E. WONSER

Edmond E. Wonser, a prosperous hardware merchant of Hennepin, conducting his interests along modern business lines, was born near Oberlin, Ohio, August 21, 1860. His father, Elanson E. Wonser, was born in New York and when quite young removed to Ohio. He was a cooper by trade and followed that pursuit until his removal to Kansas, where he engaged in farming. In early life he wedded Agnes Louise Brannan, who was born in Ohio and died in Michigan at the age of thirty years. He afterward married again and by his first union he had two sons and two daughters, of whom the daughters and one son died in early life, while by the second marriage there were three children, all now deceased . The father's death occurred in Kansas when he was sixty-four years of age .

Edmond E. Wonser was only a year old when his parents removed from Ohio to Michigan, where they lived for about eight years, and then went to Kansas. He acquired his education in the common schools and has made his own way in the world from the age of fifteen. When a youth of fourteen he left home, after which he engaged in farming and cattle-raising in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. For three years he was with the firm of Wiggins Brothers, at Burlington, Kansas, working on the ranch for one year and afterward buying and shipping cattle. Subsequently he was for seven years foreman of a large ranch in Holt county, Nebraska, and in 1889 he went to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he pursued a commercial course in a business college there, realizing the value of such a training as a preparation for life's responsible duties. He afterward spent three years in the United States car shops at Chicago and in 1896 he came to Putnam county, Illinois, where for eleven months he was, employed as driver of a team. For a year and a half he was employed in the elevator office of H. H. Leech and next entered the employ of W. H. Lucas in a hardware store. In April, 1901, he formed a partnership with Mr. Ham and bought the business, which was conducted under the firm style of Wonser & Ham for eighteen months. Mr. Ham then wishing to retire, Mr. Wonser purchased the entire stock. He now carries a large line of hardware, stoves, tinware, furnaces, roofing and farm tools, and does all kinds of tin and metal work. He has a liberal and constantly growing patronage and he owns' a two-story building at the corner of Front and High streets, where he conducts the business. He has a much larger stock than is usually found in a town of this size and thus he gives his customer the benefit of an extensive assortment of goods.

On the 28th of June, 1899, Mr. Wonser was united in marriage to Miss Clara L. Ham, a native of this county and a daughter of Philip Ham, now deceased, who was one of the early settlers of Putnam county. Her mother survives and is now living with Mr. and Mrs. Wonser. Unto our subject and his wife has been born a daughter, Doris Catherine, now four years of age. Mrs. Wonser is a member of the Congregational church and a most estimable lady. Mr. Wonser supports the Republican Party and has served as village treasurer for three years. He is somewhat prominent in local political circles and is a genial gentleman, of kindly manner and cordial disposition, who stands well in the community, where his business integrity is above reproach.



[Source: Past and Present of Putnam and Marshall Counties, John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Page 340-341 - Transcribed by Nancy Piper]



WILLIAM G. WILSON


William Grundy Wilson, one of the respected citizens of Lostant, Illinois, is a native of this state and dates his birth in Putnam county, May 31, 1846.
Mr. Wilson is a son of Garrison and Ann (Dugan) Wilson, natives of Kentucky and Pennsylvania, respectively. In their family were nine children, five sons and four daughters, and of this number seven are now living: Elizabeth D., wife of D. C. Hull, of Canton, South Dakota; Matilda A., wife of H. L. Hammitt, also of Canton; William G., of Lostant. Illinois: Mary A., widow of Daniel Kemp, of Streator, Illinois; Thomas M., of Chicago; Robert T., of Granville, Illinois; and Edward H., of Lostant. Garrison Wilson, the father, was a farmer. He came to Illinois in 1829 and located in Putnam county, being a boy at that time and accompanying his parents hither. Their settlement was in Magnolia township. There he grew to manhood and married and reared his family, and there also the evening of his life was passed. He died at the age of seventy-two years. His widow still survives and lives in Lostant with her sons. She is a Presbyterian, while he was a Methodist. In politics he was in early life a Whig and later a Republican. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk war, serving under Captain Hawes.
The Wilsons are of Scotch origin. Thornton Wilson, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came from Kentucky to Illinois in 1829, and as already recorded made a settlement in Putnam county. His life was spent in agricultural pursuits, and he lived to a venerable age. In his family were five sons and two daughters. He is buried at Princeton, Illinois. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Robert Dugan, a native of Ireland, who came to America and settled in Pennsylvania; later moved to Ohio, and about 1833 came to Putnam county, Illinois, and settled on a farm. He was nearly eighty years old at the time of his death. His family comprised six members, three sons and three daughters.
William G. Wilson was reared on his father's farm in Magnolia township, Putnam county, and that was his home for forty-four years, he having traveled considerably, however, in the meantime. In 1893 he moved to Lostant, LaSalle county, and he and his brother Edward H. and their mother live together in Lostant. He owns eighty acres of improved land in Putnam county, and his mother owns one hundred and ninety-five acres.
Mr. Wilson is a member of Magnolia Lodge, No. 103, F. & A. M. Politically he is a Democrat.

(Source: Biographical and genealogical record of La Salle County, Illinois: Volume 2 - Page 690, Lewis Publishing Company - 1900)
 

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