Illinois Genealogy Trails

Rock Island County Biographies
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Rock Island County Pioneers

FARNAM, Henry, philanthropist, born in Scipio, N.Y., 9 November 1803" died in New Haven, Connecticut, 4 October 1883. His early years were spent on his father's farm and in attending the district school. He afterward studied mathematics by himself, and became a surveyor. He was engaged on the Erie canal, west of Rochester, about 1820, became assistant engineer of the New Haven and Northampton canal in 1825, and its superintendent in 1827. He removed to New Haven in 1839, and in 1846 built the railroad that took the place of the canal. He went to Illinois in 1850, and with Joseph E. Sheffield built the Chicago and Rock Island road, of which he was president in 1854-63. He then retired from active life, and, after spending about five years abroad, returned in 1868 to New Haven, where he remained till his death.

Mr. Farnam gave freely to New Haven charities, especially to the state hospital, and built for Yale, Farnam Hall, one of its best dormitories. He contributed largely for the development of East Rock park, and provided in his will that his residence, one of the finest in the City, should be given, after the death of his immediate heirs, to Yale College for a "president's house."

His son, Charles Henry Farnam, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 12 September 1846, was graduated at Yale in 1868, and at Columbia Law School in 1871. He has been for several years assistant in archeology in the Peabody museum of Yale, and has published a "History of John Whitman and his Descendants" (New Haven, 1887).

Another son, Henry Waleott Farnam, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 6 November 1853, was graduated at Yale in 1874, and received the degree of R. P. D. at Strasburg, Germany, in 1878. He was a tutor in Yale from 1878 till 1880 when he was appointed professor of political economy in Sheffield scientific school. In 1881 he became a member of its governing board. Professor Farnam has contributed to periodicals numerous articles on his specialty.

[Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM; Submitted by Mary Lou Schaechter]

Donald Bush, from Rock Island, is a descendent of John Gerhart Frels who settled in Hampton Township. Frels came to this county in the 1840s, settled there, farmed and was also a black smith. His brother Henry Frels joined him in the early 1850s. Henry's daughter married Marx Hauberg. This would make her the mother of John Hauberg the lawyer of Rock Island. This information is from the book, A Sailor Goes Farming written by John Hauberg in the 1950s.

John Gerhart Frels lived just a short time into the 1850s. He died and was buried on the farm in Hampton township. In the past few months that Cemetery was visited by family members for the first time since the 1960s. It is a deeded property and sits in the middle of private property. The owner of the property helped us remove the stones this past fall so they could be cleaned and repaired. I have them at my house in Rock Island at this time. We plan to set the stones again in the spring or summer. As you may have guessed the cemetery was grown over and if I did not have my cousin with me who worked on the cemetery in the 1960s we never would have found it.

[Submitted by Donald Bush]


Dr. William Freek
Dr. William Freek

Dr. William Freek making calls
Dr. William Freek making calls

Dr. William Freek's drug store
Dr. William Freek's drug store

Dr. William Freek

The medical profession had many able representatives in Rock Island county who had won the confidence and respect of the people by their dignified capability and that was definately Dr. William Robert Freek.

He was born in Albany, Illinois September 10, 1854, son of Nicholas and Mary (Routledge) Freek - both natives of England. They came to Toronto, Canada when young and were married in that city. The father was a brick master by trade and seeking a new field, came to Albany in the spring of 1854. Dr. Freek went through the common schools of Albany and then decided upon a medical career, entered Rush Medical College of Chicago from which he graduated February 21, 1877. Following this he practiced at Albany for two years and then on September 8, 1879 came to Cordova. He was the only physician in the village in the early 1900s and his practice extended all over the township as well as across the river to Princeton, Iowa. In 1880 he established a drug store to have in conjunction with his practice.

Dr. Freek was secretary of the Cordova Public Library and held that office from 1880 into the 1910s and was also president of the village board four years and a member of the board of education as well as many other organizations and lodges.

In June 1885, Dr. Freek married Laura Johnston and she died within a year's time of their marriage in 1886. It was six years before he married again and this time to Bessie Marshall on October 2, 1892. They had two children - Mary Isola and George Marshall.

Submitted by Cordova District Library; Jo Cohrs

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