James W. Vermillion
James W. Vermillion is a worthy representative of a family, who, in different times of emergency, have come forward to their country's assistance, and have bravely and loyally cast their lives in the balance with the chances of war. He is a native of old Virginia, the State which has produced so many men who have adorned the chairs of State that have ever been in our Congressional halls. Mr. Vermillion, who now resides on section 27, Rural Township, Shelby County, was born in Bedford County, Va., September 1, 1810.
Our subject was a son of Robert and Nancy Vermillion. His maternal grandfather was Matthew McClaflin, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The parents of our subject removed from Virginia to Kentucky, and settled on a farm in what is now Russell County. The father there died, and the mother subsequently came to Illinois, where she passed away in Shelby County. He of whom we write is one of several children, there being four sons and three daughters in the family, our subject being the third in order of birth. He was reared on a farm, and early learned the meaning of pioneer life.
In Russell County, Mr. Vermillion was married to Jane Fletcher, a native of Kentucky. His residence in this State and county dates from 1840, his advent hither being made with an ox-team and wagon. His family at that time comprised himself, wife and four children. Their worldly possessions were very few, and they had no embarrassment of filthy lucre. He rented a piece of land, and worked hard in order to get a little money to start with. About 1844 he purchased forty acres of timberland at $5 per acre, and subsequently be purchased eighty acres of Government land at $1.25 per acre. This proved to be a fortunate investment, and he subsequently added more land to his tract at $14 per acre. He is now the owner of two hundred and twenty acres of fine land.
Our subject's first residence in this State, which he could call his own, was a log cabin built in the midst of his timber tract, but it served the purpose, and he and his brave little wife were as loyal to each other as though they lived in a palace. As their circumstances permitted, they built a frame house, and on outgrowing this, Mr. Vermillion erected a brick residence, which at the time it was built was one of the finest places in Shelby County. In 1863 the gentleman of whom we write made a trip to British Columbia by the overland route, and returned there from the following year. Mr. Vermillion was in early life afflicted with rheumatism, which became chronic, and he is now obliged to use a crutch.
Mrs. Vermillion died about 1850, leaving nine children, whose names are as follows: Elizabeth, Birch, Fanny, Nancy, Mary, Sarah, Rachael, Martha and Isabella. Elizabeth married James Harper, and died in Shelby County; Birch resides in St. Louis; Fanny married and died in this State; Nancy married Levi P. Tolly, of Moweaqua; Mary married James Lawton, and lives in Minnesota; Sarah was the wife of John Albright, and passed away from this life in Nebraska; Rachael became the wife of John Foltz, of Minnesota; Martha married Joseph Cameron, of Minneapolis; and Isabella married Henson Wheeler, and died in this State.
Mr. Vermillion married a second time, his bride being Mrs. Jane C. Miller, nee Mason, who was born in Kentucky, where she married Adam Miller. He died in Kentucky, leaving his wife four children two of whom, George A. and Mary L., are dead. The eldest and youngest sons are David O. and Granville L. By this second marriage our subject is the father of three children, who are James W., Eliza E. and Angie Nomie. Eliza is the wife of Edward Garrison, and Angie is the wife of W. E. Hardwick. Politically our subject is a Democrat, and takes as much passive interest at four-score years as he did when, years ago, he voted for Jackson. He is a member of the Christian Church.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The substantial farmers of Shelby County are a class to whom all right minded citizens feel that they owe a debt for their share in effecting the prosperity which makes this county so popular as a place of residence and business. Were their work subtracted from the records of the county, little would remain to show its value. Such an one is our subject, who resides on section 12, Prairie Township, and who has been a citizen of this county from the spring of 1862, being one of the first to settle on the prairie. He had purchased eighty acres of prairie land and forty acres of timber land, the previous year, and made his home upon them in the spring, since which time he has devoted himself unceasingly and indefatigably to the work of forcing the rich soil to give forth its wealth.
William Vogel was born in the Kingdom of Prussia, Germany, July 22, 1831, and is a son of Charles Vogel. Two brothers and two sisters of our subject are in the United States, namely: Fred, who resides in Holland Township; Herman, whose home is in Wisconsin; Augusta; and Minnie, the wife of August Wilke. Our subject is the first one of the family to come to the United States, as he crossed the ocean in 1857, and first made his settlement in Cook County, this State, where he worked as a farm hand until he decided to come farther South and devote himself to the culture of the soil in Shelby County. Three hundred and sixty acres of rich and arable soil now constitutes the farm which he has transformed from a wild prairie to a well cultivated estate, and upon which he has placed beautiful buildings. The marriage in 1862 of William Vogel and Elizabeth Lutz, united a couple who were destined to have a happy and harmonious life together. The lady, like her husband, was born in Germany, but had been in this country for a number of years. To them have been born four children, namely: August W., Harmon C. F., Albert H. and Ida. These children are becoming what their parents would have them be, honorable and worthy citizens of the Prairie State, which has become to them a dearly loved home.
American politics have proved a subject of interests to Mr. Vogel, and he has informed himself intelligently in regard to them, although he does not feel bound to govern his vote by the dictates of any party organization. In regard to local matters he casts his ballot for the man and the measures which seem to his judgment conducive to the peace and prosperity of the commonwealth, but upon national issues he usually votes the Republican ticket. Both he and his efficient and excellent wife are earnest and active members of the Lutheran Church, in which they were brought up. Stock farming has largely engaged the attention of our subject, and he has been successful in its prosecution, as any one must be in Illinois, if he understands this branch of agriculture, and devotes himself to it with assiduity. The worthy lives of Mr. and Mrs. Vogel and their family are a standing approach to all who complain of hard times and poverty which they have incurred by their own lack of principle and a disregard of the industrious application of their time and strength. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Hon. Charles Voris
The town of Windsor, Shelby County, is conspicuous for the number of young men that take a leading part in commercial life. It is comparatively a young town and fresh, vigorous young blood sustains its interests, and the moderation of middle age receives the reverence that is due it. Our subject is one of the men of more advanced years, who holds the important position of Post-master in the town of Windsor. He was born in Summit County, Ohio, March 21, 1838, where his early life was spent on a farm. When about eighteen years of age, he left home to take a position in life for himself. At this period, the most sanguine time of youth, all things seemed possible to him, and the golden possibilities seemed just beyond his reach, lying waiting for him to stretch out his hand in their direction. Mr. Voris' first venture was in Galesburg, Knox County, this State, but there he only spent about six months, and then worked for a while on a farm. Minnesota was next in the way of his perigrinations, and there he lived about six months, when he returned to Galesburg, residing there a short time. He next went to Taylor County, Iowa, and there was engaged in opening up a farm. To this he devoted three years, and in February, 1860, he came to Windsor and engaged in the grain and lumber business, and in connection with this, in 1862, he opened a dry-goods store. He continued in the lumber business about two years; while engaged in this line, carrying a very good stock, his mercantile business was conducted under the best auspices. He continued in the grain trade for fourteen years, and during that time he also was engaged in the baking business with J. d. Bruce, with whom he was also in company in his other lines of commercial life. The firm was known as Bruce, Voris & Co. They dissolved partnership in 1873 and since that time Mr. Voris has been engaged in the real-estate business and in farming. He has always been an active agent in the affairs of town and county.
He of whom we write was elected to the General Assembly in 1866, re-elected in 1868, and in 1870, received the honor of election to the Senate from the Seventh District, and in 1872 was again returned from the Thirty-first District. During this term he was Chairman of the special committee on stock-yards, and acted on other important committees. During his services as Senator, he did efficient work in gaining advantages for his district. He served on the Railroad and Penitentiary committees, and on corporations. He was also a member of the committee on the rules that should govern the Senate.
Mr. Voris has served in various local offices, and for some time has been a member of the City Board. His appointment as Postmaster was confirmed in July, 1889. It is hardly necessary to say that he has taken an active interest in political affairs as he had been so identified with the Government of the State. He is an ardent advocate of the principles of the Republican party. He has been solicited by the Central Republican Committee to assist in the present campaign in Ohio.
He of whom we write obtained the charter for the Bloomington and Ohio River Railroad, now known as the Wabash, running from Bement to Effingham, and of this road he was the first President. For ten years he was engaged in the milling business in Windsor, and during that length of time, the reputation that he had previously built up as a business man of sterling integrity and unquestioned honor, was confirmed. Hid products were always of the best character, and his dealing with all parties was characterized by an uprightness and sense of honor that could only redound to his favor. Mr. Voris' marriage took place in Shelby County, his nuptials being celebrated November 6, 1860. His bride was Miss Mary Jane Templeton, who was a native of the county in which she was married. Only two children were born of this union: Annette and Julia, the latter deceased. Our subject, on his mother's side, has a complete family record comprising over eleven thousand names from the landing of the "Mayflower" to 1874; and over seven thousand names on his father's side, from 1638 to 1883. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George W. Voris
George W. Voris is the name of the pioneer business man of Stewardson who operates upon so broad a plane as to have made his place of residence more known in commercial circles than any other man in the community. He is the leading citizen of the place, and his home is the center of the social life of the community, his talented and charming wife presides over the domestic realm with a pleasing hospitality and great grace and dignity. While our subject's commercial obligations are so large as to consume much of his time and attention, home with its charming mistress and bright family of children holds the first place in his heart. The original of our sketch devotes himself to dealing in grain, hay and farm machinery. In February of 1874 he built his office for the purchase of grain. This was the first building the present town boasted. The railroad had been completed a short time previous to the location of our subject. At that time he was a member of the firm of Gould & Voris, and continued in this business relation until l889, when Mr. Gould withdrew and the firm became G. W. Voris & Co.
When he of whom we write first began business in Stewardson, it was for the purchase of grain. Our subject was station agent for the railroad at that time, in which capacity he continued for about three years. At the end of that time he gave his whole attention to his private business, and in connection with the grain business dealt in live-stock. He next added agricultural implements, and later, in 1881, began dealing in hay. He now owns a hay barn that is over one hundred feet square.
Our subject was born in Bath, Summit County, Ohio, November 11, 1850, and is the son of Peter and Julia (Coe) Voris, natives of Reading, Pa., and Connecticut. The family removed, in 1857, to Illinois, and settled in Mattoon, where the father engaged in gardening. While a resident of Ohio our subject's father held a prominent position in the county, being a surveyor, and for a term was Associate Judge with Hon. Benjamin Wade. He was an honorable, upright man in business dealings, but not a successful financier. He passed away from this life in 1881, his wife having preceded him by a number of years. They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom our subject was the youngest.
Mr. Voris' mother having died when he was but a small boy, at the age of seven years he went to Taylor County, Iowa, and lived with a sister, after which he spent three years in Nodaway County, Mo. He then returned to Illinois and worked as a farm hand in Knox County, his advent into the State being in 1866. Up to this time he had enjoyed but few educational advantages, but as he came in contact with the world he felt the need of an education, and being studiously inclined by nature, he made up the deficiency in his early education as much as possible by outside study and reading. After returning to Illinois he went to Fulton, N. Y., where for two years he attended Falley Seminary. At the end of the second year he was obliged to give up his school because of ill health. On his return to Illinois he entered a store at Windsor as a clerk, in which capacity he served until coming to Stewardson.
In 1875 Mr. Voris was married to Margaret M. Pfluger, a daughter of William and Sophia M. Pfluger. The lady was born near Elgin, Ill., in June, 1855. Their married life has been very happy, and six children have come to gladden their hearts and home. One of these was taken away in infancy. The five who are still living are Mabel, Ralph, Frank, Maud and Helen.
Politically, Mr. Voris affiliates with the Republican party, using his vote and influence for advantage of that party. In local matters, however, he does not adhere to party lines, believing that the best man and he who is best fitted for the position involved is the one who should be awarded local favors. He has served as President of the Village Board, and has also been a Justice of the Peace for some time. Our subject has made his combat with the world single-handed, but this fact has not, as is very frequently the case, hardened his heart to the needs and weaknesses of others. Many there are not only in his own town, but wherever he has chanced to be, who will ever have reason to be grateful for his generosity, sympathy and good will.
G. W. Voris & Co. do business at the following named places: Lerna, Trilla, Kingman, Fancher, Herrick, Herborn and Stewardson. At these stations the firm buy grain or hay, or both. Our subject also owns about eleven hundred acres of land, partly under a high degree of cultivation. The success which the original of our sketch has attained cannot but be encouraging to the young men of limited means and education, but whose ambition knows no bounds. He has demonstrated that by persistent effort and determination a man can make of himself what he will.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
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