Stark County Illinois Biographies - B

Theodore Bacmeister, M.D.

In the death of Dr. Theodore Bacmeister, Stark county lost one of its valued and representative citizens and his demise was the occasion of deep and widespread regret. He passed away March 8, 1911, when eighty-one years of age, his birth having occurred at Esslingen, Wurtemburg, Germany, January 17, 1830. There he was reared to the age of eighteen years and obtained good educational opportunities. He crossed the Atlantic in 1848, landing in New York. His training had been in preparation for engineering and after coming to the United States he served as a draftsman for a few years but later turned his attention to the study of medicine and was graduated from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1856, in which year he turned to the middle west in search of a location.

Dr. Bacmeister made his way to Toulon, Illinois, which was then a small village, and he became one of the pioneer practitioners of Stark county. He was thoroughly imbued with the principles of homeopathy and ever closely studied the profession that he might advance in accordance with the scientific researches which were carried on. He traveled over a large territory to meet the needs of suffering humanity, starting out early in the morning and driving all day. His ability was pronounced, for he was very careful in the diagnosis of cases and seldom, if ever, at fault in his judgment concerning the outcome of disease. He was a valued contributor to many homeopathic journals and he stood for many years as one of the foremost representatives of that branch of medical science in the middle west. In 1868 he accepted the chair of materia medica in the Hohnemann College of Chicago and for a year was a resident of that city, but in that time he became convinced that he much preferred practice in the country and in the spring of 1869 returned to Toulon, where he remained until his death.

On the 19th of April, 1864, Dr. Bacmeister was married to Miss Laura L. Ogle, a native of Stark County, born near Toulon, her parents being William and Lucretia Ogle, who were among the earliest of settlers of this part of that state, arriving here in 1835. Her father assisted in laying out Toulon and contributed in marked measure to the upbuilding of the county. Following his marriage Dr. Bacmeister purchased a residence in Toulon, which he rebuilt in 1879, converting it into an attractive home. To him and his wife were born nine children, six of whom are yet living: Emily F., the wife of Dr. Johnson, of Peoria; W. O. ; Charles A., of Chicago; Theodore, a well known physician and surgeon of Chicago; Louise, the wife of Benjamin Younger, of Bloomington; and Otto, who after graduating from the high school and academy of Toulon and also from Williams College of Massachusetts, is now postmaster of Toulon. One daughter, Laura Pauline, reached young womanhood, married A. E. Sundquist, but died December 31, 1909.

Dr. and Mrs. Bacmeister were members of the Methodist Episcopal church in which he served on the official board. He took an active part in both church and Sunday school work, acting as Sunday school superintendent for twelve years. In community affairs he was also helpfully interested and was president of the town board and also president of the board of education. In a word, he stood for all that proved of public benefit and his community numbered him among its most valued and worthy citizens. He was a consistent member of the Masonic fraternity and enjoyed the fullest regard of his brethren of the order. Along professional lines he was connected with the local medical society, the Illinois State Homeopathic Medical Society and the American Institute of Homeopathy. He regarded his professional duties seriously , recognizing the great obligation that devolved upon him, and he became the loved family physician in many a household. Wherever known he was held in high esteem and his memory is enshrined in the hearts of all with whom he came in contact.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 154-155. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Professor George C. Baker

Professor George C. Baker is a well known educator, now serving his third term as superintendent of schools in Stark county, his incumbency in the office covering ten years. His residence in Illinois dates from 1892 and throughout this period he has been recognized as one whose efforts have been of marked value in connection with the development of the school system. He is a native of Iowa, his birth having occurred at Council Bluff's, January 9, 1856. His father, Jacob Warren Baker, was a native of Virginia and was born in February, 1818, representing one of the old pioneer families of that state. When a young man he removed to the middle west, settling in Iowa, and in Farmington, that state, he married Miss Caroline Leavit, a native of Ohio, who went with her parents to Iowa. Mr. Baker was a saddler by trade and carried on that business in Farmington and in other Iowa towns. In 1849, he made an overland trip to California, where he was engaged in mining for a time, meeting with fair success. He then returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama to New York and later went to Pike's Peak. For some years he resided in Athens, Clark county, Missouri, where he lost his wife. He afterward came to Toulon and spent his last days in this city.

Professor Baker was reared in Iowa and Missouri and obtained his primary education in the common schools, but not content with the advantages thus far received, he continued his studies without a tutor and prepared for teaching, which he began in the country schools of Missouri when quite young. He was also engaged in merchandising for a time but afterward gave up that pursuit and again concentrated his energies upon educational work, following the profession of teaching in the country schools of Missouri and Iowa. He afterward secured the position of principal of the school at Hamilton, Illinois, and so satisfactory was his service there that he was retained in the position for nine consecutive years. He afterward became principal of the schools of Toulon, continuing as such for five years, and in 1906 he was nominated and elected superintendent of schools of Stark county. In 1910 he was reelected and again in 1914, so that he is now serving for the third term, his incumbency to continue until 1918. There are now seventy schools in the county, with one hundred and seven teachers, and when he entered upon his present position there were but ninety-two teachers in the county. There are also added school buildings and most of these are well equipped, while the teachers are efficient and well qualified for their work. Professor Baker devotes his entire time to his official duties and he maintains a county institute for the further training of the teachers.

On the 15th of January, 1882, in Clark County, Missouri, Professor Baker was united in marriage to Miss Emma Fenten, a native of Missouri, born in Montgomery county, as was her father, George Fenten, who was of English parentage. Mr. and Mrs. Baker became the parents of four children: Edgar, now living in Alberta, Canada; Margaret, a successful teacher of Stark county; Clarence, a business man of Toulon; and Ralph, an electrician holding a position with the Electric Light and Power Company of Toulon.

Professor Baker holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving on the official board and also is Sunday school superintendent. He does everything in his power to promote the moral progress of the community and his active work in the church has done much to promote its growth and extend its influence. His entire life in fact has been given to the betterment of the individual. He believes that the object of education is to train each individual to reach the highest perfection possible for him and that the purpose of teaching is to develop capacity. He holds a life diploma which entitles him to teach in any school in Illinois and he is today regarded as one of the most successful educators of the state. His own advantages were very limited. He was never in a high school until after he was elected principal of the school at Hamilton, but when it was no longer possible for him to pursue his studies in a schoolroom he marked out a line of study for himself and throughout his entire life has been a student, until he is now recognized as a man of scholarly attainments with whom association means expansion and elevation.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 163-165. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Walter B. Ballentine

Walter B. Ballentine, one of the active and progressive business men of Stark county, is engaged in dealing in coal and ice in Toulon, having there been connected with this line of trade for three years. He was born in Peoria county, Illinois, February 16, 1863, and is a son of James D. Ballentine, who was born in Guilford county, North Carolina, and was reared in the south. When a young man he came to Illinois, settling first in Peoria. He was three times married, his first wife being Lucinda Edwards, who died leaving six children. For his second wife he chose Mrs. Margaret Johnson, who by her former marriage had three children and by this union there were born two sons and two daughters. For his third wife, Mr. Ballentine chose Mrs. Rhoda (Walters) Reed, a native of Connecticut, whose father was one of the pioneer settlers of Illinois, coming to this state from Connecticut. By her first marriage the third wife had one child and after becoming Mrs. Ballentine she had two sons and a daughter, the daughter being Mrs. W. F. Templeton, of Minneapolis. Mr. Ballentine purchased land in Stark county, near Wyoming, and built upon and improved his farm, making it a valuable property. He lost his last wife while living upon the farm and afterward spent two or three years at the home of a daughter in Iowa, reaching the very venerable age of ninety-seven.

Walter B. Ballentine was reared upon the home farm and attended the district schools and also the schools of Wyoming. He was the youngest child and remained with his father, whom he assisted in his youth, while later he took charge of the old home place, which he still owns. It comprises three hundred and thirty-four acres of good land, over half of which is under cultivation. There is a splendid vein of coal eighty feet below the surface and Mr. Ballentine opened up this vein, finding the coal running from four and one-half to five and one-half feet in thickness and of good quality. He has a steam hoist for the coal, and has been operating his mines for eleven years. On removing to Toulon, however, he leased the mines and here he purchased an established coal business. Later he built coal sheds and an ice house, thoroughly equipped, motor power being used in unloading. He can unload an entire car in from one to two hours. Next to the coal house he put up and ice house, and built a spur of railroad track to facilitate shipping. He ships in Rock River ice, and he finds an excellent sale for the product. In fact both branches of his business are proving profitable because of his excellent management and the honesty with which he conducts all business transactions.

While upon the farm Mr. Ballentine was married October 29, 1901, to Mrs. M. E. Butler nee Templeton, whose first husband was the owner and editor of the News. By that marriage she had a daughter, Edna B., the wife of Frank Caverly.

In politics Mr. Ballentine is a republican and has served as supervisor of Toulon township for two terms, also as township collector and as a delegate to county conventions. However, he concentrates his energies upon his business, which is capably managed and controlled and is bringing to him gratifying success. His determination and even-paced energy have carried him into important business relations and he has ever recognized the fact that success is not a matter of genius, as held by some, but is rather the outcome of clear judgment and experience.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 102-104. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Albert L. Barton

Albert L. Barton, who for many years has been living retired from business in Toulon, was born in Toulon township, on the old home farm of his father, Barnard Barton, who was a native of the state of New York. Through the period of his boyhood and youth the father remained in the Empire state and in early manhood came to the west, settling in Stark county, Illinois, where he rented land and carried on farm work. He became the owner of a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of section 9, Toulon township, by entering this as a claim from the government. With characteristic energy he began the arduous task of transforming the wild prairie into productive fields. He broke the sod, opened up a farm and placed it in a high state of cultivation, carrying on the work of improvement as he found opportunity and gained the capital necessary to further his labors. In time he erected a good farm residence, also built a large barn and outbuildings, planted an orchard and secured other modern equipments. In Knox county, Illinois, he wedded Miss Sarah Miller, who was born and reared in Indiana, a daughter of William Miller, an early settler of Warren county, Illinois, and afterward of Knox county. Mr. Barton was an industrious and prosperous farmer and a well-known citizen of Stark county. Here he reared his family and spent the last years of his life on the old homestead, dying February 27, 1907. His wife had previously passed away, her death occurring August 16, 1902. He was a member of the Toulon Baptist church.

Albert L. Barton was one of a family of five sons and two daughters. The eldest son, William A., is a retired farmer, now living in Garnett, Kansas. The second son, John M., is living in Kansas City, Missouri; and Silas H. is a resident of Wyoming, Illinois. The next two, Albert L., and George W., are residents of Toulon and the sister, Cordelia, is also living in Toulon. She has erected an attractive residence of cement blocks near the Methodist Episcopal church of Toulon, it being one of the pleasant homes of the city. The other daughter of the family, Emma, died at the age of five years and five months.

Albert L. Barton was reared on the old homestead and in time took charge of the place. After the death of his father he purchased the interest of the other heirs in the property and is still its owner. It is known as the Walnut Grove Farm and comprises two hundred and forty acres, which is divided into two well improved farms. He was always accounted an active and progressive agriculturist and stock raiser during the years in which he concentrated his efforts upon the further development and cultivation of his land. He afterward rented the farm, at which time he and his sister removed to Toulon, where she, as previously stated, built a good home in 1908.

Mr. Barton and his sister have made two trips to California, visiting various cities on the Pacific coast from Seattle and Portland south to Los Angeles and Long Beach. In the sunny clime of California they have spent two winters. Mr. Barton owns an automobile and drives back and forth between his farm and his home in Toulon, and he has also made trips to Kewanee and Peoria and other cities in this part of the state. Politically he is a republican where national issues are involved but at local elections considers only the capability of the candidate. His has been an active and well spent life, and he is justly accounted one of the substantial citizens of Stark county.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 241-242. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Harry Barton

Harry Barton, reared to the occupation of farming, has always followed that pursuit and is now engaged in the cultivation of one hundred and twenty acres of land, eighty acres of which he owns. The place is situated on section 7, Penn township, and in its neat and attractive appearance indicates his careful supervision and wise control. He was born February 24, 1873, a son of Joseph and Frances (Roper) Barton, both of whom were natives of England, where they were reared and married. In 1872 they came to the United States, settling in Kewanee, Illinois, and there Mr. Barton remained until after the birth of his son Harry. Subsequent to that event the family became residents of Toulon Township, where the father is still living, but the mother passed away November 19, 1912.

Harry Barton obtained a district school education, supplemented by study in the schools of Castleton. At an early age he became familiar with the work of tilling the soil and cultivating the crops and continued to assist his father in farm work until he attained his majority, when he began the cultivation of a part of the old homestead on his own account. After living there for four years he and his brother rented land in Penn township, upon which Harry Barton resided for eleven years. He next purchased his present place of residence, his home farm now comprising eighty acres of land on section 7, Penn township. To this he has added some improvements and now has a clean, well kept farm presenting a most attractive and pleasing appearance. He cultivates altogether one hundred and twenty acres of land, devoting his attention to general agricultural pursuits.

On the 5th of February, 1914, Mr. Barton was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Sterling. Politically a democrat, Mr. Barton has always loyally adhered to the principles of the party and upon its ticket has been elected to several local offices. For the past five years he has served as supervisor, for two years was assessor and for one year was collector. In each of these positions he proved his capability and fidelity and his course was highly commended. Fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows lodge at Castleton, the encampment at Wyoming and the Modern Woodmen camp at Castleton. He has become well known through fraternal, business and social relations and high regard is entertained for him by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 341-342. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Elisha B. Bass

The Bass family has been represented in Stark county since pioneer times, Elisha B. Bass arriving in this county in 1854. He was a native of Fulton county, New York, born in 1812, and in his native state was reared to manhood, after which he married Miss Eunice Ferguson, who was also born in New York. He became a farmer of Fulton county and there carried on agricultural pursuits for a number of years, during which time four children were born to him and his wife.

At the end of that period Mr. Bass determined to try his fortune in the middle west. He had previously visited Illinois when a young man, making the trip in 1837, after which he spent two years in this state, mostly in Peoria county, although he was also in Stark county. He was employed at farm labor by the month, but upon the death of his mother he returned to his old home in New York and assumed the management of that place. There he remained until 1854, when he disposed of his property in Fulton county, New York, and removed westward to Illinois, making a permanent location in Stark County. It was still largely a frontier district, the work of improvement and cultivation being then in its initial stages. Mr. Bass purchased a tax title to a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and also purchased an adjoining tract of forty acres, of which farm twenty acres had been broken and was placed under cultivation. With characteristic energy he began the task of developing the place. He turned the first furrows in his fields, fenced his land and converted the farm into a very productive place. It comprised two hundred acres and through his efforts if became a very valuable property his practical labors resulting in the harvesting of good crops annually. He also erected substantial buildings upon his place and made other improvements which added to the attractive appearance and to the worth of the land. Year by year he continued to engage actively in farming until 1877, when he leased his place to his son and removed to Toulon, retiring from active business life. He then purchased a good residence property and spent his remaining days there in the enjoyment of a rest which he had truly earned and richly deserved.

Mr. Bass was not only a progressive agriculturist, but was also a prominent and valued citizen in other connections. His fellow townsmen, appreciative of his ability and his worth, called him to various official positions, including that of member of the town board. In 1885 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife and it was not until almost a quarter of a century later that he passed away, his death occurring October 9, 1908, when he had reached the remarkably venerable age of ninety-six years.

To Mr. and Mrs. Bass were born a son and three daughters. The son, Oscar J. Bass, was reared on the home farm in Stark county, afterward leased the place and thus tilled it for a number of years. Later he purchased the property and continued its cultivation for some time thereafter, but eventually he sold the farm and removed to Henry, where he continued to make his home until his life's labors were ended in death October 28, 1915. He left a wife but no children. The three daughters of the family are: Elizabeth, the wife of Beason Lambert, a retired farmer living at Columbus Junction; Laura, who died in 1908; and Eliza J., to whom we are indebted for the material concerning her father and the family. She was reared and educated in Stark county and remained with her parents, caring for them and a crippled sister. She has resided in Toulon since 1877 and is here widely known and greatly respected, all speaking of her in terms of warmest regard.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Bass were consistent and faithful members of the Baptist church, guiding their lives according to its teachings. Their daughter, Eliza J., is also a member of the church and was formerly a teacher and worker in the Sunday school. For more than six decades the family has been represented in Stark county and throughout the entire period their influence has been found on the side of right, progress and improvement.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 160-163. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


J. Randall Black

J. Randall Black, one of the active, energetic and prominent business men of Toulon, has for years operated extensively in the field of real estate, during which period he has negotiated many important realty transfers and thereby has contributed much to the development and upbuilding of the district. Toulon numbers him among her native sons, his birth having here occurred October 12, 1873. His father, John Black, was born in County Cavan, Ireland, May 14, 1827, and there spent the period of his boyhood and youth. In 1851 he came to the new world and made his way direct to Stark county, where he joined some friends. He was for a time engaged in carpenter work in Toulon, and in this city he married Miss Elizabeth Mason, a native of Ohio, who was born in Ashland county. Her father, William Mason, removed from Ohio to Illinois and took up his abode on a farm near Toulon, on which Mrs. Black was reared. Following their marriage the young couple began their domestic life in Toulon, where Mr. Black worked at his trade, and for a number of years he also carried on general farming, but eventually he put aside business interests and activities and lived retired in Toulon until called to the home beyond, his death occurring December 31, 1898. He was a valued and consistent member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges of Toulon and was an earnest Christian gentleman. He had been reared in the Episcopal faith, but afterward became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and its teachings guided him in all of his life's relations, making him a man whom to know was to respect and honor. To him and his wife were born but two children, the daughter being Miss Mattie Black, who resides with her mother in Toulon. She is identified with the Eastern Star, the ladies' auxiliary of Masonry, and both she and her mother are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

At the usual age J. Randall Black became a pupil in the public schools and passed through consecutive grades to his graduation from the high school. Later he attended the Michigan University at Ann Arbor, where he pursued the literary course and also did work in the engineering department. At the close of his junior year, however, he left the university and later learned the trade of a jeweler and engraver. Subsequently he turned his attention to the real estate business, opening an office in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, about 1902. He is extensively engaged in the sale of Alberta lands and has maintained an office there for thirteen years. He helped lay out an addition to the city of a one hundred acre tract, known as the Englewood addition, and now one of the best populated and most attractive residence sections of that city. Mr. Black covered the whole of Alberta province by horseback, by stage, on bicycle and on foot. He has sold large tracts of Canadian lands, and in 1910 he also opened an office in Toulon, where he now spends about half of his time, devoting his attention to his real estate business here and also handling city property in Edmonton. Recently he has further extended the scope of his business to include the sale of Florida lands. He is a most enterprising and energetic real estate man, ready for any emergency and ever alert to an opportunity.

Like his mother and sister, Mr. Black holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church of Toulon and is also identified with the Odd Fellows lodge. He has attractive social qualities and many admirable characteristics which have won for him the good will, confidence and esteem of all with whom he has been associated.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 49-50 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


C. W. Bocock

From his fellow citizens there have come to C. W. Bocock, of Toulon, many evidences of their confidence and trust in him, for on various occasions he has been elected to public office, while into his hands have been placed some public trusts. He was born in Fulton county, Illinois, May 2, 1859, a son of Cyrus Bocock, of Bradford, who is one of the well known and highly esteemed citizens of Stark county. It was in this county that C. W. Bocock was reared and at the usual age he became a public school pupil. He afterward attended the Wyoming high school and later he was employed upon his father's farm and in his father's store, continuing with him until he had reached the age of twenty-two years. Parental care and training qualified him for life's practical duties and instilled into his mind many of those principles which have guided him in his later relations.

Mr. Bocock was married in Wyoming, March 5, 1882, to Miss Anna L. Markland, who was born in Ohio but was reared in Stark county, a daughter of John Markland, who died during her childhood. Following their marriage Mr. Bocock and his bride established their home upon a farm in Marshall county, bordering the Stark county line. In fact portions of this farm extended into the two counties, although the residence and other buildings were in Marshall county. There Mr. Bocock carried on general agricultural pursuits for eight years and during the period of his residence in Stark county he was elected and served for six years as road commissioner and as assessor for one year, while for two years he was township collector in Marshall county. From Marshall county he returned to the old home farm in Penn township and there he devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits for sixteen years, bringing the land under a high state of cultivation and adding materially to its value and productiveness. While living upon the farm he was elected supervisor and served for one term, after which he was reelected. In 1906 he received the nomination of the republican party for treasurer of Stark county and was elected to that office. In 1907 he removed to Toulon and entered the duties of his position in December of that year, continuing as the incumbent in the office for four years. His broad business experience and his public spirit well qualified him for the discharge of his duties and he made a most creditable record. Following his retirement from the position of county treasurer he served for four years as clerk of review. He is now secretary of the Elmira and Stark County Mutual Insurance Company and writes the policies and adjusts some of the fire losses and damages.

To Mr. and Mrs. Bocock have been born two children: Nettie, the wife of Clarence E. Scholes, now of Henry, Marshall county, where he is bookkeeper in the National Bank; and Louva N., who is a student in the township high school of Toulon.

Mr. Bocock has purchased residence property in Toulon which his family now occupies and there he is most comfortably situated. He belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge of Toulon, in which he has filled all of the chairs and is a past grand, and he has represented the local organization in the grand lodge of the state on several occasions. He is likewise connected with the Rebekah degree and he has membership with the Modern Woodmen and the Fraternal Insurance Association. A spirit of progressiveness actuates him in all that he does, whether in the control of his private business interests or in the management of public affairs. He has ever recognized the fact that there is no such thing as standing still, that one must either advance or retrograde, and progression therefore became his watchword. He has done to the best of his ability whatever he has undertaken and on all occasions has manifested those sterling traits of heart and mind which in every land and every clime awaken confidence and goodwill.

Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 186-188. – Contributed by Karen Seeman


William Combs Bocock

William Combs Bocock has resided in Stark county during practically his entire life and as he is prominently identified with business interests as a stockman, he has a wie acquaintanceship not only in Wyoming, where he makes his home, but also throughout the entire county. He is now living retired, enjoying a well deserved period of leisure.

Mr. Bocock was born in Fulton county, Illinois, May 4, 1854, a son of Robert McBocock. The family removed to this county when our subject was a year old and he was reared upon the home farm in Penn township and attended the country schools in the acquirement of an education. For two years he rented land from his father, but at the end of that time purchased eighty acres, on which he resided until 1890, when he came to Wyoming and turned his attention to buying and shipping of stock. He engaged in that business until 1914, when he retired from active life. He was an excellent judge of stock, watched the markets carefully and derived a good profit from his transactions. He owns two hundred and twenty acres of land in Bureau county and was for ten years president of the National Bank of Wyoming. He also holds title to his comfortable residence in Wyoming and is quite well-to-do.

Mr. Bocock was married in January, 1879, to Miss Maria A. Holmes, who was also born in Fulton county, and they have a daughter, Mina A., now the wife of Phil Lucius, of Galesburg, Illinois, and the other of a daughter, Margaret.

Mr. Bocock believes in the policies of the republican party and loyally supports its candidates at the polls, althought he has never desired official preferment. He has always taken a keen interest in the general welfare and is recognized as a public-spirited citizen as well as a man of sound judgment, good business ability and sterling integrity. His friends are many and all who have come in contact with him respect him highly.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 41 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


C. A. Bowes

C. A. Bowes, who is operating eighty acres of land in Valley township, was born upon that farm on the 17th of March, 1882, of the marriage of George and Sarah (Hempson) Bowes, natives respectively of Canada and of England. The father is of English and Irish ancestry. He lived for some time in New York city but at length removed to Stark county and purchased land, on which he still makes him home although it is farmed by our subject.

C. A. Bowes was reared upon the homestead and as a boy and youth gained valuable knowledge through assisting his father. His education, however, was not neglected as he completed a course in the public schools. He is now operating the home farm of eighty acres although he resides in the town of Stark. He is up-to-date and energetic in carrying on all of his work and his well directed labors are rewarded by good crops. He also raises stock to some extent and finds that branch of agriculture likewise profitable.

On the 4th of May, 1912, Mr. Bowes was united in marriage to Miss Myrtle O’Leary, by whom he has a son, Russell A. Mr. Bowes indorses the principles of the democratic party and loyally supports its candidates at the polls. For six years he has served as town clerk and for one year he held the office of tax collector. He takes a keen interest in public affairs and has made an excellent record as an official. Fraternally he is identified with the Modern Woodmen of America at Stark and he attends the local church. He is a young man of ability and integrity and has gained the warm friendship of many.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 317-318. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Mrs. Sarah J. Boyd

Among the well known residents of West Jersey township is Mrs. Sarah J. Boyd, who makes her home on section 10 of that township and who came to this state with her father, Jacob Kissel, in 1860. The latter was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and after arriving at years of maturity he was there married to Miss Hester Clouser, also a native of the Keystone state. He followed farming in Pennsylvania for a number of years, but the opportunities of the middle west attracted him and he left Pennsylvania for Indiana, spending two years in Henry county, that state. Subsequently he became a resident of Wisconsin and after residing in Lancaster for two years he removed to Dodge county, Nebraska, making investment in three hundred acres of land near Fremont. He spent six years there in trying to improve and develop his farm, but the droughts and the grasshoppers rendered it impossible for him to raise crops and he therefore retraced his steps to a point east of the Mississippi, settling in West Jersey township, Stark county, Illinois, in 1860. At first he rented land which he cultivated for a few years and here his labors were rewarded with good harvests, the sale of which brought him sufficient capital to enable him to purchase an eighty acre tract of land. Immediately he began farming thereon and continued to make that place his abode until called to his final rest. His wife survived him for six years and during that period resided with her daughter, Mrs. Boyd.

Mrs. Boyd was born in Stark county and on the 2d of February, 1870, gave her hand in marriage to Robert A. Boyd, who was born in Warren county, New Jersey. When a young man he removed westward and took up his abode in Stark county on land which his father had previously purchased. It was at that time unimproved, but Mr. Boyd broke the sod, planted the fields and carried on the work of development. It was upon the farm where she now resides that Mr. and Mrs. Boyd began their domestic life. To his original tract of eighty acres he added by the purchase of another eighty, thus making his farm an entire quarter section. He also wrought a marked transformation in its appearance by the erection of a good residence and by the building of commodious barns. Industrious, alert and persevering, he won a substantial measure of prosperity and gained recognition as one of the foremost representatives of farming interests in his locality. He continued to reside upon the farm until his life’s labors were ended in death in 1891, at which time he was laid to rest in the West Jersey cemetery. Fraternally he was connected with the Odd Fellows lodge at West Jersey and his life was guided by his religious faith, which was manifest in his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church.

After the death of her husband Mrs. Boyd employed help and continued to carry on the work of the farm for seven years, proving very successful in the management of her business interests. Later, however, she rented this farm. She has one son, Clyde H. Boyd, a resident of Toulon, who is married and has two children. She has also reared a niece, Miss Grace Hamilton, who became a member of her household when six years of age and is now a junior in the Toulon high school. Mrs. Boyd is a member of the West Jersey Methodist Episcopal church and was formerly very active in church and Sunday school work. She is widely known in this part of the state and her kindly spirit, her generous disposition and ready sympathy have gained for her the high esteem and warm regard of all who know her.

Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 339-340. . – Contributed by Karen Seeman


Robert L. Breen

Robert L. Breen, who is editor and half owner of the Bradford Republican, has made that paper one of the best of the country journals of Illinois and is recognized as one of the foremost citizens of Bradford. He was born in Lewistown, Fulton county, this state, on the 24th of May, 1878, a son of William and Rosa (Mulcrone) Breen, natives respectively of Tipperary and of County Mayo, Ireland. The father was born in 1823 and remained in his native land until he attained mature years, after which he came to the United States and was employed for some time on government works in the south. After working in various states he removed to Iowa and purchased land at a dollar and a quarter per acre, which he subsequently sold at five dollars per acre. He was the first of his family to come to the United States, and after he had been here for some time he sent for his two sisters, who joined him. Following his marriage he engaged in the coat business at Lewistown, Illinois, and also had the contract for carrying mail from Lewistown to Havana for many years. On retiring from active life he removed to Lacon, Illinois, where he died in 1899, when seventy-six years of age. His religious belief was that of the Catholic church, and in politics he was a democrat. His wife, who was born on the 7th of July, 1839, was brought to the United States by her mother in 1849 and lived for three years in Cairo, Illinois, after which removal was made to Lewistown, where she was married on Thanksgiving day of 1857. She, too, passed away in Lacon, her demise occurring on the 20th of November, 1907. She was a faithful communicant of the Catholic church. By her marriage she became the mother of twelve children, two of whom died in infancy, the others being: Mary, who gave her hand in marriage to Thomas F. McEntee, of Lacon; Lawrence, who was drowned in the Chicago river on the 5th of September, 1913; Bridget, wife of the late Frank Porch, of Lacon; Katherine, who married Thomas F. O'Brien, of Oak Park, Illinois; William F., a resident of Toluca, this state; John, who is living in Lacon; Edward, who died July 13, 1914; Robert L.; and David V. and Thomas G., both of Lacon.

Robert L. Breen was seven years of age when the family removed to Lacon, and he attended a parochial school there until he was thirteen years old, when he entered the office of the old Lacon Democrat and began learning the printer's trade. He was promoted from time to time and when he left that office in 1902 held the position of foreman. In that year he went to Kewanee, Illinois, and became connected with the Star-Courier, with which he was identified for six years, working in various departments. In March, 1907, he came to Bradford and together with others purchased the Bradford Republican, of which he is now half owner. He is also editor and manager of the paper and its growth in circulation and advertising patronage is largely due to his able direction of its affairs. He understands everything in connection with the publication of the paper, the typographical work, the editorial work, the management of the business affairs of the publication and the work of the editor. The paper has gained an enviable reputation for giving full and reliable accounts of all happenings of local interest, and of the more important events in the world without, and it has always promoted improvements in the community. The paper has a large and representative circulation and this make it valuable as an advertising medium for the local merchants.

On the 11th of October, 1904, occurred the marriage of Mr. Breen and Miss Nora I. Hickey. She was born in Camp Grove, Marshall county, Illinois, and is a daughter of David and Mary (Day) Hickey, natives of Ireland. The father became the owner of valuable land in Marshall county and gained a gratifying measure of success as a farmer. Mrs. Breen attended the country schools and after completing the course offered there became a student in the Academy of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at Peoria, Illinois, from which she was graduated. Mr. and Mrs. Breen have four children; Evelyn, Catherine, Robert V., and Margaret.

Mr. Breen supports the republican party at the polls and gives careful study to the questions and issues before the people. Both he and his wife belong to St. John's Catholic church, and he is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Order of Foresters. He is well known not only in Bradford but throughout the county and holds the respect and the esteem of his fellow citizens.

Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 18-20 – Contributed by Karen Seeman


Fred Brown, D.D.S.

Dentistry may be said to be unique among the professions in that it demands ability of a threefold character. One must have mechanical skill and ingenuity as well as scientific knowledge, combined with the power to manage the financial interests of the business. Lacking in none of these particulars, Dr. Fred Brown has become well established in his profession during the eight years in which he has engaged in practice in Toulon. He was born in Mendota, Illinois, January 7, 1884, and was reared in his native county, pursuing his education in the public schools until he left the high school and became a college student. His professional training was received in the Northwestern University Dental School, from which he was graduated in 1908 as a member of a class of one hundred and forty-two, of which there were one hundred and thirty-eight male and four female members. After completing his studies in the university, Dr. Brown located in Toulon, where he opened an office and entered upon the active work of the profession. His office is well equipped with the latest improved dental appliances and he has secured a satisfactory practice.

On the 24th of December, 1908, Dr. Brown was married at Rock Falls, Illinois, to Miss Arley Elaine Reck, a daughter of J.P.W. Reck, of that place. Dr. and Mrs. Brown have a son, Frederick Keith. The parents are members of the Congregational church. Dr. Brown belongs to the Toulon Masonic lodge, and is also a member of Wyoming Chapter, R. A. M., and Kewanee Commandery, K.T. He is now serving as city treasurer. He and his wife occupy a pleasant home on the boulevard. During the years of their residence in Toulon they have gained many friends and enjoy the esteem of all who know them.

Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 238-239. – Contributed by Karen Seeman


G. W. Brown

G. W. Brown, a resident farmer of Penn township, his home being on section 14, was born two miles south of Wyoming on the 20th of May, 1862, his parents being C. W. and Elizabeth (Henderson) Brown, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Peoria. It was in the year 1854 that the father came with his parents to Stark county and through the intervening period, covering more than sixty years, the family has been actively identified with the agricultural development and progress of this section of the state.

G. W. Brown has spent his entire life in Stark county and after mastering the elementary branches of learning taught in the public schools he attended school in Castleton and also at Normal, Illinois. He then returned to the farm to take up the occupation to which he had been reared and since then has put all of the fine modern improvements upon the place. He has here a palatial residence—one of Stark county’s most beautiful homes. It is elevated some feet and the lawn in front of the house is terraced. His farm comprises two hundred and forty acres of land, the value and productiveness of which are constantly enhanced by the methods which he employs in its cultivation. In addition to raising the cereals best adapted to soil and climate he began breeding Hereford white faced cattle ten years ago and at the head of his herd is a fine full, Twyford Protector, imported from England. In addition Mr. Brown has engaged in the breeding of horses and hogs but does not do so at the present time. He has also engaged quite extensively in feeding stock and is regarded as one of the foremost representatives of live stock interests in this part of the state. He has two sets of improvements upon his place and in all of his farm work has manifested a most progressive spirit. Three years ago he brought into the locality the first tractor here used and enterprise has dominated his work at all points in his career.

In June, 1886, Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Miss Lucy E. Swayne, of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, by whom he has four children, as follows: Jessie LeRoy, who is engaged in farming southeast of Wyoming; Hazel L., the wife of Ross R. Raker, of Buffalo, New York; and Myra and Chester, both at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown attend the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. Brown holds membership in the Modern Woodmen camp at Castleton. His political allegiance is given to the republican party but the honors and emoluments of office have no attraction for him, as he prefers to concentrate his efforts upon his business affairs and through wise management, close application and determined purpose he has won the success which is now his and which has gained for him a place among the most substantial and representative farmers of his native county.

Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 248-249. – Contributed by Karen Seeman


U. H. Brown

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 544

U. H. Brown, born at Baltimore, Md., in 1822, is a son of Vachel and Sarah (O'Hagan) Brown, natives of Baltimore and Richmond, Va., respectively. Both died in Carroll county, Md., where for years they resided. The Browns were originally from England and the O'Hagans from Ireland, coming out in colonial days. U. H. was married in Maryland, in 1844, to Miss Ellen Brangle. In 1857 moved with his wife and five children to Knox county, Ill., and in 1866 into Goshen township, Stark county, Ill.. To them twelve children have been born, seven of whom are living, one of whom served in Company F, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as related in military chapters. Mrs. Brown is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Lafayette. Mr. Brown, to whom many references are made in the history of the township and village, is a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the Galva Encampment.

– Contributed by Karen Seeman


Jonas Butler

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 544

Jonas Butler, born in Beaver county, Pa., in 1815, moved to Ohio with parents in his youth; to Fulton county, Ill, in 1837; to Henry county in 1855, and to Lafayette a short time prior to his death in July, 1881. – Contributed by Karen Seeman


Emery S. Buffum

Among the honored veterans of the Civil war living in Toulon is Emery S. Buffum, who was among those that in the darkest hour of our country’s history rallied to the defense of the old flag and kept the stars and stripes waving over the national capitol as the symbol of a united country. For many years he was actively and successfully engaged in farming in Stark county and is still the owner of one hundred and eighty acres of rich and productive land in Goshen township but is now living retired from active business. His residence in the county covers a period of more than half a century, for he arrived here in 1864.

Mr. Buffum is a native or Rock Island, Illinois, and was born January 7, 1842. His grandfather, Jonathan Buffum, was born in Vermont and on coming to the west soon after the Black Hawk war, settled in Canton, Illinois. Later he removed to and settled in Rock Island, erecting the first brick building in that city. This was a hotel and for a number of years he continued actively in the hotel business. He afterward removed to Andalusia, where he spent his last years. During the period of the Black Hawk war he made his home in Monmouth. His son, Abel C. Buffum, was born in Ohio and was among the first settlers of Rock Island, establishing his home there about 1832, which was the year in which the Black Hawk war occurred, whereby the question of Indian supremacy in Illinois was forever ended. He was married in Knoxville, this state, to Miss Lucinda M. Pease, a native of Vermont. For a long period Abel C. Buffum carried on farming in Rock Island county but afterward removed to Knox county and eventually became a resident of Taylor county, Iowa, where he remained for a number of years. At length he went to California, taking up his abode in Anderson, Shasta county, where he lived retired until his death, which occurred when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-four years, four months and twelve days. He was married three times, being survived by his third wife.

Emery S. Buffum, whose name introduces this review, was the only son of his father’s first marriage. He was reared in Knox county, Illinois, and acquired his education in the common schools. On the 19th of August, 1861, when a youth of nineteen years, he responded to the country’s call for aid, enlisting in Company B, Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under command of Colonel John C. Black. He was wounded in the breast, and because of the serious nature of his injuries he was afterward honorably discharged.

Later Mr. Buffum returned to Stark county and went upon a farm. On the 17th of May, 1864, he was married in Toulon to Miss Anna L. Himes, who was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Charles and Laura Himes, who were among the pioneer settlers of this county. After cultivating rented land for two years Mr. Buffum purchased eighty-eight acres which was entirely a wild tract. With characteristic energy he began to develop and improve the property and afterward extended the boundaries of his farm as his financial resources increased until he became the owner of one hundred and eighty acres in Goshen township and also other land in the county. Upon his home place he erected a good residence and a substantial barn and other outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. He continued farming there until 1901 and later he rented his farm to his son for several years and afterward leased it to others. He still owns the place, which is situated near the Henry county line, and from this he derives a gratifying annual income. Upon taking up his abode in the city he purchased the residence which he now occupies, and the success which he achieved in former years supplies him with all of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life.

To Mr. And Mrs. Buffum have been born six sons and three daughters who are yet living, namely: Charles A., who is engaged in business at Long Beach, California; Edwin E., who is a partner with his brother at Long Beach; Elmer H., a real estate and insurance man of Toulon; George N., who follows farming at New Bechard, Saskatchewan, Canada; Perry H., a farmer living at Hayfield, Minnesota; Roy L., who is engaged in the practice of medicine at Long Beach; Laura L., the wife of Simeon Dunbar, a farmer and stock raiser of Casey, Iowa; Clara L., the wife of Fred P. Janes, of Hayfield, Minnesota; and A. May, the wife of Fred Nicholson, a farmer of Stark county. They also lost two children: Alberta, who died at the age of twelve years; and Nellie E., when ten years of age.

Politically Mr. Buffum is a republican and has frequently been a delegate to party conventions. He has served on the board of supervisors for two years and is a stalwart advocate of the principles in which he believes. He has passed all of the chairs in Toulon Lodge, I.O.O.F., of which he is a past grand, and he has twice been a delegate to the grand lodge. He and his wife are identified with the Rebekah degree, in which Mrs. Buffum has filled all of the offices and has likewise been a delegate to the grand order. They are earnest Christian people, Mr. Buffum belonging to the Methodist church and his wife to the Baptist church. They are both active church workers and do all in their power to promote Christian influence in the community. Mr. Buffum belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and was at one time commander of the old post at Galva and later at Toulon. He thus maintains pleasant relations with his comrades with whom he wore the blue and with whom he followed the nation’s starry flag to victory on southern battlefields. He is a member of the Old Settlers Association, in which he has been honored with office.

In 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Buffum attended the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia and they have also attended the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis and the exposition in Portland, Oregon. During the past seven years they have spent the winter months in California, much of the time being passed with their sons at Long Beach, although they have visited the various cities and points of interest on the Pacific coast. Both Mr. and Mrs. Buffum are well-known residents of Toulon and Stark county and are highly esteemed for their many excellent traits of character. Their home is ever open for the reception of their friends, who are many and who are ever cordially welcomed to their fireside.

Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 219-222. – Contributed by Karen Seeman

Emory S. Buffum,, a soldier of the late war, enlisted in Company B, Thirty-seventh Infantry, as related in the military chapter, and was in active service with that command for nineteen months, when his wounds rendered him incapable of further service in the army. He was born at Rock Island, Ill., in 1841, but resided in Knox county from the age of seven to the age of twenty, when he enlisted. In 1864 he settled in Stark. A reference to the political chapter will point out his services to the republican party since that time; the school history credits him with being director of his district for a number of years, while that of the I. O. O. F. at Lafayette, points him out a member. Had he been a member of the county posts of the G. A. R. instead or that at Galva, his military record would be found there as well as in the military chapter. The year of his settlement here he married Miss Anna L., daughter of Charles Himes, of whom a complete family history appears in this chapter. Of their eleven children, nine are living, namely: Laura L., Charles A., Edwin E., Clara L., Elmer H., George N., Perry H., Royd L., and Anna M. Mr. Buffum is one of those citizens of modern days whose history is so closely identified with the last two decades of this county, that much of it belongs to the county and necessarily finds a place there.

[History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 544  – Contributed by Karen Seeman]