Stark County Illinois Biographies - D

William L. Dalrymple

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 545

Wm. L. Dalrymple, who settled in Wethersfield township, Henry county, in 1853, and served that county as clerk for about twenty-three years, and treasurer for four years, died December 27, 1885. – Contributed by Karen Seeman


C. J. Deisher

C. J. Deisher, who is conducting a general mercantile establishment at Lombardville, has made good use of his time, talents and opportunities, ever proving loyal to the interests entrusted to his care and capable in the management of his business affairs. He was born in Osceola township, this county, May 6, 1866, a son of James and Caroline (Woodward) Deisher. The father was born in Ithaca, New York, and when about eighteen years of age came to the middle west, settling on a farm which he continued to develop and improve until fourteen years prior to his demise, when he engaged in the livery business, conducting his stables until his death, which occurred four years ago. His wife had passed away when their son, C. J., was but five years of age.

Spending his youthful days in his father's home, C. J. Deisher attended the public schools of Bradford and remained with his father until he reached his majority. At the age of twenty-one years he went to Missouri but after spending a time in that state returned to Lombardville and assumed the management of the elevator there for the firm of Mallett & Code, with whom he continued for twenty-two years, his long connection with that firm standing in incontrovertible proof of his ability, trustworthiness and fideltiy. About three years ago he established a general store in Lombardville and is still conducting the business, meeting with excellent success in his management of the enterprise. That his trade has now reached large proportions is indicated by the fact that he runs two wagons in the country.

On the 5th of January, 1887, Mr. Deisher was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Murray and they have become the parents of four children: Lloyd, who is engaged in business with his father under the firm style of C. J. Deisher & Son; Blanche, who is the wife of John Bell, proprietor of a store in Milo; Maud, who is a school teacher; and Ray, at home.

The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. Deisher exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the democratic party. He may truly be called a self-made man and deserves all the credit which that term implies. Through his own efforts he has built up a business of gratifying proportions and in 1915 the sales of the firm of C. J. Deisher & Son amounted to over sixty-five thousand dollars. His plans are carefully formulated and promptly executed. He studies the business situation thoroughly, knows the demands of the trade and through liberal purchases is able to meet the wishes of his patrons. He has ever recognized the fact that satisfied patrons are the best advertisement and along that line he has built up a business of gratifying proportions.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 9-10 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Jeremiah Demuth

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 545-6.

Jeremiah Demuth, son of J. A. and Jane (Rist) Demuth, was born in Fayette county, Pa., June 26, 1830. In 1852 he married Miss Jane Robinson, in that state, and five years later moved to Goshen township, settling on his present farm. In 1863 he purchased an eighty acre tract, which he brought to the highest state of cultivation. He also owns land in Nebraska. Mr. D. has served as school director and highway commissioner several terms, and also filled other township offices. His family consists of seven children, namely: Elvira, residing here; Clark, a physician, residing in Michigan; Smith, in Nebraska; Anna, residing at home, is skilled in hair work; Diantha, in Nebraska, Oliver, in Nebraska, and Eugene at home. Mr. Demuth is republican in politics, and both he and wife are old and earnest members of the M.E. church. Miss Elvira Demuth is a teacher in the district school. This is her thirteenth year in the profession, during which she missed but three terms, presiding from four to six terms over one school.– Contributed by Karen Seeman


Charles P. Dewey

Prominent among the enterprising, progressive and farsighted business men of Toulon is Charles P. Dewey, financier and banker, who for more than forty years has been identified with the moneyed interests of the county. He is honored and respected by all, not alone by reason of the success he has achieved but also owing to the straightforward business policy which he has ever followed. Stark county numbers him among her native sons. He was born July 28, 1857, a son of Samuel M. Dewey, a native or Hanover, New Hampshire, and a grandson of Andrew Dewey. The former was reared in the old Granite state to the age of eighteen years and pursued his education in the schools there. He afterward went to Boston, where he remained for four years and subsequently he became a resident of Stark county.

Charles P. Dewey spent his youthful days under the parental roof and supplemented his early education, obtained in the common schools, by study in Wheaton College, where he remained for two years. He then returned to Toulon and for a year or more was connected with mercantile interests but later entered a bank as a bookkeeper. He worked his way upward to the position of cashier and in 1879 purchased an interest in the business. Upon the death of his partner, Samuel Burge, he became head of the banking house and for years carried on the business in the same locality. The firm of Dewey, Burge & Gould conducts a general banking business and enjoys the unqualified confidence of the entire community. Their business methods have been conducted with a recognition of the fact that the bank is most worthy of support which most carefully safeguards the interests of its depositors. In addition to his banking interest Mr. Dewey is the owner of several farms in Stark county and has handled considerable improved farm property, winning substantial success in that way.

At Wayne, Illinois, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Dewey and Miss Flora I. Dunham, who was there born and reared, a daughter of Esquire Daniel Dunham, a very prominent citizen of Wayne. Five children have been born of this marriage: Olive C., the wife of Thomas G. Plant, of Moultonboro, New Hampshire; Mills, who is cashier in the bank; Charles P., who is engaged in the real estate and loan business in Salt Lake City; Maurice A., who was educated at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and is now at home; and Marilla I., who is a student in the Toulon schools.

Mr. Dewey and his wife have been members of the Congregational church of Toulon for twenty-five years and he has taken an active part in both church and Sunday school work. He contributes generously to its support and stands at all times for the benefit and upbuilding of the community along material, intellectual, social and moral lines. His political allegiance is given to the republican party, but while he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, he has never sought nor desired office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, and by his close application, indefatigable energy and persistency of purpose he has reached the plane of affluence and is numbered among the most substantial residents of his county.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 17-18 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Hymen De Wolf

Hymen De Wolf is now living a retired life in La Fayette but for a long period was actively engaged in general agricultural pursuits in West Jersey township, where he still owns a farm of one hundred and forty acres, from which he derives a substantial annual income. He followed the most practical and progressive methods of farming when living upon that place and the result of his labors was seen in the large crops which he annually gathered.

Stark county numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in West Jersey township, March 5, 1855. His father, Joseph De Wolf, was born in Canada and was there reared to adult age. Making his way to the United States he settled at once in Stark county, Illinois, and was here married on the 6th of April, 1841, to Miss Mary Ann Gibbs, a native of New Jersey and a daughter of Joseph Gibbs, who at an early day removed from New Jersey to Illinois and established a home in Stark county. In the early days of his residence here Joseph De Wolf purchased a small tract of land, split rails and fenced his farm. He also built a good house upon his place and carried on the work of development and improvement. However, he had worked as a farm hand by the month for several years before he was married. He led an active, busy and useful life, was careful and conservative in the management of his property and was industrious and energetic in carrying on the labors of the fields. Upon his farm he reared his family and spent his remaining days, there passing away at the age of sixty-four years, six months and nineteen days, his death occurring on the 3d of January, 1881. His wife survived him for a brief period, her death occurring January 19, 1884, when she had reached the age of sixty-two years, four months and fifteen days.

Hymen De Wolf was reared on the old homestead and assisted his father on the farm until he attained his majority, thus becoming familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. On the 9th of February, 1876, he married Miss Arminda Kennedy, who was born in Knox county, Illinois, but was reared and educated in Stark County. Her father, George Kennedy, was a native of Tennessee, where he was reared, coming when a young man to Illinois. He cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Knox county and afterward removed to Bates county, Missouri, where he spent his remaining days upon a farm, his death occurring in 1884. His widow survived him for a number of years and returned to Illinois, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. De Wolf, for twenty-one years. She died on the home farm of the De Wolfs in 1907.

For two years after his marriage Hymen De Wolf lived upon his father's place and then rented another farm across the road, devoting his attention to the cultivation of both tracts of land until his father's death. Later he rented and cultivated the old homestead for several years and afterward purchased the farm. He also bought land adjoining and he now owns one hundred and forty acres, which he brought to a high state of cultivation. Most of it was covered with timber but he cleared away the trees, planted crops and made the farm a most productive one. He erected a good residence, also built good barns and sheds for the shelter of grain and stock, and divided his land into fields of convenient size by well kept fences. In fact he added all modern equipments and accessories to the place, including the latest improved machinery to facilitate the work of the fields.

In 1912 Mr. De Wolf removed to La Fayette, where he purchased a good residence and is now living practically retired. He was one of the promoters of the La Fayette Fair Association, of which he is still a stockholder, and he has been actively and helpfully interested in many movements which have resulted beneficially to the community. Mr. and Mrs. De Wolf are now alone. They have had but two children and both sons are married. Llewellyn, the elder, owns and operates a farm in West Jersey township, and to him and his wife have been born two children. Ray, the younger son, is farming the old homestead. He is married and has a son and daughter.

In his political views Mr. De Wolf is a democrat but has never been an aspirant for public office. His wife belongs to the Christian church. Throughout his entire life Hymen De Wolf has lived in this part of the state and has therefore witnessed the greater part of the growth and development of Stark county. He has seen the establishment of many of its leading industries, the growth of its towns and the development of its farming district until Illinois claims no richer or more valuable land than the farms of Stark county. His own business affairs have been wisely and carefully managed, and his labors have brought him the substantial measure of success which is today his. He has a wide acquaintance in the county and wherever he is known he is spoken of in terms of warm regard.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 142-144. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Grant Dexter

Grant Dexter is one of the prosperous farmers and stock breeders and dealers of Goshen township. His home on section 4 is known as the Cloverdale Farm and comprises three hundred acres of rich and arable land, on which he raises Hereford Cattle. He is a native son of Stark county, born January 27, 1865, and he represents an old New England family. His father, George F. Dexter, was born in Bangor, Maine, January 11, 1832, and there reached adult age, after which he came with his parents to Illinois, the family home being established in Elmira township, where they were among the pioneer settlers. With the work of early development and improvement here they were closely associated. George F. Dexter was married in this county to Miss Laura Miner, who was the first white female children born in Stark county. Following his marriage Mr. Dexter purchased land whereon he now resides, his first tract comprising forty acres. He at once began to develop and improved the place and as his financial resources increased he extended its boundaries from time to time, becoming in the course of years one of the prosperous farmers of Goshen township. He erected a pleasant residence and provided shelter for grain and stock by building good barns and sheds. In 1889 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who passed away on the 27th of April of that year, since which time Mr. Dexter has made his home with his son Grant, who is the eldest in a family of three sons.

The usual experiences of the farm bred boy came to Grant Dexter in the period of his youth. He attended the district schools and from the time of early spring planting until crops were harvested in the late autumn worked in the fields. Eventually he relieved his father of the care and development of the home farm by assuming its management and control. At the time of his marriage he brought his bride to the old homestead. The residence has since been remodeled and is now a thoroughly modern and attractive home supplied with furnace heat, hot and cold water, bathroom, gas light and other modern conveniences. Mr. Dexter has also added to his farm by the purchase of adjoining land on section 3, Goshen township, and in connection with the cultivation of the fields he is engaged in the breeding and sale of Hereford pure bred cattle. He was also one of the promoters of the Galva Cooperative State Bank, of which he became a director, and he was active in promoting the La Fayette Fair Association, of which he became a stockholder.

On the 2nd of December, 1886, in Henry county, Illinois, Mr. Dexter was married to Miss Emma F. Keim, who was born and reared in that county and who by her marriage has become the mother of four children: Fay, the wife of Frazer T. Winans, a resident farmer of Goshen township; Grace; Gladys; and Marvin G.

In politics, Mr. Dexter has been a lifelong republican and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day but does not seek nor desire public office. He and his wife are both active workers in church and Sunday school. They belong to the Baptist church of Toulon and Mr. Dexter was made a member of the building committee, having in charge the erection of the new church. He is never willing to make terms with anything underhanded but is straight-forward and honorable in all of his relations and has made his life a potent force in promoting moral progress and uplift in the community in which he has always made his home.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 275-276. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Albert Deyo

Albert Deyo has long been active in business in Bradford, giving his attention to the work of well drilling. He represents one of the old families of Stark county, his birth having occurred in Osceola township on the 24th of May, 1869, his parents being Josiah and Julia (Hayden) Deyo. The father was born in New Paltz, New York, while the mother's birth occurred in Maine. They were married in Illinois, the father having come to Stark county in 1854. He secured a tract of land which he converted into an excellent farm, making his home thereon until his death. The family come of Huguenot ancestry.

Albert Deyo attended school in Bradford, supplementing his public school training by a commercial course. His early practical experience came to him through the work of the farm, on which he continued to reside until he reached the age of twenty-four years, when he removed to Bradford. For two years he was engaged in clerking in a store and since that time has been engaged in the well digging business. This has made heavy demands upon his time, keeping him constantly busy, and through his earnest and intelligently directed efforts he has won substantial success.

In 1894 Mr. Deyo was married to Miss Rena Bevier, who was born in Osceola township, this county, a daughter of Mordecai and Adelaide (Bradford) Bevier, who came from Binghamton, New York, to this county at an early period in its development, arriving about 1854. Securing a tract of land, the father bent his energies to the cultivation of a farm. He carried on general farming for a considerable period but later concentrated his energies upon the raising of vegetables and fruit. He was quite prominent in the community, building some local offices, including that of supervisor, in which position he remained for a number of years. At the time of the Civil war he responded to the country's call for aid, enlisting as a member of Company K, Sixty-third Illinois Infantry, with which he rendered valuable service to his country. He died in the spring of 1912, having for seven years survived his wife, who passed away in 1905. Their daughter, Mrs. Deyo, was reared and educated in Bradford and by her marriage has become the mother of five children: Doris, who was graduated from the high school of Bradford in the class of 1914 and is now attending the Nebraska State University at Lincoln; Marian, who is a senior in high school; Eleanor, Jeanette and Bradford, all in school

Mr. Deyo exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and is active in supporting its principles, having firm belief in their efficiency as factors in good government. For one year he filled the office of mayor of Bradford. He belongs to the Woodmen lodge and he and his wife are consistent and faithful members of the Methodist church, doing all in their power to promote its growth and extend its influence. Mr. Deyo has erected a fine residence in Bradford and the home is moreover very attractive by reason of its warm-hearted hospitality, which is greatly enjoyed by the many friends of the family.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 168-169. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Rebecca Dickinson

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 545

Mrs. Rebecca {Delerga) Dickinson, born at Orwell, Vt., in August, 1805, died at Galva, 111., June 24, 1886. At the age of fifteen years she came with her parents to St. Lawrence county, N. Y., where in 1823 she married Norman Church. In 1847 she moved to Lafayette, since which time she has lived in or near the place. She was the mother of ten children, seven of whom are living; three, T. D. Church, Mrs. O. B. Stowell, and Mrs. C. V. Dickinson, were with her in the dying hour.– Contributed by Karen Seeman]


William T. Ditmon

William T. Ditmon owns one hundred acres of good land, which is being operated by his son, and is one of the substantial and well known residents of Valley township. His birth occurred in Chillicothe, Peoria county, Illinois, on the 1st of July 1849, his parents being William and Margaret (Kaiser) Ditmon, both natives of Chillicothe, Ross county, Ohio. They remained there until 1848, when they removed by wagon to Illinois, reaching Peoria on the day that Zachary Taylor was elected president. They located in Chillicothe, this state, but in 1856 took up their residence upon a farm on section 17, Valley township, Stark county, where they remained until 1878. Then they removed to Wyoming, this county, and the father lived retired until his demise six years later. He held the offices of justice of peace and school director and was highly esteemed in his community. His wife died April 25, 1877.

William T. Ditmon attended the common schools in the acquirement of his education and remained at home until he was twenty-six years old. He then began farming on his own account and as the years have passed his resources have increased so that he now enjoys a comfortable competence and is living practically retired. Since coming to Stark county he has always resided on section 17, Valley township, and his present farm comprises one hundred acres of valuable land. He has brought the place to a high state of development and the buildings, which are substantial and commodious, he erected himself. He engaged in raising Poland China hogs and Jersey cattle as well as the usual farm crops for many years but his farm is now being operated by his son.

Mr. Ditmon was married in 1875 to Miss Julia E. Jordan, a daughter of John Jordan, who was an early settler of Stark county. To this union have been born two children: John, who is farming the homestead; and Orpha, the wife of G. W. Jackson, of Stark county.

Mr. Ditmon was reared in the political faith of the democratic party as his father supported that organization, and he has loyally supported its candidates since attaining his majority. For fifteen consecutive years he has held the office of treasurer of the school board, and he also is now serving as justice of the peace. Both he and his wife are members of the Congregational church at Stark and he is a member of its board of trustees. In 1876 he was made a Master Mason at Wyoming, Illinois, and has ever since taken a keen interest in the work of the craft. He is also connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America at Wyoming and with the Maccabbes at Stark, in which he as served as commander for nineteen consecutive years. In all the relations of life he has measured up to high standards of manhood and is most highly esteemed where best known.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 333-334. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


ELISHA DIXON, farmer and stock raiser, section 1, was born March 15, 1823, in Jackson County, Ohio, and is the son of Joseph and Rachel (Wilkerson) Dixon, who were natives of North Carolina, and who went to Ohio when they were quite young. Elisha was reared on a farm at his birthplace, and received a common school education. He immigrated west in the spring of 1851, and settled in Stark County, Ilinois, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In the fall of 1868, he came to Nodaway County, Missouri, locating near Quitman. He improved a farm of 440 acres, and moved from there to where he now resides in the spring of 1876. He owns 160 acres of well improved land, has a comfortable residence and an excellent orchard of some 300 bearing trees. During the late war he enlisted in the fall of 1861, in Company K, Forty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served three years. He filled the position of orderly sergeant, and took part in the battles of New Madrid, Island No. 10, first and second battles of Corinth, Iuka and Vicksburg. After the surrender of Vicksburg, he was taken sick and was discharged in 1864. He commenced life a poor boy, and has been a self made man. Mr. Dixon was married on the 24th of October, 1844, to Miss Lydia Nicholas, daughter of John and Elenore Nicholas. She was born the 11th of March, 1823, in Jackson County, Ohio, and is an old schoolmate of Mr. Dixon's. They have been blessed with nine children, six of whom are living: Sophia, born July 28, 1845, (now Mrs. Henry Colwell); Francis M., born February 1, 1848; Pearly N., born May 22, 1850; Evaline, born March 17, 1853, (now the wife of James Graves); Emma, born October 22, 1860; Oliver W., born September 12, 1868. They are also raising two adopted children, Homer A. Dixon, born February 2, 1871, and Lena May Balton, born May 27, 1873. Mrs. Dixon is a member of the Christian Church. [Source: from "History of Atchison County" (Missouri) - Submitted by Karen Seeman)


John and Samuel Down

John and Samuel Down, who are successfully engaged in farming and stock raising on one hundred and sixty acres of fine land on section 21, Valley township, are sons of William and Elizabeth (Butler) Down, the former born in Devonshire, England, and the latter in Suffolkshire, England. The father came to the United States when seventeen years of age and the mother was brought here by her parents when four years old. Mr. and Mrs. Down were married in Peoria county, Illinois, and remained there for several years, but on the 11th of March, 1866, located on section 21, Valley township, Stark county, where they lived until called by death. The father learned the shoemaker’s trade during his youth but after his removal to the United States engaged in farming. He took an active interest in public affairs and served as assessor, collector and in various other local offices. Both he and his wife were Congregationalists in religious faith. He passed away about 1878 and she survived until the 8th of May, 1914. To them were born the following children: William deceased; John; Mary, the wife of Lewis Warren, who resides near Red Oak, Iowa; Thomas, a farmer of Stark county; Samuel; Cora, who married J. S. McGraw, of Dunlap, Illinois; and Bertha, the wife of Henry Klipfer, of Essex township.

John Down was born in Akron township, Peoria County, Illinois; on the 21st of April, 1863, and Samuel Down was born on May 28, 1871, in Valley township, Stark county. Both received their education in the public schools and were early trained by their father in agricultural work. They have never left the home farm, which they are now operating on their own account, and they rank among the most progressive and most practical stock raisers of the county. They have made many improvements upon the farm, which comprises one hundred and sixty acres, and they derive a gratifying income from their well directed labors.

In 1909 Samuel Down was united in marriage to Miss Cora Duckworth, by whom he has three children, Charles Prescott, Alice Elizabeth and John Henry. Both brothers are democrats in politics and attend the Congregational church. They are connected fraternally with the Woodmen and the Maccabees and are popular within and without those organizations. Their dominant characteristics are such as never fail to command respect and warm regard.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 315-316. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Martin B. Downend

Since his youthful days Martin B. Downend has been a resident of Stark county, where he ranks with the most enterprising and progressive farmers and stock breeders, making a specialty of handling pure blooded registered Hereford cattle, Poland China hogs and Percheron horses. He is a native of the neighboring state of Indiana, born November 22, 1860. His father, Thomas Downend, was born in England and came to the new world with his father, Thomas Downend, Sr., who settled in Ohio, in which state the son was reared. There he wedded Miss Mary Bachtel, who was born in the Buckeye state. They afterward removed to Indiana, where Mr. Downend engaged in farming for a number of years, during which period five children were born to them. About 1862 they removed with their family to Illinois, settling in Toulon township, Stark county, where Mr. Downend again gave his attention to general agricultural pursuits, thus providing a comfortable living for his family, whom he reared upon the home farm. He died about 1890, while his widow, surviving him for a number of years, passed away in 1913.

Martin B. Downend was but a young lad at the time of the arrival of the family in Stark county, so that the period of his boyhood and youth was spent on the homestead farm. Following the death of his father he cared for his mother throughout her declining years. For some time he worked by the month upon a farm but was ambitious to own land and carefully saved his earnings until he was able to purchase an improved farm of forty acres. He further perfected arrangements for having a home of his own in his marriage on the 21st of December, 1887, in Toulon township, to Miss Anna C. Brown, who was born and reared in this county and was educated in Toulon. She is a daughter of J. H. Brown, one of the pioneer settlers of this county, now living retired in Toulon. They began their domestic life on the little forty-acre farm, which Mr. Downend cultivated for six years. He then sold that property and within the city limits purchased a twenty-three acre tract, upon which he has since resided. Upon the place he has erected a good residence and he now has his land well improved. In addition Mr. Downend owns one hundred and sixty acres on section 29, Toulon township, adjoining at one corner the corporate limits of the city. This is a well improved farm supplied with commodious and substantial buildings and a silo of recent construction. His farm work is conducted along progressive lines. He believes in the rotation of crops, in the use of fertilizers and all other methods that enhance the productiveness of his place. He now has forty-eight acres of alfalfa, from which he cuts three crops per year, averaging four tons per acre. Mr. Downend also owns another small farm of fifty-seven acres which is a well improved place, and he has twenty-three acres in another tract. His holdings now consist of four different tracts, constituting two hundred and sixty-three acres of well improved and valuable farm land. Turning his attention to the breeding and raising of fine stock, he began handling Poland China hogs in 1895. Later he took up the business of raising Hereford cattle, commencing with three head, and he now has a herd of sixty head of registered Herefords in addition to thirty-five head of high grade Herefords. He holds public sales of his registered Hereford cattle and Poland China hogs and he is now well known as a breeder, dealer and shipper of thoroughbred stock, including Percheron horses. It is evident that success has attended him along the path of life, for in addition to his holdings in Stark county he also owns a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Delaware county, Iowa, and a forty-acre tract in Minnesota, all improved land. What he undertakes he accomplishes, and diligence and determination have enabled him to overcome all obstacles and difficulties in his path.

To Mr. and Mrs. Downend have been born three children: Leslie L., who is married and is engaged in business in Toulon; Florence, who is a graduate of Denison University of Granville, Ohio, and has been a successful teacher in Stark county; and Lucile, now attending school in Toulon.

In politics Mr. Downend has always been a republican since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and has served as highway commissioner for a few years and also as a member of the city council for two terms but could never be counted a politician in the usually accepted sense. However, he is not neglectful of the duties of citizenship and when in office made a most creditable record by his fidelity and capability. He and his family are all members of the Baptist church and he and his daughter Florence are active workers and teachers in the Sunday school. His life has ever been upright and honorable, measuring up to the highest standards of manhood and citizenship. He has been found trustworthy in every relation of life and his good qualities have gained for him the respect and confidence 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. 331-333. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Henry Duckworth

Henry Duckworth devoted his life to agricultural pursuits and through his well directed industry gained a competence which enabled him to spend his last years in honorable retirement in Wyoming. He was born in Haslingdon, Lancashire, England, on the 9th of July, 1828. He passed his boyhood and youth in his native country and received his education in the common schools. After putting aside his textbooks he learned the shoemaker’s trade, which he followed in England until 1850, when he emigrated to the United States, sailing from Liverpool on the 6th of March in company with his sister, Elizabeth Duckworth, John Wrigley, Samuel Andrews, William Longdon, and Thomas Pearson and sister. They landed in New Orleans and came up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Peoria, arriving there on the 4th of May. Four years later Mr. Duckworth had gained a sufficient start in business to enable him to send for his wife and two children, a son and daughter, who accordingly joined him in this country. The daughter, however, died in the same month that they reached the United States. The family home was maintained in Peoria county until 1858, when removal was made to Valley township, Stark county, where Mr. Duckworth purchased a farm. He devoted his energies to the operation of that place for thirteen years, and then took up his residence upon a farm near Wyoming. He remained there until he retired from active life and removed to Wyoming, where he built a comfortable home on Galena avenue. He died there on the 7th of April, 1904, deeply mourned by his many friends.

Mr. Duckworth was married on the 27th of August, 1848, at Berry Church, England, to Miss Mary Crabtree, who was born in Lancashire on the 19th of July, 1828. She passed away in Wyoming on the 10th of December, 1898. To their union were born twelve children, seven of whom are living, namely: Alfred, a resident of Toulon township; Mrs. Jacob Farden, of La Platte, Missouri; Mary E., the wife of Edwin Hartley; Mrs. John Eagelston, a resident of Chicago; and Mrs. John Drinnin, William and Mrs. Charles Wrigley, all of whom are living in Wyoming.

Mr. Duckworth supported the republican party and the polls and at all times placed the party welfare above his private interests. This characteristic was manifest in the Civil war, when, in 1864, he enlisted in the Seventh Illinois Volunteer Regiment, with which he remained until the close of hostilities. He was well known in Masonic circles, being one of the first members of the Royal Arch Chapter at Wyoming and belonging also to the commandery at Peoria. He aided in organizing the Congregational church and could be counted upon to further its work in every way possible. In all the relations of life his conduct measure up to high standards, and he was justly held in great esteem.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 233-234. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Rev. R. C. Dunn and Family

[from "Stark County and Its Pioneers" by Mrs. E. H. Shallenberger – Contributed by Karen Seeman]

Dr. Charles C. Dunn, was a native of England, but emigrated to America in early manhood, and settled in Augusta, Georgia, where he was married to Miss Rebecca Moore, and where their five children -- Columbia A., (Mrs. Tillson), Augustus A., Richard C., William E., and Caroline E., (Mrs. O. H. Smith) were born.

Mrs. Rebecca Dunn was of Puritan descent, though born and reared at the south, and when after a few years of married life, she found herself a widow, with her five small children dependent in a great measure upon her efforts for support, and looking to her for guidance and control, she courageously took up her burden, and from that time, lived a life of self-sacrifice and devotion to her family.

In the summer of 1831, she removed the family to Cincinnati, to join an only brother, Augustus Moore, Esq., who had preceded them a year or two, and who ever showed himself a true brother in all her difficulties.

Their aim in coming north was to remove their families from the influence of slavery, under which they felt it would be impossible to rear them properly.

In Cincinnati, they resided on a farm near the city, belonging to Mr. Moore, which was also the summer residence of his family. Here the children enjoyed some advantages of education and society, and attended the second Presbyterian church, under the pastorate of the late Dr. Lyman Beecher, with which church several of them united. But the growing boys needed more room. Such an opening the fair prairies seemed to offer, and in the spring of 1836, Augustus, then only eighteen, came into township 12, 5, then a part of Knox, but now West Jersey township, in Stark county, Illinois, and entered a hundred acres of land, three miles south of the village, which then consisted of two or three log cabins, and the family used often, laughingly to remark, that they resided three miles from nowhere.

After arranging for the erection of a log cabin, he returned for the family, which arrived in September of the same year, moving from Cincinnati with all their effects, in two covered wagons.

The hardships and privations of a pioneer life, at that early period were formidable, even when there was the strong arm of manhood to combat them; what must they have been to this family of women and boys? Mrs. Dunn's resolution and courage in this, entitles her to rank as a pioneer woman of Stark county, and show her a worthy daughter of our patron saint, Mollie Stark of revolutionary memory, Alas! there are no Washingtons now to recognize and reward such merits. Each of the family went to work with a will, at whatever they had strength or ability to perform. One of the daughters taught school, taking her pay of $1.50 per week, in such articles as her patrons could spare and the family could use -- stocking yarn and flannel, meat, flour and dried fruit, the latter article brought all the way from their former residences in Ohio or New Jersey, and brought out only on special occasion -- any and everything except money; while the younger daughter turned her attention to the outer adornment of the heads of the mothers, bleaching and retrimming their paper bonnets and occasionally swimming her horse across the swollen river, in her millinery excursions.

The brothers commenced improving their land, but with the inexperience of boys, and the lack of any remunerative market, they succeeded in doing a vast amount of hard work, which never brough them the looked for return. Says one of them: "Our ten years of farm life was a failure!" Not so when the crop produced ripened out, in after years, into men, hardened by toil, and schooled in poverty and self reliance to accomplish such results, in shaping and moulding society in its formative state, laying broad and deep the foundations of intelligence, temperance, liberty and religion. "Those who are to help the perplexed and toiling men of their times, must first go down into the conflict themselves."

Augustus married young, and on the organization of the county in 1839, was elected the first sheriff, though lacking a few days of his majority at the time of the election. Subsequently he studied medicine, and settled in Cambridge, Henry county, where he took an active part in public and social life, and met with marked success in his profession.

At the commencement of the rebellion he enlisted and was elected captain of company D, 112th regiment of Illinois and volunteers. He had a portion of his left hand shot off in a skirmish at Kelley's Ford, Tennessee; was afterwards in the battle of Franklin, struck in the forehead by a fragment of a shell, breaking the frontal bone, which wound resulted n his death four years afterwards, on the 2nd day of March, 1869, aged fifty-one.

He had removed to Chicago at the close of the war, but his remains were interred at Cambridge, which had long been his place of residence. Thus closed the life of one of our brave and loyal soldiers, and a noble generous man.

Richard Chapman, was about sixteen at the time of their removal to this county. His early educational advantages had been slight and desultory. At first we find him in a little school in Augusta, Georgia, taught by his mother, to eke out their scanty support.

He early developed that love for work which marked all his future course, and which was the secret of his success.

After acquiring some of the rudiments of learning, we find him imparting them to their house servants; often, for the sake of secrecy, as it was a penal offence, going under the house, which was, southern fashion, set on stilts; and this he looked back upon as one of the proudest acts of his life, even when he had taken a prominent part in educational matters, both in the county and state. In Cincinnati he attended a few terms in log school houses, but with little promise of his future scholarship; but he enjoyed the pleasures of boy life, roaming the woods, hunting, trapping and swimming, while his zeal for work developed into a passion for gardening, which remained with him through life. Indeed his love for the beautiful, both in nature and art, was always a source of exquisite pleasure, while disorder and lack of harmony were sources of torture.

After the removal to Illinois, his days were full of hard work, but the evening spelling schools and debating societies which he assidulously attended, gave him the elementary drill in language and its use, in which he became a critical scholar, and with the few books to which he had access, were all his advantages, until 1840, when he spent a year at the academy at Galesburg, working for his board and tuition.

This was followed by a year or two of farm work, during which every leisure moment was devoted to study, and when a new frame house was to take the place of the log cabin, rising before light in the long days of summer, to dig the cellar, and after light proceeding to the harvest field, and doing his day's work.

In the summer of 1843, he entered college, working his way through, with but little assistance from friends, and often walking across the bleak prairies to visit his home.

In 1847, he was one of the three which formed the second class graduated by Knox College, and in 1850 received the degree of master of arts.

It was on the 10th of May, 1847, that Mrs. Rebecca Dunn, having removed to Galesburg that she might make a home for those of her children who were studying there, passed to her rest, leaving a memory ever cherished by her family with the most sacred reverence and affection.

For several years, after closing his college course, Mr. Dunn traveled and taught, and in the routine of the school room acquired that practical knowledge of educational matters of which Stark county subsequently reaped the advantage. Oct. 31, 1850, after an acquaintance of a year in the school room, he was united in married with Miss Sarah A. Marvin, who shared his fortunes and his cares through the remainder of his life.

Mr. Dunn had decided on the profession of law, and had made considerable progress in his preparation, when his attention was called to his duty to engage in the ministry, and laying aside his ambitions and aspirations in that direction, he gave himself to his Master's service in a whole souled consecration.

Untempted by dazzling openings which were presented, even after he had commenced his studies in the Union Theological Seminary of New York, which he entered three weeks after his marriage, and relinquishing all his anticipations of a home for three years, he lived over again the self-denials and struggles of his college life.

His ministerial life opened with a pleasant year of labor in western New York, but with several urgent openings for labor at the east, his heart longed for the west. It had been the center of all his hopes and plans, and thither he resolutely turned his face.

After filling the pulpit of the Congregational church of Peoria for three months, there followed a period too painful to be recalled, only as it gave a coloring to all his future life, and furnishes a key to explain what has been misunderstood by many. A period of candidature, in which for months every door of labor, however humble was closed against him, his way wholly hedged up, and his beloved west rejecting him. This produced serious doubts as to his call to the ministry, a morbid sensitiveness as to the acceptability of his labors, and an unwavering determination never to be placed in such straits again; and while there was no drawing back on his part from the service of the church, it led to a more full consecration of all his talents in the service of his Master, in whatever way he might be used; looking directly to the leadings of Providence for work and wages, and doing with his might, what his hands found to do.

It was at this juncture, that the Rev. S. G. Wright, of Toulon, who had been his pastor in the earlier times, and ever after a warm friend, decided to leave his charge for a year, and take an agency from the Illinois Home Missionary Society, and transferred his field of labor to Mr. Dunn, and in January, 1855, he again became a citizen of Stark county.

While his position as pastor of a church made large drafts upon his time and strength, both in pulpit preparations and pastoral visiting, being most of the time the only minister of that denomination in the county, his field extended over its whole area, and he generally had at least one out post, at which he had regular appointments.

The inhabitants, either in settlement or immigration, were but very few of Congregational preferences, and the church has always taken radical grounds in all matters of reform, yet steady progress marked its growth, and at the close of the twelve years labors, he felt that he could congratulate them on their prosperity. But he never forgot that he was a man, a citizen and a neighbor. In his own words: "I felt that I was not only a member of the Congregational church, and its pastor, but a member of the community, and interested in all its interests, in schools, in trees, in public works, in literary matters, in moral enterprises, in rail roads, in all things." "My heart, and time, and purse have been drawn out for every object of charity or of public enterprise;" he could truly record -- "I have spoken to the public in various forms and addresses several thousands of times. I have canvassed the county for schools, for temperance, and for the country. I have gone to all parts, attending funerals and weddings, picnics, conventions and meetings of every sort."

Mr. Wright was commissioner of schools when he passed his work over to Mr. Dunn, and after acting as deputy for him until the close of the term, he was elected his successor, which office he held for three terms, six years, doing a vast amount of labor, visiting schools by day and lecturing in the evenings, examining teachers, giving counsel to teachers and school officers, making out reports, & c., con amore, the compensation never exceeding $200, per annum, and often less.

He was also trustee of the town corporation, and president of the board two years. His wide acquaintance in the county led to his nomination and election to the assembly for the 36th district, comprising the counties of Peoria and Stark for the session of 1865. There he was chairman of the committee on education, and on the special committee to visit Champaign, with a view to the location of the Industrial University.

In October, 1866, Governor Oglesby tendered him a commission as trustee of the hospital for the insane, the duties of which he faithfully performed until his death. The same year the republican party in the county were a unit in striving for his nomination to the state senate, and about the same time Senator Yates, in behalf of the collector of the port of New Orleans, tendered him the position of deputy collector of the same port, with a salary of $3,000 and perquisites, which he declined.

After a pastorate of twelve years, Mr. Dunn, feeling that a change would benefit the church, he resigned the charge, not without a severe struggle, so firmly had his heart entwined itself with his life's work, for this was his only regular pastorate.

After a few months of secular work, receiving a pressing call from the Congregational church of Oneida, Knox county, he spent a year of delightful and successful labor with them, receiving all the encouragement and affection which a minister could ask, and there, in the prime of his usefulness and success, "with his harness on," as he had ardently desired, he was called to receive his crown.

"Let all the ends thou aims at

Be thy Country's, God's and Truth's."

A short but severe attack of spinal meningitis, lasting but a few days, terminated in his death, May 24th, 1868, and in the forty-seventh year of his age.

His health began to fail towards the close of his college course, but during the second year in the seminary, entirely gave way, and from that time he never saw a well day, or passed a night of quiet restful sleep. This will seem impossible to those who have witnessed the amount of work he performed, or listened to the pleasantries in which he so often indulged.

Another drawback was his meager and unreliable income, which always kept him straightened and in debt, with heavy interest, and yet so averse was he to alluding to his needs, so promptly were his obligations met, and so liberally did he respond to all calls upon his purse, that most supposed that his means were ample, and few dreamed of the Spartan self-denial and rigid economy he was obliged to practice in his expenses.

His especial gift was in attracting the young, in whom he took the warmest interest, laboring in every way for their improvement. The sabbath school was his especial delight.

The following spring, his family, wishing that their dear departed one might sleep side by side, removed his remains to the cemetery in Toulon, and this his third and last coming to Stark county was not to work, but to rest, in hope of a glorious resurrection.


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