Stark County IL Biographies - M


Robert McBocock

In the history of the agricultural development of Stark county it is imperative that mention be made of Robert McBocock, long well known as a prominent farmer, valued citizen and a loyal friend to the community in which he made his home. He passed away here, January 19, 1886, being at that time sixty-one years of age, his birth having occurred in Ohio, December 19, 1825. He was a lad of eleven years when his parents, Elijah and Barbara (McKinney) Bocock, removed to Fulton county, Illinois, settling on a farm about five miles from Canton, in which locality their son Robert was reared. He was named Robert McKinney Bocock, but always wrote his name McBocock, although others of the family used just Bocock. After attending common schools he learned the cooper's trade, which he continued to follow for three years after his marriage.

It was the 10th of January, 1848, that he wedded Miss Elizabeth R. Culton, who was born in Fulton county, Illinois, December 13, 1831, of the marriage of John J. and Abigail H. (Mitchell) Culton. Her father, a native of Tennessee, was reared in Kentucky, where Mrs. Culton was born, but her girlhood days were passed in Indiana, where she became the wife of John J. Culton. They removed westward to Illinois, casting in their lot with the pioneer settlers of Fulton county, and later they went to Bradford, Stark county, where the father died in 1890. His widow lived to be more than a nonagenarian. Their family numbered eleven children, of whom Mrs. McBocock was the second in order of birth.

Following their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. McBocock resided in Fulton county, upon a rented farm for two years, at the end of which time they made investment in eighty acres of partially improved land in Penn township, Stark county. With characteristic energy Mr. McBocock began the development of the property and as his financial resources increased extended the boundaries of his farm until he owned a large and valuable tract of land and became one of the prosperous agriculturists of Penn township. In business affairs he displayed sound judgment and unfaltering enterprise and was never known to take advantage of the necessities of another in a trade transaction.

Mr. and Mrs. McBocock became the parents of ten children, of whom six are yet living: Thomas Jasper, a resident of Omaha, is married and has four children; William C., a stock dealer of Wyoming, Illinois, is married and has one child; Abigail J., of Wyoming, is the widow of Jefferson Frances and has two children; Sarah M. is the wife of Frederick Ditewig and they have three children; James S., of Wyoming, is married and has one child; and Alva E., a resident of Peoria, is married and has one child.

In politics, Mr. McBocock was an earnest and stalwart republican and filled a number of local offices, the duties of which he discharged in a capable and satisfactory manner. For sixteen years he ruled fairly and impartially as a justice of the peace in Penn township, and on retiring from that office was elected supervisor which position he filled to the time of his death. He was also for a long period a member of the school board and the cause of education found in him a stalwart champion. While his own educational privileges were somewhat limited, he added continuously to his knowledge by reading, observation and study and was a well informed man. His life was upright and honorable, winning for him confidence and warm regard, so that his death was the occasion of widespread regret. About 1890 his widow removed to Wyoming, where she still makes her home. She has long been a devoted member of the Congregational church, and her life has been characterized by kindly purpose, high ideals and many good deeds. The long residence of the family in Stark county well entitles them to representation in this volume.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 60-61 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Frank C. McClenahan, D.D.S.

In professional circles in Toulon, Dr. Frank C. McClenahan occupies an enviable position, having been here engaged in the practice of dentistry for eleven years. He utilizes the most improved scientific methods in his work and the results which he has accomplished have been most satisfactory. He is a native son of the county, his birth having occurred in Goshed township, near La Fayette, in December, 1879. His paternal grandfather, Henry McClenahan, a native of Pendleton county, Kentucky, was born in 1798 and removed thence to Indiana, while in the early '30's he became a resident of Stark county, Illinois, where he joined his father, Elijah McClenahan, Sr., who was among the first settlers to penetrate into the wild western wilderness that is now the thickly populated and prosperous district of Stark county. The first election held in the county was held as his residence in Goshen township.

His grandson and namesake, Elijah McClenahan, Jr., the father of Dr. McClenahan, was born in Rush county, Indiana, July 10, 1827, and came to Stark county in 1834, when a lad of seven years, with his father, Henry McClenahan. Here he was reared amid the usual pioneer conditions, meeting all of the hardships and esperiences of frontier life. In 1873 he married Miss Margaret Thomas, a daughter of William M. Thomas, of Knox county, Illinois. He began farming in Goshen township, about two miles south of La Fayette, and there he reared his family and spent his remaining days. He was a very active and became a very prosperous agriculturist and at the time of his death owned five hundred acres of very valuable land in two farms. Perseverance and indefatigable effort were the basic elements of his growing success, while in all of his business dealings he was strictly reliable. He belonged to La Fayetet Lodge, No. 501, F. & Am.M., and consistently exemplified in his life the beneficent spirit of the craft. He died February 2, 1909, at the age of eight-two years, and is still survived by his widow. In their family were five children: Edna D., who is living with her mother in Toulon; Daniel H., who for some years has been an active member of the bar at Lincoln, Nebraska; Carl D., who is a druggist of Toulon; Frank C.; and Bert C., who is living on the old homestead farm near La Fayette.

Dr. Frank C. McClenahan was reared in this county and completed his public school education in the high school of La Fayette, while his professional training was received in the Northwestern Dental College at Chicago, in which he completed a three years' course. He was there graduated with the class of 1904. On the 5th of May of that year he opened an office in Toulon, where he has since engaged in practice. He has the marked mechanical skill and ingenuity so necessary to the dentist, combined with the business ability which must always prove a factor in the successful management of one's own affairs. His office is thoroughly equipped with the modern appliances of dentistry and his work is an embodiment of scientific knowledge and investigation.

On the 22nd of December, 1903, Dr. McClenahan was married in Toulon to Miss Lucile Blanche Cary, a native of Ionia, Michigan, and a daughter of the Rev. E. A. Cary, a minister of the Christian church. They occupy a pleasant and attractive residence in Toulon and both are active members in the Christian church, which was founded by Elijah McClenahan and his wife, the former a brother of Henry McClenahan and an uncle of Alec McClenahan, Jr. The family have always been prominent in the church work here and their labors have been an important element in bringing about moral progress in the community.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 94-96. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Frank C. McClenahan, D.D.S.

In professional circles in Toulon, Dr. Frank C. McClenahan occupies an enviable position, having been here engaged in the practice of dentistry for eleven years. He utilizes the most improved scientific methods in his work and the results which he has accomplished have been most satisfactory. He is a native son of the county, his birth having occurred in Goshed township, near La Fayette, in December, 1879. His paternal grandfather, Henry McClenahan, a native of Pendleton county, Kentucky, was born in 1798 and removed thence to Indiana, while in the early '30's he became a resident of Stark county, Illinois, where he joined his father, Elijah McClenahan, Sr., who was among the first settlers to penetrate into the wild western wilderness that is now the thickly populated and prosperous district of Stark county. The first election held in the county was held as his residence in Goshen township.

His grandson and namesake, Elijah McClenahan, Jr., the father of Dr. McClenahan, was born in Rush county, Indiana, July 10, 1827, and came to Stark county in 1834, when a lad of seven years, with his father, Henry McClenahan. Here he was reared amid the usual pioneer conditions, meeting all of the hardships and esperiences of frontier life. In 1873 he married Miss Margaret Thomas, a daughter of William M. Thomas, of Knox county, Illinois. He began farming in Goshen township, about two miles south of La Fayette, and there he reared his family and spent his remaining days. He was a very active and became a very prosperous agriculturist and at the time of his death owned five hundred acres of very valuable land in two farms. Perseverance and indefatigable effort were the basic elements of his growing success, while in all of his business dealings he was strictly reliable. He belonged to La Fayetet Lodge, No. 501, F. & Am.M., and consistently exemplified in his life the beneficent spirit of the craft. He died February 2, 1909, at the age of eight-two years, and is still survived by his widow. In their family were five children: Edna D., who is living with her mother in Toulon; Daniel H., who for some years has been an active member of the bar at Lincoln, Nebraska; Carl D., who is a druggist of Toulon; Frank C.; and Bert C., who is living on the old homestead farm near La Fayette.

Dr. Frank C. McClenahan was reared in this county and completed his public school education in the high school of La Fayette, while his professional training was received in the Northwestern Dental College at Chicago, in which he completed a three years' course. He was there graduated with the class of 1904. On the 5th of May of that year he opened an office in Toulon, where he has since engaged in practice. He has the marked mechanical skill and ingenuity so necessary to the dentist, combined with the business ability which must always prove a factor in the successful management of one's own affairs. His office is thoroughly equipped with the modern appliances of dentistry and his work is an embodiment of scientific knowledge and investigation.

On the 22nd of December, 1903, Dr. McClenahan was married in Toulon to Miss Lucile Blanche Cary, a native of Ionia, Michigan, and a daughter of the Rev. E. A. Cary, a minister of the Christian church. They occupy a pleasant and attractive residence in Toulon and both are active members in the Christian church, which was founded by Elijah McClenahan and his wife, the former a brother of Henry McClenahan and an uncle of Alec McClenahan, Jr. The family have always been prominent in the church work here and their labors have been an important element in bringing about moral progress in the community.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 94-96. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Charles S. McKee

For years Charles S. McKee was identified with mercantile interests of Toulon and at all times his business methods measured up to the highest commercial standards, but in 1916 he sold his store. He was born in Ohio, May 2, 1864, a son of Robert McKee, who in 1865 removed to Illinois, settling on a farm near Galva. It was upon the old homestead property in Henry county that Charles S. McKee was reared, early becoming familiar with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He attended the Galva schools and in early manhood began clerking in a dry goods store, being there employed for several years, during which time he gained thorough and practical knowledge of mercantile methods, thus laying the foundation for his later success.

In November, 1888, Mr. McKee was married in Toulon to Miss Mary E. Hall, the only daughter of Dr. Hall, a native of this city and a son of Dr. Hall, Sr., who was one of the pioneer physicians not only of Stark county, but of central Illinois as well. Mrs. McKee's aunt was the first white child born in this section of the state.

In 1889 Mr. McKee located in Toulon and for twelve years engaged in clerking here. He afterward established a new dry goods store on the south side of Main street, where he carried on business for three years. He afterward bought out a competitor on the north side of the street and removed his stock to that store and carried on business here until he sold out in 1916. He had a large double store, well lighted, and he carried an attractive line of merchandise attractively displayed. His stock included dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes and groceries. He knew how to purchase advantageously and his prices were always reasonable, while his business methods were thoroughly reliable. He won a most creditable position among the leading merchants of the city and all who know him recognize that he deserves the success that has come to him.

To Mr. and Mrs. McKee have been born six children: Emily Irene, the wife of Roland Forman, a farmer of McLean county, Illinois, by whom she has a son, Roland Forman, Jr.; Eleanor, Ruth, Lucile and Rachel, all at home; and a daughter, Lucy, who died at the age of eleven years.

With Mr. McKee family interests are always first but he does not neglect the duties of citizenship, and while he has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, he has responded to the demand of his fellow townsmen that he assume some of the public duties and responsibilities. He has several times been a member of the town council, was also city clerk for several years and for twenty-three years he has served as chief of the fire department, which is a volunteer service, the department numbering twenty-eight active young men. While some disastrous fires have occurred here, they have been very successful in fighting the flames, few buildings having been entirely destroyed. Mr. McKee certainly deserved much credit for his work in this connection and many other evidences of his public spirit could be cited, showing that he has the best interests of the community at heart and is most unselfish in his devotion to the general good. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and has passed through all of the chairs in Toulon Lodge, A.F. & A.M., of which he is now a past master. He and his wife are connected with the Eastern Star chapter, and he belongs also to Wyoming Chapter, R.A.M., and to Kewanee Commandery, No. 71, K.T. He and his wife are members of the Congregational church of Toulon and Mrs. McKee is connected with the auxiliary societies of the church. They stand for all that is most worth while in community life and cast their influence 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. 185-186. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Mr. and Mrs. Alexander McKenzie

A life is judged very largely by its inspirational quality, by its power to give to the lives that follow it just cause for loving admiration, and through that admiration, faith and hope and courage. As a loving tribute, then, and also as a noble example of that unwavering courage and that unquestioning acceptance of life as it is, to be made better and more acceptable by those to whom the gift of it has come, this sketch of two simple, unaffected lives is here written, with a full realization of its inadequacy, but with the consciousness that it will be read by sympathetic minds and understanding hearts, fitted to interpret its words aright.

From the deepest poverty in the Highlands country of Scotland, there came across the Atlantic, in 1863, a father, Alexander McKenzie, and two sons, Alexander McKenzie, Jr., whose life is here recorded, and Duncan McKenzie. Alexander McKenzie, Jr., was born March 20, 1842, near Fairburn, in Ross-shire, Scotland, about eighteen miles from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. The father and sons came straight west from New York city and located in Stark county, Illinois, in the Scotch settlement of Elmira, where they joined John McKenzie, the oldest son of the family. The mother, Janet Chisholm McKenzie, had died in Scotland when Alexander was but three years old and Duncan, one. The father died in this country a short time after coming here.

Without money and without help, it was some time before this little family was able to earn enough in a strange, new country to make a beginning toward buying a home. But little by little their tiny hoard grew, until finally these three brothers together were able to buy, near Elmira, an eighty-acre tract of land with an old house upon it. On the 14th of September, 1876, Alexander McKenzie married Sarah Fowler, a daughter of one of the earliest pioneers, Brady Fowler, who likewise had made his beginning in the new country with absolutely no money. In fact, he borrowed the money for his marriage license when he married Rebecca Wiseman. This, however, was probably the only debt he ever had without the means in sight to pay it off. But the investment was evidently a wise one and the risk allowable in such a case. A few years later these two with a family of three children set out from Pennsylvania by wagon to make a home in this fair Illinois of ours, which was then the great unopened west.

In this new country, Sarah Fowler was born near Osceola Grove, in Stark county, May 5, 1844. Practically her whole life was spent in this county, where her father and mother broke the virgin prairie soil and built one of the old pioneer log cabins. Her childhood knew both the pleasures and the hardships which belonged to those days, the days of the so-called "good old times, " and her young womanhood experienced the thrilled period of the Civil war. Brady Fowler was a stanch abolitionist and a harborer of fugitive slaves in those antebellum days.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie went to a small farm of eighty acres near Toulon, which they bought for a home, and here nearly all the rest of their lives were spent, a place inestimably dear to them all their days. To this original eighty-acre tract they kept adding other land near it and making other investments. Here four children were born to them, two sons, Neil and Kenneth, and two daughters, Florence and Clare, all of whom are living in and near Toulon. In 1877 they built a comfortable and beautiful new home on the old farm. To make and build such a home of his own was a great object of Mr. McKenzie's life, for he came from a country where such an achievement would have been impossible. Further than that he did not look or aspire at that time, but day by day, in spite of failures and discouragements, and the slow consummation of his hopes, he worked steadily, perseveringly, without despair, without envy, without bitterness, toward that end, never for an instant losing confidence in himself or failing in a persistent, enduring courage. Time passed and brought to him more than he had hoped in the way of possessions, until finally he came to be regarded as one of the leading financiers of the community. Such success in a financial way would be worthy of little comment were it not for the fact that he made his way alone and unaided while most people had at least some help to start with, meager though it may be. Neither would it be of much value for its own sake, aside from the fact that it is a monument to what man can do for himself in a patient, courageous way without the advantage of so-called "luck" and "good fortune," without any tampering with speculation, or by any illegitimate business, but by simple, honest, persistent effort, merely raising the products of the soil and with the proceeds buying more ground to continue the same work.

Nor were other things neglected for the sake of the mere accumulation of possessions. Of a quite and retiring disposition, Mr. McKenzie seldom took a part in public affairs but was always a ready giver to things for the public good and always took great pride in the town and community where he lived. In the Toulon Congregational church, to which he transferred his membership from the Elmira Presbyterian in his later years, he was much interested and was ambitious for its growth and improvement.

In the year 1913, Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie came to Toulon to the beautiful new home they had erected, because they felt they could no longer attend to their old work, and here, not quite a year later, Mr. McKenzie passed away on February 5, 1914, after a brief illness. Many people would regard this period of idling as a pleasure and consider the past years the hard part of life, but Mr. McKenzie did not feel so. He regarded the years of his work time as the happiest years of his life and always felt that if a man could not take pleasure in his work, his life was not ordered aright, and for his own part he keenly regretted the necessity of leaving the old farm home. Yet with his characteristic facing of life as it was, he set himself to enjoy the simple pleasures of retirement and be grateful that he had lived such a long period of years, not set aside among the old but still a part of the world.

For such a hard task as was his in his early years, he found in Mrs. McKenzie a perfect helpmeet. Even among pioneer women she was a remarkable woman, remarkable in an infinite variety of ways. At the time of her marriage, she was able to do everything about a home, even to making candles and soap and yeast and cutting patterns for gowns. Yet amid all her household cares and the cares of a large family, she found time to keep up her intellectual interests. Her purely formal education, in her girlhood, consisted of the somewhat haphazard instruction given in the old fashioned district school and a little smattering of Latin, grammar and history and rhetoricals at a small seminary near Abingdon, Illinois, where she begged her father to send her much against his will, for it was not yet the day of the education of women generally, and Brady Fowler was a firm, old fashioned believer in the home as women's only sphere. She read and she learned all her life afterward, balancing with a rare good sense the intellectual and the practical. The breadth and variety of her interests were marvelous, considering the meager opportunities of her child hood and the time in which the formative years of her life were spent. They even extended into financial matters, in which she always took a keen pleasure and delight, managing her own private property herself, for the pure pleasure of doing it, with no small skill. She was one of the early members of the Congregational church of Toulon when it was small and weak and insignificant, entering it because she had faith in its broad principles and believe in its future, and she always remained interested in its services and all its allied societies. She was one of the earliest members, also, of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, likewise a small and insignificant organization, before the days of the popularity of temperance and before any considerable body of people had faith in it. Very early, too, she came to a belief in woman's suffrage, another unpopular cause in that day. In countless ways she saw and lived and moved in advance of her time, a pioneer woman in more than one sense of the word.

Yet with all this variety of interests, and interests, many of them, which were in her time unusual and not customary among women, she was primarily a home woman, a perfect and devoted mother, keeping in the midst of all the stress of life and its conflicting demands, her sanity and balance and sweetness. In all the matters of the modern world her interest continued to the end, and about her person and character in her declining years there was an almost complete absence of the withering touch of age. She, too, until death claimed her also, just four days later than her husband, on February 9, 1914, was a brave and splendid example of how one can mold circumstances till they contribute to the upbuilding of great life and character.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 197-200. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


P. W. McManus

P.W. McManus is a senior partner in the firm of McManus & Swearingen, proprietors of a general store at Bradford. He has long been connected with this business, and capable management, enterprise and initiative are bringing to him well deserved success. He was born in Marshall, Illinois, November 8, 1864, a son of Peter and Mary (Lynch) McManus. The father was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, and the mother in County Clare, that country, but in early life they came to the new world and were married in Fulton county, Illinois. It was in 1851 that Peter McManus crossed the Atlantic and settled in Peoria county, Illinois, where he carried on farming. Afterward he removed to Marshall county, devoting his remaining days to general agricultural pursuits until his life's labors were ended in death in 1879. His widow long survived him and passed away in 1914.

P.W. McManus was a lad of fifteen years at the time of his father's death. He pursued his education in the schools of his native county, completing his studies in the old brick seminary near Henry. He was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops, and he remained upon the farm until thirty-two years of age, when, hoping to find commercial pursuits more congenial, he removed to Bradford and bought out the business of Mr. Pilgrim, who was a partner of W.A. Washburn. He then became a partner of the latter and their relationship was maintained until the death of Mr. Washburn. Mr. McManus then remained alone in business for three years, at the end of which time he admitted H.A. Swearingen to a partnership in the ownership and conduct of a general store which is one of the leading mercantile establishments of the town. They occupy two floors and basement of a building forty by one hundred and twenty feet, having a millinery department on the second floor. Their trade is large and constantly growing, for they carry a large stock and put forth every effort to meet the wants of their customers. In addition to their mercantile interests in Bradford they own three hundred and twenty acres of land in Nelson county, North Dakota, and Mr. McManus also has eighty acres of land in Stark county. He has likewise been active in looking after estates and has in his control one of the largest of the county.

In 1890 Mr. McManus was united in married to Miss Nora M. Hickey, and they became the parents of four children: James P., who resides in Illinois; and Margaret, William and Mary, all at home. The wife and mother passed away in 1906, in the faith of the Catholic church, and in 1911 Mr. McManus married Miss Julia Driscoll.

In religious faith he is a Catholic and he is likewise connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Fraternal Reserves, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Order of Foresters. In politics he is a democrat and has been called to some local offices, serving as mayor of the city for one term and as a member of the city council for ten years, ever exercising his official prerogatives in support of plans and measures for the general good. He has made an excellent record both as a business man and citizen and at all times is characterized by the spirit of enterprise which accomplishes results.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 51 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


James Jay Mahany

James Jay Mahany, devoting his time and energies to general agricultural pursuits and to the raising and feeding of stock for the market, is the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of productive land on section 1, West Jersey township, this place being known as the old Mahany homestead. It as on this farm that he first opened his eyes to the light of day on the 13th of February, 1887. He is a representative of an old family of Stark county and his father, James Van Buren Mahany, was born in Toulon township, was reared upon a farm and was married in this county to Miss Belle Cairn, who was born in Indiana and there spent much of her girlhood. Mr. and Mrs. Mahany began their domestic life on the farm now owned by their son Jay, the father and his brother owning a half section of land which they converted from a tract of raw prairie into well tilled fields. Not a furrow had been turned when the farm came into their possession and they bent every energy toward the cultivation of the land. James Van Buren Mahany afterward purchased his brother’s interest, thus becoming the owner of three hundred and twenty acres. For a long period he was a prominent and influential agriculturist of his community and the intelligent manner in which he directed his interests and his unfaltering activity brought him a substantial measure of success, enabling him in his later years to live retired from business. During that period he resided in Toulon, where he passed away in 1909. His widow still survives, as do their three children: James Jay; Clarence L., who is married and resides in Toulon; and Verina, who is a student in the high school at Toulon.

When a little lad of about six years James Jay Mahany began to apply himself to the mastery of those branches of learning which are taught in the district schools and subsequently he had the benefit of instruction in the schools of Toulon. His time was divided between the school room and the fields, for through the summer months he assisted in the task of cultivating and developing his father’s land. In January, 1909, in Galesburg, Illinois, he wedded Miss Neva M. Smith, who was born and reared in Stark county, a daughter of Oliver Smith. The young couple began their married life upon the farm which has since been their home and he has steadily carried on the work of improvement and development. He has erected a neat house for the tenants, also put up some of the outbuildings and has kept the place in excellent condition, so that it forms one of the attractive features of the landscape. He makes a business of feeding a large number of hogs each year, specializing in the handling of Chester Whites.

Mr. and Mrs. Mahany have but one son, Ralph. Mr. Mahany is a member of the Federal Reserve Life Association. His activities have ever been concentrated upon his business affairs and that he is now one of the prosperous citizens of his community is due to his close application, his diligence and his unfaltering purpose. To him work is no hardship. It calls forth his energy and his best efforts and he finds delight in the correct solution of a business problem.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 316-317. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


J. W. Mahler

J. W. Mahler, a practical and efficient farmer of Penn township was born a half a mile south of his present farm on the 2d of December, 1860. His parents, John Edward and Elizabeth (Hamilton) Mahler, were born in Hanover, Germany, and in Pennsylvania, respectively, the latter being of English and German extraction. When eighteen years of age the father came to the United States and settled in Stark county, Illinois. He became the owner of land in Penn township and concentrated his energies upon its cultivation for many years but at length removed to Wyoming. He was a self-made man and through his energy and good judgment became the owner of five hundred and sixty acres of valuable land. He reached the advanced age of ninety-one years and is survived by his wife who is still living in Wyoming.

J. W. Mahler entered the public schools at the usual age and completed the course offered there but during his boyhood and youth also assisted his father with the farm work. He remained upon the home place until he was twenty years old, when he took up his residence on section 23, Penn township. His home farm comprises a quarter section, and he also owns one hundred and sixty acres in Cheyenne county, Nebraska. He has made all the improvements upon his place, which compare favorably with those found on neighboring farms, and in the management of his affairs he is progressive and businesslike. He engages in general farming and has gained a gratifying measure of prosperity.

Mr. Mahler was united in marriage in 1880 to Miss Hannah Maria Fouts, and to them were born two children: Charles, who died in infancy, and Rose M., the wife of James Sliver, a farmer of Stark county.

Mr. Mahler votes the republican ticket and for twenty-seven consecutive years has held the office of school director, his services in that connection having been highly satisfactory to his constituents. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America at Campgrove and has many friends within and without that organization.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 292-193. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


G. S. Mallett

G. S. Mallett, residing in Bradford, controls important and profitable business interests as a dealer in grain and coal at Lombardville and at Gravel Hill, where he is operating as the senior partner in the firm of Mallett & Code. His birth occurred in Milo township, Bureau county, Illinois, December 3, 1853, his parents being James F. and Mary L. (Steinhauer) Mallett, both of whom were native of Providence, Rhode Island. On removing westward the father settled in Bureau county, Illinois, in the early ‘40s, when the work of civilization and improvement had scarcely been begun in this section of the state, which is indicated by the fact that much of the land was still in possession of the government. His father, E. J. Mallett, had pre-empted a claim and James F. Mallett began to develop and improve the property. E. J. Mallett was a paymaster general of the United States army and afterward took his son, James F., as his assistant and during a considerable period of his early life and again in later years he resided in New York city, where he died.

G. S. Mallett was educated in the schools of Milo township, early becoming familiar with the branches of learning there taught. His business training was received upon the home farm, where he remained until 1890, when he came to Bradford and entered the grain and coal business, establishing yards at Lombardville and also at Gravel Hill, conducting his interests under the firm name of Mallet & Code. He has direct charge of the business and his operations are directed by sound judgment and keen discernment which bring excellent results.

Mr. Mallett has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Laura Enos and for his second wife he chose Carrie A. Ebersole. He is a democrat and for some years he filled the office of collector in Milo township but has had little ambition to fill political positions. His religious faith is that of the Episcopal church, while his wife belongs to the Methodist church. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic lodge of Bradford, the Modern Woodmen camp and the Fraternal Reserves, while both he and his wife are identified with the Eastern Star chapter at Bradford. Their lives are guided by high and honorable principles, which shape all of their relations with their fellowmen. Mr. Mallett has many admirable traits of character, being persistent, energetic and farsighted in business, progressive in citizenship, loyal to his friends and devoted to his family.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 237-238. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Hugh Mallett

Hugh Mallett, who throughout his entire life has engaged in harness making, conducting a profitable and growing business along that line at Bradford, was born in Milo, Bureau county, Illinois, on the 11th of April, 1875, and is a son of James F. and Mary J. (Haskins) Mallett. The father is also a native of Bureau county, while the mother's birth occurred in Tioga county, New York. They were married in Illinois, however, and are now residents of Lombardville, where they have resided since 1895. The father devoted many years of his life to general farming and is now engaged in stock buying.

Hugh Mallett was educated in Milo and when seventeen years of age began to learn the harness making trade at Lombardville, Illinois, being employed there and at Bradford until 1901, when he started in business on his own account. In August, 1915, in association with W.F. Costello and others, he organized the Jim Dandy Collar Company, of which Mr. Mallett is the secretary, while Mr. Costello acts as manager. They manufacture a combination collar and pad in one and the establishment now has a capacity of fifteen dozen collars per day and one hundred and twenty-five sets of harness per year. Mr. Mallett has sold over four gross of collars from his harness shop to the farmers of the locality and they have given general satisfaction. He is thoroughly honest and upright in his dealings and is known as "Honest Hugh".

In August, 1906, Mr. Mallett was united in marriage to Miss Ruth Drawyer, and they have become the parents of three children, James, Russell and Madeline. In his political views Mr. Mallett is a republican, well versed on the questions and issues of the day but is not an office seeker. For sixteen years he has been identified with the Masonic fraternity, and both he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star. His success is due in large measure to the fact that he has always continued in the line in which he embarked as a young tradesman, never dissipating his energies over a broad field but concentrating his efforts upon the business in which he has developed skill and ability.

[ Stark County Illinois and Its People: A Record Of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement Volume II Published 1916 by The Pioneer Publishing Company – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Samuel Malone

Samuel Malone, who is engaged in general farming on a tract of land of one hundred and thirty-seven acres on section 6, Penn township, which he owns, was born on the 19th of October, 1867, in Marshall county, Illinois, upon a farm north of Campgrove, then occupied by his parents, Samuel and Margaret (McConnell) Malone, both of whom were natives of County Down, Ireland. On leaving the country they crossed the Atlantic to the United States and were married here. For a time they resided in Marshall county but on the 8th of March, 1875, took up their abode upon a farm on section 6, Penn township, Stark county, there spending their remaining days. The father died June 13, 1898, and the mother survived until July 2, 1902, when she also passed away. In early life Mr. Malone had devoted his attention to mining but after coming to Illinois took up the occupation of farming, which he ever afterward followed.

Samuel Malone is indebted to the public school system of the state for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. He has always lived upon the home farm, taking care of his father and mother and assuming the active management of the business. He now owns one hundred and thirty-seven acres of land, giving his attention to general farming, his labors being attended with a substantial measure of success as he carries on the work of tilling the soil and developing the crops. His judgment in matters relative to the farm and its development is sound and his labors are bringing good return.

In 1903 Mr. Malone was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Millslagle, by whom he has five children, namely: Edna Margaret, Charles H., Mary Elizabeth, Lloyd Eugene and Bernice. Mr. Malone votes with the democratic party and keeps in touch with the vital questions and problems of the day but does not seek nor desire political office, preferring to concentrate his energies rather upon his home problems that arise in connection with the further development and improvement of his farm.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 253-254. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


George A. Marsh

George A. Marsh, who is engaged in the furniture and undertaking business in Bradford and is one of the most successful of the younger business men of the town, was born there on the 7th of July, 1883, and he is a son of Harry A. and Carrie (Searl) Marsh. The father was born and reared in Maine, and in his youth learned the confectioner's trade. When about sixteen years of age he came west and for several years engaged in setting up portable sawmills, but in 1876 he came to Bradford, where he carried on the flour and feed business. Subsequently he added a line of home-made candies to his stock but at length sold his feed store and established a furniture store. He continued active in business until twenty-four hours before his death, which occurred in 1910, when he was sixty-three years of age. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and served as a noble grand of his lodge. In religious faith he was a Methodist and took an active part in the work of the church. He gained a fair measure of financial success, all of which was due entirely to his own efforts. His wife was born in Stark county and was a daughter of Squire Wheeler Searl, who removed here from Pennsylvania at an early day. He was a farmer and also devoted considerable time to carpentering. She passed her entire life in this county and died when about fifty-five years of age. She was also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and was the mother of two sons; Wheeler Searl, who is head designer for the Green Duck Company of Chicago; and George A.

The latter was born in the building in which his store is now located and has always resided in Bradford. He received his education in the public schools, and while still a youth gained valuable training in mercantile methods through assisting his father in the conduct of his store. For four years in addition to helping his father he carried the mail over a rural route and in the evenings taught music, thus securing enough money to buy an interest in the store. At length he became sole owner of the establishment, and has since concentrated his energies upon its conduct and the development of its trade. He completed a course in embalming at Chicago and is also engaged in the undertaking business in addition to his managing his furniture store, and has gained an enviable reputation for giving excellent and unobtrusive service.

Mr. Marsh was married on the 30th of September, 1908, to Miss Nellie Blaisdell, also a native of Bradford and a daughter of J. C. Blaisdell, now assistant editor of the Henry Republican of Henry, Illinois. Mrs. Marsh was reared and educated here and has many warm friends. Her religious faith is that of the Baptist church.

Mr. Marsh is an adherent of the republican party and is now serving for the second year as city clerk, in which capacity he has made an excellent record. He has also been quite active as a temperance worker, as he believes that the liquor evil is responsible for many of the bad conditions of the present day. He holds membership in the Methodist church and is also connected with the Masonic blue lodge, the Eastern Star and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is a past grand. He is progressive and far-sighted in the conduct of his business interests and is accorded a large and representative patronage. He is also very popular personally, his salient characteristics being such as never fail to win and retain respect.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 123-124. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Duncan M. Marshall

Actuated by the spirit of progress and advancement in all that he does, Duncan M. Marshall has proven his right to rank with the representative and leading farmers of Goshen township, where he owns two hundred and twenty acres of arable land on section 2. While he has been a resident of Stark county for only a brief period, having arrived here in 1912, he has won recognition as a substantial and representative citizen.

His birth occurred in Marshall county, West Virginia, April 11, 1879, and he was educated in the public schools. When a young man he removed westward to Illinois in 1901, settling in Henry county, where he worked by the month as a farm hand for a number of years, thereby gaining his financial start. He afterward purchased a team and turned his attention to the business of teaming in Kewanee, where he spent two years. Still later he removed to Bureau county, where he cultivated a rented farm for two years and then returned to Henry county, where he continued to rent land for six years. In 1912 he made purchase of the farm whereon he now resides and in the intervening period he has concentrated his efforts and attention upon the further development and improvement of the place. He has fenced the fields, repaired the buildings and erected a large silo at a cost of six hundred dollars. Among the other improvements that he has added are a hog house, a good cement tank, a cattle shed and a hay barn. He is very energetic, his life being characterized by unremitting diligence and industry, and within the short space of four years he has wrought a marvelous change in the appearance of his place. In addition to tilling the soil in the production of crops he raises and feeds stock, and is also now engaged in breeding shorthorn cattle and other pure-blooded registered stock, thereby adding materially to his income.

On the 1st of March, 1904, in Kewanee, Mr. Marshall was united in marriage to Miss Martha Clark, who was born and reared in Asheville, North Carolina, and in young womanhood joined an uncle in Kewanee. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall have three living children, Harry, Ward and Helen. They lost their first born, Hazel, who died at the age of two and one-half years. Mr. Marshall is a very energetic youjng man, his life being characteristic of the spirit of enterprise which has typified the development of the Mississippi valley.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 283-284. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


H. D. D. Martin

Among the well known public men of Stark county is H. D. D. Martin, who is the present county treasurer--an official capable and prompt in the discharge of his duties and loyal at all times to the trust reposed in him. He was born in Peoria county, Illinois, July 27, 1851. Henry Martin, his father, was a native of Canada and was a son of Squire Martin, who removed from that country to the United States with his family and settled in Peoria, Illinois, about the year 1829, being numbered among the earliest residents of that city, which in fact, was but a village at the time of his arrival there. He preempted land, broke the sod and tilled the fields, opening up and developing a fine farm. His son, Henry Martin, was reared in Peoria and Marshall counties, where the family home was maintained at different times, and after arriving at years of maturity was married in Peoria county to Miss Eliza Jane Sommers. He afterward made his home in Peoria and Marshall counties until 1861, when he removed to Henry, where he engaged in the manufacture of carriages and buggies, carrying on business there for a number of years. While there residing he lost his wife and later he joined a daughter in Saybrook, after which he lived retired from business there for a number of years. Subsequently he came to the home of his son, H. D. D. Martin, in Wyoming, and with him spent his last years. He was long a respected and worthy citizen of this part of the state and enjoyed the merited regard for all with whom he came in contact.

H. D. D. Martin was reared upon the old home farm in Marshall county and completed his education by graduating from the high school of Henry, Illinois. He afterward learned the trade of carriage and buggy making with his father where he conducted a manufacturing and repair business, remaining there for twelve years. He then disposed of his shop and went to Wyoming, where he built another shop and began the manufacture of carriages, wagons and buggies, also doing general repair work of that character. For five years he remained at Wyoming and then sold out, after which he concentrated his efforts upon merchandising, in which field of business he continued active for fourteen years. In 1914 he was nominated and elected treasurer of Stark county and removed to Toulon, assuming the duties of his position in December of that year. He had previously served in a number of positions of public honor and trust, continuing for some years as township clerk and also as township collector for two terms. He has ever been prompt and faithful as a public official and over his record there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil.

Mr. Martin was united in marriage in Valley township, Stark county, in 1877, to Miss Mary E. Joh, who was born and reared in this county, where her father, David Joh, settled at a very early day. Mrs. Martin passed away in Castleton and in Wyoming Mr. Martin was married to Miss Mary Haywood, also a native daughter of Stark county and for a number of years a successful teacher, being connected with the schools of Wyoming in that capacity for eight years.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin are faithful members of the Congregational church of Toulon and he has been a very active church and Sunday school worker for many years, serving for twelve years as superintendent of the Sunday school at Castleton, also as superintendent of the Congregational Sunday school in Wyoming for some years. He still takes an active interest in the various branches of church work, particularly in the religious training of the young, believing in the wisdom of Solomon: "Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." He has accomplished much good in his Sunday school work and for fifteen years he has been president of the Sunday School Association which is maintained in Stark county. He is continually alert to improve upon methods of religious instruction that the young people may be fortified for life's temptations and its responsibilities, and the influence of his example as well as for his precept has been strongly and widely felt. There are few residents of Stark county more widely known and none are held in higher esteem than H. D. D. Martin, for whom his fellow citizens entertain the warmest regard, for his life has ever measured up to the highest standards of manhood and citizenship. He never boasts of his own worth. In fact he is entirely free from ostentation and display, but whenever his fellowmen mention him, it is in terms of admiration and regard.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 166-168. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


G. W. Merna

An excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres, situated on section 28, Penn township, is the property of G. W. Merna, who located thereon about six years ago and here in addition to general farming he is engaged in the raising of Clydesdale horses, becoming well known as a leading dealer of his community. He was born in the township in which he still makes his home on the 13th of September, 1874, his parents being George and Mary F. (Bateman) Merna, the former a native of England and the latter of Ohio. On coming to the United States the father settled first at Fall River, Massachusetts, but afterward made his way into the interior of the country and became a resident of Stark county, where he passed away in the fall of 1912 after having devoted many years to general agricultural pursuits in this locality. His widow still survives and yet occupies the old home farm in Penn township.

No special event occurred to vary the routine of farm life for G. W. Merna in his boyhood and youth. He worked upon the old home place from early boyhood when not busy with his textbooks and after leaving school concentrated his entire attention upon the farm work until he reached the age of twenty-seven years. He then began farming on his own account on a tract of land south of his present home and came to this farm in 1910. In the intervening period he has erected a large, substantial barn and other outbuildings and has lighted the place with electricity brought from Wyoming. This land is divided into fields of convenient size by well kept fences and within the boundaries of the place are comprised one hundred and sixty acres of land. Stock raising has to some extent been followed by him, his attention being now given to Clydesdale horses, and he has also engaged in feeding stock.

In 1901 Mr. Merna was united in marriage to Miss Emma Taylor, a native of Rock Island, Illinois, by whom he has two children, Bernice and Gladys. The parents attend the Methodist Protestant church, of which Mr. Merna is one of the trustees. His political allegiance is given the republican party but he has never sought or desired office. He has, however, served as school trustee. Fraternally he is well known as a Mason, belonging to the lodge and chapter at Wyoming. He has also filled all of the offices in the Odd Fellows lodge at Castleton and he is widely known and popular among the members of those organizations, who recognize his sterling worth and know that his life is molded along lines that have their root in honorable principles. Having always lived in Penn township, his life history is as an open book and many who know him speak of him in terms of warm regard.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 263-264. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Chancy R. Miner

Nature seems to have intended that in the evening of life man should enjoy a period of rest. In youth he is energetic and ambitious. The future looks brighter and he puts forth earnest effort to achieve success. Later this effort is guided by mature judgment and direction by experience and if he is honest and earnest in his purpose, hi labors win for him substantial prosperity, so that the evening of his days may be spent in the enjoyment of well earned rest. Such is the record of Mr. Miner, who for a long period was an active and prosperous farmer of Goshen township, but he now lives retired in La Fayette. He is, moreover, entitled to mention in this volume as one of the few surviving veterans of the Civil war no living in Stark county.

It was in this county that he was born, March 11, 1843, being a representative of one of its honored pioneer families. His father, Peter F. Miner, was born in New York and when a young man came west, establishing his home among the first settlers of Goshen township, Stark county, where he preempted eighty acres of land. Not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made upon his place and he performed the arduous task of breaking the sod and splitting rails with which to fence his land. His first home was a primitive log cabin, in which he lived for several years while improving his farm. While he met hardships and privations these in turn were replaced by an advanced civilization and he took a helpful part in promoting the development and upbuilding of the district in which he lived. He was married here to Miss Matilda F. Smith, who was born in New England and came to Illinois with her parents, who were among the earliest settlers of the state. After farming for a time Mr. Miner purchased another eighty acre tract, making his farm one of a hundred and sixty acres. As the years passed on he was numbered among the prosperous farmers of his part of the county. He erected a good residence, also built substantial barns and outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock and developed a valuable place, the further improvement of which claimed his time and energies until he was called to his final rest about 1852. His wife survived him for several years, dying in 1856.

Chancy R. Miner was thus left an orphan when but a little lad of thirteen years. He later spent a summer with an uncle on Spoon river in Illinois and he acquired his education in the district schools and in La Fayette. He was a youth of eighteen years when the country became involved in civil war and in August, 1861, aroused by a spirit of patriotism, he enlisted and joined Company B of the Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry. This company was raised in Stark county and was mustered in at Chicago. After some drilling and preparation the regiment went south through Missouri and into Arkansas, where they participated in the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove and later crossed the river, taking part in the siege and capture of Vicksburg. Mr. Miner was subsequently placed on detached duty and drove a team of three span of mules through Missouri and Arkansas in connection with the commissary department. Afterward he was on the sick list for a time and later was sent to New Orleans, where he did guard duty. There he remained until he was detailed for service on a gunboat as a sharpshooter. While thus engaged he was taken prisoner by the Confederates and was sent to Hempstead, Texas, where he was held in a stockade for seven months and fourteen days, suffering many hardships of southern prison life. He was afterward paroled and taken to Galveston and thence sent within the Union lines. At New Orleans he was mustered out and honorably discharged in February, 1865, after serving for three years and six months in defense of the nation's starry banner.

With the close of the war Mr. Miner returned home. He had inherited eighty acres of land which he afterward sold and then purchased an improved farm of sixty-five acres at the head of Indiana creek. He located thereon and concentrated his efforts upon the work of tilling the soil and producing good crops. He further completed his arrangements for having a home of his own by his marriage in Goshen township, on the 19th of October, 1865, to Miss Chloe R. Parish, who was born and reared in Stark county and is a daughter of Ruloff Parish, one of the early settlers of this district. Some time after his marriage Mr. Miner sold his farm and purchased a tract of one hundred and forty acres on section 22, Goshen township. This was an old farm on which were dilapidated buildings, while the soil was in poor condition. However, he at once began the work of repairing buildings and fences, and he improved the condition of the soil by fertilizers and by the rotation of crops, thus bringing it again into a state of rich fertility. He afterward erected a modern residence, commodious and attractive in its style of architecture. He also built a good barn and there he carried on farming for twenty years. He likewise extended the boundaries of his place by a further purchase of eighty acres, so that his farm included two hundred and twenty acres of rich and productive land. After two decades he sold his property to his daughter and about 1884 removed to La Fayette, where he purchased a hotel property and engaged in the hotel business for eighteen years. He then reitred from that field of activity and about 1900 became owner of the residence in La Fayette which he now occupies. This is a neat and attractive home and he is pleasantly situated in life, his former toil having brought him a sufficient sum to enable him to enjoy many of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life.

While living upon the farm Mr. Miner lost his first wife, who left two daughters: Effie May, now the wife of P. Frank Royce, of La Fayette, by whom she has three sons and two daughters; and Neva E., the wife of W. O. Church, a farmer of Stark county, by whom she has one son and two daughters. Mr. Miner was again married December 11, 1896, in Lafayette, Miss Anna Frail becoming his wife. She was born and reared in this county and is a daughter of John Frail, also a native of Stark county, where the Frail family was established at a very early day upon a farm near Wyoming.

Politically Mr. Miner had been an earnest republican since he cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and since that time he has voted for every presidential nominee on the ticket. He has served as a delegate to county conventions and as a member of the town board. He belongs to W. W. Wright Post, G.A.R., of Toulon, and has ever manifested the same spirit of loyalty in citizenship that he displayed when he followed the stars and stripes upon the battlefields of the south. He did not hesitate to respond to his country's call when the tocsin of war sounded and he has never hesitated to do his best for the interests of the community in which he lives, regarding this as the expression of true and loyal citizenship.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 80-83 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Jesse L. Moffitt

Taken From the 1887 History of Essex Township - Contributed by Nancy Piper

Page 519 Jesse L. Moffitt, son of Josiah and Jane (Stuart) Moffitt was born in this county in 1844. Josiah was born in Ross county, O., in 1808 where his parents, John and Lydia (Cox) Moffitt, natives of North Carolina, had settled. Up to his twenty-first year Josiah Moffitt's educational advantages were very limited. In 1829 he married Miss Jane, a daughter of John and Ann (Carney) Stuart, who was born in Derry county, Ireland, in 1813. She came with her parents to New York in 1817, and in 1820 moved with them to Ross county, O., where her mother died shortly after. Her father moved to Stark county and purchased a farm and resided here until his death in 1865. Josiah Moffitt and wife were engaged on their Ohio farm until 1836, when they took up 160 acres in Essex and made their home in the west - the log cabin being without doors and windows, Indians prowling around and in the absence of the disagreeable but then innocuous savage, wolves presented themselves. The nearest market was Peoria. Here the young wife was often left to protect her four children. Josiah died in 1885, but this pioneer lady still lives with her son (Jesse), now in her seventy-third year. At one time she, with her sister, were lost on the prairies, and did not find a landmark until the following day. Jesse Moffitt remained on the homestead which he aided in improving. In 1879 he married Miss Sarah Arganbright, born in Ohio in 1860, where her father still resides. Their children are Fred, Ada B., and Harley M. In society matters Mr. Moffitt is an Odd Fellow, in politics democratic, and in all public enterprises enterprising and liberal.


Charles Myers

Charles Myers, although not one of the earliest of Stark county's pioneers, has yet been a resident of the county for more than sixty years, arriving here on the 10th of May, 1855. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, October 25, 1827, his parents being John and Sarah (Stark) Myers. From youth to manhood his principal employment was that of the farm and his education was acquired through close application to his studies, pursued during the winter seasons in ungraded schools and in the Wyoming Seminary. His ancestors were of sturdy stock. His grandfather, Philip Myers, a soldier of Washington's army in the Revolutionary war, participated in the battles of Trenton and Princeton and endured the privations and sufferings at Valley Forge through the memorably severe winter of 1777. His grandmother, at the age of sixteen years, was in Fort Forty, near the field of battle, while the dreadful massacre of Wyoming was being carried on. This was on the 3d day of July, 1778, and she and her mother had a most narrow escape from death at the hands of the savages, whose tomahawk struck down many a settler of that region. In his early life Mr. Myers had frequent conversations with soldiers of the Revolutionary war, whose reminiscences and stories of battles and of their escapes from death were very interesting and instructive. He had the misfortune to lose one brother in the Mexican war in 1848 and another in the Civil war at the battle before Richmond, Virginia.

On the 29th of March, 1853, Mr. Myers was united in marriage to Miss Martha A. Pettebone, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, and to them were born four children: Clara M., the wife of Z. T. Brown; Jane E., who became the wife of William B. Reed; Charles Albert, who is in the automobile business with the Peoria Auto Company; and Edwin L., an electrical engineer now with the Willard Storage Battery Company.

Within the past eighty years Mr. Myers has observed many wonderful changes in everything that man utilizes as material factors in his life. In his early days science had not obtained control of electricity and there were therefore no telegraphs, telephones, electric lights, nor electric vehicles. He learned to write at a night school, using a goose quill pen and home-made ink on foolscap paper, sitting by the light of a tallow candle which often burned his fingers when he was snuffing it. Changes of every kind have occurred.

In recounting some of the incidents of the early days, Mr. Myers says: "I took a trip in the spring of 1852, three years previous to settling here permanently, mostly for observation. My journey was made by railroad to Buffalo, by lake to Cleveland, by railroad to Cincinnati, by steamboat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers to Muscatine and thence on horseback for several days over the prairies of Iowa. I had never before seen a prairie and could not help exclaiming, "'How grand! How glorious!' Those thousands plus thousands of acres of rich alluvial soil were waiting the coming of the farmer. Nobody wanted it even at seventy-five cents per acre, at which price I bought a few hundred acres near Iowa City with government script. In returning I rode in a lumber wagon from the Mississippi to the Illinois river, took steamboat to La Salle and thence traveled by packet boat on the Illinois and Michigan canal into Chicago and by railroad to Pennsylvania. There was not a railroad anywhere west of Ohio that I could see or hear of except the Southern Michigan, extending eastward from Chicago. As to that wagon ride: I desired to go to Chicago by way of Wyoming, Illinois, and being at New Boston, I fortunately found John Atherton, who was living just south of Toulon and was going my way. His wife and daughter were with him, but they readily consented that I go with them. Mr. and Mrs. Atherton sat on straight-back, splint-seated chairs, while the daughter and I sat upon a board seat a few feet from them. We all enjoyed the ride, and I mention this to say that those same two chairs may now be seen among the relics of the long ago, deposited in the old log cabin that stands upon the courthouse grounds in Toulon. I found Chicago a city built in the mud. The surface was level and I was told that it was seven feet about the lake, but it didn't look so high. There were no paved streets except in the central part of the city, and these were made of planks just loose enough to spurt the liquid mud over everything that ran over them. The population was thirty-two thousand seven hundred and forty, being less than half that of Peoria at this time." In business life Mr. Myers has had a varied experience. He taught school in Pennsylvania in 1848 and still has in his possession the teacher's certificate granted him at the time. After removing to Illinois in 1855 he also taught winter months in Toulon and in neighboring districts. It affords him great pleasure when he occasionally meets his old students and, in some cases, his students' children and grown up grandchildren. For twelve years, Mr. Myers engaged in the nursery business near Toulon, raising fruit and ornamental trees. In 1871, when the Peoria & Rock Island Railroad was built, he began the grain business and on the 1st of August shipped out the first car load. He erected an elevator with a storage capacity of ten thousand bushels and for shipping five thousand bushels, which fully supplied requirements at that time. This business was conducted for fourteen years, after which Mr. Myers spent four years as an employee in the government internal revenue service at Peoria, in which city he resided for eighteen years. There he was engaged in the produce commission business and in other lines, and in 1903 he resumed his residence in Toulon.

Mrs. Myers died January 23, 1884, and on the 1st of July, 1886, Mr. Myers was married to Miss Iantha Brace, of Elmira, Illinois. Financially Mr. Myers has never been burdened with wealth, neither has he been stricken with poverty. Politically he is a democrat. On the 6th day of November, 1848, twelve days after he became of legal age, he cast his first vote at a presidential election. He has voted seventeen times for president of the United States, which is one more than half the total number of those elections held since the formation of the government. Mr. Myers regards good health as the greatest of life's blessings. With temperate habits, good appetite, daily physical and mental exercise he has maintained his health and is now enjoying the passing days of his eighty-ninth year.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 124-127. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


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