Stark County IL Biographies - N

NANCE, Albinus, governor of Nebraska, was born at Lafayette, Ill., march 30, 1848; son of Hiram and Sarah (Smith) Nance; grandson of William and Nancy (Smith), and of French Huguenot ancestry. He prepared for college in the schools of Lafayette and Kewanee, Ill.; enlisted as a private in company H., 9th Illinois volunteer cavalry, April 24, 1864, and served until the close of the civil war. He matriculated at Knox college, Galesburg, in the class of 1870, but left at the close of is freshman year and began the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1872 and practiced in Osceola, Neb. He was married, Sept. 30, 1875, to Sarah, daughter of Egbert and Mary White of Farragut, Iowa. He was elected governor of Nebraska in 1879, and after the close of his second term in 1883, engaged as a banker and broker in Chicago, Ill.

(Source: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF NOTABLE AMERICANS. Vol 3, Publ. 1904. Transcribed by Richard Ramos)




W. N. Nelson

W. N. Nelson is a prominent business man of La Fayette, serving as cashier of the State Bank there. The sprit of progress actuated him at every point in his career and laudable ambition has prompted him to reach the position which he now occupies. He is numbered among Iowa's native sons, his birth having occurred at Belle Plaine, that state, November 27, 1873. His father, Tury Nelson, was a native of Sweden, born in 1846, and in that country was reared to the age of nineteen years, after which, in 1865, he crossed the briny deep to the new world and made his way direct to Illinois, having friends in Henry county. For a few years he worked by the month as a farm hand in Henry and Stark counties, and in Goshen township of the latter county he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Larson, also a native of Sweden. Soon after their marriage they removed to Iowa, establishing their home upon a farm near Belle Plaine, where the father carried on general agricultural pursuits for about four years. He then sold his property there and returned to Illinois, settling in Goshen township, Stark county, upon land which is wife had inherited. He afterward purchased other land and for a long period was numbered among the active, industrious and successful farmers of his district. Upon the homestead place he and his wife reared their family of eight children. The husband and father died February 5, 1915, and the mother is now making her home with her children.

W. N. Nelson was reared on the old homestead farm in this county and is indebted to the public school system for the early educational privileges which he enjoyed. He was qualified for business life by a course in a commercial college at Dixon, Illinois, after which he made his initial step in the business world as a clerk in a hardware store in Galva. A year later he went to Kewanee where he was employed by the Tube Works Company. After doing manual labor in the works for a time he was transferred to a position in the office, where he acted as timekeeper until promoted to the position of assistant chief. His identification with that company covered fifteen years, a fact indicative of his capability and trustworthiness.

On the 27th of November, 1901, Mr. Nelson was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie Parish, of Toulon, a daughter of Pethuel Parish, mentioned elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Nelson was born in Stark county and was a schoolmate of her husband in their childhood days. Their early friendship ripened into love and was consummated in a marriage that has been blessed with three children, Roland, Gilbert and Mary Elizabeth.

Mr. Nelson resigned his position in the Tube Works at Kewanee to come to La Fayette as cashier of the State Bank, of which he took charge in March, 1915, and removed his family to La Fayette. His business training and keen insight well qualify him for the duties which now devolve upon him, and he is found to be a courteous and obliging bank official, always attending to the business of the institution and watchful of the interests of depositors. Fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen, and he and his wife are consistent members of the La Fayette Methodist Episcopal church. They are held in high regard in their community and wherever they are known, because they possess those sterling traits of character which in every land and clime awaken confidence and respect.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 31-32 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


William E. Nixon

William E. Nixon has been clerk of Stark county for fourteen years, his continued return to that office indicating his satisfactory services. He was formerly actively engaged in newspaper publication and during the eighteen years that he owned and edited the Post-Herald at Wyoming, Illinois, he made it one of the leading weekly papers in this part of the state.

Mr. Nixon was born in Toulon on the 14th of November, 1859, a son of Edward and Margaret (Kenney) Nixon, both natives of Romney, Hampshire county, West Virginia. In early life they removed to Peoria county, Illinois, where their marriage occurred on the 22d of December, 1853. Three years later they located in Toulon, which remained their home until they were called by death. The father’s demise occurred on the 8th of May, 1884, when he was fifty-nine years old, and the mother’s on the 21st of January, 1909, when seventy-seven years old. They became the parents of four children: Charles E., now living in Peoria, Illinois; Emma M., who married Manning A. Hall on the 29th of December, 1880, and died in New Salem, Kansas, on the 9th of June, 1889, at the age of thirty-two years, leaving three children, Maurice, Edward and Maude; William E., and Frank C., who died in Peoria on the 26th of March, 1902, when thirty-eight years old. The paternal grandparents of our subject, William and Mary (Cheshire) Nixon, were among the pioneers of Peoria county, Illinois, removing there from West Virginia in September, 1831.

William E. Nixon received a high school education in Toulon and when only fifteen years old began his newspaper career in the office of the Stark County News at Toulon. He applied himself diligently to learning everything possible connected with the printing and publishing business and in October, 1880, with a partner founded the Stark County Sentinel, also at Toulon. After conducting that paper for two years he disposed of his interest therein to J. Knox Hall in May, 1882, but on the 1st of January, 1889, he again became one of the newspaper publishers of the county, purchasing the Post-Herald at Wyoming, Illinois. For eighteen years he devoted the greater part of his time to its publication and it gained recognition as one of the most influential and best known weeklies in central Illinois. He built up an efficient news service which enabled him to give his readers complete and reliable accounts of local events, and through his editorial page he worked constantly and effectively for the advancement of Wyoming and Stark county. In September, 1907, he sold the paper and has since worked constantly and effectively for the advancement of Wyoming and Stark county. In September, 1907, he sold the paper and has since given practically his entire time to his official duties.

It was in November, 1902, that Mr. Nixon was elected clerk of Stark county and on taking office he removed to Toulon. He was re-elected in 1906, 1910 and 1914, receiving at each election the highest vote of any candidate on the county ticket, an unusual tribute, which speaks much for his personal popularity and the confidence which his fellow citizens repose in his ability. Since taking up his residence in Toulon he has held other official positions, as for seven years he has been a member of the school board and of local improvements, which devised and installed the present splendid system of waterworks, and his duties in that connection made heavy demands upon his time and attention. While living in Wyoming he was for five terms city clerk and for five years a member of the school board.

Mr. Nixon was married in Toulon on the 30th of November, 1882, to Miss Lottie R. Brace, who was born in Elmira, Illinois, on the 15th of January, 1862. Her father, Orlando Brace, was born in Elmira on the 8th of August, 1838, a son of Myrtle G. and Phebe (Munson) Brace, pioneers of Stark county. On the 10th of September, 1862, he enlisted for service in the Civil war, joining Company A. One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was at the front for three years. He saw much active service and in the battle of Spanish Fort, Alabama, on the 2d of April, 1865, was severely wounded. After the close of hostilities he returned to Illinois and in November, 1873, was elected treasurer of Stark county and removed to Toulon. He made an excellent record in that office, which he held until December, 1886. His demise occurred on the 12th of December, 1909, when he was seventy-one years old. He was married on the 13th of February, 1861, to Lucy A. Hudson, who was a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Mayhew) Hudson, natives of Ohio, who settled in Stark county, Illinois, in 1855. She passed away on the 14th of December, 1910, when seventy years old. To Mr. and Mrs. Brace were born seven children: Mrs. Nixon; Luella M., who was married on the 25th of December, 1882, to Frank S. Rosseter, now deceased, and who died on the 8th of December, 1902, in California, in her fortieth year, leaving two daughters, Myrtle, the wife of Benjamin R. Saunders, and Ethel L.,; Frank B., Florence B., the widow of Frank L. Kinney; Harry W., George M.; and Edith L, the wife of George C. Christ. Mr. and Mrs. Nixon have three children, as follows: Edward B., who is engaged in newspaper work in Peoria, Illinois, was married on the 12th of December, 1906, to Adeline L. Bradley, a daughter of Henry C. and Alberta (Edwards) Bradley, of Toulon, and they have two sons, Bradley and Paul. Grace F., was married on the 15th of June, 1915, to Dr. Martin R. Chase, a son of Joseph and Sarah (Rist) Chase, of Toulon. She and her husband now live in Chicago. Paul O., who is assistant cashier in the State Bank of Toulon, is living at home.

Mr. Nixon has been a lifelong republican and has done much efficient work in behalf of that party. In religious faith he is a Congregationalist, and he is also identified with the Masonic order. He was raised a Master Mason in Toulon Lodge, No. 93, in December, 1881, and when he became a resident of Wyoming transferred his membership to Wyoming Lodge, No. 479, of which he served as worshipful master in 1891, 1892, 1894, 1895, 1901 and 1902. In 1909 he was master of the Toulon lodge, with which he is again identified. In 1901 he was high priest of Wyoming Chapter, No. 133, R.A.M. He is likewise identified with the Order of the Eastern Star and with the Modern Woodmen of America. In addition to attending to his private business interests and his official duties, he has been active in all matters pertaining to the promotion of the social and material welfare of the community in which he lives, and his public spirit is generally recognized. Mrs. Nixon received her education in the Toulon schools, and is a member of the Congregational church and of the Order of the Eastern Star, and in the last named order served as worthy matron of Wyoming Chapter in 1897 and of Toulon Chapter in 1913.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 259-262. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


James A. Nowlan

James A. Nowlan was born in Toulon on the 12th of April , 1873, a son of James and Nellie A. (Plummer) Nowlan, the former a son of Michael and Frances (Kearney) Nowlan, natives respectively of Carlow and Wexford counties, Ireland. James Nowlan, father of the subject of this sketch, was born at Grafton, Massachusetts, on the 6th of February, 1837, and in 1840 accompanied his parents and the other children on their removal west, the family locating in Goshen township, Stark county, Illinois. He became a resident of Toulon in early manhood and resided there for many years, or until his death in 1900. His wife survives and is still living in that city.

James A. Nowlan was graduated from the local high school with the class of 1890 and seven years later, in partnership with Charles E. Nixon, purchased the Stark County News. They published the paper together until 1904, when Mr. Nowlan bought his partner's interests, becoming sole proprietor of the journal. He has since been alone in business and has adhered to the highest standards of journalism. The typographical work of the paper is of a high order, the news columns give complete and reliable accounts of happenings of general interest, and the editorial page is devoted to the upbuilding of the interests of Toulon and Stark county. Mr. Nowlan had proved not only an excellent editor but also a man of keen business insight and enterprise, and the paper has returned him a good profit. On the 1st of January, 1915, he purchased The Galva Standard, and a year later bought The Galva News, combining the two publications under the latter name.

Mr. Nowlan was married on the 15th of April, 1904, to Miss Cora De M. Townsend, of Wyoming, Illinois, a daughter of William J. and Jane E. Townsend. To this union have been born five children, three sons and two daughters.

Mr. Nowlan is a stanch advocate of republican principles and personally and through his papers has been an influential factor in republican success in this section of the state. He has served as alderman, as city treasurer and has held other minor offices, at all times proving a capable and conscientious public servant. He is associated with the blue lodge and other bodies of the Masonic order and in his daily life exemplifies the spirit of fraternity which is at the basis of that organization.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 15-16 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Back to Stark County Illinois History and Genealogy