Stark County IL Biographies - P

Dr. E. B. Packer is one of the prominent representatives of the medical profession in Stark county. For fifteen years he has been actively engaged in practice in Toulon, where his ability is recognized in a growing patronage. He was born near this city June 9, 1864, a son of Benjamin Packer, a native of New York, born in 1818. The father was reared in the Empire State and there wedded Miss Hannah Lyon, who was also born and reared in New York. In 1851 they removed westward to Illinois, settling in Toulon township, Stark county, where the father secured a tract of wild land which he developed and cultivated, ultimately becoming the owner of a splendidly improved farm of eight hundred acres. He was very successful both in the cultivation of grain and in the raising of stock and was long numbered among the prominent agriculturists of his community. Upon his farm he reared his family and later removed to Toulon, retiring from active business life. There he spent his remaining days, his death occurring May 13, 1905, while his wife passed away in 1900. When death called them Stark county lost two of its most valuable, worthy and respected pioneer citizens. In their family were ten children: The Rev. Eli Packer, now living on a Michigan farm; Rev. Mortimer Packer, located at Longbeach, California; Ezra L., a retired farmer and capitalist living in Toulon; Charles L., who makes his home in Oklahoma City; Camilla M., who became the wife of Miller Patterson but both are now deceased; Frances, the wife of Thomas Hartley, living at Princeton, Illinois; E. B., of this review; Burton and Jennie, who died in early life; and Maggie, who completes the family.

Dr. Packer is the only one of this large family that has turned to medical practice as a life work. He attended the public schools of Toulon until graduated from the high school and afterward became a student in Doane Academy at Granville, Ohio, where he completed a course, and next entered Denison University at Granville, from which institution he was graduated in 1895 with the Bachelor of Arts degree. With broad literary training to serve as the foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of professional knowledge, he entered the Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia and completed a four years' course there by graduation with the class of 1899. He later had the benefit of practical experience for three months in Jefferson Hospital, after which he returned to this state, settling at Viola in 1899. There he entered upon the practice of his chose profession and in 1900 he came to Toulon, where he has since devoted his time and energies to medical and surgical practice. He has built up a good business and at all times he keeps in touch with the advanced thought and methods of the profession. He has also made some profitable investments and now owns valuable land in Florida.

At Mansfield, Ohio, on the 11th of April, 1900, Dr. Packer was married to Miss Artie E. Colby, who was born and reared in that place. She completed her education at Denison University, Granville, Ohio, and for two years was a teacher. To Dr. and Mrs. Packer have been born eight children: Mary Hannah; Florence, who died at the age of nine months; Henry Colby; Frances; Elizabeth; William Harvey; Mortimer and Martha. Dr. and Mrs. Packer began their domestic life in Toulon, where he purchased his father's old home. He now owns not only a nice residence property but also a two-story brick office building and in addition has the Florida interests previously mentioned.

Both Dr. and Mrs. Packer are consistent and active members of the Baptist church and are workers in both church and Sunday school. Mrs. Packer is also identified with the ladies' auxiliary societies of the church and is a member of the Woman's Club of Toulon. Dr. Packer belongs to the Stark County Medical Society, of which he is now the vice president, and is also a member of the State and American Medical Associations. He ever keeps in touch with the latest scientific investigations and researches and his broad knowledge is evidenced in the success which has attended his professional labors.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 62-68 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Pethuel Parish, a retired farmer and stockman of Toulon, has resided in Stark county since 1836, or for a period of eighty years, and there are few indeed who have been connected with the county for so long a period. He was four years old when his parents removed here with their family, his birth having occurred on the 5th of September, 1832, in Canada. His father, Squire Parish, and his mother, Sophia (Althouse) Parish, were both also born in that country, the former on the 12th of June, 1802, and the latter on the 12th of June, 1815. On his removal to this county Squire Parish entered land from the government in what is now Goshen township and the pioneer conditions that then prevailed are indicated by the fact that the family lived in a log house for five years. Later a more commodious residence was erected and the farm was brought to a high state of development. The father died in Toulon on the 21st of December, 1862, but the mother survived for many years, passing away in Toulon in 1887. Both were sincere Christian people but were identified with different churches, the father being a Quaker and the mother a Methodist. To them were born ten children: Pethuel; Sarah, the deceased wife of James Stimson; Hiram, deceased, who was a soldier in the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Civil war; Peter, deceased; Cynthia, who first married George Maxfield, a Union soldier, and following his demise married Joseph Burns, a resident of Fairmont, Nebraska; Happy, who became the wife of George Dugan and is living at Bedford, Iowa; Lucy, the deceased wife of Jonathan Cooley; Sophia, who married Dexter Maxfield, of Fairmont; Squire, deceased; and Rulof.

Pethuel Parish grew to manhood upon the home farm in this county and received a limited education in an old log schoolhouse. His father was a cripple and not able to do the heavy farm work, and, the family being in moderate circumstances, our subject had to go to work when but a boy. He remained with his parents, giving them the benefit of his labors, until he was twenty-three years of age, when he was married and rented the homestead, his parents removing to Toulon. Subsequently he bought the place, which comprised eighty acres, and not long afterward purchased another eighty-acre tract. His long and thorough training in farm work as a boy well qualified him to follow agricultural pursuits independently and he seldom failed to receive a good income from his land. As time passed he increased his holdings and today owns eight hundred and forty acres in Goshen township. For many years he dealt extensively in cattle, hogs and horses, and he found stock raising a very profitable phase of farming. About 1900 he retired from the active work of the fields and removed to Toulon, where he has a comfortable, modern home. He still supervises the operation of his farm and when the weather is suitable spends much of his time upon his land. He is one of the wealthy men of the county, and his record shows what may be accomplished by industry and good management, as he has made everything that he has himself.

Mr. Parish was married in 1854 to Miss Elizabeth Strayer, a native of Stephenson county, Illinois, who passed away, leaving a son, William H. He was born on the 16th of February, 1858, and is now a prosperous farmer of this county. Mr. Parish was married a second time, Miss Celestia Ferris becoming his wife on the 4th of February, 1862. She was born in Canada in 1842, a daughter of Elijah and Lydia Ferris, who removed to Stark county in 1855 but subsequently went to Iowa, where both passed away. Mrs. Parish has become the mother of ten children, namely: Lillie May, who was born on the 14th of December, 1862, and died on the 17th of August, 1872; George F., who was born October 7, 1864, and died August 16, 1882; Bertha Ann, whose birth occurred on the 28th of September, 1866, and who married Otis Goodale, a resident of Chicago, and passed away on the 10th of March, 1893; Herman Everett, who was born on the 22d of August, 1868, and is living in California; Blanch Sophia, who was born on the 11th of August, 1873, and gave her hand in marriage to John Leech, a farmer of Goshen township; Lizzie Ethelyn, who was born on the 18th of September, 1877, and married William Nelson, of La Fayette, Illinois; Lucy Maude, who is a twin of Lizzie, and gave her hand in marriage to George Wallace and is residing on her father's farm in Goshen township; Sarah Pearl, who was born on the 9th of November, 1878, and died in May, 1892; Jessie Lenora, who was born on the 16th of October, 1882, and died on the 10th of December, 1894; and Bessie Laurena, who is a twin of Jessie and is at home.

Mr. Parish supports the republican party at the polls but has never aspired to office. Throughout his life he has been a temperate man and has never used either alcoholic liquors or tobacco. He has witnessed practically the entire development of the county from a frontier region to its present prosperous condition and has many interesting recollections of the early days. About 1840 Toulon was but a tiny settlement, the only building being a log blacksmith shop, one residence and a log building in which a man named Abel kept a saloon. The first settlers of the county cut grain with a cradle and threshed it with a flail or tramped it out on frozen ground and the nearest mill was many miles distant at a place called Utica. Moreover, the smut was at times so bad in the wheat that the bread would be black. Frequently wheat was so scarce that they had to use corn for making bread, and instead of taking it to the mill to be ground they often crushed it in homemade mortars. The moldboard of the first plow owned by our subject's father was made of black walnut, which was at that time very plentiful throughout the county. For five seasons Mr. Parish of this review broke prairie with five yoke of oxen and a plow with a ribbed moldboard, that is, one made of iron rods instead of a solid piece of metal, this method of construction being better adapted to breaking the tough sod. From boyhood until he retired at the age of sixty-eight years, he was actively connected with agricultural interests and he may well take pride in the part which he has played in the development of his township. The leisure which he has enjoyed for the past fifteen years is well deserved, and he is honored as one of the oldest residents and leading citizens of the county.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 105-113.– Contributed by Karen Seeman]


William H. Parish

William H. Parish, living on section 14, Goshen township, is busily employed in the further development of his farm of three hundred and twenty acres, which is pleasantly and conveniently located within four miles of Toulon. The farm is most pleasing in its appearance because of the many improvements that have been put upon it and the well kept condition of the fields. Mr. Parish was born in the township in which he still resides, his birth having occurred on his father’s old homestead February 16, 1859. He is a son of Pethuel Parish, now of Toulon and one of the largest landowners of Stark county.

Upon the old homestead William H. Parish acquainted himself with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist, enjoyed those pleasures which give zest to boyhood and in the neighboring schools mastered the lessons which qualified him for life’s practical and responsible duties. As he advanced in years his efforts were given more and more largely to the active work of cultivating the fields and then he made arrangements for having a home of his own by his marriage in February, 1875, to Miss Anna Fogelson, who was born in Maryland, where she was reared to the age of seventeen years, when she accompanied her father, Henry Fogelson, to Illinois upon his removal with his family to this state.

For five years after his marriage Mr. Parish engaged in farming on a part of his father’s land and afterward purchased an eighty-acre tract on which were fair improvements. Still later he made investment in one hundred and three acres of land which he cultivated for several years, but eventually he sold that place and bought one hundred and sixty acres near by. His holdings include about thirty-five acres of timbered pasture land. He has remodeled the home and barn and now has a well improved farm on which he is engaged in raising and feeding stock for the market, while at the same time he carefully cultivates the crops best adapted to soil and climate. He was one of the promoters of the La Fayette Fair Association and is still one of its stockholders.

To Mr. and Mrs. Parish have been born four children, of whom two are living. Everett, who is married and has one daughter, is engaged in farming in Goshen township. May is the wife of Jesse Frail, a farmer of Goshen township, and they have a son, Miles Clyde.

Mr. Parish exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party but his loyalty thereto is never the outcome of a desire for public office. However, for some years he was a member of the school board and he has ever been interested in affairs that have to do with public improvement and civic advancement. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp at Toulon and both he and his wife are connected with the Royal Neighbors. They now have a wide acquaintance in Toulon and this part of the county and the warm friendship of many is freely accorded them. For more than a half century Mr. Parish has been a witness of the events which have marked the history of Stark county and throughout almost the entire period he has been closely associated with the agricultural development of this part of the state.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 271-272.– Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Charles S. Payne

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 385-6 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]

Charles S. Payne, son pf John and Asenath (Mattoon) Payne, was born at Hartford, Conn., October 25, 1818. His father, a native of Long Island, N. Y., served with distinction in the Revolution, subsequently settled at Homer, N. Y., and erected one of the first buildings there; thence moved to Hardford, Conn., near which city he died. His mother was of French extraction, and descended from the pioneers of Connecticut. Their daughter, at whose home John Payne died, was the wife of a nephew of Ex-Governor Tompkins of New York. Charles S. Payne spent his boyhood in the east. In his youth he worked in a wooden-screw factory; at the age of fourteen years he engaged in sash and blind making; at the age of twenty years went to New York City, and in partnership with Mr. McKenzie established a business there, which they conducted until 1845, when Mr. Payne visited the South. In 1846 or 1847 he traveled'to Chicago, via St. Louis, and there engaged in the lumber, sash, door and blind business. In 1848 he established the first sash and blind factory at Peoria, which he carried on jointly with his Chicago concern-it being related that there he made the first diamond sash manufactured in the West. In 1851 he sold out his western interests and returning to New York City purchased the interests of his former partner, McKenzie, in a large manufacturing house. In 1853 he disposed of this interest, and returning to Illinois, settled on lands in Valley township, which he had previously purchased. These lands he improved and cultivated until 1857, when he moved to Wyoming, built and opened a large store here, next erected a flouring mill at a cost of $40,000, laid out a park, established tile works, constructed an opera house, and altogether placed about $100,000 in building up his own industries at Wyoming. The part he has played in the several acts of the drama of citizenship is only partly related here. In the general history as well as in that of Wyoming more precise mention is made of him, even the fact of his monument in the cemetery being erected, let us hope, a quarter of a century before he will seek its shelter, is not omitted. Mr. Payne was married in New York city to Miss Elizabeth Angevine by Rev. Dr. Tuttle of the Protestant Episcopal Church. This lady is descended from Charles of Anjou and Beatrice, daughter of Raymond de Berenger, famous in French history of the thirteenth century. The Paynes also came of old French stock, surnamed Païen from the well-known skepticism of the family in religious matters. Mr. Payne is a democrat of the old school; but an earnest worker with that party.


Harvey Pettit

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 386 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]

Harvey Pettit, son of Joseph and Polly (Nichols) Pettit, was born at Galloway, Saratoga county, N. Y., October 4, 1819. At the age of fourteen years he went to Knowlesville, Orleans county, where he served an apprenticeship in a mercantile house. Subsequently, he moved to Westfield, Chautauqua county, N. Y., and there learned the woolen business. From 1840 to 1843 he resided at Napoleon, 0. Returning in the latter year, he married Miss Phoebe E. Whitman, a native of New York state, born at Milton, September 11, 1824. Moved with his family to Napoleon, 0., in 1844; one year later (1845) to Peoria county, Ill.; a few years after, they settled in Stark county, where their seven sons and three daughters were raised and educated. Their children are named as follows: William H., of Texas, born in Henry county, Ill., January 21, 1844; Susan A., wife of Abram Buffington, of Trego county, Kan., born in Peoria county, Ill., February 22, 1846; Elijah B., a farmer of Stark county, Ill., born in Peoria county, Ill., October 14, 1849; Sylvester L., a merchant of Sterling, Col., born in Bureau county, Ill., October 8, 1851; Joseph, born in Marshall county, Ill., October 23, 1853; George C., of Peoria, born in Marshall county, Ill., May 18, 1857; Mary, Arthur and Alonzo, residing at home; Clara B., who married Ezra King, is dead. She was born in Stark county, Ill., August 22, 1862; Mary A. was born May 29, 1885, in Jasper county, Ia.; Arthur was born March 13, 1859, in Stark county, Ill; Alonzo was born June 10, 1865, in Stark county, Ill.


Abram Phenix

Abram Phenix, who is living in honorable retirement from active life in Bradford after many years of well directed activity, has been a resident of Stark county for seventy-nine years, and he and his brother Harmon are probably its oldest settlers. He was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of December, 1829, and is a son of John T. and Lydia (Daniels) Phenix. The father was born in New York state, as were his parents, the family having been established in New York by his grandfather and great-uncle, who removed to New York city from Ireland as young men. The grandfather of our subject, Stephen Phenix, was born in that city and learned the weaver’s trade from his father.

John T. Phenix was reared in the Empire state and in early manhood went to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where he followed the carpenter’s trade until 1834, when he came west to Stark county, Illinois, and entered land in Penn township. He built a log house and as soon as possible brought his land under cultivation. He was joined by his wife and family in 1836 and continued to reside in this county until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-five years of age. He held title to and improved two different eighty acre tracts but after his sons became old enough to look after the farm work he left it mainly to them and gave his time to carpentering. He built the first sawmill and the first gristmill in his neighborhood and he not only erected the buildings but also sawed the lumber and split the shingles used in their construction. He also built the first courthouse at Toulon. He was an active worker in the democratic party, whose principles he firmly indorsed. His religious faith was that of the Methodist church and most of the early preachers of that denomination in this county were entertained at his home. His wife was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and was there reared and educated. She was engaged in teaching school at the time of her marriage and was successful in her profession. In 1836 she came with her children by water to Peoria and thence to Stark county, Illinois, joining her husband, and through all of the years of hardship and struggle which they, as well as other pioneer families had to endure, she proved brave, resourceful and helpful and did well her part in the development of the county. She was also a consistent member of the Methodist church and her life was at all times guided by the highest principles. She was the mother of six children, namely: Daniel B., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Elizabeth, who married Samuel Sturm and died when eighty-seven years of age; Nancy, who became the wife of Solomon Geer and died when seventy-five years old; Mary C., who married Hiram Drawyer and died at the age of eighty-four years; Abram; and Harmon, also represented elsewhere in this work.

Abram Phenix was but seven years of age when he was brought by his mother to this county, and he remembers vividly the pioneer conditions that prevailed here during his boyhood days. He had practically no educational opportunities as he was compelled to help with the farm work as soon as he was large enough to guide a plow, but he utilized his evenings in private study, reading by the light from the fireplace or from a tallow candle. He remembers when much of the land in the county was wild prairie and he himself broke considerable land with an ox team. All of the implements which he used in farming in those days were crude compared with the complicated farm machinery of today. The responsibility of the cultivation of the land devolved mainly upon him as his father and older brother, Daniel, devoted their time to the carpenter’s trade. After the crops were harvested it was difficult to market them as there were no bridges over the streams and as no railroads had yet been built through the county and it was necessary to make long hauls in order to dispose of the grain raised. There were a number of wolves still left in this locality and the region abounded in game, including deer and wild turkey, and a good hunter never lacked meat for his table.

A year after his marriage Mr. Phenix began farming on his own account, purchasing forty acres of raw land for fifty dollars. Having no money, he paid for his land by splitting rails, and his first residence was a cabin fourteen by sixteen feet in dimensions. He brought his land under cultivation, and the following year bought an adjoining eighty-acres, for which he paid eight hundred dollars, the difference in the purchase price indicating the rapid rise in land values. As his capital consisted of only one hundred dollars he was compelled to borrow seven hundred dollars, for which he paid the exorbitant rate of fifteen per cent interest. After breaking his land he sowed it to wheat and in due time harvested a good crop. Subsequently he paid seven hundred and seventy-five dollars for thirty-six acres adjoining and still later bought forty acres for sixteen hundred dollars. As he prospered he erected a commodious and substantial house, a large barn and other necessary buildings, and in time his place became one of the best improved in the locality. He engaged in farming and stock raising until 1881, when he rented the farm and removed to Bradford, where he has since made his home. For nineteen years he and his brother Daniel engaged in the threshing business and during that time owned twenty-one different machines. The were well patronized not only in this county but in adjoining counties and derived a good income from that source. Abram Phenix at one time owned the greater part of the land on which Bradford now stands, but has since sold it to advantage as town lots. Since coming to Bradford he has erected three residences here. He is one of the substantial men of his county and none begrudges him his prosperity, for it is the direct result of his unremitting industry, economy and sound judgment, and he has not only gained financial independence but has also contributed to the development of the county along agricultural lines.

Mr. Phenix was married in August, 1851, to Miss Esther C. Geer, a native of Connecticut. She was brought by her parents to La Fayette, Stark county, Illinois, when but nine years of age and resided here from that time until her demise, which occurred on the 6th day of April, 1909. She was a consistent member of the Baptist church. Mr. and Mrs. Phenix became the parents of five children: Mary J., who died when about thirty-five years of age; Phoebe Ann; Sarah Melissa; Emma Eliza, who died at the age of twenty-four years; and Rosie Maude.

Mr. Phenix has always been a stanch democrat and has taken an active part in public affairs. He has been honored by election to a number of local offices, having served as street commissioner of Bradford for a year, as pathmaster in Penn township for one year and as road commissioner of Osceola township for fifteen years. He was the leading spirit in the organization of school district No. 9, furnished the lumber for the schoolhouse and put up the building and for a number of years served as director. He has always been willing to give of his time and thought and also of his means to the advancement of community interests and his public spirit is recognized by all who know him. When he came here as a child there was only one small house between Peoria and Wyoming, only three small stores in the former place and but two houses in the latter town. He is entitled to high honor as one of the courageous and farsighted pioneers whose work has made possible the present high state of development of the county, and his fellow citizens justly hold him in the highest esteem and the warmest regard. He has reaped the reward of his labors and has gained a large measure of wealth but he takes greater satisfaction in the knowledge that his success has not been gained as the result of the failure of another, as he has always been strictly honest and upright in all of his dealings. He is now eighty-six years of age and is still active and interested in the affairs of the day.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 230-233– Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Daniel B. Phenix was a pioneer of Stark county and his demise on the 28th of January, 1913, was deeply regretted throughout the county. He passed his last years at the home of his son, Bardwell D. Phenix, in Bradford, and enjoyed a period of leisure made possible by his former well directed industry. He was vice president of the Phenix Banking Company and was also conneected with other phases of the development of his locality. His birth occurred on the 28th of June, 1820, and his parents were John T. and Lydia (Daniels) Phenix, who are mentioned more fully in the sketch of his brother, Harmon Phenix. In the spring of 1834 he came to Stark county with his mother and brothers and sisters, the father having previously removed to this county. For some time Daniel B. Phenix concentrated his energies upon the work of the home farm. Following his marriage he purchased eighty acres of raw land and at once began its cultivation and improvement. For four or five years he engaged in farming and stockraising there but at the end of that time purchased a farm ijn Penn township, on which he resided for about sixty years, remianing there until two years before his death,k when he took up his residence withhis son Bardwell in Bradford. He met with graityfying success in all that he undertook, and he and his wife at one time owned about fourteen hundred acres of fine land. He and his brother Abram were extensivley engaged in the threshing business for about nineteen years, owning in the time twenty-one different machines. They opeated not only in this county but in adjoining counties and found this venture very profitable. In addition to these extenseive intersts Daniel B. Phenix was vice president and a large stockholder in the Phenix Banking Company, one of the well-known financial institutions of the county.

Mr. Phenix was married in February, 1853, to Miss Jane A. Moore, who was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, and removed to Stark county, Illinois, when about thriteen years of age. She passed away in 1907, in the faith of the Baptist church, when she had reached the advanced age of eighty-one years. To them were born four children: Bardwell D., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; William H., of Bradford; and two who died in infancy.

Mr. Phenix indorsed the principles of the republican party and took an active part in promoting its success. He contributed financially to campaign funds and did all in his power to promote the interests of his party. His public spirit was also shown by his presenting the town of Bradford with a flagpole and when that became unsightly he erected a new one. He possessed a vigorous constitution and a strong mind and was active until a very short time before his death, doing some carpenter work in the summer and fall of 1912. He went up town to talk with his friends within three weeks of his death, which occurred on the 28th of January, 1913, when he had reached the advanced age of ninety-three years. Practically all of those who had a part in reclaiming this county from the wilderness have now passed to their reward but their names are still remembered and they are held in the high honor which is their due.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 96-99. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Harmon Phenix

Harmon Phenix is still active in financial circles as president of the Phenix Banking Company of Bradford, although he has reached the advanced age of eighty-two years, and his business ability and acumen are recognized by all. He has resided in Bradford for many years and has worked his way steadily upward from comparative poverty to financial independence.

Mr. Phenix was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, on the 20th of January, 1834, of the marriage of John and Lydia A. (Daniels) Phenix. John Phenix was a native of New York, as were his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Phenix, but his grandfather was born in the north of Ireland, whence in company with a brother he emigrated to New York city. He, his son Stephen and grandson John Phenix were all weavers by trade and expert artisans. John Phenix went to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, in early manhood and there turned his attention to carpentering, but following his removal to Stark county, Illinois, in 1834, which was then a part of Putnam county, he entered eighty acres of land in Penn township and concentrated his energies upon the operation of his farm. Two years later his wife and children joined him, going by boat to Peoria, the voyage requiring seven weeks. At that time Peoria was but a small town and this entire section of Illinois was a pioneer district. The family lived in a log house for some time but later a more comfortable residence was erected, and at length Mr. Phenix built a third home, which was commodious and convenient. He at length turned the operation of his farm over to his son Abram and devoted his time and attention to the carpenter's trade until he was compelled to retire because of physical disability. He died at the age of seventy-two years. He was an adherent of the democratic party and served acceptably as a member of the school board. His religious faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal church. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Lydia A. Daniels, was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where she was reared and educated. At the time of her marriage she was engaged in teaching school. She reached the venerable age of ninety-one years and passed away in Osceola township in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. She was the mother of six children, namely: Daniel B., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Elizabeth, who married Samuel Sturm and died at the age of eighty-four years; Nancy, who became the wife of Solomon Geer and was seventy-five years old at the time of her death; Abram, who is living retired in Bradford and a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Mary C., who married Hiram Drawyer and died when about eighty years of age; and Harmon.

The last named was brought to this country when but an infant and passed the days of his boyhood and youth upon the home farm. He early assisted in the work of cultivating the fields and caring for the stock, and thus not only learned much concerning agricultural work, but was also trained in habits of industry. He attended a subscription school, as that was before the days of public schools, and remembers well the crude equipment of the schoolhouse. The seats were slabs resting on pegs driven into the wall, the building itself was of logs and the curriculum was very limited. When about nineteen years of age he began working at the carpenter's trade, which he followed for three or four years, and during that time he carefully saved his money, as he had determined to continue his education. He became a student in an academy at Pawpaw, Illinois, and after attending there for three terms passed an examination covering the work completed in that time. For three years he engaged in clerking in a store at Pleasant Green and at the end of that time bought out the business, which he continued until 1869. He then removed his stock of merchandise to Bradford, establishing a general store there in partnership with his cousin, Charles W. Phenix. In 1874 he sold his interest to his partner and engaged in the hardware and implement business until 1881, when he sold out to Deyo Brothers and again became associated in business with Charles W. Phenix, establishing a bank. This partnership was maintained until 1888, when Mr. Phenix of this review became sole owner of the business, which he conducted alone until 1895. In that year he admitted his son, Daniel J., his nephew, Bardwell D. Phenix, and his brother, Daniel B. Phenix, to a partnership, forming the Phenix Banking Company, of which he is president; D. B. Phenix, vice president; D. J. Phenix, cashier; and B.D. Phenix, assistant cashier. This company has gained an enviable prestige throughout the county which is well deserved, as its policy has conformed to high commercial standards and its business has at all times been based upon sound principles. The company owns a great deal of valuable land in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Kansas, Texas, and Missouri, and its affairs are in a most satisfactory condition. Our subject still owns personally about two hundred and forty acres in this county. He had no unusual advantages in his youth, but he possessed great energy and determination, and these qualities, together with his good judgment and keen insight, have been the most important factors in his success.

On the 7th of March, 1864, Mr. Phenix was united in marriage to Miss Emma L. Libby, who was born and reared in Canada. She passed away on the 4th of October, 1912, in the faith of the First Baptist church, leaving five children to mourn her loss: Oscar H., at home; Lillian C., who is the widow of Edwin Plummer and resides with her father; Nancy, the wife of Otto C. Boyd, of Bradford; Daniel J., who is associated with his father in business; and Elbert H., who is conducting a bakery and confectionery store.

Many representatives of the Phenix family have been actively identified with the teacher's profession, including our subject and his mother, Lydia A. Phenix, who taught school for some time. His wife, Mrs. Emma (Libby) Phenix, was also a teacher and two of their children, Lillian C. and Daniel J., taught in the public schools. Two of his grandchildren are preparing for college teachers, these being R. Bonita Plummer, who is a third-year student at Knox College, Galesburg, and Emily Plummer, who is a senior student in the Bradford high school.

Mr. Phenix gives his political allegiance to the democratic party and for many years was a member of the village board and school board his long retention in those offices proving the acceptability of his services. He also held other offices in the township. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church and the principles which govern his life are found in the teachings of that organization and in the tenets of the Masonic fraternity. He was made a Mason in Toulon Lodge, No. 95, A.F. & A.M., in 1862, and became a charter member of Bradford Lodge, No. 514, A.F. & A. M., of which he was the first junior warden and of which he served as master for many years. He was formerly also identified with the Wyoming chapter, R.A.M., but has demitted on account of his age. He is now eighty-two years old but he is still quite active, still looks after his business interests, and in mind and body is as vigorous as most men of seventy. He has not only gained a considerable measure of wealth but has also won and retained the sincere respect and warm regard of those who have been associated with him.

[Stark County, Illinois and it's People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 32-37 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Henry Ranger Pierce

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 387 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]

Henry Ranger Pierce, native of New York state, came to Stark county about the year 1849. He resided in southern Illinois for several years prior to 1849 and was engaged in mercantile life in this state from his boyhood. After coming to this county the gold fever took him to California, where he passed about three years, with success. Returning, he located a farm just north of Toulon and subsequently located in town, where he died in 1861; leaving a family of three sons and one daughter: Isabella A., Harlan W., Corrance and Harry M., an attorney of Chicago. His wife was Miss Martha A. Catterlin, daughter of Joseph Catterlin, a pioneer merchant, who came from Virginia in 1849, as referred to in this chapter. Mr. Pierce was a strong supporter of the Methodist Episcopal church and an old member of the Masonic lodge here. Harlan Pierce spent his boyhood here, and here received a good common-school education, supplemented by a course of commercial study at Quincy. He began clerking at the age of eighteen years, in 1866, in the store of Hiram Willett; was subsequently clerk in the store of George S. Lawrence, and again clerk and overseer of the lumber business of the Stark county lumber headquarters, at Wyoming, for three years and a half. Returning to Toulon, in 1885, he engaged with his brother, Corrance, in business here.


George W. Pierson

George W. Pierson is a practical mechanic who in early life learned the blacksmith’s trade and since 1902 has carried on business along that line at La Fayette. He dates his residence in Stark county from 1867, arriving here when a youth of eleven years. He was born in Warren County, New Jersey, August 4, 1856, and is a son of Willis Pierson, who was also a native of New Jersey, where he was reared and married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Bryan, who was born and reared in New Jersey. The father followed farming in that state for a number of years and at the time of the Civil war joined the Thirty-first Regiment of Volunteer infantry in New Jersey, serving with that command for three years and nine months, after which he was honorably discharged and mustered out following the close of the war. He then returned to his native state, where he again engaged in farming until 1867, when he came to Illinois, making his way direct to Stark county. He took up his abode in West Jersey township, settling on a farm, where he continued to reside until his death. His wife was a resident of this county for more than three decades, passing away in May, 1898.

George W. Pierson was reared in Stark county from the age of eleven years and the public schools afforded him his educational opportunities. Starting out in life he entered a shop in West Jersey and learned the blacksmith’s trade, after which he engaged in business on his own account there for thirteen years. In 1902 he disposed of his interests at West Jersey and went to La Fayette, where he purchased a lot and built a large shop, in which he is now engaged in blacksmithing and repair work. He does wood work as well as blacksmithing and repairs wagons, buggies, etc. His business has been developed to large proportions and brings him a substantial annual income. He is industrious and energetic and whatever he undertakes is carried forward to successful completion.

Mr. Pierson was married at West Jersey, December 19, 1875, to Miss Laura Scantlin, a native of this county. They have become parents of five children: Frank, who is engaged in blacksmithing at Castleton; Jesse, who is married and is engaged in business at Williamsfield; Mary, the wife of Clyde Schnedaker, a farmer of South Dakota; Belle, the wife of Archie Wapple, of Oneida, Illinois; and George, who completes the family.

The parents are members of the La Fayette Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Pierson takes a very active and helpful interest in church and Sunday school work and has acted as superintendent of the Sunday school. Mr. Pierson belongs to the Odd Fellows lodge and he and his wife are connected with the Rebekah degree. He has served as noble grand and has been representative of the local organization of the grand lodge. Politically he has always been identified with the republican party and he has served for three years as a member of the village board of La Fayette. He was one of the promoters of the La Fayette Fair Association, of which he is a stockholder. He stands at all times as an advocate of those progressive movements which feature in the welfare and upbuilding of the district in which he lives. He has ever worked hard, is a self-made man and his record indicates what may be accomplished by persistent energy and honorable dealing.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 342-343. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


G. C. Platt

Among the energetic and prosperous farmers of Toulon township is G. C. Platt, who is devoting his attention to the cultivation of one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the corporation limits of Toulon. He has successfully farmed that tract for the last twenty years and its productiveness has been greatly enhanced by his practical and progressive methods.

Mr. Platt is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred in Clarion county, December 18, 1864. He was there reared upon a farm and on the 18th of December, 1885, he was united in marriage in Cattaraugus county, New York, to Miss Ella Bodish, also a native of Pennsylvania. For a time Mr. Platt engaged in railroading and in 1887 he made his way to the far west, settling at Grays Harbor, Washington, where he worked at anything that came to hand, being willing to follow any employment that would yield him an honest living. While residing in that state he lost his wife in 1889, after which he returned to the east and joined his mother, who had located at Toulon. There he worked by the month as a farm hand for a time, but was not content to remain in such a position, being desirous to engage in business on his own account, that he might work his way steadily upward. Accordingly he afterward rented the place whereon he now resides, assuming the management of the property in 1895. He has since carefully and successfully carried on general agricultural pursuits here, and in connection with the cultivation of cereals best adapted to soil and climate, he has made a success in raising and feeding stock, both branches of his business being carefully managed.

On the 10th day of November, 1892, Mr. Platt was again married, for on that day, in Toulon, Miss Jennie Dodd became his wife. She was born in Tennessee but was brought to Stark county when a maiden of ten summers and was here reared. They traveled life's journey happily together for about twenty-two years and were separated by the hand of death on the 22d of April, 1914. The children of the first marriage are: Herbert, who is married and resides in Galva, Illinois, where he follows the machinists' trade; and Purl, who was born in the state of Washington and assists his father in carrying on the home farm. The children of the second marriage are: Pauline, who is a graduate of the Toulon high school and is now her father's housekeeper; Roy, Floyd and Myra, all at home. Mr. Platt is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and also holds membership in the Masonic lodge of Toulon, in which he now serves as master, while in 1915 he was its representative in the grand lodge. He is also a member of Wyoming Chapter, R. A. M., and is ever loyal to the teachings of the craft and to those high principles which are inculcated by Christian instruction. His has been a busy and useful life and whatever success he has achieved and enjoyed is attributable entirely to his earnest and indefatigable efforts.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 190-195. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


Henry T. Prentiss

History of Stark County, Illinois; M.A. Leeson, Chicago, M.A. Leeson & Co., 1887, p. 387 – Contributed by Karen Seeman]

Henry T. Prentiss, of the firm of Bogue & Co., Wyoming, was born at Monroeville, O., November 26, 1851. His father, Charles P., also a native of that county and postmaster at Monroeville, is a son of Thomas Prentiss, of Lebanon, N. Y., who settled in Ohio in her pioneer days. Henry T. was educated in Ohio, and was interested in his father's manufacturing interests until 1880, when he accepted a position with Bogue & Co., at Chicago; coming to Wyoming in April, 1884. He was married at Plymouth, O., to Miss Jennie Beekman, daughter of 'Squire Abram Beekman, an old settler of that town. Mr. Prentiss is an important addition to the citizenship of Wyoming and is well established here.


W. F. Price

W. F. Price, who is familiarly called Fred by his hosts of friends and is regarded as one of the active and progressive business men of Toulon, is the president and manager of the Stark County Telephone Company. He is numbered among the old settlers of this part of the state, dating his residence in Illinois from 1856 and in Stark county from 1869. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, February 11, 1853, and his father, W. H. Price, was also a native of that city, born on the 5th of July, 1828. Reared and educated in Newark, he there wedded Miss Mary Burns, who was also born in that city on the 11th of February, 1828. After his marriage Mr. Price engaged in business in Newark for a number of years and three of his children were born there. In 1857 he removed to the west, settling first on a farm near Canton, Illinois, where he remained until 1869, when he came to Stark county and purchased land whereon he continued his agricultural pursuits for a number of years. He was a successful farmer and well known citizen. In 1905 he purchased a lot in Toulon, erected thereon a neat and attractive residence and has since lived retired in this city. Here he and his wife have celebrated their golden wedding and also their sixty-sixth anniversary February 11, 1916. They are still a hale and hearty old couple, living by themselves and caring for their own household at the advanced age of eight-seven years. Both are members of the Toulon Methodist Episcopal church and their children have become active workers in church and Sunday school.

W. F. Price arrived in Stark county with his parents when a youth of sixteen years and assisted in carrying on the home farm, remaining with his father during the period of his minority. On the 27th of December, 1874, he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Quinn, a native of Preble county, Ohio, and a daughter of J. H. Quinn, who was one of the early settlers of this county. He took his bride to the old home farm and thereon continued the work of the fields for a number of years. While they were there residing Mrs. Price passed away on the 12th of September, 1902, leaving three children, two sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Frank L., is married and now owns and operates the old Quinn homestead. The daughter, Mary, is the wife of Minott Silliman, a resident farmer of Toulon township, and the younger son, William Henry, is married and resides upon one of the old Price farms, which belongs to his father. Each son is living on the same farm and in the house in which he was born.

After successfully carrying on general agricultural pursuits for many years W. F. Price removed to Toulon, where he erected a good residence. On the 15th of November, 1908, in Peoria, he was united in marriage to Miss Belle Cliff, who was born, reared and educated in that city. In 1900 Mr. Price became a stockholder in the Mutual Telephone Company of Toulon and later organized the Stark County Telephone Company, of which he became president and manager. This company has since erected a neat brick office building and business house and Mr. Price has extended the telephone line, which has its switchboards in Wyoming, Elmira, Castleton, Camp Grove and Duncan, with headquarters in Toulon. They now have about two thousand instruments installed in the county and connect with all other lines in Illinois and adjacent states. Mr. Price spends a goodly portion of his time on the road with his men, putting in new lines and instruments, and he gives most thorough supervision to the business. He is also still interested in agricultural pursuits, for in connection with his sons he owns a large tract of rich and well improved land near Toulon. He has ever been recognized as a progressive and enterprising business man whose plans are well formulated and are carried forward to successful completion.

Mr. Price is a member of the Toulon Baptist church, while his wife holds membership in the Congregational church. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Toulon. He has been a liberal contributor to various churches and to benevolent projects and is a most public-spirited and progressive citizen, interested in all those things which pertain to the welfare of the individual and the betterment of the community. Those who know him esteem him highly and he has a very wide acquaintance throughout the county.

[Stark County, Illinois and its People: A record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement, published 1916, p. 157-159. – Contributed by Karen Seeman]


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