Winnebago County, Illinois
ELLIS, Thomas Milton Jr.
Thomas M. Ellis, general manager of the Rockford Interurban Street Railway Company, was born August 31, 1861, in Whitesboro, New York, his parents being Thomas and Mary (Davis) Ellis. The family is of Welsh lineage and the father with his parents crossed the Atlantic to America from the little rock-ribbed country of Wales during his early boyhood days. He settle at Remson, New York, where he was reared to the occupation of farming for many years. When a young man he turned his attention to the manufacture of tubs and pails at Whitesboro and to the management of that productive industry gave his time and attention for many years, carrying on the business with constantly growing success until about 1885, when he retired from active life. His death occurred in July, 1903, but his widow is still living and has recently paid a visit to her son Thomas in Rockford. They were the parents of four children, of whom one died in infancy, the others being: W.C., who is engaged with the Rockford & Freeport Railway Company; Nellie M,. the wife of W.G. Stone, a civil engineer, living at Whitesboro, New York; and Thomas M.
At the usual age, Thomas M. Ellis began his education in the public schools of his native city and subsequently entered the Whitesboro Seminary, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1879. Having completed his education he then joined his father in business, being associated with him for ten years in the manufacture of woodenware. In 1887 he became assistant superintendent of the Utica Belt Street Railway Company, acting in that capacity until 1892, when in order to thoroughly acquaint himself with the electrical department of the business he entered the service of the General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York, continuing therewith until 1901. He was with that company for a year and in 1892 he came to Rockford as superintendent of the Rockford Street Railway Company. He is now general manager of the Rockford Interurban Street Railway Company, with lines extending from this place to Janesville, Wisconsin, and to Belvidere and Freeport, Illinois. Mr. Elis is well qualified for the responsible duties which rest upon him in the connection, having made a close and systematic study of the various departments of the business. He is a typical citizen of the middle west, alive to opportunities and quick to utilize every advantage which arises in connection with his business interests. An interurban railway system is a product of the age and an indication of the spirit of the times, when accommodation and rapidity characterize all departments of business activity.
Mr. Ellis is constantly studying to give to the public a superior service, knowing that in this way the business of the corporation which he represents will be increased.
In 1888 occurred the marriage of Thomas M. Ellis and Miss Mary Louis Kelly, of New Hartford, New York, a daughter of Thomas Kelly, of that place. They have four children--Bessie May, Milton, W.H. and Howard D.--all of whom are students in the public schools. Mr. Ellis is connected with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and politically is a republican, but while well informed on the questions and issues of the day, he is without political aspiration for himself. In citizenship he is a public-spirited and progressive and has been a co-operant factor in many movements for the general good and withal is practical in his ideas of business advancement and public progress. [Past and Present of City of Rockford and Winnebago County Illinois; Charles A Church and H.H. Waldo, 1905]
EMERY, Dr. George Reid
Dr Emery was born in Walpole NH in 1791 and studied medicine at NY University. He was licensed to practice in Ohio in 1816 and moved to Illinois in Aug 1839, settling just a few miles from his sister in law, Irene Stevens Harris on the Winnebago/Stephenson Co line. The Howard Union Cem is on the corner of Irene Steven Harris' property. The county line road divided the Emery property. His house was on the Winnebago side and property he donated for a school on the Stephenson Co. side. Sunday school was first held on an old place on the Stephenson Co side, but later moved into the main house after it's completion. Dr. Emery established the first post office in the area having been the post master of Thompson Ohio and a mail carrier during the War of 1812. Dr. Emery was the first medical doctor between Freeport and Rockford and visited his patients on horseback. His post office was later moved to Pecatonica. The Emery's lived near the Burrills (who came a bit later) Winchesters and Tunks. Later in life, 1870, Dr. Emery moved to Kansas to be near his son Josiah Bartlett Emery whose first wife, Prudence McIntire, was the sister of William Tunks' second wife, Armadilla. Prudence had died in California.Son Milo married Clarrisa Partlow, a girl from the first class at The College School at Irish Grove in 1854. Son Seth Stevens Emery married another niece of William Z Tunks, Mary Elizabeth Hisey. They married in Springfield Ohio while Seth was serving in the Civil War at a hospital. Mary became matron of the hospital. After the war, Seth opened a drugstore in Pecatonica. It was a successful business but Seth's eyesight later failed and he also moved to Kansas and farmed. His eyesight came back. Daughter Candace, the eldest girl, married 3 Jul 1844 in Rockford, John Daniels Jr. They lived in Rock City and had six children. Sons George Jr and Omri Willey Reid Emery lived in Iowa.The youngest daughter, Viancie Emery, married Dr Charles Wesley Burrill an immediate neighbor of William Tunks. William Tunks married first, Paulina Winchester, daughter of neighbor Wm Hale "Uncle Hail" Winchester. Jonathan Burrill married Harriet Winchester, another daughter of Hale Winchester and Sybil Gates. (Sybil Gates' sister Rebecca, was mother of Prudence (married Josiah Emery) and Armadilla McIntire (Armadilla being William Tunks second wife.) Dr. George Reid Emery's parents were Cpt John Emery b 1756 Newbury MA...a Minuteman at Concord and later member of the regular Continental Army..died 1831 buried Unionville Cem Geuaga Co Ohio. His mother was a cousin, Susannah Bartlett b 1856 Newbury MA died 1814 Lyndon Vt . Cpt Emery and wife were second and first cousins respectively of Dr. Governor Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire, the second signer of the Declaration of Independence. Susannah's father was also named Josiah Bartlett and her mother Lydia Hale was a daughter of Ruth Emery whose sister Hannah Emery, was Susannah's great grandmother and grandmother of the Declaration Signer. Hannah and Ruth Emery's brother John was grandfather of Cpt John Emery.
Minneapolis. Res 2301 3d av S, office 412 N Y Life bldg. Lawyer. Born Jan 31, 1848 in Cherry Valley, Ill, son of Daniel and Pamelia (Adams) Fish. Educated in public schools of Ill and Ia and afterwards taught school. Enlisted in Ill Infantry during Civil War; and until 1870 was engaged in the book and news business at Waverly, Dubuque and Manchester Ia. Studied law and was admitted to bar in 1871. Removed to Delano Minn edited the Delano Eagle; moved to Minneapolis and was the first atty of the City Park Board; atty Minn Title and Trust Co. Engaged in law practice. Probate judge of Wright county 1876-79. Member Minneapolis Library Board 1900-1905; Commission to Revise Statutes 1901-1905; American and State Bar assns. [Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. Publ. 1907 Transcribed by Anna Parks]
FRALEY, Mary Utter
OLD SETTLER’S CORNER: Mrs. Mary Utter Fraley
When the settlers came pouring into the great Middle West after the close of the Blackhawk war, they found the settlements along the banks of streams, both because they felt that this would materially lighten the burdens of transportation, but because they could not conceive of a settlement developing into a respectable city unless there was power to aid in the development of manufacturing enterprises. It was because of the promise of water power that Kent made his settlement on that point of land between the creek and the river in 1834, and the Talcotts pitched their tents at Rockton a few years later, for the same reason. Just ten years after Kent and Blake founded the settlement at the ford of the Rock, Isaac Utter made a tour through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, seeking a suitable site for the location of an iron foundry, and the development of a business such as he felt must spring up throughout the section, and dominate the future of the country. Mr. Utter was at this time in Warsaw, N.Y., when he owned and operated a large woolen mill. In the early days, he had been one of those traveling "factors," whose huge lumbering covered wagons, packed with wool, which they had purchased outright from the farmers, or had contracted to “card” and return to the homes for spinning were familiar features of the eastern landscape. Gradually the business developed, until the carding mill became a woolen mill, where cloth of an excellent quality was made, and sent out to be bartered with the hill farmers for the years’ yield of wool. In connection with this enterprise, Mr. Utter owned a big boarding house, presided over by a man and his wife, where the operatives at the mill were boarded and cared for, as in a home. But in spite of all his measure of success, he longed to embark in a new industry and in 1844 he came by stage to the west to test its possibilities. He stopped first at Chicago, here he met an old friend who was anxious that Mr. Utter should cast in his lot with the growing settlement, and become his partner in the manufacture of stoves. But there was no water power. Chicago was nothing but a great slough, anyway, and the idea of its developing into a large city was preposterous. So the prospector continued his way to the Rock river valley--up to Janesville, Beloit and Rockton, and then down to Rockford, which suited him better than any place he had yet seen.
The Move to the West
But there were family reasons for postponing the move to the west, and so it happened that the years swung around to 1851 before the final break was made, and the family removed to Rockford. Again Mr. Utter made another trip to the west, and this time he found Orlando Clark operating the old foundry near the western wend of the old dam, and anxious to secure more capital, that he might launch out in bigger things when the new dam was completed, and the water power established. A partnership was effected. Thomas Ennett was given the contract for a fine new stone building--a building which still stands, a part of the plant of the Trachern Pumps works--and there they installed the first waterwheel ever installed in Rockford. That old Clark and Utter foundry, which developing quite naturally into the Clark and Utter manufacturing company, played an important part in the industrial history of our city. It was this firm that manufactured the first of the Manny combined reaper and mowers and they were instrumental in getting that gentleman to cast his lot with the manufacturers on the water power, then in its infancy. The Utter family followed the father to Rockford. They came as far as the east side of the river by rail--a wonderful experience in those days. But here the road ended, and they made the remainder of their journey, across the wobbly old wooden bridge, in the clumsy old stage coach to the Winnebago House on the Ashton corner. There were six children in the family, of whom Mary, who later became Mrs. Fraley, was a little girl with a curiosity primed to probe every mystery, and a memory fitted to carry the impression gained, for many a year.
The New Home
Mr. Utter had his eye upon a desirable piece of property over on Winnebago street, in what was then the aristocratic residence district of the town, and the family crept into a small house in that neighborhood until the new house, which the father had ordered, should be ready for occupancy.
I wish I could paint for you the beauties and the charms of that neighborhood. The Utter home stood upon the corner of Winnebago and Chestnut street. It still stands, just north of the larger, modern house on the corner, which the family built at the much later day. Across where the Nurses’ Home now stands, lived the Hamlins. Years later, the mother took her own life in a moment of mental eclipse, and then this home became the haunted house of the city, whose story you have perhaps hears. North of the Hamlin home lived the Fitches--parent of our Dr. and Miss Mary Fitch. The Dr. Lymans lived where the Water Van Alstyne home now stands, and next to them, on the corner now occupied by the A.M.E. church, lived the Jacksons, friends of Germanicus Kent, who had come to settlement on the ford at the invitation of their oldtime friend, and who continued to live here, until death removed one after another of the family, and their place became vacant as the sparks fly upward. There was a household of boys at the Lyman home, and they kept things stirring about the neighborhood, I assure you. But the mother was a most charming southern lady of the old school, courteous and hospitable to a degree, the model of all the young girls of the community.
The little grout house was already built in the lot to the north of the Utter home, and Mr. Rogers, one of the early teachers of the old Union School No. 2, came to live here to the great concern of the lads and lassies, with whom the good man, who taught so hard and fast that his necktie was always worked over his shoulder because of the violence of his teaching, before noon intermission, and who did all things with equal force, was never exactly popular.
On the southwest corner of State and Winnebago streets was the T.D. Robertson home, surrounded by its splendid gardens, reaching to West street, as it was then called. To the east was the Anson Miller home, also standing the center of a block, and with gardens whose fame spread far and near. Across to the north was the Cotton home, and on the corner beside it, nestled the Little Brown Church, dear to many a Presbyterian heart. To the west of the Robertson was a big brick home, where the Crawford entertained a few select people as boarders, and from here to the creek stretched the Richings estate, with its gardens, and its drives--West State street, from Court to the creek, was one veritable garden, a most delightful park. Mr. Utter was seen in the thick of the industrial whirl of the growing town. The firm was in close touch with the John Manny McCormick litigation. There were the excitement of the implement trials, too. Every new machine manufactured in the vicinity was obliged to enter the lists, and work out its own salvation in comparison to other implements of the same ilk, on a chosen farm in the vicinity of Rockford, and when one was intensely interested in the success of the venture, the incident was a serious matter.
The Birth of the Paper Industry
It was about 1863 that Messrs. Rhoades and Utter conceived the idea of founding a paper mill in the city. Already there were mills at Rockton and at Beloit, but the paper turned out was not of the quality which they felt the trade of the section demanded, and they felt determined to start a mill which should supply the needs in a more satisfactory manner. Accordingly they made a trip east, and visited the principle paper mills, spending much time in Philadelphia, and before they returned they had ordered the very best machinery it was possible to obtain, with which to equip their new factory. The Rhoades and Utter paper mill grew and waxed important, and until they passed into the hands of the syndicate, after Mr. Utter’s death, were among the dominating industries of the city. Mary Utter was married in 1865 to John Fraley, who was at the time in the drug business on the east side, and her home was transferred to that section, at a time when it was experiencing its most rapid growth. So she has been, for many years, in touch with the strong, vital, growing life of the city. Since the death of Mr. Fraley several years ago, she has returned to the west side, and it is most interesting to listen to her stories of the origin of things, her comparison of the present with the past--the brightest and most delightful way of learning to know history and the character of the city we love, and the reason for her being just what she is, and not as the others. [--Rockford Morning Star, 08-10-1913]
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