Winnebago County, Illinois
Among the old and influential citizens of Boone County, Ill., we take pleasure in introducing to our readers Mr. Alonzo Haskins, who has been associated with all enterprises of interest in the county for many years. He was born in Cortland County, town of Truxton (now Cuyler), N. Y., on the 18th of November, 1814, and is a son of William H. and Lydia (Howard) Haskins, natives also of New York State. The paternal grandparents of our subject were natives of New England, but died in the Excelsior State when well advanced in years. William H. Haskins followed the occupation of a farmer, and died in Onondaga County, N. Y., when about ninety years of age. His wife died at the same place, when about seventy-two years of age. They were honest, industrious citizens, and prominent in their community. Of the three children born to their union only our subject survives.
From early boyhood our subject became familiar with the arduous duties of the farm, and when starting out for himself he selected that as his calling in life. His marriage with Miss Lavina McKiney on the 10th of September, 1835, brought to his home a helpmate to whose aid and co-operation he is much indebted for his success in life. She was also born in Cortland County, N. Y., August 20, 1813, and is a daughter of Charles and Lydia (Morse) McKiney, both natives of that State. Her mother passed her last days in Rockford, Ill. Mrs. Haskins' maternal grandfather, David Morse, was a Revolutionary soldier, and for services thus rendered received six hundred and forty acres of land in New York State, Cortland County. He also received a pension until his death. Mrs. Haskins was one of fourteen children, six of whom are yet living, all farmers and lumbermen.
Four children were born to our subject's marriage, viz: Teresa M., born in Onondaga County, N. Y., is the widow of Barnard Farnsworth, and now resides in Dakota; Lydia L., born in Onondaga County, N. Y., married L. Albert Drake, and is the mother of two children, one of whom, a daughter, married William Beach, and has a little girl. The Drakes were pioneer settlers of this State, and are industrious, upright citizens. Mr. Drake is working the home place for our subject, but owns a fine farm of eight hundred acres in Dakota. Edgar D. Haskins, also a native of Onondaga County, married Miss Hattie Turnure, and is the father of three children, a son and two daughters. Mary J., born in the same county, married B. B. Wells, and has two children. She makes her home in Belvidere.
L. Albert Drake enlisted in the Ninety-fifth Illinois Infantry, served about four years, and was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. He was a faithful soldier, and a brave and gallant officer. Edgar Haskins was in the light artillery, and served about a year. On coming to Boone County, ILL., our subject bought one hundred and seventy acres of land in Bonus Township, and on this there stood a small frame house in which Mr. Haskins and family lived for several years. He then built his present handsome residence, and has one of the finest farms in the township. He has now retired from the active duties of life, and his son-in-law carries on the farm. They have twenty-eight or thirty cows, a fine herd of Jerseys that rank with the finest in the county, and make a specialty of the dairy business. Mr. Haskins has been Director in the Agricultural Society, and he has also been on the State Committee of State Fairs, etc., and is active in all laudable enterprises. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Winnebago and Boone Counties, IL. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892]
HOLMES, Miss Mary Emilie
Educator and scientist, born in Chester, Ohio, 10th April, 1850. She is the only daughter and only surviving child of Rev. Mead and Mrs. Mary D. A. Holmes. On the paternal side of Scotch-Irish and Holland descent, and on the maternal of Huguenot and New England stock, she inherited a nature active, persistent, thorough, with a special bent toward original investigation in science, literature and religion. In addition to performing efficiently the duties ' of a Presbyterian clergyman's wife in a large parish, her mother was for many years principal of a seminary for young ladies and gentlemen. As a child, little Mary's associations were almost entirely with those greatly her senior in years. Never remembering the time when she could not read readily, she early picked up, by listening to recitations and also to her older and only brother studying aloud at home, many things far beyond her full comprehension at the time, but which, later, proved of great value. Thus at eight years of age she was perfectly familiar with Greek, Latin and French conjugations and declensions and could parse and translate quite well. At five years she had read the entire Bible through aloud to her mother, receiving therefor, from her father, a beautiful canary. A special delight of her life has ever been to have many pets about the home, not so much to train, though they must all live peaceably together, and generally in freedom, outdoors and in, but for psychological study. Among these were several species of squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, guineapigs, coons, woodchucks, cats, dogs, a bear, foxes, robins, thrushes, mocking-birds, a parrot and an eagle, with some amphibians. All these, being nicely tamed, developed many characteristics which have formed the basis of her carefully prepared zoological articles. With her fifth birthday she began the regular study of music, ever since a delight, and commenced systematically to study natural history, and to prepare a herbarium, analyzing mainly by Gray's 'How Plants Grow." This collection, still existing in part, was the nucleus of what is now one of the finest and largest private herbariums in Illinois. Always encouraged to take examinations with those much older, primarily to keep her pleasantly occupied, and to try for county school certificates, at thirteen years of age she was triumphant, having won one-hundred per cent in each of the eight subjects then required. This certificate is a much-prized trophy. At eleven years of age she became organist in Sunday-school, and soon after in church, a position almost continuously held from that date. A favorite pastime for several years, commencing with her eighth year, was regularly editing, alternately 'with an older friend, in single copy, a hand-written weekly paper, "The Planetary World," copiously but neatly illustrated, with advertisements, the sanctum being movable, on the various planets and stars. Each gave everything she could imagine or learn pertaining to the orbs, and the objects supposably within sight or reach, including "news from earth." At the age of fourteen she was prepared for an advanced place in the junior year of Rockford Seminary, where she was graduated. She was also the first student to receive the full A. B. Teaching several years, holding the department of natural science in the seminary, after a thorough and exhaustive examination in Michigan University, she received the degree of A. M., and in 1888, on an original scientific thesis, with copious illustrations from nature, "The Morphology of the Carina on the Septa of Rugose Corals," an acknowledged authority in England and Germany, she received the degree of Ph. D. from the University. Still later, on the score of "original investigation and discovery," she was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, a distinction as yet conferred upon no other woman. In her delightful home several rooms are devoted to natural history, ornithology, zoology, conchology, geology, mineralogy and botany, in many thousand specimens, chiefly of her own collecting or exchange, and all scientifically arranged. While delighting in literary or scientific pursuits, she imbibed the missionary spirit, home and foreign, of her mother. On this line of humanity and piety she exerts her noblest energies. From early girlhood she has presided over a thriving mission band. For seven years she has been president of the Presbyterian Home Missionary Society, Freeport Presbytery, and for five years has been chairman of the Synodical Committee on Freedmen, Synod of Illinois, since their organization. She is now engaged with the Freedmen's Board of the Presbyterian Church North, in planning a literary and industrial school for colored girls, the " Mary Holmes Seminary," in Jackson, Miss., to be a memorial of her mother and a power in uplifting an unfortunate race. A prompt and sprightly newspaper correspondent, chiefly scientific and missionary, her articles are always welcome, often passing from the editor's sanctum to the compositor without reading. Her home is in Rockford, Ill. (Source: American Women, by Frances Elizabeth Willard, Mary Ashton Rice Livermore, Vol 1, 1897. Transcribed by Marla Snow)
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