James R. Cottle, Princeton, was born February 26, 1835, in Singapore, East India. His father, Richard Cottle, is a native of England, and yet resides in Bristol. In early life he was a carriage trimmer, but is now Government Inspector of the Great Western Railroad. James R. Cottle, Sr. the father of Richard Cottle, was a gentleman of leisure; he was formerly a Government Collector. The mother of our subject was Eliza (Betterridge) Cottle, a native of Thatchan, Berkshire, England. She died in Bristol. She was the mother of nine children, of whom six are now living, but none in the United States except our subject.
At the age of six, his father brought him from Singapore to London, where he received his primary education. When he was twelve years of age he went to Bristol, where he studied engineering till he was sixteen, and then visited Ireland, and while there he and his young friend, Joseph H. Watts, resolved to come to the United States, which they did without the knowledge of their parents, landing in New York in 1852. There he remained three months and then induced to come to Chicago, where he worked for the Michigan Central Railroad Company a short time and then obtained a position as mailing clerk in the Chicago Journal office. In 1854 he commenced to work for the Central Military Tract Railroad, now know as the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. He worked for the company until the road was completed to Monmouth, after which he worked as engineer for Robins & Lawson, millers of Princeton.
In 1864 he enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Regiment Illinois volunteer Infantry, Company F, serving till the close of the civil war, acting as Company Clerk, being always on detached service. After the war he operated a mill in Arlington, Bureau County, one and one half years and then started a bakery in Princeton in partnership with two other men. One of them retired after two years; the other one continued till 1881, when his interest was bought out by Mr. Cottle, who has continued the business alone ever since. He started on a small scale, but by dint of perseverance and strict attention to business he attained his present prosperity. He owns the only wholesale confectionery and cracker business in the county, and does a fine wholesale and retail business.
He was married in Princeton, Illinois, to Miss Harriet H. Harris, a native of England. She is the mother of two children, viz.: Lida and Jennie. In politics Mr. Cottle is identified with the Republican party.
Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885