La Salle County

Lee County Illinois

Biography of Richard Gooch

Richard Gooch, an influential figure in Lee Center Township, was born in England in 1848 and came to America as a toddler, his family ultimately settling in Ashton. He married Sarah Hodges and they resided in Lee Center Township, involved in their community and church. Mr. Gooch, a Republican, was civically minded, notably in education, and owned a well-cultivated 430-acre farm. They had two children and lived a contented life, acknowledged for their refinement and societal contributions. This account also provided a brief family background, highlighting the Gooch and Hodges families’ journeys and their reputable life in Illinois.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of William H. Hilles

William H. Hilles, born in Western Pennsylvania and passing away in Dixon, Illinois, in 1882, led a life marked by diligence and principle. Moving from Pennsylvania to Ohio and then to Indiana during his youth, Hilles eventually settled in LaSalle County, Illinois, where he became a successful farmer. His life was characterized by intelligence, a love for horticulture, and a steadfast commitment to the abolition movement, leveraging his resources and influence for the cause of freedom. A Quaker by upbringing, Hilles embodied the values of honesty and integrity, contributing significantly to the development of Lee County and leaving behind a legacy of community betterment and moral fortitude.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Hon. James Ryon, M.D.

Hon. James Ryon, M.D., of Amboy, has a storied past beginning in 1827, Pennsylvania. With Irish heritage, he pursued medicine, graduating from Rush Medical College, and later delved into law and politics, notably serving in the Illinois Legislature and as a Civil War Colonel. Post-war, Ryon focused on his medical practice, also engaging in banking and coal business ventures. Married to Ruth A. Ives, they had a daughter, Carrie S., whose early demise deeply affected them. A staunch Republican, Ryon’s contributions span medicine, politics, and community service, reflecting a lifetime of dedication and impact.

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Charles Devlin of Spring Valley, Illinois

In 1850, Charles Devlin was born in St. Louis, Missouri. By age 4, his parents had moved with him to Peru, LaSalle County, Illinois. At age 19, Mr. Devlin worked as a bookkeeper and business manager in Peru for the Union Coal company. Charles Devlin was convinced that the time was right to open what he believed was a very valuable asset, coal mines. So, in 1884, Mr. Devlin helped in the opening of the first Spring Valley, Illinois coal mine. In 1885, he married Jennie Miller, daughter of a Spring Valley founder, Henry J. Miller. Their union brought forth

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History of Bureau County, Illinois Title Page

Biography of Martin Corley of Westfield Township, Illinois

Martin Corley, deceased, was a native of the Parish Ashgraw, County Conard, Ireland, where his parents, Daniel and Mary Moulton, died. Martin Corley came to America when quite young and became a captain of a boat on the Genesee River. He was married in Rochester, New York to Sarah Biglow, born November 26, 1815, near the Canada line in Berkshire Township, Vermont. She is the daughter of Stephen and Phebe (Wing) Biglow, the former a native of Rhode Island and of Welsh extraction, and the latter of Connecticut and of English and Irish descent. Her father commanded on of the

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History of Bureau County, Illinois Title Page

Biography of Adam Cleer of Westfield, Illinois

Adam Cleer, Westfield, was born July 31, 1830, in Merkenfritz, Hessen Darmstadt, Germany. His parents, Henry and Anna Mary (Lerch) Cleer, were also natives of Germany, where the father died in 1850. Mrs. Cleer came to America with her family in June 1854, and died in Peru. Ill., the following September; She was the mother of four children, viz; Mrs. Margaret Straw, deceased; Adam, our subject; Mrs. Mary Weber, and Henry, who was killed on the plains, while on his way to California. Adam Cleer came to Bureau County in 1854, and bought 151 ½ acres in Hall Township, of

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