Lee 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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Harlow A Williamson

Biography of Harlow A. Williamson

Harlow A. Williamson, a retired farmer in Ashton and son of Samuel B. and Sybil (Delong) Williamson, was born in Vermont in 1830. He moved to Illinois at 20, initially working on farms before buying his own land. He married Emeline Starks in 1857, a native of Pennsylvania, whose parents were early settlers in Illinois. The couple settled in Bradford Township until 1889, then moved to Ashton, raising three children, Nellie, Harry, and Katie. Williamson, a steadfast Republican, held local offices including Collector, Constable, and School Director. He and his wife were active in the Presbyterian Church, enjoyed a culturally rich life in their new, elegant home.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Emrich Weishaar

Emrich Weishaar, a German native born on February 3, 1834, represented the quintessential qualities of thrift and perseverance, leading him to prosperity in the United States. After emigrating in 1866, Weishaar worked in agriculture, later amassing 419 acres of prime land. Twice married with five surviving children, he enjoyed a tranquil retired life in Ashton, esteemed for his character and social standing. Active in community affairs, Weishaar also contributed as a Highway Commissioner.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of William B. Page

William B. Page of Lee County represented the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co., a global enterprise with factories in Europe and the United States, including in Dixon, Illinois, where Page managed the successful local branch. Born to pioneer settlers, Page thrived in a family distinguished for enterprise: his brother George H. Page managed the company’s growth into a multi-million dollar entity; his brother Charles A. Page gained fame as a journalist and war correspondent, later contributing to the company’s international expansion until his death; and David S. Page assisted general management in Europe. William’s own international experience in condensed milk production led to a flourishing Dixon facility. Married to Catherine Buckle, he resided in Dixon with their four children.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of William S. Brierton

Joseph Brierton, an influential pioneer, settled in Lee County’s Nachusa Township and contributed notably to its development. His son, William S. Brierton, born November 25, 1839, in Nachusa, continued the legacy, becoming a progressive farmer in Nelson Township. Possessing a well-farmed quarter-section, his land boasted modern improvements that reflected advanced agricultural methods. Joseph, originally a Pennsylvanian brewer and blacksmith, had migrated to Illinois for a better life. There, he settled, farmed, and established a smithy, living to the extraordinary age of 96. William’s first wife, Mary E. Stetler, bore him four children before her death; later, he married Anna Hewitt from Ireland. William held no religious creeds, voted for Abraham Lincoln, and remained a staunch Republican. His father’s $100,000 estate was amicably settled, showcasing the family’s unity and fiscal prudence.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of John M. Sterling

John M. Sterling was a notable figure in Nelson Township, Lee County, as a progressive farmer, dairyman, and esteemed civic official. Born on November 26, 1849, on his father’s farm in Palmyra Township, he came from a line of distinguished pioneers. His father, Maj. James Sterling, originally from Pennsylvania, was a major business figure and public servant who, after various ventures, settled in Lee County in 1847. John M. inherited his father’s business acumen and public spirit, holding local civic offices including membership on the County Board of Supervisors. He married Dora Rickey Passmore, and they had three children. Mrs. Sterling, active in the Presbyterian Church, supported her husband in maintaining their prosperous farm and welcoming home.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Jules Brechon

Jules Brechon, a French-born immigrant, was a well-regarded farmer and stock raiser in Lee County. His eighty-acre farm in South Dixon Township displayed his farming aptitude. Born to Joseph and Margaret Brechon, who emigrated from France in 1864, Jules lived in the county since he was two. He received a local education and became devoted to agriculture, improving his land with modern facilities and livestock breeds. Married to Illinois-native Margaret Ulrich, they had a daughter named Mary Margaret. Both are devout Catholics and established community members in Dixon, with Jules being a consistent Democrat. Their family was entrenched in farming and local church activities.

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Ithiel A Horton

Biography of Ithiel A. Horton

Ithiel A. Horton, a diligent farmer from Reynolds Township, Northern Illinois, prospered despite initial hardships, aided by his supportive wife. Born in 1817 in Pennsylvania, Horton was raised in a logging community and educated in subscription schools. Starting with nothing, he worked hard, eventually buying land with his brother. In 1854, Horton moved to Illinois, purchasing and enhancing a farm before losing it to poor circumstances. Undeterred, he made successful investments in Reynolds Township, where he eventually enjoyed a 200-acre fertile farm with his family. Married since 1840 to Polly Brink, they raised six children and were respected Free-will Baptist Church members. Politically, Horton was a steadfast Republican.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Moses C. Weyburn

Moses C. Weyburn had been the American Express Company agent in Dixon since 1869 and was a respected employee with over twenty-two years of service. Born to an accomplished family in Geneva, New York, in 1845, Moses received a thorough education and moved to Illinois in 1866. Some years in Rockford preceded his Dixon tenure. He had been married three times, with children from the latter two marriages, and was widowed twice. Mr. Weyburn was actively involved in the Methodist Church and several civic societies, including I.O.O.F. and the Modern Woodmen, holding leadership roles. Esteemed in his professional and social circles, Moses and his current wife Minnie were well-regarded in their community.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Chester Harrington

Chester Harrington, a respected pioneer, had been a resident of Nachusa Township since 1837. A New York native, born to Rev. Ebenezer Harrington and Paulina Doolin, he came from a line of early American settlers. Chester followed in his family’s agricultural footsteps and became a successful farmer in Lee County, Illinois. He entered wild land and transformed it into a productive farm later operated by his children. Chester married Zerna Chamberlain, with whom he had three children, and was widowed in 1891. A veteran in local politics, he held various offices and was a firm Republican. Now living a retired life, Chester enjoyed the comfortable results of his lifelong labors.

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