Biography of Cornelius Vroom

Cornelius Vroom, a dedicated farmer from Nelson Township, has made significant strides in agriculture on his 80-acre farm near Nelson Station. Born into a Dutch-descendant family on Staten Island in 1840, Cornelius moved to Illinois in 1859, where he has since prospered through hard work and thrifty habits. His farm, acquired in 1869, showcases his commitment to cultivation and stock-raising. Cornelius and his wife, Libby, actively support the Methodist Church and the community’s welfare. A Republican by political affiliation, Cornelius is respected for his honesty and steadfast character, embodying the enduring spirit of his Dutch ancestry and the foundational values instilled from a young age.

Cornelius Vroom is contributing to the continued prosperity of Nelson Township as an industrious farmer who is profitably carrying on his calling on his well-tilled farm of eighty acres of land, which is provided with good improvements and is in a pleasant locality, advantageously situated just east of Nelson Station, on sections 16, 17, and 20, with his residence on the first mentioned section.

Mr. Vroom was born on Staten Island, April 28, 1840, coming from the old Dutch stock that populated New York in Colonial times. His father, Henry Vroom, was a native of New York and spent most of his long life on Staten Island, passing away there in 1889 at the age of eighty-five. He was a shoemaker and a farmer, devoting his later years to agricultural pursuits. His wife, Elizabeth Christopher, survives him and still lives on the old homestead. She is now eighty-three years old, and her life has been spent entirely on the island where she was born. She is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as was her husband. He was an old-line Whig in his politics until the formation of the Republican party, when he transferred his allegiance to that great political organization.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, Henry Vroom Sr., was a native of the Empire State, and the blood of Dutch ancestry ran in his veins. He always lived in the state of his birth, spending most of his life as a small farmer on Staten Island, where he passed away at the home of his son Henry at the age of eighty-three. His wife was also a native of New York, and she died on Staten Island at a very old age. Both were strong Methodists in religion, and he was a Whig in politics.

Our subject is the third child of a family of four sons and a like number of daughters, of whom seven are yet living, all married. He is the only one residing in Illinois. He was raised under wholesome home influences, with principles of right-doing instilled into his mind early on, and when he went forth into the world at nineteen years old, he was well-equipped for life’s battles. It was then, in 1859, that he came to this county and has since lived in Nelson Township. He was poor in purse, but his sturdy spirit, ability to work, and thrifty habits have placed him in an independent position. In 1869, he had sufficient means to purchase his present farm, and then began farming and stock-raising on his own account. He has brought every foot of his land into a high state of cultivation and has his place fitted up with every convenience for carrying on his operations successfully. He is a man of steady habits and stable character, always strictly honest in money matters, and his neighbors and associates hold him in high regard. He and his wife attend the Methodist Church, giving liberally of their means to its support, and wholeheartedly cooperating with its pastor and other members of the congregation in promoting all plans for social or moral improvement of the community. In politics, he is a Republican.

By his marriage in Union City, Branch County, Michigan, to Miss Libby, daughter of Henry and Harriet (Swift) Trear, our subject secured a wife who is devoted to his interests and is a cheerful and capable helpmate. She was born in Erie County, Ohio, on April 27, 1840, but was mostly raised and educated in Branch County, Michigan, where her parents moved when she was six years old. Her father was born in Germany and came to the United States when he was twenty-seven years old. He married after coming to this country, his wife being a native of New York. After the birth of all their children, they left the home they had established in Ohio and settled on a farm in Branch County, Michigan, where they lived until death removed them from the scene of their labors at a ripe age, he being seventy-one and she seventy-four when they passed away. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and were truly good people. He was a Republican in his politics. Mrs. Vroom is the fifth of the family of four sons and three daughters born to her parents, of whom only one, the youngest son, is deceased; all the others, except Mrs. Vroom, still live in Michigan.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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