Lee County

Lee County Illinois

Biography of William W. Heckman

William W. Heckman, born on July 28, 1854, in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, was a progressive farmer who managed 160 acres of well-cultivated land across South Dixon and Nelson Townships, Illinois. He moved to Illinois in 1865 with his uncle and established his homestead in 1877. Heckman married Hannah Missman of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and they had three children: Grace A., C. Eugene, and Walter I. The couple, active members of the Evangelical Church, supported the Prohibition party and advocated for temperance. Their well-improved farm included advanced irrigation facilities, reflecting Heckman’s dedication to modern farming practices.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Joshua E. Lahman

Joshua E. Lahman, born June 16, 1839, in Washington County, Maryland, was a distinguished Civil War veteran and successful farmer in Franklin Grove, Illinois. His parents, Christian and Elizabeth Lahman, were early pioneers in Illinois. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lahman enlisted in September 1861 with Company C, Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro and also fought at Shiloh. Post-war, Lahman learned harness-making and operated a business in Iowa before returning to farming in Illinois. Married to Hannah M. Batschlett in 1867, they had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Lahman expanded his farm to 240 acres and was an active Republican and member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Samuel Mong

Samuel Mong, born on July 26, 1829, in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, was a prominent farmer in Bradford Township, Lee County, Illinois. He was the son of Henry and Sarah (Hurket) Mong, natives of Maryland and Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Mong spent his early years in Clarion County, gaining practical agricultural knowledge from his father. At sixteen, he learned the tanning trade, which he practiced for seven years. In 1855, he moved to Lee County, Illinois, and married Margaret K. Kelley in 1857. They had five children: John, Lucy (wife of Haber Schmucker), Hattie (wife of William Schrenner), George, and Peter. Mong’s industrious efforts resulted in a well-maintained 110-acre farm in Bradford Township. He was a dedicated Democrat, serving as School Director, and a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Despite his successes, he faced challenges, including the loss of his barn to lightning in 1890.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Hon. Sherwood Dixon

Hon. Sherwood Dixon, born November 15, 1847, in Dixon, Illinois, was a prominent lawyer and legislator representing the Nineteenth District. He was the son of James P. Dixon, an early pioneer and son of John Dixon, the city’s founder. Educated locally, Dixon studied law under William Barge and was admitted to the bar in 1869. He practiced law in partnerships, notably with the firm of Dixon & Bethea. In 1868, he married Melissa G. Mead. Dixon was active in politics as a Democrat, serving as a state representative and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was also committed to education, serving on the local School Board for several years.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Andrew Reinhart

Andrew Reinhart, born on August 28, 1813, in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, was a prominent farmer and stock-raiser in China Township, Lee County, Illinois. His parents, Christian and Anna C. Reinhart, emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1846, settling in Lee Centre before moving to China Township. Andrew, who grew up on the family farm, transformed it into a prosperous estate of 366 acres, expanding his holdings to 620 acres in China Township, 160 acres in Lee Centre Township, and 440 acres in Iowa. Married to Catherine Hafenrichter on June 1, 1868, they had six surviving children. Reinhart was known for his business acumen, community involvement, and support of the Evangelical Church and Republican principles.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Rev. James Treacy

Rev. James Treacy, born in County Cork, Ireland, was a prominent Catholic pastor in Illinois. Son of John and Bridget Treacy, he pursued early education in Cork and later theological studies in the United States, at St. Michael’s Seminary, Pittsburgh, and St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore. Ordained by Archbishop Kendrick, he served in Pittsburgh, championing education and religious inclusion for African Americans. In 1878, due to health issues, he moved to Illinois, eventually leading St. Patrick’s Church in Dixon. His tenure saw the rebuilding of the church and extensive community engagement, serving 300 families and various missions.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Henry Bly

Henry Bly, born July 9, 1827, in Chenango County, New York, serves as Superintendent of the County Hospital and Poor Farm in South Dixon Township, Illinois. Of English descent, he is the son of Thomas R. Bly and Nancy Tanner. In 1845, Henry moved to Ogle County, Illinois, and later ventured to California during the Gold Rush, returning in 1851. A prominent public figure and Republican, he settled in Ashton, Illinois, in 1865, managing a grocery and meat market, and served on the Lee County Board of Supervisors for 21 years. In 1887, Henry became Superintendent of the County Hospital and Poor Farm, enhancing its reputation. He is married to Anna J. Wood, with whom he has five surviving children. Anna, a native of Canada, supports his work and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Thomas P. McCune

Thomas P. McCune, born in Canal Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania, in 1832, is a dedicated farmer in Dixon Township, Illinois. Descended from Scotch-Irish roots, his grandfather, William McCune, and father, also named William, were farmers in Venango County. Thomas married Lydia J. Williams in 1858, and they settled in Dixon Township, Illinois, on land initially purchased by Lydia’s father. They had six children, with four surviving to adulthood. A respected community member, Thomas’s 183-acre farm was well-maintained, featuring diverse agricultural activities, including a successful apiary. He was a Democrat, focused on his business rather than political affairs. Thomas P. McCune,

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips, a distinguished citizen of Lee County, Illinois, was born in County Cavan, Ireland. He emigrated to the United States, landing in New York in July 1851, before moving to Illinois. In 1857, he purchased and developed an 80-acre farm in Viola Township, which he expanded to 160 acres. Phillips married Amelia E. Davenport in 1859, with whom he had two children. After her death, he married Mary E. Harris in 1886. An abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor, Phillips was a committed Republican, casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of David B. Senger

David B. Senger, born near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, on July 8, 1849, is a prominent businessman in Franklin Grove, Illinois, known for manufacturing “Dr. Wrightsman’s Sovereign Balm of Life.” His parents, Daniel and Elizabeth (Bayer) Senger, relocated to Iowa in 1865. David, the eldest of four children, received his education in Iowa and initially worked as a shoemaker and teacher before moving to Illinois in 1873. He bought the Franklin Reporter in 1876 and later focused on medicine manufacturing, establishing a successful business. Married to Susan Buck in 1875, they have three children and are active members of the German Baptist Church.

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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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Lee County Illinois

Biography of George W. Hill

George W. Hill, Postmaster at Harmon, is a distinguished figure in his town’s public and political sphere and a successful merchant, originating from Fall River, Massachusetts. Born to George and Margaret Hill in 1848, he overcame the early death of his mother at less than three years old. Hill moved away at 12, worked various jobs including mining and carpentry, and established his general merchandise business in 1877. He self-educated in evening schools and accumulated substantial property through his business endeavors. Married to Gula Elma Porter, they have six children. An active Republican, Hill has held several public offices, including Postmaster during multiple administrations. Mrs. Hill is a Methodist Episcopal Church member, while Hill is not affiliated with any religious or secret organizations.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Charles A. Becker

Charles A. Becker was a pioneering settler in Palmyra Township, arriving in 1839 and remaining until his passing in 1859. Born in 1810 in Prussia, Charles fled compulsory military service and immigrated to the United States, where he practiced as a jeweler and clock-maker. Married to Mary Kessler, he ultimately settled in Lee County with her. Charles was an enterprising jeweler and the first in his trade west of Chicago, establishing a thriving farm which his widow later expanded. The Beckers were a well-regarded family in their community; many of their children married and settled nearby, contributing variously as farmers, soldiers, and professionals.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of John Shank

John Shank, originally from Pennsylvania, is a retired, successful landowner residing in Nachusa, Illinois. Born in 1835, he’s part of a German-origin family, with ancestors who settled early in the U.S. His grandparents, devout Mennonites, had an extensive family, and his parents lived as farmers in Lebanon County, where John was also raised. Married to Malinda Grove, the couple moved to Illinois in 1867 after starting their family in Pennsylvania. They raised five children, maintaining a close-knit family unit. A diligent farmer, John acquired significant land—830 acres across three townships, including in Iowa. Respected for his industry and integrity, Shank is a committed Republican, historically involved in local politics.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Charles F. Preston

Charles F. Preston, a notable lawyer and President of the Village Board of Trustees of Paw Paw, has significantly contributed to the development of his community. Born in 1860 in Marion Township to James H. Preston, editor of the Amboy News, and Nancy A. Maydole, Charles pursued a solid education that included attending the State Normal School and studying law at Wesleyan Law School. After teaching for two years, he was admitted to the bar in 1882 and quickly established a successful law practice. He married Ida A. Henderschott in 1886, and they have two children. Appointed Postmaster by President Cleveland, Preston also excels in civic duties and is a central figure in local politics, advocating for the growth and betterment of Paw Paw and its county.

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Col Alex P Dysart

Biography of Col. Alex. P. Dysart

Col. Alex. P. Dysart, a respected military officer and legislator, has made significant contributions to his community in Illinois. Born in Pennsylvania in 1826 to a family with noteworthy ancestors, Dysart relocated to Illinois in 1845 and became an accomplished agriculturist and stock-raiser. Holding various local offices, he was also a Civil War volunteer and was honorably discharged as a Colonel. Dysart served two terms in the General Assembly, where he was influential in agricultural policy. Widely known for his integrity in both public and private life, he had a distinguished military career and is recognized for his leadership and service. Dysart, a widower with six living children, resides in Nachusa Township, where he has created a beautiful home noted for its lush grove.

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