Lee County

Lee County Illinois

Biography of Samuel A. Bender

Samuel A. Bender, a dedicated farmer in Nachusa Township since 1874 and a Lee County resident since 1861, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, in 1843. Descended from German immigrants, Samuel’s life reflects a rich heritage of hard work and perseverance, evident in his successful farming endeavors. A Civil War veteran, he served with distinction in the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry, participating in several key battles. Samuel’s life journey from Pennsylvania to Illinois, his contributions to agriculture, and his service to the nation exemplify a steadfast commitment to his community and country. Married twice, his family and faith remain central to his life, embodying the spirit of resilience and community values.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Merritt Miller

Merritt Miller, a distinguished figure in Lee County, has made his mark both as a successful farmer and a reputable business owner in the grain and agricultural implements sector with Miller & Emmett. Born in Pennsylvania in 1842, Miller’s journey from a dedicated soldier in the Civil War to a prosperous entrepreneur and farmer showcases his diverse capabilities and unwavering work ethic. His farm, a testament to his agricultural expertise, alongside his significant contributions to the community and his country, underline a life of service, dedication, and success. Married to Carrie Norton, Miller’s life is also marked by his active engagement in various organizations, reflecting his commitment to service and community involvement.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of John L. Geiger

John L. Geiger, a notable figure in the agricultural development of Nelson Township, Lee County, has transformed his 280-acre farm into a testament to diligent farming and innovation. Born in Pennsylvania in 1826 into a Lutheran family with Dutch heritage, Geiger moved to Illinois in 1853, embracing the pioneering spirit of the era. Through hard work and strategic land management, he has not only enhanced his farm’s productivity but also amassed significant wealth, including property in Dixon. Married to Anna Gregory, the couple’s life is enriched by three children, embodying the values of family, faith, and community contribution.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of William Burd

William Burd, a distinguished figure in Lee County’s agricultural community, has significantly contributed to transforming the region’s landscape since settling nearly four decades ago. Born in 1827 in West Virginia, Burd embarked on a journey to Illinois in 1852, navigating through untamed wilderness to establish his farm. His diligent efforts have culminated in a well-equipped and flourishing farm, testament to his hard work and agricultural acumen. Married to Mary Frances Thompson since 1867, their partnership has furthered the farm’s success, producing a legacy of prosperity and three children. Burd’s life story is a testament to perseverance, embodying the essence of the self-made American farmer.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Elijah Walker

Elijah Walker, a respected farmer in Nelson Township, epitomizes dedication and skill in agriculture. Born in Pennsylvania in 1832 into a family with deep farming roots, he has cultivated a flourishing 240-acre farm in Illinois, showcasing his adeptness in modern farming practices. Married to Joanna Frickey, with three children, Elijah’s life is a blend of hard work, family values, and community service, including roles such as Township Assessor. His commitment to agriculture and the well-being of his community marks him as a pillar of his township, continuing the legacy of his ancestors with integrity and perseverance.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Peter Kreiter

Peter Kreiter’s journey from the Rhine in Germany to becoming a prominent citizen and successful farmer in Amboy Township, Illinois, is a testament to the virtues of patience and perseverance. Born in 1824, he migrated to America in 1847, honing his skills as a machinist before settling in Lee County. While his professional focus remained on machinist work, his sons have taken up the mantle of farming on their 175-acre property, showcasing the Kreiter legacy of diligence and success. Married to Augusta Wenzel, the couple’s life together has been enriched by their eight children, with the family maintaining a significant presence in both the agricultural and milling industries of their community.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of George S. and Elliott S. McCleary

George S. and Elliott S. McCleary, Pennsylvania natives, have become key figures in Nelson Township as dairy farmers. Since their arrival in 1865, they’ve developed their farms into thriving businesses, focusing on quality cattle and dairy production. George’s 138-acre farm and Elliott’s adjoining property showcase their commitment to modern farming practices and community contribution. The brothers’ journey from Pennsylvania, influenced by their Scottish-Irish heritage and family’s pioneering spirit, reflects a legacy of hard work and dedication to agriculture. Their successful ventures in dairy farming underscore their significant role in the local agricultural community.

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Lee County Illinois

Biography of Ira S. Smith

Ira S. Smith, an industrious farmer in Amboy Township, showcases his commitment to agriculture on a 163-acre farm rich with improvements and thriving under his management. Born in New Hampshire in 1829, Smith’s journey from a grocery clerk in Boston to a gold miner in California, and finally to Illinois, reflects a life of diverse experiences. Overcoming a severe accident, he ventured into farming, meat marketing, and even served as City Marshal before settling in Lee County in 1896. Married to Elizabeth Pearl, the couple has two children. Smith’s contributions extend beyond farming; he’s been active in local politics, education, and the Masonic fraternity, embodying the spirit of community service and resilience.

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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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Abijah Powers Residence

Biography of Hon. Abijah Powers

Hon. Abijah Powers, a respected figure in Palmyra Township, passed away in 1891, leaving behind a legacy of dedication and community service. Arriving in Lee County in 1838 with just $5, Powers transformed his life through hard work, eventually owning extensive farmlands. A descendant of a family with historical significance, including Hiram Powers the sculptor, Abijah was deeply involved in politics as a Republican, served as Town Supervisor, and represented his district in the Illinois General Assembly. Known for his genial nature and commitment to the Congregational Church, Powers’ life story is a testament to perseverance, community contribution, and moral integrity.

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