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.
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.
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.
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.
George F. Stainbrook, serving as Lee County Sheriff, epitomizes the drive and determination of a successful young man from Dixon. Born in the county in 1858, he descends from a Pennsylvania Dutch lineage with roots stretching back to a German immigrant and a Revolutionary War hero. George’s life, deeply intertwined with farming, shifted towards law enforcement when he became Deputy Sheriff, leading to his election as Sheriff in 1890. Recognized for his youth and efficacy, George, alongside his wife Anna B. Mulkins, an accomplished artist, contributes to the community while adhering to Republican principles and participating in various civic organizations.
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.
Thomas J. Buckaloo is a respected farmer in Dixon Township, managing 141 acres inherited from his pioneering family. Born in 1842 into a family with Dutch and Irish roots, Thomas has dedicated his life to agriculture, except for a brief stint as a carpenter. His marriage to Maggie A. Craddock, whose family brought milling innovation to Ogle County, Illinois, has produced five children, with some following in their father’s educational footsteps. Valued for their integrity, the Buckaloos are well-regarded in their community. Politically a Republican, Thomas focuses on his farm, boasting quality livestock and fruitful lands, embodying the success of hard work and heritage.
Grand Army of the Republic Potter Post No. 12 was the name given the DeKalb County branch of an organization of survivors of the Civil War.
“Stephen French and Family” by Mrs. J.E. Merritt, 1906, is a historical account of the French family’s early pioneering days in Prince’s Grove, Illinois. The story chronicles the challenges faced by Stephen and Anna French as they settled in the area and the hardships they endured, including sickness, wolves, and encounters with wild Indians. The French family’s legacy is also highlighted, with emphasis on their hospitable and kind-hearted nature towards all, as well as their tragic losses, including the death of Captain John French during the Civil War. The article provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the early settlers of Prince’s Grove.
James R. Cottle, Princeton, was born February 26, 1835, in Singapore, East India. His father, Richard Cottle, is a native of England, and yet resides in Bristol. In early life he was a carriage trimmer, but is now Government Inspector of the Great Western Railroad. James R. Cottle, Sr. the father of Richard Cottle, was a gentleman of leisure; he was formerly a Government Collector. The mother of our subject was Eliza (Betterridge) Cottle, a native of Thatchan, Berkshire, England. She died in Bristol. She was the mother of nine children, of whom six are now living, but none in