"C" SURNAME
BIOGRAPHIES




C.M. CALDWELL

C.M. Caldwell is proprietor of a livery, feed and sale stable of Decatur. He began business in this city in 1870, and for fifteen years has occupied his present location. His stable covers 100x80 feet, and the barn and its contents are valued at about $25,000. He keeps on hand twenty-five horses and a fine line of buggies and carrieages; in fact, everything found in a first-class livery stable. From the public he receives a liberal patronage, which is justly merited.

The life record of Mr. Caldwell is as follows: He was born in Sandusky, Ohio, on the 10th of September, 1840, and during five years of his boyhood resided in Alma, Ohio. From a very early age he has made his own way in the world.

When a lad of ten he began driving a stage from Flint to Saginaw, Mich. His father had located in the latter place when the Indians were paid at that point. Throughout nearly his entire life out subject has been engaged in dealing in horses. For thirty-six years he has been engaged in the livery business, embarking in that enterprise in Saginaw, Mich., soon after the town was started. He afterward followed the same pursuit in Fentonville, Mich., and in 1864 located in Griggsville, Ill. At that place he engaged in breaking horses, which he sold to proprietors of circuses. There he remained until 1870, when he came to Decatur, as before stated. His brother, F.B. Caldwell, was in partnership with him during his residence in Griggsville, and the connection was continued in Decatur until 1883. He is now engaged as a dealer in carriages in Chicago.

In Griggsville, Ill., on the 2d of September, 1868, Mr. Caldwell was married, the lady of his choice being Miss L. Nettie White. She is a native of Massachusetts, but in her maidenhood went to Griggsville, where she remained until after her marriage. Their union has been blessed by the birth of a daughter, Eva Eliza.

In connection with his other business interests, Mr. Caldwell was also engaged in breeding thoroughbred "Wilkes" horses. He owns a farm of one hundred and twenty-four acres, five miles southwest of Decatur, where he has a fine "Wilkes" stallion and a number of standard-bred mares. He is an excellent judge of horses and a lover of the noble steed. He has not only sold many horses in the home market, but has shipped to various points. He was one of the incorporators of the Trotting association, and continued his membership with the same until 1892.

In his social relations Mr. Caldwell is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in politics is a stanch Republican. He takes and active interest in political affairs and always keeps well informed on the issues of the day. He is now serving as Township Commissioner, a position he has filled for fifteen years with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He and two other members of the Board have entire charge of all the roads and expend about $15,000 each year on improvements in this line. In connection with D.A. Maffett and C. Amman, he laid out and platted Maffett's Addition to Decatur. He has also handles considerable and progressive man and takes a deep interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the city and its upbuilding.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon County, IL, 1893, p. 252-253

Top of Page



Nathan A. CARR

Mr. Carr represents one of the oldest families in this state. His great-grandfather, Joseph Carr, was a revolutionary soldier, a native Virginian, and settled in the vicinity of Kaskaskia about the year 1797, at which time Henry Carr, his grandfather, was about nine years old. When he grew to manhood he became connected with the ranger service, and was some time under General Whitesides, and it would require a volume to properly relate his adventures and the various perils and battles with the "wily foe."

The family moved at a later period near the present site of Belleville, where George W., Mr. Carr's father was born, in the year 1814. He was married, in St. Clair county, to Miss Tersea Garner, when twenty-two years old, by whom he raised five smokehouses SA., George WA.LA., James GA., Henry A., and Nathan A., and one daughter, Mary B., the wife of Robert Woods, of Cassia county, Missouri. James and Henry are now at Laudability, Colorado, and Matthew, an MA.DAW. is still in St. Clair county, where our subject was born, March 29th, 1838.

He was raised to the life of a farmer and stagecoaches, and was married in his native county to Melissa Rottenest in 1860. He came to this county with his father, in 1865, and bought an adjoining farm, on which he still resides. His real estate possessions now include the old homestead of his parents, which makes a tract of four hundred acres, a property handsomely and suitably improved for the purpose of general agriculture and the stock trade, in which its owner has been more or less employed ever since he settled in the county.

He has done considerable tallyings fact well tiled, and his experience is, that it is one of the best investments which he has ever made as an aid to the interests of production and the supply of stock water yielded. It is not only beneficial as a drainage, but it is equally advantageous to the more elevated land as a fertilizer. By it the air is allowed to circulate and penetrate the soil, which both mellows and fertilizes.

He has a family of eight childlessness sons and two daughterliness promising, and enjoying the advantages which wealth brings in educating them as they grow up for honorable and responsible positions in life.

In politics, Mr. Carr is a democrat, as have been all his predecessors from his illustrious great-grandfather, who aided in establishing the independence of the American people, his grandfather, who helped to lay the social foundation of Illinois, his father, a venerable pioneer, in whose knowledge and history a wilderness was converted into fruitful fields, and a territory to a state ranking now the third in the Union.

With such antecedents and with such examples it is no marvel that Mr. Carr stands in the same line of political faith. His sentiments, though not a simple inheritance, are the result of sober reflection, careful study, and a comparison of the effects of different national administrations on the material and social well-being of the country at large, as well as an analysis of various platforms, and these tested by the principles embodied in the federal constitution itself.

Socially, Mr. C. is generous, frank, and always ready with his means to aid in every good work, and takes an active interest in all matters affecting his township and the county.

History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p. 211/2


Top of Page



Dr. Robert F. CARR

Is the eldest in a family of six children. He was born in Sussex county, New Jersey, May 13th, 1832. The Carr family are of English ancestry on the paternal side, and Irish on the maternal. David Carr, the father, was also a native of the same state, and lived and died upon the place where he was born and raised. He was a farmer by occupation. He died in 1865. He married Elizabeth Ferrier. She was born in Orange county, New York. She died in 1879. By a former marriage, Mr. Carr had two children. There were born to Daniel and Elizabeth Car six children, three sons and three daughters, all of whom have survived the parents.

The subject of this sketch, while yet in his youth, met with an accident which had the effect of rendering him a cripple for life. Not being able to perform physical labor, owing to his crippled condition, he was forced to adopt some profession. He chose that of medicine. While at school he received sufficient education to fit him for teaching, and with money earned in this way, he managed to enter the academy at Goshen, New York, and there improved his education. While there he also read the standard text books on medicine, and in 1853, he entered the Albany Medical College, at Albany, New York, and took three courses, and graduated from that institution in 1855, with the degree of M.D. In the spring of 1856, he came West to Illinois, and commenced the practice of his profession in Friend's Creek township, Macon county, and continued here with great success until 1866, when he removed to Decatur, the county seat. He remained there in the practice for three years, when he returned to Friend's Creek, where he has continued to the present. After his return here the second time, he added a stock of drugs, and a general line of goods. Dr. Carr belongs to the regular school of medicine, and is progressive, and keeps fully abreast with the times and new discoveries in the healing art.

On the 8th of April, 1858, he was united in marriage to Miss Emily Smyck. She is a native of Macon county, Illinois. Her parents were originally from Kentucky. Seven children have been the fruits of the union--four boys and three girls--all of them yet beneath the parental roof. Politically the Doctor is a member of the democratic party. His first presidential vote was cast for Stephen A. Douglas, in 1860. He has been an ardent supporter of the party ever since. He is not a member of any church organization, nor does he subscribe to any of its formulated creeds, but believes in doing to others as he would have others do unto him, and believes that in that is contained the genuineness of true religion. The life of the subject of this sketch presents another evidence of the value of pluck and will-power. He started in life under adverse circumstances, with no money or influential friends to help him up and over the rugged places in the race of life; handicapped with physical infirmities, and distressed with financial troubles, owning money for his medical tuition. Under these circumstances he came West, and started in the business of his life. He has been successful, not in the accumulation of great riches, but in obtaining sufficient of this world's goods to render him comfortable in his declining years. His success is due to his industry, economy, and indomitable will-power. Among his neighbors and friends who have known him for a quarter of a century, all accord him the reputation of a good physician and an upright citizen.

History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p.201/2


Top of Page



John William CARTER

Whether the elements of success in life are innate attributes of the individual or whether they are quickened by a process of circumstantial development it is impossible to clearly determine. Yet the study of a successful life is none the less profitable by reason of the existence of this uncertainty, and in the majority of cases it is found that exceptional ability supplemented by close application and earnest purpose, forms the real secret of success which so many have envied. This is certainly true of James W. Carter, who is now cashier and office manager of the Decatur Coal Company and also is connected with other important interests here. Mr. Carter is a native son of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Sullivan, Moultrie county, on the 5th of June, 1861. His parents were Charles A. and Polly Ann (Waggoner) Carter, who were also natives of Moultrie county. The paternal grandfather of our subject was James K. Carter, a native of Culpeper, Virginia, who in early life removed to Moultrie county, becoming identified with its agricultural interests. There he spent some time but finally removed to Decatur, where he lived until his death, in 1874, when he had reached the venerable age of eighty years. His political support was given to the Whig party and he was a leading and influential resident of the community in which he long made his home. His wife belonged to an old Kentucky family. They had three sons, Charles A.; James W. and Henry H.; and five daughters: Nancy A., Emeline, Frances, Mary and Martha.

Charles A. Carter, the father of our subject, was born at the old homestead in Moultrie county and reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life there. After attaining his majority he was for some years engaged in the hardware business in Sullivan and in 1863 he removed to Decatur, where he continued in the same line of trade for a number of years. He then left Illinois for the far west, settling in Fresno, California, in 1880. There he still makes his home. His political support is given to the Republican party and the qualities of his manhood are such as command for him the respect and admiration of those with whom he is brought in contact. In early manhood he wedded Miss Polly Ann Waggoner, who was born in Moultrie county, but her people came to Illinois from North Carolina.

To the public school system of Decatur James W. Carter is indebted for the educational privileges he enjoyed. He entered upon his business career in connection with the hardware trade, having charge of his father's store during the latter's illness, covering a period of five and a half years. He showed excellent business ability in taking up this work and controlling the affairs of the enterprise. In 1878 he entered the employ of Overmeyer & Kaufman, who were engaged in the fire insurance business. For several months Mr. Carter was also bookkeeper for Peter Loeb, a well known foundryman, and for three years was bookkeeper in the Union Iron Works. He afterward again spent six months in the service of Mr. Loeb and then became bookkeeper in the Chicago agricultural implement house of George D. Haworth. Again coming to Decatur he accepted the position of bookkeeper for P.Z. Taylor in the linseed oil mill, where he remained for eighteen months, and in 1885 he invested his capital in the Decatur Coal Company, of which he has since been the cashier and office manager. He is also the secretary of the Decatur Milling Company and is director in the Savings and & Building Association, with which he has been associated in this manner since 1891. He has also had charge of his father's business interests in Illinois during the latter's residence in California. A man of keen insight he readily comprehends business situations and utilizes the means at hand to the best advantage.

On the 28th of June, 1882, Mr. Carter married Miss Idora J. Patterson, a daughter of William F. and Melinda (Travis) Patterson. Their children are Ralph M., who is now a student in the medical department of the State University at Champaign, Illinois; Neil T., who died at the age of two years and eight months; and Alma Lois, at home.

Mr. Carter is a popular and exemplary representative of various fraternal organizations. He belongs to Chevalier Bayard Lodge, No. 189, K.P.; W.C. Roe Camp, No. 7201, M.W.A.; and in November, 1890, was made a Mason in Decatur, joining Macon Lodge, No. 8, A.F. & A.M., of which he is a past master. He has also taken the Royal Arch degree, belongs to Decatur Council, No. 16, R.& S.M., and to Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, K.T. He is true and loyal to the teachings of the craft and in his life exemplifies the beneficent spirit. He belongs to the First Baptist church of Decatur, in which he is now serving as deacon. His loyalty to the best interests of the community has been manifested in many ways. He is a public spirited and progressive citizen and his labors have advanced the material progress and prosperity, the intellectual development and the moral advancement of Decatur.

Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois (1903), pg. 185-186

James William Carter, general manager of the Decatur Coal Company and prominently identified with the political and social life of the city, was born at Sullivan, Moultrie county, Illinois, June 5, 1861. He is a son of Charles A. and Polly Ann (Waggoner) Carter, who were both natives of Illinois. The parents came to Decatur in 1863, where the father engaged for a number of years in the hardware business. In 1890 he moved to Fresno, California, and remained there until his death, which occurred December 4, 1907. The mother and one daughter, Mrs. Nellie M. Severns, are still living at Fresno.

The subject of this review received his education in the public schools of Decatur and after laying his books aside became clerk in a hardware store, continuing for about a year, then engaging as clerk and bookkeeper for Overmeyer & Kaufman, dealers in real estate. He next took charge of the Peter Loeb Foundry Company and then was with the Union Iron Works, but after three years with the latter firm returned to the foundry company, with which he remained for nine months. We next find him for about a year in Chicago with George D. Haworth, manufacturer of corn planters. However, our subject was again attracted to his old home and he accepted a position with B.Z. Taylor in the oil mill business, but after sixteen months resigned and in 1885 became identified as bookkeeper with the Decatur Coal Company. In this business he showed special aptitude and after an experience of eight years he purchased stock in the company and was made vice president, later being elected secretary and treasurer and then general manager, which position he now holds, assisting in an important degree in developing the business of the company.

For many years Mr. Carter has been actively interested in political affairs. In 1895 he was elected alderman of the seventh ward and served for one term, filling the chairmanship of the water and light committee and discharging his duties with a fidelity that met the approval of citizens of all political parties. In 1904 he was appointed a member of the board of fire commissioners by Mayor George W. lehman and served in that position for two years. His ability was further recognized in 1907, when he was elected city treasurer for a term of two years, and in that responsible position he made many new friends as a safe guardian of the city's finances and a public official with whom it was a pleasure to transact business.

On June 28, 1882, Mr. Carter was united in marraige to Miss Idora J. Patterson, of Decatur. Three children have blessed the union; Ralph M., now a practicing physician of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Alma Lois; and Neil T., who died June 23, 1896, at two and one-half years of age.

Mr. Carter is actively identified with fraternal organizations and has been a member of Chevalier Bayard Lodge, No. 189, Knights Pythias, since January 15, 1889. He has filled all the chairs in this lodge and was chairman of the local committee that secured the Pythian Home for Decatur. He is also a member of the state board that has charge of this home, which is one of the beneficent state institutions in which all Pythians of the city are interested. He is a leading member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Macon Lodge, No. 8, and Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, and is past commander of the latter organization. He also holds membership in the Modern Woodmen of America and is a deacon of the First Baptist church of this city. A man of exceptional qualities, Mr. Carter has many warm personal friends and he is recognized as a strong factor in political, religious and fraternal circles of the city. Whatever his hand or brain finds to do he does excellently, and few men in central Illinois have ever gained a higher position in the estimation of the people than the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this review.

City of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois, by the HON. William E. Nelson, Editor, Vol., II, Pioneer Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1910, pg. 12-13


Top of Page



          
Lewis B. & Mary E. CASNER

Both the paternal and maternal ancestors of the Casner family were Germans. Mathias Casner, the paternal grandfather came from Germany, and settled in Cumberland county, Pa. Peter Casner was born in that county, November 17th, 1801. He came west to Ohio with his father in 1811, and remained there until 1831, or until he was thirty years of age, when he removed to Mercer county, Illinois, and remained there four years, and then came to Macon county, Illinois, and settled in Long Creek township, where he entered three hundred and twenty acres of land, in section 31, T. 16, R. 4 E. He remained in the township until his death, which occurred October 25th, 1851, while on a visit to his daughter in Mercer county. He married Annah Holderman. She was born October 31st, 1803. She died April 3d, 1865. The Holderman family moved from Kentucky to Ohio in 1817, and settled in Pickaway county. There were five children born to Peter and Annah Casner--four sons and one daughter. Their names are Jemima, wife of Jacob Bear; George W., who met his death accidentally, July 11th, 1879; Christopher, a resident of Piatt county, and L.B. Casner; Hanson, the youngest of the family, died at the age of twenty-two years. Lewis B. was born in Pickaway county, Ohio, August 30th, 1830. He remained with his father until he was twenty-two years of age, when he started in life for himself. He made his first purchase of land (80 acres), in 1853. It was in section 5, T. 15, R. 4 E. On the 22d of September, 1853, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Flaningam. She was born August 10th, 1830, in Montgomery county, Indiana. Her parents, Samuel and Eleanor Flaningam, came to Indiana from Ross county, Ohio. There have been eight children born to L.B. and Mary E. Casner. Four of whom are living. Their names are Cordelia, wife of James H. Wykoff, Idola, John and Ermina. Ellen died in her fifth year, and Oliver in his twenty-fifth year. The latter was married to Lolo Chapman. He left one child named Oliver Casner. Both Mr. and Mrs. Casner are members of the United Brethren Church. Politically, he is a republican. He is an active and ardent supporter of the cause of Temperance. His business through life has been that of a farmer and stock-raiser, particularly the latter. Few men in the county have been more successful than Mr. C. He is full of push and energy, and always active in whatever he undertakes to do. He is one of the representative and influential farmers of Macon county.

History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p. 181


Lewis B. Casner is connected with many of the leading industries od Decatur, is a stockholder in several of its banks, and is prominent in many other business interests of this thriving city of Illinois. The enterprise, ambition and industry of such men as our subject have made Decatur what it is to-day. His name is therefore inseparably connected with its upbuilding, and with pleasure we present this record of his life to our readers. Mr. Casner was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, August 30, 1830, and is a son of Peter and Annie (Holderman) Casner. The father was a native of Pennsylvania, but when a lad of fifteen became a resident of Ohio. In 1841 he located in Mercer County, Ill., accompanied by his family, and four years later came to Macon County, settling in Long Creek Townshiop nine miles southeast of Decatur. There the mother died. Mr. Casner improved the large farm and died in his fiftieth year. In the family were five children. George, who died about 1879, was a farmer of Long Creek Township; Christopher, a farmer of the same township, died in 1881; Jemima is the widow of Jacob Bear, of Pickaway County, Ohio, and now lives in New Boston, Ill.; Hanson was married, and died in 1852, leaving a daughter, Ella, now the wife of M.L. Dick, of Decatur.

The subject of this sketch was sixteen years of age when he came to this county, and he remained with his mother until a young man of twenty-two. At that age he embarked in farming for himself on a part of the old homestead, where he remained until 1891. His father had entered the land from the Government and our subject still owns a part of it. At one time Mr. Casner had two thousand acres all in one body, and for years he was extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising. He bred fine stock, and was one of the first to introduce Shorthorn cattle into this county. At the age of twenty-two he had only one hundred and twenty acres of land, so his entire possessions have been acquired since that time, and through his own efforts.

Mr. Casner was married September 22, 1853, to Miss Mary Eleanor Flanigan, who was born in Montgomery County, Ind. They became the parents of four children: Oliver, who died in 1890, at the age of twenty-two; Cordelia, wife of James Wykoff, a farmer of this county; Idola, wife of Dr. John A. Dawson, who is living in Decatur; and Ermina, wife of A.B. Chapman, of Casner. Mrs. Casner's mother bore the maiden name of Eleanor Abernathy, and was born in Virginia. She spent the last winter with Mrs. Casner, but makes her home with her daughter in Crawfordville, Ill. She has now reached the advanced aged of ninety-one years.

As before stated, probably no man in the county has done more for its upbuilding and the promotion of its business interests than our subject. He was influential in securing the Indianapolis, Decatur & Western Railroad, which crosses his farm, and he laid out the town of Casner as a shipping point. There he erected a store, which he carried on for seven years, or until his removal to the city. In 1891 he came to Decatur. Some six years previous, as a member of the firm of Gorin, Dawson & Co., he had established a bank, which in 1891 was incorporated under the name of the Citizens' National Bank. he was one of the incorporators, became Director and Vice-President, and in January, 1892, was elected President. He is also a stockholder in the Decatur Brick and Tile Company, of which he was one of the incorporators, and was its first and is its present President. J.G. Shea, of Danville, is its manager, and O.C. Stafford is in direct charge of the business. The capital stock of the company is $30,000. Mr. Casner was also one of the incorporators and first President of the the Danville Brick and Tile Company, which has a capital stock of $75,000 and a capacity of one hundred thousand bricks per day. He is also its President at this writing. The Decatur company has a capacity of fifty thousand brick per day. Of the Leader Manufacturing Company of Decatur he is also a Director. Their plant manufactures brick-making machinery. Mr. Casner is also President of the Farmers' Bank of Decatur, a private bank that opened its doors for business July 22, 1893, and he was one of its leading promoters. A man of keen judjment, deliberate and careful, yet progressive, posessing enterprise and energy. Mr. Casner has proved one of the leading and influential business men of this city, and his industry and fertile resources have not only benefited himself, but have proved of incalculable benefit to the city as well. His straightforward and honorable dealings have made his word as good as his bond, and his honorable career has won him high regard. In politics, in his early life he was a Whig, but in 1856 joined the Republican party, which he long supported. He now, however, votes with the Prohibition party.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon County, IL, 1893, p. 251-252

Top of Page



Berry H. CASSELL

Berry H. Cassell, a retired merchant of Decatur, who is well known as the owner of Cassell Castle, his magnificent home which he erected in 1886, was born in Dauphin County, Pa., Mary 22, 1823, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Leidig) Cassell, who were also born in the Keystone State. In 1839, they emigrated Westward, locating in Putnam County, Ill., where the mother died at the age of sixty-six years, and the father in the eighty-second year of his age. Our subject remained in Pennsylvania until 1838, when in his sixteenth year, he came to Illinois, joining his brothers, Augustus, Joseph and Christian, in Putnam County. His brother Henry is now living two miles east of Decatur. Michael L. makes his home in the city; and John is living in Niantic. His sister, Mrs. Esther Albert, makes her home with our subject.

Berry H. Cassell spent about a year in Putnam County, and in the summer of 1839 returned to Pennsylvania, but in the succeeding autumn he again came to Illinois, this time being accompanied by his parents and their family. They made the journey by water to Louisville, Ky., and thence in a one-horse wagon to their destination. So severe was the weather that our subject froze his feet. About the 20th of November they reached Decatur, then a place of about three hundred inhabitants, whence word was sent to the brother in Putnam County, who came and took the parents home with him. Berry was rather inclined to stay, and did so. Capt. David L. Allen and Col. Leonard Ashton, the former a land-owner and the latter a stage driver, took a great interest in him and offered to secure him a position. Berry had learned the tinner's trade, and they induced him to set up shop in Decatur. His mother had given him $1.25, so he opened a tin shop, securing a set of tools of an old man who had a tinker's outfit. His shop was in the basement under the store of Peddecord Bros. & Co., and having secured a small box of tin plate he began business about the middle of January. By the 1st of July he had saved $75, and in 1842 he was enabled to purchase a complete outfit. He carried on business successfully for ten years longer. In 1846, by the assistance of Peddecord & Prather, he secured a stock of the first stoves ever brought to the county. These were soon sold out, and to purchase his second stock Mr. Cassell went to St. Louis. His goods were brought to Decatur by farmers who traded in that city. There was little money in circulation in this community at that day, so Mr. Cassell accepted produce for his goods, and this he traded for hardware in St. Louis.

In 1852, our subject formed a partnership with Henry Prather, and did business under the firm name of Prather & Cassell, carrying an extensive stock of hardware, furniture, agricultural implements, etc. This partnership was continued until 1855, when Mr. Cassell sold his interest and purchased the Herald House, now the St. Nicholas Hotel. He changed its name to the Cassell House, and did an extensive business for two and a-half years. From 1857 until 1860, he engaged in the hardward business in Monticello, Ill., but made his home in Decatur. During the latter year he opened a grocery store in this city, which he carried on until 1865, after which he again carried on the hardware business in Monticello for a year. Since that time he has been engaged extensively in the real-estate business. From time to time as his financial resources increased, he made judicious investments, and in 1852 bought two hundred and forty acres of land adjoining the city on the east, for which he paid $12.50 per acre. This was considered very foolish by many, for no land previous to that time had sold for more than $10 per acre. He engaged in farming it for several years, and in 1855 built his house upon it. Subsequently portions of it were platted and added to the city, and on various occasions he has made seven additions, and will yet make two more. The Decatur Coal Company's works are now situated on his land, as is also the Union Depot. Others have purchased portions of his property, platted it and added it to the city. We have before mentioned the elegant residence which Mr. Cassell erected in 1886. It is built on a beautiful knoll and is one of the finest homes in the city. He has also erected some store buildings and made other substantial improvements in Decatur.

In early life Mr. Cassell was a Whig, and attended the first Republican convention which convened in Illinois for putting a State ticket in the field. This was held in Bloomington in 1856. He has been an active member of the party since that time, and is greatly interested in its growth and success. He has been honored with several positions of public trust, - was County Recorder in 1846, has served as City Clerk, was Treasurer and Assessor for several years, and has also been Trustee. He was made a Mason in Macon Lodge in 1850, and has been a leading member of the blue lodge, chapter, commandery, council and consistory, and has been Representative to the Grand Lodge.

Mr. Cassell's marriage was celebreated October 26, 1843, Miss Louise M. Shultz, a native of Maryland, becoming his wife. The following children were born of their union: Mary Elizabeth, who died in infancy; Baron H., a farmer residing two and a-half miles east of Decatur; William L., who died in infancy; Clara Owen, who became the wife of John Carroll, but both are now deceased; and Thomas A., who assists his father in the care of his real estate interests. The Cassell family is one widely known in this community. For almost fifty-five years our subject has been a resident of Macon County, and has therefore been an eye-witness of the greater part of its growth and development. He has always borne his part in the work of progress and upbuilding, and is numbered both among the valued citizens and the honored pioneers of this community.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., IL, 1893 - p. 235-236


Top of Page



Dr. William M. CATTO

Dr. William M. Catto, a member of the firm of Catto & Jones, medical practitioners of Decatur, is a Canadian by birth. He was born near Hamilton, on the 28th of November, 1858, and is the second in a family of six children. The parents, John and Isabella (Angus) Catto, were both natives of Aberdeen, Scotland, and in early life emigrated to America. Of their five sons and one daughter, one died in early childhood. Alexander married Miss Hattie Althouse, and with his wife and two children, Fred and Hattie Belle, lives in Ontario, Canada. Walter was killed in a railroad accident at Tacoman, Wash., at the age of thirty years. He married Helen Lachlin and left three children. John and Bella complete the family. The father engaged in merchandising in Canada during the early years, but for some time past has been engaged in farming and stock-raiing near Bucoda, Wash. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, as was his wife, who died in 1878, at the age of forty-five years. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Walter Catto, spent his entire life in Scotland, and died at the age of seventy-eight. The maternal grandfather, William Angus, never left his native land.

The Doctor was reared in Western Ontario, and there acquired his early education, which was supplemented by a course in the Literary College of St. Catharines, Canada. His taste and desire leading him to enter the medical profession, he pursued a course along that line, and was graduated from the Detroit College of Medicine, in Detroit, Mich., in the spring of 1882. He was afterward House Surgeon in the hospital of that city for two years, and has now been engaged in active general practice for eleven years, in which time he has supplemented his theoretical knowledge by actual experience, and has thus become a skilled physician.

On the 19th of December, 1882, was celebrated the marriage of Dr. Catto and Miss Florence, daughter of Leonard and Lucinda (Harrington) Nightingale, the former a native of England, and the latter of Canada. They have had four children: Florence, who died at the age of three years; Bruce and Keith; and one son who died in infancy.

In politics, the Doctor is independent. He is connected with the Coeur de Lion Lodge, K.P., and is a member of Macon Lodge No. 8, A.F. & A.M.; Macon Chapter No. 21 R.A.M.; Decatur Council No. 16, R. & S.M.; Beaumanoir Commandery No. 9, K.T.; Peoria Consistory, S.P.R.S.; and Medina Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He holds membership with the Presbyterian Church, and his wife is a communicant of the Episcopal Church. Although their residence in Decatur is of comparatively short duration, they have already made many warm friends. Wehn Dr. Catto came to this city he bought out Dr. Harsba, and has had a large practice from the beginning, and it has now assumed extensive proportions. The firm of Catto & Jones occupies four large rooms in one of the best localities in the city, and our subject has one of the largest practices in central Illinois. He has also won a foremost place in the ranks of his professional brethren. He owns a good farm of eighty-five acres three miles east of the city, and has one of the finest residences of the city, located at the corner of William and Edward Streets.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co, Illinois, 1893 - p. 229-230


Top of Page



Cassidy CHENOWETH, M.D.

Cassidy Chenoweth, M.D., has engaged in the practice of medicine in Decatur since 1869. He was graduated from Rush Medical College on the 3d of Februsary of that year, and immediately took up his life work in this city, where his father, Dr. W.J. Chenoweth, had already gained an enviable reputation as one of the leading physicians of Macon County. Our subject was the elder child and only son of that veteran practitioner. His sister, Eliza, is the widow of Richard Piper, who was a photographer, had perhaps the most popular artist that has ever lived in Decatur. He was killed several years ago by being thrown from a buggy while visiting in Kentucky. Mrs. Piper now makes her home with her father.

The gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born on the 28th of March, 1848, at Poplar Plains, Fleming County, Ky., and was brought by his parents to Illinois when a lad of six years. He was reared to manhood in this city, and in the earlier days knew every man, woman and child living in this place. He attended the public schools, but his health was delicate and he left school for a time, going out on his father's farm, in the northwestern part of the county. As a child he learned a great deal about medicine in his father's office, and from his seventeeth year he has been a close student of medicine and surgery. Choosing its practice as his life work, he entered Rush Medical Collete and was graduated, as before stated. In order to further perfect himself, he went to Europe in 1873, and spent about six months in London, attending hospitals of that city. He made a speicalty of the study of throat and lung diseases, and has excellent success in practice along that line. In the following fall he returned to Decatur. He has earned his well-deserved popularity through his skill and ability, and is enjoying a large and lucrative practice. The Chenoweths are by popular consent the leading physicians of the Hub City.

The lady who now bears the name of Mrs. Chenoweth was, in her maidenhood, Miss Harriet M. Honn, daughter of Samuel Franklin Honn, of Chicago, and a sister of Mrs. Mary Belle Freeley, the author of "Fair to Look Upon." Their family numbers only two children: William James, a young man of twenty-one years; and Bruce H., who is studying law with Charles C. LaForge, of Decatur.

Dr. Chenoweth is a member of the Illinois Medical Society, the Macon County Medical Society, and the District Medical Society of Central Illinois. He is also connected with the leading clubs of the city, and holds membership with Macon Lodge No. 8, A.F. & A.M.; Macon Chapter No. 21, R.A.M.; and Beaumanoir Commandery No. 9, K.T. In politics he is a stalwart Republican. He is recognized as one of the leading and influential citizens of Decatur, for he always takes a prominent part in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and the promotion of those enterprises which will advance the education, moral and social interests of the place.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co, Illinois, 1893 - p. 202-203


Top of Page



Horace CLARK, M.D.

Dr. Clark was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 18th of January, 1825. Silas Clark, his great-grandfather, resided in Windham county, Connecticut; and his grandfather, Abner Clark, was born at Lebanon, Connecticut, in January, 1765. The birth of his father, whose name was Capt. Abner Clark, occurred at the same place on the 25th of January, 1796. In 1797 the family moved to Berkshire county, Mass., and in 1817 to St. Lawrence county, N.Y. They settled in the town of Madrid, ten miles from the St. Lawrence river, when that part of the state was almost a complete wilderness. Dr. Clark's mother, whose maiden name was Cynthia Skidmore, was born at Arlington, Vermont, on the 2d of November, 1800. Her parents had moved to Vermont from Connecticut. Dr. Clark's father died in St. Lawrence county on the 31st of March, 1876, when past the age of eighty. At the time of his death he was one of the oldest settlers of St. Lawrence county.

Horace Norton Clark was the second of a family of twelve children, of whom six were boys and six girls. He was raised in St. Lawrence county, obtained a good education, and in 1844, at the age of nineteen, took charge of a school as teacher. After teaching two winters he attended the St. Lawrence Academy at Potsdam, New York. Altogether he taught school ten winters in New York and two years in Sangamon county after coming to this state. As a teacher he was successful, and in June, 1856, the state authorities conferred on him a diploma enabling him to teach in any school in the state of New York. From 1851 to 1856 he lived in the town of De Peyster, in St. Lawrence county, where he was elected justice of the peace and superintendent of the public schools. The latter office he filled for two years immediately preceding his removal to this state. While a resident of De Peyster he taught school in the winter. In the summer his attention was divided between farming and the management of a steam saw-mill, which he owned in partnership with a man named Nelson Thornton. Two of his brothers still reside at Potsdam, New York, Silas S. Clark and Chauncey B. Clark.

Dr. Clark came to Illinois in 1856, and at first made his home at Springfield with his uncle, Oramel Clark on the the pioneer settlers of Sangamon county. He began the study of medicine at Dawson, Sangamon county, in 1857, and in the fall of 1858 entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, from which he subsequently graduated in 1865. He began practice at Niantic in 1859. On the 8th of April, 1851, he was married to Susan Curtis, of De Peyster, a sister of Gen. N.M. Curtis, of Ogdensburg, N.Y. She died of consumption on the 5th of September, 1854. On the 11th of June, 1866, he married Sarah Pierce, of Canton, St. Lawrence county, N.Y., whose death happened on the 6th of April, 1876. His present wife, formerly Charlotte F. Watson, he married on the 31st of May, 1877. She is a native of Camargo, Douglas county, this state.

Top of Page



Barbara CLAYTON

Barbara Clayton was born June 23, 1958 in Sangamon County, Il, the daughter of the late Dewey and Florence (Altevogt) Hays. Florence is the daughter of Gus and Vera (Stark) Altevogt. Dewey was born December 14, 1927 in Decatur, Il. Dewey married Florence Altevogt in Decatur, Il in 1957, but had to remarry in 1959 in Sangamon County, Il after being notified that the minister that married them wasn't an ordained minister, unbeknowst to them.

Barbara married Olin Clayton, son of Dale and Lavonne (Armentrout) Clayton on August 6, 1976. They met for the first time on August 3, 1976 and were married 3 days later. They have been married for 21 years. Olin was born in Hillsboro, Il on March 20, 1951. They have two children, Belinda Suzanne Clayton, born June 27, 1979 and Andrew Olin Dale Clayton born August 8, 1980.

Barbara's parents were divorced in 1976 and her father died January 14, 1994. Her mother later married Joseph Stevenson of Coalton, Il on June 29, 1977. Dewey and Florence were parents of Barbara Clayton, Vera Durstine, Carol Bernardini, Jimmy Hays, David Hays and Brenda Mehlburg.

Dewey Hays was the son of Otis and May (Thomas) Hays. Otis was born March 8, 1899 in Moweaqua, Il and May Thomas, the daughter of Willis and Alice (Blewett) Thomas was born April 3, 1904 in Simpson County, Kentucky. Alice Blewett was the daughter of Howard Malcolm and Elizabeth V. (McElwain) Blewett. Howard Malcolm served the Confederacy during the Civil War, with the State of Kentucky, riding with "Morgan's Raiders." Otis served in WW II and died May 23, 1976 in Decatur, Il. He is buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Riverton, Il. May Hays died August 23, 1948 in Decatur, Il and she is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Decatur, Il. Otis and May were married in Stonington, Il on August 24, 1920. After May's death, Otis married a Hazel Davidson. Otis and May were parents of Adria and Violet Hays, who died not long after birth, Virginia Tucker, Dewey Hays, John Hays, Dale Hays and Irma Mills. Otis had a daughter, now Barbara Altevogt, by his second wife.

Otis Hays was the son of George Thompson Hays, who was born in Macoupin County, Il on September 11, 1877 and married Hattie May Miller in Shelby County, Il on October 2, 1898. Hattie was the daughter of Renes and Hilda (Hilton) Miller. Hattie was born in Shelby County, Il on January 24, 1875. George and Hattie divorced and according to a divorce announcement found in the Moweaqua News stated that Hattie was seeking maintenance for her two sons. But I haven't as yet discovered who Otis' brother was. George Thompson Hays died July 25, 1955 in Springfield, Il and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Springfield, Il. Hattie later married Elmer Jacobs on April 3, 1902,in Christian County, Il. Hattie Jacobs died November 14, 1945 and is buried in the Jacobs Family Cemetery in Moweaqua, Il.

George Thompson Hays was the son of Henry and Elzirah (Irvin)Hays. Henry was born March 13, 1841 in Sangamon County, Il. Henry Hays served with Company E 32nd Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. Henry was also a member of the J.V. Clemens Post No. 363 GAR. Henry Hays died May 18, 1914 in Moweaqua, Il and Elzirah was born in Grant County, Indiana in 1853 and married Henry Hays on August 7, 1873 in Christian County, Il. Elzirah died July 11, 1908 in Moweaqua, Il. The entire Clayton family are members of the Daughters and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Henry and Elzirah had seven children, Sarah Engeline Hays, Eudora Emaline Hays, Thomas Dudly Hays, William Henry Hays, George Thompson Hays, and Mrs. John Winters. Henry and Elzirah Hays are both buried in the Hays Family Cemetery in Moweaqua, Il.

Henry Hays was the son of Andrew and Sally Ann (Hall)Hays. Andrew was born on June 26, 1820 in Martin County, Indiana and married Sarah Ann Hall in Sangamon County, Il on September 21, 1839. Sarah Hall was born November 22, 1820 Andrew Hays died July 25, 1891 in Moweaqua, Il. Sarah Hays died July 26, 1901 in Moweaqua, Il. Both Andrew and Sarah are buried in the Hays Family Cemetery in Mowequa, Il. Andrew and Sarah had the following children, Henry, David, Tom, George, Andrew and Ulysses.

Andrew Hays was the son of William and Elizabeth (?)Hays. Their children were Samuel, John, James, Mary Ann and Andrew Hays and all were born in Martin County, Indiana.

Submitted by: Mrs. Barbara Clayton

Any further information on these lines would be appreciated.


Top of Page



Charles W. CLOUD

Charles W. Cloud, a prosperous farmer and pioneer settler of Macon County, residing on section 12, Milan Township, was born October 17, 1852, in Moultrie County, just across the county line from where he now resides. He is the second in a family of six children, whose parents were Joel and Nancy (Rayborn) Cloud. The eldest, Martha, is now deceased; Henry is residing in this county; Mary makes her home with her mother; Frank is a real-estate dealer of Decatur; and John G. follows farming in this county. The father of this family was born in Orange County, N.C., and on coming West entered land in Moultrie County. In 1857 he came to this county and settled in Milan Township, where he purchased a tract of wild land from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He was united in marriage with Miriam Freeland, of Moultrie County, but after two years her death occurred, and in 1849 he was married to Miss Nancy Rayborn. Mr. Cloud was the first settler of Milan Township. He devoted his energies to farm work until October, 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Fifth Illinois Cavalry, in which he served until the 14th of April, 1862, on which day he departed this life, his death resulting from an attack of the measles. His remains were interred at Pilot Knob, Mo. Mrs. Cloud is a native of Roane County, Tenn., and is of German lineage. In an early day she came to this State, and is still living on the old homestead farm in Milan Township.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who well deserves representation in this volume, for his entire life has been passed in this community and he has witnessed almost its entire growth and upbuilding. He has always remained at home with his mother and carried on the farm for her. He is an enterprising and successful agriculturist and is now the owner of two hundred and forty-nine acres of rich land. The farm is a valuable and desirable one. It is supplied with good buildings, a substantial residence, the latest improved machinery and all the accessories and conveniences of a model farm of the nineteenth century; and its neat and tasty appearance indicates the careful supervision of the owner.

Mr. Cloud is a man of industry and energy, and to his own efforts may be attributed his success in life, so that he may truly be called a self-made man. He is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and his honorable, upright career has won him high regard. During his long residence in this community he has ever borne his part in the upbuilding and development of the county and has aided in the advancement of its best interests. The family is numbered among the honored pioneers, and this record is well deserving of a place in the history of the county.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., Illinois, 1893 - p. 206, 209


Top of Page



Theodore COLEMAN

Theodore Coleman is cashier for Haworth & Sons, and is widely known in business circles in this city as a man of sterling worth, and as being upright and honorable in all his dealings. For the promotion of the best interests of the city he gives his support, and he is recognized as a leading resident of the community. He was born in Lowell, Mass., August 7, 1852, and is a son of John W. and Nancy W. (Ela) Coleman, whose family numbered three sons and three daughters, namely: Theodore, Lucy B., Alfred W., James H., Hattie P. (wife of Robert W. Hastir, of Taylorville), and Abby, who died in infancy. The father of this family was a native of Virginia, and the mother of Maine. The former was a clerk in a dry-goods house in early life and afterward served as salesman in the Methodist Book Concern, in Louisville, Ky. In the spring of 1855 he removed to Decatur, and began teaching school. He afterward served as a book-keeper for the Henkle & Priest Mill, and subsequently was with Moorehouse, Wells & Co., and previous to this time he had engaged in farming for four years. He served as Tax Collector in 1868. He was called to the home beyond in the spring of 1869, at the age of fifty-two years. A member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he was also a local preacher, and both by precept and example taught the way of life. His widow is still living in this city, and is a member of the First Methodist Church.

The Coleman family is of English origin. The grandfather of our subject, James H. Coleman, was a native of Virginia, and became a paving contractor in Louisville, Ky., where he carried on business for some years. His last days were spent near Shelburn, Ind.,where he died at the age of eighty-six years. His only daughter is now living near that place. He took quite an active part in politics, supported the Whig party, and ere his death voted for Abraham Lincoln. The maternal grandfather, Theodore Ela, who was a shoemaker by trade, was a native of New Hampshire, but removed to the Pine Tree State in early life, settling in Lowell, where he died at the age of seventy-six.

Theodore Coleman, our subject, was only two and a-half years old when brought by his parents to Illinois. He was reared in this county, and the greater part of his education was acquired in Decatur. He was the first boy graduated from the High School of this city, the year of that event being 1868. While in school he served during vacations and leisure hours as office boy for the firm of Durfee, Warren & Co. for three years, after which he accepted a position with David Martin, remaining in his employ for four years. Since leaving school, he has continuously engaged in book-keeping. For four years he was also employed by H.W. Hill & Co., and for a year and a-half served as book-keeper for Chambers & Quinlan. In 1879 began his connection with the Haworth Check-Rower Company, with which he has continued ever since.

On the 6th of January, 1881, Mr. Coleman was joined in wedlock with Miss Linnie Good, daughter of Daniel and Barbara (Barnett) Good, who were natives of Pennsylvania, but resided near Oreana at the time of the marriage of their daughter. Three children bless the union: Daniel Roy, Hattie May and Fannie Lucile. The fmaily hold membership with Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Coleman is one of the Stewards and Trustees. He also belongs to Ionic Lodge No. 312, A.F. & A.M.; Macon Chapter No. 21, R.A.M.; and Decatur Lodge No. 364, I.O.G.T., of which he is a charter member. He is a stanch advocate of temperance principles and votes with the Prohibition party. Whatever tends to upbuild the educational and moral interests of the community receives his hearty co-operation, and his aid is never withheld from a worthy enterprise. His service with well-known business firms of the city is a high testimonial to his ability and faithfulness to duty.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., Illinois, 1893 - p. 243-244


Top of Page



John L. CONNELLY, M.D.

John L. Connelly, M.D., who is engaged in the practice of medicine in Harristown, was born in the capital city of Illinois March 18, 1846. His father, George R. Connelly, was a native of the District of Columbia, and durin ghis residence in Springfield carried on a grocery store. He died of cholera June 9, 1854. The Doctor spent the days of his boyhood under the parental roof, and at the age of twelve began clerkin gin his uncle's store. He had ceonceived the idea of entering the medical profession, and during that time he began the study of medicine with Dr. Ryan. He also pursued his studies under the direction of Dr. J.B. Smith, and subsequently entered Rush Medical College, of Chicago, from which he was graduated in 1878, after pursuing a four-years course. Dr. Connelly had worked his own way through college by keeping books; in fact, he has been dependent upon his own exertionx since the age of eleven years, and therefore deserves great credit for the success that he has achieved in life.

In June, 1878, Dr. Connelly came to Harristown, where he has since engaged in the prosecution of his profession, enjoying a constantly increasing trade. He is a member of the State Medical Society, and has taken an active part in its discussions and work. He keeps well informed on everything pertaining to the science, and his skill and ability have won him a high reputation. In 1882, the Doctor began breeding trotting-horses. He owns forty-seven acres of land, upon which is a half-mile track. He has thirty-five head ot trotting-bred horses, including the fine Hambletonian stallion, "Mammont," No. 2052, with a record of 2:17 1/4, with six representatives in the 2:30 list. He is a full brother to "Piedmont." He has sold some fine horses at high prices. For fifteen years he has also been engaged in breeding pure-bred Jersey cattle, but now has only a small herd.

On the 3d of September 1872, the Doctor was united in marriage with Nancy L. Bedford, a native of Paris, Ky., and a daughter of Benjamin F. and Ann Maria Bedford, of the same State. Her father was a large breeder of Shorthorn cattle and trotting-horses of Kentucky, and at one time owned a good many slaves. Coming to Illinois, he spent his last days in Harristown, where Mrs. Connelly was married. She was born May 8, 1838, and died of heart disease on June 7, 1889. She was a consistent and leading member of the Christian Church and took an active interest in all that pertained to its upbuilding. Unto the Doctor and his wife were born six children: Maggie P., whi died at the age of two years; Susan Helen; George S.; John Lucian, Jr., who died in infancy; Alice Bedford and Laura Watson. The children are all at home.

In his social relations, Dr. Connelly is connected with Summit Lodge No. 431, A.F. & A.M., of Harristown, and is a member of the Christian Church. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democratic party, and in April, 1893, was elected Township Supervisor, which office he still holds. He takes an active interest in everything pertaining to his town and county and give his support to those enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit. He is a pleasant, genial man and his worth and ability have gained him many friends.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., Illinois, 1893 - p. 732


Top of Page



George COPPENBARGER

George Wilmer Coppenbarger was born 1-8-1861 in Mosquito Township, Christian County, IL. on a farm owned by his parents James Wesley Coppenbarger and Malinda Cooper Coppenbarger. He lived most of his life on this farm. He married Mary Nancy Wedekind 9-10-1884. Nancy was born 10-30-1865 in Christian County, IL. to Jasper Wedekind and Elizabeth Hignight Smart Wedekind. Nancy's father Jasper came here from Germany. Jasper was born in or near Leipzig, Germany 3-7-1839. The story goes that his mother, who had lost several sons in the German Army, was determined that Jasper should not also be lost. So when he became a man, she gave Jasper $20.00 and put him on a cattle boat bound for America as a stowaway. Jasper was caught after a few days, the money taken from him, and he was forced to work for his passage across the waters as "Nursemaid" to the cattle. When they landed at New York, he found work on a boat which was going to New Orleans. From there he drifted until he stopped at a family's by the name of Smart near Lewisville, IL, where he worked as a farmer. Mr Smart had saved enough money to buy a piece of land, so, as was the custom of the day, he set off with his money to Vandalia, IL. to enter the claim of his choice. As he was leaving he laughingly turned to Jasper Wedekind and said "Jasper, look after the widow". Mr. Smart never returned! His horse came home without him and when they traced his trail, they found that Mr. Smart had been bushwacked and robbed. This left Mrs. Smart with three children. Jasper then married Elizabeth Hignight Smart. A short time before Mary Nancy was born, the family started for Christian County. Elizabeth had a brother, Moses Hignight, who was nominal head of the Hignight's and who lived in Christian County. Moses allowed the Wedekind family the use of his granary for their home. This is not as bad as it may sound as we might assume because in the days when grain was hard to come by, the granary was often the best built building on a farm. It was in this granary that Mary Nancy was born. Elizabeth died in 1872. This left jasper Wedekind a widower with six small mouths to feed. He married Lucinda Cooper, sister of Malinda Cooper, soon after the death of his wife. Lucinda was kind to his children but lived only a short time. She died 2-10-1878 without having any children Jasper next married a widow with five children. She was Henrietta Schley Bailey, widow of William F. Bailey. Jasper lived frugally all his life. He had learned the trade of tailoring in Germany, so made all the clothing for his entire family. Some of the clothes he made from the wool of their own sheep. The sheep were sheared in the spring, the wool carded and spun, then dyed in a big vat outdoors. It was then woven into fabric for Jasper to use. My grandmother told me that even though the sheep died during the winter, the wool was not wasted. The dead sheep were dragged up on a hill until the weather was warmer and then the children were sent to pick the wool from the carcasses. Jasper died in Niantic on 1-12-1915. In 1918, George and Nancy Coppenbarger moved to Niantic. They bought a house just north of the grade school and stayed there the rest of their lives. George Coppenbarger was a "home-body" who loved to sit by the fire with his cap on and chew tobacco. He cared little for the social life. Although he attended Berea Church in his youth, he never saw fit to join any one church. To me, it seems he always followed the policy "Live and let live". The children of George and Mary Nancy are: James Benjamin Coppenbarger b. 3-25-1888 and Maude Elizabeth Coppenbarger b. 3-1-1890

George and Nancy Wedekind Coppenbarger as written by Georgia Thompson

Submitted by Earliene Kaelin descendant of Jacob Coppenbarger, the father of Elias.

Top of Page



James Wesley COPPENBARGER

James Wesley Coppenbarger and Malinda Cooper James Wesley Coppenbarger, son of Elias Coppenbarger b. abt. 1799 d. 5-23-1844 and Mahala Newell Fletcher b. abt 1806 d. 10-21-1851 was born 11-8-1833 in Illinois. He married Malinda Cooper 3-8-1860, daughter of Ephriam and Sarah Widick Neims(Nelms) Cooper. Sarah was the daughter of Jacob Widick and the widow of Thomas Neims(Nelms). Malinda Cooper was born 1-8-1843 in Coopersville, IL. James and Malinda farmed until 1903 at his fathers farm, then he moved to Niantic where he died. For the last seven years before his death he was sick with a lung desease and the neighbors and relatives took turn sitting up with him at night. Jim and "Lindy" brought up several children other than their own. Some of these were Tipton DeVault, Belle Cooper, and Polly Fletcher. At Jim's death he owned 260 acres of farmland. Malinda was a spirited young lady who loved to sing. James was a quite retiring man. James was several years older than Malinda. He no doubt was a trial to her on many occassions. James died 10-18-1903 and Malinda died 9-21-1918, both are buried in Berea. James and Malinda had two sons: George Wilmer Coppenbarger b. 1861 and John L. Coppenbarger b. 1866. Malinda Cooper's paternal Grandfather, John Cooper was born in South Carolina in 1772. In 1820 he moved his wife and seven children to Jefferson County, TN. Where they remained for awhile before emigrating to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1822. His wife Elizabeth, was born in 1770 and died in 1845. The John Coopers descended the Tennessee and Ohio rivers in a keel boat and then came up the Mississippi, Illinois and Sangamon rivers to reach the interior of Illinois. John Cooper fought in the war of 1812 under General Andrew Jackson. Ephriam Cooper Malinda's father, settled in Sangamon County at an earlier date than his father. He came with Henry Giger and William Bragg. They first settled near Buckhart. They were among the first settlers on the North fork. Ephriam is credited with planting the first apple orchard in the County now known as Christian. It bore it's first fruit in 1827. Ephriam Cooper and Benjamin Giger built the first frame house in Christian County. They sawed their own lumber with the use of a whip saw. Ephriam Copper was born in 1802 and died 2-20-1847. He and his wife are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery near Rochester, IL. Also buried there is John and Elizabeth Cooper. Malinda Cooper's mother, Sarah Widick, was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, 10-30-1807, to Jacob Widick in Rockinham County, VA and Mary E. Diehl b. 10-11-1788 in Lancaster County, PA. daughter of Abraham Diehl. In 1817 she moved with her parents, Jacob and Mary Deal (Diehl) Widick, to Christian County, KY. where she married Thomas Neims(Nelms), who was born 7-25-1800. They lived in Logan County, KY for a time before coming to Sangamon County in 1827. Later they moved to Macon County and settled on the Old William Smith place. In August 1830 Thomas Neims(Nelms) was injured in a freak accident that lead to his death. It was then that James and Malinda were married.

The above piece was written by Mrs Georgia Thompson in the 1960's, she was a descendant of Elias Coppenbarger.

Submitted by Earliene Kaelin descendant of Jacob Coppenbarger, the father of Elias.


Top of Page



John W. CRANE

John W. Crane is well known in the business circles of Decatur, being the district agent of the Aetna Life Insurance Company. He was born on the 8th of January, 1845, in Berea, Ohio. It is believed that the Crane family originated in England. Three brothers of the name came from that country to America and settled in New Jersey. It is to one of these brothers that the subject of this review traces his ancestry. The grandfather, Elihu Crane, was born in New Jersey but spent the greater part of his active business life in Berea, Ohio, where he followed the occupation of farming. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and had two sons who became clergymen of the Congregational church. His life was ever honorable and active and he passed away at the ripe old age of seventy-six years.

R.B. Crane, the father of our subject, was born in Ohio and during a part of his business career was engaged in the manufacture of grindstones and building stones for the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad. In 1859 he removed from Ohio to Sedan, Indiana, where he began building a factory for the manufacture of wooden bowls, but he died in i860 just as the plant was nearing completion. He, too, held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, was greatly interested in its work and aided in all possible ways in the development of the church. He was also a trustee of the Baldwin University. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Jane Chaney, was born in Pennsylvania in June, 1820, and is still living, being in the eighty-fourth year of her age. In the family were six children, namely: John W., who is the eldest; George M.; Ella, the wife of Albert Buchanan; R.B., who is a banker of Toledo, Ohio; Charles E., of Ashland, Ohio, and W.H., who is now the postmaster and a merchant at Sedan, Indiana.

At the usual age John W. Crane began his education, becoming a student in the common schools of Berea, Ohio. He there continued his studies until he had completed the high school course with the class of 1861 and later he pursued a course in Oberlin College of Oberlin, Ohio. He then entered a printing office as an apprentice on the Lorain County News, continuing with that paper for seven years. While in college he was converted and was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal church. He became a minister of that denomination in South Bend, Indiana, and joined the Northwestern Indiana conference. He was afterward stationed at Lake Station, Indiana, and still later at Kewanna, that state. Subsequently he became associate editor of the Indiana Christian Advocate and located in Indianapolis. For some time thereafter he was identified with journalistic work and in March, 1872, he came to Decatur as city editor of the Daily Republican. In the fall of that year he joined the Illinois Methodist Episcopal conference and has acted as pastor of the following charges: Maroa, Oakland, Windsor, Kansas, Nokomis and Moweaqua, all Illinois towns. In the work of the ministry he produced good results, his influence being of no restricted order. He labored zealously and untiringly, in fact, devoted himself so closely to his work that at length his health failed and he found it necessary to retire from the active ministry. He then purchased the Weekly Mail at Moweaqua, conducting that paper for a short time, and in 1887 he became special agent for the Aetna Life Insurance Company. He has since resided in Decatur and during the past eight years has been district agent for the same company. In 1880 he represented the Indianapolis Journal on the reportorial staff during the session of the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal church in that city, reporting the proceedings of the conference. He has also written for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He is still a member of the Illinois Methodist Episcopal conference, holding a superannuated relation and occasionally he supplies a pulpit in the absence of the regular minister.

On the 1st of September, 1870, Mr. Crane was united in marriage to Miss Amanda M. Hollett, a daughter of Thomas and Deborah Hollett, and their home has been blessed with three children: Minnie, who is now living in Decatur; Albert, who died at the age of twenty-five years; and Jesse, who is employed as a stenographer by the Pacific Express Company, of Chicago. Mr. Crane was made a Mason in Oakland Lodge of Oakland. Illinois, in 1873, and has deep sympathy in that order, which is based upon brotherly kindness and helpfulness. Both he and his wife hold membership in the Grace Methodist Episcopal church of Decatur and are most deeply interested in its work, doing all they can for the furtherance of its interests. In his business life Mr. Crane is energetic and active and is thoroughly conversant with the multiplicity of details involved in the successful conduct of such a position as he is now filling.

Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, IL., (1903) pg. 203-207

Top of Page



Rufus CROSSMAN

This gentleman, one of the representative farmers of Hickory Point township, is a native of the state of New York. He was born in the town of Cato, Cayuga county, on the third of June, 1834. His grand father had come from Massachusetts and made his home in central New York when it was almost an entire wilderness and gave little promise of developing into the populous country it has since become. Asa Crossman, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in the town of Elbridge, Onondaga county, New York. He married Sarah Baker, a native of the state of Vermont. Mr. Crossman's maternal grand mother died at the advanced age of ninety-nine years. When he was a child she was accustomed to relate to him many incidents of the oden times. She had lived in New England during the Revolutionary war and heard the first gun fired which ushered in that momentous struggle. She was a woman of great intelligence and force of character. Mr. Crossman's father was a farmer. He lived on a farm in Cayuga county till his death. He was a good citizen, a deacon in the Baptist church, and a man of benevolent and charitable disposition.

Rufus Crossman was raised in Cayuga county. The neighborhood in which he lived had good schools and afforded excellent educational advantages. For two or three terms he attended an academy at Jordan, New York. He taught school one winter in the town of Conquest, Cayuga county. In the fall of 1859 he went to Michigan. During the winter of 1859-60 he taught school at Ann Arbor, and then purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, covered with heavy timber, and entirely unimproved, near Lansing. In 1860 he came to Illinois to teach school, and thus obtained the money with which to meet the payments on this land. He arrived in Decatur on the first of December, 1860, spent the winter in the vicinity, and the next spring began teaching a select school at Decatur. He subsequently worked on a farm in Hickory Point township, and then secured the school in the Mound district, three miles north of Decatur. His administration as a teacher proved so satisfactory that he taught this school six winters in succession. He also had charge of the school at Forsythe two terms, of the Hickory Point school one term, and also taught another term at one of the districts in the township, so that altogether he had had an extended experience as a teacher. On the first of January, 1863, he married Miss Mary Ellen Muinch, daughter of Jacob Muinch and his wife Frances, whose maiden name was Brett. Her father was from Pennsylvania and her mother from Virginia. The same year he went to farming on his present farm. He afterward purchased forty acres of land north of Forsythe, and lived there several years. In 1878 he moved back to the farm on which he now lives. He has three children, Frances Annetta, McEthelbert, and Harriet Ann. The farm which Mr. Crossman occupies is one of the oldest settled in the township. It is composed of one hundred and twenty acres. The buildings occupy a beautiful situation. Mr. Crossman has carried on farming operations with great exactness and attention to detals. Since he has had possession of the farm he has improved it greatly, and spent large sums of money in tileing and ditching. The farm is now in an excellent condition, and in a shape in which it can be successfully and remuneratively handled. It is well adapted for a stock farm, being provided with fine springs and never-failing water running in close proximity to the buildings. In politics he has always been a republican. In 1860 he voted for Lincoln for President. He is a thorough believer in the doctrines of the republican party, considers that it has done much for the country, and that it deserves well of the people.

History of Macon Co Illinois, 1880 - p. 207

Top of Page



George F. COTTLE

England is a grand country, has proud military history, can boast of her magnificent navy, and can point with pride to her benevolent and literary institutions; but while she has much to swell the emotions of national pride, she has also much to cause her fair name to be justly reproached. Her poor are oppressed, her real estate is owned only by a titled few, and the curse of caste is a blight on her society. While the nobility revel in the profusion of voluptuous wealth, the toiling masses can hardly eke out a subsistence by the hardest manual labor and the closest economy. We have a fair illustration of the privations and hardships of the poor of that country in the early life of Mr. Cottle, one of Albions native sons, and whose later history as an honored citizen of the United States exhibits the effects of our own beneficent institutions as compared with those of the mother country. When he first went out to serve, as all the sons of the poor have to do there, he received less than five cents a weekthree ha-penney. His pay was afterwards raised to nine pence, maximum wages for the ordinary workman. No wonder then that the poor look with longing eyes across the briny deep to a country where labor is not only remunerated but dignified, and where all have an equal chance in the battle of life.

Mr. Cottle was born November 11th, 1834, in Somersetshire, and is the son of Charles Cottle and Martha Weeks, average livers among the yeomanry. When about fourteen years of age, a family council resulted in a decision to emigrate to the United States. All the available means were barely sufficient to pay his passage to America. He arrived in the state of New York in 1848, and at once set about the work of raising means for the transit of his family, which safely arrived at the port of New Tork, July 4th the following year. A location was made in Onodago county, where the usual work began to earn a support in the New World.

At the age of sixteen Mr. Cottle bought his time of his father and turned the first proceeds of his labor towards purchasing a home for his parents, which required all his earnings for the next two years. When about eighteen he resolved to come further west. After stoping a short time in Indianapolis he came to Illinois, and assisted in the management of the Sloan farm, now the property of Mr. Brown. After remaining there three years he found employment for a similar length of time with J. Y. Taylor, another old and well-known settler. Next he started for Pikes Peak, but turned back after reaching St. Joseph, Mo., and bought an eighty-acre tract of John B. Moffett, Sr., which he improved, and afterward exchanged with Hon. W.T. Moffett for his present homestead, giving his notes for $5,300 as an equivalent. Here he has since resided, employed in the usual duties of farming. By hard work he has managed well, and now has his obligations as good as liquidated, and owns 133 acres of as good soil as is to be found in the county. The improvements are good, and the land is in an excellent state of tillage.

In a large measure he attributes his success to the co-labor and encouragement of his estimable wife, formerly Miss Susan E. Browning, daughter of William N. and Frances (Johnston) Browning, formerly of Clark county, Kentucky, but now residents of this state and county and on Mr. Cottles premises, where their welfare is looked after and their wants provided for. They have four surviving children - James E., Annie M., Susan, and Raymond A.

Mr. And Mrs. Cottle are both members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which they joined in 1866, and of which he has been a deacon since 1867. In political belief and action he is identified with the republican party, which he deems the safest party to entrust with the destinies of the Republic, in which he ever feels the liveliest interest.

Mr. Cottle has learned the great lessons of life in the strict and practical school of experience, and his history takes in the social habits and conditions of two nations, with their diverse forms of government, and he fells now that he is not only a freeholder but a freeman in a free country. He is temperate, industrious, and frugal, but not in any sense parsimonious, giving liberally to the church, to the poor, and to all enterprises having in contemplation the social, moral, and material welfare of his neighborhood, country. He has a pleasant, refined home, a happy family, and a good neighborhood. Mr. Cottle has the warmest feelings for his friends, and the people of the county at large, and acknowledges with gratitude the goodness and providence of the Creator in directing his way to this country, state, and county.

History of Macon County Illinois - 1880 - p. 193-194

Submitted by: Eric

Top of Page



John CROCKER

The name of John Crocker is a familiar one in grain and banking circles throughout the state and Maroa owes much of its business activity and consequent prosperity to his efforts and enterprise. The enterprising spirit of the west, which has led to the rapid development of this section of the country, is perhaps his strongest characteristic.

Mr. Crocker is one of Illinois' native sons, his birth having occurred in Vandalia, in 1857, his parents being John H. and Louisa V. (Philbrook) Crocker, who are mentioned on another page of this volume. The family removing to Maroa during the early boyhood of our subject, he was educated in the public schools of this city until he had mastered the common branches of learning, after which he continued his studies in Illinois College at Jacksonville, Illinois. Later, he became a student in Dartmouth College, at Hanover, New Hampshire, in the class of 1881. On his return to Maroa, he joined his father in the banking business and in the grain trade. This association was continued until the death of the father, Frbruary 10, 1890, since which time John Crocker has continued in the conduct of extensive and important interests. He is a member of the firm of Crocker & Company, bankers, one of the soundest financial institutions of this part of the state, its safe, conservative policty recommending it to the confidence and patronage of the public. He is also the president of the Crocker Elevator Company and has become widely known as one of the extensive grain dealers of the state, the company owning six different plants in Macon county. The business furnishes an excellent market to the grain producers and at the same time yields a very desirable profit to the stockholders of the company.

Every interest or enterprise calculated to prove of benefit to Maroa or or promote the welfare and prosperity of the city elicits his attention and ofttimes receives his hearty co-operation and substantial assistance. He is the president of the Maroa Electric Light Company and also of the People's Telephone Company, both enterprises of value to the general public as well as to the indivicual stockholders. His ability as an organizer is one of the strong elements of success. He is quick to note opportunity and to secure the co-operation of others in the successful control of important undertakings, and he not only forms his plans readily, but is determined in caryring them forward to successful completion.

On the 20th of December, 1893, Mr. Crocker was united in marriage to Miss Arabella Baird, a daughter of Peter Baird, and unto them have been born four children: Ruth Baird, now eight years of age; John H. and Joan P., twins; and Thomas W., who completes the family. Socially Mr. Crocker is connected with the Masonic Lodge of Maroa and has taken more advanced degrees in the order in Decatur and Chicago, being now a well known representative of the craft, whose tenets and teachings he exemplifies in his relations with his fellowmen. In his political views and affiliations he is a Republican, and the regard in which he is held by the party and by his fellow citizens is indicated by the fact that he was elected to the office of mayor upon the death of his father, who was then filling the position. He gives his personal supervision to the extensive and important business interests with which he is connected, but he has never allowed this to interfere with his duties of citizenship or to bias his relations with his fellow men. With a keen appreciation for upright character, he numbers his friends among all classes and is himself honored and respected by all who know him.

From Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, 1903, p. 184 - 185

JOHN CROCKER, of Maroa, is a native of Illinois. He was born near Vandalia August 2, 1857, and is a son of John H. and Louise V. (Philbrook) Crocker, the former a native of New Hampshire, and the latter of Ohio. The record of his parents is given elsewhere in this volume.

During the war, when he was only four years old, his parents removed to Bird's Point, Mo., and in 1865 came to this place, where he was reared to manhood, acquiring a good education in the public schools. He was also a student for a year in Illinois College, of Jacksonville, and in Dartmouth College, of New Hampshire. Returning home, he joined his father in business and has since here resided. He and his brother George became partners in the bank in 1879, and were associated with their father until his death, since which time George has lived in Springfield, where he is engaged in the practice of veterinary surgery. John has continued in the banking and grain business in Maroa, doing a large and constantly increasing business. He was elected Mayor to fill the unexpired term of his father, which certainly was a high testimonial to his popularity and the favor he finds with the people. In politics he is a Republican, and is a member of the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery of the Masonic fraternity.

Mr. Crocker is the owner of a fine drug store, which is managed by James H. Sterling, and he is also interested in the grain elevators in Emery and Pearson, in connection with Thomas Costello, and in the Masonic Building, which is owned by a stock company, of which he is Secretary. He was the prime mover in securing the electric-light plant, one of the finest in the State, and now as the result of his untiring efforts the streets and all the principal business houses are well lighted with are lights. The Maroa Electric Light Company has been organized and its officers are John Crocker, President; George Conover, Treasurer; and Will Schenck, Secretary.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., IL, 1893, p. 550

Top of Page



John H. CROCKER

The name of Crocker has been long, intimately and honorably associated with the history of Maroa, its development and substantial progress, and father and sons have left an indelible impress upon the city and its advancement. He whose name introduces this review was actively associated with business affairs here and his own upright career added new luster to an untarnished family record.

John H. Crocker was born in Derry, New Hampshire, on the 9th of July, 1829, a son of John and Mary Neal (Pillsbury) Crocker. His father was one of the first settlers of Maroaa and the city owes its substantial upbuilding in no degree to one man as much as it does to John Crocker, who not only located here when Maroa was an embryo village but served as the first station agent, the first postmaster and was the first banker and the first lumber and grain merchant. He realized that business possibilities existed here and improved them. He made the most of his opportunities and in so doing he became one of the builders and promoters of Maroa and contributed in large measure to its progress. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian church here, became one of its first elders and contributed generously to its support, while taking a helpful part in its work in other ways. He died in the year 1879, respected by all who knew him. His name should be inscribed on the roll of pioneers of Macon county and he should ever be held in grateful remembrance by the residents of the town, who are now enjoying the results of his labors. He came of Scotch-Irish descent, tracing his ancestry back to colonial times, and since that period the Crockers have had marked influence in making history in the various communities in which they have resided.

John H. Crocker, whose name introduces this record, supplemented his early educational privileges by pursuing a course of study in Illinois College, at Jacksonville, Illinois, and later he engaged in teaching school for two years. He then studied civil engineering and was then engaged in that line of business in connection with the Illinois Central Railroad until 1857, and with the Cairo & Fulton Railroad from 1857 until the war broke out. He was known as a loyal advocate of the Union but he could not enlist on account of his health. However, he rendered valuable aid to his country by engineering the erection of the breastworks at Birds Point and he was also inspector of cotton in Tennessee. Following the close of the war Mr. Crocker turned his attention to the grain and lumber business and later he joined his father in the lumber business. In these connections he became widelv known as a representative of the trade interests in Maroa, and the extent of his operations made him one of the leading merchants and financiers here. He prospered in his undertakings because his judgment was rarely at fault and because he possessed a large share of that energy which is the foundation of all success.

On the 23d of January, 1853, Mr. Crocker was united in marriage to Miss Louisa P. Philbrook, a daughter of Seth and Margaret (Ward) Philbrook. She was born in Granville, Ohio, and was educated in the seminary at that place. Her father was a farmer by occupation and removed with his family from the Buckeye state to Vandalia, Illinois, where he lived until 1865. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Crocker were born seven children, of whom four are living: George L., of Springfield. Illinois, who married Elizabeth Grimes and has two children: John, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work; Margaret Philbrook, wife of Dr. McLean; Anna Louise, the wife of W.F. Black, of Decatur: and three that died in infancy. Mrs. Crocker now has an adopted daughter, Elsie May, who lives at home. She is a graduate of Monticello Seminary, of Godfrey, Illinois.

In his political views Mr. Crocker was an earnest Republican and served as the first mayor of Maroa. In matters of citizenship he was ever found on the side of advancement and he labored for the future as well as the present welfare of the city in which he so long made his home. He was chosen to represent his district in the legislature, and when concerned with the affairs of the same showed the same loyalty to the public good that he manifested in his home town. A strong temperance man, he advocated the cause both by precept and example and labored untiringly to secure the abolition of the liquor evils. He belonged to the Royal Templars and served as supreme counselor. Fraternally he was connected with the Masonic lodge and with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His Christian faith was indicated by his membership in the Presbyterian church and was exemplified in his daily life. His wife shared with him in his interest in the church and its work, she being also a member and thus in this as in many other things their relation was a most congenial one and their married life was fraught with much happiness. In the year 1890 Mr. Crocker was called to his final rest. He had started out in life empty handed, having nothing save a good education as the foundation upon which to build, but he achieved both character and fortune, leaving to his family a handsome competence and an honored name. Worthy of emulation is his life record and honored is his memory. The world is better for his having lived and Maroa especially benefited by his efforts in her behalf.

Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois (1903), pg. 189-190

Top of Page



John H. CULVER

The term "captains of industry" is a familiar one in the parlance of the day and has arisen from the conditions existing at the present age of the world's history when business activity has replaced the records of wars and conquests. The men who awaken public attention and regard are they who are controlling the large commercial and industrial interests of the country. Each city has its representative men who have worthily won this title through their management of extensive business concerns. The praise and compliment it implies is due John H. Culver, of Decatur, whose association with important industries has caused him to be classed among the leading residents of this city and made him a man of wealth, notwithstanding that in his career there have been days of trial and discouragement when disaster threatened and defeat seemed imminent. His capability, perseverance and honorable dealing have triumphed over adversity and now he stands as one of the foremost representatives of business life not only in Decatur but in Illinois as well.

A native of Christian county, this state, John H. Culver was born on the 26th day of December, 1858, a son of Edward and Elizabeth (Scott) Culver. The father was a farmer by occupation and also engaged in stock-raising. He became well known as a landowner in Nebraska but made his home in Macon county until 1883, when he removed to the west. He passed away in Blue Mound, Illinois, in 1891, at the age of sixty-two and his wife died in 1884.

John H. Culver was only five years of age when brought by his parents to Macon county. Here under the parental roof he was reared and at the age of sixteen he supplemented his early educational privileges by study in the normal school at Taylorville. When he had completed a thorough business course he accepted a position in the office of his brother, J.S. Culver, of Taylorville, who was owner of an extensive monument establishment there and at several other points. John H. Culver soon mastered the business and became superintendant of the plants. On attaining his majority, however, he returned to Macon county and through the succeeding three years was engaged in teaching school with good success. On the expiration of that period he rejoined his brother, who in the meantime had established headquarters at Springfield, Illinois, and there he devoted his entire attendtion to the mastery of all the details of monumental work save the strictly mechanical part of the business. At nine different points in Illinois his brother had established monumental works and was in control of a mammoth enterprise in that line. John H. Culver eventually became a partner in the enterprise and soon afterward they closed all the branch yards and greatly increased the capacity of the central establishment. They concentrated their work and business there, their patronage being very extensive and their work returning them a splendid income. Their partnership continued for four years, at the end of which time John H. Culver sold out and came to Decatur, arriving in 1889.

In the meantime the business of the firm met with disaster, not through any lack of capable management but because they discharged a debt or obligation of honor which left them financially crippled. They had endorsed for the contractor on government work at Fort Riley, Kansas, and as he failed to carry out his contract, it was finished by the Culver Brothers, but this left them in very straitened financial circumstances. When John H. Culver arrived in Decatur he had but one hundred and fifty-eight dollars, and within the fourteen years which have since elapsed he has become one of the wealthy men of this part of the state. During the two years following his removal to Decatur he was upon the road as a traveling salesman for his monument house and his business reached a phenomenal figure. He worked night and day to retrieve his lost fortunes and his efforts were ceaseless until he had passed the financial goal which he had previously reached. In 1891 he opened a small establshment for the handling of electrical supplies. Not long after this R.F. Piatt obtained a franchise from the city for commerical lighting, but failing in the conduct of this business Mr. Culver and his partners fell heir, in a way, to his franchise and shortly after securing another franchise they incorporated the Municipal Electric Company of Decatur, with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars and Mr. Culver as the president. Thus he entered upon a new field of labor, which he has expanded and developed until the scope of his efforts is most far-reaching, the work proving of benefit to many cities as well as a source of great remuneration to himself. The business of the new company was successfully managed for a few years but in 1895 failing health compelled Mr. Culver to seek a change of climate and he went to Florida. Upon his return a few months later he found the concern in the hands of a receiver, but with his customary energy he took hold of the business and within ten months the receiver was discharged and the enterprise once more on a paying basis. The capable control and business foresight of Mr. Culver were manifest in the constantly increasing success attendant upon this enterprise and in 1898 the plant was sold by him for one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. For a number of years he has been engaged in the building and control of various light, water and heating plants all over the state of Illinois and yet retains ownership of these, including the Tuscola Light & Heating Plant and an interest in the Assumption Light & Heating Company. He was also at one time the owner of a similar plant at Moweaqua, Illinois. In addition to his own plants Mr. Culver has built many plants for others throughout the state, including the Capitol lighting plant for the state of Illinois at Springfield.

He who reads between the lines will learn of the wonderful managerial ability, marked foresight, undaunted energy and aboe all the indefatigable industry of John H. Culver, who within the comparatively short space of fourteen years has built up a fortune which would be regarded by many as a splendid achievement of an entire lifetime. He has made judicious investments of his increasing capital in real estate and now has large property interests, including four thousand acres of land in Minnesota, several hundred acres in the corn belt of Illinois and also property in Missouri and Nebraska. He owns the Platt, Mueller & Wheatland block, the postoffice block, the Culver building and other valuable property in Decatur, and through his investments in this direction has done much for the material improvement of the city.

On the 11th of March, 1886, in Macon county, was celebrated the marriage of John H. Culver and Miss Florence Hight, a daughter of R.W. Hight, of Macon township, and unto them have been born two children, Elizabeth and Ruth, both attending school in this city. Mrs. Culver has indeed been a faithful companion and helpmate to her husband, encouraging him in the dark days of his adversity and even assisting his efforts by acting as his bookkeeper for two years after he again started in business in this city. She now presides with gracious and charming hospitality over their beaurigul home at No. 412 Prairie avenue, one of the finest residences of the city, and containing one of the most complete libraries of the city. This home is supplied with all that wealth can secure and refined taste suggest and is a fitting monument to the life and labors of its owner. Both Mr. and Mrs. Culver are members of the Grace Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Culver exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party and keeps well informed on the issues of the day and the great questions effecting the nation's welfare at home and in its relations with foreign powers. He is the secretary of the chamber of commerce of Decatur and is untiring in his efforts to further the material welfare of the city. Fraternally he is connected with the Ionic Lodge, No. 312, F.& A.M., of which he is a past master; Macon Chapter, No.21, R.A.M.; Decatur Council, R.& S.M.; and Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, K.T.; and he takes a deep interest in the working of the craft. He is also a member of Mahommed Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Peoria. He likewise belongs to the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks, of which he is a charter member, and socially is connected with the Decatur and Country Clubs. In the fraternal organizations he is classed as a most valued member because of his absolute fidelity to the principles which form the elemtents of friendship. In a review of his business career it seems almost phenomenal, cannot be attributed to any fortunate combination of circumstances. On the contrary he has never let pass an opportunity to better his condition by hard work, and there have been times in his business career when he worked almost night and day. He has ever been conspicuous among his associates, not only for his success but for his probity, fairness and honorable methods. His identification with industrial interests in Decatur covers fourteen years and his labors have extended far beyond the bounds of this city. During this entire time he has so conducted his affairs as to merit the confidence and esteem of the entire community and no word of censure has ever been uttered against his actions. To him has largely been due the expansion of industrial interests and while far-reaching have been his efforts and brilliant his success, his labors have also proven of great benefit to the general public in the stimulus given to business activity.

From Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, 1903, p. 339 - 341


ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL INFO: John H. Culver died 5 July 1943 in Decatur, Macon Co., IL. His beautiful home, one of the finest in the city, fell into disrepair over the years, and faced demolition. An enterprising group in Chicago, Landmarks Illinois realized what such a loss would mean and placed the house on their top ten list for the year 2000 of historical sites that were endangered. The Historic Decatur Foundation is in charge of the project. Click here to see photos taken during the exterior restoration.



Top of Page






Home
Biography
Index Page



This Page Was Last Updated  

Copyright 2011 by Gayle Jones for ILGenWeb



All materials contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of individuals engaged in researching their personal genealogy. Any commercial use or any use for which money is asked or paid for any reason is strictly prohibited.