The following biography was included as part of Mr. Maffit's obituary at the time of his death in 1912. Click here to read the complete obituary.
D.A. MAFFIT AND DECATUR
Leader in Many Activities Passes Sturdy, Progressive and a Builder
David A. Maffitt was one of the fine specimens of the second generation, the one that followed the pioneers in this part of Illinois. He possessed in full measure the characteristics of that generation, the energy, the aggressiveness, the business acumen and the intense eagerness to build and improve. As the statement of these qualities indicates, he was an active man all his life till his illness fell upon him heavily.
BORN HERE IN 1848
He was born on the north bank of the Sangamon river on Dec. 28, 1848, in the house that was burned down on Sept. 6, 1909. His father, Robert Maffit, was of Irish birth and Pennsylvania development, and his mother was of German extraction, one of the Pennsylvania Dutch, whose descendants have done so much for Illinois. They were strong, sturdy people, physically well equipped for their trip by wagon to Illinois from York county, Pa., in 1838.
FATHER BUYS MILL
Robert Maffit stopped in Piatt county on his way here and for two or three years worked in a grist mill on the Sangamon river there. Then he set out for himself, arriving in Decatur in 40. Shortly afterward he purchased the grist mill which stood a short distance north of the present eighty acre tract surrounding the mill. This land D.A. Maffit bought from his fathers estate and held till his death.
D.A. Maffit attended such schools as there were in the neighborhood and received an elementary education in them. Sturdiness was one of the chief requirements of the time, and he grew to be one of the sturdiest. The country was poor then. Fortunes that are now extensive had not yet been founded. It was necessary for everyone to work and work hard. Work the boy did long before he reached the age at which boys now quit marbles. He helped his father in the mill and when he was still a mere youngster. Afterward when his father died D.A. Maffit was thirteen years old then he became one of the main reliance of the large family.
From his twelfth to his sixteenth year he lived in the atmosphere of excitement created by the war. They were hard years, in which money was scarce and luxuries were unknown, but they developed them rapidly in both mind and body and fitted him for the long and successful business career which followed.
RIVER MILL ABANDONED
In 1865 the water power mill became obsolete because of the growth of the number of steam plants and of the difficulty of getting enough power from so sluggish a stream as the Sangamon. The mill had been a widely known spot. Farmers had brought their wheat and corn to it from many miles around. But the country was growing rapidly and such conveniences as mills multiplied. Also, the arrival of the railroads had made the necessities of life much easier to reach. The result was that the mill was abandoned and the machinery sold.
IN MILK AND ICE BUSINESS
Mr. Maffit thereupon went into the milk and ice business in a small way at first and then to a larger extent. As he grew older he quickly became a figure in the town, his energy, his quick and ready wit and his inborn hospitality marking him as a man of parts.
Supplying milk and ice for any community is not work for the weak. It means close attention and hard labor, as hard as there is. As long as his health permitted Mr. Maffit was always in the midst of his business; he was his own most industrious laborer. He was up early and to bed late and always he was busy. As his business increased the demands on his strength also increased. Possibly that was the reason for his physical breakdown when he was still a young man and for his death when he should have had years of valuable activity ahead of him.
RAISED FINE HORSES
D.A. Maffit was not of age yet when he won reputation as a breeder and raiser of fine horses. For many years his horses, road and draft, were famous hereabouts. He always had the best roadsters in the county and at times he had fast track animals. Men who attended the Republican rallies in the 80s still remember vividly the skittish, prancing animals he always drove at the head of parades. Few others would dare handle those horses under the circumstances, but no Republican parade could be complete without him and his horses in those days of political demonstrations.
HARVESTING ICE CROPS
The milk department of Mr. Maffits business lasted close to twenty years and was then sold. The ice business was continued on a larger scale as the local call for ice became more extensive. Some years were good and some were bad, depending on what the winter furnished in the way of ice crops. When the river froze enough for an ice harvest it gave scores, and even hundreds, of men employment in the coldest weather. At such favorable times, Mr. Maffit put up thousands of tons of ice. He always supervised the harvesting of the ice crops himself at the cost of immense effort and labor. The last of these crops was put up in 1905.
For years Mr. Maffit was in business by himself. Then for two years the late W.W. Foster was his partner. Later for a long time B.A. McGorray was his partner, and for a long time Maffit & McGorray did nearly all the ice business in Decatur. After the dissolution of this firm an ice war followed, to be succeeded in turn by the amalgamation of D.A. Maffit & Son, the Decatur Ice company and the Macon Ice company into the Decatur Ice company, of which Mr. Maffit was secretary and treasurer up to his death. His son, Robert U. Maffit, has been the manager of this concern for several years.
In real estate Mr. Maffit at one time dealt extensively and with marked success. He laid out several additions, the Ammann & Maffit, the Ammann and the Maffit additions.
PROMINENT IN POLITICS
Politically Mr. Maffit was a prominent figure as long as his health held out. He was in the thick of every political fight in Decatur for thirty years. He was chairman of various Republican central committees at different times and was delegate to many state and congressional conventions. He was a member of the board of supervisors for a time, but he never held any county office. In 1892 he was a candidate for sheriff, but along with James Millikin and the others on the Republican ticket he was buried in the Democratic landslide of that year.
For close to twenty years Mr. Maffit was a highway commissioner of Decatur township. Decatur owes him lasting gratitude for what he did in that long term in the way of building roads and bridges. On funds from a fifth to a third of what are available now he did wonders that have never been duplicated by his successors. He was the discoverer of the value of gravel for roads in these parts and he evolved methods of road construction that have not been improved by college professors or skilled engineers.
The Bloomington road was the first Mr. Maffit graveled. He carried out his project in the face of strong opposition from the residents so confident was he of the value of his ideas. The road was a success, even more than he expected, and he had no more opposition. He graveled other roads as rapidly as the township funds allowed, improving nearly all the main highways out of Decatur to the township limits. He got nothing like adequate pay for this service, only the small per diem allowed the commissioners. His work was therefore practically a gift to the township for no other man of his ability could have been found to do it at the price.
BUILDS MANY BRIDGES
Nearly all the existing bridges in Decatur township were built while Mr. Maffit was highway commissioner and under his direction.. He was the head and shoulders of the board and most of the rest of it too while he was a member.
He had great influence with the supervisors. It was said of him that the county board never refused his petition for county aid to the township after he won a memorable suit over the payment of what the county had promised for the St. Louis bridge.
Level roads were his ideal. To that end he cut down hills and filled hollows so that traffic into and out of the city could be conducted with ease. He not only improved then existing roads but also laid out new ones. One of the roads he laid out was the East William street road, leading to Spanglers bridge. He carried the rod for the surveyor who staked the road and waded in water waste deep to do it.
INTIMATE OF GREAT MEN
Mr. Maffit was the friend of governors and senators and judges and even presidents. Men high in political and business life valued him for his practical wisdom and his eternal conservativeness. One distinguished friend often said of him:
He has more good, common sense than other man I know. The quality is rare and to be valued with it is met.
In spite of the fact that Mr. Maffit had been out of active business life for several years and of social life for two or three years, he will be greatly missed in Decatur. Few other men had as many warm friends as he had and among his friends he numbered the leading and most influential people of the city.
SUPPORTS PUBLIC PROJECTS
In more ways than those already recited, he was a leading citizen of Decatur for decades. Whenever money was to be raised for a public or semi-public project he was called on to go out and solicit funds. He himself was a liberal contributor, though he was never wealthy.
It is a peculiar fact that in spite of his importance in Decatur he was never really a resident of the city till a little over two years before his death. He always lived outside the city limits till his house burned down in 1909. Then he moved into Decatur and for the first time became a voter in the city.
HELPS ORGANIZE CLUBS
Mr. Maffit was one of the organizers of the Decatur club and was president of it twice. He resigned from it only recently. He was also one of the organizers and frequenters of the Country club, of which he was a director till shortly before his death. He was a member of Ionic lodge, No. 312, A.F. & A.M., and of Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, K.T. For many years, too, he was member of Mohammed Shrine of Peoria.
MR. MAFFITS FAMILY
Mr. Maffit on Dec. 15, 1878, married Miss Flora Usrey, daughter of Mrs. William J. Usrey, 515 West Praire avenue. Her father, Captain Usrey, was one of the early newspaper owners and editors of Decatur and was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and was also one of the organizers of the Republican party. Mrs. Maffit died July 28, 1899.
Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Maffit, and three are living. They are Robert U. Maffit, Mrs. William H. Wehmeier of Hanford, Wash., and Miss Margaret Maffit of Decatur. The third child was Miss Georiga Maffit, who died on Sept. 6, 1909, from burns sustained when the Maffit house was destroyed.
The Maffit house was one of the famous places in Decatur. It was a center of social activity and its hospitality was proverbial.
The Daily Review (Decatur), 2 Apr 1912
W.J. Magee, the present steward of the county poor farm, is a native of Sangamon county, Illinois, and was born about nine miles north-east of Springfield, on the thirty-first of May, 1844. His great-grandfather was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to this country and settled in the state of Delaware. His father, John Magee, was born in Delaware, emigrated to Ohio when eighteen years old, and married Elizabeth Norris. He moved to Illinois in 1843, first settling in Moultrie county, and the next year moving to Sangamon, where the subject of this sketch was born. W.J. Magee was the fifth of seven children. He lived in Sangamon county till 1850, when his father moved to Macon county, and settled on a farm near Decatur, and is now living in Whitmore township, where he has filled the office of constable for the last twenty years. Mr. Magee was living at home till toward the close of the war of the rebellion, when (on the fourth of February, 1865) he enlisted in Co. K, One Hundred and fifty-second Illinois Infantry. From Springfield the regiment went to Tennessee and was stationed at Nashville and Tullahoma; afterward at Louisville, Kentucky and then at Memphis. It was principally employed in guard duty. He was mustered out of the service at Memphis, September eighteenth, 1865, and returned to Macon county. September twenty-third, 1866, he married Fannie Musselman, who was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and was principally raised at Monticello, Piatt county. In 1871 he purchased land and now owns a farm of one hundred and thirty-four acres in Whitmore township. He has had five children, John J., A. Mary, Samuel K., Marcus D., who died in infancy, and Ada Estella. For two years he has had charge of the county poor farm, the affairs of which under his management have been carried on with great success. He is one of the warm advocates of the cause of temperance, and is a member of the United Brethren Church.
History of Macon Co, Illinois, 1880 - p. 206
John MARSH a retired farmer and stock-dealer, now living Maroa, is one of the worthy citizens which Ohio has furnished to Macon Co, IL. He was born in Warren Co, Ohio July 12 1823, and on the maternal side is of Irish descent, his grandfather having emigrated from Ireland to America 1810. His paternal grandfather Daniel MARSH, was a native of New Jersey, and in an early day emigrated to Ohio. The father of our subject, Jesse MARSH, was also born in the same state, and throughout his entire life followed the occupation of farming. He married (22 May 1819 Warren Co, Ohio) Ann SLOAN, who was born (1796) in Ireland, and they became the parents of four children: Daniel deceased; John of this sketch; William of Champaign Co, IL; And Jane, who has passed away. The father died in Ohio January 1847(1848), at age fifty-two years, and his wife, who was a member of the Presbyterian Church, was called to home beyond October 15 1862 (Macon Co, ILFriends creek Cemetery). No event of special importance occured during the youth of our subject, who remained under the parental roof until after he had arrived at years of matureity, and in the old-time log schoolhouse aquired his education. After he became a man he followed pump-making in various states. As a helpmate on life's journey, he chose Miss Henrietta SHERMAN, daughter of Peter and Catherine SHERMAN, of Ohio. Their union celebrated 1844 (29 July 1844 Warren Co, Ohio), was blessed with five sons and four daughters. One child died in infancy and Catherine, Granville, Malinda and Belle are also deceased. Alfred who resides on a farm near Maroa, married Alice DRAKE, and they have a son Roy. William who lives near Maroa, married Emma WADDELL, and they have five children: Frank, Gracie, Walter, Bessie and John. Jesse married Mrs. Ella (RAY) SHIELDS and unto them two children, Charles H. and Hazel. John wedded Maggie CRAMER, and with their daughter, Linnie B., they reside east of Maroa. The mother (Henrietta) of this family died in 1862 (Feb 1863 Piatt Co, IL Ater Cemetery), and on 11 Dec 1864, Mr (John) MARSH(Sr.) wedded Miss Mary BOYLAND, daughter of William and Elizabeth (SKERRIT) BOYLAND, natives of Ireland. They crossed the Atlantic when young, were married in Canada, then became residents of Troy, New York, where Mrs. (Mary BOYLAND) MARSH was born, she being the youngest of a family of nine children. Her father died October 22, 1849, at the age of fifty-nine years; and her mother passed away December 15, 1851, at the age of fifty-six. They were members of the Episcopal Church. The year 1850 witnessed the arrival of Mr.(John) MARSH (SR.) in Illinois. He located on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Piatt Co, IL, which he entered from the Government, and afterward bought and sold land to a considerable extent. In 1866 he came to Maroa, where he lived for two and a half years engaged in the stock business, when he bought a farm of three hundred and twenty acres, five miles east of the city. There he spent the suceeding thirteen years of his life engaged in agricultural pursuits, and to his possessions he added until he had eight hundred acres, which he still owns. In March 1880, he retired from farm life, and since that time he and his wife have made their home in Maroa, where they have a large circle of warm friends. They are members of the Presbyterian Church, in which Mrs. (Mary BOYLAND) MARSH takes an active part. Fraterally, Mr. (John) MARSH (SR.) is connected with Maroa Lodge No. 454 A.F. & A. M. In politics, he is a Democrat, and has served as Supervisor in Maroa and Friend's Creek Townships. Our subject has led a busy and useful life. When a young man of twenty years he went by steamboat from Cincinnati, (Ohio) to New Orleans, (Louisiana) with a kit of tools for pump-making, and after six months spent in the Crescent City returned to (Warren Co,) OHIO. He made his pumps by boring out logs. He made the first public pumps in Springfield, Illinois, putting one on each corner of the Old State-House square, and on these he branded his name. This was 1850. Those pumps did service for many years, and while in the capital city he also made a pump for Abraham Lincoln. Mr. (John) MARSH (SR.) made the first sucessful open-ditching machine which was used in this part of the country, to which twent-four yoke of oxen were attached. He afterward devoted his time and attention exclusively to farming and stock-raising. For many years he has resided in Illinois, and his well-spent life has gained him universal confidence and self-esteem. He is now retired in the enjoyment of a well earned rest. His four sons are conducting the farm.
1893 Portrait & Biographical Record Macon Co, IL pg 655-656
Submitted by Beverly Jane (HIMES) BARGER(John MARSH was my 2nd-great grandfather. I (Beverly Jane HIMES b.1939), my mother (Ella Mae MARSH b.1922) and grandfather (Charles Herbert MARSH b.1887) were born in the old two story red brick farmhouse that John built east of Maroa, IL., where my mother's brother owns and lives).
Dr. Samuel McBRIDE
Who has practiced medicine at Decatur since July, 1855, is a native of Pike county, Ohio, and was born on the 17th of December, 1822. His ancestors emigrated from Scotland to the North of Ireland and from there to America. His father, William McBride, was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvanis, in 1777, and his mother, Letitia McBride, in Westmoreland county, in the same state, near Greensburg. Shortly after their marriage his parents moved to Ohio. From Marietta, their first sopping-place, they traveled through the wilderness on foot to Ross county, where they settled in what is known as the Cat Tail swamp. This was about the year 1796 or 1798. They afterward removed to the Beach Flats, near the Sun Fish mountains, in Pike county. When the war with Great Britain broke out, in 1812, Dr. McBride's father volunteered and served under Gen. McArthur in the campaign against the British and Indians. The country in which Mr. McBride was raised was hilly and mountainous, but was old-settled, and had good common schools, which he attended, as he did also the Salem Academy. He began the study of medicine, and in 1849 was a student at the Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio. According to the old custom with young physicians, he began practice before graduation, locating at Jasper, Pike county, Ohio, on the Scioto river, between Chillicothe and Portsmouth. In the winter of 1851-2 he took his last course of lectures at the Starling Medical College, from which he graduated on the 20th of February, 1852. In 1855 he removed to Decatur and established himself in practice as a physician. He was married in September, 1867, to Miss Lida Fariss, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He is a man of studious habits, and throughout his life has been a great reader. He has been a democrat in his political belief, as was his father before him, who supported the democratic party from the time of Jefferson.
History of Macon County, Illinois, 1880, p. 139
Thomas McCluskey was born in 1842 in Monaghan County, Ireland. After the death of his natural father, Thomas' mother remarried and Thomas lived with his step-father in Ireland. Thomas left home after a conflict with his stepfather. He arrived on the ship "Tired" coming from Londonderry on 05/14/1857 at Philadelphia Port. According to his daughter, Mary, he taught himself to read and write while working in the coal mines around Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania. In the 1860 census at the age of 18 Thomas McCluskey was living with John Gibbony and his family.
His naturalization papers and tintype photograh have survived. According to his military records he was 5 foot, 6 1/2 inches tall, with a light complexion, brown hair, blue eyes at age 45. He initially enrolled for 3 months in 8th Pennsylvania Infantry in 04/1861, and was discharged in 07/1861 as underage. He then enrolled in Company D, of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry, on 09/16/1861.
The Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as the Lochiel Cavalry, trained in late 1861 at Camp Cameron, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The regiment was composed of twelve companies, raised in the counties of Dauphin, Luzerne, Lancaster, Huntingdon, Perry, Cumberland, Mifflin, Blair, Wayne, Chester, LeHigh, Susquehanna, and in the city and county of Philadelphia. In November the regiment moved by rail to Pittsburgh, and thence by boat to Louisville, Kentucky, and took up position at Jeffersonville, Indiana, opposite to Louisville. In January, 1862 the First Battalion, with Company D, under command of Colonel Williams, was positioned at Grayson Springs, KY. In March the regiment was ordered into Tennessee, the First Battalion to Springfield. The Third Battalion skirmshed during this time with Morgan.
The regiment was gathered under Colonel Williams, at Lebanon, Kentucky, in August, and was employed in keeping the State clear of Morgan and his bands. In hard campaigning the regiment became much weakened during the fall, and about one half of the men were dismounted. It was ordered to Louisville for fresh horses and equipments. After receiving these, in company with the Second Michigan, it marched to Nicholasville, KY to prepare for a raid into East Tennessee, upon the railroads communicating between the southwest and Richmond.
The raid began on December 20 when the troopers of the Ninth Pennsylvania and Second Michigan left Nicholasville. The men had no idea of the destination or purpose of the march. They knew it would be a long, hard march because they had been ordered to carry eleven days rations and 100 rounds of ammunition. They were ordered to leave their tents behind, which meant sleeping in the open during winter weather. Provisions were carried on pack mules. The next day they began their march along the current route of Kentucky State road 421 to the foot of Big Hill, which divides mountainous southeastern Kentucky from the bluegrass region. The soldiers led their horses up this long, steep hill. The column reached McKee on December 22. The expedition had to march and camp in heavy rains. On December 24, they marched toward Manchester, crossed White Oak Hill, and camped on a hill ten miles north of that town.
At Goose Creek a battalion of the Seventh Ohio joined them. The Column marched on to the Red Bird River where they camped for the night. On December 26, the column marched up the Red Bird valley, crossing the stream forty-seven times on the twenty-sixth until they reached Ascher's where they camped in the woods beside the river. Most of the next day was used reaching the head of the valley. In the evening, the column crossed Pine Mountain, marching single file along an old Indian trail, and went down into the river valley and camped at midnight on Poor Fork of the Cumberland.
During the night, the rain ended, and the weather again turned cold. On December 28, the column struggled up Poor Fork. Late in the afternoon, they reached the foot of Cumberland Mountain below Crank's Gap, about twelve miles south of Harlan. The horses were fed, the men ate a last hot meal, and then all remaining provisions were distributed into the packs of the cavalry horses and the mule train returned to KY.
The next day the column crossed Cumberland Mountain single file, skirted east of Jonesville in Powell Valley and camped near Stickleyville, twenty-two miles from the foot of Cumberland Mountain. They rode across Powell Mountain, reached Pattonsville at 1:30 P.M., continued their march along the Clinch River during the afternoon, and reached Estillville (now Gate City) after dark.
Moving into Big Moccasin Gap, north of Kingsport TN, the column met its first resistance. One soldier of the Second Michigan was killed. After clearing the gap, the raiders marched east of Kingsport and struck the Kingsport-Blountville road on Eden's Ridge in the vicinity of the present town of Indian Springs, TN. The column rode along Eden's Ridge toward Blountville. They entered this town at daylight on the thirtieth. Here they captured thirty sick Confederates in the hospital. The column proceeded, after a short rest, toward Union (now Bluff City) on the railroad twelve miles from Blountville.
The advance party found two companies of North Carolina infantry at Union, but these men surrendered without resistance. Then the advance column began to destroy the railroad bridge which, because it was wet with rain and was built mostly of green wood, did not burn readily. However, when the main body came up, enough kindling was brought in to start a hot fire in the covered bridge. The raiders also tore down the vehicular bridge, burned the depot, and destroyed a car, three wagon loads of salt, and a large number of arms.
Once the destruction at Union was well under way, the Ninth Pennsylvania was sent toward Carter's Station on the Watauga River. Along the way they captured a locomotive that the skirmishers used as a shield when they advance into the town. At Carter's Station, the 200-man garrison of North Carolinians formed a line to defend the town and the bridge. A brief fire fight ensued; but at dusk, two companies of the Ninth Pennsylvania remounted and, led by Captain Jones, charged into the town, captured it, and drove the enemy away. William Thomas recorded that a man of the Seventh Ohio was killed and two men of Company A of the Ninth were wounded in this action. Twelve or sixteen of the enemy were killed and thirteen badly wounded in this action. The other Rebels disappeared into the woods.
They then burned the bridge at the station and laid there until midnight expecting another train. Before they left they ran the Engine into the river. The destruction of the locomotive was the spectacular event of the campaign. When the bridge was blazing and nearing collapse, the engine was run onto the bridge. After passing the first pier, the locomotive crashed through the weakened structure and fell, along with the blazing bridge, into the river.
Thomas McCluskey was injured, and captured at about this time. There are conflicting records of his capture. The company muster rolls reflect that we was captured near Watauga Bridge on 31 December. The prisoner of war records reflect that he was captured at Estaville on 30 December. Family tradition says that he was holding horses for the troop, when he was kicked in the back by one of the horses, and he was left behind as the troops withdrew. He attempted to walk out of Virginia to return to Kentucky and was captured. It is likely that he was left behind near Estaville, captured, and not reported missing from the Ninth Pennsylvania until muster roll on the next day, the 31st.
He was imprisoned in Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia on January 21, 1863. It is fortunate that his unit had burned the bridges over the Railroad, otherwise he would likely have been shipped south to more notorious prison camps like Andersonville, Ga. Libby Prison was reserved for officers who were routinely exchanged with the north. He was paroled at City Point, Virginia January 26, 1863. He reported at Camp Parole, Maryland January 27, 1863. He was admitted to the General Hospital, Annapolis, Maryland January 29, 1863. He was furloughed on August 24, 1863 and transferred to Philadelphia October 3, 1863. He became a naturalized citizen in Luzerne County, PA on October 8, 1863 and had his picture taken in uniform. He remained in a convalescent camp, in Virginia through February of 1864.
By March 1864 he served on detached service at Chattanooga, Tennessee where he remained until October 1864. The Ninth Pennsylvania was given a 30 day furlough in April of 1864, most returning to Pennsylvania. From May to September the regiment was active throughout Tennessee in Louisville, Nashville and Chattanooga and chasing Wheeler in September. Thomas was returned to the active duty muster rolls of the Ninth Pennsylvania in November.
The Regiment then marched to join General Sherman at Marietta, Georgia, and on the 14th of November, started on its march with him to the sea. It was assigned to the right of the army, to the First Brigade, Third Division of Cavalry, under the command of General Judson Kilpatrick, and lead the advance to Macon and Milledgeville. On the 16th, the first day out from Atlanta, it encountered General Wheeler's cavalry at Lovejoy's Station, on the Macon Railroad. After a short encounter, the regiment charged and gained the works, capturing the enemy guns and more than three hundred prisoners. The guns were taken over by the regiment and were retained by it until the end of the war.
Early in December, while marching on Macon, it pushed Wheeler into Macon and the next day in the battle of Bear Creek it was victorious but with severe loss, having ninety-five men killed and wounded. The unit was moved to the left of the army, fainted in the direction of Augusta, crossed the Ogeechee, and marched on Millen where a Union prison Camp was located. The camp was found deserted and the 9th moved towards Louisville, Georgia, to rejoin the army. The 9th engaged in repeated battles with Wheeler's Cavalry driving them back from Buckhead Church through Waynesboro, pushing them back until it arrived at Savannah on the 21st of December.
Thomas McCluskey was mustered out due to expiration of his term of service at King's Bridge, Georgia on the 24th of December, 1864. He likely returned to Pennsylvania by sea. After the Civil War he went to Illinois. His discharge papers show the various railroad stamps of the key junctions of his trip. A term of the Civil War armistice was that returning soldiers could use their discharge papers for free railroad fare. He registered his Civil War discharge in Vandalia, Illinois, the State capital. His military discharge was recorded in Book 4, page 552 on March 19th, 1866.
Thomas married first to Susan Emma Weaver, from Pennsylvania in Macon County, Illinois. Two of his children by his first wife were born in Illinois. He is listed in Blue Mound Township, Macon County, IL living in the Catherine Weaver household in the 1870 cenus. He is listed as 26, farmer, born in PA.
Thomas acquired 80 acres in Butler County, Kansas by transfer in 1874. He resided a mile east of the now extinct Plum Grove, Kansas, where two more children were born to Susan. He lived on the south half of the Northeast Quarter of Section 6 Plum Grove Township, Kansas (Range 4 East Township 24 South). This was 80 acres, comprising the southeast corner of section 6, just a few miles north of Potwin, Kansas. The land was transferred to him on 11 May 1874.
He was not a very able farmer due to his physical condition, after the injury to his back. He made a living by purchasing and hunting game. According to his daughter Mary, he used to make extended hunting trips to the Oklahoma Territory. His neighbor, Mr. Claussen's, account books contain several references to purchases of game (turkeys) by Thomas. According to Mary, he shipped to the Chicago restaurants on the railroad.
It is noteworthy that the nearby town of Newton, Kansas was the site of the first Harvey House Restaurant which opened in 1873 on the Santa Fe Railway. This chain was begun by a Chicago business man in response the the need for adequate eating facilties along the long railroad to the southwest. It was remarkable for the sophisticated fare which included wild pheasant, and for the pleasant waitresses that were specially recruited and trained. This chain expanded along the Santa Fe and was later headquartered in Chicago. It is a logical conclusion that Thomas McCluskey was one of their first suppliers.
Susan Emma Weaver died in Kansas in 1881 during an epedemic. She is buried in the Fairmount Cemetry (AKA Lone Star), Butler County, Kansas located just a couple of miles north of the McCluskey lands. The burial site was still registered to Thomas McCluskey in the county cemetery records in 1975. Thomas owned 8 plots and only the one of eight was marked.
After the death of Thomas' first wife he returned east to Philadelphia and brought back to Kansas with him Margaret Ferry, a distant relative of his mother. She had been living in Philadelphia for four years with her sisters before she married him in Newton, Kansas. "Maggie" Ferry was from Ballyboe, Crossroads, Letterkenny, Donegal County, Ireland.
Margaret Ferry returned with Thomas to Butler County Kansas to help raise four children of Thomas' and had four children of her own by him. She was taught to shoot by her husband and was a crack shot. Thomas kept an Irish Setter called Madge, which barked when Indians came begging at the door. The cabin in Kansas used newspaper for wallpaper and had a large picture (advertisement) of a mule on one wall. The only surviving family artifact from Kansas is a pressed drinking glass. In her elder years she used to carry a revolver under her dress when walking the streets of Moorestown, New Jersey after dark. On one occasion she had cause to draw the gun when accosted by a stranger.
Kansas' first game laws were passed in 1886, restricting Thomas' livelyhood. He sent his second wife east with her children, to live with her sister in New Jersey. She stayed with the McCartney family (relatives of his mother) in Hainesport until his arrival from Kansas. He sold his farm to his neighbor John Claussen on 11/15/1888, and returned by rail bringing two ponies. During the rail trip east after the sale of the Kansas farm Thomas injured a hand on a rusty bucket, while watering the ponies on the train. He contracted blood poisoning, became delerious, was robbed and found unconcious when train arrived in Philadelphia. He died a month later on 11/17/1890.
Of his children, from the first wife, Jennie McCluskey may have run off with a man named Patterson and returned to Illinois. This is according to an old tale told by the grandfather of Ernest Claussen and repeated during conversations in 1974. Nothing has been determined regarding the other three children, who may have stayed in Kansas or returned to Illinois with their older sister.
Children of the second wife; Ann M. McCluskey never married, and owned a restaraunt in Philedelphia. Owen J. McCluskey was a bus driver in Philadelphia. Mary McCluskey, otherwise known as "Molly", resided around Moorestown, New Jersey throughout her life. Charles Thomas McCluskey worked for William French doing concrete work in Delaware and Maryland. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a fireman on locomotives hauling freight out of Bordentown.
Mary Isabel McCluskey
Civil War Pension File of Thomas McCluskey
"History of Pennsylvania Volunteers"; 1861-5, Bates, Samuel P., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1870.
One of the most highly esteemed and honored residents of Whitmore township is the lady whose name introduces this sketch, her home being on section 11, where she has a most beautiful and attractive place. She was born in Shelby county, Ohio, January 22, 1837, and is a daughter of Samuel and Christina (Fisher) Boyer, both natives of Pennsylvania. She is the only one of their ten children now living. In the county of her nativity she was reared and educated and in 1855 she gave her hand in marriage to John Meyers, who died about 1875.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Meyers were born eight children, of whom seven are still living, namely: Alice, the wife of Isaac Barnett, of Argenta, Illinois; Anna, wife of William Adams; Belle, wife of Harvey Stearns, of Decatur; Clara, at home with her mother; Edward M., who married Sadie McCarthy and lives in Indiana; Charley who married Nettie Shuter; and John, who married his cousin Fannie Boyer.
Just before the Civil war broke out Mr. and Mrs. Meyers ceame to Macon county, Illinois, and settled one and a half miles north and west of her present home in Whitmore township. At that time much of the county was wild and unimproved and wild geese and other game was to be had in abundance. For many years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Meyers conducted the farm of eighty acres on section 11, but of recent years she has rented the place. She displays excellent business ability in the management of her affairs and not only supported her family but also paid off the debt resting on the farm at the time of her husband's death, and besides her farm she now owns some Decatur property. Her place is one of the most attractive homes on the Decatur road, the front yard being literally crowded with flowers of all kinds, representing nearly every native specie, and she takes great delight in showing her flowers to the many who call to see them. Her pleasant and comfortable residence was erected about 1887 and the other buildings upon the farm are good and substantial. For thirty years Mrs. Meyers has been an active and consistent member of the Christian church and her life has ever been in harmony with her professions. During her long residence in Macon county she has witnessed the marvelous tranformation in the face of the country; wild prairies have been converted into well cultivated and highly improved farms; towns have sprung up and villages grown into flourishing cities; railroads, the telegraph and telephone have been introduced; and all the evidence of an adavanced civilization are now found within its borders.
Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois (1903), pg. 170-173
Frederick W. MILLER
Frederick W. Miller, a retired farmer who makes his home in Maroa, is of German birth. His parents, Philip and Charlotte Miller, were natives of Prussia. They had three children: Frederick W., Louisa and Henry. Out subject was born June 11, 1832, and when a young lad of nine years was left an orphan by the death of his parents. No money came to him from the estate, and empty-handed he was thus early thrown upon his own resources. When in his tenth year he started for America in company with some friends, who located in Jackson County, Ind., upon a farm, and with whom he remained for about three years. When a youth of fourteen years he removed with the family to St. Charles, Mo., and in that neighborhood lived for fifteen years upon a farm. His entire life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits.
On the 15th of November, 1855, Mr. Miller was united in marriage with Sarah Ann Mockbee, daughter of Tillman and Anna Mockbee, who were natives of Kentucky. Four children graced their union, but Philip, Frederick and William H. are now deceased. The last-named wedded Mamie Swain, and died leaving three children: Hallie, Neta and Walter. Charles A., the only one now living is a farmer and painter. He married Miss Rose Williams, and lives in Maroa. Mrs. Sarah A. Miller died March 5, 1865, in the faith of the Methodist Church, with which she had held membership from her eighteenth year. Mr. Miller was again married, October 3, 1865, his second union being with Lydia Margatet, daughter of William and Mirian (Kramer) Stewart, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Four children were born of the second marriage. Marshall B. died at the age of three years; Anna is next in order; Lucy M. became the wife of William A. Haynes, who was killed in a railroad accident at Monticello, Ill., on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1892, leaving a son, Frederick A. Mrs. Haynes now lives with her father. Benjamin Franklin is the nest younger; and Fannie died in infancy.
In 1861 Mr. Miller enlisted in the State militia, and served until 1865. In the spring of that year he came to Macon County, Ill., and located on section 18, Maroa Township, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land. To that tract he added until he now owns four hundred acres, which yield to him a golden tribute. He also has fine city property in Decatur and Maroa. Himself and wife are member of the Presbyterian Church. Socially, he is a member of Maroa Lodge No. 454, A.F. & A.M.; and, politically, is a Democrat. We see in Mr. Miller a self-made man, who has had many obstacles and difficulties to overcome and who, though thrown upon his own resources at a very early age, has worked his way steadily upward to a position of affluence. Of his success he may be justly proud.
History of Macon Co., 1880, p. 172
John R. MILLER
John R. Miller, who resides at his beautiful home at No. 303 West Main Street is one of the well-known citizens of Decatur. He was born in Bourbon County, Ky., September 9, 1831. His father, John A. Miller was a native of the same State, and came of a family of German origin, which was founded in Kentucky in 1800. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and, as a member of Johnson's cavalry, took part in the battle with the Indian chief, Tecumseh. His death occurred in 1842. His wife bore the name of Jane Lavesque, and was of French descent. She was called to her final home in 1847.
The brother of our subject, Jacob H. Miller, was born in Bourbon Co., Ky., and came to Decatur in 1861. He had formerly lived in Crawfordville, Ind., and was an intimate friend of Lew Wallace. In his early years he was a prominent Mason. After coming to Decatur he was made Treasurer of the County Agricultural Board, which position he held for many years, or until his death. He was also Tresurer of the old volunteer fire department, and after his death the department had his portrait painted in oil to hang in their hall. He was a fine-looking gentleman, very popular, and had the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. He made his home with our subject, and there died December 14, 1881, at the age of forty-seven.
John R. Miller remained with his mother until he began serving a four-years apprenticeship to the tailor's trade, and after his term was completed he remained with his employer for several years longer. In Paris, Bourbon County, Ky., September 1, 1856, he wedded Miss Mary E. Galloway, who was born in Fayette County, Ky., February 17, 1826. Her grandfather, David Galloway, lived in Botetourt County, Va., and Mrs. Miller has in her possession an old paper dated April 18, 1779, which is his oath of allegiance to the State of Virginia. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, December 9, 1736, and died March 2, 1812. He was married September 23, 1762, to Mary Johnson, who was born August 10, 1739, and died February 12, 1813. Their marriage certificate is in the possession of Mrs. Miller, as is the old family Bible, printed in Edinburgh in 1764. Mrs. Miller also has many other interesting relics of Colonial and Revolutionary days, including some handsome needlework done by her grandmother more than one hundred years ago.
Joseph Galloway, father of Mrs. Miller, was born in Kentucky, June 25, 1782, and was married February 17, 1821, to Elizabeth Crawford, daughter of the Rev. James Crawford, a Presbyterian minister, who built the Walnut Hill Church, seven miles from Lexington, Fayette County, and to its advancement devoted his life. His old autograph hymn-book, which was printed in Philadelphia in 1795, and in which he has placed the date 1797, is in the possession of his granddaughter. It was used by him through fifty years of active service in the ministry. The centennial celebration of the erection of the old stone church built through his instrumentality was celebrated some ten years ago, and Mrs. Miller, his only surviving descendant, received a special invitation to be present on the occasion. Joseph Galloway died December 12, 1842, and his wife passed away March 2, 1845.
Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Miller removed to Decatur, where they have since made their home. He purchased property, and soon afterward began selling lots to a real-estate man. This was his beginning in real-estate dealings, which he has since extensively followed. As a member of the firm of Miller & Packard, he laid out an addition in the northwestern part of Decatur. He formerly owned the entire block on which the postoffice now stands, there making his home for thirty- five years. He has erected several of the business houses of the city, including the postoffice, which was built in 1874. He also built the City Hall. His life has been one of untiring energy and enterprise, and his perseverance and good management have won him the handsome property which is but the just reward of his labors.
In politics Mr. Miller is a stanch supporter of the Democratic party and keeps well informed on the issues of the day, but he has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. He greatly enjoys travel, and takes much delight in fishing and other outdoor sports. He has a pleasant cottage at Mackinaw Falls, where each summer he and his estimable wife spend several weeks.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon Co., IL, 1893, p. 213-214
Plain and unpretentious in manner, James Millikin’s breadth of vision and loftiness of ideals gave him a foremost place in Decatur’s citizenship. This was not along by reason of his success which, however, was notable, but also by reason of a humanity which found its expression in its helpfulness toward those who deserved assistance and his benefactions as manifest in liberal contributions to church, charity and education. The Millikin National Bank is a monument to his business enterprise; the Millikin University a monument to his public spirit. If there could be gathered in one assemblage the men who owe their present success to the timely assistance of Mr. Millkikin, the number would be astonishingly large. His aid was not only of a material character, but also at times constituted the needed word of advice or counsel that was the outcome of his own clear judgment and broad experience.
Mr. Millikin was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, August 2, 1827. He was always loath to give an account of himself, and thus are lacking many points which would prove of interest in his life history. His youthful days were spent in his father’s home, his environment being that of the farm and the district school in which he acquired his early education. A desire for broader learning, however, prompted him to eagerly take advantage of the opportunity for attending Washington College, of Pennsylvania, where he continued his studies for three years. Many members of the Millikin family were representatives of the medical fraternity, and it was hoped and believed by his family that James Millikin might determine upon the medical profession as a life work, but his views did not coincide with the family wish, as he believed that his talents lay in other directions. To the west with its limitless opportunities he turned his attention. He realized the face that the broad and rich Mississippi valley must eventually become thickly populated as the tide of emigration was steadily flowing in that direction. To Illinois he therefore made his way in 1848, and choosing Danville, Vermillion county, as his place of location, turned his attention to the livestock business, raising, purchasing and trading in stock of all kinds. He also rented farms upon which he pastured and fed his stock, and in control of his business interests showed keen discernment, excellent executive ability and unfaltering enterprise. There early came to him a realization of the fact that earnest labor, intelligently directed, constitutes the safest foundation upon which to build success, and throughout his entire life he remained a busy man. Even in his later years when liberal success crowned his efforts, he had no idle hours, for when business did not claim his attention, reading and travel were entered into with the same zest that he gave to commercial and financial problems.
Very early in his business career Mr. Millikin came to recognize opportunities that others passed heedlessly by. He saw that land must naturally increase in property valuation, he made extensive and judicious investments in Illinois and southwestern Iowa, secuiring much of his land for a dollar and a quarter per acre. He was the original owner of the tract upon which the town of Bement, Illinois, now stand, and by purchase there came into his possession many acres of broad prairie upon which no improvements had been made but which in due course of time commanded a high market price.
Decatur, too, showed the usual signs of growth and development, and in fact seemed imbued with a spirit of enterprise and progress that promised well for the future. Accordingly Mr. Millikin turned his attention to this city, of which he became a resident in 1856, remaining here until his death, which occurred fifty-three years later. He did not change his occupation with his residence, however, but continued to deal in lands, city real estate and livestock, thus becoming recognized as one of the prosperous and enterprising men of Decatur.
It has been said that Mr. Millikin reached Decatur with seventy-five thousand dollars which he had made in the previous six years. This was a fortune for those days, and when some of the citizens learned the sum of his capital they approached him with the proposition that he should engage in banking here. At or shortly before that time the banking business in Decatur was not flourishing. Financial institutions had been established, but had failed. This mark of confidence in Mr. Millikin was appreciated by him, and although he knew nothing from practical experience about the banking business, by that time he had become cognizant of his own capacities and powers in the business world, and he believed that he could master the intricacies of banking as other men had done. In 1860, therefore, the Millikin Bank, then a private institution, opened its doors for business. Its office was in the old Railroad Bank building on Merchant street, and over the door was the sign, "James Millikin, Banker." The Railroad Bank had failed a short time before, and Decatur’s thirty-eight hundred people had had their confidence in banking institutions somewhat shaken. Mr. Millikin’s efforts, however, were followed with a measure of success that encouraged him to continue in the business. In 1863 he admitted J.Q.A. Odor to a partner ship under the style of Millikin & Odor, but this relation was soon dissolved. His next partner, admitted in 1865, was Jerome R. Gorin, at which time the firm style of J. Millikin & Company was assumed. The two gentlemen remained as sole proprietors until 1881, when Mr. Gorin withdrew, the bank, however, continuing under the style of J. Millikin & Company until 1897, when it was incorporated and became the Millikin National Bank. Mr. Gorin, however, was succeeded by his son Orville B. Gorin, who had been with the bank from 1865, and later Milton Johnson became a partner, but sold his interests to Parke Hammer in January, 1892. Four years later Mr. Hammer died, and soon afterward J.M. Brownback acquired an interest. These were all the partners Mr. Millikin had up to 1897, when the bank of J. Millikin & Company passed out of existence and incorporated the Millikin National Bank.
While the name of the bank remained so long unchanged, its home has undergone many changes, both in location and dimension. The increasing business necessitated larger quarters, and the spirit of enterprise which has ever been characteristic of the institution, demanded a more modern equipment for the conduct of the business. The first removal was made in 1864 to the north side of East Main street, and in 1880 greatly improved offices were secured at the corner of East Main and Water streets. The tearing down of the old building and the erection of the new Millikin Bank block necessitated a removal in 1894 to temporary quarters, and on the 12th of February, 1910, the present building was occupied. With regard to size, convenience, impregnability of money vaults and safety deposit vaults, the bank is unequalled by any in Illinois outside of Chicago. The years between 1865 and 1881, on which latter date Jerome R. Gorin withdrew, constitute a period within which the bank’s solid and lasting foundations were laid and during which it passed through its most trying vicissitudes. It was founded on such a safe, conservative policy, however, that it stood up under even the great financial stress of 1873. This was largely due to the faith and confidence which the public reposed in its owners. The growth of the business is indicated by the fact that while it was "next to nothing in 1860, in 1910 its business totaled five million dollars." This has been the result of steady growth and the wise business management and keen discernment of Mr. Millikin and his partners. In a contemporary publication appeared the following: "The dominating characteristics of James Millikin were honesty, intelligence, industry and prudence, with broad benevolence underlying all. And it is a mistaken idea, if such a notion exists, that his benevolence was almost wholly general and seldom shown in individual cases. But, while we know that in his personal capacity he helped numerous persons to whom he could not lend the bank’s funds, it is as a banker we wish now to consider him. From the first to last he rang clear and true in answer to the prime question every careful would-be depositer silently asks in his heart of a banker: Is he honest? There was never a doubt of this at any time in his career. The next questions: Has he the requisite business sagacity? The necessary prudence and conservativeness? The sound, true judgment of men and affairs that a banker must have to succeed? Were all answered, year after year, with increasing emphasis in the affirmative. Not in a day, nor a year, nor a decade, did he build to the top his reputation as a banker, but in a half century. And at no time in all these years did he lose the confidence of those who entrusted their money to his care. Mr. Millikin’s personal investments in nearly every instance were remunerative. And the investments and loans of the bank as a rule were wisely and safely placed."
One of Mr. Millikin’s forces of success as a banker was his keen understanding of me. He was seldom if ever at fault in judging an individual. Long after he had become one of the most successful bankers of Illinois he said that frequently he loaned men five times as much as they were worth because he believed in their ability to successfully control the business in which they were engaged. It was ever true of the record made by his bank that it never refused to pay on demand to any man who had a deposit there, and when, in the latter part of 1907, banks in all parts of the country were suspending active payment and giving clearing house certificates or other paper forms that were not exactly money, Mr. Millikin determined not to break the record which he had made in always giving cash on demand, and going into a market bought currency for which he paid a handsome premium. As it turned out, he did not need the money, but he was ready if he had been asked for it, and thus was qualified to maintain the clear record of the bank untarnished.
The building up of an institution of the character of the Millikin Bank would alone entitle its promoter to the definite consideration and high honor of his fellowmen. This was not all Mr. Millikin did, however, for Decatur. He financed many business projects which have been of material benefit to the city. He stood behind the Union Iron Works until it had passed the critical stage in its existence, securing the services of good men, and did much to make the enterprise one of the most successful manufacturing concerns of the city. Many other valuable industries were well started and prosperously conducted owing to his material assistance and wise counsel, and his well formulated plans. Many who received assistance from Mr. Millikin became strong men in the growth of the city, and the enterprises that employed their energies made the town. His own business career was not always one of continuous progress. In the earlier years it was one of continuous, arduous effort. He was forced to exercise the most watchful care to make the business Successful, but always he held to the ideals which he set up for himself and never did he abandon a plan which his judgment sanctioned as the wisest course to follow.
A side light is thrown upon his personal character in the statement of one who knew him well: "Mr. Millikin became the richest man in Macon county, yet with most of us the first thought of the man, even after knowing him for years, was not that of a money-maker. He, of course, had to give much time to money-making, and yet he had much time to spare for something else. Those who met him in a social way were never bored by him by discussions on the art of acquiring wealth. He had something else to talk about and he talked well. Even at the bank, if you called to see him about a matter outside of the business of the house, he would sit down and talk for an hour and a half about anything and everything that had no possible connection with banking or money-making. He was indeed a most interesting companion."
Others have characterized Mr. Millikin as "the greatest benefactor Decatur ever had." He gave more than a half million dollars during his lifetime to benefactions. His gifts to Millikin University approximate four hundred and forty thousand dollars, and the Anna B. Millikin home received property and cash aggregating forty thousand dollars, while the Young Men’s Chrisitan association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and different churches were the recipients of large sums. His plan for a university took definite form when, on the 13th of May, 1900, he made a formal offer to Dr. W.J. Darby, secretary of the Educational Society of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in Decatur, and Rev. A.W. Hawkins, pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian, to found an institution of learning in Decatur under the auspices of this denomination. It was while attending Jefferson College that he recognized the lack of facilities for higher education for the masses of young people, and resolved that some day, if he prospered, he would make provision to meet the need. It was in this way that he explained to President Roosevelt on the day of the dedication of the university the founding of the institution. He offered to donate Oakland Park as a site for the college and pay the sum of two hundred thousand dollars in cash provided the synods of Illinois, Indiana and Iowa of the Cumberland Presbyterian church would raise one hundred thousand and Decatur, a similar amount for its support. On the 1st of January 1901, he was notified that his conditions had been met. The work was vigorously prosecuted, and on the 1st of July, 1901, Dr. A.R. Taylor, formerly of Kansas State Normal School, was installed president of the institution. The buildings were dedicated June 4, 1903, with imposing ceremonies, the dedicatory address being delivered by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Millikin was ever a most plain and unassuming man, who disliked notoriety, and even on the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the main part of the university buildings, he refused to appear upon the platform, and after mingling quietly with the crowd for a few moments, he slipped away as quietly as he had come. The university, however, was the embodiment of a plan which he had long held and cherished, and he was greatly pleased over the surprising development of the school, not only in the structure of the buildings, but also in the equipment and exhibits of the technical and scientific departments. "In giving this institution of learning to the people James Millikin revealed the depth and breadth of his underlying benevolence. The university is a striking concrete proof of his spirit of philanthropy – philanthropy that partakes both of the individual and of the general."
Mr. Millikin married Miss Ann B. Aston, a daughter of Rev. S.M. Aston, and their first home was the property at William and Edward streets, now known as the Bohon place. In 1862 the property at Pine and Main streets was purchased and the home, with the improvements that have been added, make it one of the finest residences of central Illinois. Mr. Millikin passed away on the 2d of March, 1909, at the advance age of eighty-two years. The Decatur Herald, in commenting upon him, said: "Mr. Millikin possessed the breadth of vision that raised him above the men who only claim to distinction is mere wealth. After he had acquired wealth, he looked about for ways in which to spend it. He saw much of his own country, and while foreign lands, which draw to their shores so many Americans, had little fascination for him, he kept his eyes open, and even in his declining years became a student of educational matters."
In the perspective of the years the work of James Millikin will grown larger rather than smaller. It is a well known fact that the people of mediocre ability are forgotten while those who are of real importance to the community come to their real place as facors in the upbuilding of the city. The life record of James Millikin, faultless in honor, fearless in conduct and stainless in reputation, is indeed a most creditable chapter in the history of Decatur.
City of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois, by the HON. William E. Nelson, Editor, Vol., II, Pioneer Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1910, pg. 5-12
The subject of this sketch, the son of John B. Moffett and Polly A. Taylor, was born December 14th, 1836, in the town of Rushville, Schuyler county. He was five years old when his father located on his farm in this township, and was here raised up to the calling of a farmer. He received a fair common school education in his younger days, and at least sufficient to qualify him well for the ordinary business transactions of life.
June 26th, 1860, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth J. McDonnald, daughter of James and Chrysteyann McDonnald, natives of Indiana county, PA. After his marriage he settled down on a raw tract of land near his father's homestead, and at once began the work of improvement. He has reduced his lands to a fine state of cultivation, and had about reached a state of independence, when in an unlucky hour he endorsed largely, and became a heavy loser. He is again in the high road to prosperity, and has about made up all his past losses, after meeting all liabilities.
Mr. Moffett is one of the useful men of his community, and commands the respect of all who know him. He and his lady have both been members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of the last twenty years, where he has served as an elder some twelve years. He has been liberal with his means not only in support of the cause of religion, but in temperance and benevolence. He is also a friend of education, and has done much to keep good schools within his district, in which he has served as a director a number of times. With respect to Mrs. Moffett's ancestry, the following is gathered. Her grandfather, McDonnald, was a native of Maryland. He married Catharine Carnathan, and settled in Indiana county, PA, where the family was raised. Her father, James, served through the late civil war, and died in 1865 from the effects of wounds and camp exposures. Her grandfather, William Parker, was from Ireland. He married Jane McCaffern, and settled in Indiana county, where Mrs. Moffett's mother was born.
History of Macon County Illinois 1880 - p.194
Submitted by: Eric
Hon. William T. MOFFETT
In Mr. Moffett we have represented one of the old pioneer families of the state. His father, John B. Moffett, whose portrait is shown on another page, was a native of Bath county, Ky. Moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, in 1821, and located seven miles south-west of Springfield. He was married the same year to Miss Patsey C. Morgan, of Southern Indiana, and just prior to his removal to Illinois. This lady died in 1826, leaving a family of three children; two daughters, Rebecca and Elizabeth, and Wm. T. who was born February 19th, 1826. after the loss of his wife, Mr. John B. Moffett continued to work hard at his trade, that of a wheelwright, in order to supply the wants of his orphaned children and to get a start, in our then, new and growing state. He was a natural mechanic, and could turn his hand to almost anything in the way of the use of tools, and was considered the handy man of his community. We next hear of him as a cabinet-maker in Springfield, and afterwards as a builder; and to his architectural skill the county was indebted for its court-house. Next he turned his skill to the trade of millwright, and in the spring of 1831 he began the erection of a steam saw and flouring mill, at Rushville, Schuyler county. Illinois, which was probably the first steam flouring mill erected in the military district, that part of the state lying between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, and set off for the benefit of the soldiers of the war of 1812. He located in that town the same year with his family, having been married in the mean time to Miss Polly A. Taylor, the daughter of Judge Taylor of Springfield. He remained in Rushville, employed in the milling business ten years, besides giving some attention to the improvement of his farm in Blue Mound township, an investment made while a citizen of Springfield. He moved to this farm in 1842, and spent the subsequent part of his life as a husbandman, dying here in the fall of 1862. His second wife died in 1849, and he was married again. His third wife was Mrs. Nancy McDowell, relict of Rev. Abner McDowell, of Rushville, and sister of Henry Grider, a well-known Kentucky politician who represented the Bowling Green District in Congress some thirty years. Altogether he raised a family of ten children, five only of whom are still living, and was a kind husband and dutiful father.
He was a man of powerful physical build, of great force of character, much above the average in intellectual abilities, and possessed a fine discriminating judgment. For many years he was an elder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and did much in his day towards the work of evangelization. He was public spirited, and never let an opportunity pass without encouraging all measures having in contemplation the social, religious and educational welfare of his community. He was the builder of the second school-house of the township, and the first of his settlement after locating here in 1842. He died amidst his friends and family, loved by all as a man who loved God and his fellow-men, and who had lived without reproached, and whose enthusiasm inspired men to do and dare in the cause of right and public good.
Mr. Moffett, our subject, being the eldest son, became the confidant and companion of his father in business from the time he arrived at the proper age to exercise the requisite judgment and discretion. He received his first schooling in Rushville, which consisted of an ordinary course as then taught in the common-schools, if we except mathematics for which he had a penchant, fine constitution, and at the age of twenty-one considered himself equal to almost any requirement in which bodily vigor was concerned, and he determined to make a trip to the Pacific slope. He accordingly joined a company of overland emigrants in 1849, and arrived the same year in California, where he remained only eighteen months. While there he was employed principally in trading, at which he made some money, though he had only properly matured business plans when by the failing health of his father, he was called home. He aided in placing his fathers estate in the desired condition, and then turned his attention to his own immediate private interests.
He had already bought a quarter section in Blue Mound township, the nucleus of his present fine homestead, and on this tract he began the work of improvement, which has given Macon county one of its most substantial estates.
He was united in wedlock with Miss Helen L. Barrows, of Bridport, Vt., in 1856, with whom he has lived happily ever since, and by whom he has a family of six an equal division in sex and all bright, perfect and dutiful children. Mrs. Moffett is the daughter of Josiah Barrows, by his wife formerly Miss Susan Walker, and is a lady well qualified to preside over their elegant and hospitable home, and by that delicacy peculiar to the gentler sex, to give those with whom Providence has blessed them, correct impressions and motives; those earlier sentiments that remain fixed throughout all after life.
Mr. Moffett never designed becoming a politician, and such an idea would have provoked a smile when he first began work here years ago as a plain farmer. His promotion is to be accounted for only by those peculiar influences which act externally on human destiny. He first became supervisor, which office he held for several terms. This led to the state legislature in 1870, and again in 1872. He was elected to the State Board of Equalization in 1876. Served two years and then resigned to take his seat in the State Senate, an incumbency not yet expired. His actions as a legislator have been carefully guarded and well prepared, and to him the people are partly indebted for some timely and appreciated enactments. He was an active supporter of the present temperance law, and to the passage of that measure gave the best endeavors of his mind and heart. The present division of the state into congressional districts is in a large degree in conformity with the slate which he prepared for the occasion.
In his second term he served as chairman of the committee on Agriculture, where his practical knowledge of general husbandry enabled him to suggest such measure as were required at the hands of the committee, and appropriate for action, so far as the lawmaking power can aid in forwarding this great industry of Illinois and the west.
History of Macon County Illinois 1880 - p.192
Submitted by: Eric
Also from: From Past and Present of Macon County S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1903. pp 729-734.]
The ancestral history of out subject, so far as known, dates from the birth of William Moffat (such was his spelling of the surname) in Scotland, in the year 1685. Early in the eighteenth century he moved with his Scotch wife to the north of Ireland and there raised a number of children, among them James, born in 1720. James married in Ireland and from his marriage, William, the grandfather of our subject was born, at Legagowan, Ireland, in 1763. Religious and political oppression drove William out of Ireland to America, he landing at Philadelphia in the spring of 1784. About two years later he moved to Kentucky and there founded to Old Kentucky stock of Moffetts. His son John B. Moffett was the father of William Thomas Moffett of whom we now speak.
William T. Moffett, the youngest child of John B. and Patsy (Morgan) Moffett, was born in a log hut upon the sparsely settled prairie of Illinois, seven miles southwest of Springfield, on the 19th of February, 1826. When six weeks old his mother died leaving him largely to the care of his most faithful father. In those days and at such places there was dearth of medical assistance, conveniences were meager and neighbors far apart. Under these circumstances his young life became fraught with perils, and at times was despaired of. Fortunately possessed of vigorous physical powers and a strong vitality, he was enabled to baffle the untoward dangers and develop into a strong, active and ambitious boy. At the age of ten years he moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he attended school for some two years and thence to Rushville, Schuyler county, Illinois, where he lived for about three years attending school and assisting his father, who was a carpenter and wheelwright.
In 1841 he moved with his father to Macon county, Illinois, and settled on lands in the edge of the timber along the south bank of the Sangamon river in what years afterward became Blue Mound township. The building site selected was a hill situated across the river and a half mile to the west of where Abraham Lincoln lived ten years before. Here the well known Moffett Settlement" was made, and here William T. Moffett made his home until his marriage, when he moved upon a portion of the same lands, which he afterward became seized of, and upon which he resided until his death, which occurred on October 11, 1901. Thus, for sixty years his home was in Macon county, which time covers a period nearly contemporaneous with the corporate existence of the county, and during which period most of the political subdivisions of the county have been created. The boyhood days of Mr. Moffett were not eventful. He attended the common schools, some of the subscription schools, was an apt scholar, at least in mathematics, and at the age of seventeen he taught one term of school. His education, while not extensive, was of a very practical sort. Broad in his conceptions and generally logical in his reasoning, he was recognized among his fellows as possessing a large fund of what we call common sense. To very considerable extent nature marked him as a leader, and his opinions were therefore both sought and trusted. His political preferences were early manifested. In the notable campaign of 1840, when but fourteen years of age, he took a lively interest in the election of General Harrison for president. He attended political gatherings for miles around and his voice was often heard shouting the slogan Tippecanoe and Tyler too. As a boy upon the farm, in the workshop or at his fathers mill, he was always industrious, obedient and true to every undertaking. He rather invited difficult tasks and enjoyed the labor of their accomplishment.
As a representative of the pioneers of this country his history becomes interesting and likewise instructive. Early in life he became inured to the regime of manual toil. The wild, unbroken fields lay before him and he desired to make them respond to the touch of labor. Appliances for this work were rude, but those at hand he utilized. He would yoke the oxen, fasten them to what we would now call an ill designed sod plow, and then in slow, uneven tread he would cross and re-cross the fields while the sod would turn leisurely over in irregular laps as if flouting the skill of the husbandman. Upon this overturning of the sod the seed was sown, not in the almost exact mathematical order the labor-saving machinery of to-day does it but in the haphazard manner incident to the swinging of the arm. When the small grain ripened he used the scythe and cradle to garner it in and the flail to thresh it out. There were no markets of importance nearer than Chicago or St. Louis. It required weeks to transport grain and stock to these markets, for there were no railroads then in this country. But the products of the farm had a bartering value and two bushels of wheat were often exchanged for one yard of calico. Money was scarce and of uncertain value: gold hardly obtainable in sufficient quantities to meet the deferred payments due the government upon the lands entered. Economy - rigid economy - was necessarily practiced. To make ends meet required not only this, but often denials of the very necessaries of like. The sacrifices of these forerunners of out civilization deserve and encomium far more sublime than any that has yet been spoken. Mr. Moffett wore clothing that was carded, spun, wove and made in his own home; he would hunt wolves, carry corn to the grist-mill, fight prairie fires, attend corn huskings and house raisings, and experienced in all its rigors, what no pioneer escaped, the old time ague. Upon attaining manhoods estate Mr. Moffett became imbued with a spirit of adventure. Colonel Sutters discovery of gold in California presented new and glaring opportunities for acquiring riches in that far-off west. So in 1849, he crossed the plains in charge of a division of the wagon train and landed at Sacramento. There for a short time he engaged in placer mining and then turned his attention to freighting. His adventure was proving highly remunerative and he was loath to abandon it; but, after an absence of eighteen months, at the earnest and repeated solicitations of his father, he sailed for home, making the return journey by way of the Isthmus of Panama, Havana and New Orleans.
Upon reaching home he found his fathers business affairs in an unsatisfactory condition. The large estate was encumbered, family expenses were enhanced, and a general financial crisis was approaching. The return of the son was to his father and omen of security; loyalty to his fathers interests was of first importance with Mr. Moffett. So, turning the money earned in California, which was considerable, to meet pressing demands, he then set about willingly and by unremitting toil to make the forest and the prairie yield up their fruits to meet the exigencies of the future. Many of the best years of his life were devoted to this purpose, and the estate was saved.
On October 14, 1856, he was united in marriage to Miss Helen L. Barrows, at Bridport, Vermont. Eight children were born to them, six of whom are now living, three sons and three daughters. During the forty-five years of his married life he was a devoted husband and to his children he was ever kind and indulgent.
In politics Mr. Moffett was first an ardent Whig and supported that party so long as it had a candidate in the field. In 1856 he cast his vote for Millard Fillmore for president, not because Fillmore was a Know Nothing, but because he was a Whig. Henry Clay was his political ideal and the American system of protection his shibboleth. These opinions came in part by inheritance from his father, who as a native born and reared citizen of Kentucky, was a devotee of the Great Commoner; and, in par, from independent thought. With him it was a short step from the Whig to the Republican party, for he had no especial interest in the maintenance of slavery and his ideas of tariff were adopted by the latter party; but perhaps his greatest reason for uniting with the Republican party was for the preservation of the Union. He had a personal acquaintance with Lincoln as a man and a lawyer, and had formed a good opinion of his ability and character, and admired him as the standard bearer of the party in 1860. While Mr. Moffett never became a soldier in active service during the Civil war, yet he volunteered and went to Camp Butler to engage in the service, when on account of the serious illness and subsequent death of his father, he returned home, but for which occurrence he would undoubtedly have been actively engaged in the conflict. Later in the war he was commissioned by Governor Yates as captain of a company of volunteer home guards and in that capacity rendered valiant service to the Union cause. He smote treason wherever he found it lurking in the rear of the Union army. Despising disloyalty to his government, he would tear the masks from the faces of those who sought to hide their treason and hold them up to public scorn and contempt.
In 1861 he represented Blue Mound township on the board of supervisors of Macon county. He filled this position again in 1864 and for the five succeeding years, also in 1876 and 1894, making nine years he served in that capacity. He served as a member of the Twenty-seventy and Twenty-eighth General Assemblies of the state of Illinois. In 1876 he was elected a member of the state board of equalization and, serving two years as such, he resigned to take his seat in the state senate of Illinois, which he accupied for four years. During all the years of his public life he performed his duties fearlessly, meritoriously and honestly. He left a clean record and an untarnished reputation.
In his private walks of life and in his home we find his true character and worth revealed. As a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church he gave liberally to its support for upwards of forty years. He frequently attended its synod and general assembly meetings and felt deeply interested in whatever promoted the interests of the church. His religious ways were not spasmodic and impetuous, but even, regular, firm. He taught correct thinking and living by example rater than precept. Of a hospitable nature, the society of his family, his neighbors and friends was pleasing to him. Without ostentation himself, he recognized no distinction between men on account of material affluence. Affectation in any of its forms was distasteful to him. Canting hypocrisy and sycophancy were entirely foreign to his make-up. Thoroughly democratic in his thoughts, manners and living, he bowed respectfully only to that nobility born of the heart and mind. The many private offices of trust he filled as executor and administrator of estates bespeak the general confidence reposed in his integrity. He was popular because easily approached and generous in his treatment. If it can be said that he possessed a distinguishing trait in his business and social life, it was his disposition to help those unfortunate or in distress.
Mr. Moffett was a successful farmer and business man. His commodious home and large farm attest his thrift and enterprise. In all that pertained to his business he kept abreast of the times. The promotion of agricultural matters at all times received his active interest and support. When the Farmers Institute of the county was organized he became its first president. Educational matters received a large share of his attention. For years a director in his school district, and as a member of the state legislature he became interested in our state university at Urbana, Illinois; and during his last years as a member of the board of directors of the James Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois, He discharged his duty in these several positions with pleasure to himself and satisfaction to the public.
Early in 1901 a fatal disease had seized him, but with an abiding patience and splendid fortitude, he was able to wave back for a time the approach of dissolution; and, lingering through the summer months of that year and far into the fall to where nature was changing her garb for a new season, then he, too, natures child as he had always been, changed his garb to enter the new life. He left as his richest legacy to his widow and children an honored name; his worldly affairs were placed in the hands of his three boys to control manage and administer for the benefit of his ever devoted and loving wife.
Mrs. Helen L. Moffett, his widow, still survives him. In years she is now beyond the allotted three score and ten, but still enjoying a fair measure of good health. She is the eldest daughter of Josiah and Susan (Walker) Barrows, and was born near the inland town of Bridport, in Addison county, Vermont, on the 1st day of February, 1832. The only near relative now living is a sister, Mrs. A. C Allinson, of Table Rock, Nebraska. General Artemus War, whom Washington succeeded as commander-in-chief of the American army, was her great uncle.
The site of her Vermont home is a beautiful and picturesque place. It is upon the summit of a hill where looking eastward the Green mountains present a view of perennial verdure, and on the west are the massive and towering Adirondacks. There the first beams of morning break upon the mountain tops of the east and the latest beams of evening fall behind the mountain peaks of the west. Some four miles distant, and between these mountain scenes, are the clear, silvery waters of Lake Champlain. All about are the hillside and valley farms upon which quaint but substantial buildings rest; and everywhere are to be seen evidences of thrift, enterprise and frugality, which are permeated by a moral stamina, altogether worthy the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers. In the early days of the American Revolution this very soil was consecrated to civil liberty. Over and across it the colonial bands marched to strike here and there a blow for independence. Just across the lake on its west bank were Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, and these places, then important assaulted and captured by the intrepid Green Mountain boys under the command of the gallant Ethan Allen in the name of the Great Jehovah and the continental Congress.
These natural features and historical facts always inspired in Mrs. Moffett a just pride in her New England home, but from a more personal standpoint its memories have become hallowed. There were her playmates of youth with whom ties of affection bound her for life; there, as a girl she went tripping down the hill and over the narrow highway to the little red schoolhouse; there she was awakened to a realization that life is earnest and full of possibilities; there her marriage vows were spoken; and there lies the sacred dust of her father and sister.
Very early in life Mrs. Moffett began to prepare herself carefully to become a school teacher. With diligence and close application she became qualified for this work upon completing the course of studies in the public schools. She thereupon engaged a school and for two terms taught with entire satisfaction to her patrons. Not yet satisfied with her preparations for the work, she entered Castleton Seminary, at Castleton, Vermont, and there completing the course of studies, was graduated in 1852 with high honors. Thus qualified, she began what she assumed was her life work in real earnest. Her services were in demand and the question of better wages was under consideration. An unexpected opportunity was offered. It seems almost incredible that the teachers of New England came west for better wages in that early day, but such was the fact. In 1854 Mrs. Moffett was invited by her cousin, Erastus Wright, a noted abolitionist of Springfield, to visit him with a view of pursuing her work in the west. This invitation was accepted, and , in company with her sister, Susan, who was on her way to Mississippi to teach school, she started for Springfield, and when forty miles south of Chicago her train became snow bound for two weeks. Finally reaching her destination she was delighted to find a school awaiting her and for nearly two years thereafter, and until her marriage, she taught in Sangamon and Macon counties.
The marital relations of Mr. And Mrs. Moffett were in many respects ideal. She was a most capable helpmate. Her educational attainments and affable manner made her services indispensable to the promotion of her husbands interests and ambition. Ever sharing his joys and pleasure, she likewise shared his sorrows and trials. In the best and truest sense of the term she was a kind, affectionate and beloved wife. At an early age she united with the Congregational church, but after marriage her membership was changed to the Madison Cumberland Presbyterian church of Blue Mound township, where she has ever since continued to worship. Her bounties to the cause of her church, in labor and means and devotion, were always to the full measure of her abilities.
In her home, with her family, she displayed much ability and tact. Giving education a large place in the circle, she directed it along those lines that make better truer and nobler lives. Many of the typical traits of the New England people were strikingly manifested in her ways and work. Economical, systematic, neat, a model cook and housekeeper, were among her distinguishing characteristics and accomplishments. For years her home was a social mecca where country life was enjoyed by friends far and near; and now, in the eventide of her life, it is not too much to say that all who know her respect her. For nearly a half century she has mingled with the people of Macon county, and, at every step, her true, upright, Christian life has sent sunshine and happiness unto some hear and home, in a quiet, unobtrusive way. As a wife she was adored; as a mother she is loved. It may well be said that the world is better for her living.And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!
Dr. Enoch W. MOORE
Dr. Enoch W. Moore, who has been engaged in the practice of medicine at Decatur since 1856, is a descendant of the earliest American family to settle in Illinois. His ancestors were Scotch-Irish, and, on their emigration to America, settled in Virginia. His grandfather, James Moore, was a captain in the Virginia forces during the war of the revolution. He came with his family to Illinois in the year 1781. He was accompanied by a family named Garretson. These were the first American families to settle permanently in Illinois. Kaskaskia had been founded by the French a hundred years previous, but no American or English families came to the country till the time of the revolution. James Moore first came to Kaskaskia, and soon afterward settled at Bellefontaine near the present town of Waterloo, in Monroe county. Other families subsequently came from Virginia and other states, and the American settlement extended to the Mississippi Bottom, which, in consequence, was called the American Bottom. James Moore was about thirty years of age when he came to Illinois. He was a man of considerable energy and force of character. He died about the year 1787. He put a fine farm under cultivation, and the year of his death had one hundred acres of wheat. Wheat at that time commanded a dollar a bushel at Kaskaskia. The French residents of that place were but little inclined toward agriculture, and scarcely raised enough grain for their own consumption.
The father of the subject of this biography (Enoch Moore) was born at Bellefontaine in February, 1783. He was the first male child born of American parents within the limits of the present State of Illinois. He died in Monroe county in the year 1848. He was a man highly respected in that part of the state, and held several important public positions. For many years he was clerk of the circuit court, and for about twenty years judge of the probate court. He was a representative from Monroe county in the state legislature, and a member of the convention which met at Kaskaskia, in the summer of 1818, and framed the first constitution of the State of Illinois. Dr. Moore's mother was Mary Whiteside, daughter of Colonel William Whiteside, one of the pioneer settlers of Monroe county. She was born at the head of the Big Elkhorn, in Kentucky, and was five years old when she came to Illinois, in the year 1793. The Whitesides were Kentuckians, and were celebrated as Indian fighters. In the annals of the early history of this state are recorded many incidents of daring and bravery in which members of the Whiteside family prominently figured.
Dr. Moore was the seventh of a family of ten children, and was born near Waterloo, in Monroe county, on the seventh of December, 1821. His boyhood was spent in his native county. He attended school at Waterloo, and secured the elements of a good English education, principally under the instruction of Nathan Scarritt, a teacher of more than ordinary ability. For some time he taught school. In the fall of 1849, he began the study of medicine at Columbia, in Monroe county, with Dr. Knott. He received his medical education in the medical department of the St. Louis University, now the St. Louis Medical College. He graduated from this institution in March, 1853. In the year 1851, he began the practice of his profession at Carlisle, Illinois. He became a resident of Decatur in March, 1856, and at once established himself as one of the leading physicians. During the war of the rebellion he offered his services to the government, and was commissioned as surgeon of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Regiment. His regiment was attached to the Army of the Cumberland, and during his connection with it served in Kentucky and Tennessee. After seven months' service, he resigned on account of ill health, and resumed his medical practice at Decatur.
He was married in October, 1854, to Miss Annie B. Lockwood, a native of Philadelphia, daughter of Hon. Daniel C. Lockwood. She was connected with the Cummins family, one of whose members was Bishop Cummins of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and was a cousin of General Henry K. Lockwood of the United States Regular Army, now stationed at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Her death occurred in July, 1876. By this marriage he had three children, of whom only one, a daughter, is now living. Dr. Moore was originally a whig, and supported Henry Clay in the presidential election of 1844. On the dissolution of the whig party, his anti-slavery sentiments made him a republican. He voted for Freemont in 1856, the first nominee of the republican party for president, and has voted for every republican presidential candidate from that time to the present. For many years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Although his large practice has been of a general character for the last eight or ten years, he has devoted special attention to the diseases of women and children. Of thorough attainments as a physician, a diligent student of progressive medical science, and a man of the highest personal character, he has met with merited success in his profession.
History of Macon Co, IL, 1880 - p. 142
Henry C. MOWRY
Henry C. Mowry, a prominent citizen of Forsyth, now living a retired life, was born on the 1st of March, 1835, in Smithfield, Providence county, Rhode Island, in a house that had been the home of his ancestors for three generations back. He is of French, English and Welsh descent and is a representative of old and honored colonial families. His father, Asa Mowry, was also born at the old homestead in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and in early life followed the cooper's trade but later turned his attention to the practice of law and met with excellent success in his undertakings. When a young man he married Miss Louisa Johnson, also a native of Rhode Island and a daughter of George W. Johnson, who was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war and lived to the advanced age of ninety-four years. Asa Mowry died in May, 1841, and his wife who long survived him, passed away on the 24th of July, 1883. They were members of the Society of Friends and were most estimable people. In their family were five children, of whom one died in infancy, the others being Abbie, who is still living in the east; Henry C, of this sketch; Enos, who died in October, 1863; and Edward M., a stone cutter by trade, who died in 1894 in Rhode Island.
During his boyhood Henry C. Mowry received a good practical education at the East Greenwich Academy. He was only seven years of age when his father died and when still quite young began work in the cotton mills of his native state, receiving seventy-five cents per week in compensation for his service. By the time he was sixteen he had thoroughly mastered the business and was appointed overseer of the Smithfield Mills, with from thirty to sixty operatives under his charge. Resigning his position in 1855, he engaged in clerking in a clothing store for a time and was afterward, employed in a lumberyard until the Civil war broke out.
Hardly had the echoes from Fort Sumter's guns died away when Mr. Mowry offered his services to the government, enlisting on the 17th of April, 1861, in Company K, First Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry, as sergeant. This was the first regiment of which General Burnsides had charge and was the third to enter Washington. Our subject participated in the famous battle of Bull Run and the engagements at Roanoke, Newbury and Fredericksburg, and was once slightly wounded in the left leg by a spent ball. He received an honorable discharge in 1863, at which time he was acting as lieutenant of his company though never commissioned.
After his return home Mr. Mowry accepted a position as mail agent on the Providence & Worcester Railroad, to which he had been appointed previous to his enlistment, and he continued to serve in that capacity until coming west in 1867. He located at Forsyth, Macon county, Illinois, where he erected an elevator, cribs and office, and was engaged in the grain business at this place until 1869, when he removed to Mattoon, Illinois. There he carried on the same business for the firm of Day, Sprague & Company, of Providence, Rhode Island, having entire charge of their western department, and in 1874 he changed his headquarters from Mattoon to Decatur. Four years later he returned to Forsyth, where he continued in the grain trade until 1896 when he sold out his business and has since lived retired, having already acquired a comfortable competence which will enable him to spend the remainder of his life in ease and quiet.
On the 2d of August, 1872, at St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Mowry was united in marriage to Miss Henrietta Flood, a daughter of Dennis and Elizabeth (Fletcher) Flood, both now deceased. She has one brother living, Henry Flood, who makes his home in the state of Washington. Mrs. Mowry was educated at Alt. Zion Academy, and by her marriage has become the mother of two children: Albert E. and Alfred H., but the latter died at the age of six years. Albert E. Mowry attended the public schools of this county and later entered the medical department of the Northwestern University at Chicago, where he was graduated in 1898 with the degree of M.D. In April of that year he enlisted as assistant surgeon in a regiment of Illinois cavalry for service in the Spanish-American war and remained with his command until hostilities ceased. He then returned to Chicago, where he opened an office and has since engaged in the practice of his profession with marked success. He makes a specialty of surgery and already ranks high in medical circles. On the 29th of July, 1901, he married Miss Ruth Lehman, one of the popular young ladies of Macon county, who was reared in Decatur and educated in the high school of that city. Her father was Jacob Lehman, who died of heart disease July 21, 1902. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having served three years. His wife, who survives him, bore the maiden name of Catharine Weaver, and now lives on the home farm in this county. Dr. Mowry and his wife have a little daughter, Marian.
Since attaining his majority our subject has taken quite an active and prominent part in public affairs and in 1858 was elected on the Democratic ticket to the state legislature of Rhode Island. For several terms he filled the office of supervisor of Hickory Point township this county and has been actively identified with school interests. He is now independent in politics but still retains his interest in public matters. He is a member of the Unitarian church and for many years has been prominent in Sunday school work, serving as superintendent at Forsyth. He joined the Masonic order at Woonsocket, Rhode Island, in 1865, and at present is also connected with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic, belonging to Donald Post, No. 141, of Forsyth. For three years he served as secretary of the State Grain Dealers' Association and in June, 1903, was elected its president, which position he is now filling in a most creditable manner. He does considerable writing for eastern papers. His public and private life are alike above reproach, for his career has been one characterized by the utmost fidelity to duty, and his genial, pleasant manner, has made him quite popular in business, social and political circles.
Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, (1903) pg. 197-201
JAMES MYERS was born October 4, 1804, in Grayson County, Kentucky, and was married to Mary Meeks, who was born in December 1811, in Hardin County, Kentucky. They came to Macon County in 1828, and settled the farm now known as the Henry Davis nursery farm, in Long Creek township; Mr. M. died in July 1872, and Mrs. M. died in 1859. Of their children - John H. was born October 12, 1830; was married in 1848, to Elizabeth A. Park, who was born in 1828, in Virginia, and died in December 1851; married a second time to Emily J. Howell, who was born June 21, 1821, in Sangamon County. Mr. M. had two children by his first wife, both dead; by this last wife has had eleven children, of whom six are living, viz: James M., Charles B., Livinda, Joseph, Daniel and Martha. James B. was born in 1840, now resides in Texas, Sarah J. was born in 1836; married to Andrew Shoemaker. Angelina was born in 1847; married to Thomas Atchison.
Noah D. MYERS, M.D.
Noah D. Myers, M.D., is one of the later, yet one of the important additions to the medical profession in Decatur. He was born on his father's farm in Jackson Township, Fountain County, Ind., in 1843, and is a son of John and Catherine (Fine) Myers. His grandfather, Jacob Myers, was a son of a Revolutionary hero, and was born and reared in North Carolina. He went to the Northwest on horseback, exploring portions of Indiana, and being pleased with the country resolved to make it his future home when the Indians and wild beasts should become sufficiently subdued to make it possible for a white man to live there. In 1811 he took his family in a wagon to the Hoosier State, but finding that the country was still too wild for settlement, was obliged to leave, taking up his abode in Kentucky. He followed farming at Crab Orchard, where the father of our subject was born. In 1812 he returned with his family to his native State, and there lived until 1829, when he again started for Indiana, arriving in 1830. He was one of the early settlers of what is now Franklin County. His father enlisted in the Revolutionary War, but never returned. The Myers family is of German origin, and was founded in America in early Colonial days.
On the maternal side the Doctor is of German descent. On leaving the Fatherland, his ancestors located in North Carolina, and his great-grandfather also entered the Colonial service. It is supposed that he was killed, as no news was ever received of him after his enlistment. The father of our subject became a well-to-do farmer and sawyer, and built the first steam sawmill in Fountain County. Removing to Jasper County, Ill., he engaged in merchandising in Gila, where he is now living a retired life, at the age of eighty-one. He served as Postmaster of that place under President Hayes. His wife died in 1891, at the age of seventy-nine.
In the Myers family were eleven children: Maria, who died at the age of four years; Jacob, who was burned to death when eighteen months old; Peter, a resident farmer of Jasper County; Susan, wife of M.M. Sowers, a farmer of the same county; John C., a miller in Harveysburg, Ind., Levi F., who died at Wallace, Ind., at the age of twenty-two, leaving a wife and one child, Byron F.; Noah D., of this sketch; Mathias, who was drowned at the age of two years; Mary, who became the wife of George W. Myers, a farmer, and died leaving a child, whose death occurred soon after; Amanda C., twin sister of Mary, and wife of James A. Sanders, who resides on the old homestead in Fountain County, Ind., and Eli L., who is County Superintendent of Schools of Fountain County.
We now take up the personal history of Dr. Myers, who was reared on the home farm in such a community as is described by Edward Eggleston in his "Hoosier School Master." During his early boyhood he had a desire to engage in the practice of medicine, and his dreams of the future soon won him the nickname of "Doc," by which he was known around his father's brick-kiln. At the age to twenty-two he began teaching, and followed that profession for some time, after which he went to the State University in Bloomington, Ind., where he pursued a scientific course. The money which he had acquired was there exhaused and he had to resort to teaching once more to obtain the means to prosecute his medical studies. He began fitting himself for his chosen profession with Dr. A.T. Steele, of Waveland, Ind., with whom he remained three years, when he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago, atttending his first course in the winter of 1870-71. That school was burned out in the memorable fire of October 9, 1871, and he became a student in the Medical College of Ohio, at Cincinnati, from which he was graduated on the 2d of March, 1872.
In 1873 Dr. Myers was married to Miss Mattie J. Ward, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Maisgrove) Ward, and unto them have been born four children: Bessie L., Minnie M., Lulu P. and Merl M. After his graduation the Doctor began practice in Veedersburgh, Ind., where he remained for a year, and then removed to Brown's Valley, in Montgomery County, where he practiced for eighteen months. On the expiration of that period he went to Jasper County, and located on the present site of the village of Gila. He was the founder of the village, as he built the first house and was instrumental in establishing the postoffice at that place, as well as the mail route. The Doctor did a large practice at Gila for thirteen years, when he removed to Decatur. He thoroughly understands his profession and has become a successful practitioner. He is examing physician for Easterly Camp No. 1626, M.W.A., and is also a member and examining surgeon of the Ancient Order of United Workmen of Decatur, together with Ionic Lodge No. 312, A.F. & A.M. In politics, he is a supporter of the Democratic party, and himself and wife, with their two oldest children, hold membership with the English Lutheran Church. Dr. Myers may truly be called a self-made man. The advantages of his youth were extremely limited and his education, literary and professional, has all been acquired through his own efforts. The ambition and enterprise which led him to carry out the long cherished dream of his youth will always keep him in the front ranks among his professional brethren.
Portrait and Biogrpahical Record of Macon Co, IL, 1893 - p. 242-243
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.