Arthur J. GALLAGHER
Among the many able men who have been connected with the Macon county bar none have reflected upon it greater honor for legal learning or judicial talent, than Arthur J. Gallager, whose death occurred in June, 1879. He was born at Strbane in the county of Tyrone, North of Ireland, on the 2d of May, 1828. He was the youngest of eight children, of whom, seven were sons and one a daughter. When he was about a year old his father came to America and settled in the city of Philadelphia. His mother died when he was five years old. He lived in Philadelphia till he was twelve. He then came West with an older brother, who established himself in the dry goods business in St. Louis. He soon afterward went to live on a farm in Illinois below St. Louis, and was also employed for a short time in a store in that part of the state. Having but little liking for life on the farm he returned to St. Louis, and for several years was a student at St. Joseph's college, where he secured a thorough education. He had previously enjoyed good school advantages in Philadelphia. He was possessed of a naturally bright and strong mind, and learned with great rapidity. He was unusually fond of reading, and as a boy, read many books, thus acquiring a mass of valuable information, which a good memory enabled him to retain in after years. At St. Joseph's college he studied the classic languages, and also became well acquainted with the French and German.
On the breaking out of the Mexican war in 1846, though then only eighteen years of age, he enlisted inthe second regiment Illinois volunteers, commanded by Colonel Bissel, afterward governor of the state. His time of enlistment was one year, but he served fourteen months. He was at the battle of Buena Vista. After returning from the army he began the study of law at Belleville, in the office of Judge Underwood. He devoted his attention to his legal studies with great assiduity. Another young man was his companion in Judge Underwood's office, and it is said that for a period of six months they spent nineteen hours a day in legal study. His clear intellectual perceptions enabled him to learn easily, and he made rapid progress in preparing himself for the bar. He was admitted to practice at Belleville. In 1848 he removed to Vandalia and opened a law office. He made satisfactory progress in his profession, and was fortunate in securing several valuable friends, who remained steadfast in their attachment through life. In 1852 he was elected to the legislature from Fayette county. He also filled the position of Register of the United States Land Office at Vandalia, by the appointment of President Pierce.
In the year 1854 he removed to Chicago and began the practice of law in that city. After remining there about six months he accepted the offer of a partnership with Richard J. Oglesby and Sheridan Wait, and came to Decatur where the law firm of Oglesby, Wait and Gallagher was established. He was a young man of twenty-seven when he became connected with the Macon county bar. Although gifted with brilliant talents and possessed of a mind of great vigor, he by no means disdained the results which came from close labor and assiduous study. He devoted great attention to the preparation of his cases, and was accustomed to devote long and uninterruped hours to patient reading and investigation. It was only a question of time as to when this course of application should bear its legitimate fruits, and by degrees he won for himself a conspicuous position at the bar.
During the second year of the war of the rebellion in 1862, he raised a company of cavalry and offered his services to the government. His company was attached to the seventh Illinois regiment, commanded by Colonel William Pitt Kellogg, afterward governor of Louisiana. He remained in the army about a year. In 1869 the unanimous voice of the bar uged him to become a candidate for judge of the old sixteenth circuit. To this office he was elected without opposition. He was on the bench till 1873, when he resumed the practice of his profession. On the twenty-seventh of June, 1865, he was united in marriage to Miss Rachel Smith, daughter of the Hon. E.O. Smith, one of the early settlers of Macon county. One child, Arthur, was born of this marriage in November, 1870. In politics Judge Gallagher, previous to the war, acted with the democratic party. He subsequently became an earnest republican, and was consistent and devoted in his support of the principles of thaqt organization. His death occurred suddenly of heart disease at his office on the afternoon of the twenty-third of June, 1874.
The news of his death occasioned universal regret. It was everywhere felt that Decatur had lost a distinguished citizen, and the Macon county bar its brightest ornament. His remains now repose in Greenwood Cemetery, and his last resting place is marked by a monument of Scotch granite, twenty-two feet in height, on which is the following inscription:
to the memory of - ARTHUR J. GALLAGHER
Born May 2d, 1828
Died June 23d, 1879
A soldier in the Mexican War in 1846.
A Captain of Cavalry in the War of the Rebellion in 1861.
Without opposition, elected Circuit Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in 1867. He never failed a friend in time of need, and was regarded as a sure dependence by the unfortunate.
Of Judge Gallagher's qualities of head and heart too much can not be said in praise. He possessed that rare combination of intellectual qualities which, when united with habits of close application, makes the able lawyer. When he first came to the bar his remarkable clearness and grasp of mind attracted the attention of older lawyers, who predicted for him great success. His industry in mastering the learning of the profession was untiring. He was sensitive to defeat, and profited by his mistakes. His success rested on pure intellectual power and thorough ability as a lawyer. He was not eloquent or fluent in speech, though few lawyers could address either the court or jury more effectively. He was logical and clear in statement, and his appeals were made to the reason rather than to sentiment or feeling. His conduct toward his brother lawyers was marked by kindness and courtesy, and he was especially considerate toward the younger members of the profession. He treated his opponents with fairness and honor. It is said that an unkind word or criticism upon a brother lawyer was never heard to fall from his lips.
A just estimate of his character as a lawyer was given by his successor on the bench of the sixteenth circuit in some remarks made on the occasion of the presentation of some resolutions to the Circuit Court, relative to Judge Gallagher's death:
"As a lawyer it is not hazarding too much to say that he was the peer of any lawyer in the state. With a marvellously clear and comprehensive mind, habits of industry, a large and varied practice involving great interests, he rose rapidly to a just and honorable distinction in his profession until at last he stood among the foremost of its known and recognized masters. The law was to him a goddess at whose shrine he constantly worshiped with the most unrelenting devotion. Here he drank deeply and freely from the fountains of learning and wisdom of the ages, until his mind became a storehouse filled with the ripest knowledge of his profession, from which he might always draw without stint, and to the advantage of those he sought to instruct. He was never boisterous or rude to his antagonist or the court. Conscious of his strength and power he was dignified and courteous in his intercourse with all men. Brave and determined in all things as Jove, he was yet modest and gentle as a woman. In nothing did his high character as a lawyer appear more clearly than in his sincere and honest purpose to be a faithful and correct adviser of the court."
>"After winning the rewards, distinctions and honors of his profession as a lawyer, he was called to the bench by the almost unanimous voice of his district, to discharge the more arduous and responsible duties of a judge. Here it was that he justivied the responsible duties of a judge. Here it was that he justified the partiality and discernment of his friends. Every trait of his character and his education were but so many arguments in favor of his fitness for the bench. He brought to the discharge of the duties of his office the learning and experience which a large and varied practice had given him. He loved justice and right, and hated all wrong, fraud and injustice with a perfect mind. He carried to the bench that same gentle and patient quality of heart and mind, which had distinguished him at the bar above his brethren. His face was as immovable on the bench as the sphinx. No lawyer could ever tell from any manifestations of his while hearing an argument what the judgment would be. He had that rare quality of listening patiently and quietly to what was said, and determining at once between plausible error and naked truth. No man ever sat upon the bench who was more justly beloved by the bar and the people than Judge Gallagher, nor more deeply mourned by those who knew him best."
It is not alone for his distinguished ability as a jurist that Judge Gallagher's memory is worthy of preservation. He was a useful citizen and a firm believer in the rigid maintenance of law and order. He was an earnest patriot. He was a soldier of two wars, and proved his bravery on the field of battle. He was a respecter of sacred things, a believer in a Higher Power, and two or three incidents in his own life led him to think that a special supervision is exerted to preserve individuals from danger. Once in St. Louis when a boy an act of courtesy to some elderly people, prevented him from taking a ferry boat on which otherwise he would have been a passenger. From the landing he saw the departing boat blown to fragments in mid stream. Again, in Mexico a slight circumstance intervened to save himself and a comrade from assassination. These incidents made a strong impression on his mind. Though much away from home and exposed to the danger of travel he was without the slightest fear of injury from any casualty. To his family he was a tender and loving husband and a kind father. He had warm and devoted friends. He maintained such admirable discipline over his feelings that he never offended, by a hasty or careless word, or gave a causeless wound. He was modest in his deportment, sincere in his actions, warm in his attachments and true in his friendships.
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 130-131
Top of Page
Samuel F. GAMMILL
There is no broader field for a man to become familiar with the phases of human nature, than in the business of a merchant, nor can one gain a more intimate knowledge of family life, unless it be in the legal profession, and a broadsouled man who is in sympathy with his fellow-creatures has in this calling an unparalleled opportunity for doing good. Especially is this true of one engaged in general merchandise, for one will make many sacrifices of pride and self-respect if one family is in need of the necessities of life, and happy is the man whose position enables him to respond to his generous impulses and relieve these necessities.
The gentleman of whom it is our pleasure and privilege to here give a short biographical sketch is a general merchant in the village of Gays being the oldest merchant here who has been thus engaged. He was born in Whitley Township, this State, June 20, 1841, and is a son of Andrew and Jane (Whittes) Gammill, both natives of North Carolina, who with their respective families, moved to Tennessee. Our subject was but two years old at the time of his emigration to that State, having been carried thither on horseback from North Carolina to Tennessee, in which county the young people married, and after which in 1832, they emigrated to this State, settling in Whitley Township, being among the first settlers on Whitley Creek. There they entered some land and pursued their calling of farming. They continued to reside here, with the exception of the years 1847 and 1848, when they lived in Coles County, one year of which time they make their home in the house built and formerly occupied by Thomas Lincoln, father of Abraham Lincoln.
The father of our subject died in 1867, at the age of sixty-seven years. The mother passed away in 1876 at the age of seventy-four years. For years they had been consistent and conscientious members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Eleven children clustered about their fireside and board. One of these died in childhood and ten lived to be grown. They are by name Adaline, Caroline Lucinda, William Janes, James Newton, Madeline, Louisa, Samuel F. and Nancy L. and Elem W. Adaline married Joseph Hendricks, and died at Ottumwas, Iowa. Caroline married John Shoemaker, of Coles County; Lucinda was united to J.H. Whetstone, of Pamona, Kan. William resides in Woodford, Cal. James was a member of Company E, of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry, and died of small pox while in service, James Newton is a resident of Hickman, Neb. Madeline is the wife of John T. Alexander, of Ottawa, Kan. Louisa has been three times widowed, her first husband was George Curry, the second was James Renner, and the third Joseph Hayden. She now resides at Pomona, Kan. Elem W. is the wife of Thomas Kimball of Whitley Township.
Our subject was reared upon a farm. His school days were limited but being an ambitious boy and fond of reading, he made up by outside work, many of the deficiencies of his school life. During the early part of the war, soon after the firing of the first gun, our subject enlisted, September 7, 1861, and was mustered into service with Company H. of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry. He was mustered out November 4, 1865, having re-enlisted in 1864. He intered as a private, but was advanced to the post of First Lieutenuant, having filled all the ranks below, except those of Orderly Sergeant and Second Lieutenant. That long period of bloodshed was one in which our subject lived a life-time of adventure and experience, most of which was of a bloody and terrible character. He was a participant in the following engagements: that of Madron, Mo., Corinth, and was in the lead of Grant's army to Coffeyville, Miss., on the Grierson raid from LaGrange, Tenn., April 16, 1863, and landed at Baton Rouge, La., May 2, 1862. During this march they covered eight hundred and fifty-three miles and the raid is memorable in the memory of him of whom we write as being the hardest trip taken during the war. He was also present at the siege of Ft. Hudson, a participant in the battle of Collierville, Tenn., Campbelliville, Tenn., and was with Gen. Smith in Mississippi, starting with his army in February of 1864. The battle of Nashville, Tenn., September 15 and 16, 1864, has left a deep and lasting impression on the memory of our subject. He also tllk part in several minor engagements.
On returning home, Mr. Gammill resumed farming and in 1869 came to Gays and established his present business house. His marriage took place in 1873 when he was united to Margaret C. Wilson, a daughter of John and Charity Wilson. She was born in Ash Grove Township, Shelby County. Four children have been the outcome of this marriage. Their names are Mack, Tola J., Stella May, and one who died in infancy. Mr. Gammill affiliates with the Republican party and in recognition of his loyalty as well as his fitness as a man of intelligence and firm standing in the community, he was appointed Postmaster at Gays, which position he held for twelve years. In his religious preference, he with his wife, is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He is one of the thinning ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic, being a veteral who thoroughly enjoys, when at reunions, a recital of the striking experiences that he or other comrades had while in the war. Not slow to recognize bravery in friend or foe, many a piquant and spicy story is at his tongue's end.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois - 1891 p. 343
Top of Page
John P. GLASSCOCK
The agricultural community of Whitley Township, Moultrie County is one of the prime elements in the industrial and financial success of the county. It is notable as being of a superior order, both in intelligence and enterprise and nowhere can be found more efficient farmers or finer-looking farms. Among these capable agriculturists we name with pleasure and pride the gentleman of whom we are now writing.
Asa Glasscock, the father of our subject, was a native of Virginia and his mother, Mary (Penquite) Glasscock, was a Pennsylvanian by birth. The Old Dominion was the scene of their marriage and they shortly afterward emigrated to Kentucky settling in Fleming County in 1816 and living there for a number of years. Asa Glasscock finally died in Mason County, KY., and his wife passed away in Warren County, Ohio. They had eleven children of whom our subject was the youngest.
Fleming County, Ky., is the native home of John P. Glasscock and April 22, 1825 was his natal day. In this county he passed his early years, a little later emigrating to Mason County and afterward to Warren County, Ohio, where he grew to manhood. The varied experiences of his early years and the thorough drill which he received upon the farm added to his natural ability, producing a fine and vigorous young manhood, well equipped to undergo the struggles of life.
In Warren County, Ohio, this young man met the lady whom he chose from all the world to be hsi life companion, and he was married in 1845 to Catherine Crosson, by whom he had five children, namely: Mary C., Sarilda, Margaret E., Catherine S. and one who died in infancy. The lovely mother of these children died while the family still resided in Ohio and somewhat later our subject was married in Warren County to Elizabeth Mount, who also became the mother of five children--George G., Ruth A., Martha A., Frances Anna and U.S. Mrs. Elizabeth Glasscock died in Whitley Township in 1887 upon the 12th of September.
It was in 1869 that Mr. Glasscock determined to remove from Ohio to Moultrie County, Ill., and here he settled upon section 16, Whitley Township, where he has ever since been a resident. Upon his farm here he has placed excellent buildings and his home is not only attractively located but is also a place where friendly and social gatherings are held and where neighbors ever feel that they are welcome. Mr. Glasscock has been Highway Commissioner, having filled that office with satisfaction and profit to his township. He has ever taken a fair degree of interest in local politics and is considered one of the sound Republicans of that section of the county.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois - 1891 p. 208
Top of Page
Was born near the city of Hartford, Conn., September 25th, 1807, and is the youngest son, save two, of a family of eleven children, of whom nine were sons. All are now dead except himself, Joseph, of Manchester, of his native state, and Mary, the felict of Joseph Kendall, of Hartford county, Conn.
Mr. Gleason's father, Jonah, was a farmer of some note, who occupied the estate near Hartford which his father purchased immediately on his arrival in this country from the shores of "Merry old England."
Mr. Gleason's mother was formerly Miss Hannah Blodgett, a lady of fair attainments and accomplishments, such as were to be secured by the usual advantages of the age in which she was raised.
At the age of nine, an arragement was effected by which he went to live in the family of Isaac Gleason, a distant relative, and where he remained, taking part in the usual routine duties of farm work till the age of sixteen was reached, in the mean time receiving such advantages as were to be had at the common district schools. He next learned the bricklayer's trade from an elder brother, Lathrop, with whom he found a home for a period of two years, and then began work at his trade on his own account, making not only a support, but something for future contingencies. At the age of twenty-two he began a course at Amherst Academy, where he made the usual two years' preparation, when he entered Williams College, Mass. After spending two years at that institution, according to a general custom of the times, he changed institutions, completing a course, and graduated with full honors at Union College, Schenectady, in 1835. He then began teaching, and married toward the close of the same year, but finding his health somewhat injured by the too sedentary habits of the schoolroom, he changed his business back to the more active and healthy exercises of his trade, to which by this time a natural mechanical bent of mind had added that of "builder". In 1837 he settled in Summit county, Ohio, where for about nine years he was employed in acedemic teaching, when failing health again compelled him to abandon the school-room, and he again applied himself to mechanics, building a large factory for the general manufacture of wooden-ware, in which he found profitable employment for a period of five years, meantime teaching a few special terms of school, at the urgent request of friends. His factory having been burned down in 1851, he determined to fulfill a desire to visit the West, and he accordingly moved to Iowa and settled in Buchanan county. There he remained during the late civil war, and entered, bought and improved a farm, which he reduced to cultivation. While in that county he was county surveyor two terms--was duputy provost-marshal, enrolling officer, and a part of the time an acting justice of the peace. In all of his official relations he acted with such promptness, efficiency and good judgment, that he won the good-will and esteem of all classes, and earned the reputation of being one of the most useful citizens of the county.
From Iowa he moved to Illinois, and located in the south-eastern corner of this county--Milam township, which has been the place of his residence ever since. Here he bought and improved a nice home, on which he expects to remain the balance of his days, tillhis Master calls for a change in the mode of existence. His wife, fromerly Miss Rebecca Little, is still living, something over seventy years old, and is remarkably energetic for one of her age, and is one of the excellent housewives and model ladies of the day. It has been remarked of some people that they never grow old, and if there is truth in this adage, it never was more applicable than to this venerable old couple, who through all the intervening years have brought with them the freshness and sweetness of youth.
They have raised a family of four children in the highest credit and respectability, all citizens of this county, save Payson E., of Boulder City, Cal.; and have not only given their offspring all the ordinary advantages of the period, but have conferred on them that higher education which not only propares men for the duties of the present, but qualifies them for the fact of the life to come. They are both members of the Presbyterian church, and have been for many years followers of Him who descended into this mortal world for the purpose of teaching mortals how to live. In fact, far back in the mystic past, before Mr. Gleason applied his hand to the helm of the craft of active life, he gave his heart to the King of kings; and to the sustaining strength of his faithful Master he attributes his success in life.
Since becoming a resident of this county he has, as usual with him, been actively employed in the cause of general improvement, education and Christian evangelization. He moved in the organization of the town of Milam, and has had charge, more or loss, of all measures having in contemplation its moral, education and material development. He was the suggester and author of the "stock-law" that has worked with such advantage and satisfaction to his fellow-townsmen, and took an active part in securing good homes and instructors for the young. His usefulness, however, has not been confined to his own town, but he is favorably known by the people of the county at large as a reliable, active and public-spirited citizen. He was chairman of the court-house committee, and to his influence and action is largely due the securing on favorable terms of the present court-house rooms, and of the sale of the old court-house. His life has been characterized by punctuality, fidelity to trust, and a degree of self-denial, for the public good, wherever he has lived, and in honor to his memory, it can be truthfully said: "He has been loyal to his family, to his country and to his God."
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 234-235
Top of Page
Jerome R. GORIN
With the passing away of Jerome R. Gorin Decatur lost a citizen who left the impress of his life and character upon various interests which have contributed to the material upbuilding, the permanent development and the intellectual and moral progress of this city. Coming here at an early day he took an active part in shaping the policy of Decatur as it emerged from village conditions to take its place among the leading cities of this great commonwealth. He kept apace with universal progress and improvements and exerted his efforts in behalf of the public good, but while he did much for the city in the way of business development and public improvement, it was the kindly nature of the man, his charitable spirit and his genial disposition that won for him the love and unqualified regard of people of every class of society.
Jerome R. Gorin was born in Hopkinsville, Christian county, Kentucky, his natal day being October 12, 1817. He was a son of John D. and Mattie (Thomas) Gorin and a representative of an old Virginian family. His father was born in the Old Dominion, but during his boyhood went with his parents to the Blue Grass state, where he spent the period of his boyhood and youth. In the spring of 1828 he came to Illinois, which only ten years before had been admitted to the Union. He took up his abode in Vandalia, then the capital of the state, and became a representative of the business interests as both a merchant and farmer. He was also prominent in public affairs and for some years acted as receiver in the loan office. He died in Vandalia, April 26, 1846, at the age of fifty-six years, and his wife passed away on the 13th of July, 1876, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years.
Jerome R. Gorin was a youth of eleven years when he accompanied his parents to Illinois and in 1833 he made his way to Decatur, joining his two older brothers and a sister, who were then residents of this city. His brother, Henry M. Gorin, was for many years clerk of the court here, but left the office in 1841. His sister, Elvira, who had located in Decatur in 1830, became the wife of General Isaac Pugh and she ahd her husband passed away here after reaching advanced ages. Almost continuously from the time when as a young man of sixteen years Jerome Gorin entered upon his business career in Decatur up to the time of his death he resided in this city. His residence here was interrupted by only a short absence.
He first accepted a position as salesman and thus served until 1841, when, desiring to enter professional life, he took up the study of law and devoted two years to the mastery of the principles of jurisprudence. In 1842 he was admitted to the bar before Judge Treat and then went to Scotland county, Missouri, where he spent one winter. At the end of that time, however, he returned to Decatur and entered into partnership with Judge Charles Emerson and afterward became associated in the prosecution of his profession with Judge Kirby Benedict, who later was appointed district judge of New Mexico. In 1860 Mr. Gorin was chosen to the office of city clerk and attorney, acting in that capacity for four years. He had also been justice of the peace and had been retained either as consel for the prosecution or defense in many important cases which had been tried in the courts of this district. His last law partner was Judge Arthur Gallagher, with whom he was associated in the practice of law until 1861, when he became identified with the banking interests of that city. In that year the banking firm of Millikin & Oder was established and Mr. Gorin became its cashier, discharging his duties in that connection in addition to the work which he had performed in the office of city clerk and attorney. The thoroughness and close application which characterized all his business career were manifested in the bank and he soon became master of the work in its various departments. After four years he was admitted to a partnership and he continued to act as cashier until 1881, when he withdrew from the Millikin Bank and became the senior partner of the firm of Gorin & Bills. These gentlemen engaged in private banking and in dealing in real estate and loans, their association being maintained for two years. At the end of that time Mr. Gorin was instrumental in establishing the bank of Gorin & Dawson, of which he became the president, successfully controlling the affairs of the institution for several years, when he sold out to L.B. Casner. A year later this institution was merged into the Citizens' National Bank, of which Mr. Gorin became an incorporator and the first president, but after a year he disposed of his interests and from 1892 up to the time of his demise lived retired from further business cares. For thirty years he was an active factor in financial circles of Decatur and was intrumental in founding two of the leading banking institutions of the city. He was a man of opportunities and of marked adaptability in using the means at hand for the desired ends. Over the record of his business career there falls no shadow of wrong, for throughout his entire life he maintained an unassailable reputation, never taking advantage of the necessities of his fellow men in any business transaction.
On the 1st of April 1845, in Decatur, Mr. Gorin was united in marriage to Miss Eleanor D. Fawcett, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of Isaac and Rebecca Fawcett. They became the parents of six children: Mary Emma, who is now the wife of C.V. Middleton, a resident of Dallas, Texas; Orville B., the vice-president of the Millikin National Bank of Decatur; Ida E., the wife of W.C. Armstrong, of this city; Jerome C., a business man of New York city; Mattie A., who is living in Decatur; and Henry Gladden, who is now in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Mr. Gorin was a man of kindly spirit, deep sympathy and keen insight into the methods of men. His nature was one of helpfulness and thus it was that the Masonic fraternity appealed strongly to him, for it is based upon brotherly kindness and charity. On the 18th of October, 1841, he was initiated in Macon Lodge, No. 8, F. & A.M., and for a number of years prior to his death was the oldest and most honored member of that organization. For seven consecutive years he served as master of the local lodge, retiring from that office when elected grand master of the state. He likewise belonged to Macon Chaper, R.A.M., of which he served as high priest, and in Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, K.T., he was inscribed high on the roll of eminent Masons in Illinois and in 1867-8 he served as grand master of the grand lodge of this state. In April, 1866, he attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite in the Consistory of Chicago and for many years he was an active worker in the ranks of Masonry, realizing its efficiency in advancing the standard of human conduct and promulgating principles which are for the benefit of the race. He became the founder of the commandery in Olney, Illinois, on the 19th of January, 1865, and it was named Gorin Commandery in his honor. There was a three days' session during which nineteen Masons were created Knights Templar.
In his political affiliations in early life Mr. Gorin was a Whig and upon the dissolution of that party he joined the ranks of the new Republican party, which he supported for many years. In his last years, however, he gave his political allegiance to the Prohibition party, for he was a man of strong temperance principles and believed in the duty of Christian people to put down the evils of intemperance. In 1856 he was elected upon the ticket of the then new Republican party to serve in the state legislature and represented his district in the house during the succeeding session. While acting in that capacity he was made disbursing agent of the Fort Ridgely wagon road, which was being built for the governement from St. Paul and Fort Ridgely to the Missouri river. While thus engaged Mr. Gorin had an office in St. Paul for about a year, at the end of which time the project was abandoned.
Through all and above all things else in life was noticeable his devotion to the cause of Christianity. Through a long period he was an active member of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Decatur and during almost the entire period of his connection therewith he was one of its office holders. Deeply interested in Sunday-school work he relaized how important is the early Christian instruciton of the young that character may be developed upon a firm and sure foundation. He thus labored untiringly in behalf of the Sunday-school and served as the president of the state Sunday-School Association. He was also a member of the executive committee and for ten years was the president of the County Sunday-School Association. In the Young Men's Christian Association he was an active worker and no cause tending to elevate mankin sought his aid in vain. In all his work he was ably assisted by his estimable wife, who was indeed a faithful companion and helpmate to him on life's journey. She died in 1894 and his death occurred on the 1st of September, 1897. His was a noble manhood, consistent with all manly principles, with public-spirited citizenship, with honor in business and loyalty in friendship and in social circles. He attained to almost the age of eight years and when he passed away espressions of regret were heard on every hand, for many felt that they had sustained a personal bereavement and the city an irreparable loss. He possessed to a full measure all the fine and ennobling qualities which endear man to man, and his integrity, kindness and upright principles were a constant source of inspiration to his family and his friends.
Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, Illinois (1903), pg. 173-175
Top of Page
Orville B. GORIN
Respected by all, there is no man in Decatur who occupies a more enviable position than Orville B. Gorin in commercial and financial circles, not alone on account of the success he has achieved, but also on account of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has ever followed. He possesses energy, is quick of perception, forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution, and his close application to business and his management have brought to him the prosperity which is to-day his. For thirty-seven years he has been connected with the Millikin National Bank, of which he is now the vice-president. This covers almost the entire period of his business career and his success may be attributed in large measure to his persistency of purpose and to the thorough mastery of the work which he undertook as a young man.
Mr. Gorin is numbered among the native sons of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Taylorville, Christian county, on the 25th of January. 1849. His father, Jerome R. Gorin, was a capable lawyer and afterward a distinguished banker of Decatur, whose life work forms an important chapter in the business historv of this city. The mother bore the maiden name of Eleanor E. Fawcett and was born in Charleston, Virginia, in the year 1820. At an early day she accompanied her step-father, Mr. Walker, to Illinois, the family home being established near old Fort Dearborn in Chicago. In 1845 she became a resident of Macon county, to which place Jerome R. Gorin had removed in 1840, first locating in Taylorville. In 1853 he became a resident of Decatur and for many years he bore an important part in the work of promoting business development and activity here. He died September 1, 1897, full of years and honors, and his wife passed away in 1894. In the family were six children, three sons and three daughters.
Orville B. Gorin was a little lad of only four years when brought by his parents to Decatur, where he has resided continuously since. At the usual age he began his education in the public schools of this city and continued his studies here until he prepared for collegiate work. He then matriculated in Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois, where he remained as a student for some time, broadening his mind and gaining that mental discipline which is so necessary to a successful business career. Upon leaving college he returned to Decatur and soon afterward accepted a position in the private banking institution conducted under the name of James Millikin & Company and from 1865 until the present he has been a representative of this institution, gradually advancing from one position to another until he is to-day one of the strong stockholders and the vice-president of the institution. He became a partner in 1880 and since that time his keen foresight, business discrimination and executive force have proven important factors in the successful conduct of what is now one of the strong financial institutions in the state outside of Chicago. This bank was established by James Millikin and the firm name of J. Millikin & Company was assumed in 1866, at which date Jerome R. Gorin was admitted to a partnership. It was in 1880 that the latter sold his interest to his son, O.B. Gorin, and to Milton Johnson and in turn the latter disposed of his interest to Parke Hammer. In October, 1897, the bank was incorporated as the Millikin National Bank, with James Millikin as president; O.B. Gorin, cashier; and J.M. Brownback, assistant cashier, the latter having become an interested partner in 1896. In 1898 the present officers were elected: James Millikin, president; O.B. Gorin, vice-president; J.M. Brownback, cashier; and S.E. Walker, assistant cashier. In a history of the institution published in the Decatur Daily Herald, the following account of the bank and its methods was given: "During the entire career of the Millikin National Bank it has demonstrated beyond a doubt that it is ably managed and that its affairs are in the hands of time-tried men who weigh well every act and who depart not from the well trodden path of financial safety. All investments are most carefully made and no unnecessary risks are taken, hence the marked favor it enjoys at the hands of many of the most conservative depositors.
"It does a general banking business, loans money on approved commercial paper, issues foreign and domestic exchanges and receives the deposits of the manufacturer, merchant, farmer and general depositor. "Since its organization the bank has pursued the way of legitimate and conservative business, its able management avoiding the dangerous shoals upon which many banks have foundered and to-day the Millikin National Bank stands as solid and firm in the financial world as the most timid and skeptical depositor could possibly desire. It has been held high in the people's estimation for these years because of the unquestionable character of the men at its head and the sufficiency of the capital behind it. There is not an officer or director in this bank in whom the people have not the utmost confidence, and as a natural result it has always enjoyed a large patronage.
"This bank is a United States depository. Its present deposits are about three million dollars and loans and discounts are two millions two hundred thousand. Its correspondent banks are the Hanover National Bank and the Winslow, Lanier & Company bank of New York, Merchants' Loan & Trust and First National banks of Chicago. National Bank of Commerce, St. Louis, Merchants' National Bank, Philadelphia, Merchants' National Bank, Cincinnati, besides connections with leading banking houses throughout the United States and Europe."
In 1872 was celebrated the marriage of Orville B. Gorin and Miss Ella McClellan, a daughter of Adminston McClellan, a prominent and influential citizen of Decatur, who served for twenty-eight years in the capacity of clerk of Macon county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gorin has been born a daughter, Gussie J., who with her parents has enjoyed extensive travel, gaining the culture and knowledge which only travel can bring. The family home is one of the most attractive and beautiful residences of the city and is the center of a cultured society circle.
Mr. Gorin is a prominent Mason, belonging to Macon Lodge, No. A.F. & A.M., also to the chapter and to Beaumanoir Commandery, No. 9, K.T. Not to know Orville B. Gorin in Decatur is to argue one's self unknown, for his connection with business and social interests has been so extended that he stands to-day as one of the most prominent men of the city. His interest in his fellow men is sincere and arises from a humanitarian spirit which has prompted his support and co-operation with many movements and enterprises for the general good. He might perhaps have won high political honor, but he has always preferred to devote his energies to his extensive business interests and has been instrumental in winning for the Millikin National Bank a reputation which extends beyond the limits of the state. His career has ever been such as to warrant the trust and confidence of the business world and his activity in financial circles forms no unimportant chapter in the history of Decatur.
Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, IL., (1903) pg. 207-209
Captain William GRASON
The subject of the following biographical sketch is a native of Ireland, and was born December 27th, 1832. His father, Robert Grason, emigrated to America in 1835. He settled in Cincinnati, Ohio where he remained a few years, then removed to St. Louis, from there to Peoria, Illinois, and then back to St. Louis. He afterward went to New Orleans, when all trace of him was lost. He was in Ireland a shop-keeper. After he came to America he worked at the carpenter trade. He married Jane Glenn. She was of Scotch parentage. Her parents removed to the north part of Ireland to escape religious persecution. They were Episcopalians in faith. By this marriage there were ten children. William left home at the age of twelve years, and went to work on a farm. When at the age of sixteen years he was the necessity of getting an education. He therefore went to a school and learned rapidly, and soon mastered the rudimentary principles and advanced to and became proficient in the higher grades, particularly in language and mathematics. He afterwards went on the river and learned ship and house carpentering. He woked at the trade until he was in his twenty-second year, when he came to Macon county, Illinois, and stopped in Oakley township and worked at his trade, and in the spring of 1855 he purchased land in section 9, T 16, R 4 E., and improved it, and here he remained until the sixth of September, 1862, when he enlisted as a private in Co. A, 116th Regiment Illinois Volunteers. On the formation of the company he was elected first sergeant. The reiment was organized in Decatur, and was ordered to Cairo and from there to Memphis, where it was brigaded with the 1st Battalion, 8th Regulars, 6th and ith Missouri regiments, Morgan L. Smith Brigade commander. It formed a part of the 2d Division, 15th Army Corps, under command of Gen. W.T. Sherman. The first service in which the regiment and brigade participated was the Tallahatchie march, after which they returned to Memphis, took boats and went down the river and made the first attack on Vicksburg, then fell back to Helena, Arkansas, and went up the White river, cut off and attacked and captured Arkansas Post, then returned to the Mississippi again, where they were joined by Gen. McClernand, and participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg. On the 23d of May, 1863, in the charge of Fort Hill Capt. Grason was shot through the lungs. He was sent home, where he remained until he recovered his health, after which he rejoined his command at Jacksonville, Alabama, and there on the 15th of February, 1864, had the ball extracted. He was also in the disastrous charge upon the works at Vicksburg on the 19th of May, 1863, when Co. A of the 116th regiment entered with thirty-one men, and after the charge stacked arms with but thirteen left.
After joining his regiment participated with it in the siege and capture of Atlanta, and went with Sherman on his famous march to the sea, then to Savannah, where the 116th regiment took part in the assault upon Fort McAllister, and were the first inside of the works, closely followed by the 6th Missouri, then on to Washington, where they participated in the Grand Review. Sapt. Grason was promoted 1st Lieutenant, April 18th, 1863, and then to the captaincy of the company, and was mustered out as captain, June 7th, '65. He returned hom, went to Scott co., Illinois, where his family was, and remained there two years, working at his trade; then returned to Oakley township and re-engaged in cultivation his farm, at which he has continued to the present. On the 23d, of April, 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Helen E. Burrows, a native of Morgan county, Illinois, but a resident of Scott county at the time of her marriage. This marriage has been hallowed and blessed by eight children, six of whom are still living, five sons and one daughter. Their names are Charles Fremont, William Carlton, Robert Emmett, Franklin Glenn, Thomas Addis and Ida Belle. Charles F. is now in Oregon; the rest are residents of Macon county. Politically Capt. Grason was one of the original republicans. He was among the few who gave their support to John C. Fremont, in 1856. He remained an active member of the party until 1876, when he espoused the independent or greenback movement, and supported Peter Cooper for the presidency. He has now returned to his first love, and is, as of old, an ardent and active supporter of republican principles. He takes great interest in all public affairs connected with his township or county, and has served upon the board of supervisors for four terms. While a member of that body he exercised great influence, and bore the reputation of being a careful and prudent officer, looking carefully after the interests of his constituents not only in his township, but in the entire county. During the year 1880 he was appointed census enumerator for his township. Capt Grason is universally respected by his neighbors. He is a man of large heart and most generous impulses, genial and sociable, hospitable at his home, and possessed of much general and varied information; we found him a man whose acquaintance it was a genuine pleasure to make.
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 221-222
Top of Page
He was born in Ross county, Ohio, December 15th, 1830. His father, James Greenfield, was a native of Maryland. He was taken with his father's family to Ohio while yet in his infancy. He there grew to manhood and remained until 1843, when he moved to Illinois. He made the journey with a four-horse team, carrying his family and household goods. Alexander was then a youth of thirteen years of age. He walked the entire distance and drove the cattle. Mr. Greenfield settled in Macon county, at a point known as Mt. Zion. He there entered forty acres of land, and afterwards purchased forty more. There he remained until his death in 1862. He was a miller by trade, but followed the cultivation of the soil after he came to Illinois. He married Sarah Crawford. She was born in Ohio. Her parents were among the early settlers of that state. She died in August, 1861. By this marriage there were eight children, four of whom are still living. The subject of this sketch is the youngest son, and sixth in the family. He remained at home till his twenty-fifth year, when he married. He then bought eighty acres of land in Mt. Zion township and commenced its improvement. In October, 1855, he moved to section seven in Friend's Creek township, where he purchased eighty-four acres of partially improved land, and there he has remained till the present time. On the first of January, 1862, he enlisted for three years as a private in Co. "L," 10 Illinois cavalry, Col. Wickersham commanding. He was mustered out and honorably discharged in 1865, when the time of his enlistment had expired. The regiment to which he belonged was attached to Blount's division under Gen. Fremont, and afterward was a part of Gen. Curtis' command. Mr. Greenfield went through the war without any serious mishaps or wounds, except at the battle of Yellville, in Arkansas, where in the charge he had two ribs broken by being thrown from his horse. At the close of his army life he returned home and re-engaged in farming. On the fourteenth of February, 1851, he was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Butz, youngest daughter of Jacob and Mary Butz. She was born in Northampton county, Pennsylvania. Her father died while she was in her infancy. Her mother removed her family to Ohio in 1846, and in 1849 came to Illinois and settled in Mt. Zion township, Macon county. She died in 1852. There have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Greenfield eight children, six os whom are living. Their names are James, Jesse, Orphia, Charles, Martha, Mary, and Bertha Greenfield. Politically Mr. Greenfield is a democrat. His first vote was cast for Franklin Pierce, in 1852. From that time to the present he has not wavered nor departed from the principles as enunciated in the platforms of his party. He ay be regarded as one of the old settlers of the state. He has been a resident of the county for nearly forty years, and has seen the state grow from a comparative wilderness to the position of the third in the Union. Mr. Greenfield is a man who, like the larger portion of the old settlers of the state, is very sociable and hospitable. He bears a most excellent reputation among his neighbors and friends.
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 200
Top of Page
Mrs. Virginia GREENFIELD
Mrs. Virginia Greenfield, who resides on section 6, Long Creek Township, is a native of Wythe county, Va. Her father, John Flora, was a native of Pennsylvania, and in that State wedded Mary Ott, who was of Dutch and Irish descent. In 1829 he came with his family to Illinois, reaching his destination in the latter part of December. He moved his family and effects in four wagons drawn by horses, and at length reached John's Hill. Decatur had just been laid out, and Springfield was a market at that time. Mr. Flora entered land from the Government, and in a log cabin the family lived in true pioneer style, dressing in buckskin and wearing coonskin caps. Their beds were made on poles inserted between logs, and clapboards were placed upon these. There were thirteen children in the family, hence the household was a large one. In Virginia the father owned a saw and grist mill, but after coming to the West he carried on agricultural pursuits. He became well-to-do, and, although he had served in the Revolutionary War and was granted a pension, he would never draw the money.
The members of the family were Sarah and Henry, who died in this county; Katie, on the old homestead; Cynthia and David, both deceased; Eleanor, who died in Long Creek Township; Polly, deceased; Mary Ann; Rhody; Jonathan, a farmer who died in Arkansas; (he really died in Cass Co., Mo) Israel, who died in Urbana, Ohio; Cyrena, who died near Macon; Jackson, who died in this county; Isaac, who died in Virginia, and Mrs. Greenfield. About 1825, David, Henry and Cynthia came to Illinois, and in 1829 the rest of the family joined them. This was the winter before the deep snow. They suffered all the experiences and hardships of pioneer life, having to go to Springfield and St. Louis to trade, and they ground their hominy by scooping a hole in the end of a log and making a sweep to pound the corn.
Mrs. Mary Ann Querry, sister of Mrs. Greenfield, was born in Virginia January 4, 1810, and remained at home until her marriage in October, 1830, when she became the wife of George W. Querry, a native of the Old Dominion and a carpenter by trade. He died on his farm in this county some eighteen years ago. Their children were Lucretia J., wife of John Shaffer, of Blue Mound Township; Louisa Ann; Armena Maranda and John Wesley, who died in childhood; Mrs. Rosanna Terry, of Arkansas; William of Renwick, Iowa; James, who died in 1861; Angeline, deceased, wife of George Martin; Emeline, deceased; Virginia, wife of Jack Booker, of Blue Mound; and Joseph, who married Clara Frey and operates the home farm for his mother. Joseph has a little daughter, Nellie May. Mrs. Querry is a consistent member of the Methodist Church, as was her husband. For sixty-four years she has made her home in this county, and has been an eyewitness of all the changes that have transformed it from and unbroken tract of land, uninhabited, into one of the best counties of the State.
Mrs. Virginia Greenfield, who is numbered among Macon County's pioneer settlers, was not quite five years of age when she came with her parents to Illinois. At that time Indians were still living in the neighborhood. The long prairie grass waving in the wind looked like the undulations of the ocean. There were wild deer, wolves and all kinds of game that were used for food. Mrs. Greenfield attended the subscription schools for a short time, and became familiar with all the ways of the household, learning to spin and weave and care for a home. She remained with her parents until their death, caring for them in their old age as they had done for her in her childhood. In February, 1851, she became the wife of Ambrose Greenfield, a native of Ohio, who when a young man came to Illinois, and in Decatur enlisted for the Mexican War. His wife now receives a pension in recognition for his services. They continued to reside upon the old Flora homestead, where their marriage was celebrated, and Mr. Greenfield carried on farming and stockraising. He was an industrious and enterprising man, a good citizen and a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he was a supporter of the Democracy. He passed away June 22, 1890, at the age of sixty-four.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Greenfield were born the following children: Martha Ellen, who became the wife of David Chamberlain, and died at the age of twenty-one years, leaving one daughter, Minnie, who was reared by her grandmother, but is now married; Drusilla Jane, who was the wife of Ringgold Martin, of Missouri, and died, and her two children, Bertha Ella and George A., are living with Mrs. Greenfield; Mathias C., who operates the home farm; Sabra Ann, wife of J.S. Vowel, a farmer of Mt. Zion Township; John William, a farmer of Dade County, MO; Walter, who married Elsie Myers and follows farming; and Charles, who completes the family. The children were all born and reared upon the old homestead and have been provided with good educational advantages. The family is one highly respected and widely known throughout the community. Mrs. Greenfield has led a life in harmony with her professions, and her many excellencies of character have won her the love and esteem of all.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Macon County - p. 638-639
Top of Page
Hon. Samuel F. GREER
Samuel F. Greer, judge of the county court of Macon county since 1851, was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, on the 8th of September, 1825. His ancestors were Scotch-Irish, and settled in Maryland previous to the Revolutionary war, in which some of them bore an honorable part. The family is of the same origin as the Greer family of Virginia and Pennsylvania, one of the members of which, in the latter State, was Justice Greer, of the United States Supreme Court. William J. Greer, the father of the subject of this biography, was born and raised in Prince George county, Maryland, and married Sarah Downing, who was descended from an English family which had settled at an early period, in the same state. About the year 1820, William J. Greer removed to Ohio, and settled in Fairfield county, where he lived eight or ten years, and then moved to the neighborhood of Findlay, in Hancock county, in north-western Ohio, where he died in 1833.
Judge Greer, was the next to the youngest of a family of twelve children, of whom nine grew to maturity. He was two years of age when the family moved to Hancock county, in 1827. There Judge Greer was raised. The country was now when the family first took up its residence in that part of the State, but by the time the subject of this sketch got old enough to attend school, comparatively good schools for the day, had been established. They were held in log school-houses for about three months in the winter, and their advantages were meagre in contrast with those of the present time. On the 7th of April, 1844, he married Elizabeth Taylor, who was born at Somerset, Perry county, Ohio, daughter of Hugh Taylor, a native of the State of Delaware. In 1847, Judge Greer moved to Logan county, Ohio, and was living there at the time the excitement arose consequent on the discovery of gold in California. He was one of the pioneers who made their way across the plains to the Pacific slope in 1849. At Independence, Missouri, from which point the early expeditions across the plains usually started, he joined a wagon train, which was one of the first to reach California by the Overland route. It passed near Salt Lake City, and arrived in California, in September, 1849. He was occupied part of the time in merchandizing at Nevada City, and part of the time in mining. This was the first year of the heavy emigration to California; society was in a disorganized condition; no local government had been established, and the Judge was a witness to many of the incidents and adventures which made life in California at that time memorable. He returned to Ohio in the fall of 1850, after an absence of about nineteen months.
He became a resident of Decatur in 1854, first engaging in the mercantile business. In 1859, he was elected a justice of the peace. In the fall of 1861, he was chosen county judge of Macon county. He was admitted to the bar in January 1862. He has been re-elected county judge in 1865, 1869, 1873, and 1877. He was originally a Whig in politics. His first vote for president was cast for Gen. Taylor, in 1848. On the dissolution of the Whig organization his setiments on the subject of slavery led him to become a Republican, and he has voted for every Republican candidate for the Presidency, from Fremont, 1856, to the present time. He has four children. His theological views coincide with those of the Methodist Church, of which, for several years, he and his wife were members. He is a man of moderate and conservative views, of sound judgment, and with habits of thought fitted to take a fair and comprehensive view of any subject. The ability and faithfulness with which he has filled the office of county judge is best shown by the number of times in succession he has been elected to that position.
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 150
Top of Page
James G. GRIFFITH
James G. Griffith, now deceased, was born near Tunbridge, Orange county, Vermont, on the 30th of March, 1830. The family is of English lineage. The father of our subject was a farmer of the Green Mountain state and owned one hundred and sixty acres of land which is still in possession of his heirs. The old house is still standing there with its old fashioned fireplaces and olther early equipments. The place is called the Whitney Hill. The father died when his son James G. was five years of age and the latter then lived with a distant relative until twenty years of age. He pursued his preliminary education in the country schools and later was a student at Haverhill, Massachusetts. Later he was employed by a Mr. Wadleigh at Haverhill and thus entered upon his business career.
About this time James G. Griffith was united in marriage to Miss Susannah Whitney, the wedding taking place in 1855. In the fall of the same year they removed to Morgan county, Illinos, settling near Chatham, where Mr. Griffith engaged in farming until 1866, when he came to Macon county. He then rented a tract of land in Pleasant View township and after a few years he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 20 of the same township, residing thereon up to the time of his death. He was an active, enterprising, practical and progressive agriculturist and as the result of his labors his fields were placed under a high state of cultivation and returned to him an excellent income. As the years passed seven children were added to the home: William H., a retired farmer who married Alice Logan and resides in Macon; Clara Adeline, the wife of Charles L. Colby, a lumberman of Decatur, by whom she has two children; Arthur L., who lives on a farm southeast of Macon, and married Sattie Ingram, by whom he has two children; and four who passed away. The mother of these children died November 5, 1891, and on the 23d of November, 1892, Mr. Griffith was again married, his second union being with Vida J. Holtz, a daughter of Major David and Elizabeth (Hoover) Holtz. Her mother was a daughter of Christopher Hoover, of Ohio. The paternal grandmother of Mrs. Griffith was ninety-six years of age at the time of her death and the paternal great-grandmother reached the advanced age of one hundred and eleven years. Mr. Holtz passed away at the age of sixty-eight years. He was a mechanix by trade, but reared his family upon a farm. He had the following children: Addie E. became the wife of Samuel T. Young, of Macon county; Christopher H., who was in the hospital corps during the Civil war, afterward became a practicing physician and died in 1867; Rachel Margaret died in February, 1875; John William, who served in an Ohio regiment during the Civil war, died in hospital No. 6 at Nashville, Tennessee, in the middle of October, 1862, as the result of exposure and hardship at Shiloh, being then but twenty-one years of age; Mrs. Griffith is the next of the family; Susan died July 27, 1876; David Henry passed away August 20, 1874; Isaac Milton died in February, 1879; Mary Elizabeth became the wife of Martin Miler, of Blue Mound, and the mother of three sons; Carl D. is part owner and cashier in the Mount Auburn Bank; Arthur G. is cashier in the bank of Blue Mound; Earl M. is engaged in horticultural pursuits in Montgomery county, Illinois; Jacob LeRoy died May 24m 1887; Edward Augustus and Clarence H. were twins and the former died December 2, 1880, while the latter died August 3, 1881.
Mrs. Griffith was educated in eastern Ohio and in Antrim College, in which she spent one year. When fourteen years of age she won two teacher's certificates. She first taught school at Attica, Indiana, as assistant principal, and afterward in Marshfield, Indiana, for a year. She then spent a year as a teacher south of Rossville and two years in Warren county, Indiana. For four terms she was teacher in the Dales school northeast of Alvin, was next employed at College Corner, then at Pleasant Hill and in 1881-2 was a teacher in the high school in Rossville. She was next employed at Hedge Corner, west of Rossville. In 1887 on account of illness in the family she remained at home in order to act as nurse and then came to Pleasant View township, whre she engaged in teaching for one year. She afterward gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Griffith and for fourteen months thwy traveled life's journey happily together.
In January, 1866, Mr. Griffith became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, being connected with the organization at Macon, Illinois. His political allegiance was given to the Republican party and he was enthusiastic in its support, but never sought or desired office. He died December 29, 1893, respected by all who knew him. He had been a loving and devoted husband and father, a consistent Christian gentleman and a faithful friend, and the sterling qualities of his manhood had endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. His widow is now occupying a handsome home in Blue Mound, where she is widely and favorably known.
From Past and Present of Decatur and Macon County, 1903, p. 591 - 592
Top of Page
I.B. Gring is one of the oldest residents of Macon county, and for a number of years was employed in milling, at Decatur. He comes from Welsh stock. His great-grandfather, Daniel Gring, emigrated from Wales to America, and settled in Pennsylvania at a period previous to the revolutionary war. His grandfather, John Gring, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, married and moved to Franklin county, in the same state. In that county Mr. Gring's father, Daniel Gring, was born. He was raised in Franklin county, and on reaching manhood married Fannie Bear, who was born within four miles of Carlisle, in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, and was the daughter of Samuel Bear, who had come to that state from Canada at an early day. After his marriage, Mr. Gring's father settled down in Cumberland county on a farm and lived there the remainder of his life. I.B. Gring was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, on the thirty-first of March, 1825, and was the oldest of a family of six children. His birthplace was four miles west of Carlisle, in the Cumberland valley. He was raised in the same neighborhood, and attended the ordinary public schools. His boyhood was spent in the days before railroads were in general operation, and he was accustomed to make frequent trips by wagon to Baltimore and Philadelphia, to dispose of the farm produce and lay in a stock of goods for family use. He remembers when the first railroad train made its appearance in the Cumberland valley, and what a wonder it created among the inhabitants of the surrounding country, who flocked to see the novelspectacle. At the age of twenty-one he left the farm and undertook to learn the trade of a miller, in a mill situated not far from his home. He worked at the milling business after that till he came West.
In the year 1850, he received a proposition to come to Decatur and take charge of a steam mill, which had been erected by Orlando Powers. He accepted. On his arrival in Decatur he found it a small place, and at first thought it offered poor prospects as an advantageous place for residence. The mill which began operations in June, 1851, was the first steam flouring mill ever established in Decatur. It stood south of the town, and years ago was destroyed by fire. Although the ownership of the mill meanwhile passed through several different hands, Mr. Gring had charge of it for fifteen years. About the year 1861, he bought land west of Decatur on the Springfield road, and in 1865 moved to this farm and began farming. He now owns one hundred and eighty acres three miles west of town. His marriage took place in Decatur in April, 1854, to Salinda Bates, daughter of Frederick Bates. Mrs. Gring was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, on the opposite side of the Susquchanna, from Harrisburg. Her father died in Pennsylvania. She came to this county and settled in Decatur in the year 1851. Mr. and Mrs. Gring have been the parents of five children. David M.C. Gring, the oldest son, died on the fifteenth of September, 1877, at the age of twenty-two years. Chas. C. Gring is engaged in farming near Decatur. The three younger sons William D., Franklin and Lewis, still reside at home. Mr. Gring was brought up in Pennsylvania to believe in the doctrines of the old Whig party, and when he became old enough to vote supported for President in 1848, Gen. Zachary Taylor, the hero of the Mexican war. When new parties were formed with the question of slavery, as the issue between them, he became a republican, assisted by his vote to place Abraham Lincoln in the Presidential chair in 1861, and has been a republican ever since. When he came to Decatur it was a place of small size and importance, without railroad communication, and with little evidence of the substantial, prosperity to which it has since attained. He was one of the first aldermen elected after it became a chartered city, representing the fourth ward. For some time after he came to the county, the mill which he managed at Decatur, was the only one that could be relied on, and was patronized for a distance of fifty miles. The other mills were run by water and horse-power, and could do but little steady grinding.
History of Macon County, Illinois - 1880 - p. 159-160
This Page Was Last Updated Sunday, 21-Jan-2018 11:34:02 EST
Copyright 2011 by Cheryl Rothwell 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.