Albert C. (Albert Clayton) Beckwith.

History of Walworth county, Wisconsin .. (Volume 1) online

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and which produced two Presidents and other leaders. S. J. Nichols was of
So neb descent and bis ancestors were among the early settlers of northern
Vermont, having come there from Leominster, Massachusetts. In 1854 the
subject of (his sketch was brought west by his parents, who located in sec-
tion J5, Linn township, Walworth county, Wisconsin. There the father
bought a farm of four hundred and fifty acres and there he spent the rest
of his life, having become well established. He and his wife both died in
1 Si jo. lie had prospered through close application and the exercise of sound
judgment and, having added to his original purchase, he at one time owned
about one thousand acres of valuable land and was regarded as one of the
county's most substantia] and progressive agriculturists. Farming was his
chief interest all his life.

Levi A. Nichols grew to manh 1 in I. inn township, and when a boy

assisted with the general work aboul the place, attending the district schools

in the winter time. In [876 lie took a pari of the farm there and this he - till

and has been engaged in agricultural pursuits in connection with stock



walworth county, wisccwsitt. 595

raising ever since. He has kept his land well improved and under a high
state of cultivation. In 1903 he became a director in the First National Bank
of Lake Geneva, and in January, 1909, he was elected president of that in-
stitution, which is regarded as one of the popular, safe and conservative in-
stitutions of southeastern Wisconsin, and he has continued to discharge the
duties of this important position in a manner that reflects credit upon himself
and elicits the commendation of all concerned.

Mr. Nichols was united in marriage with Ada K. Rice in October,
1876. She grew up and was educated in Whitewater, and she is the daugh
ter of Edwin M. and Laura W. (Wicker) Rice, both natives of Bridge-
port, Vermont, from which state they came to Wisconsin in 1N41 and located
in Richmond township. Walworth county.

To Air. and Mrs. Nichols four children have been born, two sons and
two daughters, namely: John E., who married Cora Baker, is fanning a
part of his father's land; Charles L., who married Helen Brown, is also
farming part of his father's land; he has two children, Velma and John;
Marjery A. married Harold W. Stewart, an instructor in the University of
Illinois at Urbana.

Fraternally, Mr. Nichols belongs to the lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons and the chapter at Lake Geneva; he is also a member of the Modern
Woodmen. He and his wife are both members of the Congregational church
and are liberal supporters of the same.

After he had spent twenty-five years on the farm, Mr. Nichols moved
to the village of Hebron. Illinois, where he immediately became identified
with the life of the place and he took an active part in promoting the public
improvements of the village. It is worthy of mention that any offices or
positions of leadership which he has attained have come without his solicita-
tion. He has proven eminently worth} of every trust reposed in him.
always performing his duties as he saw and understood the right.



DR. SIDNEY CLAYTON Gobi'.

It is by no means an easy task to describe within the limits of this review
a man who has led an active life and by his own exertions reached a position
of honor and trust in the line of work with which his interests are allied. Bui
biography finds justification, nevertheless, in tracing and recording the record
of such a life, as the public claims a certain property interest in th r of



596 WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN.

every individual and the time invariably arrives when it becomes advisable
to give the right publicity. It is then with a certain degree of satisfaction that
the chronicler essays the task of touching briefly upon such a record as has
been that of Dr. Goff, one of the men of high standing and influence in Wal-
worth county, who, professionally, has long ranked with the leading dentists
of this part of the state.

Dr. Sidney Clayton Goff was born in East Troy, this county, on January
23, 1861. He is the son of Sidney Calkins Goff and Martha (Barber) Goff,
the father born in Steuben county, New York, in 1829, and he was the son of
Pliny C. and Magdelane (Vorhees) Goff. The father of the subject grew
up in the state of New York, and when he was about twenty-one years of
age he went to Australia by sail-boat, around the cape of Good Hope, southern
Africa, voyaging to the then newly discovered gold fields of Australia, and
there he spent four years, returning home by way of Cape Horn, South
America. Being a man who observed things, he frequently told interesting
stories of his experiences in the antipodes and around the world. He was
about twenty-five years old when he returned to New York, soon afterwards
coming to Delavan, Walworth county, Wisconsin. There he engaged in the
mercantile business, closing out a dry goods stock for an Eastern firm. He
then took up the study of dentistry with a local dentist, before dental colleges
were established. About 1857 he moved to East Troy, where he took up the
practice of his profession, which he continued there until January 1, 1875,
having enjoyed a large practice. On that date he came to Elkhorn, to take
the office of sheriff of Walworth county, to which he bad been elected the
previous fall, and he was encumbent of the same for two years, discharging
In- duties to the satisfaction of all concerned. At the expiration of his term
he resumed tin- practice of his profession in Elkhorn and continued there
with his usual success until 1883, in April of which year he moved to Perrv.
[owa, and there be died January 30, [912. IK- was bom in [829 and reached
the advanced age of eighty-two year-. 1 1 is widow still resides at Perrv,
towa. lie and Martha Barber were married when the town of Trov was
young. She was born in Livingston county, New York. Her parents dying
when she was a child, she came to Walworth county. Wisconsin, when a girl
and lived here until her marriage, making her home with her elder sister,
Mrs. Millard.

Dr, S. Clayton Goff, of this sketch, was one of three children, he being
the only sun: his sisters were Cora and Lena, the former having married
DeWitl C West and resided at Elkhorn three or four years, then moved to
Perry, [owa, where Mr. West died, then she married Henry I'. Lods. Lena
married Charles F. Case and they live at Lake Geneva.



WALWORTH COUNTY. WISCONSIN". 59/

Doctor Goff, of this sketch, spent his youth in East Troy and Elkhorn,
and he received his early education principally in the high school in the latter
city, soon afterwards taking up the stud) of dentistry, lie attended the
Indiana Dental College at Indianapolis, where he made an excellent record
and from which he was graduated in the year [883. lie returned to Elkhorn
and began practicing, succeeding his father, who in that year moved from
here to Iowa, and here he has since remained, having enjoyed a very liberal
practice all the while, following successfully in the footsteps of his worthy
sire, and, like him, gaining the confidence and good will of the people.

Politically, Doctor Goff is a Republican and active in the affairs of the
party. He was elected village clerk before the town of Elkhorn was incor-
porated as a city, having been first elected in [885, and again in 1886. He was
elected a member of the village board and served on the same for a period of
six years successively. In 1908 he was elected mayor of Elkhorn, and. after
a most satisfactory and praiseworthy term of two years, he was re-elected
and served until April, 1912, in a manner that reflected much credit upon
himself and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned, irrespective of party
alignment. He has done much for the permanent good of the city. He was a
member of the county board of supervisors for a period of three years. In
1910 he was elected as representative from this county to the state Legisla-
ture, and he served in the session of 191 1, making his influence felt for the
good of his locality and the party.

Doctor Goff was married in 1885 to Jennie P. Britton, daughter of
Charles H. and Laura (Hodges) Britton. She was born in Elkhorn, but
lived in the town of Berlin, Green Lake count}-, at the time of her marriage.
Her parents were originally from Xew York. Her grandfather, Edwin
Hodge-, was one of the first settlers in Elkhorn. having emigrated to this
county from Xew- York in pioneer days. Two children have been born to
the Doctor and wife, namely: Rispah J!., born in [891, and Sidney B.,
born in 1899.

The subject and wife belong to the Congregational church. Fraternally,
he is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He was a charter member of the
local camp of Modern Woodmen, which cam]) was the first organized in
Wisconsin, and was started within a year of the organization of the ordei

Doctor Goff was elected chairman of the Walworth county Republican
committee in 1904 and again elected to the same organization in 1906. I It-
has been a member of the Elkhorn Cornet Band since 1878, one of the best
bands in this part of the state.



598 WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN".

In childhood the Doctor developed a natural talent for mechanical work
and at the age of sixteen years he made a small steam engine which worked
successfully, being well made, — in fact, there seems to be little difference
between it and a real locomotive except in size. He also had a well developed
talent for making toy ships, which in their completeness of detail rival the
large sailing vessels. Since reaching manhood he has found recreation in
collecting Indian relics and other curios, now possessing a large and valuable
collection, some of them being very rare, as well as beautiful.

Personally, the Doctor is a kind, genial, obliging and sociable gentleman
whom it is a pleasure to meet.



HENRY DeLAFAYETTE ADKINS.

Henry DeLafayette Adkins, the efficient and well known cashier of
the First National Bank of Elkhorn, is a worth) representative of one of the
oldest and best known families of Walworth county. Time and prolific
enterprise have wrought wonderful changes in this section since he first saw
the light of day, and the great section no longer depends upon its initial
industr) <>i lumbering but has been brought forward to the high plane which
marks the older sections of the commonwealth. The Adkins family have
played no inconspicuous role in this development.

Mr. Adkins was born in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, on January 10, 1864. He
is the son of Henry Breekenridge Adkins and Emma (Cronk) Adkins. the
father a son "I' Henry and Betsey Ann (Adams) Adkins. Henry Adkins,
son 'if Henr) and Martha Adkins, was born on December 23, 1812, in
county Kent, England. In his youth he was apprenticed to learn the drug
business am] he served three and one-half years. In [833, when twenty-one
years "Id. he emigrated to the United States, locating in Oneida county.
New York, where he married Betsey Ann Adams, daughter of William
Want- and wife. She was born in Otsego county, New York, September
to, [813. In 1N41 he and his family came to Walworth county. Wisconsin,
and Incited on a farm in Sugar Creek township, moving the following year
to Lagrange township, entering eighty acres of land from the government,
in section 14. In the autumn of [854 he was elected register of deeds and
hi December of thai year moved t" Elkhorn and entered upon his official
duties. lie was re-elected and seTved lour years. While there he siarted

riginal books now in use by the Walworth County Abstract Company.



WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN. 599

After his term of office had expired he entered the abstract business, in
which he remained until 1863, when he engaged as a clerk in the First
National Bank of Elkhorn. He finally became assistant cashier and vice-
president and was active in the affairs of the hank until his death in 1889,
and was one of the substantial and influential men of the county.

The Adkins family consisted of the following children: Elizabeth, who
married Reuben Eastwood, died on March 5. [892; Henry B., father of
Henry DeLafayette, of this -ketch; Charlotte [sabell, who was horn in Xcw
York, now lives in Elkhorn; Zehrua A., born in 1841. is the wife of Charles
D. Root and lives at Lake Mills. Wisconsin; William E., bom September 4,
1847, died J m )' J 3> r 9Q3; Mary Lydia died in early childhood; Mary Ellen,
who married Preston Smith, died on December 28, 1889; John Charles,
born April 28, 1856, died on April 26, mi 1. Henry Breckenridge Adkins,
father of the subject, was born near (Jtica, Oneida county, Xew York, on
January 17, 1839. He came to this county as a child with his parents, in
1841. He received a fairly good education, and was an excellent penman,
but preferred mechanical work to clerical confinement. He learned the
painter's trade, which he followed most of his life. He was married on
January 1, 1862, to Emma Cronk, who was born in Dutchess county, Xcw
York, in 1S42. She was the daughter of Acel and Polly (James) Cronk.
Her father was born in Dutchess county, Xew York, in J 803, and her mother
was born at Clifton Park. Saratoga county, Xcw York, in t8o2. The Cronk
family came to this county in the early days. Acel Cronk died on December
28, [881, his wife having died on December 14. 1880.

On December 10. [863, Henry I',. Adkins enlisted in Companj K.
Thirtieth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served his country well in those
trying times during the Civil war. his labor- being for the most part con-
fined to Wisconsin. Minnesota, the Dakotas and Kentucky. He was hon
orably discharged in September. [865. After the war he made his home in
Elkhorn during the principal part of bis remaining life. His w jf e died on
ember 1;. 1901, and he survived until November M>. 1007.

As a companion, whether at home or in business life, the father of the
subject was always agreeable, kind, obliging and always fair in In relati m
with his fellow men. He was a keen observer and kepi well posted on cur-
rent events.

The children of Henry B. Adkins and wife were as follows: Henry D.
L.. of this sketch: Jessie Lena, wife of George Rannej Short, of Sanger,
California.



600 WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN.

The immediate subject of this sketch grew to manhood in Elkhorn and
he received a good education in the local schools. He entered the First Na-
tional Bank of this city on October i, 1882, and has been with this popular
institution ever since. Starting as a clerk, he later became bookkeeper, which
position he held for a number of years. He became assistant cashier in 1896,
and in July, [911, he became cashier, and has thus been an employe of this
bank for over thirty years, having given the utmost satisfaction to the stock-
holders and patrons, always discharging his duties in a manner that re-
flected much credit upon his ability and fidelity, his honor and integrity never
being questioned. He has kept well informed on financial matters and has
been a profound student of banking affairs. He is secretary and treasurer
in group Five of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Mr. Adkins has been city clerk, which position he held a number of
years at the time the village was merged into a city. He represented his
ward on the board of supervisors for a number of years. He and his wife
belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, and for about twenty years he has
been chorister of the church.

Mr. Adkins was married in 1896 to Jennie McDougald, of Elkhorn.
daughter of William and Eugenia (Foster) McDougald, and to this union
one child has been born. Jessie Louesa, whose birth occurred on December 30,
[897.

Mr. Adkins was a charter member of the local lodge of Knights of
Pythias, and he has been active in lodge affairs, having held all the chairs in
the local lodge and has received the grand lodge honors.



JOHN II. HARRIS.

Examples that impress force of character on all who study them are
worthy of record in the annals of history wherever they are found. By a
few general observations the biographer hopes to convey in the following
paragraphs, succinctly and yet without fulsome encomium, some idea of the
high standing of John II. Harris, of Elkhorn, as a business man and public
benefactor, one of the representative citizens of Walworth county. Those
who know him best will readily acquiesce in the statement that many ele-
ments of a solid and practical nature are united in his composition and which
during a series of years have brought him into prominent notice throughout
the southern portion (if the state, bis life and achievements earning for him a
conspicuous place among In- compeers.



WALWORTH COUNTY. WISCONSIN. 601

Mr. Harris was born in Jefferson count). New York, August 29, 1856.
He is the son of James B. ami Rachael (Chene) 1 I [arris, the mother a native
of Jefferson county, New York, .laughter of an old family of that state.
James B. Harris was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and when a boj he emi-
grated to [ngersoll, Canada, with his parents where his brother and other
relatives had preceded him. He came down into the state of New York,
probably about 1850. and there married Rachael Cheney, and he conducted a
cheese factory in Jefferson county, that state, most of his life.

Two sons and three daughters were born to .Mr. and Mis. James B.
Harris, namely: John II.. of this sketch; Minnie is the wife of John Mc-
Kelvie and they live in southern Kansas; Belle, who was a teacher in the Xru
York schools, died there in 1910; Maria, the fourth child in order of birth,
married C. O. Roberts, and they live in Philadelphia, Jefferson county, New
York; George B.. third in order of birth, was born February, [860, has al-
ways been in the creamery business, being at present associated with the sub-
ject in the management of the Wisconsin Butter ec Cheese Company, of which
there are several branches, he being in charge of the one at Waukesha, in
which city he resides, having moved there in [89] from Spring Prairie, where
lie had lived up to that time. He married Alma Coleman, daughter of James
Coleman and wife, an excellent family of Spring Prairie, and George B. and
his wife have five children. John C, Hugh, George, Robert and Helen.

John H. Harris grew to manhood in Xew York and there received his
education, remaining in his native community until the spring of 1879, when
he came to Clinton Junction. Wisconsin, where he lived something more than
a year, then moved to Walworth county, Wisconsin, in 1880, and located
about seven miles east of Elkhorn, in Spring Prairie township. There he
operated a cheese factory until 1890. when he and Walter A. West, (ieorge
B. Harris and George B. Puffer formed the Wisconsin Butter & Cheese Com-
pany, one of the best known companies of its kind in the state, a large, pros-
perous and growing concern, a complete account of which is to In- found on
another page of this work. The subject is presidenl of this company and its
splendid success is due largely to his able management.

Mr. Harris has long been active and influential in public affairs and is an
ardent Republican. In [898 he was elected state senator, and lie served his
constituents in a manner that won their hearty approval and reflected much
credit upon himself.

Mr. Harris has been very successful in a business way. being a man of
progressive idea-, sound judgment and keen discernment. Aside from his
large cheese manufacturing interests, be owns a valuable and finel) improved



602 WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN.

farm of one hundred acres in the southwestern part of the city limits of
Elkhorn. Here he has an excellent barn, worthy of special mention because
of its size, convenience and completeness, a model dairy barn in every respect.
He is a breeder of full-blood Holstein cattle and is taking a great deal of
interest in improving and enlarging his herd.

The domestic life of Mr. Harris began on September 5, 1882, when he
was united in marriage with Effie G. Webber, daughter of Loring O. and
Alary (Fairbanks) Webber. She was born in Raymond. Racine county,
this state. Her mother"s people came from the state of Xew York. Loring
O. Webber was one of the first settlers of Racine county, and his father
erected the first frame house built in that county.

Four children have been born to Mr. ami Mrs. Harris, namely: Cora
Belle, wife of Clarence A. Arp, lives in Chicago, where he is connected with
the Universal Cement Company ; James L. lives with his father in Elkhorn ;
Robert Bruce and Ruth M. are also at home.

Mr. Harris is a thirty-second-degree Mason, and he belongs to the
Ancient Arabic Order of Xobles of the Mvstic Shrine.



RICHARD POWERS.

It is proper to judge of the success and the status of a man's life by
the estimation in which he is held by his fellow citizens. They see him at his
work, in his family circle, in his church, hear his views on public questions,
observe the outcome of his code of morals, witness how he conducts himself
in all the relations of society and civilization and thus become competent to
judge of his merits ami demerits. After a long course of years of such
daily observation it would be out of the question for his neighbors not to
know his worth, because, as has been said. "Actions speak louder than
words." Throughout Walworth county there is nothing but good words
heard concerning Richard 1'owers, W ell known banker of Lake Geneva, lie
lias passed his life here and his worth is well known, but it will lie of in-
terest to run over the busy events of his unusually busv. successful ami
useful life in these pages, for he is one of the native sons whom the county
delights to honor, being the scion of one of our sterling old pioneer families.

Mr. Powers was born on Decembei 31, 184S, in Lyons, Walworth
county, Wisconsin. IK' is the son of Patrick and Margaret (Derene) Tow-
el's. The father was born in county Kilkenny, Ireland, and there spent his



WALWORTH COUNTY, WISCONSIN. OO3

.hood, emigrating to America when aboul eighteen years old, in iSjS.
He lived in St. Louis many years, lie came to this count) on Januarj 6,
1S45, and located on a farm in Lyons township, east of Lake Geneva, on
land now owned by Homan Brothers. There Richard Powers resided until
he was forty-four years old, having worked hard to develop a good farm.

Mr. Powers was one of a family of four children, namely: William;
Michael, who died when young; Richard, of this sketch; and John, who is
now living in Dakota.

The father of these children farmed the rest of his life east of Lake
Geneva, becoming one of the substantial men of that community and he
established a comfortable home there, where he lived until his death, in
1868, his widow surviving until 1882. He was active in public affairs,
holding a number of township offices in Lyons township, and he was one of
the pioneers who helped build the first Catholic church at Lake Geneva, and
he was liberal in his support of the same the rest of his life.

Richard Powers followed general farming and stock raising success-
fully until he was forty-four years of age. For nearly thirty years he ha -
been interested in Dakota lands and for two seasons he engaged in shipping
horses there. He is still interested in Dakota farm lands and has been
very successful in this line of endeavor. Lie and his brother own in part-
nership about twenty-four hundred acres there. They built the first cream-
ery in North Dakota and for a period of thirteen years operated the same
most successfully, benefiting both themselves and the farmers over a wide
territory. They were compelled to furnish the cows in order to gel il
started, but when the farmers there saw the great value of the same they
•vent into it heartily.

Mr. Powers is also interested in two banks in this county, also two
banks in .Montana, being president of one of the .Montana banks at Lain
ville. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers National Lank at
Lake Geneva, and he is at present in charge of the department of loans,,
discounts and collections of that institution, lie has been very successful
in whatever he has been engaged, being a business man of rare acumen.
sound judgment and foresight, by nature an organizer and promoter and
able to foresee with remarkable accuracy the future outcome of a present
transaction. He is one of the substantial and influential business men of
the county and he has won the good will and esteem of all with whom he has
come into contact as a result of his industry and integrity.

Mr. Powers was married in [880 to Bridget Cassin, a native of [re-
land, born and reared near Waterford, from which country -he came to



Online LibraryAlbert C. (Albert Clayton) BeckwithHistory of Walworth county, Wisconsin .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 57 of 73)