Elkhorn. There he was admitted to the bar in 1846, and there practiced for six years. While a
resident of Elkhorn he held several town offices, was postmaster from 1845 to 1849 (the Polk
administration), and served as state's attorney for four years.
In 1852 Mr. Meacham settled in Freeport, where he has practiced his profession a little more
than thirty years, still, however, retaining the homestead farm in Wisconsin. His practice em-
braces all branches, and extends into all the courts, and he has had a good run of business, his
profession affording him a competency. Being an old resident of this county, and very well
known, he has a large circle of warm friends.
Since coming to Freeport, Mr. Meacham held, several years ago, the office of state's attorney
for the period of four years, his being the old fourteenth district, which consisted of Winnebago,
Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties. He was also mayor of the city of Freeport one term, being
elected in 1862 as a war democrat. He voted for Mr. Lincoln in 1864, because he did not think
it wise to change the administration during the civil war, and latterly he has acted with the
Mr. Meacham was first married in 1836, to Miss Prudence Geddes, of Ann Arbor, Michigan,
she dying in 1860, leaving two children, only one of them, William P., now living, he being on
the farm in Wisconsin; and the second time in 1864, to Mrs. Eliza A. (Coon) Thompson, having
by her three children, only two of them, a daughter and son, Jessie and James, now living.
HON. THOMAS G. BLACK, M.D.
HOMAS GILLESPIE BLACK, a member of the state legislature from Adams county, was
born in Murray county, Tennessee, June i, 1825. For his parentage and the pedigree of the
family the reader is referred to the sketch of his father, found on other pages of this work. When
Thomas was about nine years old (1834) the family came into this state, and settled in that part
of Morgan county which was cut off and became Scott county. The subject of these notes was
engaged in farming and attending school during the winter season until about eighteen, teaching
also about four or five months. He studied medicine with Doctor William H. Wilson, of Win-
chester; attended lectures in the medical department of the University of Kentucky, at Louisville,
from which he received the degree of doctor of medicine, and in June, 1849, settled in Clayton,
Adams county, where he has had a successful practice for more than a score of years.
Doctor Black went into the army in August, 1861, as captain of company C, 3d Missouri cav-
alry, and some time afterward was promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and subsequently to colonel,
of the same regiment. Its field of operations was the states of Missouri and Arkansas, and Colo-
onel Black served for three years. At Hartsville, Missouri, in a single engagement, no less than
thirteen bullets went through his clothes and hat or grazed his saddle.
Colonel Black has held a few local offices, such as school director, supervisor, etc., and was a
member of the thirtieth general assembly, and is now a member of the thirty-third. In the former
body he was chairman of the committee on corporations; in the latter body he is chairman of the
committee on labor and manufactures, and is also on the committees on appropriations, peniten-
tiary, contingent expenses, elections, and insurance.
In early life the colonel was a whig, and on the demise of that party transferred his allegiance
to the republican party. He has been a delegate to several state conventions, and in 1880 was
sent to the national convention which nominated General Garfield. In Adams county and in the
legislature he is a man of a good deal of influence. He is surgeon of the zd brigade national
Colonel Black is high up in masonry, being past commander of the commandery; and he has
taken all the degrees in the encampment of Odd-Fellowship. He is an elder in the Disciple
UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.
Church, and an active man in Sunday-schools, temperance, and every good cause. April 15, 1849,
he vyas married to Miss Martha F. Nance, who was from Giles county, Tennessee, and they have
buried two children and have four living: Mary Ellen is the wife of Doctor Robert Briggs, of
Clayton; Martha F. is the wife of Lee Wells, of Creston, Iowa; Edwin T. is a graduate of Rush
Medical College, and practicing at Clayton; and Joseph N. is a graduate of Rush, class of '83.
GENERAL ISAAC H. ELLIOTT.
ISAAC HUGHES ELLIOTT, adjutant-general of the state, is a native of Illinois, his birth
being dated near Princeton, Bureau county, January 25, 1837. His father, John Elliott, was
born in Clermont county, Ohio, and his grandfather, John Elliott, Sr., was from Ireland, immi-
grating to this country in the latter part of the last century, and settling near Cincinnati, where
he died. The mother of Isaac was Mary Hughes, a native of Ohio. She had six children, of
whom he was the eldest child. He was reared on his father's farm, prepared for college, and
entered the University of Michigan, being graduated in the class of '6r. The country was in the
full blaze of civil war; his patriotic fires had been kindling since the fall of Sumter, and on
receiving the degree of bachelor of arts he enlisted in the 33d Illinois infantry as captain of com-
pany E, his regiment being at first in Missouri, under General Curtiss. Captain Elliott was
captured October 15, 1861, at Big River Bridge, in that state, and paroled. He was with his
regiment all through the war at the battles of Champion Hill and Black River, the siege and
capture of Vicksburg; was in the department of the gulf, going into Texas, and, returning, was
at the siege of Mobile, etc. He was promoted regularly, clear through from captain to brigadier-
General Elliott was mustered out late in the autumn of 1865, and returned to Bureau county
to take the office of county treasurer, to which he had just been elected, serving one term. He
has a farm near Princeton, which he was cultivating when, in August, 1881, he was appointed to
his present state office, to which he is now giving his careful attention. He is well fitted for the
post, and richly merits the honor conferred upon him.
General Elliott is a Blue-Lodge Mason, holding his connection with the Princeton Lodge. He
married in 1867 Miss Elizabeth H. Denham, step-daughter of Hon. Owen Lovejoy, and they have
HON. HENRY RAAB.
THE state superintendent of public instruction, whose name is at the head of this sketch, is a
native of Wetzlar, Rhenish Prussia, a son of Philip Louis and Justina (Kayser) Raab, and
was born June 20, 1837. His father was a tanner and currier by trade, an industrious, well-to-do
man, and gave his children a good education. Henry was educated in the kindergarten, the com-
mon schools, and the Royal Gymnasium, taking the scientific course, which included also Latin,
French and. English.
In 1853 Mr. Raab came to this country, worked awhile at the trade of currier, in Cincinnati,
subsequently had the supervision of an uncle's farm near Saint Louis, and in 1857 became an
assistant teacher in the public schools at Belleville, Saint Clair county, this state, being associated
at one period with Hon. J. P. Slade, late state superintendent of schools. In early school work
our subject had the assistance and counsel of that eminent educator, George Bunsen, who was a
pupil of Pestalozzi.
Becoming many years ago quite familiar with the standard works on education, Mr. Raab has
been greatly benefited by the study which he devoted to them. He was connected with the pub-
41 4 UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.
lie schools of Belleville for fifteen years, and was superintendent of the city schools for ten years,
making a praiseworthy record in his profession. He has attended many county teachers' insti-
tutes, and some state conventions of scientists, and his lectures and discussions before such bodies
were so able, and attracted so much attention that in 1882 the democratic party nominated him
for the state office, to which he was elected, and the duties of which he is now performing with
his accustomed zeal. He is an enthusiastic worker in the cause of education, and will, no doubt,
honor the post which he fills.
The kindergarten which he founded at Belleville in 1874, has had a highly creditable history,
and is quite flourishing. He was librarian of the Saengerbund library at his home in Saint Clair
county, for more than twenty years, and is full of public spirit and enterprise in all such matters.
Mr. Raab was married at Belleville, in 1859, to Miss Mathilde Von Lengerken, who was from
Ankum, Hanover, and they have three children living: Ernest P., a graduate of the medical
department of the University of Pennsylvania, and in practice at Highland, Madison county, this
state; Line A., a clerk in her father's office, and Mathilde, who is at school.
EXCELSIOR IRON WORKS.
THE business represented under the above name was organized by Carlile Mason, a brief out-
line of whose biography is here recorded. He is a native Scotchman, and was born in the
town of Paisley, Renfrewshire, in the month of May, 1817. His father, George Mason, was
descended from a French officer, who was outlawed by the English government while fighting
for Prince Charles in Scotland. He was a man of local prominence, and a leader in all the
reforms of his day, and for many years a member of the town council, and was also chaplain of
the poor-house and insane asylum. He died in 1848.
Carlile was sent to a private school until twelve years of age, at which time he entered his
father's factory for dressing cloth by a new process, discovered by his brother, and which it was
desired to keep from the public. During this time he improved his spare hours by study of the
common English branches, under a private teacher, and also acquired a limited knowledge of
Having decided to become a mechanic, he turned his attention in that direction, at the age of
sixteen, and served for seven years, working his way up through all the various positions from a
blacksmith, until he became an accomplished machinist. He now established himself in business
on his own account, and was meeting with fair success, when occurred the financial failures of
1842. In these failures he lost all his capital, and resolved to immigrate to the United States,
and start anew. Accordingly, July 20 of that year, he sailed from Liverpool to New York,
whence he went directly to Chicago, where he readily secured work at $20 per month. In the
spring of 1843 he engaged as engineer for Frink and Walker, on the steamer Frontier, which
plied between Peoria and Peru, on the Illinois River, carrying the mail to connect with the stages.
Continuing in that position during the summer, he, in the fall of that year, went to Sterling, Illi-
nois, and opened a blacksmith shop. In this, however, he was not as successful as he had hoped
to be, owing to the newness of the country, and in 1845 returned to Chicago, and accepted the
position of foreman for Gates and Scoville, who had contracted to supply all the iron work for
the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Here he had an opportunity to develop and extend his mechan-
ical knowledge, of which he eagerly availed himself, and he also formed the acquaintance of
many of the engineers of the canal, whom he found true and lasting friends. At the close of his
engagement here, he was employed with J. W. Cobb in the manufacture of steam engines and
boilers, and having been sent to Lake Winnebago to put an engine into a small steamer, he there
engaged as engineer for the company, to run the steamer during the season of 1849.
In the winter of 1849-50, having returned to Chicago, he was induced to forego a return to
H C Ciiper ,Ir i Co
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Scotland, for which he had made every preparation, and opening a small shop, made a contract
with the gas company to lay the pipes across the Chicago River, an undertaking which he accom-
plished with remarkable success; so much so that he was afterward employed in a similar opera-
tion by the gas company at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His success in these undertakings made for
him a fine reputation, and gave him a new start in his business, and from that time until the
financial depression of 1857 he continued to prosper in his operations and extend his works.
A change, however, was awaiting him. The commercial and industrial depression resulting
from the monetary crash so affected his business that he was compelled to succumb. His entire
capital was swept away, and with nothing left but his fair name, energy, enterprise and an indom-
itable will, he worked for six years liquidating the debts in which he had become involved.
During the period in which the country was engaged in civil war the business flourished, and
until 1873 each year marked a decided advance in the progress of its operations. It was during
this time, in 1860, that he established the present Excelsior Iron works. In these works were
afterward associated with him his two sons. The business was begun on a small scale, having
but $500 capital, and at the beginning employed but six hands; but such was the progress of its
operations that increased facilities were soon required, and at the end of two years about sixty
hands were required in the different departments. The small shops occupied at the start have
.given place to an establishment of immense proportions, being 150 x 150 feet, and located on the
corner of Clinton and Carroll streets; 220 hands are now employed, a capital of $125,000 is en-
gaged, and the annual products amount to $400,000.
The products of these works are extensively known, and comprise, besides a general line of
machinery, steam engines, boilers, and other goods in that line. Their engines and boilers are
noted for their many excellences, and are now numbered by thousands, and it is a notable fact
that out of this large number there has never yet occurred an explosion.
The company during the past year have constructed and sent out from their works five hori-
zontal engines, sixteen-inch bore, twenty-four-inch stroke; four portable hoisting engines, eight-
inch bore; two twelve-inch vertical engines; thirteen fence barbing machines; two sets of wind-
ing engines, i;Jo horse power each, besides a large amount of other work. In their boiler depart-
ment they have contracted to build and erect 164 boilers, fifteen hot-blast stoves, five blast
furnaces, together with all the necessary connecting pipes, smoke stacks, etc. Of these boilers,
seventy-two were cylinder boilers, forty-eight inches diameter, thirty-six feet long; eight cylinder
boilers, forty-two inches diameter, thirty feet long; thirteen two-flue boilers, forty-two inches
diameter, twenty-four feet long; thirty-seven tubular boilers, sixty inches diameter, sixteen feet
long; twelve tubular boilers, seventy-two inches diameter, eighteen feet long; two tubular boil-
ers, seventy-two inches diameter, sixteen feet long; six tubular boilers, sixty-six inches diameter,
sixteen feet long; two tubular boilers, sixty inches diameter, fifteen feet long; two tubular boil-
ers, fifty-four inches diameter, sixteen feet long; one marine boiler, eight feet in diameter, nine-
teen feet long; and the remaining nine were forty-eight inches diameter, twelve and fourteen feet
long. The hot-blast stoves were twenty feet, one inch diameter, sixty feet high to spring of dome,
and the furnaces were twenty-nine feet diameter and sixty-five feet high. For this work there
has been delivered at their works between January i, 1880, and January i, 1881, 2,983,000 pounds
of plate iron one-quarter inch thick, and upwards of 316,293 pounds of steel boiler plate; 93,222
pounds of sheet iron, 130,000 pounds of rivets, 237,464 pounds of bar iron, 23,424 pounds of ham-
mered shafting, 69,414 pounds of channel and I beams, and 62,857 pounds of angle iron, a pro-
portionate amount of castings, boiler tubes, steel, brass, etc., have passed through their hands.
The officers of this company are Carlile Mason, president; George Mason, vice-president; Will-
iam L. Crawford, secretary, and J. A. Mason, superintendent of the works.
Such, in brief, is the history of a business which has grown from a very humble beginning to
a position which reflects the highest credit upon its managers. Mr. Mason's many sturdy quali-
ties have gained for him a wide reputation as a practical and thorough business man, and aside
from his private interests, he has been made the recipient of many public trusts.
41 8 UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.
In political sentiment he was formerly an ardent abolitionist, and since the organization of
the republican party has been an earnest supporter of that body. During the war he was inspector
of steamboats at Chicago.
In 1870 he was elected to represent his district in the state legislature, and filled the office for
two years. He was afterward president of the board of police and of the fire department of Chi-
cago, and in 1876 was appointed by the governor of Illinois as a member of the state centennial
In religion he is of liberal Presbyterian views, and has been an influential member of the First
Congregational Church of Chicago since its organization, in 1847.
Mr. Mason was married in his native town, June 6, 1839, to Miss Jean McArthur, and of the
five children that have been born to them, two sons and one daughter are now living. The for-
mer are associated with their father in business, and the daughter is the wife of a prominent
dental surgeon of Chicago.
Mr. Mason is the youngest of a family of eight sons and three daughters, of whom only one
died in infancy. Of these, seven immigrated to the United States, and all except our subject
settled in Vermont, where lived an aunt, who was one of the pioneer settlers of Caledonia county,
in that state, and whose descendants stlli live on the old farm near Ryegate. that was cleared in
the eighteenth century.
Mr. Mason has in his possession a letter written him by his father in 1844, four years prior to
his death, in which he gave this advice: " Remember that your employer's interests are your inter-
ests; and if you expect to do well, be honest to your employer, yourself, and your God." To the
following of this he attributes much of his success.
REV. FRANCIS A. READ.
REV. FRANCIS ASBURY READ, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Polo, Ogle
county, is a son of Lewis and Roxy (Richardson) Read, and was born at Deerfield, Oneida
county, New York, February 26, 1822. His father, a mechanic, and a soldier in the war of 1812-
14, was born in eastern New York, and his mother in western New York. Francis received only
a public-school education, being largely self-educated in the sciences, as well as wholly in theolo-
gy. In his youth his health, part of the time, was poor, but he did some collecting for his father,
and was a clerk awhile in a drug store. He had a taste for books, and sick or well, rarely wasted
He was converted in his native town when in his fourteenth year; moved with the family to
Joliet, Illinois, in 1836; became a local preacher at Joliet in 1840, and in 1844 went on the Wau-
ponset circuit. He then preached one year each at South Ottawa and Washington, Tazewell
county, when his health failed and he was out of the conference one year. Being readmitted, he
was stationed one year at the Blue Island mission, Wheeling circuit (Cook county), two years each
at Libertyville (Lake county), Rockford, State street (now Wabash avenue), Chicago, Galena,
Batavia, Rockford again, and Belvidere. The term of pastorate admissible was now changed
from two to three years, and he served the latter period as pastor at Batavia and Freeport; was
then presiding elder four years, with residence at Freeport, when, returning to station work, he
was sent a third time to Rockford (Winnebago Street Church). He went thence to Mendota;
three years later to Lyndon, Whiteside county, and two years afterward came to Polo, where he
is serving his second year.
The preaching of our subject has usually been attended with marked success, and it is safe to
say that in the aggregate, nearly two thousand persons have been added to the several churches
while he has been their pastor. Few ministers of any denomination in this part of the state have
more warm personal friends than Mr. Read, and many have been the tokens of their regard for
UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.
him. The preachers of Freeport district presented him a silver dinner and tea set at the con-
ference when his term of presiding elder closed. At Mendota he received a gold-headed cane,
and when he left Rockford, where he has preached in all seven years, the citizens of the place,
outside his church, presented him with a horse, each gift being presented with earnest expres-
sions of friendly feeling and fellowship with him in his untiring efforts to do good.
While holding pastorates at Galena and Freeport, he built fine churches, and commenced the
Court Street Church at Rockford, having it well under way when he left. His active work in
three places has amounted to nineteen years, something which very few circuit preachers can say.
He was treasurer of the conference missionary society for fourteen consecutive years, thousands
of dollars passing through his hands annually. He was appointed chaplain of the 95th Illinois
infantry in 1862, and joined his regiment, but owing to poor health, did not go into the field.
Mr. Read was first married January i, 1849, to Miss Narcissa L. Nasen, daughter of Rev. John
Nasen, a Methodist Episcopal clergyman, of Elk Grove, Cook county, and she died August 18,
1860, leaving one son, Francis Adelbert, now a merchant at Freeport, and four other children had
preceded her to the spirit land. He was married the second time August 20, 1861, to Miss Jose-
phine B. Jordan, daughter of Numa S. Jordan, lawyer, of Fulton county, Illinois, she being a
graduate of the Rockford Female Seminary. They have had four children, all daughters, losing
the oldest, Helen, at the age of ten years. The others are Allie May, Frances J. and Esther Lizzie.
EBEN R. STONER, M.D.
THE gentleman whose name we have placed at the head of this sketch is the oldest physician
now in active practice at Griggsville, and has been in this (Pike) county, engaged in the
medical profession, since 1852. He is a native of Clermont county, Ohio, a son of Joseph and
Margaret (Fred) Stoner, and was born January n, 1827. His father was a native of Pennsyl-
vania, and his mother of Virginia. His grandfather, Philip Stoner, was from Germany. When
our subject was nine years old the family came to Brown county, this state, then a part of Schuy-
ler county, where he and his father engaged in farming until he was eighteen years old. His
father died in 1852 and his mother in 1857.
Doctor Stoner received only the ordinary drill of a common school, and is largely self-edu-
cated. He fitted himself for a teacher, and was engaged in that calling four winters, commencing
the study of his profession with Doctor H. L. Sulphin, of Perry, while thus employed. He attended
two courses of lectures at McDowell's College, Saint Louis, and received the degree of doctor of
medicine in 1854. Before taking the last course of lectures Doctor Stoner had practiced two
years at Chambersburgh, Pike county. On receiving his diploma he moved to Perry, same
county. In October of that year he married Ann Eliza Whitaker, daughter of Benjamin D.
Whitaker, of this county.
Doctor Stoner remained at Perry for seven years, and in 1861 settled in Griggsville, where, as
at previous places, he has had a good run of professional business; and he will have no other,
having never accepted an office of any kind nor handled anything but medicine and surgical
instruments. Evidently his ambition has been and still is to be known as an attentive, careful
and successful physician and surgeon. He has had thirty-one years' experience in his profession;
has kept well read up in medical science, and has a good reputation for both skill and success.
The doctor has paid some attention to the study of geology and archaeology, and he has a fine
collection, particularly in the latter branch of science. He is naturally of a scientific turn of
mind, and, Pike county abounding in mounds and other remains of the prehistoric period, he has