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ence and of a genial disposition. In personal
relations, he is affable and agreeable, and meets
all with the warmth of friendship and the im-
pressiveness of sincerity. In his religious views,
he is not connected with any organization. He
believes more in good works than in creeds. He
is an unwavering adherent of the republican

Captain McGirr was never married.


Hiram Mars was born in Oldham County, near
Louisville, January 7, 1829. He was the son of
Andrew and Elizabeth P. (Whips) Mars and was



reared on a farm. His father was a farmer and
a planter, and both parents died when he was
quite young. After their decease, his home was
with his maternal grandfather, and under his
care and watchfulness, young Mars was raised
to manhood.

His early educational advantages were of the
poorer sort; tor at that early day, the modern
school system of that State was not as yet estab-
lished. He attended private schools during his
boyhood and became proficient in the various
studies pursued. He came to Illinois when about
seventeen years of age, and entered Illinois Col-
lege at Tacksonville, remaining there three
years. After leaving college, he went to Quincy
and remained there until 1856. when he came
to Galesburg. His first occupation here was in
connection with a planing-mill and sash fac-
tory, in which business he was engaged for two
years. Then for two years, he worked in the
lumber yard of Mr. Edwin Post. In 1863, he
was connected with the Revenue Department on
the Mississippi and was located at Memphis,
Tennessee, and served for two years, when he
returned to Galesburg. In the Spring of 1865,
he again entered the lumber yard of Mr. Post
and served for the period of six years in the
capacity of bookkeeper and salesman. At the
end of this period of service, he purchased the
lumber yard and was associated with Mr. Nor-
man Anthony as his first partner. Afterwards,
he was associated with Stanley and Hitchcock,
and two or three years later, he again formed a
copartnership with Mr. Anthony, which con-
tinued for several years, or until Mr. Anthony
withdrew. Then Mr. Mars took as a partner Mr.
Hamilton, of Chicago, and the firm was known
under the name of Hamilton and Mars. This
firm continued its existence until 1888, when it
■was dissolved by mutual consent. Since that
time, Mr. Mars has carried on the business

Mr. Mars has earned for himself the name of a
trustworthy man. By fair dealing and strict
integrity he has won the confidence of his fellow
citizens. He has never sought office, but has
been called to several places of public trust. He
has been on the Board of Park Commissioners
for fifteen years, and his knowledge in this de-
partment has made him a most valuable mem-
ber. He was a member of the Public Library
Board for nine years; was Treasurer of Veritas
Lodge of Odd Fellows for twelve years; was
Trustee of the Presbyterian church about the
same length of time; was a member of the
Building Committee, when the late, new church
was erected; and has served as one of the City
Aldermen for two years.

Mr. Mars has lived an uneventful but ind\is-
trious life. He has shown praiseworthy dili-
gence in business and the work of his hands has
been crowned with success. The essential ele-
ments of his nature can be expressed in three
words — temperance, frugality, economy. He has
always shown himself to be a public spirited
citizen and an honest man.

Mr. Mars' religious creed is rather broad than
otherwise. From childhood, he has attended the

Presbyterian Church. thouKli not a niinibei-. His
political convictions arc icpublican. Willi that
party he has acted since its organization. He
was formerly a whig and cast his first vote for
Zachary Taylor.

Mr. Mars was first married in 1852, to Louisa
Uarr of Quincy, Illinois. One daughter was born
to them, Nettie L., now the wife of F. H.
Holmes, of this city. His first wife died in 1864.
His second marriage took place in 187:!. to ICliz-
abeth H. Smith, of Wellsburg, West Virginia.
To them were born three children, Katie M.;
.lames A.; and Mary Elizabeth.


Seth Weller Mead, son of Orrin and Rboda
(Weller) Mead, was born in the town of Hins-
burg, Vermont, April 13, 1835.

His father was a farmer, and it was in culti-
vating the sterile and unyielding soil of the
home farm that Seth spent his boyhood. His
mother, in the maternal line, was a direct de-
scendant of General Green of Revolutionary

Seth Mead was educated in the public schools
and academies of his native State. His early life
was not blessed with superior educational ad-
vantages. Like other New England boys, he
worked on the farm summers and attended
school winters. But he improved every oppor-
tunity and made even necessity a means of im-
provement. He became a teacher in the public
schools, and in them took his first lessons in
discipline and command. Afterwards, he be-
came a country merchant— a line of business
which he pursued for many years.

For several years his prospects for success in
his native State were not bright, and he resolved
to try his fortunes in the West. In 1875, he
came to Illinois, and in the following year, to
Galesburg. For the first five years, he was en-
gaged as clerk in the Union Hotel and in
Brown's Hotel. In 1882, under the clerkship of
Mr. A. J. Perry, he was appointed Deputy
County Clerk, which office he held until the
time of his death, July 10. 1898.

Mr. Mead had no great fellowship for societies,
whether secret, religious, or political. When a
young man at Hinsburg, Vermont, he joined the
fraternity of Free Masons, but never removed
his membership from that lodge. He belonged to
no church; he had no creed but that of kindness
and mercy towards his fellow beings. He was
uncompromisingly republican and was thor-
oughly conversant with the party organization
and party measures. He believed in right living
and right doing, and lived a most exemplary life.
He was known for his kindness of heart and
gentleness of disposition, and possessed the in-
nate power of drawing around him a host of
friends. He was loved and beloved by all who
knew him. In his daily labors, and especially in
the office which he held, he was intelligent, kind,
and affable; and it may be said that no Deputy
County Clerk ever performed the duties of that
office more acceptably than he. So conversant
was he in county matters that he was regarded
as an authority. He filled every station in life


well, and his memory Is cherished for the good
he has done.

Mr. Mead was twice married. He was first
married in ISSl, to Celia J. Furgiison. There
were born to them three children, one daughter
and two sons, Abbie H., Seth Earnest, and Her-
bert Furgiison.

His second marriage was October 27, 1873, to
Sarah M. Gregg. The issue of this union was
two children, b rank L., and Mabel L.


Charles C. Merrill was born in Orwell, Ver-
mont, September 10, 1833. His father was Hor-
ace Merrill and his mother's maiden name was
Deborah Paine. After their marriage, they re-
sided in Amherst, Massachusetts, until about
1830, when they removed to Orwell. About the
year 1836, they went West, settling in Chardon,
Geauga County. Ohio, where they continued to
reside until their death. They came from good
New England stock, and had all the sterling
qualities of that industrious and thrifty people.
In their natures, they were quiet and retiring,
but were tenacious and unwavering in their re-
ligious opinions, which were Presbyterian. To
their neignbors and friends, they were always
kind, sympathetic, and generous, and spent
their lives in doing good. The son has em-
balmed tneir memory in the following words:
"A happy, well mated couple, taking great de-
light in each other, and rearing a large family,
who will ever revere their memory. They both
died at a good old age. "

C. C. Merrill's father was the son of Captain
Calvin Merrill, and was born in Amherst, Mas-
sachusetts, August 31, 1789. He died September
6, 1873, at the advanced age of eighty-four years.
His mother was born in Vernon, Connecticut,
August 31, 1788, and died in Kingsville, Ohio,
August 5, 1874. at the age of eighty-six. They
were married in Amherst, October 19, 1809, and
had nine children, four sons and five daughters.
Two daughters and three sons are deceased.

C. C. Merrill received an excellent common
school education at Chardon, Ohio. At fifteen
years of age, he attended the Western Reserve
Teachers' Seminary at Kirtland and became
well qualified to give instruction in those
branches usually taught in the common schools.
Mr. Merrill's experience as a teacher is not a
long one. He taught for a short time in the
seminary at Kirtland, and one term in a district

The boyhood of Mr. Merrill was spent at the
paternal homestead in Chardon, Ohio. His older
sisters were teachers, and this circumstance
gave him a most excellent opportunity for study,
tor which he had a strong desire. His father was
not a man of affluence. Consequently, young
Merrill was obliged to "shift for himself" and
earn in part his own support.

In the Fall of 1853. when he was only twenty
years of age, Mr. Merrill came to Illinois. He
spent a few days in Galesburg with his uncle.
Roswell Paine, who was one of the original
Galesburg colony. He then went to Oquawka,
Illinois, and took a position as clerk in the store

of James McKinney. He remained here from the
Spring of 1854 to September of the same year,
when he went to Greenbush, Illinois. Here he
formed a partnership with his brother, F. H.
Merrill, and Alfred Osborn in a general store,
under the firm name of Merrill, Osborn and
Merrill. In the Fall of 1860, he came to Gales-
burg and was first emploj'ed as a clerk in the
dry goods store of E. F. Thomas. In the Fall
of 1863, he engaged in the clothing business
for himself, and continued in that business at
the same place. 136 Main street, for the long
period of nearly thirty-six years. April 27,
1899, he disposed of his stock of goods and

Honor does not always come to the deserving,
or merited praise to the public benefactor. By
a consistent and conscientious life, Mr. Merrill
has won both praise and honor from his fellow
townsmen. In 1873-4, he was elected to an
aldermanship from the Second Ward of the
city and served his constituents faithfully and
honorably. From 1885 to 1894, he served as
a member of the Board of Education, and in
1898. he was again elected, which position ne
still holds.

As a citizen, Mr. Merrill is a good example
of a just and honorable man. He is patriotic
in spirit, has great decision of character, and
has always been known for his fair dealings in
business. He is possessed cf kindly feelings
towards all, is charitable towards the failings
of others, and does not believe in temporizing
where principle is concerned. He has lived
an upright life, faithful to duty, and his ex-
ample is worthy of imitation.

Mr. Merrill joined the Methodist Episcopal
Church in 1867, and has since been a reliable
and consistent member. In political faith, he
is a republican. He says: "I cast my first vote
for John C. Fremont, in 1856. I have never
changed my views, and am a firm believer in
the political platform of the republican party,
and in William McKinley as President of the
United States."

Mr. Merrill was married August 27, 1855. at
North Bloomfield. Trumbull County, Ohio, to
Cornelia Converse Osborn. Her father was a
farmer and one of the earliest settlers in that
part of Ohio. The family came from Con-
necticut, with ox teams, requiring many weeks
to perform the journey. There were nine
children. Mrs. Merrill's brother. Dr. R. H.
Osborn, now living in Detroit, Michigan, was.
for about forty years, the resident physician
for the Hecla and Calumet Mining Company,
located at Calumet. Michigan. Her older sister,
Mrs. David Parsons, was for many years a
prominent teacher and was the first woman
elected on the Board of Education at Detroit,
where she still resides.


Timothy Moshier was a prominent man in
every sphere of life. He was born in Washing-
ton County. New York. May 18, 1812. His
father, whose name was also Timothy, was a
farmer, and a Canadian by birth. The mother's

K N OX C () II X 'J' V

maiden name was Rachel Curtis, a native of
Washington County, New York. Here they
were married, and Jive sons and four daughters
were born to them. At the early age of 47
years, the father died in Cayuga County, August
4, 1S28. I'he mother died in the same county
at the age of t)9, having outlived her husband
twenty-three years.

Of the five sons. Timothy was the eldest. He
liveil at the paternal home, and was engaged
in tlie routine of the farm until he was IG years
of age. His early educational advantages were
limited; but the spirit of the boy, which is the
index of the man, was shown in his ability
and sound judgment to make the best use pos-
sible of the means at his command. In a schol-
arly sense, he was not educated; but the great
lessons of experience and of life were so im-
pressed upon him that he became better edu-
cated than many a graduate of the college. At
twenty-three years of age, he left Cayuga Coun-
ty, New York, for Cass County, Michigan, where
he remained for three years. In 1S3S, he went to
the Platte Purchase in Missouri, remaining
there for five years, and then came to Warren
County, Illinois. Here for ten consecutive
years, he was a successful farmer. Here he
laid the foundation of that financial prosperity
that seemed to lie along his pathway. In
1852, he removed to Galesburg and was engaged
in farming, stock-raising, and trading. In
1864, he became greatly interested in the estab-
lishment of the First National Bank of Gales-
burg. He was the largest stockholder, and
a director, from its organization until the
day of his death — a period of nearly thirty

In whatever occupation Mr. Moshier was en-
gaged, he was eminently successful. He seemed
to possess the wizard's power of transmuting
even the clods of earth into gold. He started
poor and died rich. He was a man of great
natural ability and was blessed with an almost
unerring judgment. He was courageous and
seltpoised, and was not easily betrayed into
false positions. He was practically a lawyer,
well versed in the intricacies of the law, and
could manage cases at court shrewdly and
wisely. He was a great reader, a thorough
historian, and a critical scholar In the history
of our country. He was a good talker, full of
information, and on political history and gov-
ernmental topics, could make a most effective
and impressive speech.

Physically, he was a man of fine figure, tall
and commanding. His manners were pleasing
but not finical. He was fond of horses and
was a good horseman. He sat in the saddle
with stateliness and elegance, winning the ail-
miration of every beholder. He was gentle and
kind towards his fellow citizens, and a lover
of friends and home. He wore the dignity of
manhood, possessed unswerving honesty and
integrity, and had the intellectual power and
keen foresight that is necessary for a success-
ful life.

In religion, Mr. Moshier was not narrow or
bigoted. He had very decided views on

religion and a future life. Ho did not belong
to any church, but favored the Universalist
faith. He gave for the support of the Gospel
as he thought best. He believed that a good
act was better than burnt offerings or any such

Mr. Moshier was naturally a politician. The
political history of this country and of men
was to him like the alphabet. He could repeat
It without an effort. He was an ardent and
staunch republican. His views of currency,
tariff, and government were of the Websterian
kind — a name that he held in the highest ven-
eration. He was a party man, because he be-
lieved his party was right.

Mr. Moshier was twice married. He was
married in Michigan. November 7, 1S37, to
Sarah Garwood, daughter of William and Mary
(Thatcher) Garwood. She died in Warren
County, Illinois, February 22, 18.51. There were
born to them six children: Perry, who died in
Michigan; David H., of Denver, Colorado;
George S.; Henry Clay; Ada M., who married
D. H. Pankey, of this city; and William
Weston, who died in infancy.

His second marriage was at Rnoxville,
December 27, 1854, to Adelia Gardner, daughter
of Richard and Mary (Bronson) Gardner. The
issue of this marriage was one daughter, Cora,
who married Fred Seacord.


Nels Nelson, son of Nels and Hanna (John-
son) Bengtson, is a self-reliant and self-made
man. He was born in Ebbared, Weinge Parish,
Halland, Sweden. July 13, 1840.

His father lived on a small farm which he
tilled, and worked also at carpentry in order
to secure the necessary means of subsistence
for his family. In June, 1854. he left Sweden
for America, leaving for lack of funds the
oldest son. Nels, behind, who was then fourteen
years of age. Shortly after the arrival of the
family in Chicago, the father and youngest son
contracted the cholera, which was epidemic
there, and died of that disease. His mother,
with her three children, then went to Andover,
Henry County, Illinois, and soon after to Gales-
burg, where they have lived ever since.

Young Nelson had no schooling in Sweden,
but he learned to read at the paternal fireside.
When only eight years of age. it seemed neces-
sary that he should earn his own living, and
for that purpose he secured employment in
herding stock. In that manner, he supported
himself until he was fourteen. .-Xfterwards. the
burden was lighter, but no time was given him
for study or recreation.

At sixteen years of age. an opportunity to go
to America came to him. which he most joyfully
embraced. It was here that he received his
first instructions in the public schools. He
arrived in America, July 15, 1856, and immedi-
ately joined th? broken family of his mother,
two sisters and a brother. His first work was
farming in Mercer and Henry counties, until
he had earned enough to pay his fare from
Sweden, which had been advanced by a friend.



Bengt Nelson, to whom he yet feels indebted
for his great kindness. He next found employ-
ment at the round house of the Chicago, Bur-
lington and Quincy Railroad at Galesburg, work-
ing during the summers and attending school
winters. In the Fall of 1860, he went into the
furniture factory of Bartlett and Judson, and in
the following year, he enlisted in a company
of Swedish Americans, organized at Galesburg,
in August, 1861. He served as sergeant until
March 3, 1865, and then, for meritorious ser-
vice in the fieid was promoted to the First
Lieutenancy. He not only took part in many
skirmishes, but was in the battles of Shiloh
(Pittsburg Landing), siege of Corinth, and
Vicksburg. He was mustered out of service,
November 30, 1865, arriving home in December.
He then commenced clerking in the grocery
of Bancroft and Lanstrum, and also for a
short time for O. T. Johnson and Brother,
at Altona. On January 1, 1867, he started
the grocery firm of Bengtson, Nelson and
Company, at Galesburg, and soon built
up a prosperous business. But owing to
failing health, from the effects of his army
life, he was compelled to retire from that bus-
iness in January, 1871. From this time until
November, 1875, he held the position of City
Treasurer. Again failing health necessitated
his retirement from all active duties. After
recuperating, he again embarked in the mercan-
tile business, which was continued until Octo-
ber, 1883, when he was elected secretary of the
Scandinavian Mutual Aid Association.

Mr. Nelson has filled other important posi-
tions and oflfices, and always with great credit.
He served four years as a member of the Board
of Education, served seven years on th'.i
Library Board, acting as its President for one
term, and as Secretary four years; has been a
member of the County Board of Supervisors
for many years; and is at present Chairman
of the Committee on Judiciary and Clerk's Offi-
ces in the Board; was a Director in the Cot-
tage Hospital four years; and has also served
on many committees appointed to act in the
advancement of public enterprises.

Mr. Nelson's benevolent sympathies are
broad and charitable. In every worthy enter-
prise, he has always aided to the extent of his
limited means. His ruling desire has always
been to be useful; aiding those in distress,
cheering and encouraging the despondent, and
giving counsel to those asking advice. For
thirty years a wide field of work has been open
to him in assisting the many emigrants coming
here from the Old Country. Much he has done
to initiate them into the American ways of life.
In religious faith, Mr. Nelson is Lutheran.
He was confirmed by the minister of the
Lutheran Church of Weinge Parish, Sweden,
when fifteen years of age. He is a member of the
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Gales-
burg, and a teacher in the Sabbath school. He
has served as Trustee and Treasurer of the
church for thirteen years.

In politics, he is a thorough-going republi-
can. A firm believer in republican principles,

he has always taken active interest in the suc-
cess and welfare of the party.

He was married May 19, 1868, to Sarah Nel-
son, who died December, 1898. To them were
born two children: Arthur U., born July 29,
1869; and Edmund L., born March, 1880, died
in infancy.

Mrs. Nelson's parents died in Sweden. She
came to this country in 1862. All her brothers
and sisters were here, and all died before her.


Peter T. Olson was born February 10, 1860,
at Hastveda, Christianstads Lan, Sweden. His
first impetus to his successful life work, that
of builder and contractor, was his father. Trued
Olson, who was a carpenter and natural
mechanic, and constructed his own tools and
farm implements out of wood. His mother,
Kerstin Truedson Olson, was a woman of
strong character, and a devoted wife and
mother. Her son, Peter Olson, was a capable
and ambitious boy, who saw beyond the rim
of his surroundings. His duties or pastimes
on the farm were not allowed to interfere with
his fortunate educational advantages, and in
1875, at the age of fifteen, he graduated at the
High School at Hastveda, ranking third in a
class of one hundred and fifty members. Thus
equipped, he longed for broader fields, which
seemed to him to be America, but, yielding to
the solicitations of his parents, he postponed
his journey to this country until May, 1879.

In 1SS2, Mr. Olson settled in Galesburg, and,
desiring to learn the bricklayer's trade, entered
the employ of contractor T. E. Smith, to whom
he rendered faithful and efficient service until
1890. Appreciating the benefits of an inde-
pendent line of work, he started in business
for himself as a contracting mason and plas-
terer. Considering the breadth and excellence
of Mr. Olson's work, the amount accomplished
by him is remarkable for a man of his years,
and the city of his adoption contains many
evidences of his skill. Among the buildings
erected by him may be mentioned the follow-
ing. The Hitchcock School building, the Com-
mercial and Triola blocks, the Young Men's
Christian Association building. Lombard Gym-
nasium building, the Galesburg High School
building, the Galesburg National Bank build-
ing, the Scott and Jordan block, the Bateman
School building, and numerous handsome resi-

One of the fine traits of Mr. Olson's character
is his open acknowledgment and appreciation
of the good work of those upon whose efficiency
and co-operation he is more or less dependent.
He employs only skilled labor, and pays good
prices, believing that to his employes he owes
much of his success in life. The greatest good
fellowship exists between employer and em-
ployes, many of whom have been with him
since he started in business. Through the
medium of periodicals and correspondence, Mr.
Olson keeps in touch with the progress in his
line in all parts of the world, and tries at all



times to obtain the most convenient, substan-
tial and artistic results.

Mr. Olson was married November 1, 1S88, to
Caroline C. Edo£E, who was born in Sweden,
and came to America in early childhood. She
is an exemplary wife and mother, and presides
over a pleasant home on tlie corner of Bateman
and Dudley streets. To her, Mr. Olson attrib-
utes much of his good fortune in life. Mr.

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 154 of 207)