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The Rio Lodge I. O. O. F., has twenty-
five members and occupies its own hall. The
first officers were: L. S. Whitcomb, N. G.; H.
E. Whipple, V. G.; William Van Tassell, Secre-
tary; J. C. McMurtry, Treasurer. The officers
now serving are: D. Deatherage, N. G.; S.
Lovls, V. G.; G. A. Wier, Secretary; A. Larson,

Rio Camp, Modem Woodmen, holds Its meet-
ings in Odd Fellows Hall. The charter mem-


bers numbered sixteen and the initial officers
were: E. H. Schrieber, V. C; C. F. Peterson.
C; B. G. Peterson, B.; J. C. Egan, W. A. The
present offlcars are: E. J. Tye, V. C; C. F.
Peterson, C; J. W. Epperson, B.; Monie Alm-
gren, W. A. The Camp now has twenty-five

Chapter No. 313, 0. E. S., was organized
August 2, 1890, with twenty-one members and
these officers: Lizzie Schreiber, W. M.; J. P.
son. Secretary; Josephine Smith, Treasurer. The
present officers are: Mary McMurtry, W. M. ;
Adam LittlefielU, W. P.; Josephine Smith, A.
M.; Lois Epperson, Secretary; Ella Bair, Treas-
urer. There are now fifty-two members, who
meet in the Masonic Hall.

The Home Forum has a flourishing Camp in

ADAMS, WILSON K.; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship: born in Indiana, September 22, 1834; edu-
cated in Illinois: his parents were James and
Sarah (Miller) Adams, of North Carolina. He
was married to Sarelda J. Rusk, in Knox
County, March 6, 1S56. Their children are:
Rosa G., Henry M.. Ida R., Eddie A., E. Otis,
Sarah A., and Clyde W. Theron died in in-
fancy. Mr. Adams is a member of the Metho-
dist Church. In politics, he is a democrat. He
has held the office of Road Commissioner.

BROWN, FRED SMITH; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born February 6, 1869. in Chicago, Illinois.
His parents were Thomas Brown. Jr., of Lon-
don, England, and Emily (Ware) Brown, of
Williamstown, Vermont; his grandparents were
Thomas Biown of Kendal, England, and Pris-
cilla (Smith) Brown of Maidenhead. England;
his maternal grandparents were Horace Ware
of Pormfret, Connecticut, and Persis (Chase)
Ware of Cornish, New Hampshire. His great-
grandparents were Frederic Ware of Westfield.
Connecticut, and Jermina (Manning) Ware of
Woodstock, Connecticut. Mr. Brown was mar-
ried to Anna D. Robson. at Rio. Knox County,
Illinois. November .5. 1895. They have one
child, Grace. Mr. Brown is a member of the
Congregational Church.

farmer; Rio Township, where he was born July
12, 1851; educated in Galesburg. His parents
were Samuel and Elizabeth (Miller) Brown, of
Montgomery County, Indiana. His paternal
grandparents were Samuel Brown of Kentucky,
and Jane (Bell) Brown of New Jersey; his
maternal grandparents were Abraham Miller
of Tennessee, and Mary (Little) Miller. Mr.
Brown was married to Elizabeth M. Oakes, in
Story County, Iowa. March 14, 1877. They have
five children: Athol, Talent, Elizabeth, Jen-
nie, and Edna. In politics, Mr. Brown is a
democrat. He is a member of the Universalist

CONRAD. CARL; Farmer; Rio Township;
bom March 15, 1848, in Brengetosta, Sweden.

His parents were Carl John and Anna Louisa
(Elstedt) Holt of Sweden; his paternal grand-
father was John Lansy; his maternal grand-
father was Peter Elstedt. Mr. Conrad married
Charlotte Granberg, February 22, 1872, in
WoodhuU. Nine children have been born to
them, Alfred Benjamin, David Amanuel, Gil-
bert Henry. Amanda Wilhelmina, Emily Au-
gusta, Rosa Eilinda, Christian Lenne, Clara
Sophia, and Anna Charlotte. Clara S. died
November 28, 1877, and Anna C. died December

14, 1877. Mr. Conrad is a republican. He is a
member of the Lutheran Church.

COZIAHR, WILSON; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born July 9, 1S4G, Ontario Township,
Knox County, Illinois; educated in the com-
mon schools His parents were Ludwick and
Christian (Brown) Coziahr; his paternal
grandparents were William and Susanna
(George) Coziahr, and his maternal grand-
parents were Joe and Lydia (Harmons) Brown,
of North Carolina; his great-grandfathers were
Ludwick Coziahr and Abel Brown. Mr. Wilson
Coziahr was married to Emma Bowers in On-
tario Township, October 2, 1873. There were
ten children, five sons and five daughters; one
son is deceased. Mr. Ludwick Coziahr came
with his wife and three children to Illinois in
1841, and settled in Henderson Township, then
removed to Ontario Township, and later to
Rio Township, where Mrs. Coziahr died April

15, 1899, at the age of eighty-one years. Mr.
Wilson Coziahr is a Protestant. In politics,
he IS a democrat, and has served for a time as
Read Commissioner.

EDGAR. ARTHUR J.; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born in Walnut Grove Township, Knox
County. March 14. 1866; educated in Rio Town-
ship. His parents were James B. Edgar of
Sangamon County. Illinois, and Lucinda (Ken-
nedy) Edgar of Knoxville, Illinois. His pa-
ternal grandparents, Samuel and Mary (Le-
Fever) Edgar, were natives of Kentucky; his
maternal grandparents, Andrew and Mary
(Sheldon) Kennedy were born in New York.
In religion, he is a Protestant. He is a dem-
ocrat. Mr. Edgar is a School Director and

HALL, IRA R.; Farmer; Rio Township;
born November 18, 1829, at Java. Wyoming
County, New York; educated at the seminary
at Arcade. New York. He is a member of the
Congregational Church. He was married to
Mrs. Cynthia Ann Lyon, at Rio, Illinois. No-
vember 5, 1894. He enlisted in the War of the
Rebellion foi- three years, Company A, Seventy-
Seventh Illinois Volunteers, being mustered in
September 2, 1862. In politics, he is a repub-

MELTON, FRANK A.; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born April 20, 1875, in Rio, Illinois; edu-
cated in Rio, Wataga. and Galesburg. His pa-
rents were W. J. Melton, born in Ontario
Township, Knox County, and Mary (Knox)
Melton, born in Connecticut; his grandfather
was George W. Meltcn. He was married to
Alice N. Coziahr, at Rio, October 20, 1897. Mr.


Melton is in religion a Protestant. In politics,
he is a democrat.

MAY, SAMUEL WELLS; Farmer and man-
ufacturer; Rio Township; born March 20, 1838,
in New York; educated in Knox College. His
parents were Harvey Henry and Delia Duane
(Ray) May of Washington County, New York;
his grandparents were Ellis Nathaniel and
Mary (Wells) May of New York. Mr. May
was married to Elizabeth Hanan, in Fayetve
County, Pennsylvania, November 27, 1870. Mr.
May has held the office of Supervisor.] He is an
independent in politics. In religion, he is a

MOOR, ANGUS; Farmer; Rio Township;
born in Anson, Maine, February 8, 1835. His
parents, Eber S. and Lydia T. (Daggett) Moor,
were natives of Maine; his paternal grandpa-
rents were John and Susan Moor; his maternal
grandparents were George and Mary Daggett.
Mr. Moor came to Knox County with his parents
in 1844, and received his education here. In
1859, he crossed the plains, and for seven years
mined in California, Idaho, and Montana, re-
turning in 1866. On the journey he came in a
row boat down the Missouri River and from
Fort Benson to St Joseph's. After his father's
death, in 1879, Mr. Moor purchased the home
farm where he still resides. December 23, 1882,
Mr. Moor was married at Galesburg, to Lydia
F. Daggett Stevens, who was born in Atkinson,
Piscataqua County, Maine, June 17, 1844. Mrs.
Moor has, by an earlier marriage, six children:
Conrad, Jessie, George, Howard, Harry, and
J. Fred. Mr. and Mrs. Moor have one son,
Don A. Mr. Moor is a republican.

OLSON, CHARLES W.; Carpenter and
farmer; Rio Township; born December 23.
1846, in Molmohus Land, Sweden; educated at
Hersef Soken, Sweden; his parents were Ola
and Elsie (Anderson) Person of Sweden. Mr.
Olson was married March 1, 1884, to Emma
Christine Selberg, :n Woodhull, Illinois. They
have eight children: Emil Gotfred, Hattie Me-
linda, Carl Harmon, Minnie Alvera, Esther
Madena, Hilma Clarence, Hartwick Albin, and
Walter William. Mr. Olson is a member of the
Lutheran Church. He is a republican.

STAFFORD, SAMUEL; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born in 1837, in Ireland; his ancestors
were from England and Ireland; his paternal
grandfather lived to the age of one hundred
and nine years. Mr. Stafford was married to
Lucinda Melton, in Oneida, Illinois, in 1867.
They have one son living, Guy M. Mr. Stafford
came to America in 1857, enlisted in the United
States Army, and served four years and seven
months. In religion, he is a Methodist. In
politics, he is a republican.

WEECH, JOHN; Farmer; Rio Township;
born August 1, 1856, in Somersetshire, Eng-
land; educated in Oneida. Illinois. His pa-
rents, Joseph and Martha (White) Weech. came
from England. He was married to Mary Wool-
ley at Galesburg, January 20, 1883. Their chil-
dren are: Richard B., Mary Luella deceased.

Inez Ann, John Glenn, and Walter S. Mr.
Weech's parents, with their five boys and five
girls, came to Knox County in 1858. After liv-
ing in Walnut Grove Township for eight years,
they bought a farm of eighty acres, to which
they later added one hundred and twenty more.
They were thrifty people. The father died at
the age of flfty-eight years; the mother died at
the age of sixty-seven. John Weech worked on
the home farm till he was twenty-six years old,
when he married and settled on a farm in
Adams County, Iowa. After living in Iowa for
five years, he returned in 1884, to Knox County,
and bought his present farm of 260 acres; he
also owns 320 acres in Boone County, Nebraska.
Mr. Weech is a member of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church. In politics, he is a republican,
and has been School Director. Mr. Weech is a
successful farmer.

cian; born April 19, 1872, in Wallingford, Ver-
mont. He is the son of Dr. N. White, who was
for seventeen years President of Lombard Uni-
versity, Galesburg, Illinois. His mother, Inez
(Ling), daughter of Lorenzo Ling, was born
in Portland, Maine. Both parents are descend-
ants of the Pilgrims. Doctor White first at-
tended the public schools of Galesburg; at
twelve years of age he entered the preparatory
department of Lombard University, and at the
age of nineteen, graduated with the degree of
Bachelor of Arts in the class of 1891. Three
years later he received the degree of Master of
Arts. After graduating, he taught school for
two years, then entered the office of Dr. Judd,
and in the Fall of 1893, entered Barnes Medical
College, St. Louis, Missouri, where, in 1895, he
received Junior first honors in the form of a
gold medal; he was also the recipient of two
special prizes. In 1896, he located at Rio, Illi-
nois. In religion. Dr. White is a Universalist.
He is a republican.

Township; born in Oneida, Illinois, June 29,
1875. His father, Fred Z. WikofC, was a native
of Rio Township; his mother, Ida (Conger)
Wikoff, was born in Galesburg. His paternal
grandparents were John F. Wikoff, a native of
New Jersey, and Cornelia (Crane) Wikoff, a
native of New York; his maternal grandparents
were J. Newton and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Con-
ger. Mr. Wikoff graduated at Brown's Busi-
ness College, Galesburg. He was married
February 22, 1898, to Carrie D. Wetmore, of
Ontario. Mr. Wikoff is a republican.

WOOLLEY, DAVID E.; Farmer; Rio Town-
ship; born near Ontario October 3. 1854; edu-
cated in the common schools. His parents
were John R. Woolley of Crawford County, In-
diana, and Elizabeth S. (King) Woolley of Ken-
tucky; his grandparents were Richard B. and
Nancy (Hughes) Woolley. He was married to
Maribah I. Means, October 20, 1878; they have
four children: Arthur P.. Clarence O.. Eva
May and Rollo Ray. Mr. Woolley Is a Metho-
dist. In politics, he is a republican.

^ IT ^;4/^




By A. D. Metcalf.

Lying in the northern tier of townships in
Knox County, Ontario, stretches out, a broad
expanse of almost unbroken prairie. There are
teif streams, and ths only hill is Pilot Knob.
This rises to a considerable elevation above
the surrounding country, and probably re-
ceived its name from the circumstance that it
can be seen for a distance of several miles.
A grove of about eighty acres nearly
covers it, and is the only growth of
natural timber found in the township. Not-
withstanding the fact that it lies some two
miles to the south of the "Galena Trail," the
number of arrow heads found in the vicinity
has given rise to the belief that this hill was
once a favorite camping ground for the Indians.

The first settler was Alexander Williams,
who broke and fenced in twenty acres of land
on the northwest quarter of Section 30. in 1S33.
This property was subsequently purchased by
I. M. Wetmore. In 1S33, also came George W.
Melton, who took up his home on Section 31.
living on the same farm for nearly sixty years,
and dying there in 1S91. Three years after his
arrival he married, and his daughter, Eliza-
beth — now Mrs. Ralph Voris — was the first
white child born in the township. Other early
settlers were the families of the Wetmores,
Cranes. Chapmans, Camps. Hollisters, Savages,
Moshers, and Powells most of whom had emi-
grated from Oneida County, New York.

Rude as were their surroundings, these
pioneers did not lose sight of the paramount
importance of education for their children, and
as early as 1839 the first school house was
built. It was known as the "Camp school-
house," and was located on the northwest quar-
ter of Section 32. Its first teacher was Sally
Ann Belden, of Center Point, and among the
earliest pupils and teachers were Louis Burt,
James Hammond and Harvey Powell, with the
lady who is now Mr. Powell's wife. The build-
ii!g was alsj utilized for the holding of re-
ligious services. Rev. S. G. Wright usually offi-
ciating. A Sunday school was also taught
here, being first organized in the Spring of
1841 and Ward K. Hammond being Its first

Prior to 1840, the people depended upon
Knoxville for both the receipt and sending of
mail matter. In that year the first postofflce

in Ontario township was opened, with Edward
HoUister as postmaster.

Trading facilities in those early days were de-
cidedly poor. Farmers hauled their grain to
Peoria by wagon, and frequently drove their
live stock to Chicago on the hoof. A general
store was opened in the southeast quarter of
Section 30 about 1840; and in 1845. I. M. Wet-
more opened a store for the sale of dry goods
only on the same section, driving to New York
the year before and bringing back his stock by
teams. The building in which Mr. Wetmore
conducted his business is still standing, on the
farm of Norman Fay. Another general store
was opened about 1853. by Miles and St. John.
Its original location was at the point known
as Ontario Corners, but in the Autumn of the
following year the firm removed to Oneida.
Their first store building is now owned by L.
B. Shedd.

A noteworthy occurrence in the township's
early history was a violent disturbance of the
elements, which is still well remembered by
many of the older citizens as "the great storm
of June 5. 1844." Nearly every house was un-
roofed, and it is Eaid that on the farm of T.
E. P. Wetmore only two fence posts were left
standing, while throughout the entire region
the loose soil which had been turned over by
the plowshare was sent swirling through the
air in eddving. blinding clouds. One eye-
witness, Ezra Chapman, describes the storm's
general appearance as resembling a wheel,
about one hundred feet in diameter, rapidly
rotating and advancing at the same time.

Township organization was effected April 3,
1S53. at a meeting where I. M. Wetmore was
Moderator and W. J. Savage, Clerk. Previous
to that time Ontario had been associated with
Rio as a voting precinct. The first election
resulted in the choice of Edward Crane as Su-
pervisor; E. P. Brott, Collector; W. J. Savage,
Clerk: John Burt, Assessor; T. E. P. Wetmore,
Overseer of the Poor; G. W. Melton, James
Hammond and John Powell, Commissioners of
Highways; J. W. Crane and E. C. Brott, Con-
stables; Ezra Chapman and S. E. Mosher, Jus-
tices of the Peace. The first officer to dispense
justice in a minor court had been Royal Ham-
mond. The name "Ontario" was selected In
memory of the lake near whose bosom many
of the early settlers had had their home In
childhood and youth.

The present officers are: G. L. Stevenson,
Supervisor: L. W. Ewing, Clerk: L. E. Olson,



C. E. Bennett, Collector; G. E. Fred-
ricks, John M. Peterson and C. B. Wetmore,
Commissioners of Highways.

It is a fact worth mentioning that the roads
of this township, with one exception, are all
on the section lines.

Reference has already been made to the
anxiety of the settlers to establish schools.
They were no less ready to make sacrifices for
the advancement of religion. The first church
organization to be formed was that of the
Presbyterians, in 1840, but this is now extinct.
A Congregational Church was founded August
12, 1848, with seventeen members, the first pas-
tor being Rev. D. Todd. A building was
erected, and dedicated (November 4) in 1851.
The congregation also owns a comfortable par-
sonage. Rev. Charles Slater is the present pas-
tor. In 1851, a "Union" church edifice was
erected, which, three years later, passed into
the hands of the Baptists, who still control it.
Rev. R. M. Wilbur was the first, and Rev.
William H. Dickman is the present, pastor. In
1866, the Christian denomination built a
church edifice in Section 2, at a cost of two
thousand dollars. This was thirteen years
after the organization of the society, by Samuel
Croy. A parsonage is situated conveniently to
the church, and the minister in charge of the
fold is Rev. G. A. Brown. Some detailed refer-
ence to the churches in Oneida will be found in
the paragraphs devoted to the history of that

The township is strongly republican in poli-
tics, and in the ante-bellum days was intensely
anti-slavery in sentiment. The old "under-
ground railway" ran through it, Galesburg and
Cambridge being important stations on the line.
In Ontario, Horace Powell, and C. F. Camp
may be said to have occupied the positions of
conductor and depot-master respectively.

During the War of the Rebellion the people
were fervently loyal. One hundred and ninety-
six men went to the front from Ontario Town-
ship. Several of them achieved distinction,
and many never returned. Some of the com-
missioned officers who rose from lower places
were Brevet Brigadier General F. S. Smith,
Brigadier General David R. Clendenin, Colonel
N. H. Walworth, and Captain O. Powell, while
to give a detailed record of individual valor
would be well-nigh tantamount to duplicating
the roster of enlistment. The women of the
township were no less devoted than the men,
and Ontario gained an enviable prominence in

the record of hospital supplies sent forward to
the defenders of the integrity of the Nation.

The following named citizens of the township
have represented the legislative district in the
General Assembly: A. S. Curiis, 1878-80; O. P.
Cooley, 1884-90; Frank Murdoch, 1892-98.

The city lies in the southeastern part of On-
tario Township. Charles F. Camp may be said
to have been its first resident, and it was he
who platted the original village, on September
1, 1854, in connection with B. S. West and S.
V. R. Holmes. Before Christmas of that year
it had become a railway station, and a hotel
was built the same winter. The first house in
Oneida, however, was built by Jackson Rogers,
and is now owned by Rev. Mr. Swansen. The
growth of the early town was very gradual,
there being only eight resident families at the
end of its first year. These were those of C. F.
Camp, J. J. Rodgers, C. W. Robertson, John
Kenny, S. Cooley, John Eckley, M. Osgood and
B. Child. The promoters of the enterprise,
however, were not idle. A monster Fourth-of-
July picnic was held in 1855, at which between
nine and ten thousand persons were present,
and dinner was free to all comers.

The question of incorporation as a village
was agitated early, having been discussed at a
meeting held on December 3, 1858. It was thea
resolved to submit it to popular vote on De-
cember 24, and the ballot stood forty-seven in
favor of and eighteen against incorporation.
On January 7 following, trustees were elected
as follows: C. F. Camp, H. L. Sage, J. M.
Brown. J. M. Henning and W. B. LeBaron, the
gentleman last named being subsequently
chosen president of the Board by his fellow

In 1869 the General Assembly incorporated
Oneida as a city, with greatly extended munic-
ipal limits. The officers chosen at the first
charter election, held April 5, 1869, were: F. G.
Jelliff, Mayor; George H. Vorce, City Clerk; J.
A. Pratt, Police Magistrate; and G. L. Stephen-
son, Marshal. The first Board of Aldermen was
composed of D. D. Martin, R. Bristol, E. J.
Petersen and E. Bennett. One of the beneficent
provisions of the charter was the prohibition
of the sale of liquor within the city limits, the
good effect of which is shown in the character
of the residents who have been drawn to the
city and in the good order which prevails. The
present city officers are: L. M. Nash, Mayor;

^^p^-K^ Pr^

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 168 of 207)