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ley Township in 1844. There were four sons
and one daughter: Henry G.; Justus A.; John
W., deceased; Victor T.; and Ida M. Mr. Lar-
son was educated in the Galesburg Business
College. He was married to Elizabeth Chall-
man in Walnut Grove Township, October 10,



1888. There was one son, Paul K. Mr. Lareon
has always been a leader in town affairs. He
is Highway Commissioner of Victoria Town-
ship. He is a republican.

OLMSTED, AARON W.; Liveryman; Vic-
toria; born July 5, 1851, in Otsego County, New
York; educated in the common schools. His
parents were Henry B. and Catherine (Wilder)
Olmsted. He was married to Etta Robbins in
Oneida March 24, 1874. Their children were:
Lester; Claud, deceased; Harry; Paul; Hazel;
Rex; and Don, deceased. Mr. Olmstead moved
with his family to Marceline, Missouri, in Sep-
tember, 1892. They returned to Galesburg in
December, 1893, where his wife died January
24, 1894. Her parents were Rubin and Mary
(Mayo) Robbins. His second mariage was with
Lone E. Sornberger. June 15, 1895; they have
one son, Winthrop A., born March 8, 1896. Her
parents were Anson and Catherine (Wilbur)
Sornberger, of New York. Mr. Olmstead fol-
lowed farming until 1895, since which time he
has been engaged in the livery business. In
politics, he is a republican.

ROBINSON, CHARLES S.; Merchant; Vic-
toria; born June 4, 1845, at Victoria, Illinois;
educated in the Business College of Davenport,
Iowa. He was married to Emily Bristol in
Galesburg, in 1869. Their children are: Grace
E. and Gertrude. Mr. Charles S. Robinson is a
son of Moses Robinson, a farmer, who came to
Victoria Township in 1836, and engaged in the
mercantile business in 1866. Moses Robinson
died January 2, 1898, at the age of ninety-three.
Charles S. Robinson began business with his
father in 1867. He was afterwards in business
in Beatrice, Nebraska^and Greenfield, Iowa. He
returned to Victoria in 1883 and engaged in the
mercantile business with E. Coleman. He sold
out in 1896, and a year later engaged in the
same business with George M. Sornborger Mr.
Robinson is a democrat and was the first Pres-
ident of the village.

SAYRE, CHARLES A.: Druggist; Victoria;
born August 9, 1844. at Rushville, New York;
educated in the common schools and Rushville
Academy. His father was John Sayre. Mr. C.
A. Sayre was married to Mary E. Young, in
Victoria, February 28, 1884. They have one
child, Gertrude Peabody. Mr. Sayre enlisted in
April, 1861, in Company E, Twenty-eighth Reg-
iment New York Volunteer Infantry for two
years; then re-enlisted in Company C, Fifteenth
New York Cavalry, and served until June, 1865,
as first Sergeant. September 4, 1865, he en-
listed in Company F, Fifteenth United States
Cavalry, and served as Sergeant for three years.
Mr. Sayre spent four years in Minnesota, where
he was for a time Deputy Clerk of the Dis-
trict court. In 1875, he came to Victoria. He
is a member of Village Board, and Commander
of P. G. Tait Post, No. 698, G. A. R. Mr. Sayre
is a democrat.

SILEN, JOHN E.; Farmer; Victoria Town-
ship; born in Sweden April 3, 1825, where he
was educated. In July, 1858, he was married
to Catrena Patronella, who died March 18, 1876.
January 19, 1878, he was married to Matilda



K N .\ V O V N T V



Koiline. Hy the tirst marriage, he had rour
children: Arthur E., o£ Nebraska, grocer and
farmer; Sophia; Emma; and Lorena. Mr. Silen
came to America in 1846, and lived at Bishop
Hill one year, when in company with George
L'hallman he went to Galesburg and worked at
the carpenters' trade. In 1850, he went to Peo-
ria, where he remained until the Fall of 1851,
when he moved to Victoria, and began buying
stock. In 1852-3, he worked at his trade of
carpenter. In 1859, he moved upon a farm that
he purchased the year before and on which he
still resides. In 1863, he built a house of lum-
ber hauled from Peoria. Mr. Silen has been a
very successful farmer. In politics, he is a
republican.

SORNBORGER. CHARLES D.; Farmer; Vic-
toria Township: born in Victoria in 1843; edu-
cated in the common schools. His father was
Anson Sornborger, an early settler. Mr. C. D.
Sornborger was first married, in 1870, to Marion
Clark, who died leaving two sons: Clifford
F., and Glide W. His second marriage was with
Irene Brown, in 1885. Mr. Sornborger is a re-
publican and has been active in public affairs;
he has been School Director for four years, and
has also been Town Treasurer. In 1868, he set-
tled on the farm where he now resides. Mr.
Sornborger is in religion a Protestant.

SORNBORGER, GEORGE M.: Farmer: Vic-
toria Township; born April 1, 1841, in Victoria,
Illinois; educated in the common schools. He
was married to Frances E., daughter of John
T. Suydam, October 12, 1865, in Copley Town-
ship. Illinois; They have eight children:
Clarence T., George A., Lolette K., Mary E.,
Claud, Floyd, Grace F., and Fern L,. Mr.
Sornborger's father was Anson Sornborger,
who came from Dutchess County, New
York, in 1838; he had nine sons, and
one daughter, now the wife of Aaron
Olmsted; and two brothers. Alexander and
Peter. George Sornborger. the father of Anson,
was a soldier of the Revolution; he died in
Victoria in 1841. Anson lived in Victoria until
1859. when he removed to Copley Township and
engaged in farming. George M. remained at
home until 1862. when he enlisted in Company
K, Eighty-third Illinois Volunleers; he served
one year and then returned to Copley, having
been" discharged for disability. He settled in
Copley in 186U on a rented farm. In 1868. he
purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land
in Victoria Township, where he now resides.
Mr. Sornborger is a charter member of P. G.
Tait Post, No. 698, G. A. R., a charter member
of Walnut Grange, No. 1653. a charter member
of Knox Henry Pomona Grange, No. 837. and a
member of the Illinois State Grange. In poli-
tics, he is a republican, and has held the offices
of Collector and Assessor,

WOOLSEY, THOMAS; Farmer; Victoria
Township; born .lanuary 30, 1848, in Sycamore,
DeKalb County, Illinois; educated in the com-
mon schools. His parents were Deo and Min-
erva I Olmsted I Woolsey. of New York. He was
married in Victoria. September 10. 1871, to
Mary H.. daughter of Dr. John L. Fifield, of Vic-



toria. Their children are: Ralph B,, Ro.ss
A., L. Eselwin, and Robert C. Mr. Woolsey's
father came from New York to DeKalb County,
and later moved to Victoria, where he died in
1853. leaving his wife, who died in 1867, and tour
sons, W. McKindry. John A., Russell, and
Thomas, and one daughter Hannah. Dr. Fifield
was born in New Hampshire in 1805. and came
to Victoria in 1837. He was a practicing phy-
sician for many years and died in 1890. Mr.
Woolsey enlisted in 1804, in Company B, One
Hundred and Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers,
and served till the close- of the war. He is liv-
ing on the Fifield homestead. He is, in religion,
a Congregationalist, In politics, he is a repub-
lican.

('(U'l.KV roHNSllll'.

By J. W. Temple.

The surface of Copley Township, so named
from a prominent family of that name at one
time residing in it, consists chiefly of fertile
prairie land, just sufficiently rolling to ensure
good drainage; though in its southern part
there is some broken ground, probably one-
fourth of its area having been originally tim-
ber land. There are in the township eighteen
thousand acres of improved farm land. It is
well watered and drained by branches of Wal-
nut and Court creeks, as well as by other
smaller streams.

The first settler in the township was a Mr.
Berry, who, in 1836, located near the present
village of Victoria, which lies partly in this
and partly in Victoria Township. Matthew
Herbert and Larkin Robinson followed, the
next year. In 1839. the first members of what
soon became a thrifty Scotch colony began
to settle on some of the best lands; and the
descendants ot these sons of "Auld Scotia" are
now men of wealth and high moral standing
in the community. The Gordons, Cooks, McCor-
nacks, Taits, McKies, Leightons, McClymonts,
McMasters, McDowells, Stevensons, Milroys,
McQuarries, and others, with their numerous
and thrifty progeny, being among the most
prominent citizens of the township. Later, its
rich lands have attracted a large number of
Swedes, whose thrift, industry and probity have
made of these first immigrants wealthy farmers
and landholders. Their descendants, by inter-
marrying with the native population, are fast
becoming a homogeneous, as they are a pa-
triotic, body of American citizens; while their
success is due to brain no less than to brawn.

When the first settlers arrived, a small tribe
of Indians still inhabited a grove, now known



834



KXOX COUNTY.



as Foreman Grove, near the northern limits of
the present township.

The first child born in Copley was a son of
Matthew Herbert, in 1838. The first death was
that of Harriet Poster, in 1842. Rev. Charles
Bostwick and Mrs. Hurr were the first couple to
be married, and Rev. Mr. Bostwick preached the
first sermon in 1840, in a log school house.

The first school was taught by Miss Mary .J.
Smith, afterwards Mrs. John Becker, in a log
cabin, one and one-half miles northwest of Vic-
toria. There are now nine school districts, each
with a neat, and some with costly school
houses; and there are few townships where the
value of education is more genuinely appre-
ciated than here; the result being shown in the
exceptional intelligence and culture of its citi-
zens.

The first saw mill— that of .Jeremiah Collin-
son — operated by l^oise power, was put up in
1850. Mr. Berry was the builder of the first
frame structure, on Section 9, in 1840. Now.
some of the finest residences in the county are
to be found on its prairie farms.

Copley Township has lacked railroads, and
by reason of that want has no large towns. In
1894, however, to reach the extensive coal fields
of this and Victoria townships, a railroad was
built from Wataga, on the line of the Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy Railroad, running
through nearly the center of the township, to
a mining village called Etherly, located on the
eastern boundary of Copley. This village was
laid out on the southeastern quarter of Section
3.5, on August 10, 1894, by Samuel L. Charles,
Owing to legal complications, which prevented
for a time the operating of the road, the village
is yet without many inhabitants. It is be-
lieved, however, that, under altered conditions,
a thriving mining town will soon be built up to
develop the rich, un worked coal deposits which
underlie nearly all the southern part of Cop-
ley. This railroad has been since extended into
the village of Victoria, which, with its natural
advantages of situation, has heretofore only
lacked railroad facilities to become one of the
most prosperous villages in the county.

The first town officers elected, in 1853, were:
J, O. Stanley, Supervisor; N. Kelsey, Clerk; J.
M. Perkins, Assessor: Austin Gaines, Collec-
tor; Isaac Copley and A, W. Buckley, Justices:
A. A. Smith. S. McCornack and J. Sirie, Com-
missioners of Highways, and J. Colllnson. Over-
seer of the Poor.

Its population in 1860 was one thousand and



ten; in ISTO it was twelve hundred and nine-
teen: in 1880 it had fallen to one thousand and
seventy-six, and in 1890 was nine hundred and
ten.

The township has three churches; a Methodist
Episcopal and a Swedish church are located iu
the village of Victoria, and a Scotch church
three and one half miles west of that place.
All are well attended, the religious sentiment
among all the inhabitants being very strong.
The Scotch church is Calvinistic in creed, and
ainiiated with the Presbyterian denomination.
It is knovi'n as the John Knox Church, and
was organized in 1854, with twenty-five mem-
bers, by Rev. R. C. Matthews, D, D. and S. Vaill.
Rev. J. T. Bliss was its first pastor, his place
being now filled by Rev. John Pugh.

I'ETER GORDOA.

Peter Gordon, son of James and Jean ( Heron i
Gordon, was born in Creetown, Scotland, May
19, 1819. In 1840 he came to this country and
finally settled in Copley Township, Knox
County, Illinois, He began working by the
month, but later bought a farm and was so
successful in his chosen occupation, that, in
1885, when he moved to Victoria, he had greatly
increased his possession.

In 1845 Mr. Gordon was married in Copley
Township to Mrs. Mary Ann (McDowell) Tait,
who was born in Scotland, January 24, 1814, and
was the daughter of John and Anna (Living-
ston) McDowell, Her mother died in Scotland
in 1824, and her father came to America in 1839
and settled in Copley Township. Mr. McDowell
died in 1867. Mr. William Tait, Mrs. Gordon's
first husband, died in 1843, leaving her with
four sons: John, William F., Peter G. and
Houston P. In 1862 these four sons enlisted in
Company G, Eighty-ninth Illinois Volunteers,
Colonel Hotchkiss commanding. John died at
Chattanooga from wounds received in the fight-
ing at Dalton. Peter G. rose to the rank of
lieutenant and fell at the battle of Nashville.
William and Houston P. survived the war. The
former is a physician in Galesburg.

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have four children:
James, Elizabeth M., Alexander H. and Albinus
N. James has a farm in Walnut Grove Town-
ship; Alexander H. has one in Copley Town-
ship; Albinus is on the home farm: Elizabeth
M. married William Robson, of Wataga, Illi-
nois.

From the humble beginning in 1840. Mr. Gor-
don's possessions grew to more than fifteen
hundred acres, and he gave each of his four
children one hundred and sixty acres of land.
He has also a handsome residence in Victoria.
For many years he has been an active member
of the Presbyterian church, and is always in-
terested in whatever contributes to the welfare
of the community in which he lives. For
twenty years he has been a School Director, and
he is looked up to by all as one of the most




tfj^M^ -^ (yyd



KNOX couN'rv



835



.substantial iiifii of his townsliii). In politics,
Mr. Gordon is a republican.

BECKER, FREDERICK; Farmer; Copley
Township; born October 29, 1840, in Otsego
County. New York; educated in the district
school, Charlottesville Seminary, Fergnsonviile
Academy (New York), and at a select school in
Illinois. His parents were Frederick and Cath-
arine (Tenbroeck) Becker. The ancestors of
the Becksr family came from Germany, settled
in New Jersey, removed to Albany County, New
York, and thence to South Worcester, Otsego
County. The father of Mr. Becker died Febru-
ary S, 1841, aged thirty-one and a halt years.
Mr. Becker came to Victoria in the Spring of
1857; he taught school in the winter and clerked
and engaged in farm work in the summer. In
186S, he rented a farm, and in 1869, purchased
the farm on Section 13, where he now resides.
He was married to Jane, a daughter of Rev. J.
J. Hedstrom. Mr. Becker said: "I have lived
in Copley Township about forty years and have
been associated with a thrifty, energetic and
ambitious class of farmers; one of the im-
portant lessons to be learned in life is, 'do
something with energy.' " Mr. Becker has filled
official positions in the township, and for sev-
eral years has been a member of the Board of
Supervisors.

LEIGHTON, WILLIAM H.; Farmer; Copley
Township; born October 8, 1835, in New York
City. His parents were William and Isabel
(Ironside) Leighton, who came from Scotland
to New Y'ork in 1832, and to Knoxville, Illinois,
in 1837. Mrs. Leighton died in 1840. In 1847.
.Mr. Leighton moved to Copley Township, and
then to Sparta Township, where he died in 1861.
leaving three sons: William H., John A., and
James. William H. was educated in Knoxville.
He was married to Jannette McKie in Copley
Township. December 1, 1864. Their children
are: Charles H.. Margaret, May, and Isabel.
Mrs. Leighton was boin July 13, 1842, and was
a daughtei- of William and Margaret (Miller)
McKie. Mr. Leighton came with his father to
Knoxville in 1837, and settled in Copley Town-
ship in 1847, where he is now living. He is a
member of the Presbyterian church. In poli-
tics, he is a republican, and held the office of
Supervisor from 1871-3, and from 1880-8. He
has been Road Commissioner and School Trus-
tee for many years.

TEMPLE, JAMES W.; Printer and Farmer;
Copley Township; born April 13, 1828, in Ohio;
educated in Meadville, Allegheny County, Penn-
sylvania. His parents were Alexander and
Sarah (.\llen) Temple of New York: his pater-
nal grandparents were Alexander, born in
Scotland, and Marie Flaasborough. born
in Holland; his maternal grandfather
was Hezekiah .\llen of New York. Mr. J.
W. Temple was married October 29, 1854, in
Truro Township, Illinois, to Bessie P. Cook.
They have six children: William C, Thomas
C, Joseph W.. Mary A., Susan A., and Ellen E.
Mr. Temple came to Illinois in 1847. and, after
making the overland trip to California, returned
to Illinois in 1854. .Tuly. 1862. he enlisted in the



Eighty-third Illinois Regiment and served in
the War of the Rebellion. He was made a Cap-
tain in 1864, and discharged from service In
August, 1865. In religion, Mr. Temple is a Univ-
ersalist. In politics, he is a republican. In
1868, he was elected Circuit Clerk of Knox
County, and served as Supervisor for several
years.

Sl'.VKlA KHV.V.SHIl'.
By E. H. Goldsmith.
This township was organized April 5, 1853, at
the home of Thomas H. Taylor, on Section 14,
and the following town officers were elected:
T. H. Taylor, Supervisor; Asaph DeLong, Clerk;
Stephen Smith, Assessor; Charles W. Rhodes,
Collector; D. Reed, Stephen Russell and Peter
Davis, Highway Commissioners; Morvan Ba-
ker, and Hugh Ferguson, Justices of the Peace;
and Marshall P. DeLong, Constable. Mr. De-
Long afterwards served the town as Justice
of the Peace for twenty-five years. S. G. Dean
served eight years, and one of the present In-
cumbents, John J. Sutor, six years. The Super-
visors have been: T. H. Taylor, two years;
Peter Davis, John Gray, A. Ebright, H. P.
Wood, and M. P. DeLong, one year each. The
last incumbent. William Robson, has held
the office for the past twenty years, the long-
est continuous service of any Supervisor in
Knox County. From its position Sparta Town-
ship forms the watershed dividing the water
courses feeding the Illinois and Mississippi riv-
ers, thus giving it almost perfect immunity
from damaging floods, and as rich land as is
found in the State. A good vein of underlying
mineral makes it well worthy of the classic
name given it by Amos Wilmot. While Heze-
kiah Buford has the credit of being the first
settler by building on Section 2:i. in 1834. th''
Wilmots have a record for longest continuou.s
residence on. the same land, for Amos Wilmot
built a log cabin in June. 1836. on Section 6, In
which he lived for fifteen years. He then built
a house, where he lived until his death in 1878.
since which time some member of the family
has occupied the home. Sidney L. Wilmot Is
now the owner, but resides on Section 5. Ho
has. lying around his home, ash posts which
have been cut for sixty-one years. Very soon
after his arrival came Reuben, Cyrus and Ed-
ward Robbins. brothers, and I.,evi Roberts, ;i
cousin. The first of these Is about the last of
the early settlers and is now In his eighty-
fifth year. To him we are indebted for some
of the information given in this sketch. From
thp fact of Levi Robbins having raised a larg-



836



KNOX COUNTY.



orchard and other trees "Robbins' Grove" was
for many years a noted land-mark and people
came long distances for apples, as well as to
hold picnics. In 1836 Asaph DeLong (who
built the first house between Knoxville and
Henderson timber), Luman Field and William
Heath settled on Section 31. The latter was
married at Knoxville to Lucinda Field in 1837,
and "hung up" housekeeping in their log cabin,
a picture of which Mrs. Heath still preserves.
In a northeast airection they had but one
neighbor nearer than Victoria. Mrs. Heath is
in her eightieth year (1899) and has lately been
made a member of the society of the Daughters
of the Amencin Revolution, she being a grand-
daughter of Elisha Field, Jr., and a great-
granddaughter of Elisha Field, Sr., both of
whom fought in the Revolutionary War. She
is in possession of papers showing the entire
war history of her illustrious ancestors. Her
grandchildren presented her with the badge of
the society, whicti is an old-fashioned spinning
wheel with beautiful surroundings and inscrip-
tion.

James Neely settled on Section 30 in 1838, and
Abram Neely on Section 5 a few years later.
Other early settlers were: B. Ely, Thomas and
George W. Faulkner, Booker Pickrel and C. C.
West. Amrng those who came subsequently
and who, with those already mentioned, as well
as those who will be noticed hereafter, have
been influential in the political and religious
prosperity of the township, are Solomon Lyon,
J. V. R. Carley, Schuyler Goldsmith, A. F.
Adams, William E. Morse, Henry Rommel, L.
W. Olson, Oliver Stream. Joseph Masters, J. H.
Merrill, James Paddock, Edmund Kennedy,
.lames Barry, William S. Patterson, William
A. Lee, Jr., D. W. Nisley. R. W. Hulse, Vickrey
Nation, Ransom Babcock, F. Z. Wikoff, G. S.
Hawkins and John Taylor. The latter has been
assessor for thirty-one years.

As an indication that Sparta is a rich agri-
cultural locality, capable of producing a great
quantity as well as a great variety of crops
and having in it many enterprising stock-rais-
ers, besides being well watered by natural
streams and springs, may be noted the fact
that A. N. Phelps' two-hundred acre farm, now
owned by William Robson on Section 8, took
three first prizes from the State Agricultural
Society. The southeast portion, though more
broken, is nevertheless fully as valuable in
that it has been, and is yet to some extent, cov-
ered with an excellent growth of white and



burr oak timber. But the chief value lies un-
derneath, in the form of shale, from which, to
quite a large extent, paving and building brick
is being manufactured by the Galesburg Vitri-
fied Brick Company. The coal industry from
this fourth vein has also been quite large, and
at one time as many as fifteen carloads per day
were shipped from here, being handled princi-
pally by J. M. Holyoke, R. M. Campbell and
Peter Dolan. At present the trade consists in
supplying the demands from the brick plant
and the farmers in the vicinity, besides what
is taken to Galesburg by teams.

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy passes
through Sparta in a diagonal line from near the
northeast to the southwest corner. In Novem-
ber, 1894, the Galesburg, Etherely and Great
Eastern Railroad was opened, running twelve
miles east, ostensibly to strike a great coal belt
of some eighty-two sections, the center of which
is Etherely, where the company placed a shaft
costing $30,000. This company suspended oper-
ations September 7, 1895, but resumed Decem-
ber 7, 1897, under the name of the Galesburg
and Great Eastern, with Edward J. Harms as
manager.

The educational institutions of Sparta consist
of one graded school, of which Professor O. H.
Newman is now principal, and eight district
schools, all of which are well sustained, the
general policy being to employ competent teach-
ers tor the three hundred and ninety-five pupils
now in attendance. The buildings cost a total
of over $8,000 It is worthy of mention that in
District No. 2 R. W. Robbins gave the site for
school purposes, and here Mary Allen West,
when in her fourteenth year, taught her first
term of school. Later she was the honored
superintendent of schools of Knox County.

The well improved highways of the township
are due to the wise business management of
Sparta's road commissioners, seconded by her
voters, for, in addition to being well graded
and properly tiled, a large proportion of the
bridges are substantially built of stone.

Prairie fires in early days were beautiful to
witness and oftentimes to be dreaded. The
writer has seen on his own farm, on Section
4, prairie grass (blue joint) six feet high on fire,
the flames traveling at a rapid rate and with a
dreadful roar. At one time a fire which is said
to have started at Red Oak, in Henry County,
threatened to devastate the farms of the new
settlers, but warning was given those in the
southwest part of the township by Maria,




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