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ognized for all practical purposes as alumni of
the last named institution. Not long after-
wards the Abingdon College property passed
into the hands of Professor Summers, of Kan-
sas, who established a school known as Abing-
don College Normal, which existed for several
years. In 1S9.5, the property was purchased,
through the efforts of President Evans, by Hed-
ding College, and has since been owned by that
institution, whose normal and musical depart-
ments are conducted therein.

By J. G. Evans.

Abraham Swarts, who laid out the town of
Abingdon, in 1836, contemplated the founding
of a college, but did not live to realize his ideal.
His sons, Oregon P. and Rev. Benjamin C.
Swarts, and his daughter, Mrs. Thomas R. Wil-
son, were so impressed with his plans that
they embraced the first opportunity to lead in
such a movement.

Hedding Collegiate Seminary was opened in
the Methodist Church, November 19, 1855, with
Rev. N. C. Lewis, A. M., as Principal.

The first building was erected in 1856-7, at a
cost of fifteen thousand dollars, and occupied
December 16, 1857. In February, 1857, a charter
was obtained incorporating the institution under
the name of Hedding Seminary and Central
Illinois Female College. Professor Lewis, who
resigned at the close of his third year, was a
man of fine ability, broad culture, large expe-
rience and good practical sense. He laid well
the foundations upon which others were to

John T. Dickinson, A. M., was elected to fill
the vacancy, and was in charge of the seminary
for nine years, including the four years of
civil war, so trying to institutions of learn-
ing. Professor Dickinson, with the aid of some
generous friends, succeeded in keeping the

school alive until the war closed and young men
and prosperity returned.

In 1866, Rev. F. M. Chaffee secured subscrip-
tions for an endowment fund amounting to
eleven thousand dollars. The first moneys re-
ceived were diverted, with the consent of the
donors, to be used in building. The balance
was never paid, and the seminary was left with-
out any endowment. Professor Dickinson was
a good teacher, excellent scholar and a Christ-
ian gentleman. He was succeeded by Rev. M.
C. Springer, who was President five years. Un-
der bis administration a new building enter-
prise was inaugurated.

Rev. C. Springer, financial agent, called a
public meeting in Abingdon, at which Rev. J.
G. Evans, who was in charge of the special
effort, secured subscriptions amounting to
twelve thousand dollars. A building, to cost
sixty thousand dollars, was planned and the
foundations laid. Unexpected difliculties were
encountered, discouragements multiplied, sub-
scribers withheld payments because they doubt-
ed the ability of the trustees to go forward, and
the work ceased.

Professor Springer had a fine personal appear-
ance and, being dignified in manners, courtly in
bearing and gentlemanly in conversation, was
well qualified to direct the education of young
people. But ne was conscious of the impossibil-
ity of realizing his ideal while embarrassed by
the limited room in the old building. Disap-
pointed in his expectations, he resigned in 1872,
leaving an honorable record behind him. Rev.
J. G. Evans, A. M., was chosen as his successor.

A very serious difliculty in the way of resum-
ing the building enterprise was found to exist
in the discouragement arising from the want of
confidence. Subscribers refused to pay until
they could see the work going forward, and
that could not be without means. A. J. Jones,
financial agent, P. M. Shoop. Superintendent of
Work, and the President advanced the money to
begin work, and as the walls went up confidence
was restored, subscriptions were paid and suc-
cess assured. The new building was occupied
in 1874, but not completed until 1876. The cost
was thirty-five thousand dollars.

In August, 1875. articles of incorporation were
granted to the institution by the Secretary of
State, under the name of Hedding College, and
full and thorough college courses were adopted.
The first administration of President Evans
closed in 1878, at the end of six years of hard
and successful work. No indebtedness for cur-


rent expenses had been incurred, subscriptions
on hand were ample to cover all indebtedness
upon the new building, the attendance had near-
ly doubled, the graduating class of that year
numbered fourteen, and eighty undergraduates

In 1878, Rev. G. W. Peck was elected to the
presidency, and held the position four years.
He was a good teacher, but lacked the expe-
rience and knowledge of Western life and cus-
toms necessary to success. Seeing a rapid de-
cline in attendance and a growing annual de-
ficit, he became discouraged and resigned, leav-
ing an accumulated deficit for current expenses
of over ten thousand dollars.

Rev. J. S. Gumming, A. M., succeeded him.
He entered upon the duties of his office with
enthusiasm, and prosecuted the work with un-
tiring energy. Ihe difficulties were almost in-
superable, but with a faith that gave birth to
hope he toiled, with a heroism worthy of the
noble cause he so faithfully served. His suc-
cess in raising money saved the institution, and
it was through no fault of his that the school
still declined in numbers. After four years of
anxiety and hard work. Dr. Cummings resigned
and Rev. J. R. Jaques, D. D., Ph. D., was elected
as his successor. Dr. Jaques was well known
as an educator, was able in the pulpit and on the
platform, and his election gave universal satis-
faction; but he was unable to do outside work,
the finances did not improve, nor did the at-
tendance increase, and at the close of the third
year he resigned, but retained his chair and
took the vice-presidency.

Rev. J. G. Evans, D. D., LL. D.. was again
called to the presidency. The property had
been sold under mortgage, and the privilege
of redemption had expired. The" attendance the
previous year was only one hundred and six.
The property has been restored; seven thou-
sand dollars raised and expended in repairs; the
Abingdon College property, which originally
cost sixty thousand dollars, has been purchased;
the attendance has increased every year,
reaching four hundred and three last year; and
fifty-flve thousand dollars have been secured in
endowment notes.

The moral tone and religious sentiment in
Hedding have always been of a high order. A
daily prayer meeting has been well maintained
for thirty years, and from eighty to ninety per
cent of the students are Christians.

The government of Hedding is administered
upon the theory that such restrictions ought to

be enforced as are found necessary to secure the
best attainments in the legitimate work of the
college, and protect students from being injured
by objectionable environments and vicious in-
fluences. Secret fraternities, match games with
other colleges, football, profanity, attending
dances or theaters, drinking intoxicants and
the use of tobacco are prohibited, because con-
sidered detrimental to good government and in-
jurious to student life. Gymnasium work and
all proper athletics are sanctioned and encour-

Rev. J. G. Evans resigned, and in June, 1898,
Hyre D. Clark, D. D., Ph. D., became Presi-


Frederick P. F'oltz is the son of Christian and
Hannah (Kieffer) Foltz, and was born Novem-
ber 15, 1830, near Strathburg, Franklin County,

The family is of German and French-Hugue-
not ancestry. His paternal great-grandfather
was Frederick Foltz, who emigrated from Rot-
terdam on the ship Tyger, George Johnson,
master, November 19, 1771, and settled near
Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. His
grandfather, also named Frederick, moved to
Letterkenny Township, Franklin County, Penn-
sylvania, in 1798. He had nine children, seven
sons and two daughters, of whom Christian, the
father of Frederick P., was the sixth. His
great-great-grandfaiher, on the maternal side,
was Abraham Kieffer, a French-Huguenot, who
came to America in 1750. He had three sons
and two daughters. His son, Dewalt, had seven
sons and two daughters, the youngest son.
Christian, being F. P. Foltz's grandfather.

The Foltz and Kieffer families come of ex-
cellent stock, and in France, Germany, and
America, have been noted for their intelligence,
enterprise, thrift, and usefulness. Many of the
Kieffers were, and still are, prominent in
church and State as teachers and ministers.
Ex-Governor Beaver, a distinguished officer in
the Civil War, and at present a member of the
Superior Court, is a grandson of Catherine
Kieffer. Ex-Speaker and General Kieffer, of
Ohio, came from the Maryland branch of this
family. Some of the most eminent divines In
Maryland and Pennsylvania are named Kieffer,
and include Dr. J. Spangler Kieffer, of Hagers-
town, Maryland; Dr. Harry Kieffer, of Easton,
Pennsylvania; and Professor J. B. Kieffer, of
Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster,

Mr. Foltz's brothers, Daniel, Cyrus, and Mar-
tin L., served in the Civil War, southwestern
army, and Christian C. was Captain of an
emergency company. His brother, George, was
a successful contractor and builder. Another
brother, Moses A., of Chambersburg, Pennsyl-
vania, has been, for many years, editor and
proprietor of 'Public Opinion." He is an in-
fluential republican, has been a member of the






legislature, and was appointed by President Mc-
Kinley Postmaster of Chambersburg.

Mr. Foltz was educated, and learned the car-
penter's trade in Pennsylvania, which occupa-
tion he engaged in until his removal West. He
was married in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, Oc-
tober 8, 1S55, to Melinda C, daughter of George
and Susan Jacobs. She was born in Waynes-
boro, December 7, 1S33. In 1S57. Mr, Foltz
moved with his family to a farm in Kansas, but,
owing to the disturbed condition of that part
of the country, he returned to Pennsylvania,
and worked at his trade until the close of the
war. He then made a second trip to Kansas,
which, like the first, proved disappointing, and
he located at Abingdon, Illinois, where he has
for many years been a leading citizen of the
town and county. He has taken a conspicuous
part in all matters pertaining to the advance-
ment of Abingdon, and was prominently con-
cerned in securing the construction of what is
now the Iowa Central Railroad, of which he
was a director; he also acted as collector for
the company for some time, in which capacity
he was very successful. He was among the first
to erect modern brick business blocks in the
city of Abingdon, and built and owned the Foltz
Opera House. He is the owner of much valua-
ble property in the city. He was a pioneer in
the introducing and manufacture of tile for
drainage purposes, and was a member of the
first manufacturing company formed for that
purpose. He is now a stock holder in the
Abingdon Paving Brick and Tile Company. Mr.
Foltz is a druggist, and has been in the busi-
ness since 1865. He is the discoverer and man-
ufacturer of a valuable antiseptic germ-de-
stroyer and pain alleviator called "Presto,"
which has proved a boon to suffering humanity.

Mr. and Mrs. Foltz are the parents of seven
children: Louise Belle, born at Chambersburg,
Pennsylvania; Jennie Augusta, born in Shaw-
nee County, Kansas; Frederick Luther, born in
Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and died in Kansas,
April l.S, 1864; Linnie M., born in Abingdon;
and Lillie M. and Helen D. (twins), born in
Abingdon. Lillie M. died September 15, 1870.
The family are connected with the Congrega-
tional church.

In politics, Mr. Folz is a republican; he has
been Alderman of the city of Abingdon several
terms. He Is highly esteemed by his fellow


John Webb Nance, son of William and Nancy
(Lowe) Nance, was born in Rockingham
County, North Carolina, May 15. 1814. His
father was a. native of North Carolina, as were
his grandfathers, John Nance and Thomas
Lowe. The name is French, and the family is
of Huguenot descent.

Mr. J. W. Nance's boyhood was passed in Ten-
nessee. For a while he worked at farming in
Henry County of that State, and at odd times
found employment as a carpenter. In the Spring
of 1845, John Nance came to Warren County,
Illinois, and purchased one hundred acres of

land, which he cultivated till 1878. The follow-
ing year he removed to Abingdon, where he
now resides.

Mr. Nance is a member of the religious body
known as Missionary Baptists. He is well
thought of in the community, and is honest and
upright in his dealings with his fellow men. In
politics, he was originally a whig, and since
1856, has been a democrat. He became a Mason
in 1850, and was admitted to membership in
the Monmouth Lodge, Number 37.

Mr. Nance was married May 24, 1836, to
Nancy Simmons, in Calaway County, Kentucky.
There were ten children; Rutus D.; Francis
M.; Susan A.; Mary J.; Sarah E.; Charles W.,
deceased; Nancy C; Martha W.; John A.; and
Robert H. His second marriage was with Mrs.
Harriet E. Brooks, January 11, 1874. His pres-
ent wife was Mrs. Mary (Lucas) Crawford to
whom Mr. Nance was married April 20, 1879.
She is the daughter of Daniel and Jane (Mc-
Kenzie) Lucas, and was born March 18, 1822, in
Ross County, Ohio.


Thomas Newell was born in Brown County,
Ohio, September 19, 1821. His parents, Thomas
and Margaret (Taylor) Newell, were natives of
Ohio, the former of Brown County; lie was a
soldier in the War of 1812; they died in Park
County, Indiana. His paternal grandfather was
a native of Ireland.

Mr. Newell was reared a practical farmer on
the homestead in Indiana. He was married in
Park County to Louise M. Smith, September 14,
1843. They have six children, all of whom are
married; Mrs. Sarah A. Burnside; John W.;
William H.; Mrs. Julia M. McFarland; Mrs.
Emma Leigh; and Kate E., the wife of Samuel
T. Mosser. Mr. Newell came to Knox County
in 1847, and purchased eighty acres of land near
Herman. He afterwards purchased one hun-
dred and sixty acres, making two hundred and
forty acres in Chestnut Township, which he
eventually sold and bought two hundred acres
in Indian Point Township. He came to Abing-
don in 1877, still attending to his farming in-
terests. The money received from the sale of
his land he invested in the Union Bank, and
later in the People's Bank, which in 1885 was
changed to the First National Bank of Abing-
don, of which he is President.

Mr. Newell has been a conservative business
man, and has always avoided speculation. He
is a substantial and representative citizen; tem-
perate in all his habits; has always taken an
active part in educational affairs, and has lab-
ored for the best interests of the community.
When, in 1889, Hedding College became in-
volved financially, he bid in the property at
sheriff's sale and paid the debts; and when, two
years later, there was a failure in redeeming
the obligation, he received the deed of the prop-
erty, but deeded it back to the college, with the
provision that it should never be burdened
again nor sold on account of debt, thus enab-
ling the institution to continue its good work.



He also induced friends of tlie college to raise
an endowment fund of $50,000.

Mr Newell is a member of the Methodist
Episcopal church, and of its official board. He
has been Supervisor of Chestnut Township lor
eight years, and has held other local ofBces. In
politics, he is a republican.

BARROWS, ROBERT P.; Farmer; born in
New Hampshire, in February, 1S33; educated in
the common schools. His father, Asa Barrows
was born in Oxford County, Maine, and served
through the War of 1S12. His mother Anna
(Pike), was born in Granby, Vermont. His pa-
ternal grandfather, also Asa Barrows, was a
native of Maine and a Revolutionary soldier.
His forefath-jrs came from Scotland and Wales.
Mr Barrows came to Illinois in 1858, and set-
tled in Cooke County. In 1862, he enlisted in
Company E, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illi-
nois Volunteers, and served till.1865. ^ben he
returned to Cooke County, and m 1868, moved
to Iowa where he married and settled m Buena
Vista County. In 1883, he moved to Ne-
braska, and in 1888, to Abingdon, where he has
since lived as a retired farmer real estate
dealer and speculator. He was first married
Mav 1 1869, at Independence, Iowa. Theie
were two children: Grace, now Mrs. William
Edmonson; and Josephine. Mr. Barrows first
wife died March 2, 1S97, and he was afterwards
married to Mrs. Anna Grimm. In religion, Mr.
Barrows is a Congregationalist. In politics, he

'^ BURNSIDe!^' ISAAC; Farmer; Abingdon;
born August 26, 1826, in Pocahontas County
Virginia; educated in the common schools of
Indfana In 1852, he came with his father to
Knox County, Illinois, after living in Ohio and
Indiana, in which latter State he was reared on
a farm In 1857, he was married, near Hermon,
to Libbie Price, and settled in Chestnut Town-
ship, where he was for many years a promi-
nent and prosperous farmer. In 1883, he re
moved to Abingdon, where he has since resided
Mr Burnside's second wife was Mrs. Susie
Ruth, daughter of Samuel Soliday who came
from Ohio to Tazewell County m 1853, and in
1860 settled on a farm in Salem Township For
some years before her marriage, Mrs. Burnside
was a schoDl teacher. Mr. Burnside takes a
keen hut quiet interest in the public affairs of
his town,\nd is known as an "P"S^t "tizen
and a successful business man 1° Politics, he
is a republican. He is a member of the Chris-

^'dAWDT^' JEFFERSON M.; Farmer; Abing-
dont™'in Kentucky, January 24 812; edu-
rated in the common schools. His tathei,
itmes Dawdy, came to Indian Point Township
KMx Cmmty in 1846. Jefferson M. followed
m 1847 and"^ settled on Section 17, where he
farmed until 1897, when he retired and moved
to Abingdon. In 1834, he married Elizabeth
im^s'^^ilht children wei. ^-^n^^'X'^ hX
John, Marshall, Cassie, Mary. Sara_h E^- Hattie
E and Bell. Mrs. Dawdy died m 1894 and
since her death Mr. Dawdy has lived with his
daughter, Bell (Mrs. J. W. Brown). In the

early days, Mr. Dawdy was associated with Mr.
Givens in the banking business. In 1865, he
built a grist mill, which he conducted for some
nme Mr. Dawdy is a member of tjie ChrisUan
Church, and was for some years a Tiustee or
the old South College. In politics, he is a dem-
ocrat. He is one of the substantial men of

DBCHANT, PETER; Mason; Abingdon; horn
November 17, 1820, in Germantown, Ohio; re-
ceived a limited education m the common
schools. His father, Peter Dechaut, came Jrom
Germany, and was killed at the age of £orty-six
At the early age of seven, young Peter Dechant
began to work out, and when fifteen years o
age had learned the mason's trade. He also
worked in a brick-yard. In 18«4,. he came to
Knox County and settled near Abingdon. Foi
some years previous to his arrival m Knox
County, he had been a contracting mason, which
business he followed until 1889, when he re-
tired October 12, 1843, Mr. Dechant was mar-
ried, to Nancy J. Hall, in Montgomery Countj ,
Ohio. They had six sons: Jeremiah, Pfer H.,
Chase, William P.. John S., and Grant. Mrs.
Dechant died in 1891; the sons are scattered and
Mr. Dechant lives with a daughter. He has been
successful, and was the originator of the hollow
brick wall theory for prevention of dampness.
Mr. Dechant owned a farm four miles from
Abingdon, and at all times combined his tiade
work with that of farming. In religion, Mr.
Dechant is a free thinker. In politics, he is in-
dependent, and for some years was Highway
Commissioner; has always taken a keen but
quiet interest in town affairs^ For fifty years
he has been a member of the Odd Fellows.

DICKINSON, FRANK C; Physician; Abing-
don, where he was born April 20 1868. His
parents were John T. and Elvira (Bates) Dick-
inson. Professor John T. Dickinson was a na-
tive of New York, and was educated at the Wes-
leyan University at Middletown. He was an
educator of high character, and was President
of several colleges. As President of Hedding
College, Abingdon, he was largely instrumental
in building the north wing of the college; he
died in 1885. Mrs. Dickinson, who suivives
him. was born in Pike County Illinois and
educated at Mt. Holyoke, Massachusetts. Fiank
C Dickinson is one of five children, and was
educated at Hedding College and 1°^ ^
leyan University. He is a graduate of the Chi-
cago Homeopathic Medical College, class of
1893. He settled in Abingdon, where he has
built up a good practice.

GIVENS, STRAWTHER; Real Estate Dealer;
Abingdon. Cedar Township; born May 23. 1843,
Tn Bloomington. Indiana: educated in the com-
mon schools. His parents were Thales H. G v-
ens, of Madison County, Kentucky and Jul a
(Carter) Givens. He was married to Ma y
Huston December 25. 1862 at BlandinsvUle,
Illinois. They have four children: Anna R ,
Thomas, Lucy G. (Foltz). Laura «• (fyf'l^.
and Thalea H. Mr. Givens is a member of the
Christian church. In politics he is a democrat.

i^lZ^ ^ht.u^££)


HARRIS, ISRAEL JOHN; Teacher; Abing-
don; born October 24, 1S57, in Elba Township,
Illinois; educated at Abingdon College. His
parents, Joseph and Mathilda C. (Hart) Harris,
were born in Ohio; his paternal grandparents
were James and Rebecca Craig Jennings
Harris; uis maternal grandparents were
Finney and Jane (Quinn) Hart, of Geor-
gia; his paternal great-grandfather was Israel
Harris, and his maternal great-grandparents
were Robert Quinn and Elizabeth Lacey Hart.
His father, Joseph Harris, came to Knox
County in 1S53, and was one of the first settlers
in Elba Township. He died in Abingdon April
20, 1883; his wife is still living. After his
father's death, I. J. Harris, who had been teach-
ing and studying in Abingdon, assumed charge
of the estate, and turned his attention to farm-
ing and stocli raising. In 18S9. he resumed his
former occupation of teaching, which he was
obliged to abandon at the end of seven years,
owing to ill health. Mr. Harris is still an in-
valid. He was married September 1, 1887, at
Abingdon, to Emma Nelson. They have four
children: Joseph Victor, born May 1, 1889;
Verna Pernella, born July 27, 1892; Olive Caro-
line, born February 27, 1894; Yerda, born June
20, 1897. Mr. Harris is a member of the Con-
gregational church, and for the past year has
been President of the Knox County Sunday
School Association. In politics, he is a repub-
lican, and was Alderman of the City of Abing-
don during 1887-8.

HELLER, WILLIAM H.; Physician; Abing-
don; born May 11, 1823, in Ashland, Ohio; edu-
cated in the common schools. His father, John
Heller, was born in Pennsylvania, came to Illi-
nois in 1835, and settled in Cuba. Dr. Heller's
mother was a native of New Jersey. His grand-
father, John Heller, was a Revolutionary sol-
dier, and settled in Pennsylvania at an early
date. Dr. Heller attended schools at Cuba, and
studied medicine under Dr. Raymond at a medi-
cal college in Chicago. After graduating he
began practice in Cuba, Illinois, and afterwards
located at Abingdon, where he has practiced
medicine for many years. In 1846, he mar-
ried Mary D. Mosher, in Fulton County, Illi-
nois; five children were born to them; Robley
E.; Joseph M.; John L.; Frank L.; and 'Willie,
who died in infancy. Joseph and John are phy-
sicians in Kansas. In politics, Dr. Heller is a

Dairyman; Abingdon; born September 29,
1856. in Haw Creek Township; educated in
Maquon; his parents were: James 0., and
Eliza (Strong) Housh; his grandfather was
David Housh. He was married Februarv 6,
1879, at Prairie City, Illinois, to Ella Barlow,
daughter of Samuel Barlow, of 'Warren County;
they have one son, Glenn Yguerra. Mr. Housh
was brought up on a farm, and after his mar-
riage lived in Haw Creek Township, where he
had one hundred and eighty-five acres of excel-
lent land. In 1893, he went to Abingdon, and
engaged in the insurance and real estate busi-
ness; since February, 1898, he has been a dairy-

man. Mr. Housh has been a breeder of fine
horses, and owned, in 1856, Byerly Abdallah;
he now owns Zuleka Patchen. He is a success-
ful business man. Mr. Housh is a democrat.
He is a believer in Christian Science.

HUNTER, JAMES W.; Retired farmer;
Cedar Township; born August 23, 1851, in Clin-
ton County, Ohio; educated in the normal
schools of Martinsville and Lebanon, Ohio. His
parents were Charles N. and Mary C. (Bond)

Online LibraryNewton BatemanHistorical encyclopedia of Illinois → online text (page 198 of 207)