George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) online

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only. His long service aboardship served to instruct the Spanish youth
in the construction of vessels, and it was but natural that he seek em-
ployment where his education fitted him. He was fifteen years old when
he secured a position as water boy in a Brooklyn navy yard and he re-
mained there until he was made a master-joiner, a position next to that
of superintendent of the yard.

During the late '50s it was seen by the government authorities that
civil war between the states was unavoidable and imminent and that a
successful prosecution of it demanded a naval base somewhere in the
interior. The control of the Mississippi was a point both sides were
already considering, and the value of the junction of the Ohio and Mis-
sissippi rivers as an important strategic point had been foreseen and se-
lected by the government for both an army and navy base. A navy


yard was also essential, and to aid in the selection of a suitable site for it,
Mr. Friganza, then in the navy, was sent out, his previous nautical ex-
perience and training being of especial value in this direction. In con-
junction with Admiral Foote he chose Mound City as offering the best
location, and in 1858 he began the construction of the yard there. He
was commissioned as chief officer of the yard, which repaired and built
war vessels and maintained the government's river war fleet in fighting
trim until the conflict ended in 1865. He entered upon the arduous
duties of the post with marked industry and energy and with a zeal
born of loyalty to his convictions on the issue at hand and to his adopted
country. Those were busy and exciting days until after the fall of
Vicksburg and even until the close of the war, but from thence forward
the importance of the yard began to wane and its affairs were brought
gradually to a point where its "muster out" could take place. This
act was accomplished in 1867, and the man who had been its chief spirit
for nearly ten years was retired with the rank of commodore on account
of his valuable service rendered the Union.

He then for the first time assumed his station as a private citizen of
the United States, having while working in the navy yard at Brooklyn
taken the steps leading to his naturalization. In choosing his political
party he espoused Democracy and when he separated himself from the
government service he entered somewhat actively into local politics. His
party enthusiasm ran high and he permitted the St. Louis Republic to
become his closest political organ and teacher. He was appointed post-
master of Mound City by President Cleveland and served continuously
through that term, through that of General Harrison and the second
term of President Cleveland. He was repeatedly elected mayor of
Mound City and displayed his prowess as the executive head of that city
during the trying times of the big flood and the smallpox scourge, and at
all times proved himself the master of difficult situations. Following his
retirement from the government service, Commodore Friganza engaged
in the stationery and news business and his store became the popular
rendezvous of the city, its proprietor being the central figure in these
gatherings. His geniality, his likeable and interesting personality, his
broad and extensive information and his evident love of humanity all
combined to give him the first place among his neighbors and to endear
him to an unusually large circle of friends. He possessed a decided
weakness for helping those in distress and his signature as security for
a loan was as easily acquired as the asking, notwithstanding it dissipated
his fortune steadily.

Commodore Friganza married his first wife in Brooklyn, New York.
She died in the East, but was buried in Mound City, Illinois. To this
union were born two sons, Henry and Joseph, both of whom lived to
middle life, were employed in the navy yard at Mound City and passed
away about the same time as their father. The second marriage of Com-
modore Friganza was to Mrs. Mary A. Huckleberry, a daughter of
Thomas Herrington, of Metropolis, Illinois. Mrs. Friganza was born
near New Columbia, Massac county, Illinois, and from her first marriage
she became the mother of Mrs. M. N. McCartney, of Metropolis, Ira
Huckleberry, of Mound City, and Charles Huckleberry, who was super-
intendent of the Marine Railway and Cock Company of Mound City for
thirteen years prior to his death. To this second union was born "Willis
T. Friganza. Commodore Friganza passed away in July, 1897, after a
long, useful and eventful career, and his wife died June 6, 1908.

WILLIS T. FRIGANZA, commercial manager of the Central Union Tele-
phone Company, of Cairo, Illinois, is a son of the late Commodore


Priganza, one of Mound City's best known men of affairs and a prom-
inent figure there during the Civil war period.

Mr. Priganza was born at Mound City, June 8, 1881, and is the only
son of his parents, Commodore and Mary A. (Herrington) Priganza.
He acquired his education in the public schools of Mound City and be-
gan his independent career while yet a youth as a laborer for the electric
light plant of Mound City. Later he became an employe of the local
telephone company, and during the eleven years he remained with this
company he mastered every detail of the business. Success in any line
of occupation, in any avenue of business is not a matter of chance but is
the result of well-directed efforts. Faithful, thorough and efficient
service in the behalf of these employers was not only to their advantage
but to his own as well, for when his opportunity came for an advanced
position he was qualified and prepared to avail himself of it, and on
January 1, 1911, he came to the Central Union office in Cairo as local
manager for the Bell Company.

In Mound City Mr. Friganza was united in marriage to Miss Alice
B. Mertz, a daughter of Charles W. Mertz and a granddaughter of one
of the prominent merchants of Mound City, a citizen there during the
ante bellum days and a bosom friend of Commodore Friganza. Charles
W. Mertz was reared in Mound City and is a well known merchant of
that city. Mr. and Mrs. Friganza have one son, Gilbert, born in 1907.

Mr. Priganza is a member of the Alexander and Commercial Clubs
of Cairo, and fraternally affiliates with the Knights of Pythias and the
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

HARRY B. WAKD is the able and efficient postmaster of DuQuoin,
having held this position through the official lives of three presidents.
He is a native of the city of DuQuoin, having been born in this city
on the 30th of July, 1871. He received his education in the public
schools, later attending the Illinois College at Jacksonville, and com-
pleting his studies with a business course in Bryant and Stratton's
Business College in St. Louis.

The active business career of Harry Ward began when he entered
the employ of the Blakeslee Manufacturing Company of DuQuoin, as
book-keeper and cashier. Later he went into business with his father,
operating a retail shoe store. It was while he was interested in this
that he first got a taste for politics. He was nominated by the Repub-
lican party in Perry county for representative to the lower house of
the Fortieth General Assembly in 1896 and was elected on the ticket
with President McKinley. He served one term in this law-making body.
This election had the effect of giving him recognition later as one of the
party managers in his county. In 1900 he was chosen chairman of the
county central committee and has filled that post continuously ever
since. In 1898 his faithful services were recognized in his appointment
by President McKinley as postmaster.

Mr. Ward is a son of the late teacher and successful educator, John
B. Ward, who died in DuQuoin, in July, 1908. The latter was born in
Cayuga county, New York, in July, 1836. His parents moved to Cler-
mont county, Ohio, when he was a small child and he grew up there.
His father was Alva Ward, who spent most of his life in the mercantile
business, dying at DuQuoin at the age of sixty-nine years. His mother
was Miss Priscilla Branch and John B. was one of their family of seven

John B. Ward lived in the days when a college education was a
rarity in his section of the country, and he secured the more advanced
parts of his education by delving into the books for himself. He was


a man of close application and possessed the ability to concentrate his
mind on the subject in hand, both attributes of the true student, and
his years of study resulted in giving him a wide knowledge of many
subjects and a firm grasp on the relative values of things. When he was
twenty-two years old he began his pedagogical ' career, entering upon
the work with greater vigor and enthusiasm. He came to Illinois in
1858. In 1861 he was chosen principal of the DuQuoin schools.
He remained in this position for some thirty years, his administration
being most efficient and his patrons most appreciative, which is evinced
by the "John B. Ward" school building, standing as a monument to
his loyal service and in a local way doing honor to his memory. The
people may rest assured that in no other way would John B. Ward have
felt more fully repaid, for the advancement of the cause of education
lay close to his heart. He was a Republican, but had little active in-
terest in politics, his sole official connection with the party being in
the capacity of county superintendent of schools, which office he held
for three successive terms.

AMOS NEWTON STOUT, M. D. Endowed . by nature with talents of
a high order, and scholarly in his attainments, the late Amos Newton
Stout, M. D., was engaged in the practice of medicine during his active
career, which was comparatively brief, and was reputed one of the
most skillful and able physicians of Southern Illinois. The fourth
child in succession of birth of William J. and Minerva (Klutz) Stout,
who reared seven children, he was born October 8, 1859, on a farm in
Cobden, Union county, Illinois.

Gleaning his elementary knowledge in the public schools of his
native county, Amos Newton Stout continued his studies at the Carbon-
dale Normal School, and later was graduated from Ewing College, in
Ewing, Illinois. His inclinations leading him to choose a profession,
he then went to Philadelphia, where he was graduated from the College
of Medicine with the degree of M. D. Returning to his native town,
Dr. Newton practiced for two years in Cobden and Bryden, and then,
in order to further advance his knowledge and usefulness, he took a
post graduate course in Louisville, Kentucky. Returning then to Bry-
den, the Doctor continued his practice there until 1895, when he re-
moved to Ava, Jackson county. His professional wisdom and skill was
soon recognized, and he built up a large and remunerative practice,
becoming one of the physicians of that part of the county, and was
there a resident until his death, in 1904, while yet in the prime of life.
Dr. Stout was an active and popular member of the Democratic party,
and for a time served as mayor of Ava. Fraternally he belonged to
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to the Woodmen of the World.

Dr. Stout married, in 1895, Miss Anna Smith, a daughter of A. J.
and Mattie Smith, of DuQuoin, Illinois, and of their union two children
were born, Lawrence and Ross. After the death of her husband Mrs.
Stout opened a general store at Sand Ridge, Jackson county, and has
since carried on a lucrative business, being well patronized, and is also
serving as postmistress. She is an active, brainy woman, and is held in
high esteem throughout the community. She is conscientious, Christian
woman, and a member of the Baptist church.

SAMUEL TASKER BRUSH. To say that he has been tried by both ex-
tremes of fortune and never seriously disturbed by either will tersely
tell the life-story of Samuel Tasker Brush of Carbondale and forcibly
suggest the salient traits of his character. The warp and woof, of the
story his orphanage in childhood and consequent dependence on a


generous uncle for sustenance and schooling; his early work at making
a livelihood for himself; his honorable record in the Civil war; his
youthful appointment to positions of great responsibility in the serv-
ice; his subsequent business successes and reverses; the broken thread
of his domestic life ; his bounty to his church these and other details
of his career will be briefly shown in the following paragraphs. But
the full measure of his usefulness could not be given here, even if space
were available for the purpose.

Mr. Brush was born in Jackson county, Illinois, on February 10,
1842. He is a son of James and Jane (Etherton) Brush, and of New
England ancestry on his father's side. His paternal grandfather, El-
komo Brush, was among the early pioneers of Illinois, having moved
to this state from Vermont in 1820, and located in Morgan county,
whence his father, James Brush, came to Jackson county in 1830. He
was a manufacturer of lumber all his life from the dawn of his manhood
to his early death in 1849, when Samuel was but seven years of age-
The mother was not spared long to care for her offspring, as she died
in 1852.

Thus doubly bereft while he was yet of tender years, the helpless
orphan found a comfortable home and considerable attention under the
roof of his uncle, General Daniel H. Brush, a gallant soldier in the
Union army during the Civil war, and the founder of Carbondale. He
sent his nephew to subscription schools, in which the latter obtained the
foundation of his education. He was ambitious, however, to be doing
something for himself, and when the Illinois Central Railroad ran its
first train, in October, 1854, he was on it as a newsboy.

After remaining on the road two years in this service his uncle took
him into a store he owned, and sometime afterward into the old Jack-
son County Bank, in which he held a controlling interest. In 1858 he
learned telegraphy and then worked in the office of the Illinois Central
two years as an operator, being also under the direct supervision of
his uncle in this work. He had been a diligent student while in the
store and bank, and so pleased his uncle with his progress and his skill
as a telegrapher that the next thing for the aspiring youth was a course
of instruction at Jackson College at his uncle's expense.

When the first call came in 1861 for volunteers to defend the Union
from dismemberment, both he and his uncle were fired with patriotic
zeal and offered their services to their country. The uncle raised a com-
pany of which he was made captain, and the nephew enlisted first at
Jacksonville, Morgan county, in a company raised by Captain King.
Captain King's company could not be accepted at the time because the
number of volunteers asked for by the call of President Lincoln had
already been supplied. What then? The boy in years but man in
spirit and development of faculties promptly entered his uncle's com-
pany, and was soon afterward detailed military telegraph operator,
serving first at Mound City and later at Cairo until July, 1862. While
at Cairo, on account of his capacity in the work and unwearying at-
tention to it, he received an appointment as general manager of all the
telegraph operations there and on the lines running south from the city,
although he was but little over twenty years old at the time, and not
only the youngest manager but one of the youngest operators in the
service. But the manner in which he performed the duties of the posi-
tion fully justified the confidence expressed in his appointment. This
also led to still higher promotion. Because of the executive ability he
displayed he was made wire adjutant of the regiment before the end of
the year, on September 5, in fact. He served as adjutant until February,
1863, and was then detailed aid-de-camp at the headquarters of General


Nathan Kimball. This detail was unsought by him and undesired, and
he protested against it. But, good soldier that he was, he yielded to
superior authority, and accepted the position.

When General Kiinball was relieved of the command he recommended
that Mr. Brush be made acting assistant adjutant general of the Second
Division of the Seventeenth Army Corps, under command of General
Joseph R. West, and he received the appointment. He continued to
fill the position to the end of his term of service and one month longer
in order to get as creditable a discharge as possible when he was mus-
tered out of the service, as he was on July 1, 1864, being then only
twenty-two years and five months old, lacking nine days, and with a
military record of which many a veteran would be proud. Before his
discharge General West offered him the position of acting assistant
adjutant general with the rank of captain, and pending the appoint-
ment he was induced to accept the post of superintendent of telegraph
lines in Arkansas, in which he served two months. He finally declined
to accept the offer made by General West because of the refusal of the
authorities to assign him to the army commanded by General Sherman,
of which he ardently longed to become a part.

When he returned to Carbondale after his discharge from the army
Mr. Brush engaged in farming, mining coal and manufacturing lumber
in Jackson, Williamson and other counties. He organized the St. Louis
& Big Muddy Coal Company in 1889, of which he was made general
manager. In this enterprise he had as his associates Major E. C. Daws,
of Cincinnati, S. M. Dodd, of St. Louis, and former Vice President
Charles E. Fairbanks, of Indiana. The company encountered many
difficulties from the start, and in 1900 was put in the hands of a re-
ceiver. Mr. Brush bought the property from the receiver the same year
and owned it until 1905, when he sold it. During his ownership of the
mine and other assets of the defunct company he also had many diffi-
culties from labor strikes and other causes.

Mr. Brush is now living retired from active pursuits in business
and occupies his time in looking after the properties he has acquired.
From 1889 to 1905 he was actively engaged in business as a coal operator,
and for a much longer period as a manufacturer of lumber, and in the
year last mentioned felt that he had earned the right to a more quiet
life and total, release from the worry and vexation of managing any
business enterprise, however profitable. To some extent, too, he began
to feel the weight of years, and the inevitable longing for leisure and
rest that follows long continuance in the galling harness of toil.

Mr. Brush is a member of the Illinois Commandery of the LoyaJ
Legion. Army of the Tennessee. He also belongs to John W. Lawrence
Post, Grand Army of the Republic. For many years he has been an
earnest, active and devoted member of the Presbyterian church, and
this is an organization in which all the members of his family of the
present and past generations have taken a great and serviceable interest.
His uncle, Daniel H. Brush, built the first Presbyterian house of wor-
ship in Carbondale, in 1858, and in 1906, when the congregation needed
a new one to accommodate its increased and still increasing numbers,
he was himself chairman of the building committee. The old structure
cost $3,500, and the new one $35.000.

Mr. Brush loaned the congregation half of the money required to
build the new church, and the sum did not long remain unpaid, the
church having been dedicated in 1907 free from debt. He has shown
his deep interest in the moral well being of the city in many other ways,
one conspicuous evidence being his ceaseless war on the saloon. He
served seven years as president of the anti-Saloon League, and in every


case he has furnished the money required to carry the saloon question
up to the supreme court of the state when litigation over it has arisen.
In fact, it is due largely to him that there are no saloons in Carbondale.
This is not to be wondered at. Two circumstances give him a peculiarly
warm interest in the city: After it had been founded and laid out
by his uncle Daniel, his mother's family was the third to settle in it;
and he is himself the only person who has lived in it continuously since

On October 3, 1864, just after his return from the war with all
' ' his blushing honors thick upon him, ' ' Mr. Brush was married to Miss
Sophia L. Freeman, of Anna, Illinois. Two of the children born to
them are living. One is James C., of Carbondale, a farmer and coal
operator, who was long associated with his father in that business. He
was born on February 2, 1868, and completed his education at the
Southern Illinois Normal University. He married with Miss Blanche
Brown, of Hillsboro. this state, and has six children : Clara .B., Francis
B., James Curtis, Jr.. Sophia Louise, Samuel Tasker and Edgar John.
The other living child is George M., a resident of Boulder, Colorado,
and unmarried. He is a musician, writer and critic of considerable
reputation all over the country.

The mother of these children died on September 5, 1874, and in
1882 the father contracted a second marriage, uniting himself in this
with Miss Jennie Candee, of Galesburg, Illinois. They have had two
daughters, one of whom, Alice, died at Carbondale in 1906, at the age of
twenty-one. The other, Elizabeth P., is a graduate of Smith College,
Northampton, Massachusetts, and is now a teacher in the State Uni-
versity in Champaign, following the example of her distinguished father
in rendering exalted service to her day and generation, although in a
very different field of action from any that ever engaged his powers.

GENERAL DANIEL H. BRUSH. Every town or city of consequence
which is not the sudden and recent product of trade conditions venerates
the memory of some sterling, though it may be rugged, founder who,
anticipating the tide of immigration which has flowed from the Atlantic
seaboard steadily toward the sunset until it has overspread the whole
country, planted his foot in the wilderness and there hewed out for him-
self a new home wherein his hopes might expand and flourish. These
were men of heroic mold, fashioned by their time for sturdy work fit
progenitors of the people they begot. No toil deterred, no danger
daunted, no hardship dismayed them. With unyielding will they
pressed their way over every obstacle, often challenging Fate herself into
the lists, and meeting her on almost equal terms.

The dreams that impelled them to and sustained them in their per-
ilous undertakings we may not know, for they have left no record of
them. Perhaps they were inspired only by hope of immediate gain, and
saw no farther. It may be that some of them sought naught but relief
from the irksome restraints of society in the wild life of the forest. Yet
men of either of these classes must have awakened to wider vision in
their close communion with Nature, and come to see themselves, as many
others must have seen them, the planters of new communities, the
patriarchs of people, to pass away in their time but to be revered ever
afterward, and, remote from the period when their wasted tenements
were laid to rest, to be kept standing in the gaze of posterity, heroic
figures, dimly glorious, far up the valley of years. To this class belongs
General Daniel H. Brush, the founder of Carbondale. He had both the
lessons of the past and the impressive events of what was the present to
him to give him hints of what might happen anywhere in this country.


But he had also a wide sweep of vision and foresight, and it must have
revealed to him much for what he was preparing the way, extravagant
as his view might have looked to others.

General Brush was born at Vergennes, Vermont, in 1813, and in 1820
moved with his parents to Illinois. In 1836 he married Miss Julia Ether-
ton, of Jackson county, and in 1852 they moved into the county from
their former home and took up their new residence in a small settlement
which had not then a name, but which subsequently, through his enter-
prise, became Carbondale and received its geographical baptism from
him. He and ten other men acquired the land on which the city now
stands, and, after due deliberation, determined to lay out a town on it.

Being a strong temperance man, Mr. Brush, for he was not then a
general, had incorporated in each contract for the sale of a town lot a
provision forbidding the traffic in intoxicating liquors as a condition of

Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) → online text (page 48 of 98)