J. W Kern.

Past and present of Iroquois County, Illinois online

. (page 1 of 88)
Online LibraryJ. W KernPast and present of Iroquois County, Illinois → online text (page 1 of 88)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


t^liUij;. '■ ■;■"-,■,:. V - ■■",'-:s







mm MiuKicAL liMki


p;\sr AM) PKr:sr:nT



Bv J. W. KERN. M. A.








"H>e^icatc^ to tbe
ox llroquoii? (loimtB

' 'L




iiox. ADDisux guodi:ll.

Hon. Addison Goodell was for many years
]-oda's foremost citizen. Almost countless are
llic individuals who unite in expressions of praise,
gratitude and honor in speaking of him. and his
memory is today enshrined in the hearts of all
who knew him. Althou.nh his success was great
it was his strong and sterling traits of character
which gained for him the place that he occupied
in the affections of his fellowmen. Said one who
knew him well, "He was cast in the same mold
of nohle manhood, physically, mentally, morally
and intellectually, as was .\braham Lincoln."
He possessed too that entire freedom from osten-
tation which characterized tlie martyred presi-
dent, and it is improbable that he ever weighed
an act of his life in the scale of policy. The
course which he followed in all of his relations
with his fellowmen was ])rompte(l by a spirit
"i kindly consideration for others and a desire
to do the right as he saw and understood it.

Addison (loodell was born near Mentor in
Lake county, Ohio, on the i6th of July. 182J.
and was a representative in both the pateriril
and maternal lines of old Xew England families.
His parents, Xathan P. and Hannah M. (Ciris-
wold) Goodell. were natives of Windham county.
Connecticut, and further mention is made of the
ancestral history of the family in connection with
the sketch of Warren S. Goodell on another i)a.t;e
of this work. But in this writing we are more
closely concerned with the life record of .\ddison
GiTodell, who left such an indelible imjiression
upon the roniniiri-i.il niid financial historv of

Iroquois ct)unty and e.xerted so strong and bene-
ficial an inlluence over the lives of those with
whom he came in contact. On leaving Xcw Eng-
land his parents removed to Ohio, becoming pio-
neer residents of that section of the Western Re-
serve which is now included within the borders
of Lake county. The father was a woolen manu-
facturer and in coimection with business inter-
ests of that character was identified with farm-
ing and milling. Public spirited and energetic,
he t<jok a prominent and active part in all that
pertained to the welfare of the community in
which he made his home. His political alle-
giance was given to the whig party, subsefjuently
to the free soil party and later to the republican
party. He and his wife were members of the
Christian church and in the early days of Mor-
mon influence Sidney Rigdon, then pastor of
the church to which Mr. and Mrs. Goodell be-
longeil. succeeded in carrying off all of the mem-
bers of his flock to the new religion save Xathan
P. and Hannah Goodell. Arousing the ire of the
Mormon leaders by his expose of some of their
deceitful practices, Joseph Smith, their leader,
claimed to have received the revelation "that the
earth woidd drink Mr. Goodell's blood within
a year." His life thus threatened Mr. Goodell
disposed of his interests and removed to Paines-
ville, Ohio, where he operated the city flouring
mills until his demise, which occurred when he
was seventy-six years of age, while his wife was
seventy years at the time of her death.

Farm life early became familiar to Addison
Goodell and while spending his boyhood days
under the parental roof he aided in the work of

I 109479



he died, and feel yet, a sense of personal be-
reavement and loss that makes it seem an im-
possibility to say why I loved him so. I never
knew of his doing a littje or mean thing. The
mould in which he was rim was too large for
small things or mean things. If courage in
convictions of right, if nobleness of character, if
kindness of heart, if goodness of intention, and
success in putting an abstract intention into con-
crete definite and kindly action, if all the charac-
teristics that make people lovable, so richly
possessed by him, are assets for this life and of
value in the life he has now entered, then he
was a rich man in the esteem, affection and love
of his fellowmen here, and now enjoying the
enduring riches and fellowship of that life that
shall never know a close."

From Hon. Horace Russell, member of the
forty-third general assembly, came the following:
"I have appreciated the honor he conferred on
me by being friendly to me always, for back in
the past when he was a younger man I became
acquainted with him. He was always kind to
me and while he was aware of my many failings
and shortcomings he always passed them by and
encouraged me to do better. He has left to you
boys a name that few can have. It was not local
by any means, but was linked with all of eastern
Illinois and especially of our county. There is
no one man in our county who was so well and
favorably known as was Mr. Goodcll. His name
meant all that was honorable and good."

Writing of their father to the sons. W. R.
Jewell said : "Through a period of a generation
I have known .\ddison Goodell as one of the best
men with whom I have ever associated. He had
all the elements of one of the Lord's noblemen.
As a citizen he was a devoted patriot. In the
day of his country's deepest need he was on the
side of the Union and for freedom. He was
one of the best supporters of the martyred presi-
dent. .\braham LincDhi. and was cast in tlic same
mold of noble manhood physically, mentally,
morally and intellectually, as was Mr. Lincoln.
He was a man of the common ])e(>ple, above llie
small tricks of small men. .\s a husband and
father he filled to fullness the siiirit of IIolv
Writ and the laws of the land. His children will
cherish his memory while their lives shall last.
The older they grow, and the more thev recede

by lapse of time from the days when they were-
in their childhood, in their good old home, the
more will the noble fatherhood of their father
shine upon them, full of all precious memories-
of simple going, coming, working, providing,,
thinking and planning for them, for their future-
happiness and well-being. I saw him often
about this fatherly duty, and even to me the
memory is now a sacred possession. He was re-
ligiously devoted to home — to making it happy ,.
to filling it with peace, unpretentious but solid
love, and all physical comforts. He was public-
spirited and worked and planned for the prog-
ress of his town, his community. We believe that
all the people of Loda will join me in saying that
he was the father of your beautiful place. That
he was one of the foremost of its citizens in build-
ing up the churches, your library, your school
houses, parks, and that all good and useful move-
ments found in him a ready, cheerful helper.
Soon after I became acquainted with Mr.
he became a member of the constitutional
convention which framed the present constitu-
tion of this state. I was told by Governor Bev-
eridge and others that he was one of the most
useful members of that body of distinguished
men on account of his great common sense and
business ability. He had the elements of practical
statesnianship and had he devoted himself to
statecraft instead of to business he would have
made an able constructive statesman. While in
the constitutional convention he did service for
the people which has lasted and served to this
day and will last and serve for many years to
come. Mr. Goodell was really a professional
business man ; the soul of honor, an example of
industry, exactness and thrift. He belonged to
that nvighty host of business nien who have
pushed this country along for almost three
quarters of a ccntm-y. until it has become the
greatest in the world. His word was as good
as his bond, liis name was a synonym of honor
and confidence, .\ddison Goodcll is a household
word for miles and miles around Loda, and the
circles of business men in Chicago. New York
and other centers. It is a great triumph to gain
a fair competency by sobriety, inilustry. honesty,
persistence, and Mr. Goodell achieved that vic-
tory. Besides all this he was a liberal, charitable
Christian gentleman. On that side of his life I


owe him iiuicli, tor lie did imicli to leach me,
when I was a young man and somewhat arrufjant
and dogmatic in botli pohtics and religion, how
to be tolerant to other men's views while firmly
holding my own. He seems to me as an older
brother, and I sincerely mourn his loss. IJut I
believe in the future life most fully and stead-
fastly. I believe that He who brought us here
has made the noble service of this life to fit us
for the future life in the highest degree. In
this service Mr. Goodell had a long and noble
discipline, and he has gone onward and upward
with all the beauty, the sweetness, the nobleness,
the love and service through which he has
passed in this life, gathered into his great heart,
as a store of joy in the other life. He has not
left this world empty or naked, but there is a
house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens, into which he passes, clothed in the
righteousness of a noble life. His soul has be-
come as vast as a world, and into it is gathered
all things that are holy and true. His soul lives
in God's heavens : his deeds of goodness live in
this life."

HON. A. M. jnXES.

Hon. .\. M. Tones has left and is leaving the
impress of his individuality njjon public life in
Iroquois county. He is distinctively a nian of
affairs and one who has wielded a wide influence,
and while he is known in political circles he is
equally respected and honored as an enterprising
and reliable business man, successfully controlling
important and growing business interests in Mil-
ford, where for over a (juarter of a century he has
dealt in hardware, lumber and farm implements.
His life record is in contradistinction to the old
adage that a "prophet is never without honor
save in his own countrv," for Mr. Jones is a na-
tive son of the coui.cy in which he has so directed
his lalx)rs as to gain more than local distinction
and honor.

He was Iwrn in .'^tockland townshij). .May 15.
1857, and is a son of the Hon. John H. and Han-
nah ( Pugh ) Jones, both of whom were natives
of Oliio. The father was born in Miami county,
October 30. 1823. but was reared in Warren

count\, Indiana, and it was there that he wedded
Miss I'ugh. He removed to Illinois in 1850, set-
tling on a farm in Stockland township, Iroquois
county, where he ])urchase(l a tract of raw land.
It was entirely destitute of improvements and not
a furrow had been turned, but with characteristic
energy he began the arduous task of develo])ing
a new farm and brought the place under a h ^h
state of cultivation. He was one of the most
prosperous agriculturists of this portion of the
state and to his ])ossessions added from time to
time until his holdings aggregated sixteen hun-
dred acres of well improved and valuable land.
He was indeed one of the ]>rominent and success-
ful agriculturists of Iroquois county, and in his
business life manifested a s|>irit of energy and bus-
iness integrity that commended him to the confi-
dence and won for him the admiration of all who
knew aught of his industry. He exerted, too. a
wide influence in public aflairs and was well fitted
for leadership because of his known ability, his
thorough understanding of the jiroblems relative
to the general good and his marked rievotion to
the interests of the people at large without the
display of class distinction. Again an<l again
he was called to positions of public honor and
trust. He served for a number of years as super-
visor, was township school trustee and township
treasurer for several years, filling the office at the
time of his demise. In 1883 he was elected to
the general assembly, where he represented his
district with credit to himself and satisfaction to
his constituents, being appointed on a number of
im[)ortant committees and doing valuable work in
connection with instructive legislature. He was
faultless in honor, fearless in conduct and stainless
in rcinitation, and his life of business activity and
public service well entitled him to mcnt'un with
the foremost men that Iro{|uois county has pro-
duced. He died at his old home, OctolxT 27,
1893, at the age of seventy years, and for about
three years was survived by his wife, who passed
away in December, i8ty>- The family of this
worthy couple numbered six sons and two daugh-
ters, and in that number no death has yet oc-

• .\. M. Jones was reared upon the old home-
stead. The usual experiences of the l)oy upon
the farm were his. .\s age and strength jiermit-
teil he worked in the fields from the time of earlv



s]jring planting until crops were harvested in
the late autumn but he was also given opportu-
nity to attend school and mastered the element-
ary branches of English learning in the district
school near his father's home. He completed his
studies at the Northern Indiana Normal College,
at X'afparaiso, and thus well equijjped for the
respons'fole duties of life he entered the field ol
business activity as an employe in a hardware
store in A\'atseka, where he received ])ractical
training in mercantile life. He was ambitious
for advancement and success, and eagerly im-
proved every opportunity toward that end. In
1879, in connection with his twin brother, E. S.
Jones, he embarked in the hardware and imple-
ment business at Milford. The firm of Jones
Brothers carry a large and well selected stock of
hardware and farm implements, valued at twenty-
five thousand dollars, and have built up an exten-
sive trade. They are recognized as leading busi-
ness men of broad capability, keen insight and un-
faltering determination, ant! in connection with the
hardware and implement business they also have
a lumberyard and carry a large stock of lumber
and building materials, for which they find a
ready sale.

.'\. M. Jones has gained equal prominence in
political circles, in which connect'on he has
wielded a wide influence, having made a close
study of all those problems which divide the two
great political organizations. His position has
never been an equivocal one. for he has always
been known as a stalwart republican. He was
elected and served for eight consecutive years as
supervisor, being chosen to that office when he
had scarcely attained his majority, so that he was
known as the ''boy supervisor." While a member
of the honorary county board he served for two
years as its cha'Tman. When choice was made
for a candidate for the thirty-eighth general as-
sembly the delegates to the cnnvenlion agreed
upon Mr. Jones and he was elected. He gave
such uniform satisfaction in discharging the du-
ties of the office that he was re-elected and thus
served for four consecutive years, giving to each
question which cune up for settlement "n the
Igislatnre his careful and thoughtful considera-
tion, lie has filled numerous official ])ositions
and has always been deeply interested in the
cause of ])ublic instruction, serving as a member

of the school board of Milford for a long period
and as :ts president for twelve years. He also
.served on the town board as trustee, was president
of the board, has been township treasurer for sev-
eral years and in all these offices has rendered effi-
cient aid and made an untarnished record.

In 1881, in Milford, occurred the marriage of
A. M. Jones and Miss Frances Monett, who was
born and reared in Ohio, and is an accomplished
and cultured lady, a daughter of John Monett.
She is one of the acti've members of the Methodist
church at Milford and has done much to advance
its growth and extend its influence. Mr. Jones is
an exemplary representative of the Masonic lodge
at Milford. and he and his wife are connected with
the Eastern Star. He has also taken the degrees
of capitular and chivalric Masonry in the com-
mandery and chapter at Watseka. As an Odd
Fellow he has filled all of the chairs in the local
lodge and is a past grand at Milford. He has
likewise been district deputy and a representative
to the Grand lodge of Odd Fellows in the state.
He and his brother have contributed in substan-
tial measure to the development of the town in
which they reside and have here erected a two-
story business block, while each has built an at-
tractive modern home. They are among Mil-
ford's most prominent and public-spirited men.
To evei\v enterprise calculated to advance the
prosperity of Milford, A. M. Jones is a contribu-
tor and is justly accounted one of the prominent
and pojnilar citizens.


Among tlie residents of Iroquois county the
public service of few have extended over so long
a period as that of ^Matthew Henry Peters and
none have been more faultless in honor, more
fearless in conduct or more stainless in reputa-
tion. As mayor and legislator he has rendered
far-reaching and eft'ective service to the city of
Watseka and the district at large and as a busi-
ness man his efforts have been a factor in pro-
moting commercial progress and prosperity,
while viewed in any light he is a strong man —
strong in his honor and his good name, while
his life record should .serve as a source of inspi-


f:^cLlI^f^ ^in^'^i^



£^U U>


IROQUOIS COrXTV. 1 1. 1. 1. Vol. s.


ration and cnciiiira,ij^cnii.'iU to others, sliouinj^j
that without tlic advantages of family, wt-altli or
position at tliu outset of one"s career an individual
may rise to prominence and success, winning the
esteem :uul resjiect of all with wlioni he is asso-

A native of (iermany, .Major I'elers was horn
in Rhenish ISavaria, June (>, 1843. and his par-
ents, (.ieorse and Mary (Moock) I'eters, were
also natives of that country. 'I'hc father in tlie
year 1843 brought his family to America, land-
ing at New Orleans, but tlie climatic conditions
of the city were detriment.al to the health of the
family and within a few years the mother and
two sisters of Major I'eters died, leaving two
small hoys to the care of the father, who was
unfamiliar with the language and customs of the
people among whom he had come to dwell. His
limited financial resources were .soon com])letely
exhausted through the expenses occasioned by
sickness and death and a short time afterward
he suffered an attack of yellow fever which ter-
minated his life, .so that the two little liovs were
left or])hans. Samuel, the younger brother, was
cared for in an oriiiian asylum.

.\ conteni]>orary biograi)her in a hisiory of
Major I'eters said, concerning his early life, "Mat-
thew, then but ten years of age, was taken by
an acquaintance to bring up. Instead of finding
the comforts of a good home and the tender
care of a humane and worthy guardian, the lit-
tle orphan fell a victim to the grasjiing cupidity
of a cruel and heartless monster. He was poorly
clad, nearly starved, beaten. ;inil instructed in
criminal processes that would have done credit
to the Jew I'agan, made famous by the pen of
Dickens as the tutor of little ( )livcr Twist. This
man kept a small tailoring shoji, where the boy
was compelled to work from early morn until ten
or eleven o'clock at night. A small slice of bread
three times a day constituted bis entire rations,
so that be never knew while there what it was
not to be hungry. Ilccoming desperate, be re-
solved to make bis escape, feeling that any
change must be an improvement; so early one
morning in the winter of 1854-55 he, without the
trailitional bundle that the small aiiprentice is
supposed to carry when he runs away, made a
start for liberty and fortune. The rags on bis
back and the welts and bruises under them were

all he had to take exce|)t a b,'ih'-iloli,'ir that had
been entrusted to bis care overnight for market
purposes, b'eeling that be could justly appropri-
ate that amount of capital in consideration of his
um-e(|uitted service and privation, he niaile the
most of it by soon getting sonielbing substan-
tial with which to satisfy a mucb-.abuseil stom-
ach. \\ ith fear ami trembling, be sought safety
in a distant |>art of the city. His nights were
spent sleeping among the cotton bales and sacks
of coffee, or in other places where rest could be
.secured. In the daytime he ran the streets, mak-
ing a meal from anything he could find that was
edible, the waste from partially decayed fruit
and the refuse from hotel tables being his prin-
cipal fare.

"In the succeeding March, by good lortinic, the
little lad secured empKniuent on a Mississippi
river steamboat as assistant cook, and for once
in many years he was well fed. This change
marked an era of improvement in bis fortune,
for shortly afterward a traveling gentleman,
Henry S. Roberts, attracted by the intelligent
face of the boy and learning his sad story, took
a fancy to bini and offered him a home. This
kind off'er was gladly accepted, ancl in company
with his new-ft)und friend, Matthew went to
( )hio. For a time everything went well ; he
made himself u.sefnl to bis benefactor and was
given sdmol advantages; but misfortune again
befell him with the death of Mr. Roberts, which
happened only a few weeks after young I'eters
had found a bonx' with him. He left the boy
with his widowed mother, whose kindness and
motherly love have found a full recompense in a
lifelong devotion and care on the part of the
befriended boy. Since he has grown to manhood.
Major Peters has given her a home in bis f,im-
ilv. where she was loved and revered as though
indeed his real mother. Mrs. Roberts attained
the remarkable age of one hundred and three
vears." Her death occurred at Maior I'eters'
home January 6, 1894.

.\fter Itecoming a rcsi<lent of ( )hio Major
I'eters devoted his time and energies at different
periods to farm labor and the trade of brick-
making an<l bis leisure hours were largely de-
voted to rea<ling aiul study. His school privi-
leges had been very limited but with laud.iblc
ambition he desired an education and improved



everv oppormmtN mr liroaiknmy li:s knowlcilyc
and promuting his mental culture. Oftentimes
he studied by the light of the burning kiln that
he was watching while wt)rking in the brickyards.
In this way he gained sufticienl knowledge to
enable him to successfully pass a teachers e.xam-
ination and entered actively upon the work of
the profession, at the same time pursuing his in-
dividual studies. It was in i860 that he became
a rejiresentative of the work of public instruc-
tion, in which he continued until the outbreak
of the Civil war.

In the meantime Mr. I'eters had watched with
interest the trend of modern thought, noting the
events which were shaping the history of the
country. He saw the threatening attitude of the
south and resolved that if a blow was struck to
overthrow the Union he would .stand loyally in
its defense. Accordingly on the 2^<\ of .\pril,
1861, he joined the Jefferson Guards of Spring-
field. Ohio, becoming a member of Company E,
Sixteenth Ohio Infantry, for three months' serv-
ice. The regiment was assigned to duty in \'ir-
ginia and with his command he took part in the
engagements at Philippi, Laurel Hill and Car-
rick's Ford, at which place the first Confederate
general, Garnett, was killed. Having served
out the term of his first enlistment Mr. Peters
re-enlisted in November of the same year at
Nenia, Ohio, as a private of Company F, Sev-
enty-fourth Regiment, under Colonel Granville
Moody, the fighting parson ; Walter Crook,
brother of General George Crook, of Indian no-
toriety, being his captain. .\t this time, Mr.
I'eters was made sergeant, soon afterward was
chosen lieutenant by the company and was com-
missioned by Governor Todd of C)hio on the
7th of January, ii^>2. During that year, he was
in active service and j)articipated in all the bat-
tles and engagements in which his regiment took

.\t the battle of Stone River, Tennessee, De-

Online LibraryJ. W KernPast and present of Iroquois County, Illinois → online text (page 1 of 88)