William W Davis.

History of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.2) online

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Online LibraryWilliam W DavisHistory of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.2) → online text (page 23 of 83)
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in merchandising in Garden Plain ; and Inez, the wife of Harry Bitler, who
is engaged in farming at Albany. The wife and mother passed away in-
1882. She was highly respected by all who knew her and her many friends
and neighbors felt the deepest loss when she was called from this life.

Mr. Abbott's political views endorse the principles and policy of the
democratic party and he has been called by the vote of his fellow townsmen'


to fill various public offices, having served as road commissioner for twenty-
nine years, while for nine years he served as assessor of his township, his
official duties having been discharged with the same promptness and fidelity
that he displays in the management of his private business affairs. Having
lived in Whiteside county from his infancy, Mr. Abbott is familiar with all
the pioneer conditions of this section of the -state. He has seen the country
developed into one of the foremost districts of this great state and through
struggle and adversity has made his way to the front until today, crowned
with a comfortable competence he stands in the same relation to his fellow-
men as he did in his early years when struggling for a livelihood, recognizing
and appreciating honest purpose and genuine worth and rating the indi-
vidual by his merits and not by his possessions. Today at the age of sixty-
six years he lives a contented and happy life and enjoys the rest which he
so well deserves.


Joseph C. SnyderJ whose life record is a valuable asset in contemporaneous
history in Albany and Whiteside county, was born July 18, 1844, in the
town which is still his home. His parents, Joseph and Nancy (Clarke)
Snyder, were both natives of Ohio, and in 1844 came from Cincinnati, making
the journey westward in the month of April by way of Cairo and St. Louis.
Joseph Snyder had previously visited Whiteside county in 1836, but had
returned to Ohio, had married there and made his home in the Buckeye state
for eight years. Following his arrival in Illinois in 1844, he first purchased
forty acres of land in Garden Plain township. He afterward entered a claim
from the government, and also purchased more land and became one of the
extensive land owners of the county, having at the time of his death about
nine hundred acres. His business interests were carefully and honorably con-
ducted, and his success therefore gained for him the respect and admiration
of his fellowmen. When he journeyed westward to Illinois he employed a
young man to drive a team from Cincinnati, and thus bring a portion of the
household goods. After reaching Whiteside county the young man traded
one of his horses for his first land. In those early days Chicago was the
market for the people of this district. It was necessary to haul all wheat
to that point, and upon the return trip Mr. Snyder would bring home the
necessaries of life and a few of its comforts. He continued to do his trading
at Chicago until about 1855, when the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was
built through. The pork which he sold in the city was all dressed at home,
and the first market for that product was at Galena, about sixty-five miles
distant. A little before the Northwestern Railroad was built, the Rock
Island was completed, and Geneseo became the market for wheat, Joseph C.
Snyder and his father hauling wheat to that point. It was there that Mr.
Snyder of this review first saw a railroad train. In his farming operation?
the father was very successful and became recognized as one of the prominent


and influential residents of this district. He died in the month of March,
1889, leaving a widow and nine children. Mrs. Snyder survived until May,
1891, when she, too, was called to her final rest.

The sons and daughters of the family are as follows: Joseph C., of this
review; John H., who is living in Garden Plain township; Mary, the wife of
Lafayette Clarke, of Morrison, Illinois; Sanford, of Nebraska; William, whose
home is in the state of Washington; Annie, the wife of Henry Harner, of
Beatrice, Nebraska; Alonzo S., who is living in Lewiston, Michigan; Edward,
who is located in Garden Plain township; and Hattie, the wife of J. E. Wads-
worth, of Morrison, Illinois.

Joseph C. Snyder, whose name introduces this record, was reared to man-
hood on his father's farm, and in the winter seasons attended the district
schools. As he was the eldest child of the family, his opportunities for ac-
quiring an education were somewhat limited, for his services were needed
on the farm and it was only when the farm work was practically over for
the year that he had the opportunity of attending school. He was eighteen
years of age when he joined the Union army, in June, 1862, becoming a
member of Company F, of the Ninety-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under
Captain A. F. Knight and Colonel Holden Putnam, of Freeport, Illinois. The
regiment was attached to the Seventeenth Army Corps, with which Mr. Sny-
der served for two years. During that time he participated in the battle of
Jackson, Mississippi, in 1863, after having previously taken part in the
battle of Raymond, Mississippi. He was also in the engagement at Cham-
pion Hills, where twenty-two men of his company were killed or wounded.
He was also in a severe skirmish on Big Black River, Mississippi, between
Jackson and Vicksburg, and on the 19th of May the army under General
Grant closed in on Vicksburg and Mr. Snyder participated in the siege of the
city until the 22d of May, when Grant ordered the historical charge on the
breastworks of Vicksburg, in which Mr. Snyder took part. From this time
on until the fall of the city, on the 4th of July, 1863, he was under constant
fire from the Confederate guns. Like most of the men engaged in the siege,
he felt the greatest satisfaction and pride when the city finally surrendered,
knowing that it meant a signal victory for the Union forces and showed a
very weak point in the Confederate strength. Then, too, it had not been alto-
gether pleasant to be under such constant fire from the enemy's guns.

Following the capitulation of Vicksburg, his corps was ordered north, and
for a time was at Helena, Arkansas, and at Memphis, Tennessee. From the
latter town they marched to Chattanooga, and on the 20th of November
reached their destination. Shortly afterward Mr. Snyder participated in the
battle of Mission Ridge, where, on the 25th of November, 1863, he was
wounded in the left ankle. This necessitated his remaining in the hospital
and on crutches for six months. After recovering the use of his limb he re-
joined his company, near Atlanta, Georgia, under General Sherman, his regi-
ment being at that time a portion of the Fifteenth Army Corps. He went
with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea, and afterward participated
in a few skirmishes prior to the close of the war, when the surrender of Gen-
orals Lee and Johnston virtually put an end to hostilities. He was with his


command at Raleigh, North Carolina, and from that point marched on to
Washington, 1). C.. where he participated in the grand review. There the
regiment was placed aboard the cars and sent to Louisville, Kentucky, where,
on the 23d of June, 1865, they were mustered out of service. Frojn that
point they proceeded to Chicago, and on the 7th of July received their pay and
were honorably discharged. Mr. Snyder, who had been at the front for three
years, gladly returned to the old home in Whiteside county, where he arrived
on the 8th of July, which was the second home-coming from the time of his
enlistment. When he was wounded and unable for duty he had been granted
a thirty days' furlough, which he spent at home.

On again reaching his native county, Mr. Snyder turned his attention
to farming, which he followed continuously until 1886. when he removed
to Albany. During the succeeding two years he engaged in fruit farming
within the city limits, and in May, 1889, he turned his attention to the livery
business, becoming the third liveryman in the city. For seventeen years
he successfully conducted his barn and received a liberal patronage. He car-
ried on the business until September, 1906, and then retired, being actively
engaged in no business enterprise at the present time. He was previously
engaged in breeding and buying and selling Shetland ponies. He also bred
one which, on reaching its full growth, only weighed two hundred and sev-
enty-five pounds, and he has owned and sold some of the finest Shetlands
ever seen in this part of the country.

On the 9th of October, 1866, Mr. Snyder was married to Miss Mary E.
Ewing, who was born in Albany and was a daughter of William and Harriet
(McMahon) Ewing, who were among the early settlers of the county, the birth
of Mrs. Snyder occurring here October 8, 1849. In early days here Mr.
Ewing was a teacher, being closely associated with the pioneer development
of the schools in this locality. Prior to the war he was engaged in steam-
boating on the Mississippi river, being owner and captain of a boat. Mrs.
Snyder well remembers the great tornado which caused so much destruction
in the town and to the river craft. Her father was also proprietor of one of
the first sawmills of the county, and was closely associated with the industrial
and business development as well as the intellectual progress of his com-
munity. He died in 1891, at the age of seventy-three years, his birth having
occurred in Ohio in 1818. He served his county frequently in positions of
public trust and confidence, and stood at all times for progress and im-
provement. His wife survived him for about seven years and passed away in
1898. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ewing were born eight children, all of whom are
still living: Mrs. Snyder; Phoebe, the wife of Ison Shaw, of Albany; W T illiam,
also living in Albany ; Fanny, the wife of James Beach, of Albany ; Christina,
the wife of a Mr. Robinson, of Chicago; Alta, the wife of Charles Tranger;
Charles, living in Albany; and Lula, the wife of Charles Stephens, of Belle-
ville, Wisconsin.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Snyder were born four children : Fanny, the wife of
J. W. Langford, of Mondota, Illinois: Minnie, the wife of G. A. Lott, of
Pueblo, Colorado; Mabel, the wife of A. A. Slocum, of Ladd, Illinois; and
Myrtle, the wife of W. R. Beardsworth, of Albany.


Mr. Snyder has filled several township offices, serving as constable of
Albany for twenty years, also as a member of the village board, and as a
member of the board of health. Politically he is a stanch republican, having
cast his first presidential vote for General Grant in 1868. He belongs to
Albany Ivodge, No. 456, I. 0. O. F., and to Keystone Lodge, No. 144, K. P.
His residence in this county covers sixty-four years. As one travels over the
Bounty and sees the many evidences of progressive development in business,
intellectual, social and moral lines, it seems hardly possible that it is within
the memory of living man when this was largely a wild and undeveloped
region, with but few homes over its surface, while Indians were frequently
seen and wild game was to be had in abundance. Such were the conditions,
however, that existed during the early boyhood, of Mr. Snyder, who is living
to witness the remarkable transformation of the county as its lands have
been claimed and cultivated, its towns founded and its villages transformed
into thriving cities. He has been known to many settlers of the county, and
his name here has ever been a synonym for honorable dealing in business.
His friends are many and his personal worth well entitles him to representa-
tion in this volume, as does the fact that he belongs to one of the old pioneer


A deep feeling of sadness spread throughout Sterling when, on the 6th
of March, 1902, it was announced that Marcus Lafayette Coe had passed from
this life, but while those who knew him remain, his memory will be cher-
ished, not so much on account of the splendid success which he achieved in
business, but because of his life of helpfulness, of good cheer, of broad sym-
pathy and his deep interest in and labors for the benefit of his fellowmen.

Mr. Coe was a native son of Whiteside county, his birth having occurred
on a farm in Jordan township, September 21, 1848, a son of Decius 0. and
Eveline N. (Stevens) Coe, natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respec-
tively. Both the paternal great-grandfather and the grandfather bore the
name of Simeon Coe. The latter was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, and
with his parents removed to New York, the journey being made with a "spike
team" a yoke of oxen and a horse at the wheel. He was reared to manhood
in the Empire state, and in 1835 made his way to Whiteside county, Illinois,
where he entered government land in Jordan township, paying for the same
the usual price of a dollar and a quarter per acre. He died here at the age of
sixty-four years, being survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary (Miles) Coe, who died
in 1857. Of their family of thirteen children only one now survives, Helen
Ann, who first wedded Moses Snavely, and after his death became the wife of
Thomas Stevens, who is also deceased. Mrs. Stevens has reached the advanced
age of eighty years, and has lost her eyesight. She makes her home on
Eighth avenue, in Sterling.

Decius 0. Coe, the father of our subject, was born in the village of Rush,
New York, and in 1835 accompanied his parents on their removal to White-


side county, where he was reared to manhood. He was married here to Miss
Eveline N. Stevens, a daughter of Jonathan and Ellen (Bowman) Stevens,
the former a native of Stonington, Connecticut, whence he brought his fam-
ily to Whiteside county in the year 1838, and settled on a farm in Sterling
township, where he was engaged in farming throughout the remainder of his
life. Of their family of 'three sons and one daughter, all are now deceased.
The father parsed away at the age of seventy-seven years. The mother was
called to her final rest in 1888. As above stated, Decius 0. Coe was reared
and married in Whiteside county, subseqiient to which time he engaged in
farming on his own account, and eventually became the owner of one hun-
dred and sixty acres of excellent farming property. After a few years, how-
ever, he removed to Sterling, where he lived for a time, and then again
resumed the occupation of farming, removing to a place one mile north of
the city, this property now being in possession of Martin Brothers. Mr. Coe
was a public-spirited man, and for many years served as supervisor of Jor-
dan township, while during his residence- in Sterling he served as alderman.
He was also a stockholder in the First National Bank of Sterling. Both
he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church, Mr. Coe serving as
an elder. His wife passed away at the age of sixty-one years, being survived
for nine years by Mr. Coe, who died November 17, 1897.

Marcus Lafayette Coe, the immediate subject of this record, was reared
on his father's farm in Jordan township, Whiteside county, aiding his father
in the work of the farm during the summer seasons, while in the winter months
he acquired his education in the Science Ridge District school, this learning
being supplemented by study in Mount Morris Seminary and in Cornell
(Iowa) College. Returning home after completing his education, he then re-
sumed the pursuits of farm life, which continued to be his occupation through-
out the remainder of his life with the exception of one year prior to his demise,
when he was engaged in the grocery business in Sterling.

It \va< on the 26th of August, 1875, that Mr. Coe established a home of his
own by his marriage to Miss Julia A. Gait, daughter of James A. and Mary
(Gait) Gait, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in
Montgomery county and the latter in Lancaster county. Only two of their
children reached mature years: Mrs. Coe; and Frank Gait, a real-estate dealer
of Sterling. The Gait family is of Scotch origin and settled in the Key-
stone state about the year 1710. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Coe were
James and Julianna Maria (Thomas) Gait, the former born in Lancaster
county, while he pa-sed away in Montgomery county, that state, when jf\
middle life. He was survived by his wife, -who died in 1875, when she had
reached the age of seventy-two years. Their son, James A. Gait, the father
of Mrs. Coe, was one of the early settlers of Sterling. He was here married to
Miss Mary Gait, who accompanied her father's family to Whiteside county in
1844. Her death occurred April 29, 1859, and Mr. Gait was married a second
time, this union being with Mrs. Mary (McCartney) Burton, the widow of
Albert Burton and a daughter of Judge David and Mary (McNair) McCart-
ney. By this union Mr. Gait had a son and daughter: Harry McCartney
Gait; and Edith Thomas Gait, who became the wife of Scott Williams.


Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Coe began their domestic
life on his father's old homestead farm, where they made their home for six
years, subsequent to which time they removed to a farm near Emerson, Illi-
nois, where they lived until after the death of his mother, when he returned
to his father's homestead, which came into his possession upon the latter's
death. He later disposed of this property and purchased a farm in Jordan
township, this tract comprising three hundred acres, known as the Wolfer-
sperger farm, which he owned at the time of his death. A year prior to his
demise he abandoned farm life and removed to the city of Sterling, w T here he
engaged in the grocery business, in which he was quite successful.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Coe was blessed with six children, five sons
and one daughter. Frank is superintendent of the grain department of the
Corn Products Company of New York and Chicago. Carl S. is conducting a
cigar store and news stand in Sterling. He wedded Harriet V. Howland, by
whom he has one son, James Marcus. ' Evelyn B., the eldest daughter, is the
wife of George D. Greenough, a real-estate dealer of Sterling. James Alex-
ander died in January, 1905, at the age of twenty-one years. Dee 0. is em-
ployed by his brother Carl, while Burton W., the youngest member of the
family, is at home.

Mr. Coe gave his political support to the republican party, while his re-
ligious faith was indicated by his membership in the Presbyterian church, to
which his widow also belongs. He was well and favorably known in both
Sterling and Whitaside county as an industrious and useful man, whose prob-
ity was an unquestioned fact in his career and therefore his death, which
occurred on the 6th of March, 1902, was the occasion of deep regret not only
to his immediate family but also to his numerous friends and acquaintances.


Among the representatives of farming interests in Montmorency town-
ship is numbered John F. Shuler. He was born in this township on the
place where he now resides and is a son of John and Eliza (Scheler) Shuler,
who were natives of Germany and Pennsylvania, respectively. The father
came to America at an early age and, removing to the west, settled in White-
side county, Illinois, where he purchased eighty acres of land, while later he
added a tract of similar size to the first purchase. He became a prosperous
farmer and afterward bought' the old Woodford farm of one hundred and
sixty acres, where he lived for about a year and a half or until his death.
His good qualities won him the respect and confidence of his fellowmen,
while his well-directed activity was the measure of a gratifying success.

John F. Shuler acquired his education in the common schools and Rock
Falls high school, where he pursued the course to within a few months of
graduation, when the duties and responsibilities of the home farm made it
absolutely necessary that he put aside his text-books and assist his mother
in carrying on the home place. His father had died when the son was but





seven years of age and from that time forward he assisted more and more
largely as his years and strength increased in the work of his mother's farm.
His entire life has been one of unremitting energy and carefully directed

On the 23d of November, 1904, Mr. Shuler was married to Miss Han-
nah R. Ramsdell, a daughter of Reuben H. and Barbara (Smith) Ramsdell,
of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume. At the time of their
marriage Mr. Shuler located upon the old homestead where he has since
lived. The place is known as the Pine Row farm and is pleasantly and con-
veniently located about three miles south of Sterling, in the midst of the
richest farming country of the world. The soil' responds readily to the care
and cultivation bestowed upon it and the intelligently directed labors of Mr.
Shuler have resulted in bringing forth large crops and in placing the farm
under high cultivation.

Mrs. Shuler was educated in the Sterling township high school and is
a graduate of the class of 1902. She also attended a business college and
was employed for a time as bookkeeper. Both Mr. and Mrs. Shuler have
many warm friends in this locality, where they have long resided, their good
qualities of heart and mind winning for them the favorable regard of those
with whom they have been associated. They are members of the Lutheran
church and Mr. Shuler gives his political allegiance to the republican party.
That his life has been a straightforward and honorable one is indicated by
the fact that many of his stanchest friends are those who have known him
from his boyhood to the present time.


Victor Schiffmacher, who is now living retired at No. 806 First avenue in
Sterling, has long made his home in this section of the state. In fact more
than half a century has passed since he arrived in Whiteside county, begin-
ning life here as a farm hand. On the day that Abraham Lincoln was elected
to the presidency he took up his abode in Sterling, where he has since made
his home. The years have been witness of the honorable record that he has
made in the conduct of his business and in all his relations with his fellow-
men, and he is now held in such high regard as to render it imperative that
mention be made of him in this volume.

Mr. Schiffmacher -was born in Scheibenhardt, Kanton Langen, Kaudel,
Rheinpfalz, Germany, April 10, 1831, his parents being Francis Joseph and
Cathariria (Roth) Schiffmacher. The father was a civil engineer in his
native country and a prominent man of the locality in which he resided. He
died about 1867 or 1868 at the age of sixty-five years, while his wife survived
him for a considerable period and was more than eighty-eight years of age at
the time of her death. They were the parents of four children who reached
adult age: Victor; Appalonia, deceased; Joseph A., living in Sterling, Illinois;
and Thersia, deceased. One other child died in infancy.


Victor Sch iff macher, who was reared in the fatherland, acquired a good
common-school education and when fourteen year* of age started out in life
on his own account by learning the cooper's trade, which he followed in
Germany and also after his emigration to the new world. Favorable reports
reached him concerning the opportunities of America and after a voyage of
forty-two days he landed in New York city, June 18, 1854, determined to try
his fortune on this side of the Atlantic. He made his way at once into the
interior of the country and reached Chicago on the 2d of July. Continuing
his journey westward to Whiteside county, he secured employment as a farm
hand in Jordan township about six miles from Sterling, and was thus em-
ployed during the summer months, while through the winter he. worked at his
trade. As previously stated he became a resident of Sterling in November,
1860, on the day on which Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Here
he worked as a journeyman at the cooper's trade, being so employed until the
following spring, when he began business on his own account, so continuing
until 1884. He built up an excellent trade as a cooper, sometimes employing
as many as forty men. On his retirement from that business he began con-
tracting and put in one of the first sewers in Sterling, it extending from the
river to the north side of the railroad tracks. He also put in the water wheels

Online LibraryWilliam W DavisHistory of Whiteside County, Illinois from its earliest settlement to 1908 : illustrated, with biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Volume v.2) → online text (page 23 of 83)