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 34 of 83)
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two years. He afterward spent three years in his father's store as bookkeeper
and was with the firm of Potter & Johnson, lumber and grain dealers, as
bookkeeper for six years. In 1906 he entered into partnership with C. D.
Gallentine, becoming a member of the C. D. Gallentine Company, having a
hot house forcing plant, with a total of one hundred and twenty-five thousand
square feet of glass. The business has gradually developed under the care
and control of the enterprising men who constitute the partnership and is
proving a profitable investment. Thus gradually Mr. Spafford has worked
his way up'ward until he is now a recognized factor in the business life of
his native city.

In 1898 Mr. Spafford was married to Miss Lela M. Beuzeville, a daughter
of F. J. and Maria Beuzeville, and a native of Morrison, Illinois, born in
1877. Her father was a pioneer and one of the early and successful mer-
chants of Morrison. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Spafford were born two children,
Eloise Lela and Frederick R., but the son is now deceased. Mr. Spafford
exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the
republican party. He has a wide acquaintance in this city and throughout
Whiteside county, where his entire life has been passed, and a genial, cordial
manner and genuine character worth are the sources of his popularity.



John Buyers, deceased, who was a man of many friends, spent his last
years in honorable retirement in Sterling, having previously, however, been
closely associated with the business interests of the county as an agriculturist.
Mr. Buyers was born in Buyerstown, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, March
2, 1834. His parents, James A. and Eliza J. (McJimsey) Buyers, were also
natives of the Keystone state, residing about fourteen miles from the city of
Lancaster on a farm, which was deeded to the Buyers family by the nephews
of William Penn, and which remained in possession of the descendants of
the original holders of the family until 1905. The first representatives of the
name in Pennsylvania came from north of Ireland to the new world. The
paternal grandfather, Captain Robert Buyers, won his title by service in the
Colonial army during the war of the Revolution, being commissioned in
April, 1776. He did valiant service in defense of the Colonial cause and
lived for many years to enjoy the fruits of liberty. His commission, which
was signed by John Morton, speaker of the house of Pennsylvania three
months before the Declaration of Independence was written, is now in posses-
sion of Mrs. Buyers and is a most cherished heirloom. She also possesses the
sword worn by Captain Buyers. He married Jean Armour and their family
included James A. Buyers who, as stated, followed farming on the old farm
homestead. He wedded Eliza J. McJimsey, a daughter of Joseph McJimsey,
who was a merchant of the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and at one time
representative from his district to the state legislature. He married Eliza
Gait, and both died at a comparatively early age, leaving three little daugh-






ters, Eliza J., Mary and Ann, all now deceased. Mary became the wife of
S. S. Patterson, who was well known in Sterling as a banker. Ann never
married and died in this city. The McJimseys are also of Scotch descent.
Eliza J. McJimsey gave her hand in marriage to James A. Buyers, and to
them were born three sons and three daughters, who reached adult age, while
two children died in infancy. The father passed away at the ancestral home
of the family in Pennsylvania, at the age of eighty-two years, while the wife
died at the age of eighty-three. They lived to celebrate their golden wedding.

John Buyers, whose name introduces this record, was reared in Lan-
caster county, Pennsylvania, on a farm and acquired his education in the
east. The year 1859 witnessed his arrival in Sterling and soon afterward
he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Hopkins township,
upon which he lived for eleven years, but it was on that place that he and his
wife began their domestic life, while later they removed to what is known as
the Gait farm at the town of Gait, where they also remained for eleven years.
During this period of more than two decades Mr. Buyers was an enterprising,
energetic and representative agriculturist whose careful conduct of his busi-
ness brought him a gratifying measure of success. Failing health, however,
led him to abandon agricultural pursuits and in 1890 he took up' his abode
in Sterling, where he afterward lived retired until called to the home beyond.

On the llth of May, 1865, Mr. Buyers was married to Miss Frances
Anna Gait, a daughter of John and Sarah Maria (Buyers) Gait, who were
among the early settlers of Sterling, and of whom further mention is made
in connection with the history of John B. Gait on another page of this work.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Buyers were born ten children, six sons and four
daughters: Jessie M., who is a teacher in the Wallace school in Sterling;
James A., occupying a position in the office of the Sterling Manufacturing
Company; Eliza, who died in early womanhood; Charles A., who is manager
in the office of the International Harvester Company at Sterling and mar-
ried Alice Weaver; Bruce, who died in infancy; Thomas G., who died in
April, 1903, at the age of twenty-six years; Lizzie M., who died when nine
years of age; Mary, living at home; Donald E., a machinist who is now
studying mechanical engineering at the Illinois University, at Champaign;
and Archie, who is also attending the university.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Buyers were consistent, faithful and helpful members
and workers of the Presbyterian church, and for forty-five years Mr. Buyers
was honored as an elder of the First Presbyterian church of Sterling. In
politics he was a republican and was ever a loyal and patriotic citizen. In
May, 1881, he offered his services to the government and became a member
of Company B, Thirteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving first as cor-
poral and afterward as sergeant. He continued with the army as a faithful
soldier for eighteen months in Missouri and Arkansas and was then obliged
to return home on account of impaired health.

For seventeen years he was a resident of Sterling, living retired in the
enjoyment of well-earned rest up to the time of his death, which occurred
July 23, 1907, when he was seventy-three years of age. He was a man of
high purposes and honorable principles, who in all of his relations with his


fellowmen was actuated by a spirit of consideration, justice and right. His
death therefore was the occasion of deep regret to his many friends, while
his memory is yet cherished by those who knew him and may well serve as
a source of inspiration and encouragement to others. Mrs. Buyers still sur-
vives her husband and is most highly esteemed in Sterling, where she makes
her home.


Among the residents of Sterling who in former years were identified
with agricultural interests but are now living retired in the enjoyment of
well earned and well merited rest is Christian Hartman. A .native of Ger-
many, he was born in Wittenberg on the 9th of August, 1832, his parents
being Adam and Barbara Hartman, who were likewise natives of Germany.
The father was a cabinet-maker in the village of Galdorf and died there
when about sixty years of age. His wife survived him and afterward came
to America in 1855, settling in Trenton, New Jersey. At a later date she
came west to Sterling but remained for only a short time and then returned
to Trenton, where she passed away in 1885 at the very advanced age of
ninety-five years. She was a Lutheran in religious faith and Adam Hartman
was also identified with that church. Their family numbered twelve children,
but only two are now living, the elder being Barbara, a resident of Trenton,
New Jersey.

Christian Hartman was reared in the land of his birth, acquired his
education in the schools there and afterward worked at farm labor by the
month. In 1853 he came to America, living in Trenton, New Jersey, for
five years. In 1860 he arrived in Sterling, Illinois, and worked at farm
labor by the month. He afterward bought a farm of eighty acres in
Genesee township and made -his home there for a little more than twenty-one
years. He then removed to Sterling and rented his farm for several
years, after which he sold it and for the past twenty-three years he has
lived retired in Sterling. Here he built a good home, which he still owns
and occupies at No. 611 Fifth avenue, and he likewise has another dwelling
in the city, from which he obtains a good rental. In former years he was
most active and energetic in his farming operations and his labors were
carefully directed by sound judgment. In all of his farm work he met with
success and gained the desirable competence that now enables him to live,

On the llth of August, 1866, Mr. Hartman was married to Mrs. Fred-
ericka Kircher, the widow of Michael Kircher and a daughter of Frederick
and Rosina (Oltman) Smith. By her former marriage Mrs. Hartman had
one daughter, Louisa. Her first husband died in April, 1866. Her parents
departed this life in Germany, her father's death occurring in 1833 when
he was seventy-three years of age, while her mother died in 1861 at the age
of sixty-seven years. In their family were three children but Mrs. Hart-
man is the only one now living.


Both Mr. and Mrs. Hartman are members of the Evangelical Lutheran
church and in politics he is a stalwart republican, thoroughly in sympathy
with the principles of the party. While residing upon his farm he served
as road commissioner. He has been a resident of the county for forty-seven
years and his wife for forty-six years, and they are well known in the
community, being much esteemed by reason of their genuine worth.


David H. Lingel, whose activity and energies are concentrated upon the
conduct and development of a successful grocery business at the corner of
Thirteenth avenue and Fourth street in Sterling, is a native of Franklin coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, having been born near Chambersburg on the 14th of April,
1851, his parents being John and Frances (Finnefrock) Lingel, who were
likewise natives of the same county. The family was an old one of Pennsyl-
vania, for the paternal grandfather lived in Franklin county and died there
when a young man. His wife, Mrs. Barbara (Moffat) Lingel, long survived
him and passed away in Sterling at the ripe old age of eighty-three years. The
maternal grandfather, John Finnefrock, also died in the Keystone state when
a comparatively young man.

John Lingel, father of our subject, early learned and followed the shoe-
maker's trade, while later he became a farmer and subsequently engaged in
house painting and paper hanging. He came to Sterling in the fall of 1864
and there resided until 1905, when he went to Chicago, where he now makes
his home. His wife, however, died in 1866 in the faith of the Lutheran
church, of which she was a member, while Mr. Lingel belonged to the United
Brethren church in former years but is now a Methodist. For his second
wife he married Maria Kissell. Six children were born of the first marriage:
David H. ; Catharine, the wife of A. N. Mallory, of Chicago; Anna, the wife
of William Starr, of Lamoille, Illinois; Emma, living in Sterling; John F.,
of this city; and Sadie, the wife of E. H. Mariott, of Lamoille, Illinois. By
the second marriage the father had two children: Mabel, now the wife of
William Smart, of Sterling ; and Bert.

David H. Lingel was only thirteen years of age when he became a
resident of Sterling and his education, begun in the common schools of
Pennsylvania, was supplemented by the two years' study in the schools of
Sterling. He then began clerking in a grocery store and spent four years
in that way. He was afterward employed as a salesman in a clothing store
until April, 1907, with the exception of two years devoted to painting. For
fourteen years he was in the employ of Isaac Wolf, with whom he con-
tinued until the death of Mr. Wolf, when he embarked in business on his
own account in April, 1907. establishing a grocery store at the corner of
Thirteenth avenue and Fourth street. Already he has secured a liberal
patronage and he has a neat, attractive and well equipped store, in which
he is meeting with well merited success.


On the 15th of June, 1875, Mr. Lingel was married to Miss Jennie
E. Little, a daughter of William and Agnes (Porter) Little. They have
two children: William J., who is with his father in the store; and Agnes
Lillian, the wife of Martin M. Wasley, a resident of Chicago.

Mr. and Mrs. Lingel are members of the First Methodist Episcopal
church and his political allegiance is given to the republican party. The
only office that he has ever held was that of tax collector in 1884, hi? as-
pirations having been in other directions than in the line of officeholding.
For forty-three years, he has lived in Sterling and is well known in its
business circles as a man ever reliable in trade interests and at the same time
possessing a spirit of marked enterprise and diligence.


John F. LeFevre has followed the plow over certain districts of Sterling
which constitute a beautiful residence portion of the city. He has made
his home in Whiteside county since 1847 or for a period of more than
sixty years and is therefore largely familiar with the events which have
shaped its history and molded its policy. He has passed the eightieth mile-
stone on life's journey, his birth having occurred in Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania, on the 1st of January, 1828. The family comes of French
ancestry. The grandfather, Peter LeFevre, was born in Pennsylvania and
was a physician and surgeon. He married Miss Mary LeFevre and they be-
came the parents of four children. After the death of the first wife Dr.
LeFevre married Elizabeth Abersticher but there were no children by that

John W. LeFevre, one of the four children of Dr. Peter LeFevre, was
reared in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and began the study of medicine
but gave up the idea of becoming a representative of that profession and
turned his attention to farming. He married Mary Esbenshed, also a native
of Lancaster county and a daughter of Daniel Esbenshed, who was born in
Germany, whence he came to America, settling in Lancaster county, Penn-
sylvania. He was a tanner by trade and owned and conducted a large tannery.
He married Elizabeth LeFevre and lived to the advanced age of ninety-three
years, while his wife died at the age of eighty-eight years. They were
the parents of twelve children, including Mary Esbenshed. Following the
marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John W. LeFevre they continued residents of
Pennsylvania until 1847, when they came westward to Illinois, settling in
Sterling, where the father lived retired. He died in 1872 when about
seventy-five years of age, being born in 1797, and his wife passed away in
1861 at the age of sixty-five years. They were consistent members of the
Methodist church and Mr. LeFevre served as a school director and was a
warm friend of the cause of education. Unto him and his wife were born
four sons and two daughters but only two are now living, the sister being
Mrs. Eliza M. Miller, the widow of Joseph Miller, of Sterling, and now eighty-
eight years of age.


John F. LeFevre lived in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, upon the
home farm until nineteen years of age and attended the district schools.
He then accompanied his parents on their removal westward to Sterling,
where he has resided continuously since, his residence now standing in one
of the fine districts of the town. He formerly carried on the work of the
farm, for this district was a part of his father's farm, which extended a
half mile to the west. It is now covered with good dwellings, business houses,
schools and churches and is the home of an enlightened and cultured people.
Reared to the occupation of farming, Mr. LeFevre carried on that pursuit
for many years or until 1891, but is now retired, enjoying a well earned rest.

In 1855 was celebrated the marriage of John F. LeFevre and Miss
Annie Good, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Snyder) Good. They be-
came the parents of one daughter, Katie, now deceased, who was the first
wife of Frank Eisele and died leaving two children, of whom one, John
Eisele, is still living. For his second wife Frank Eisele chose Miss Marie
Franc Price. Mr. LeFevre now makes his home with Mr. and Mrs. Eisele.
After losing his first wife in 1880, he married Miss Margaret Lytle, a daugh-
ter of Joseph and Lucy Lytle, of Philadelphia. His second wife died in

Mr. LeFevre is a Lutheran in religious faith and is well known in the
Odd Fellows society, belonging to Sterling Lodge, No. 174, I. 0. 0. F., also
to the Canton and the Rebekahs. His political allegiance has been given
to the republican party since its organization. He has lived in Sterling
for sixty years and has seen the city develop from a mere hamlet, while
the county has been converted from an almost unbroken wilderness into
one of the rich agricultural districts of the state. He has rejoiced in what
has been accomplished and in former years bore an active part in the work
of development. His memory goes back to the time when the countryside
was starred with millions of wild flowers in June and in December was
covered with one unbroken sheet of dazzling snow. Considerable wild game
was to be had and it was only here and there that a settlement had been
made showing that the seeds of civilization had been planted that have in
the course of years transformed this into a splendid district.


Archibald Knox was born at Aurora, Erie county, New York, September
11, 1827, and his life record covered the span of years to May 4, 1898, when he
passed away at his home in Mount Pleasant township. His parents were
James and Amy (Martin) Knox, who came to Whiteside county in the
fall of 1839, only three years after the Black Hawk war was fought, whereby
the domination of the Indian race here was forever ended. However, there
were still many evidences of Indian occupancy and this great state had but a
very small population compared with the number of its residents at the pres-
ent time. Large tracts of land were unclaimed and uncultivated and the


forests were uncut. The parents, journeying over land from New York, set-
tled at Prophetstown, and were residents of this county until called to their
final rest. They had a family of twelve children. James K, the father, born.
January 8, 1791, in Dover township, Dutchess county, New York, died in
Mount Pleasant township, this county, September 24, 1860, while his wife,,
born in Grand Isle, A r ermont, January 19, 1800, died February 9, 1866.
Their children were as follows: William, born in Buford township, Dutchess.
county, New York, June 2, 1817, died in Mount Pleasant township, White-
side county, Illinois, December 20. 1884.- Martin, born 'February 9, 1819, in
New York, died at Brownville, California, July 25, 1884. Allison, born in
Haldeman county, New York, March 3, 1821, died in Mount Pleasant town-
ship, this county, October 23, 1882. Peter, born in the district of Gore,
Canada, April 4, 1823, died May 2, 1875, in California, James, also a native
of Canada, born July 30, 1825, died in this county, September 11, 1873. Arch-
ibald, born in Aurora, New York, September 11, 1827, died in Mount Pleas-
ant township, this county. May 4, 1898. Henry L., born in Aurora, New York,
December 27, 1829, died in Mount Pleasant township, Whiteside county, Jan-
uary 5, 1886. Lydia, born in Erie county, New York, September 25, 1831,.
is the wife of Benjamin Lathe, a resident of Morrison. John J., born in Auro-
ra, New York, January 23, 1833, resides in Mount Pleasant township. . Mary,,
born March 16, 1837, at Morrison, Illinois, became the wife of Byron Mcln-
tyre and died at Yaukton, South Dakota, March 17, 1899. Allen, born in
Morrison, Illinois, May 3, 1840, was a soldier of the Thirty-fourth Illinois In-
fantry and lives at the Soldiers Home at Quincy, Illinois. Lewis, born No-
vember 8, 1842, at Morrison, was a member of the Eighth Illinois Cavalry
in the Civil war and died November 30, 1906.

Archibald Knox was but eight years of age when brought by his parents,
to Illinois and was reared amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer
life. He resided here continuously until his death, with the exception of a
brief period of two years spent in California. He accompanied four of his
brothers as they journeyed over the plains and through the mountain passes-
to the gold fields and for two years remained on the Pacific coast, but not find-
ing the wealth that he anticipated he returned to Illinois to take from the
foil in another way the prosperity that ultimately crowned his efforts. As a.
claim from the government he took up the homestead on section 23, Mount
Pleasant township, that is still owned by his widow, filing his claim at the land
office in Dixon, whereby he secured one hundred and twenty acres at a dollar
and a quarter per acre. Today it is worth at least one hundred fold that
amount. Practically throughout his entire life Mr. Knox carried on general
farming, turning the first furrows upon his place and bringing the fields
into a high state of fertility, so that year after year he gathered good crops
and in due course of time accumulated a handsome competence.

At Prophetstown, on the 1st of September, 1856, Mr. Knox was' united
in marriage to Miss Minerva Garrison, a native of St. Lawrence county, New-
York, born June 16, 1837, a daughter of Philip and Phoebe (Eastman) Gar-
rison, both of whom were natives of New York, where they were reared. They
came to Whiteside county in 1854, settling at Prophetstown, where they be -


came identified with farming interests. The father purchased land there
and made the place his home until his demise in 1871, when he was sixty-
nine years of age. His wife survived him for two years and died in 1873, at
the age of seventy-four. They were the parents of seven children. Esther,
who was the wife of W. R. Stone, died in June, 1898. Emanuel, who was a
member of the Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry in the Civil war, died at the
Soldiers Home in Quincy, Illinois, March 8, 1901. Mary A., who became
the wife of William Waite, of New York, and died in Erie, Illinois, January
25, 1902. Henry died in Mount Pleasant township, December 21, 1908.
Mrs. Lucinda Pratt is living in Lyndon, at the age of seventy-three years.
Mrs. Minerva Knox is the next of the family. William, who was a member of
the Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, died soon after the war.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Knox was blessed with four children.
Elizabeth, the eldest, is the wife of David Barnum, of Morrison, and has two
children by a former marriage, Carl and Albert Myers. Albert, who operates
the home farm for his mother, married Miss Lena Tjarks, a native of Round
Grove, this county, and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. U. H. Tjarks. They have
one daughter, Mabel. Emeline Knox became the wife of R. A. Reynolds, of
Morrison, and has three children, Ray, Lola and Freda. Arthur married
Margaret Doyle and resides in Union Grove township. He has three children,
James, Mildred and Irene.

Archibald Knox stanchly upheld republican principles but was not a
politician. He belonged to the Methodist Protestant church and in all his
life upheld principles of truth, justice and honor. Coming to Illinois in early
pioneer times, he was for many years closely associated with the growth and
improvement of this part of the state and could relate many, interesting inci-
dents of the early days. He lived here at a time when the homes were largely
log cabins, when wild game was to be had in abundance and when Indians
were still sometimes seen, but the white race reclaimed the region for the uses
of civilization and Mr. Knox bore his full share in the work of general im-
provement. All who knew him esteemed him for his many stalwart charac-
teristics and his name i.s still honored among the many who were his friends.


Christian Nelson, who for a quarter of a century has been a prominent

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 34 of 83)