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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.1) 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.1) → online text (page 19 of 72)
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Minneapolis, Kansas, is a monument of his perseverance. He preached at
Carlisle, Pa. He is now in Nashville, Tennessee, devoting his energies to
the establishment of the infant St. Paul's.

Dr. Seidel is fond of research, and an earnest student of the doctrines
and cardinal principles of his denomination. His sermons display deep
thought and earnest preparation. Many years ago he conceived the idea of
extending his ministry by the circulation of tracts, either by letter or personal
distribution. To express his views on certain topics and texts, he has written
various tracts on his favorite themes of Christian practice. The following
is a partial list: "The Blessed Hope;" "Christ, the Bread of Life;" "The
Hidden Life of the Believer;" "The Divinity of Christ;" "Christ, the Refuge
of Burdened Souls;" "Christ, our Passover;" "God's Remedy for Sin;" "The
Believer's Separation unto God." Dr. Seidel has also written numerous arti-
cles for the journals of his denomination, and has several lectures on Scriptural
and other subjects, which he has delivered on various occasions.

ALFRED BAYLISS.

For twenty years, 1874 to 1894. he was a resident of Sterling. For two
years, editor of the Sterling Standard, the rest of the time principal of the
Second Ward School. He was corporal in the Eleventh Michigan Cavalry
from 1883 to 1865, a graduate of Hillsdale College, Michigan, in 1870, and
in 1898 elected superintendent of public instruction in Illinois, a position
he held for two terms, or eight years. Mr. Bayliss was untiring in the dis-
charge of the responsible duties of his office. The consolidation of country
schools was a favorite scheme he agitated from the start, and which he urged
with all his influence. A prominent educator said : "Bayliss is the first since
Bateman who had a policy, and knew what he was trying to do."

Besides the regular official reports of his position, Mr. Bayliss was prompt
to issue carefully prepared circulars on Arbor Day and Memorial Day, with
programs and literary selections for the proper observance of these anniver-
saries, and the education of the children in all the duties of good citizenship.
He never failed to respond to calls for lectures in connection with hi.s work,
and was in frequent attendance upon institutes in various parts of the state.



HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 159

Before us now is a pamphlet of 35 pages, "The Library in Relation to the
School," an address delivered at the Northern Illinois Teachers' Association,
Dixon, April 28, 1899,' by Alfred Bayliss.

CLARA KEEN BAYLISS.

Mrs. Bayliss has always been a student. Graduating at Hillsdale in 1871,
and afterwards taking a correspondence course at the University of Chicago.
She has constantly aimed by travel and application to keep her mind fresh
and scholarly. An industrious author. Her first science book, "Brook and
Bayou," has been followed by two on the romantic people in the southwest,
"Lolami, the Little Cliff Dweller" and "Lolami in Tusayan." Articles from
her pen have appeared in the Chicago, New York and Los Angeles papers,
in various magazines, and in school journals. She makes occasional addresses,
and in the winter of 1907 appeared before the Woman's Club of Sterling.

Mrs. Bayliss takes a hearty interest in all movements of public importance.
She is a member of the National Folk Lore Society, of the Committee of
One Hundred on National Health, Daughters of American Revolution, Illi-
nois Mothers' Congress, and other educational associations. She has improved
every opportunity of travel, visiting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, exploring
the seat of the cliff dwellers in New Mexico, attended the dedication of the
Illinois monument at Vicksburg, and was one of the only two ladies present
when Lincoln's casket was finally transferred to its cement bed in Ihe monu-
ment. Mrs. Bayliss is still busily engaged in literary and scientific research.
Her latest book, "Two Little Algonkin Lads," is a fascinating story of prim-
itive Indian life.

MRS. EMILY J. C. HENRY.

Although residing latterly in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the years of her
active womanhood were passed in Sterling, her home most of her life. She
is not a professional poet. It is only when inspired by some grand occasion
or moved by some powerful emotion, that Mrs. Henry bursts into song. A
year after the death of her husband, Major Bushnell, in battle, 1863, a touch-
ing anniversary poem, a simple In Memoriam, appeared in the Chicago Trib-
une. We extract some stanzas from seven in the entire piece :

Oh, pale white flowers, one year ago today
Upon a coffined form in fragrant bloom ye lay.
I cannot bear the faint perfume ye shed,
Since soft it floated o'er my precious dead.

Oh, manly form that bore an angel's grace,
And crowned its glory with an angel's face,
I see thee lying there with bated breath,

Thy grand life yielded to the conqueror, Death !

*******

Peace, murmuring heart, thy Father knoweth best!
His hand alone can lead to perfect rest.
Beyond the valley dark and shadow deep,
He giveth my beloved, peaceful sleep.



160 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY

In 1903 a granite boulder was dedicated in Sterling on the spot where
Lincoln spoke in the summer of 1856. Hitt delivered the address, and by
request, Mrs. Henry wrote a spirited poem of which we present some stanzas :

Once again our feet are standing

On the spot where Lincoln trod;
Hallowed is the ground beneath us,

Sanctified, this sacred sod.

On this spot, we saw him, heard him,

Saw his strong, pathetic face;
Watched his tall, gaunt figure swaying,

Without symmetry or grace.

Listened to his noble utterance;

- And our hearts were strangely stirred

As he seemed to grow transfigured

With each lofty thought or word.
*******

Where he stood, we place this boulder;

Steadfast, rugged such was he;
Carve these names in type immortal

Lincoln, Union, Liberty!

Mrs. Emily J. C. Henry was born in Randolph, Vermont. Her father
was Capt. John Edson, an officer in the War of 1812. Her mother, Emily
Clement, was born in Norwich, Conn. Mrs. Edson's father was for many
years a professor of Yale College, and a close friend of President Dwight,
for whom he named his eldest son. While a child the subject of this sketch,
with the parents, removed to Andover, New Hampshire, where, under the
shadow of Kearsarge mountains, she was reared.

She attended school at Randolph (Vt.) Academy, and also at Concord,
N. H., where she finished her education. Later, she, with the family moved
to Burlington, Vt. Emily Edson was married in 1849 to Douglas R. Bush-
nell and came to Sterling, 111., in 1854. Mr. Bushnell was by profession a
civil engineer. He surveyed the route now called the Northwestern R. R.
from Chicago to Clinton, Iowa, and was prominently connected with the
construction of other roads in Illinois and Iowa. He enlisted in the army in
1861 and was at once elected Captain of Co. B, 13th 111. Infantry. Among
Capt. Bushnell's first duties in the army was the construction of a fort at Rolla,
Mo., and during the while time of his service his engineering abilities were
required. After participating in many hard fought battles and enduring the
siege of Vicksburg (where he was promoted to the rank of Major) and passed
through the fierce contests of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, on
the day following, which (Nov. 27, 1863) while in pursuit of the enemy at
Ringgold, Ga., he was shot through the temple and killed instantly. Mrs.
Bushnell was appointed postmistress of Sterling in 1885 by President Lincoln,



HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 161

and at the end of her first term was reappointed by President Grant. She
claims the distinction of being the first woman made P. M. by presidential
appointment, in the United States. Near the close of Mrs. BushnelPs second
term, she resigned her office to become the wife of Major Miles S. Henry, a
leading lawyer of Sterling. Mrs. Henry is now a resident of Minneapolis,
Minn.

CHARLES FARWELL EDSON.

Over thirty years ago a lively lad played on the streets of Sterling, who
was a general favorite on account of his bright face and sunny disposition.
His father, E. W. Edson, was a merchant, his mother, a sister of John V.
Farwell, of Chicago. They moved to California, where Mr. Edson died,
and the movements of the family since were known only to the relatives.
Meantime Charlie grew up, cultivated his native gifts, and is now a promi-
nent factor in the musical and artistic circles of the Pacific coast. He has
reduced the study of music to a rational basis, believing that to sing well
one must have health, and just as a healthy mind depends on a healthy
body, so a first-rate voice must have a right physical foundation. He has
made a specialty of refined entertainment, and so versatile that every taste
and every audience can be gratified. If desired, he presents an evening pro-
gram of Shakespearean songs, or one of American songs, or ballads, German
Lieder, operatic numbers, interspersing all with so much witty interpretation
that it becomes an occasion of inspiring recreation. He has in addition a
fine stage presence, poetic feeling, and dramatic power. The press wherever
he has appeared unite in praise of the high character of his entertainments.

His home is in Los Angeles. The Graphic of that city speaks of his
studio on Twentieth street as rich in attractive souvenirs of the chase, of
things and people musical, and also as a voice work-shop. It is a delightful
rendezvous for lovers of the artistic. There is a well stookad musical library,
a few hundred of the best books, a piano, and every evidence of the genial
lover of harmony. Mr. Edson received his preliminary education at Lake
Forest academy, where he was leader of the college glee club. Later he
studied singing at the Chicago Musical college, under eminent teachers, and
piano under Seeboeck.

WILL H. PAYNE.

One of the most deserving of our Whiteside authors. Born in Newton
township, 1865, with only a common school education, he has managed to
attain by his own determination, a very creditable position in the world of
letters. Besides much miscellaneous writing for dailies and weeklies, he has
issued several stories, which have given him more than a local reputation.
They form quite a list: Jerry, the Dreamer; Money Captain; Story of Eva;
When Love Speaks; On Fortune's Road. A while in Chicago, now in Michi-
gan. Mr. Payne is a sort of Bohemian, pursuing no settled course of literary
endeavor, but engaging in whatever appeals most directly at the time. Since
1897, financial editor of the Economist.

E. w. PAYNE.
As county clerk, his term expiring in 1894, Mr. Payne's face was famil-



162 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY

iar to many of those who had business in Morrison, or who met him in his
trips to the townships. He emigrated at an early age from New Hampshire
to Illinois, enlisted in the 34th Illinois regiment, and at Goldsboro, N. C.,
had the misfortune to lose an arm. In 1902, with the assistance of some of
his brother soldiers, Sergeant Enderton, Col. Peter Ege, and others, he issued
Ms "History of the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry,
Sept. 7, 1861-July 12, 1865, by Edwin W. Payne, Sergeant Company A."
Its various sketches, letters, and tables, make the book an invaluable record of
four years of gallant service.

MRS. FANNIE MACARTNEY WORTHINGTOX.

Few of our literary people have the double accomplishment of writing
and speaking. Addison, Irving, Hawthorne, were at home with the pen,
but never attempted the platform. Sheridan, Burke, Alex. Hamilton, Wen-
dell Phillips, were ready to write an essay or 'deliver an address. There are
plenty of writers in America, and plenty of speakers, especially in politics,
but few who have both qualifications. Mrs. Worthington belongs to the elect.
Her mind moved rapidly, spontaneously, and pen and voice seem equally at
her control.

Mrs. Worthington is the daughter of the late David McCartney, for
many years state's attorney of Whiteside county. Her mother was Elizabeth
Agge, born in Salem, Mass. Fannie inherited from her father much of that
originality of thought and aptness of illustration which appear in her public
speech. In her girlhood she became a student with her father of law and
politics, and made so good use of her opportunities that in 1888 she was
invited by the State Central Republican committee to enter the campaign as a
r.egular speaker. Ever since she has been conspicuous on the platform of the
party in the various campaigns. She has had the confidence and counsel of such
leaders as Govs. Fifer and Tanner, Senators Cullom, Farwell, and Hop-
kins. She has enjoyed the regard of statesmen of other states. Mark Hanna,
in the exciting money campaign of 1900, pronounced her one of the best in-
formed persons he knew on the tariff, and especially on finance. In that
struggle, she made 40 speeches in 60 days, often outdoors.

In another sphere, Mrs. Worthington has been postmaster of the Illinois
Senate, bill clerk and librarian of the same, as well as serving as private
secretary to state and U. S. senators. She was the only woman ever a member
of a State Republican convention" in Illinois, holding that position from
Whiteside in 1898.

Her platform addresses are not confined to politics, but, on all moral
and social questions, temperance, woman's aims, municipal purity, she speaks
with a vigor and eloquence that always arouse the enthusiasm of her audi-
ence. Occasionally she occupies the pulpit of the Congregational church, to
which she belongs.

As is natural, her mind seeks permanent influence in literature. She
has written stories, sketches, poems. Her songs and opera librettos and lyrics
are popular on the stage.

Mrs. Fannie is the widow of Charles M. Worthington, pioneer of Ster-



HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 163

ling, long editor of the Gazette, the leading paper of the city. She is a
bright, attractive woman, of graceful bearing, brilliant conversational powers,
winning personality, in the prime of her powers at fifty with a fair prospect
of another half century of intellectual activity.

GROVK WRIGHT.

Although Mr. Wright never wrote a book or pamphlet, his fugitive contri-
butions to magazines and newspapers would fill a volume. He wrote easily,
smoothly, and instructively, on a variety of subjects. Electricity was a hobby
and he had correspondence with Joseph Henry and Tesla, and on other topics
with Charles Downing, C. L. Youmans, and David Starr Jordan. He was a
man of wide information, and liked to take his pen and discuss any subject
that appealed to his fancy. He had decided views, and was ready to defend
them. He died in April, 1908.

In a letter received from him in 1907, he says: "I suppose you know
that some of my poems are to be published in a book called 'Anthology of
Illinois Poets.' It has been over three years in preparation, and contains 400
poems, with portraits of the authors. The price for the cheap edition is
$5, and for the finest, $25." A specimen of Mr. Wright's verse i? found in
an account of the picnic at the Brick School. This is the first stanza :

This is the lot, and this is the spot,

Assigned to education ;
And here was laid without parade,

The old brick school foundation.

SOIL FERTILITY.

BY HON. A. X. ABBOTT, DIRECTOR SOIL INVESTIGATION IN THIRTEENTH CON-
GRESSIONAL DISTRICT, AND MEMBER OF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE.

The most important problem that confronts the nations of the earth is
Soil Fertility. Besides this the great social, political, religious, temperance
and educational questions stand aside. It makes the difference between the
populous plain and the uninhabited desert. The dec'ine of past nations ha^
been identical with the exhaustion of the soil. Westward from India the Star
of Empire has taken its way, leaving in its wake an impoverished soil and
bankrupt nations. The once fertile and populous valleys and plains of
western Asia are now desert wastes. From Palestine along the shores of south-
ern Europe to our own New England and southern states the soil robber has
plied his reckless trade. Even the rich soils of the Mississippi valley are be-
ginning to decline in fertility. History has repeated itself over and over
again, and these soils will certainly meet the same fate as tho-e of Europe,
unless an improved agricultural system, looking to the maintenance of the
soil fertility shall generally be adopted by the tillers of the land.

It may well be a matter of congratulation to us as citizens of Illi-
nois, that this state through its Experiment Station and State Farmers
Institute leads all of the re.st of the states of the Union in investigation



164 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY

and experiment, in an attempt to work out for the first time in history, a sys-
tem of profitable agriculture in which the fertility of the soil shall be per-
manently maintained.

In working out this system it is first necessary that there be an accurate
soil survey made of the state. This survey is well under way, rather more
than one-third of the state has been so surveyed at the present time, and the
field work is still going on as rapidly as state funds will permit. This work
is carried on by counties. Whiteside county has already been surveyed. In
doing this work the surveyors travel on -foot and cover the territory thor-
oughly. They carry with them a map of the township in which they are
working, ruled off into squares representing 40 acre lots, as they proceed with
their work they take frequent borings with an augur. First the character
of the surface soil for 7 in. is noted and then the sub soil is examined to the
depth of. 40 inches. The variations of soil which they find are represented
on their maps by rubbing on different colored pencils, no tract as small as
a ten acre piece escapes them, and their maps will show any variations as
small as an acre. Thus a sandy knoll or a pond hole will be accurately lo-
cated. After a county has been mapped and the various types of soil lo-
cated (there were 16 types of soil in this county) several samples of soil are
taken from each type, both from the surface and sub soil; these samples are
analyzed, chemically, for the purpose of determining the elements of plant
food in which they are deficient, and which elements are present in abundant
supply.

It is the intention to have these colored maps with the result of the analy-
sis of the various types of soil published, so that the farmer may know just
what is necessary for him to increase the productiveness of his fields. As a
farther check upon this work there have been established about 25 experimental
fields upon the principal types of soil of the state. These fields vary from ten
to forty acres in size, and are divided into fifth acre plots generally. These
plots receive various chemical treatments to demonstrate what treatment is
beneficial as well as to demonstrate what treatment produces no increase in
the crop.

Plant tissue is composed of ten primary elements, all of which are abso-
lutely essential to growth. These elements are carbon, oxygen, hydrogen,
potassium, phosphorous, nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, sulphur and iron.
All of these elements must be present, if any one is lacking although the
least, the plant will not thrive.

Hot house experiments in which seed is planted in sand, which has been
subjected to great heat and also treated chemically in order to remove every
vestige of plant food, show that if any six of these elements are added to a
sample of soil which has been so treated, that the plant will not thrive, but if
the seventh is added that the plant will proceed to grow in the normal, natural
way.

The four elements, iron, magnesium, calcium and sulphur, while abso-
lutely essential to plant life, yet are required in such minute quantities, that
practically all soils are inexhaustible as far as these elements are concerned.

The elements carbon, oxygen and hydrogen are obtained from the air



HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY 165

and water, never failing sources of supply so that we may give these elements
110 concern.

This leaves the three elements, potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen to
be considered, and herein lies the problem of soil fertility. These three sub-
stances are required by all growing plants in quite large amounts, and are
the three elements which limit crop production, all of the others being present
and obtainable from never failing sources. Practically every soil is deficient
to some extent in one or more of these three elements. These are called. the
big three in soil fertility and limit crop production. Since these three ele-
ments are so important we will take them up briefly in detail.

Potassium is a mineral element which enters quite largely into the straw
and stalks of all cultivated crops. The average corn belt soil of Illinois con-
tains enough of this element in the first seven inches of the surface soil to
produce a one hundred bushel crop of corn annually for centuries. The peaty
swamp soil, however, is very deficient in potassium. An application of 200
pounds of potassium sulphate on the peaty swamp soil of Kankakee county,
produced an increase of 66 bushels of corn per acre. Potassium is a mineral
imported from Germany, where it exists in inexhaustible supply and costs
laid down here, about $45 per tone as K 2 SO*. It is used quite extensively on
the peaty swamp soils in the southeastern part of this county. Phosphorus
is an element deficient in the most of Illinois soils. In contrast to potassium,
phosphorus enters largely into the seed and grain. When the grain is said
from the farm the phosphorus content is rapidly reduced. It is also re-
moved from the farm in the blood, bones and hair of the animals sold. Every
bushel of corn requires about a fourth of a pound of phosphorus, and when
removed it can only be restored by a direct application of the element, in
the form of bone meal or as rock phosphate. The old theory of maintaining
fertility by rotation of crops and raising clover, is exploded. There is no
system of crop rotation which will of itself maintain the fertility of the
soil. Phosphorus is the limiting element in the most of our soils and so far
as known exists in quite limited quantities in natural deposits. If the average
Illinois soil becomes barren, it probably will be on account of the exhaustion of
the phosphorus in the soil. Unlike potassium, .also, in the average surface
soil of the state, there is only enough phosphorus for 70 one hundred bu-hels
corn crops. The most of the Whiteside county farm lands are already declin-
ing in fertility on account of the lack of this element in available form.
Nitrogen is the most abundant element of plant food, yet the hardest to retain
in available form, as it is volatile and goes away in the air, and it also leaches
away rapidly in the water. Commercial nitrogen in its cheapest form, as
dried blood costs 15 cents a pound, yet the pressure of nitrogen in the air is
about 12 pounds to the square inch, which at commercial prices would bring
$11,000,000 to the acre.

Unfortunately with one exception the nitrogen of the air is not available
for our cultivated crops. Nitrogen everywhere, but not one particle of the
atmospheric nitrogen for the corn, the oats and the wheat. To the legumes
alone, such as the clover, cow peas, alfalfa and vetch is the atmospheric nitro-
gen available. The fairy tale of the leguminous plants with their accompany-



166 HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY

ing bacteria, is more wonderful than the tales of the Arabian Nights. This
genii of the soil is more powerful than the genii of the lamp. It builds
school houses, churches and cities, constructs and operates railroads, it mar-
shalls together more glittering, sparkling gems than the mind of the Arabian
genii could comprehend. In a word this wonderful bacteria make the soil
productive or barren, according as to whether it is present or absent.

This bacteria is a microscopic organism, which grows on the roots of
clover and allied plants, forming nodules which contain millions of these
organisms. These bacteria, have the power to appropriate the nitrogen of
the air and secrete it in the soil where it becomes available as plant food
for all crops. It is not good economy for the average farmer to buy nitrogen
when by practicing a wise system of rotation it will be stored in the soil by
the clover crop.

In southern Illinois clover will not grow successfully and it was only
recently that the reason was discovered, as the soil there is acid and the
clover bacteria cannot live in acid soil. The application of lime neutralizes



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.1) → online text (page 19 of 72)