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

. (page 57 of 72)
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 57 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of A. L. Richmond were Ichatod and Mary (McGuire) Richmond, both
natives of Ontario, and throughout his business career the father followed
farming and milling at Brighton. His life span covered more than seventy-
three years. Following his demise his widow went to Rochester, New York,
where her last days were passed. Both were devoted members of the Method-
ist church. Their family numbered two sons and a daughter: Alfred G., of
Rochester, New York ; Asher L. ; and Edna, also of Rochester.

Upon the home farm in Ontario, Canada, A. L. Richmond remained to
the age of seventeen years and in the summer months aided in the work of
the fields. He at first attended the country schools and later the high school
of Brighton, while subsequently he continued his education in the summer
sessions of Rochester University and also by attending night schools. He
entered business life as a clerk in a dry-goods store, where he remained for a
year and a half and then took up newspaper work on the Rochester (New
York) Herald, being connected with the business department for seven or


eight years. During this time he also completed a two years' college course
with the correspondence department, University of Chicago. On the expira-
tion of that period he made his way westward to Chicago and, realizing the
advantage and value of educational training and desiring to finish his college
work, he spent two years as a student in the Chicago University.

In 1905 he came to Sterling and was business manager of the Sterling
Daily Standard in connection with Thomas Diller, the founder of the paper.
In 1906 he purchased Mr. Diller's interest in the business and is now presi-
dent of the Sterling Standard ' Publishing Company. He likewise edits the
paper, which was established in 1868. It is an excellent journal, well merit-
ing its liberal circulation and advertising patronage. It is conducted along
lines of modern journalism and for years has been a good income-paying
property. In connection with the publication of the Standard the company
also conducts the largest job office in this section of the state and turns out
work of the finest class. The paper is published in the interests of the repub-
lican party and its editorials are not without weight in influencing public

On the 17th of June, 1902, Mr. Richmond was married to Miss Margaret
Powers, a daughter of John J. and Katherine (Mellville) Powers, of Roches-
ter, New York. Mr. Richmond belongs to the Baptist church, while his wife
is an Episcopalian. Fraternally he is connected with Rochester Lodge, No.
660, A. F. & A. M.; the Sterling Club; and with the Royal Arcanum. He
is yet a young man, alert, energetic and progressive, and his business enter-
prise and capacity are indicated in the success which is attending the paper.


Benjamin F. Ebersole has passed beyond the point which renders further
labor a necessity and through the fruits of his former toil is now enjoying
the comforts of life in well earned retirement in a pleasant home in Sterling.
He was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, August 30, 1845, and is
a representative of old families of that state. His paternal grandparents
were Jacob and Magdalena (Rutt) Ebersole. The former, a native of Penn-
sylvania, was of German descent and died at the age of seventy-two years,
while his wife passed away at the age of eighty-four.

Their son, Michael Ebersole, born in Pennsylvania, devoted his life to
farming, and in February, 1876, came to Illinois, settling in Jordan town-
ship, Whiteside county, where he purchased a tract of land of one hundred
and eighty acres, giving his time and energies to its further development
and improvement until his death in 1892, when he was seventy-four years
of age. His wife passed away in 1884. Both Avere members of the Men-
nonite church. Mrs. Ebersole bore the maiden name of Anna Frey and was
also born in Pennsylvania, a daughter of Christian and Maria (Overholser)
Frey. who were farming people of the Keystone state and had a family of
four sous and two daughters. Her father died at the age of eighty years


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ebersole were born four sons and two daughters,
but the only ones now living are Benjamin F. and William Henry, the
latter a resident of Sonoma, California.

Benjamin F. Ebersole was reared to farm life in Franklin county, Penn-
sylvania, and at the usual age entered the district schools. Through the
summer months he worked in the fields, assisting in the task of plowing,
planting and harvesting until he had attained his majority, when he started
out in life on his own account, working by the month as a farm hand. Hop-
ing to benefit his financial condition in the middle west he came to Sterling
in 1876, and for three years thereafter was employed in the shops of the
Eureka Manufacturing Company. On the expiration of that period he
resumed farming and for several years cultivated his father's farm on
shares. He afterward purchased the property and made his home thereon for
twenty-one years, his carefully directed labors bringing him good success
year by year until from his earnings he saved a very desirable competence.
After twenty-one years spent upon the original farm he sold that property
and removed a mile and a half farther south, where he purchased one hun-
dred and thirty-two acres of land, upon which he made his home for two
years. In 1902 he disposed of that property and took up his abode in Ster-
ling, purchasing a good home at No. 50P> Fifth avenue. Here he has since
lived retired, his financial resources permitting him to enjoy all of the
comforts and some of the luxuries of life.

On the 27th of January, 1874, Mr. Ebersole was married to Miss Anna
Goshert. who is one of a family of seven children, the others being: Christian
E., who was a soldier of the Civil war; Benjamin F. ; Jacob D. ; Amanda E. ;
Samuel F., and Sarah Elizabeth. The parents of these children were Jacob
and Frances (Ebersole) Goshert, both of whom were natives of Franklin
county, Pennsylvania. The death of the father occurred in 1861, when
he was forty-two years of age, and in 1876 the mother came to Whiteside
county, where she died in 1896, aged seventy-one years.

Mrs. Ebersole's paternal great-grandfather was Dietrich Goshert, a sol-
dier in the patriot army in the Revolutionary war. Her grandfather, Jacob
Goshert, was a native of Pennsylvania and a miller by occupation. He
married Eve Burkholder, who lived to an advanced age, while his death
occurred when he was about seventy years old. Their children were Manuel,
Mary, Jacob, Elizabeth, Henry,- Sarah, Joseph, Carrie, Samuel, Anna, George
and Susan. The only one now living is Mrs. Sarah Moravey, a resident of
Chambersburg, Penns3"lvania. The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Ebersole
was Christian Ebersole, a native of Pennsylvania, who in early life followed
the weaver's trade, and afterward became a farmer. He wedded Anna Frey,
who died in middle life. By that' union he had three sons and two daugh-
ters, of whom Mrs. Goshert was- one. For his second wife Christian Ebersole
wedded Mary Bmbaker, by whom he had one son, Daniel.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin F. Ebersole has been blessed
with three children: Elsie Amanda, now the wife of George Babcock, a
resident farmer of Jordan township, by whom she has five children, Glen
E., Gladys Loraine, Merle G.. Mertie Frances and Robert Sterling Bab-
cock; Katie Frances, the wife of Archie J. Maxwell, Jr., a resident of Jordan


township; and Mertie Elizabeth, at home. Mr. and Mrs. Ebersole also reared
Anna Blanche and Daniel Benjamin Ebersole, the children of Daniel Eber-

Our subject and his wife are consistent Christian people, holding mem-
bership in St. John's Lutheran church, and his political allegiance is given
to the republican party. Viewed from any standpoint, his life may be said
to be a successful one, for he has achieved success in business and has
gained the unqualified respect of his fellowmen by reason of honorable
methods which neither seek nor require disguise. He has lived in this
county for almost a third of a century and is greatly esteemed by thosa
with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.


Mrs. Therese Litzrodt, residing in Genesee township, was born in Ger-
many, August 8. 1854, and is the widow of Henry Litzrodt, who was a
native of Saxony, Germany, his natal day being September 4, 1825. His
parents were also of German birth and spent their entire lives in the father-
land. Their family numbered seven children, of whom Mr. Litzrodt was
the second son. At the age of fifteen years he entered upon an apprentice-
ship and learned the locksmith's trade under the supervision of W. Demmer,
in Eisenach, Germany. With the aid of fifty dollars received from his father
he completed his two and a half years' apprenticeship, and during the suc-
ceeding eight years followed his trade on his own account.

When twenty-six years of age Mr. Litzrodt came to America, hoping to
enjoy better business opportunities in the new world. He made his way to
Sterling, and in the vicinity of that city began work as a farm hand in the
employ of a Mr. Sox. He continued in this work for several years and in the
meantime, with the capital acquired through his industry and economy,
he was enabled to purchase eighty acres of land, upon which a few improve-
ments had been made. It was located in Genesee township and was orig-
inally covered with timber. At length Mr. Litzrodt took up his abode upon
this farm and began its improvement and development.

For a year he lived alone and was then married in Chicago on the
12th of May, 1868, to Miss Sophia E. Wilcken, a daughter of Jacob and
Sophia (Swart) Wilcken. Mrs. Litzrodt was born in Mecklenburg, Ger-
many, February 17, 1834, and her parents were both natives of that country.
They reared a family of four children, but the father and mother are both
now deceased, Mrs. Litzrodt being thirteen years of age at the time of her
father's death. Mr. and Mrs. Litzrodt traveled life's journey together for
about twenty-eight years and were then separated by the hand of death in
1890, the wife passing away in that year. Later Mr. Litzrodt made a trip
to the fatherland, where he formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Therese Appold,
who came to America in January, 1891, at which time Mr. Litzrodt returned
to this country. They were married on the 12th of June of that year. By


her first husband Mrs. Litzrodt had one daughter, who came to the United
States with her mother and is now the wife of J. M. Winkey.

The death of Mr. Litzrodt occurred on the 30th of January, 1905. For
many years he had successfully followed farming and had added to his
original holdings until he was the owner of one hundred and eighty-five
acres of rich and productive land. His life was one of industry and enter-
prise and the success which he enjoyed was attributable entirely to his own
labors. He enjoyed the respect and confidence of those who knew him, and
at his death left many friends in this county. Mrs. Litzrodt still surviving
her husband, occupies the residence upon the home farm but rents her land.
She owns one hundred and eighty-five acres and from this property derives
a gratifying income. She is well known in Genesee township, where she
has now lived for seventeen years, and her good qualities have gained for
her the esteem and good will of all who know her.


D. S. Digby owns and operates a farm of one hundred and sixty acres
on sections 33 and 34, Mount Pleasant township. The place is splendidly
improved as the result of the labors and intelligently applied energy of Mr.
Digby, who is justly classed with the progressive agriculturists of this com-
munity. In the midst of the farm stands a commodious and pleasing resi-
dence which he completed in August, 1905. It is built in modern style of
architecture, heated by furnace and supplied with many twentieth century

This farm was the birthplace of Mr. Digby, his natal day being in De-
cember, 1863. His parents were George and Hannah (Symonds) Digby,
who came to Whiteside county in early life. The father was born in Lin-
colnshire, England, April 6, 1828, and crossed the Atlantic to America with
his parents, John and Lucy Digby, about 1850. Establishing his home in
Illinois, he purchased a land warrant from Margaret A. Merklein and there-
with secured one hundred and sixty acres of land, comprising the west half
of the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter of section
34, Mount Pleasant township. He likewise became owner of a forty-acre
tract, comprising the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section
34, and with characteristic energy began the development of his farm. How-
ever, he sold, eighty acres of his land to his father, who resided thereon for
a time, carrying on general farming. At length John Digby disposed of the
place and spent his last days in Lyndon, where he died in 1887. at the age
of eighty-eight years. His wife, Mrs. Lucy Digby, passed away many years
before, about the time of the close of the Civil war. In their family were
six children, of whom four are yet living: Mary Jane, who was born in 1836,
married a Mr. Lewis, and now resides at Omaha, Nebraska; John, who was
born in 1839, and was formerly a resident of Whiteside county, Illinois, is now
living at Grand Island, Nebraska; Betsy, who was born in 1842, is the wife of


William Richardson, a resident of Morrison, Illinois; Thomas, born in 1845,
died in Como township, this county, about 1877, and his widow still resides
here. Sarah, who was born in 1849, married Thomas Swan and resides in
or near Morrison.

George Digby, the other member of the family, made his home in
Mount Pleasant and Lyndon townships throughout his active business life.
He engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and in his business af-
fairs was quite successful. In addition to the first property which he owned
he bought another farm in Lyndon township and made his home in the
village of Lyndon. However, he continued to carry on general agricultural
pursuits and his livestock interests up to the time of his death, which oc-
curred in October, 1894. His political views were in accord with the prin-
ciples of the republican party, and in matter? of citizenship he stood for
advancement and improvement. In early manhood he wedded Hannah
Symonds, who was born in Cambridgeshire. England, in 1828, a daughter
of William Symonds. With her two brothers, Robert and David Symonds,
she crossed the Atlantic and came to Whiteside county about 1858 or 1859.
Both of her brothers enlisted for service in the Union army during the Civil
war, and David died at the front, while Robert passed away in Kansas in
1907. Mrs. Digby also had several sisters, and her half-sister, Mrs. Mary
Ann Martin, came to Whiteside county, where she lived for a number of
years. It was about 1861 that the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. George Digby
was celebrated, and unto them were born three children, but the eldest
daughter died in infancy. The youngest,' Jessie May, is now the wife of
William Barber and resides just south of her brother in Lyndon township.

David S. Digby, whose name introduces this review, was reared upon
the old homestead farm and was early trained to the work of field and meadow.
He attended the district schools and also the schools of Lyndon and as the
years have gone, by reading, experience >and observation have greatly broad-
ened his knowledge. He has always followed farming and stock-raising and
has been very successful. When twenty-two years of age he removed to his
present home, having here one hundred and sixty acres of land on sections
33 and 34, Mount Pleasant township. His labors have wrought a marked
change in the appearance of the place, for he has added to his farm many
substantial improvements and modern equipments which indicate a progres-
sive spirit and practical methods.

On the 22d of December, 1888, Mr. Digby was married to Miss Dora
Kaier, who was born in Fenton township, November 1, 1870, a daughter of
A. B. and Louisa Kaier, who were early residents of this county and now
make their home in Morrison. Mr. and Mrs. Digby have three children:
Roy J., who is attending the business college at Sterling, at the age of nine-
teen years; Lavina. who at the age of sixteen is a student in the schools at
Morrison ; and Nina, thirteen years of age, attending the district schools.

Since reaching manhood Mr. Digby has given unfaltering support to
the republican party, but has never consented to become a candidate for
office, preferring to concentrate hi.* time and energies upon his business
affairs, in which he has met with well merited success. Socially he is con-


nected with the Modern Woodmen Camp and with the Mystic Workers at
Morrison. Having .spent his entire life in this locality he is well known
and the strongly marked traits of his character are such as commend him
to the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been brought in


There is nothing more inspiring than to see a man come to old age
crowned with the respect and honor which are the world's tribute to his
worth and to the integrity and uprightness of his life. Such a position does
Charles N. Russell hold 'in the opinion of his fellow citizens of Sterling and
of Whiteside county. For many years he was identified with mercantile
interests in the city, but is now living retired.

He claims Massachusetts as the state of his nativity, his birth having
occurred in Greenfield, on the 3d of February, 1826. His parents were
Charles and Adeline (Nash) Russell, natives of Massachusetts and Vermont,
respectively. The family was founded in New England in colonial days.
The grandfather, Hezekiah Russell, of Northampton, Massachusetts, served
as a second lieutenant in the Third Northampton Company in the Revolu-
tionary war and is mentioned as captain of the Second Company on the pay
roll of 1784. The Nash family, too, is also a well-known one of New En-
gland, and -the maternal grandfather -of Charles N. Russell was Eben Nash,
a native of Vermont and a farmer by occupation, who made his home at
Duxbury in the Green Mountain state. The. great-grandfather, Daniel Nash,
was born January 18, 1780, and was married September 9, 1802, to Mary
Marshall, who was born May 9, 1782. They settled permanently at Dux-
bury, Vermont.

Charles Russell, father of our subject, engaged in business as a tailor in
Greenfield and afterward at Colerain, Massachusetts, dying at the latter place
May 6, 1871, when about seventy-four years of age, his birth having oc-
curred May 26, 1797. His wife, who was born February 12, 1805, died Sep-
tember 23, 1882, at the age of seventy-seven years and seven months. Both
were Methodists in religious faith and were earnest, consistent Christian
people. Their family numbered eleven children, ten of whom reached years
of maturity, while four are ^ow living, namely : Charles N., of this review ;
William, a resident of Westfield, Massachusetts; Le Roy, also of Westfield;
and Henry, who makes his home in Carroll, Iowa. One daughter, Mary J.
Russell, died November 25, 1907, at the age of seventy-six years and eight

Following tha removal of the family from Greenfield, Massachusetts,
Charles N. Russell remained a resident of Colerain, Massachusetts, to the age
of sixteen years and then went to New Salem, where he resided until 1846.
In that year, at the age of twenty years, he came to Whiteside county, Illi-
nois. When a boy he worked in a cotton factory for one dollar per week




and for fifteen hours per day a condition which would be appalling to the
organized labor movements of the present. Ambitious to better his condi-
tion, he came west to Illinois and for a year after his arrival in Whiteside
county was employed at farm labor. He afterward engaged in teaching
school during two successive winter seasons and then again worked as a farm
hand for a short time. He afterward made his way to northern Wisconsin
with a surveying party, continuing there for a few months, when he again
came to Whiteside county and secured a clerkship at Como in the employ of
Holmes & Hapgood, with whom he continued for four years, receiving a
wage of one hundred and ten dollars for the first year and of three hundred
dollars for the last year, this increase coming to him in recognition of his
merit, fidelity and worth. Carefully saving his earnings, he engaged in the
grocery business on his own account in Como, in partnership with Addison
Hapgood, who conducted a department for the sale of tinware in this store.
Later they carried on a general store and secured a good patronage. A few
years afterward Mr. Russell bought out his partner's interest and conducted
the business alone for some time. He then sold out and removed to Sterling,
where he dealt in dry goods, groceries and furniture during the year 1863.
Disposing of that stock, he turned his attention to the clothing business, in
which he continued for some time, and upon withdrawing from that depart-
ment of commercial activity he put aside business cares and has since lived
retired. By his unfaltering diligence and careful management in former
years he gained the financial independence which permitted him some years
ago to put aside all business cares and responsibilities.

On the 25th of December, 1851, Mr. Russell was united in marriage to
Miss Julia T. Sampson, whose parents were Henry B. and Nancy (Turner)
Sampson, who were natives of Massachusetts. Her father followed the sea
for many years and for a long time commanded a vessel. In 1836 he and
his wife removed westward to Tremont, Illinois, where they resided until
1839, when they became residents of Como, the father there conducting a
hotel for many years. His name was originally Henry Briggs and he was
master of the vessel called the brig Sampson. On account of the confusion
of his own name with that of his ship he changed his name to Henry B.
Sampson. His parents were Captain Job and Betsy (Winsor) Sampson.
The death of Mr. Sampson occurred December 30, 1865, when he had
reached tlie age of seventy-eight years and six months, while his wife died
in November, 1863, when about seventy-three years of age. Their family
numbered eight children, including Mrs. Russell, who by her marriage be-
came the mother of four children, but the firstborn died in infancy. The
others are: Annie, who is now acting as her father's housekeeper; Charles,
who wedded May C. Hubbard; and John, who died in infancy. The wife
and mother passed away in April, 1907, at the age of eighty-one years and
seven months. She belonged to the Congregational church and was an
earnest, consistent Christian woman, whose many good traits of character
won her warm friendships and kindly regards.

Mr. Russell lived with a Unitarian minister between the aaes of sixteen
and twenty years and his religious views are along that line. While he has


no active business interests now he is a stockholder in the Sterling National
Bank and he owns two good store buildings on Third street in Sterling,
together with a beautiful home at No. 702 Second avenue, which he erected
in 1875. Such in brief is the life history of Charles N. Russell, who has now
passed the eighty-second milestone on life's journey, and in whatever relation
he has been found in social circles, in business life and in citizenship he
has always been the same honorable and honored gentleman, whose worth
well merits the high regard which is uniformly given him.


The life record of Irving L. Weaver stands in contradistinction to the
old adage that a prophet is never without honor save in his own country,
for in Sterling, the city of his nativity, he has attained prominence and
success as an able member of the bar, being well known as a leading repre-
sentative of the profession which stands as the conservator of human rights
and privileges.

His natal day was August 5, 1873, his parents being John S. and Mary
A. (Delp) Weaver, who were natives of Pennsylvania. His paternal grand-
father, John Weaver, was born in the Keystone state and was of Swiss and

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 57 of 72)