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 66 of 72)
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inary education in the district schools, while later he was graduated from
Carthage (Illinois) College on the completion of a classical course in 1878.
Having determined to make the practice of medicine his life work he then
began study toward that end and was graduated from the Rush Medical Col-
lege of Chicago in 1881. He also took a post-graduate course in the fall of
1892 and 1893. Locating for practice in Sterling, after his graduation, he
has since remained here, covering a period of more than a quarter of a century
and has become known as one of the ablest physicians of this part of the

On the 10th of May, 1887, Dr. Keefer was married to Miss Ermina Har-
per McBride. They became the parents of two children : Marie Viola, who
is now attending Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois; and Ralph, who died
in infancy. The wife and mother passed away in 1890, and on the 15th of
May, 1893, Dr. Keefer was joined in wedlock to Dr. Jane Reid, a daughter
of John and Ann (Faron) Reid. Her paternal grandfather was John Reid,
a native of Belfast, Ireland, and of Scotch parentage. He was a contractor
and died in Belfast when past middle life, while his wife, Mrs. Mary (Boyd)
Reid, was sixty-nine years of age at the time of her death. The maternal
grandfather, Andrew Faron, was a native of England and lived in Liverpool,
where he died in middle life. He was a stonemason by trade. Unto him
and his wife, Ann Faron, were born four daughters, three of whom reached
mature years.

John Boyd Reid, the father of Mrs. Keefer, was born in Belfast, Ireland,
while his wife's birth occurred in Liverpool, England. He was engaged in
business as a shipsmith in Liverpool. Belfast, Edinburgh, and Kurrachee,
East India. In 1843 he caine to the United States and for four years was
a resident of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to Liverpool,
where he spent a number of years. Later he was a resident of India for four
years and then again went to Liverpool. It was at that time that he mar-
ried and soon afterward came to the United States with his wife, settling in
Effingham county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming. His last days
were spent in Seattle, Washington, where he died October 12, 1894, at the
age of seventy-nine years. His wife survives him and lives with her daugh-
ter, Mrs. Keefer, in Sterling. Mr. Reid was a Presbyterian in religious faith,
while his wife is an Episcopalian. In their family were three daughters:
Dr. Jane Keefer; Miss Annie Reid, now of Seattle, Washington; and Ellen,
the wife of 0. A. Byers, also of Seattle.


By the marriage of Dr. Keefer and Dr. Reid four children have been
born: Annie Elizabeth. Laura Bell, Jane Frances and Frank Reid Keefer.
Like her husband, Mrs. Keefer is an able physician. She was born in Edge-
wood, Effingham county, Illinois, and during the first nine years of her life
lived at various times in her native village, Centralia, and St. John, Illinois,
and in St. Charles, Missouri. She then went with her parents to Amboy, Illi-
nois, where she acquired her common-school education, being graduated with
the class of 1878 from the high school. She next entered the Illinois State
Normal at Normal, Illinois, and taught in the Amboy schools in 1880-1 and
at Morris, Illinois, in 1882-3. The following year she was a teacher at
Plainfield, Illinois, and then again at Amboy. Later she entered the Woman's
Medical College at Philadelphia in 1886 and was graduated therefrom in
1889. The same year she began practice in Sterling. She and her husband
belong to the same medical societies, holding membership in the Sterling
and Rock Falls Physicians' Club, the North Central Illinois Medical Society,
the Whiteside County and the State Medical Societies and the American
Medical Association. They are deeply interested in all that pertains to the
advancement of the profession and are continually broadening their knowl-
edge through scientific research and investigations as well as through ex-
perience. Dr. and Mrs. Keefer are members of the Presbyterian church, in
which he is serving as an elder. - He also belongs to Sterling Lodge, No. 174,
I. 0. 0. F., and the encampment, while he and his wife are connected with
the Rebekah degree. Both have gained distinction as physicians of ability
and are equally well known socially and have many friends in Sterling and
throughout the county.


Frank D. Ramsay, one of the judges of the appellate court for the third
district, wa-> born iu Prophetstown, Illinois, September 27, 1846. His
father, Luther B. Ramsay, was a native of Oneida county, New York, and
of Scotch-Irish descent. In 1839 he removed to Illinois, settling at Rapid
City, now Rock Falls, Whiteside county, where he engaged in surveying land
a part of that year. He then returned to New York and brought his family,
including his father, to the middle west, after which he engaged in farming
in Prophetstown township. The family met the usual experienca* of pioneer
life and aided in extending the frontier by the reclamation of the wild dis-
trict for the uses of civilization. He continued the development and im-
provement of his farm until 1849, when he took up hi,< abode in the village
of Prophetstown and spent his remaining days there. For several years lie
was identified with its mercantile interests and was successful in his under-
takings. He left the impress of his individuality upon th? early develop-
ment of the county, aiding in molding public thought and in shaping the
public policy, standing as he did at all times for progressive citizenship and
for substantial development. In politics he was an old-line whig prior to





the organization of the republican party, when he joined its ranks. He had
no aspiration for office, however, being content to do his public service as a
private citizen. He married Caroline M. Smith, a native of Poultney,
Vermont, and of New England ancestry, her parents being Steven and
Tyley (Manly) Smith, who came to Prophetstown in 1840, her father here
following the occupation of farming. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay were
born a son and daughter, the latter being Mrs. Lucy E. Adams, the wife of
George B. Adams, advertising manager for the Royal Tailors of Chicago.
The father died in 1886, at the age of sixty-eight years, and the mother's
death occurred in 1903, when she had reached the age of seventy-seven

Judge Ramsay received no special advantages in his youth. He attended
the common schools of Prophetstown and the Seminary at Dixon, Illinois,
and at the age of twenty years entered the office of Frederick Sackett, of
Sterling, under whose direction he read law. In 1868 he was admitted to
the bar and located for practice in Morrison, where he has since remained
with the exception of two years, which he spent in Kansas City. While
advancement at the bar is proverbially slow, no dreary novitiate awaited
Judge Ramsay. Gradually he worked his way upward and his practice be-
came extensive and of an important character. He became noted among
his brethren of the legal fraternity for the wide research and provident care
with which he prepared his cases and his merits received public recogni-
tion, when in 1897 he was elected judge of the circuit court. In 1905 he
was assigned to the appellate court for the third district by the supreme
court, of the state. He is now filling that position and is a prominent rep-
resentative of the judiciary of Illinois. His legal learning, his analytical
mind, the readiness with which he grasps the points in an argument, all
combine to make him one of the capable jurists of the appellate bench, and
the public and the profession acknowledge him to be an efficient member
of the appelhte court.

In 1872 Judge Ramsay was married to Miss Lovisa McKenzie, who was
born in Prophetstown, in 1848, a daughter of William R. and Harriet
(Martin) McKenzie. The father removed from New York to Prophetstown,
while the mother came to this county from Canada in 1839. Mrs. Ramsay
is of Scotch descent. By this marriage there are two sons: Luther R., who
was born in 1876, and is an attorney at law of the firm of McCalmont &
Ramsay, at Morrison; and Robert M., who was born in 1879 and is a court
reporter of Chicago. Both sons are married.

Judge Ramsay is a Mason and also a member of the order of Knights
of Pythias. In politics he is a republican and, while stalwart in the cham-
pionship of the principles in which he believes, he never allows his political
views to prejudice him in any way in his judicial duties. He belongs to
the local bar association and aside from his service on the bench he was
master in chancery for six years. He has earned for himself the favorable
regard of the public and the profession. His decisions indicate strong
mentality, careful analysis, a thorough knowledge of the law and an un-
biased judgment. He is recognized as a man of finely balanced mind and


strong intellectual attainments, possessing, too, .that well rounded character
which contributes to his success in the discharge of the multitudinous deli-
cate duties which devolve upon him.


An excellent farm of two hundred and forty acres on sections 32 and 33
pays, tribute to the care, industry and supervision of James Ryan. It is the
old family homestead upon which he spent much of his boyhood and which
he has purchased in recent years. He is one of Illinois' native sons, his birth
having occurred in Lee county, December 29, 1861. His parents, Michael
and Johanna (Conners) Ryan, were both natives of Ireland and in 1854,
crossing the Atlantic to the new world, they made their way to Dixon, Illinois,
where the father worked as a common laborer for six years. Eagerly availing
himself of every opportunity for advancement, he next rented a farm for
five years and, carefully saving his earnings during that period, he pur-
chased, in 1865, eighty acres of land on section 33, Montmorency township.
Later he invested in eighty acres on section 32 adjoining the original place,
thus becoming the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of rich land capable
of high cultivation and large production. As the years passed he devoted his
time and energies to the further development and improvement of the prop-
erty, which under his care became an excellent farm. Unto him and his
wife were born a daughter and three sons: Nora, now in Sterling; James;
Patrick, deceased; and John, of this county. The father died in the year
1892, while the mother survived for fifteen years, passing away in 1907 at
the advanced age of eighty-five years.

The boyhood and youth of James Ryan were quietly passed, his time
being divided between the duties of the schoolroom, the interests of the play-
ground and the labors of the home farm. His training in the work of the
fields was not meager but on the contrary he began work in the cultivation
of the place almost as soon as he was old enough to handle the plow. After
attaining his majority he rented a part of the old homestead for a number
of years and then in 1892 purchased eighty acres on section 32, Mont-
morency township. To this he afterward added by purchasing the old home-
stead of one hundred and sixty acres, so that he now owns a valuable tract
of land of two hundred and forty acres on sections 32 and 33. Montmorency
township. His farm presents an attractive appearance, for everything about
the place is kept in good condition and pasture land and fields are all rich
and productive.

In 1889 Mr. Ryan was united in marriage to Miss Mary Reardon, who
was born in Tennessee, a daughter of William and Katherine Reardon, who
are now living in Sterling. Their family numbered six children. Unto Mr.
and Mrs. Ryan have been born two (laughters. Katie and Marie. The parents
are communicants of the Catholic church and in politics Mr. Ryan is a demo-
crat. His fellow townsmen have several times called him to ofliee and he is


now assessor of Montmorency township, having been the incumbent in the
position for five years. He has likewise been school director for five years
and is also treasurer of the drainage district. Coming to this county when
four years of age, he has now lived within its borders for about forty-three
years and has been an interested witness of the many changes and the trans-
formation which has been wrought by time and man. The onward march of
civilization has made this one of the richest agricultural districts in this great
state, affording to its citizens all the advantages that are known to the older
I'ast. Mr. Ryan rejoices in what has been accomplished and has borne his
full share in the work of general improvement and progress.


Michael Kleinschrodt. who follows farming and stock-raising in Union
Grove township, came to Whiteside county in 1872 and has resided here
continuously since, with the exception of a year and a half spent in Iowa.
He has always made his home in the middle west and the spirit of enter-
prise and development characteristic of the upper Mississippi valley has been
manfest in his business career.

He was born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, February 2, 1858, his
parents being John G. and Katherine (Amos) Kleinschrodt, both of whom
were natives of Germany, whence they came to America at the ages of four-
teen and twenty-one years respectively. The father accompanied his parents
to the new world and the family home was established in Cook county, Illi-
nois, where the paternal grandfather of our subject purchased and improved
a farm. John G. Kleinschrodt continued to make his home there until after
his marriage, when he removed to Wisconsin and a little later returned to
Illinois, settling at Elgin, where he remained until 1872. He then came to
Whiteside county but three years later went to western Iowa, where he re-
mained for several years. He then returned to Morrison and was actively
engaged in farming in this locality until he put aside the arduous duties of
the fields and established his home in Morrison, where he is now living re-
tired, at the age of seventy-seven years. Unto him and his wife were born
eight children: John, now a resident of Sterling; Maggie, who makes her
home in Elgin, Illinois; Michael, of this review; Henry, also living in Mor-
rison ; Philip, of Minnesota ; Mrs. Mary Pierce, whose home is in Elgin, Illi-
nois; Charles, who died two or three years ago; and William, of Morrison.

Michael Kleinschrodt has resided in Whiteside county almost continu-
ously since about fourteen years of age and has always been identified with
general farming interests. He early became familiar with the work of the
fields, as he aided his father in the tasks of plowing, planting and harvesting.
He thus received broad experience to assist him in carrying on farm work
on his own account and is now numbered among the successful agriculturists
of Union Grove township. Since the 1st of March, 1902, he has resided on
his present farm and is here carefully and successfully carrying on general
agricultural pursuits and stock-raising.


In April, 1889, occurred the marriage of Mr. Kleinschrodt and Miss
Grace Van Dyke, who was born near Fulton, this county, a daughter of
Peter and Rimke (Nouta) Van Dyke. Her father came to the United
States in childhood and her mother when a young lady. The father re-
sided during the greater part of his life in Whiteside county and followed
the occupation of farming to provide for the support of his family. He died
in April, 1905, at the age of seventy-eight years. Mrs. Kleinschrodt is the
eldest in the family, the others being : H. B. and Peter, who are residents
of Morrison; Glaus, living in Union Grove township; Abel, who is living in
Unionville, Illinois; David, at home; Jacob, who die'd in infancy; and Jacob,
the second of the name, who died in September, 1900.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Kleinschrodt has been blessed with one child,
Bernie Lloyd, born November 6, 1891, and yet under the parental roof.
Mr. Kleinschrodt exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and
measures of the republican party and is now serving for the fourth year as
road commissioner, in which office he has done much to improve the public
highways. He has also been school director and the cause of education
finds in him a warm and stalwart friend. He believes thoroughly in ad-
vancement, in eradicating all that is useless in methods of business or in
the elements of citizenship and in promoting public progress along sub-
stantial lines. Such a course has characterized his business career and he
has steadily worked his way upward, becoming one of the enterprising farm-
ers of Union Grove township.


A. W. Greenlee 'Stands as a high type of the patriotic and public-spirited
American citizen. He served his country as a soldier in the Civil war and
has been equally loyal in days of peace, giving proof of his devotion to com-
munity interests by fourteen years' capable service in the office of mayor
of Lyndon. He has likewise filled the position of postmaster for eleven
years and over the record of his official career there falls no shadow of wrong
nor suspicion of evil.

Mr. Greenlee is a native of "Frederickstown, Knox county, Ohio, born
February 10, 1842. His parents were Robert and Mary (Christie) Greenlee,
natives of Coshocton county, Ohio. On leaving the Buckeye state in 1855
they came at once to Whiteside county, where they spent their remaining
days. The mother was not long permitted to enjoy her new home, her death
occurring in 1856, but the father reached the age of sixty-five years. Their
children were: Benjamin F., who died while serving his country as a soldier
of the Civil war; Robert A., deceased; Emily Adaline, the wife of Plypton
Baker, of West Platt, Nebraska; A. W., of this review; William C., who
was a member of the Ninth Iowa Cavalry in the Civil war, serving for two
and a half years, but is now deceased; and Ellen, the deceased wife of
Ezra French.


A. W. Greenlee (spent the first thirteen years of his life in the state
of his nativity and with his parents came to Whiteside county in 1855, the
family home being established at Unionville, Grove township. He remained
under the parental roof until his enlistment for service in the Civil war.
He was but a lad of nineteen years when in September, 1861, the fires of
patriotism burning brightly in his breast, he joined Company I of the Eighth
Kansas Infantry, with which he served for twenty-two months. Then came
an interval of four months, after which he again enlisted, this time joining
the Ninth Iowa Cavalry, continuing in active service altogether for four
years, terminated by an honorable discharge in March, 1866. He had been
discharged from the Eighth Kansas Infantry because of physical disability
but as soon as his health permitted he again joined the army, nor did he
hesitate to follow the old flag until it became the symbol of Union victory.
He took part in the battle of Perryville and with a cavalry company did
much scouting and skirmish duty in the southwest, holding the rank of

When the war was orer Mr. Greenlee returned to Whiteside county but
soon afterward went to Hoi ton, Kansas, where he worked in a general store
for two years. He then returned to his Illinois home, where he has since
remained and with the material interests and substantial development has
been closely associated. For twenty years he engaged in farming in Lyndon
township, where he rented and cultivated a tract of rich land, while his wife
owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Rock Island county. At
length, putting aside agricultural pursuits, he took up his abode in Lyndon
and for three years was in the employ of the firm of Parmenter Brothers.
He was then appointed postmaster and for the past eleven years has filled
this position. He has also been mayor for the past fourteen years and
in both positions gives a public-spirited administration, looking to the best
interests of the community. He has ever placed the general good before
partisanship and the interests of his office before personal aggrandizement.
He is a stalwart republican, casting his presidential ballot for each Candidate
at the head of the national ticket since voting the first time for Abraham
Lincoln in the campaign of 1864. He .is recognized as one of the local
leaders of his party, his .opinions carrying weight in its councils, while his
service as a member of the county central committee for the past sixteen
years has been far-reaching and beneficial. In addition to the other offices
that he has filled he has served as village clerk and as township clerk and
he has ever worked in public affairs toward practical idealism.

In 1876 Mr. Greenlee was married to Miss Olive E. Smith, who was
born in Lyndon township in 1850 and here resided until her death in March,
1891. Her parents were Harry and Mary Smith, who arrived in this county
from New York in the '30s and entered land in Lyndon township, where
they aided in planting the early seeds of civilization and in extending the
frontier. They continued residents of the township throughout their remain-
ing days and were prominent and worthy pioneer people. Unto Mr. and Mrs.
Greenlee" were born three children : Maud, now the wife of Carl Palmer, a
resident of Sterling; Frank, also living in Sterling; and Halford R., who is


a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis of the class of 1895 and is
now an ensign on the battleship Rhode Island. Having lost his first wife,
Mr. Greenlee was again married on the 2d of June, 1893, when Miss Helen
Daggett became his wife. She is a native of Lyndon and a daughter of
Falarman and Falina (Fitch) Daggett, who remained residents of this local-
ity until called to their final home. Mr. and Mrs. Greenlee are well known
in the community, having an extensive circle of friends. They attend the
Congregational church, of which Mrs. Greenlee is a member, while Mr.
Greenlee holds membership relations with the Modern Woodmen of America,
The terms progress and patriotism might well be termed the keynote of his
character. His business life has been characterized by advancement, while
his public service has been the exemplification of marked fidelity to the
interests entrusted to his care.


In a history of Whiteside county's early development it is imperative
that mention should be made of Thomas W. Stevens and his wife, the latter
being a representative of one of the oldest families of Sterling. Mr. Steven.-
also came here in pioneer times and for many years was closely associated
with its agricultural development, transforming the wild land into a pro-
ductive farm arid gaining through his well directed labors a comfortable
competence that enabled him to spend his last days in honorable retirement
and to leave his family in comfortable financial circumstances. He was born
in the northern part of Pennsylvania and came west to Illinois with his
parents when a youth of thirteen years, arriving in 1838. They settled half
a mile north of Sterling when the east part of the town was called Harris-
burg and the west part Chatham. The father, Jonathan Stevens, died upon
the homestead farm, which he cultivated for many years, and it was there
that his wife, Mrs. Ellen (Bowman) Stevens, also passed away.

Thomas W. Stevens was reared to manhood under the parental roof
and pursued his education in the little school house east of Broadway, in
Sterling. He was closely associated with the early events of the city which
framed its course and molded its" policy. He was twice married, his first
union being with Miss Adaline Coe, by whom he had two children Maltva
Coe and Helen Amanda Stevens. The wife, and mother passed away in 1850,
and in the spring of 1852 Mr. Stevens went to California in company with
some cousins. They inade their way to a ranch, where Thomas W. Stevens
continued for about seven years, after which he returned to Sterling and
resumed farming in Sterling township, being the owner of forty acres of
land 'there, which he had purchased before he went to California. To this
he added eighty acres as his financial resources increased and became an
active factor in the agricultural life of the community.

Mr. Stevens married again on the 23d of February, 1859, his second

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 66 of 72)