Honey Creek Township, Page 355
George Cartwright was born in Staffordshire county, England, March 6, 1823. His parents, George and Sarah Cartwright, were farmers, but his father subsequently went to coal mining, at which he did a considerable business, working a great number of men. George Jr., while quite young, was apprenticed to a manufacturer of queensware, but disliking the business he never followed it after his apprenticeship ended. He came to American in 1842, landing at New Orleans. From there he went to Missouri, where for a time he worked on a farm. From here he drifted throught Iowa and into Illinois, when in 1847, '48 and '49, he drove a stage from Burlington, Iowa, to Springfield, Illinois. In 1848 he settled in McDonough county, where, on April 24 of the subsequent year, he married Miss Mary E. Woodside, who was born August 3, 1822, in Virginia, and with her parents, John G. and Jane Woodside, came to McDonough county, Illinois, in 1833. Mr. Woodside was afterward quite prominent in local politics. Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright are the parents of seven children, five of whome are living and two are dead: Sarah Jane, born November 13, 1850; Virginia E., born January 24, 1852; John, born August 28, 1853, died September 18, 1853; Ann Eliza, born May 7, 1855; William Edgar, born July 25, 1857; Frederic II, born December 15, 1858, died October 27, 1859; and Elmer E., born February 11, 1861. Prior to the war Mr. Cartwright was a democrat, but on the issues of 1860 he voted for Abraham Lincoln. He has been a justice of the peace.


Oquawka Twp.
Prominent among the business men of Oquawka, since 1854, may be mentioned Mr. James A. Caswell. About that time he bought out the store of Dr. Park & co., and under the firm name of Caswell & Pearce engaged in the drug business. In 1858 they associated with them Mr. R. Hodson, and added a full line of groceries. In 1868 he withdrew from the above mentioned firm. He has ever since been in business here, with the exception of two years that he was a drug dealer in Burlington, Iowa. He is now doing a drug and grocery business, between Third and Fourth streets on Schuyler. Mr. Caswell was born in Saratoga county, New York, February 13, 1824. His father's name was Ezra H. Caswell, a merchant. Mr. Caswell was brought up to the business of his father, and received a common school education. He was married July 21, 1850, to Miss Arminda Decker, the daughter of Seymour Decker, Esq. Mrs. Caswell is a native of Oneida county, New York. They are the parents of five children: Ada (wife of C. H. Rew, of Wilmington, Will county, Illinois), Mary R., Martha M., Blanche E., and James W. Mr. Caswell is a member of the masonic fraternity, and of the Knights Templar. Mr. Caswell has ever been straightforward in business, and has the confidence of all, in business and social circles.


Honey Creek Township, Page 349
Cornelius Clover
, one of the early and more prominent settlers, was born in Greene county, New York, March 21, 1794. Here he grew to manhood, and when the war of 1812 broke out he was found among those who were battling against the "right of impressment." He was with the army of the North, and for a long time was stationed at Sackett's Harbor. Returning and laying aside the habiliments of war, on July 29, 1818, he was wedded to Miss Rebecca Parsons. Having caught the spirit of the times, he turned his face westward and found a home within the forests of Jennings county, Indiana, where death stole quietly among them, and Rebecca, the noble wife and tender mother, was laid away to rest. On November 27, 1833, he was a second time married, the woman of his choice being Narcissa Billingsly, and two years later he removed to Warren county, Illinois. From there, in 1852, he came to this county, settling on Sec. 3, T.8, R. 6, where, on April 5, 1863, he died, respected by all who knew him, and leaving behind him a competence. Two of the sons, Josephus and John, now live on the old homestead.


Honey Creek Township, Page 351
John W. Cluff
, Dallas City, born in Lexington, Kentucky, April 1, 1813, and with his parents soon after removed to Pike county, Ohio. His parents were Reuben and Catherine Cluff. He was reared on a farm and received very little education. January 23, 1836, he wedded Miss Anna Jarman, daughter of James Jarman, of Pike county, Ohio. In 1843, he removed to Peoria county, Illinois, and from there to Henderson county in 1852, settling in T.8, R.6, near where he now lives. He is the father of eight children, three daughters and five sons: Reuben, Isaac, Catherine, James P., Mary W., John T., Charles W., and Nancy B. James remains at home with his father and eases him down the declivity of closing life.


Honey Creek Township, Page 357
John Cooper
, Lomax, Illinois, was born in Monastrean, county Kildare, Ireland, July 28, 1805. He was educated in his native town and remained there until fifteen years of age, when he moved from there to Dublin and learned the cabinet-making trade. He was married, June 6, 1828, to Eliza Deane, of Dublin, and they had fifteen children, of whom but five are now living: John, William, Thomas G., Eliza, and Washington L. After working at his trade for seen years altogether, he received an appointment on the Grand Canal as captain of a passenger canal boat plying between Dublin and Balinsloe, serving in that capacity for twenty-five years. He then resigned and accepted a collectorship for the company at Tullamore, Kings county, and served as collector eight months, and resigned and came to America, landing at New Orleans December 10, 1848. From there he came to Burlington, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business for eighteen months, and from there he removed to Henderson county and engaged in his present occupation of farming. He is a member of Dallas City Lodge, No. 235, of A.F. and A.M. In religion he was brought up in the belief of the Episcopal church.


Oquawka Twp.
Rauseldon Cooper, the present state's attorney for Henderson county, was born December 24, 1845, near Milton, Wayne county, Indiana. His parents were John and Martha Cooper. At the age of two years his mother died, and he was sent to live with his grandmother, Elizabeth Cooper, and his uncle Moses Cooper, who lived in the vicinity where he was born. In 1852 his uncle Moses came to Henderson County, bringing young Rauseldon with him, and settled in Greenville precinct. He attended school in Aurora district. In 1863 he entered Lombard college, at Galesburg, Illinois, as a student, graduating in 1869 with the degree of B. S. From here he went to his father's, who had married again and was living in Bald Bluff precinct, where he engaged in farming. Growing weary of agricultural pursuits, in 1873 he entered Michigan University, at Ann Arbor, as a student of law, graduating in 1875. He returned to Henderson county and selected it as a field in which to engage in practice, and located at Oquawka. He was elected a justice of the peace in 1877, and secretary of the Oquawka school board in 1879. In 1880 he was elected to his present position. September 14, 1875, he married Miss Susie E., daughter of Opdike Cummins, Esq., of Ann Arbor, Michigan, by whom he has three children.


Bedford Twp. pg. 270
R. V. Cortelyon [Transcriber note: this name is probably correctly spelled as Cortelyou] was born in New Jersey in 1821. His parents were Aaron and Elizabeth VanArsdale, of German descent and born in New Jersey. They had four children, our subject being the second of the family. Mariah, the eldest, died in New Jersey; Ellen is married and resides in New Jersey; William resides near Raritan, this county. Mr. Cortelyon was married in New Jersey in 1847 to Miss Catharine Stevens. The following children have been born to them: Margaret (deceased), Harvey, Stephen (deceased), Eddie, Eugene (deceased). The family remained in New Jersey for eleven years after their marriage. They then came to Henderson county. Immediately after their arrival here he purchased 160 acres of land on the N. W. 1/4 of Sec. 10, forty acres of which was already improved. Mr. Cortelyon began life with but little, but by industry and good management has succeeded well. For a large share of his success in life he attributes to the influence of noble woman, first to the counsels and admonitions of a kind mother, and second to the encouragement of a judicious wife.


Bedford Twp. Pg. 277-278
William H. Cortelyon, one of the pioneer settlers of Bedford precinct, was born in Somerset county, New Jersey, May 29, 1826, and was married in the same county to Miss Elizabeth M. Field, of the same place. Four children were the result of the union: Emma Elizabeth (wife of R. V. D. Simonson, was born in New Jersey), A. W. Cortelyon, Fannie A., and Lyon are all at home. His father, Abraham Cortelyon, was also born in Somerset county, New Jersey, in 1795, and was married in 1817 to Miss Elizabeth Van Arsdale, of the same state. She was born in Middlesex county. His oldest sister, Mariah, was born in New Jersey in 1818. She married Christopher B. Melick, of the same county. They had ten children. Ralph V. married Catharine Stephens, of the same county. He moved to this state in the spring of 1858. Ella P. married Richard Hageman, of North Branch, New Jersey, where they still reside. William H. Cortelyon is of German descent. His great-grandparents were Hollanders, who came to this country at a date unknown, but which must have been before the revolution. William Cortelyon, grandfather of our subject, was born in New Jersey and settled on Long Island. Mr. Cortelyon, in the spring of 1836, shipped his goods to Fulton county, where he had gone to visit friends, and in the meanwhile came to Henderson county to look at the country, and being satisfied with the appearance and prospect, he returned to Fulton county, and came back with lumber ready to build. The prairie grass was almost waist high all over. He bought his first land of David Rankin, in section 10. When he came out he brought five carpenters with him, and a house was soon erected; but one day, when he was in town, a heavy windstorm came up and carried away the newly-build edifice.


Olena Twp.
Isaac B. Cowden
, M. D., born in 1879, is the son of Alexander Cowden and Margaret Magaughy. His parents were among the early settlers of Mercer county, Illinois, and the first couple married there. A few years after their marriage they removed to Louisa county, Iowa, where their son Isaac was born. The father died in this county in 1856; the mother still lives, residing at Crawfordsville, Iowa. The public schools of this place gave the subject of this sketch his general education. He began the study of medicine under Dr. J. D. Miles, state senator, residing now at Washington, Iowa. Mr. Cowden attended his first course of lectures at Iowa City, in the winter of 1872-3; a year later he received a diploma from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Keokuk, Iowa. He settled first in Henry county, but removed soon after to Olena, Henderson county. During his eight years' residence here since his settlement in 1874, his practice has constantly increased. December 1, 1876, he married Lilian M., daughter of Thomas J. Richey, one of the earliest settlers of this county. Of the four children born to them the eldest two are dead. The remaining two were born: Nellie Grant, in 1879, and Thomas Russel, in 1881.


Bedford Twp.
Mr. John G. Cox was born in Somerset county, New Jersey, August 13, 1821, where he passed the early part of his life. He was joined in marriage with Miss Ellen Voorhees September 21, 1844. In the spring of 1860 our subject moved from New Jersey to Fulton county, Illinois, where he resided until the following October, when he removed to the vicinity of Raritan. He he located on a farm, where he remained until the time of his death, March 9, 1882. Here Mr. Cox, with commendable integrity, industry, frugality and good business habits, succeeded in amassing a comfortable competence and surrounding himself and family with all the comforts of life. He was an exemplary member of the masonic institution, having been initiated in the mysteries of that order December 8, 1874. He passed to the fellow-craft degree April 11, 1876, and was elevated to the sublime degree of a Master Mason June 1, 1876. He was duly imbued with the noble and elevating sublime principles of the mystic order. J. C. Cox is a merchant of Raritan.


Honey Creek Township, Page 352
ROBERT W. CRANE
, one of the pioneers of the county, and especially of Honey Creek precinct, was born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, November 1, 1818. He is the son of Michael and Anna Pherits Crane. With his parents he came from Pennsylvania to Henderson county in 1835, landing here June 2. Robert was reared on a farm and received a common school education. He experienced all the hardships incident to pioneer life. All the improvement on the farm which his father bought was an unchinked log house. November 1, 1851, he married Mrs. Sarah Dougherty, daughter of Thomas and Jane Bassett, who lived near Shokokon. They are the parents of seven children, four of whom are boys and three are girls: William I., born August 9, 1858; Harry G., born December 12, 1859; Robert Lee, born February 12, 1862, died July 7, 1863; Frederic C., born October 20, 1863; Anna P., born March 9, 1866; Patience G. and Mercy C., twins, born September 15, 1869. Patience G. died July 26, 1870, and Mercy C. died August 4 of the same year. Mr. Crane is a member of Dallas City Lodge of Masons, No. 235, of which he was the first charter member. He is a member of Chapter 111, Dallas City. He now owns and lives on the old homestead.


Honey Creek Township, Page 355
Robert Crownover, born in Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, October 16, 1817. His parents were James and Elizabeth (Knox) Crownover. His grandfather, Robert Crownover, who married Nancy Kelsey Cutter, with several of his brothers emigrated from New Jersey to Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, prior to the revolution, and in the deadly contests which ensued between the Indians and whites in that section, all the brothers except Robert were slain. The subject of this sketch grew to manhood on a farm, and received a common school education. In 1834, he emigrated to Michigan, and spent eight years in the counties of Calhoun and St. Joe. From here, in 1842, he removed to Henderson county, and settled near Shokokon, where he remained for two years, when he came to his present place of residence on Sec. 22, T.8, R.6. January 23, 1851, he was married to Temperance Curts, daughter of John and Temperance Curts, who came to Henderson county from what is now Clinton county, Pennsylvania, then Lycoming. They are the parents of nine children: James H., born September 25, 1851; Elizabeth, January 27, 1853; John, October 21, 1855; Robert and Temperance, March 14, 1858; Alice, January 29, 1860; Mary, January 12, 1863; William, November 7, 1865; Mary Kelsey, January 2, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Crownover are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Crownover was well acquainted with the Mormon prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young during the days of their dwelling at Nauvoo, his father, who lived near where Robert now lives, having often entertained them at his residence.


Oquawka Twp.
John Cumming, manufacturer and dealer in boots and shoes, Oquawka, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in October, 1830. His youth up to the age of about nineteen, was spent attending school and learning the shoemaker's trade. In 1849 he and his parents, John and Mary (Harkins) Cumming, emigrated to the United States, sailing in the ship Brooklyn. Our subject followed his trade in the state of New York until 1856, when he came to Illinois and permanently located at Oquawka, and here has since devoted his time to the store, which does credit to the south side of Schuyler street. In 1853 at Troy, New York, Mr. Cumming was united in marriage with Miss Jane King, a native of Ireland. His father died in New York in 1873, and his mother is still living and is a resident of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Oquawka Twp
James Cunningham was born in 1816, in the county of Monaghan, Ireland, but when he was only four years old his parents emigrated to the United States. They settled in New Jersey, where they made their home for many years. During his early life, James, by industry, obtained a fair common school education, and while yet a young man, had learned the trade of a blacksmith. In 1840 he was united in marriage with Miss Mary W. Watson, of Washington county, New York. In 1841 their first child was born, and in 1842 Mrs. Cunningham was prostrated by a stoke of paralysis, entirely losing the use of one side, eye, ear, and limbs, and from which she has never recovered. In 1845 Mr. Cunningham emigrated to Illinois and settled at Oquawka, where he remained till 1850, when he left his family provided for, and went to California in search of gold. Not being as successful as he had hoped, in the fall of 1851 he went to Australia, where he prosperously engaged in gold mining till February 2, 1853, when he determined to return with what he had to his family, and at once left for home via London, England, arriving at the latter place May 1. From there he sailed for Philadelphia, where he landed early in the summer. There he had his gold minted and come on to Oquawka, and at once prepared a home and completed arrangements and went back east for his parents, whom he brought out to this place. Here they lived till the time of their death. Mr. Cunningham is a member of the masonic and oddfellow fraternities. He is one of Oquawka's old and respected citizens.


Olena Twp.
Among the men who have done most toward making Henderson county in general, and the township in which he resides in particular, is George Curry, third child of Samuel Curry and Emma Whitting, both of Somersetshire, England. Samuel Curry removed to America in 1838, whither his son followed him in 1841. The father settled first in Hendersonville, going from this place successively to Oquawka and Jack's Mills, in pursuit of the trade to which he was trained, brick making. In 1841, he settled at Biggsville, where George, the subject of this sketch, just from England, joined him. In 1852, Samuel Curry, in company with his son, George, purchased of Hugh Lee the S. W. 1/4 of Sec. 24, and the W. 1/2 of N. W. 1/4 of Sect. 25, T. 9 N., R. 5W., upon which the father settled, afterward removing to Olena, where he died in 1878. His widow returned to Biggsville, in 1880, and still resides there with her daughter. Mr. George Curry is a carpenter by trade, and Olena owes most of its dwellings to his mechanical skill. After coming to America, he followed his trade for many years at Biggsville, at Olena, and in the surrounding country. But he had always a strong tendency toward farming, and although actively engaged in carpentering for eight years after his removal to Olena in 1852, he found much time, also, to look after the interests of the farm which he had purchased in conjunction with his father. In 1854 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Ward, of Fitchville, Huron county, Ohio and widow of Simon Nichols. They began their married life in Olena, for several years keeping a hotel in a house built by Mr. Curry's own hands. In 1862 he exchanged residences with his father. He remained on the farm for five years, at the expiration of which time he bought an interest in the store of Ira Putney, Jr. He continued in mercantile business with Mr. Putney, with the exception of about three years, until 1876, when he retired to the farm which he had purchased of Thomas Kitchen, upon which he had built the fine residence he now occupies. Mr. Curry has long been greatly interested in the fine stock, and today has the only considerable flock of sheep in the township, together with some fine shorthorn Durham cattle. His farm shows the thrift which is to be expected of the man who quietly, intelligently, and persistently attends to his own matters. Ever an ardent republican, and unable to see it any more right for whites to own blacks than for blacks to own whites, Mr. Curry is still no politician. Nevertheless he is now serving his second term as county commissioner, and is looked upon as the most suitable man to be his own successor. He himself makes to profession of religion, but his wife is a consistent member of the United Presbyterian church, of Olena. Mr. and Mrs. Curry have had three children, two of whom died in infancy. The remaining child, Charles II., married Viola Steele, daughter of Squire Cyrus W. Steel, and is now connected with his father in working the home farm.


Honey Creek Township, Page 356
The grandfather of the present sketch suffered the hardships of the revolution. His father was also in the latter part of the struggle for independence, and saw service in the war of 1812. His maternal grandfather was in the revolution and fought at Brandywine, where was severely injured. William the son of Joseph and Jane Archibald Curry was born in Harrison county, Ohio, November 21, 1819. His parents were of Scotch-Irish descent. He grew to manhood on a farm and married Rebecca Close, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Close, of Lorain county, Ohio, April 19, 1844, by whom he had two children: Marion F., born December 27, 1846, and Rebecca, born May 1, 1848. Mrs. Curry died May 11 of the same year. He was married a second time, to Nancy L. Wright, daughter of Jonathan, a native of Ohio, and Mary Wright, a native of Virginia. She was buried [Note: born?] in Lorain county, Ohio, May 31, 1827. They are the parents of three children: Eugene, born February 25, 1856, and died April 19, 1856, in Cedar county, Iowa, where he was buried; Clayton, born December 28, 1859, died the 25th of March following, and was buried in Lot seventeen of Logan's cemetery, Henderson County; Mary K., born September 23, 1865, in Henderson county. Mr. and Mrs. Curry are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church.


Olena Twp
John Curts
(deceased), one of Henderson county's oldest and most prominent citizens, was born January 21, 1786, in Pennsylvania, near the west branch of the Susquehanna river. He was a son of Thomas Curts. His youth was spent largely on the water as a boatman. His schooling was limited. When eighteen years old he aided N. Harvey quarry the stone for a mill, dress it, and build the mill. The old mill still operates. He was for a number years a tide pilot. March 22, 1808, he was married to Temperance Fredericks, who was born November 26, 1789, in Pennsylvania. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Curts kept tavern for some time. Mr. Curts also became interested in agriculture and owned a good farm. He became engaged in iron smelting, but this departure proved a failure. In the fall of 1835, he made a trip to Warren county, Illinois. He remained the first winter with his cousin, Michael Crane, near what is now Lomax. He entered seven eighties of land in T. 9 N., R. 5 W. In the following spring of 1836, his family of wife and children joined him and resided on a small piece of broken land on the Big, or Getting's, mound. In 1836 he broke the first furrow on his new farm, erected a cabin, but did not occupy the farm permanently till the spring of 1837. His time was henceforward occupied in the improvement of his home. His log cabin is now used as a stable. About 1846-7, he was a member of the state legislature, elected on the whig ticket. In religion he was a Presbyterian. He became one of the most successful men of the county. At his death, March 12, 1874, he was owner of about 1,800 acres of land. He was buried on the summit of the high bluff near his residence. His wife survived him till August 22, 1875. She sleeps near him. She was the mother of eight children, all born in Pennsylvania: Horatio became a lumberman at Shokokon, and the pineries of Wisconsin, and died October 2, 1868, aged fifty-nine years and twenty-six days; Thomas remained in Pennsylvania; Susan, Amelia, Eliza, Temperance, Anna B., and John F. John F. was born September 26, 1821. His life has been largely spent where he now lives. He owns the homestead and has largely improved it. His father was a man of many friends. The portrait of the Hon. John Curts is a tribute to his memory.

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Copyright 2000

Connie Lovitt Bates