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Other Bios

This page includes biographies from other sources than The History of Mercer and Henderson Counties. Some are from other books, some have been written and submitted by other researchers. If you have a bio that you would like to contribute,
please send it to me.

This is an index to the biographies included here.


William Adair

Levi Pier Beebe
William Allen Beebe
Archie J. Berry
John Boyd
Jacob Bricker
William David Bricker



Amos Edmunds
Joseph Essex
Swanson Essex



Henry N. Ives




John McKeown





James Snodgrass

Alphonso M. Thornton





BEEBE families of Henderson County
My 3-g-grandfather, Levi Pier BEEBE moved from Adams County to Henderson County in April of 1837. He is supposed to have been a member of the "Old Settlers Organization," according to an excerpt I have from the Oquakwa Spectator. His obit reads: Dec 9, 1880: "Mr. Levi Beebe, aged father of William A. Beebe, died last Wednesday afternoon at the age of 80 years. His illness was but of short duration, as he was, on Saturday last, up and about attending to his chores." (From Biggsville Clipper, reprinted in The Spectator).

My 2-g-grandfather, William Allen BEEBE, and another son of Levi's, David, joined the Army together out of Biggsville, the 84th IL Volunteer Infantry. David was killed in the campaign against Atlanta. William shot his thumb off during guard duty in Louisville KY and spent the remainder of the war serving as an ambulance driver. His pension file for disability is fascinating reading...several of the Adams and Henderson County neighbors he had wrote affidavits for him attesting to his inability to work after the war. He returned to Henderson County after the war and lived there until he moved to Schuyler County in 1886 or 1887, then on to Kansas and finally Oklahoma.

His mother was Sarah Ann Dupee (Dupey), aka Sally. Her obit reads: Jan 30, 1901: "Grandma Beebe (Sarah) died Friday morning, Jan 18, at Media. She was 92 yrs old. Funeral was Saturday at Biggsville Methodist Church, burial at Old Stone Cemetary." (from The Oquawka Spectator)

Most of Levi's family (parents and siblings) remained in Adams County. They all arrived in Illinois from New York around 1821 or '22.

Written and Submitted by:
Val Lovelace

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County: VOL. II /1911; page 765
Submitted by:
Alicia J. Ives

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County: VOL. II /1911; page 765
Submitted by:
Alicia J. Ives

JOSEPH ESSEX, one of the early settlers of Henderson County, (Illinois) who since 1858 has carried on general farming on section 12, township 10, range 5 west, is a native of Chillicothe, Ohio. His father, Isaac Essex, was a native of Maryland. He was born below Baltimore, on the bank of Chesapeake Bay, and in that locality spent his early childhood. At the age of seventeen he left his native State and removed to Virginia. Later he started westward, and took up his residence in Ross County, Ohio, whence he went to Indianapolis, Ind., about 1830. Four years later he came to Illinois, settling in Rock Island. The remainder of his life was passed in this State, where his death occurred n 1850. In the Essex family were eight children, four sons and four daughters, namely: Mrs. Sarah Van Pelt, Mrs. Eleanor Peckham, Mrs. Maria Call, Mrs. Mary Chapin, Francis Campbell, Joseph, James Doolittle and Solomon Bush. The subject of this sketch received but limited educational advantages, his knowledge having been acquired largely through business experience, reading and observation, and not through school-room drill. At the early age of fifteen he started out to make his own way in the world, and has since been dependent upon his own resources, so that whatever success he has achieved in life is due entirely to his own efforts. He began work on a canal-boat, and in this way provided for his own maintenance for some time. At length he turned his attention to farming, and as soon as possible became the owner of a farm In 1850, Mr. Essex was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Julia A. Bailey, who came of an old Connecticut family, and who has been to him a faithful companion and helpmate along life's journey. Their union has been blessed with two children, a son and daughter: Charles H. and Mary L., the later being now the wife of George Miller, of Biggsville. In 1858, Mr. Essex purchased a tract of land on section 12, township 10 north, range 5 west, and has since made his home thereon, giving his entire time and attention to the cultivation and improvement of his land. It is now a rich and fertile tract, and every department of the farm is characterized by and air of neatness and thrift. The owner has led a busy and useful life, yet has found time to devote to public interests, especially to those calculated to prove of public benefit. He votes with the Republican party, and has served as School Director for about six terms. During his long residence in Henderson County he has become widely known, and is held in high regard by all, for he possesses many excellent characteristics.

Note: This is the end of the Biography & I want to state that there are errors here!! Isaac Essex died 1873 in Mercer Co, IL per his obituary. Joseph D. died in 1914 so the date in this Bio. isn't for either. There was a child on the 1850 Mortality Schedule Rock Island named Joseph Essex, "female", age 2ys!! I haven't been able to clarify that child; although I have strong data that my line of Essex had connections to the Essex who were pioneers of Stark Co, IL!!


PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson Counties Illinois, Chicago 1894

Submitted by: Peggy Carey

SWANSON ESSEX, a carpenter and builder now engaged in business in Oquawka, claims this place as his native city. He was born on the 3d of October, 1857, and is the fifth in a family of six children, whose parents were Campbell and Emzy (Smith) Essex. They were numbered among the early settlers of this community, and were prominently identified with its history and pioneer days. Mr. Essex was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, on the 19th of December, 1815, and was of German extraction. In his native city he was reared and educated, and there worked in a store until he had attained his majority. In 1834, he came West, and, locating in Oquawka, engaged in freighting from this place to Peoria for a number of years. He also owned a stone quarry, and furnished stone for a great many of the old buildings of this locality. In later years he worked at the carpenter's trade. A great many Indians still lived in the county at the time of his arrival, and on one occasion, when he was riding along the bluff three miles east of Oquawka, he had the horn shot off his saddle by one of the red men. His death occurred in Oquawka in 1882, at the age of sixty-seven years, and was mourned by many friends. His wife was born in Somerset, Ohio, June 16, 1828, and when a maiden of five summers came to this county with her parents. They were also natives of the Buckeye State, and were of English extraction. In 1833 they took up their residence near Oquawka, where they spent their remaining days. Mrs. Essex was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and died in that faith on the 20th of December, 1892, at the age of sixty-four years. Swanson Essex remained with his parents until he had attained his majority, and in the common schools he acquired a good English education. He, himself, is familiar with many incidents of frontier life, and can also relate many interesting stories of pioneer days told him by his parents. On attaining his majority, he began working at the carpenter's trade in Oquawka, where he has made his home continuously since, although he has done business in the surrounding towns. He is an expert workman, and now, as a contractor and builder, is enjoying a large and lucratiave trade. He always faithfully performs his part of the contract, and therefore has the confidence of all. On the 21st of September, 1876, Mr. Essex was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Hess, a native of Iowa. She was born March 24, 1857, and when quite young came with her parents to Oquawka. Six children grace the union of our subject and his wife: Clyde, Frederick, Eva, Effie, Emma and Verna, all of whom are still at home with their parents. In his political views, Mr. Essex is a Democrat, yet has never sought or desired the emoluments of public office. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and his wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, to the support of which he contributes liberally. He now owns a pleasant home in Oquawka, and has become one of its substantial citizens, as the result of his own enterprise. He has always lived in Oquawka, and here has many friends, including people who have known him from boyhood and those whom he has met in maturer years.

Note: My research hasn't proved the Essex were German nor the Smith English! The Essex of Stark Co, IL I am trying to connect with claim to be English. To date I haven't been able to find my Smith line in Henderson Co!!

Source: PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson Counties Illinois, Chicago 1894

Submitted by: Peggy Carey

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County: VOL. II /1911
Submitted by:
Alicia J. Ives
Biography of Henry N. Ives - Henderson County
HENRY N. IVES, retired farmer and livery man, Oquawka, IL.
In this notice we have to do with the sterling character which is the inheritance of Western of New England ancestry, a character born for success which achieves success in spite of all obstacles of discouragement, Henry N. Ives was born in Middlesex Co., Connecticut, May 6, 1824, a son of Jefferson and Mary Francis Ives, a native of Connecticut; (Jefferson Ives is the first mentioned son of Caleb and Sarah Booth Ives.)

When he was about fifteen years old, young Ives having acquired some common school education, began to wage a battle of life for himself, working for farmers round about. On February 9, 1847, when he was not quite twenty-three years old, he married Rebecca A. Darnell, in Henderson Co, IL. Rebecca Darnell was born in Holmes Co., OHIO, November 04, 1829, a daughter of George and Prudence Gordon Darnell, a native of Virginia and Pennsylvania. After his marriage he took up residence on a farm five miles east of Oquawka, Jenks Hollow, where he became a liveryman. At the end of eight years experience there, he went to Galesburg, IL. In less than a year he was again in the livery business in Oquawka. Three years later he traded his establishment for a farm near Bald Bluff on which he lived an ensuing life for six years. Thence he moved to Keithsburg and opened a livery stable, and prospered well until 1870 when his stable burned and a son, Frank Ives, died tragically in the fire along with a young lad named Will Dempster. The boys were approximately fourteen years of age. for a year, thereafter, Mr. Ives operated a mail route between Gladstone and Aledo, IL. For a year, a railway baggage and express agent. Returning to his farm he managed it successfully for three years then trade it for 500 acres a mile and half south of Oquawka where he lived until he bought his present home in Oquawka. East side of 8th street between Schylker and Pike Street.

In Politics, Mr. Henry N. Ives wa a Democrat and has ably filled the office of Deputy Sheriff under three different Sheriffs. Some time ago, he acquired 160 acres of land in Jackson Co., Oklahoma. He is living a well earned retirement from active life , renting his farm land and giving attention to his property interests.--

Born to Mr Ives and Mrs Ives are six children, Deville Jessie, married William Thomas Unckles; Samuel Jefferson married Lois Tinker; William Henry married Martha Alice Thornton; Maud, married J.W. Brainard; U.Grant married Maude Camp; and Frank.
Submitted by:
Alicia J. Ives
Page 878 Snodgrass, James, farmer and stockman, Oquawka Township, Rural Route No. 1. - In every community, the self made man commands respect and his example points the way to success for others. Among the men of this class who have given Henderson County its substantial character, none is more truly representative than the man whose name is above. James Snodgrass, son of Daniel H. and Ellen (Wimmer) Snodgrass, was born in Oquawka Township, Henderson County, Aprul 7, 1862. His grandparents were George and Julia (Henderson) Snodgrass of Scotch and German nativity, respectively, and Jacob and Elizabeth (Morgan) Wimmer of German birth. All of them were among the earliest settlers in Henderson County, where they acquired land aggregating many hundred acres.

Daniel H. and Ellen (Wimmer) Snodgrass located at Little York after their marriage. After profitably operating leased farms for about a quarter of a century, Daniel bought land in Oquawka Township, but nine years later removed to Burlington, Iowa, where he was for five years a dealer in wood and coal. Since he closed out that enterprise, his wife having died in 1873, he has been a member of the family of his son James.

James Snodgrass remained with his father until 1888. On February 4, 1890, he married Miss Mattie May Anderson, born at Oquawka, a daughter of Martin and Gertrude (Nelson) Anderson. For twenty-one years after his marriage he lived on a rented farm which he had operated several years before that event. Then he bought 500 acres of land in Oquawka and Rozetta Townships, 350 acres of which he has under cultivation, devoting the balance to pasture. Giving first attention to general farming, he is at the same time successful with cattle and swine.

Politically, Mr. Snodgrass adheres to the principles of the Republican party. While not in the acepted sense of the term an active politican, he is zealous for the public welfare and locally exercises no small influence for its promotion. His neighborliness and his public spirit have made him useful and respected. To Mr. and Mrs. Snodgrass have been born children whom they have named James Robert, Helen Adaline, Marjorie, Mamie and Edith Genevieve.

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, Vol. II. Illustrated.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M.
History of Henderson County edited by James W. Gordon.
Chicago, Munsell Publishing Company, publishers, 1911

Contributed by Sheila Warner, one of our look-up angels!

Amos Edmunds, mayor of Chelan, Chelan County, Washington 1902-1906 (Information from: 1870, 1880,1900,1910,1920 Census, Obituary and LAKE CHELAN HISTORY NOTES 2003 by Marcelle Carpenter and THE CHELAN CENTENNIAL PIONEER PROFILES by Chelan Valley Genealogical Society) Amos Edmunds was born 28 Feb 1849 Terre Haute, IL son of Daniel and Eliza (Logan) Edmunds. Amos was one of the first students at University of Illinois at Champaign. He graduated from the College of Denmark, Iowa and an attendant at the Wesleyan University of Iowa. He was a breeder of registered Holstein cattle, and a school teacher. He married Mary Ann Campbell on 15 Dec 1875. She was the sister of Clinton Campbell also a Chelan mayor. They had two children Clara Elizabeth and Palmer Daniel. He was a member of Illinois Legislature. Clara Edmunds was a school teacher in Chelan in 1900 and her parents came for a visit. They moved to Chelan the next year. He was elected Chelanís first mayor in 1902. He built a small steamer called "The Tourist" designed for use in shallow water. He was a part of the formation of the first water and light system in Chelan. He was elected mayor three times. He was in the real estate business in Chelan. He also had the family farm in Illinois and all the years living in Chelan he spent the fall time there looking after the crops. During his life time he owned land at various times in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois and Washington.

In the 1850 Census it lists Amos as living with his father and mother at Township 8 N 5 W, Henderson County, Illinois and value of real estate is $3,500.

In the 1860 Census it lists Amos as living with his father and two brothers and a sister at Township 8 N 5 W, Henderson County, Illinois and the post office listed is Terre Haute. Value of fathers farm is $15,000 real estate and personal estate $2000.

The 1870 census Amos is a farm laborer living with his father and stepmother plus 2 brothers and two sisters at Township 8 Range 5, Henderson County, Illinois and the post office listed is Terre Haute. The real estate value of the farm has jumped to $55,000 and personal estate to $5,000. The 1880 census lists Amos and Mary in Terre Haute, Henderson County, Illinois and his occupation as farmer.

The 1900 census lists he and his family living with Clinton Campbell family in Chelan and the occupation listed is farmer. Canít read the 1910 census occupation. The 1920 census lists Amos and Mary A. along with son Palmer D. on Second Street in Chelan next to Chester G. Ridout family. Amos occupation listed as agent in real estate. The Edmunds Home was on West Okanogan Street and was built in 1901. The house was moved across the street and now faces Third St. Upon retirement he moved back to Terre Haute and died at Galesburg Hospital in Galesburg, Illinois on 23 Sep 1923.

Compiled & contributed by Russell Miller of Chehan, Washington in his Chehan research.

Archie J. Berry, who is among the most energetic and progressive of the younger farmers of Eldorado Township, McDonough County, Ill., was born in Eldorado Township, December 12, 1880, a son of JAMES J. AND MARY (CAMBELL) BERRY, his father being a native of the same township, and his mother of Oquawka, Henderson County, Ill. His grandfather, THOMAS BERRY, was of English birth, and the maiden name of his grandmother was HARRIS. Archie J. Berry is the second of a family of four children born to his parents, three of whom were boys. He received his early education in the public schools of his neighborhood, and then took a course in the university at Lincoln, Ill., and the Metropolitan Business College, Chicago. He spent two years as a student in the university and completed the mercantile college course. After finishing the latter he returned to the paternal farm which he has been conducting for three years, his father's family having moved to Decatur, Ill. He is engaged in general farming, and his intelligence, careful method, and diligent application to the task which he has undertaken are manifest in the results already produced. The beginning of his agricultural career seems bright with the promise of notable success in this sphere of labor in future years.

The subject of this sketch was united in marriage on January 12, 1905, with BLANCHE JOHNS, who was born in Ackley, Iowa, and after undergoing a preliminary scholastic training in the public and high schools in the vicinity of her home, pursued a course of study in Ellsworth College, Iowa Falls, Iowa. Politically, Mr. Berry casts his vote and exerts his influence in favor of the Republican party. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the K. of P.
Source: Historical encyclopedia of Illinois; Chicago: Munsell Pub. Co., 1907, Page 825

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