Volume II~~1912 History of Knox County, IL , by Albert Perry

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created May 15, 2005

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General F. C. Smith--General F. C. Smith, whose title came in recognition of the valiant services which he rendered to his country in the Civil war, made an equally creditable record in private life and, although all days were not equally bright when viewed from eh financial standpoint, he ever maintained a high position in the honor and regard of his fellowmen, and in fostering railroad building and other business enterprises contributed much to the substantial development of the districts in which he lived.  He was born in Portageville, New York, July 14, 1824. His father, Cyrus Smith, was a soldier of the war of 1812 and his example of military service and valor inspired the son, who later gave equal youthful days in Portageville and pursued his early education there., He also studied fro a year in Hamilton University and afterward engaged in teaching school for a number of terms in his native town. He also added to his own knowledge by reading and study and therein laid the foundation of that broad general fund of information which always characterized him and which was ever ready at his command. He was only fourteen years of age when he lost his father so that from that time he was largely dependent upon his own resources. From the work of the schoolroom he turned his attention to contracting and gained prominence in that line in the state of New York. He was interested in the construction of the Geneseo canal and did extensive work on the Erie canal besides executing other large contracts. for this work he was splendidly qualified, possessing much natural mechanical ingenuity and talent in the line of civil engineering. He also studied law while a resident of New York although he did not at that time enter upon active practice, he later depended upon his knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence and the success which he obtained in practice showed that he was well grounded in the fundamentals of the law.

       In February, 1856, General Smith was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Gilbert, of Batavia, New York, and after residing for three years in the Empire state they came to the middle west in 1859, settling in Oneida, Knox County, Illinois.  Some of the members of his family had preceded him and by reason of this he was induced to establish his home in the Mississippi Valley. He was residing in Oneida when the Civil war broke out and his patriotic spirit was fired by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union. He was among the first of this district to respond to the call to arms and he was connected with some of the most brilliant achievements of the War.  He took and active part in organizing Companies A, B, D, F, H, and I, of the One hundred and second Illinois Regiment, all of which were raised in this county while the other companies of the regiment were raised in Mercer, Warren, and Rock Island counties.  The One Hundred and Second Illinois was mustered into service, September 02, 1862, with F. C. Smith as lieutenant colonel, and it is said that this command was never know to retreat. He was promoted to the rank of colonel, October 24, 1862, following the resignation of Colonel William McMurtry, and remained in command of his regiment until the close of the war.  It was successively connected with Gordon's Reserve Corps, the Eleventh Army Corps and the Twentieth Army Corps, and during the Atlanta campaign was a part of General Sherman's army. On the 16th of March, 1864, an order came attaching the regiment to the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Twentieth Corps and in consequence thereof General Smith participated in the campaign against Atlanta, followed by the celebrated march under Sheridan to the sea.  In this campaign he and his regiment made a record of which his country may well be proud.  They participated in the battle of Resaca, May 15, 1864, and took part in the daring charge made across a ravine against a rebel fort which they captured, colonel Smith being one of the first to enter the fort. Subsequently the One Hundred and Second Illinois was in the engagement of New Hope Church and at Golgotha Church, and, on the 16th of June, 1864, at Pine Mountain, Georgia, their commander was severely wounded in the left leg above the knee. As soon as he was able to walk he returned to the command of his regiment, which was on the 19th of August, 1864.  When General Benjamin Harrison was granted a furlough and returned home the command of the brigade fell upon General Smith and he led it on the great march through the wilderness to Savannah. After that he was granted a furlough and visited his family and home, but rejoined his regiment  on the 13th of April, 1865, near Raleigh, and with the brigade under General Harrison marched on to Washington, participating in the grand review on the 24th of May, 1865, his regiment leading the brigade. They were mustered out in June and Colonel Smith was brevetted brigadier general on account of his long and efficient service.  The president treated him with great respect and paid him a high compliment because of the valorous aid which he had rendered his country.

     When the war was over General Smith returned to his home in Oneida and became prominently connected with the building of the Fort Scott & Western Railway.  The failure of this road embarrassed him financially, for he had spent much of his private means to pay the men. About 1874, he removed to Galesburg. while living in New York he had studied law and was admitted to practice in the courts of Illinois about 1883.  For ten or twelve years he occupied the same office as the Hon. J. C. Stewart and during 1877 and 1878u, when Mr. Stewart was mayor of the city, General Smith served as city attorney. He followed his profession continuously for a number of years and his opinions upon law matters were regarded as models of clearness and perspicuity.  General Smith also became on of the builders of the Central Illinois Railroad. During President Cleveland's administration he was connected with the revenue office at Peoria and from 1883-1885 served as superintendent of the streets in Galesburg. He was ever loyal to the public trusts reposed in him and was equally faithful in the discharge of every private duty.

     Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith there were born two children, but the younger, a daughter, Anna, is now deceased. The son, William, still resides in Galesburg as does his widowed mother, Mrs. Sarah Smith. the death of General Smith occurred in 1891. He belonged to Vester Lodge, No. 584, A. f. & A. A., and to the Royal Arch chapter, and his religious faith was indicated by his membership in the First Baptist Church. His was an upright and honorable life, in consistent harmony with his professions, and at all times he was actuated by the spirit of progress that prompted his hearty cooperation in many movements for the material, intellectual, political and moral progress of his community.   pages 145-147.


George R. Byram- Among the successful enterprises which constitute the business activity of Abingdon is numbered the livery establishment of George R. Byram, a representative of a family which has long been established in this district.  Mr. Byram was born on a farm southwest of Abingdon, in Indian Point township, Knox county, and is a son of Robert and Nancy (Nance) Byram, natives of Ohio and Knox County respectively.  The maternal grandfather of George R. Byram saw military service in one of the early wars, while the paternal grandfather was numbered among the early settlers of this section of the state.  At an early day he brought his family to Knox county, establishing his home on a farm which he purchased, consisting of one hundred and seventy-three acres of land located southwest of Abingdon.  After his death his son, Robert Byram, purchased the interests of the other heirs to the property and continued in its ownership and cultivation for number of years.  He is now living retired from active work and with his wife makes his home in Abingdon. Aside from his connection with agricultural pursuits he has also taken an active and helpful interest in public affairs, serving for a time as county supervisor and also as tax collector.

        Opportunity for good mental training was afforded George R. Byram, his preliminary education being acquired in the schools of Abingdon, while later he had the benefit of study at Hedding College. His father's farm was the training ground upon which he received his early preparation for the practical duties of life, and after thoroughly mastering the various phases of agriculture he took up farming on his own account, being thus engaged for five years both in Indian Point and Cedar townships. In 1903 he took up his abode in Abingdon and in the following year purchased the livery business owned by the estate of L. S. Austin, to conduct of which he has since devoted his time and attention.  He now carries on a general livery and feed business that is up-to-date and modern in all of its appointments, and in its management has been very prosperous, the gratifying degree of success which has attended his efforts. being the result of keen business sagacity, close application and sound judgment.

       It was on the 23rd of February, 1897,. that Mr. Byram was united in marriage to Miss Ella M. Dingman, who was born in Iowa on the 6th of February, 1874. Her parents came to Abingdon at an early day and here the father engaged in bridge building, being accidentally killed while thus employed.  His wife passed away during the early childhood of her daughter who, by her marriage to Mr. Byram, has become the mother of two children, Doren and Donald. Mr. and Mrs. Byram are members of the Christian church and occupy a prominent position in the social circles in which they move.  Mr. Byram is keenly alive to the questions and issues of the day and his public spirit prompts his cooperation in all matters for the development and improvement of his home locality.  pages #845_846

William Henry Gibbs – William Henry Gibbs, a well known citizen of Galva, Illinois, is a native of Knox County, his birth occurring in Lynn Township, January 27, 1843. He comes of a family of Quaker origin, which was founded in America at the time of William Penn and his colony settled in Pennsylvania. Our subject’s paternal grandfather, Martin Gibbs, was a native of Camden county, New Jersey, in which state he engaged in the sawmill business prior to coming to Illinois with the father of our subject in September, 1838. They located upon what became known as the old Gibbs homestead in Lynn township, Knox County. Here the grandfather erected a sawmill in 1849 and engaged in its operation. He and his son occupied a double log house during those pioneer days.  He married Hannah Beck and they were prominently identified with the early development of this section of the state.

Jonathan Gibbs, the father of our subject, was born in Camden county, New Jersey, December 22, 1808, and remained with his parents until he had attained his majority, when he commenced learning the glass blower’s trade, following that occupation for nine years. As previously stated, he came to Knox county in September, 1838, and upon the home farm in Lynn township spent the remainder of his life. In connection with farming he assisted in the operation of the sawmill, which was the first erected in this part of the county. On coming to this state he was accompanied by his wife and one child, for he had previously married TAMAR NORCROSS on the 14th of August, 1832. She was born May 11, 1812, and was a daughter of Joseph and Martha (Duball) Norcross, being one of seven children. Her death occurred July 15, 1900. To Mrs. And Mrs. Jonathan Gibbs were born nine children, of whom four are still living: Phoebe, the wife of A. O. Bradley, of Lafayette, Illinois; Clayton A., who is connected with the Hayes Works at Galva; Richard F. of Lynn township; and William Henry, of this review. Jonathan Gibbs died September 15, 1889.
William H. Gibbs was reared and educated in much the same manner of farmer boys and remained under the parental roof until twenty-two years of age, assisting in the work of the farm. He then went to LaFayette, where he engaged in business as a contractor in mason work until 1888. He was next employed as fireman on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad and later was promoted to engineer, in which capacity he served until 1901. For one year he had charge of the City Water Works of Galva and in 1909 entered the employ of the Hayes Manufacturing Company of that place, with which he is still connected.
        On the 12th of May, 1864, Mr. Gibbs was united in marriage to Miss Julia Grant, who was born in Stark County, Illinois, August 30, 1844.  Her father, Nelson Grant, who was a farmer by occupation and a native of New York sate, was born on the 16th of February, 1810, and died February 27, 1892, in Stark County, Illinois.  Her mother, who bore the maiden name of Mary Chatfield, was born November 10, 1814, and died May 12, 1906. Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs have become the parents of three children: Cora May, who is the wife of Herman R. Pelz, a traveling salesman living in Peoria; Clara Alice, the wife of Thomas E. Chilton, who is a native of England and a salesman for the Challenge Company of Batavia, living in Galva, Illinois; and Claude Irvin, a molder by trade, who married Alice Peterson, a daughter of John S. Peterson, of Galva, in which they make their home. Mr. Gibbs has one grandchild, Dorothy May Chilton, who was born April 4, 1903, and is now attending school. By his ballot, Mr. Gibbs supports the men and measures of the republican party and he has taken an active interest in local affairs. He served on the school board in Lynn township and his support is never withheld from any enterprise which he believes will prove of public benefit.  pages 966- 967

Wilfred Arnold, lawyer and legislator, who as a member of the firm of Arnold & Arnold, is practicing in the courts of Illinois, makes his home in Galesburg, his native city, where he was born June 24, 1871. His parents were Benjamin F. and Ella Ferris Arnold, natives of New York, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume.

    Wilfred Arnold spent his youthful days in this city and in the acquirement of his education attended the public schools until graduated from the high school with the class of 1889. He afterward entered Knox College, therein completing his course in 1894. His law studies were pursued at Harvard and after two years'; preparation he was admitted to the bar, on the 19th of November, 1896, and opened an office in Galesburg, where he has since followed his profession, practicing now as a member of the firm of Arnold & Arnold.       to be continued....

Charles S. Clark; one of the most extensive landowners and successful agriculturists of Victoria Township; who in addition to the duties connected with the operation of his extensive acreage is officially connected with a number of the leading banking institutions of Knox county. He is a native of New York, his birth occurring in Roxbury, Delaware county, on the 4th of June, 1835, and the eldest son of Job W. and Hepsey Woods Clark, while his paternal grandfather was Hazard Clark. the father was born in Berkshire, Massachusetts, on the 7th of July, 1812, while the mother was a native of Roxbury, her birth occurring in 1815. In his early manhood Job W. Clark came to New York, locating in Roxbury, where on the 13th of July, 1834, he was united in marriage to Miss Woods. There they spent the early years of their domestic life, but in 1855 they came west, and in December of that year settled in the village of Victoria.  Mr. Clark subsequently purchased a quarter section of land west of there, known as the Mound farm. Later he and his wife removed to an eighty-acre tract in Victoria township, and there he passed away on the 24th of January, 1884, his wife surviving until the 13th of October, 1886, when her death occurred on the home farm. Both were laid to rest in the cemetery at Victoria.  Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Clark there were born six children the eldest being Charles S., of this sketch. William Perry, who was born on June 11, 1839, now residing in Talmage, Nebraska, married Adaline Hines, a native of Victoria, from whom he was subsequently divorced. Of this marriage there were born three children: Carrie Augusta, who is deceased; Charles Perry; and William Bird, who is also deceased. On the 12th of March, 1887, he was married to Mary Peterson, also of Victoria, and they have three children: Marion Caroline; Ella May; and Mary Louise.  Marian A., whose birth occurred on February 14, 1846, married Charles D. Sornborger, who was born in Victoria on the 26th of October, 1843. Their marriage occurred on the 12th of April, 1870,. and on the 5th of March, seven years later, she passed away and was buried in the cemetery at Victoria. Unto them there were born three sons: Clifford Ford, whose natal day was the 12th of June 1871; Clyde Wilson, born on July 24, 1874, and Earl Charles, who was born on August 13, 1877, and died on the 8th of April, 1878. Judson E., the fourth in order of birth of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Job WE. Clark, was born in February, 1848, and died in 1850. Sarah Ella was born on Christmas day, 1850, and on the 29th of March, 1871, she was married to Elmer C. Powell, of Springfield, following children: Osborne Wayne, Augusta, Maurice Clark, Mabel Marion, Mildred Bell, Reed McKinley and Sybil Marie.  Luman Reed was united in marriage on the 23rd day of May, 1884, to Matilda R. Cummings, who was born on the 14th of June, 1859, and she died in Kansas on the 20th of March, 1894. Of this marriage there were born five children, Arthur Wilcox, Nellie Belle, Charles, John Gilmore and Luman Reed, Jr.

     Charles S. Clark was educated in the common schools of his native state, where he spent the first twenty years of his life.  After the family removed to Victoria he began his independent business career, and for two years thereafter clerked in Whitting & Copley's mercantile establishment.  Must of his life having been spent on a farm, he was thoroughly familiar with agricultural pursuits, and as this vocation seemed to afford better opportunities of advancement that commercial lines he left the store and the succeeding two years devoted to farming. In 1860, he made a trip to the mining sections of Colorado, making the journey with a team and wagon. There he secured a gold claim and spent eight months in prospecting. At the expiration of that period he returned to Victoria and bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres a mile east of town. He subsequently disposed of this property and bought the place where he is now living, located on the east side of the north and south road in section 7 Victoria township, containing one  hundred and thirty acres of fertile land, that is well improved and carefully kept up. In the operation of his fields Mr. Clark has always manifested the intelligence and capability that characterizes the successful business man in any line of activity, and as a result he has been unusually prosperous. Well tilled and carefully cultivated land, where all other conditions are favorable, invariably responds to the attention bestowed upon it by yielding abundant harvests, and such has been the experience of Mr. Clark, who annually realizes a handsome dividend from his fields. In connection with diversified farming he raises stock, and this branch of his business has also proven to be very remunerative. As his means have warranted he has added to his holdings until he now owns eleven hundred acres of land, all of which is under cultivation. With exception of two eighty-acre tracts that are located in Copley township, all of his land is in Victoria township. All of the buildings now standing on his homestead have been erected during the ownership of Mr. Clark, with the exception of the residence. He has large, substantially constructed barns and outbuildings for his stock, which is of a good grade, and ample provision is also made for the protection of his grains and farming implements.

     On the 21st of March, 1861, Mr. Clark was married to Miss Almina C. Hedstrom, who was born at Farmington, Illinois, on the 12th of October, 1840, and passed away on the farm, where Mr. Clark now resides on November 05, 1887, of typhoid fever. She is buried in the cemetery at Victoria. Her father was a Swedish minister and her mother a sister of Anson Sornborger, formerly of Worcester, Oswego County, New York. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clark there were born five children. Irwin J. who is she eldest, was born on the 23rd day of September, 1862, and died on October 05, 18888. Mary Lois, who was born on the 19th  of May, 1864, married Newton C. Robbins, of Copley township, and they have nine children, Glenn, Maurine, Edith, Eva, Reuben, Stewart, Howard, Jean, and Lucille.  Charles Delbert, who was born on November 14, 1866, and died in April, 1898, married Nettie Doak, this event occurring on the 5th of November, 1895. Unto them were born two sons, John Stewart and Charles Doak. On the 24th of April, 1900,. Mrs. Charles Delbert Clark passed away and was laid to rest beside her husband in the cemetery at Victoria. She was a daughter of John and Janet Doak, Of Oneida, Illinois. both of Mr. Y& Mrs. Charles D. Clark were members if the Methodist /Episcopal church. He always took an active interest in all political affairs, his allegiance being given to the republican party, and he held a number of township offices. Jennie Becker was born on the 29th of September, 1869, and makes her home with her father. she is a member of the Congregational church. John Perry, whose natal day was the 17th of September, 1871, married Eva Gordon, a daughter of Harry and Mary Gordon, and is a resident of Victoria. Of this marriage there have been born five children, Gordon Wilder, Ralph Perry, Fred Richard, Helen Janet and Jean Almina.  The Victoria cemetery, where so many members of the Clark family are buried, originally belonged to the farm now owned by our subject but was deeded away, for the purpose it is now used, before he bought the place..

      In matters of faith Mr. Clark is a Methodist, as was also his wife, while his political views accord with the principles of the republican party. Although he has for many years had extensive business interests, that claimed the greater part of his attention, Mr. Clark never neglects his civic duties. He takes an active and helpful interest in the political affairs of the township, and served for twelve years as school trustee and director and for three terms as township supervisor. In the administration of his official duties he manifested the same sagacity and discretion as characterizes his transactions in business life, his service being marked by Rare efficiency. Mr. Clark possess not only unusual business acumen but great versatility, as anything that he has undertaken has been so capably directed, that it has proven a success from every point of view and the methods used in its achievement have at all times been above question.  He has the rare faculty of recognizing opportunities ignored by the man of less foresight, that he ably directs to his own advantage, and to this can be attributed his unusual success. In addition to his valuable realty holdings he is a stockholder and director of the State Bank of Victoria, and a stockholder of the Oneida State Bank of Oneida, and of the State Bank of Altona, while he is also as director and vice president of the latter institution. Through the entire period of his business career, Mr. Clark has at all times given evidence of possessing the qualities that would have won him recognition as a man of unusual mental powers  and judicious discernment in any vocation he might have elected to follow.  All of his transactions evidence the clear judgment, careful regard for details, keen discrimination and above all else the determination of purpose that characterize the successful man and give him the power where with he dominates conditions.  pages: #386-#390

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