1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Knox County, IL
Aaron Boyer was born in York County, Pennsylvania, February 17, 1833. In 1839, he moved with his parents, Daniel and Rosana Boyer, to Indiana, where he attended the district school until twelve years of age, obtaining only a meager education. About this time, he met with an accident, which eventually caused his total blindness. However, as soon as he was able to labor, his parents being poor, he was obliged to assist his father in the distillery business, in which he soon became proficient. At the age of fifteen, his father sent him from home to superintend a distillery for an acquaintance. His labor here was too great for his strength and education. Besides, the making of whiskey was distasteful and repulsive. After remaining eight months, he returned home, asking God’s help to keep him from such an unworthy occupation. This resolution was the cause of his leaving home and starting out to make his own way in the world. After many unsuccessful efforts to obtain work, he was finally employed for the season by the Miama Canal Packet Company (J. A. Garfield being at the same time an employee of this company), in driving a team on a canal packet. In the Fall of 1849, he was so badly crippled with rheumatism that he had to seek other employment. It was while thus disabled that he learned to make brooms.
In 1850, he was engaged with a surveying party on the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad, which was the second railroad running out of Cincinnati, Ohio. But the inclement weather so aggravated his rheumatism and affected his eyes, which had never recovered their strength, that he was forced to give up all kinds of labor. At the age of seventeen, he became totally blind. But this boy’s ambition could not be overcome, even by so great a calamity as this. He began making brooms at East Germantown, Indiana, where his parents then lived. In a short time, he had become so proficient in this work that he was appointed foreman of the broom shops at the School for the Blind at Indianapolis, where he remained for one year.
In 1853, he married Elizabeth Buck. To them was born one son, who died in infancy, the mother dying soon after. October 3, 1858, he married Sarah Harper in Wayne County, Indiana, where from 1855 to 1864, he was engaged in the manufacture of brooms, his first purchase of broom corn aggregating but five dollars, he obtaining credit for two dollars of this amount. He then moved to Crawford County, Illinois, where he carried on the same business, until he came to Elmwood, Illinois, in 1866. In 1868, he went to Galesburg, locating in a small frame dwelling house with a factory fifteen by thirty feet. From this small beginning, has grown up a large and successful business, which he carried on until 1897, when he leased his plant and is now retired. In 1893 he bought about twelve thousand dollars’ worth of broom corn within thirty-six hours time.
Mr. Boyer, by his indomitable perseverance, transformed his little broom shop into a large manufactory, making from 15,000 to 18,000 dozen brooms annually. He has also invented and patented some useful broom machinery. Twice his factory has been destroyed by fire—once with no insurance. The present factory was built in 1882, and is sixty by ninety feet, two stories high. It is filled with the latest and most improved machinery. He has also built a fine brick residence with all modern improvements.
Mr. Boyer’s second wife died in 1875, leaving three sons and one daughter, Charles H., Andrew J., William R., and Ola B.
July 10, 1877, he married Julia E., daughter of John and Bethan (Lee) Mitchell, who were among the early settlers of Galesburg, coming from New York, about 1840. By this marriage, Mr. Boyer has had four children—one son and one daughter dying in infancy. The two sons now living are Abel and Orrin E.
Mr. Boyer is an active member of the Methodist Church, and during his long business career, has earned for himself the friendship and respect of all with whom he has come in contact, either in business or in a social way.
Samuel Brown was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, April 23, 1826. He was the son of Samuel and Jane (Bell) Brown; the father was of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born in Kentucky; the mother, who was of Welsh-Irish ancestry, was a native of New Jersey; they were married in Butler County, Ohio, March 12, 1807; he was a soldier in the War of 1812 and drew a soldier’s warrant. This worthy couple moved from Butler County, Ohio, to Whitewater, Indiana, then to Montgomery County, Indiana, where they lived twelve years, and from there, in the Fall of 1834, to Rio Township, Knox County, Illinois. The next Spring they bought land in Henderson Township (Section 6) and although there were settlers all around them, neighbors were generally three miles apart. They were both members of the Baptist Church, and Mr. Brown held the office of deacon. In politics, he was a democrat. They died in Warren County, Mr. Brown, September 10, 1856, aged seventy-four, Mrs. Brown, May 12, 1869, nearly eighty-three years of age. They had nine children, Elizabeth, Esther, Mary, Benjamin, Allen S., Nancy, Jane, Samuel, and John. All lived to enter upon married life, except John, who died at the age of ten, but only Samuel and Benjamin are now living. The parental grandparents of Samuel Brown were John and Esther (Crossley) Brown.
Samuel Brown attended school only nine months, but nevertheless became a well-read, self-educated man, one of the best informed and most intelligent in his township. It was not until after he married, that he learned to read and write, acquiring this and much other knowledge from the teachers who boarded in his family.
November 6, 1845, in Mercer County, Illinois, Mr. Brown married Elizabeth Miller. Six children were born to them, Abraham Miller; Jacob Edward; William W., deceased; Jennie, deceased; Nannie and Ella. Abraham M. graduated from Lombard University in 1870; he is a lawyer, having been admitted to the Bar in 1872; in 1876, he was elected to the Legislature, serving one term. Jacob Edward is a farmer and stock-raiser in Rio Township. Jennie married Milton L. Overstreet; died, 1892. Nannie is the wife of J. L. Overstreet. Ella married Nathaniel G. Scott, who died in August, 1898; they had three children, Preston Brown, Notely Miller, and Mary deceased. Mrs Scott was educated in the Galesburg High School, graduating in the class of 1877.
Mr. Brown was only twenty years old when he married and settled on his farm of 80 acres on Section 30, Rio Township. This farm he improved, and was so successful that he added to the original until the home farm now consists of over 600 acres. To his wife is due equal credit for the accumulation of this fine property. Although she was a most delicate woman, she was an excellent housekeeper and manager. In the month of August, 1870, at great sacrifice to himself, he left his prosperous farm and moved to Galesburg for the purpose of educating his children. Mr. and Mrs. Brown celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1895, one of three golden weddings in the family; it was a notable occasion.In religion, Mr. Brown is a Universalist. In politics, he is a democrat, and has held a number of local offices, such as Justice of the Peace, which office he held for about twelve years, School Director and Trustee, Road Commissioner and Supervisor.
Dwight W. Bunker was born November 4, 1846 in Mentor, Ohio. He was the son of Samuel and Silvia (Walton) Bunker and received from them great care and instruction during this boyhood years. He was educated in the common schools, and from them acquired that mental discipline which fitted him for the business of life. When only two years of age, his parents came to Henderson, Illinois, where they spent the remainder of their days. Young Bunker had a strong desire to be a soldier, and when only fourteen years old he enlisted at Wataga in Company K, Forty-first Illinois Volunteers, known as the “Lead Mine Regiment”, October 20, 1861. He belonged to Captain B. F. Holcomb’s Company and was its youngest member. He was at the capture of Forts Henry and Donaldson, and saw the stars and stripes planted in triumph on their heights. He fought at the bloody battle of Shiloh, and was terribly wounded there while standing near the color-bearer. His left arm was shattered, his left side was lacerated, and a bullet struck his shoulder, which was never removed. He was left, as though dead, on the field of battle. But life was not wholly extinct, and he was removed to a tent where he remained several days without even the covering of a blanket. For six weeks he lay in the death-ward of the hospital, looking at the ghastly forms of the dead and dying around him, with scarcely a ray of hope of recovery. His father, learning of his condition, removed him to his home, and thereby, probably, saved his life. These frightful wounds were the cause of his early death, and it may be truly said that Dwight W. Bunker died for his country.
As soon as he had sufficiently recovered, he was anxious to engage in business. From 1864 to 1873, he was employed on the Union Pacific Railroad. At the close of his service with this company, he engaged in trade for himself, opening a shoe store on Main Street in Galesburg. This business he conducted with success until his death.
Dwight W. Bunker was an excellent citizen. He was patriotic, loving, and kind, and discharged every obligation not grudgingly, but cheerfully. He was benevolent and charitable according to his means, and was no laggard in the performance of good deeds. In every organization to which he belonged, he was regarded by his associates as an efficient working member. He belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic, and in May, 1897, was elected Junior Vice Commander of Illinois. He was Colonel on the staff of General-in-Chief Thomas G. Lawler, receiving the appointment November, 1894. He was a member of the Board of Supervisors of Knox County at the time of his death, and by them, resolutions of respect and condolence were passed.
In his religious belief, Mr. Bunker was a Congregationalist. In his political faith, he was a republican, and labored earnestly for the cause of that party.
He was married May 31, 1873, to Mary Isabell Carpenter, daughter of Asaph N. and Mary E. (Winterbottom) Carpenter. Along the paternal line of her ancestors, is found Thomas Carpenter, her great-grandfather, who was born in Massachusetts. Her great-grandmother was Cloa Carpenter, born in the same State. Her grandfather was Asaph Carpenter, born at Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and her grandmother was Caroline Carpenter, born in the same town.
Her maternal line of ancestors reaches back to her great-grandfather, Peter Carpenter, and to her great grandmother, Nancy Carpenter, both born in Massachusetts. Her grandfather was Lease Winterbottom, a native of England, and her grandmother was Sarah Lewis, born in Connecticut.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunker had but one child, Dwight Carpenter, who married Vina Penn. They have one child, Carrie Isabell.
Captain James L. Burkhalter, son of David and Mary Ann (Marks) Burkhalter, was born in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1835.
The Burkhalters are Swiss and came originally from the Canton of Berne. The name, which signifies “Keeper of the Castle”, is very common in Switzerland. Ulrich Burkhalter came to this country in 1732, and on August 11, took the oath of allegiance in William Penn’s Colony. He purchased three hundred acres of land in Burks County (now Lehigh), in Whitehall Township, just north of Allentown. It was here that the father of Captain Burkhalter was born.
Ulrich had a son Peter, who was Captain Burkhalter’s great-great-grandfather, and who possessed the landed estate of his father. He was a man of prominence. He was naturalized in 1761; was County Commissioner in 1787; was a member of the State Convention in the same year; was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly for several terms; and was a Representative in Congress from 1791 to 1794. He was also Captain of a company of the Northampton Association, and saw active service during the Revolution in the Jerseys. Peter Burkhalter died in 1806. He had a son whose name was John Peter, and the latter had a son whose name was Henry, the grandfather of James L. Henry was the father of fourteen children, twelve of whom lived to maturity—six sons and six daughters. The third son, David, was the father of Captain Burkhalter.
Captain Burkhalter’s life is full of incident and interest. Both his patriotism and his manhood have made him a man of mark. The “War Governor,” Richard Yates, appointed him recruiting officer under the call of President Lincoln for 300,000 volunteers. He recruited Company “G” of the Eighty-third and Company “F” of the Eighty-sixth Illinois Volunteers. He then enlisted as a private in Company “F” and was elected Captain.
Under this rank, he commanded his company through its many campaigns. He was detailed for various other duties, such as building bridges and roads. As Prevost Marshal and later as Inspector General by appointment of General George H. Thomas, he served on staff duty under Generals McCook, Fearing, Morgan, Davis, and Slocum. He campaigned in very many different States—Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia—and was one of “Sherman’s Bummers” in that famous march through Georgia to the Sea. At the close of the war, he took part in the grand review of the armies at Washington.
Alongside the Captain’s military record, his civil record is worthy of mention. He had held various public offices, such as Police Magistrate and Town Clerk in Maquon, County Treasurer of Knox County for eleven consecutive years, and Supervisor from the City of Galesburg for five terms. In January, 1883, he was elected president of the Farmer’s and Mechanics’ Bank, which position he still holds.
His political creed is republican. He is strictly a party man. He is an uncompromising believer in republican principles, and he follows them to the end. His religious creed is broad, and his impulses are benevolent. He is a believer in the righteousness of good works.
Captain Burkhalter was married to Martha E. Adle, December 2, 1858. To them were born eight children: Charles F., Henry L., James W., Desdemona, John D., Nellie L., Robert P., and Alvin P.
Burner, Milton D; Farmer; Cedar Township; where he was born January 30, 1844; educated in the common schools. His father, Daniel Green Burner, was born in Kentucky, July 07, 1814, and came to Knox County in 1830 with his father, Isaac Burner, who died near Knoxville July 07, 1860. Daniel G. Burner was a firm friend of Abraham Lincoln, being a clerk in his store at New Salem, Illinois. After coming to Knox County he worked for a limited time at the carpenter's trade, and assisted in building the first court house at Knoxville. Later he began farming and still resides on his farm near Knoxville. On June 24, 1838, he was married to Melissa, daughter of John B. and Casander Dills Gumm; five Children were born to them: John G., a farmer living near Eldorado, Kansas; Milton D; Casander, who was the wife of Clate Swigert, and died February 06, 1892; Susan, wife of Oliver Custer, a resident of Cedar Township; and Jane, wife of Robert Mount of Des Moines, Iowa. Mrs. Burner died June 09, 1953. Mr. Burner married Elizabeth Martz, who died February 27, 1877. By this union there were three children; Mary, Ellen, and Ida, all deceased. In August, 1868, Mr. Burner was married to Susanna C., daughter of John and Rebecca Lighter Burns. Eleven children were born to them: Edwin G., who married Addie Graham of Cuba, Illinois, June 17, 1897, and is a hardware merchant of Chillicothe, Illinois; Willis J., a graduate of Hedding College, now a preacher at Irvington, Indiana, married Lulu Burr, of LaHarpe, Illinois, and has two children: Margaret and Jarvis; James A., City Marshal of Chillicothe, Henry L., and employee of Abingdon Steam Laundry; and Melissa R., a teacher in the public Schools at Abingdon; Georgia, who resides at Knoxville with her aged grandfather; Etta M.; Bertha J.,; Jessie A.; Mina E.; and Francis A., who lives with her parents. Mr. Burner and family worship at the Christian Church, Abingdon. In politics, he is a democrat. He takes especial interest in public affairs, and has held the office of School Trustee for twenty years. page #917
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