1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Knox County, IL



            Colonel Clark E. Carr was born at Boston Corners, Erie County, New York, May 20, 1836.  He was the son of Clark M. and Delia (Torrey) Carr.  His parents were intelligent and painstaking people, and gave their children all the advantages possible in those days.  His mother died when he was three years old, and is buried at Boston Corners.  When he was nine years old, his father married Fanny Le Yau, who became a devoted and affectionate mother to the children.  The family came West around the Lakes, in March, 1850, landing in Chicago.  Here teams were purchased, and they made their journey in “prairie schooners” to Henry County, Illinois, locating on a farm near Cambridge.  In the Autumn of 1851, the family removed to Galesburg, where the father and his second wife lived and died.

            Colonel Carr’s paternal ancestry reaches back to Caleb Carr, who died while Colonial Governor of Rhode Island, and to Rev. John Clark, who was driven out of the Massachusetts colony for preaching the Baptist doctrine.  Like Roger Williams, John Clark went to Rhode Island, then a wilderness, and afterwards became its Governor.  The Colonel’s great-grandmother was a Miss Clark, descended from Governor John Clark, and Clark has been the Christian name of his grandfather, of his father, of himself, and of his son.

            Colonel Carr’s early educational advantages were of the better sort, and he judiciously and wisely improved his opportunities.  He attended the district school in the village of his nativity, until he was eleven years of age.  He then went to Springville Academy, Erie County, New York, where he remained two years.  At fourteen he arrived in Galesburg.  Immediately, he entered Knox Academy and afterwards the Collegiate Department of Knox College, leaving at the end of the sophomore year to commence the study of law.  He first entered the Law School at Poughkeepsie, New York, and subsequently, the Albany Law School, graduating in 1857.  His first co-partnership in the practice of his profession was with Thomas Harrison, and three years later, with Hon. O. F. Price, under the firm name of Carr and Price.  In March, 1861, as a just acknowledgment of his services on the stump, he was appointed by President Lincoln Postmaster of Galesburg, which position he held for twenty-four years.

            Early in the War of the Rebellion, Governor Yates appointed him Colonel on his staff, and to its close, Colonel Carr performed his duties faithfully, such as assisting in the organization of regiments at Springfield, visiting the army in the field, and bringing home the sick and wounded.  Governor Yates said that no man outside of the army did more efficient service.  He was constantly active, also, in the interest of the government, in awakening by his speeches throughout Illinois, a patriotic and living public sentiment; often speaking with Governor Yates and others in support of the State and National administration.  In 1862, when an attempt was made to turn out all the republican State officers of Illinois, Colonel Carr and other patriotic men came as champions of their cause before the people, and succeeded in keeping the State Government in the control of Governor Yates and his colleagues.  In September, 1863, a great mass meeting was held in Chicago for the purpose of sustaining President Lincoln in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.  It was here, from the Court House steps, that Colonel Carr made one of the greatest speeches of his life.  It was published in the Chicago papers and circulated throughout the country.

            Colonel Carr has always shown himself to be a public spirited man.

            He has held several offices in the city of his adoption.  He was a delegate to the National Convention, held at Baltimore in 1864, which re-nominated President Lincoln.  He was a delegate from the State-at-large to the National Convention in 1884, which nominated Blaine and Logan.  He was a member of the committee on the platform resolutions, of which committee President McKinley was chairman.

            It is almost needless to say that Colonel Carr is and always was a republican.  He has spoken in almost every northern State in advocacy of republican principles.  He also made many literary addresses, and his services in both the political and literary field are still in great demand.  He spoke at the first meeting in favor of the Hennepin Canal, held at Ottawa many years ago, and was present at the Willard Hall meeting in Washington, and at other meetings favoring the enterprise.  A great event in which Colonel Carr bore a conspicuous part was in the organization of the Gettysburg Association.  Commissioners from the several States whose soldiers had participated in that battle constituted the Association.  Colonel Carr was appointed commissioner for Illinois by the Governor.  The dead bodies were to be consigned to their graves, and headstones erected, before the cemetery was finally turned over to the general Government.  It was this Association that invited President Lincoln and his Cabinet to be present, and Edward Everett to deliver the oration at the dedicatory exercises, and it was Colonel Carr that suggested and urged that Lincoln also be invited to speak.  All these commissioners sat on the stage, when the great patriotic President delivered that celebrated address.

            Colonel Carr has been honored by being called to high positions, and he had honored the positions to which he has been called.

            Under President Harrison’s administration, he was appointed Minister Resident and Consul General to Denmark.  While a conference of Consuls General, of which he was a member, was in session in Paris, he received notice from Washington of his promotion to the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary, in which position he represented our country at that brilliant court for four years.  As Minister, Colonel Carr performed signal service in the interest of the World’s Fair and for the commerce of the United States.  He served his country faithfully for four years as Minister of Copenhagen, and received the highest commendations from the Government.

            Colonel Carr is entitled to great credit for the part he took in inducing the Santa Fe Company to build the line of their railway through Galesburg.  The company made several surveys with the design of finding the shortest practical line to Chicago.  Orders were issued to adopt the line about twelve miles south of Galesburg.  Through the efforts of Colonel Carr, the company was induced to prospect a line through this city, which was finally adopted upon certain conditions.  While the citizens contributed generously to the work of the complying with those conditions, but for the efforts of Colonel Carr, the Santa Fe Railway would have gone direct from Fort Madison to Streator, leaving Galesburg to one side.

            Colonel Carr also took a deep interest in the Omaha Exposition.  He was President of the Illinois commission, composed of twenty members appointed from different parts of the State.  The commission erected a beautiful building on the grounds, which became a popular resort.  The affairs of this commission were so well managed as to elicit the highest commendations.  An unexpended portion of the appropriation of nearly $7,000 was left in the State Treasury.  For this, much credit is due to the president of the commission.


            Milton Lemmon Comstock, A.M., Ph.D., was born in Crosby Township, Hamilton County, Ohio, October 19, 1824.  There is a tradition that the progenitor of the Comstock family in England was a German Baron, Kulmstock, who emigrated to that country about A.D. 1500.  A village named Culmstock exists among the Down Hills, between Exeter and Taunton, and William Comstock, born in 1608, came with his wife, Elizabeth, from southwestern England to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.  Their fourth child, John, with his wife, Abigail, settled in Lyme, Connecticut.  William, the third of the seven children of John, born January 9, 1669, had two children, the second of whom was William, born January 16, 1695 (Lyme Records, page 428, defective from fire).  James, the eldest of William’s four children, was the great-grandfather of Milton L.

            The parents of Milton L., Joab and Jane (Lemmon) Comstock, were born in Ohio and Maryland, respectively; his paternal grandparents, Joab and Eunice (Willey) Comstock, were born in Connecticut; his maternal grandparents, William and Margaret (McCaine) Lemmon, were born near Armagh, Ireland; his paternal great-grandparents were James and Thankful (Crosby) Comstock, and Ephraim and Patience (Becket) Willey; on the maternal side, John and Jane (McCrea) Lemon (name so spelled originally), and Archibald and Elizabeth (Trimble) McCaine.  His grandfather, Joab Comstock, came with his family from Hadlyme, Connecticut, to Ohio, in 1801, and settled in the northwestern part of Hamilton County, where he made a farm out of a dense forest; he died in Ohio in 1825, and his widow died near Burlington, Iowa, in 1858.  Joab, the fifth of his children who attained maturity, was born February 9, 1804, removed to Iowa in 1839, and died in Burlington in 1882.  He was a farmer and a local Methodist preacher for nearly fifty years, a kind and faithful man. William Lemmon, Mr. Comstock’s maternal grandfather, came to America in 1801, and to Ohio in 1819; he was a weaver; he died in 1851.  His daughter Jane, who became the wife of Joab Comstock, father of Milton L., was born in Maryland, February 15, 1807, and died near Burlington, Iowa, in 1875.

            Milton L. Comstock was the eldest of eleven children.  His schooling began when he was four years of age, in a log school house, which had split logs for seats, and a stick chimney.  His winters were spent in school, and his summers on the farm.  After his removal to Iowa, his time was mostly occupied in improving their farm in the new country.  Besides the ordinary work upon a farm, his experience included breaking prairie, making rails, riving and shaving shingles, running a shingle machine and sawmill, quarrying stone with drill and powder, running a thrashing machine, raising and caring for flax, and the propagation and culture of fruit trees.

            At the age of twenty Mr. Comstock began a life of study and teaching.  His physical welfare was assured by early training and habits of temperance, and during forty-six years of teaching he lost only three days from sickness.  In September, 1844, he entered Knox Academy, Galesburg, Illinois, with a fair common school education, but never having seen an Algebra or a Latin Grammar.  He studied a year with all possible diligence, for his dominant wish had been to possess knowledge.  In June, 1845, he returned home, taught school, studied and taught in Yellow Springs Academy, Des Moines County, Iowa, and after two years returned to Galesburg, entered Knox College, and at the end of four years of untiring study, had conferred upon him the degree A.B., June 26,1851.

            July 30,1851, he married Cornelia Ann, second daughter of Norman and Anna (Eggleston) Churchill, of Galesburg, formerly of Herkimer County, New York.  Mrs. Comstock was born at Winfield, New York, March 17, 1831, and was a granddaughter of Rev. Jesse Churchill of Wethersfield.  Her family, on the maternal side, can be traced to an ancestor who settled at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1635.  She completed the Ladies’ Course in Knox College, except one study; taught school several terms; taught in the Haynes Academy, Cherry Grove, Knox County, and sang in the choir of the “Old First” Church for thirty-five years.  Mr. and Mrs. Comstock have had six children, four of whom are living:  Cornelia Belle, Clara Emily, Clarence Elmer, and Ada Heletia, all of whom are graduates of Knox College.  Cornelia B. is the wife of Will W. Hammond, a lawyer of Peoria, Illinois, who graduated from Knox College in 1878; she is a member of the choir of Plymouth Congregational Church.  Clara E. is a stenographer and Notary Public, at Peoria.  Clarence E. is in charge of the Mathematical Department of Bradley Polytechnic Institute, Peoria; he is leader of the choir, deacon, and trustee of Plymouth Congregational Church.  Ada H. is a member of the choir of Central Congregational Church, Galesburg.

            Mr. Comstock taught three years in Knox Academy.  In 1854, the degree A.M. was conferred upon him by his Alma Mater.  In the summer of the same year, he removed to Des Moines County, Iowa, and engaged his horticultural pursuits, and during the three years spent in that occupation he was, most of the time, Editor of the Iowa Farmer.  In September, 1857, he became a Professor in Yellow Springs College, Iowa.  In September, 1858, he came to Knox College as Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and in 1861, became Professor in that department.  He discharged the duties of the position till June, 1898, when he became Professor Emeritus.  In addition to the pure mathematics, he taught Astronomy, Physics, and Meteorology.  He was secretary of the Faculty for twenty years.  Devoting an average of two hours a day to outside studies, he spent at least two years upon each of the following branches:  Trigonometry, analytic geometry, differential calculus, integral calculus, and astronomy; he also devoted considerable time to quaternion, determinants, trilinear co-ordinates, and differential equations, and in 1879, when Lombard University conferred upon him the degree Ph. D., he did not hesitate to accept the honor from fear of being criticized for not being properly qualified.

            Mr. Comstock became a member of the M. E. Church in 1840, but withdrew from that church on account of the slavery agitation, and joined with others in forming a Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1844.  He united with the “Old First” Church of Galesburg in 1851, and was elder and clerk in that church for twenty-seven years; he sang in the choir twenty-five years, and represented the church in various associations; he is now a deacon in the Central Church of Galesburg.

            His writings are confined to a few articles in different mathematical journals and in newspapers, over his name and the signatures:  “X. Y. Z,” “C,” “K” and Ecleme.”  He joined a temperance society in 1833.  He has been a republican ever since that party was organized.



            Hon. Zelotes Cooley sought his fortune in the West at a very early period, when Knox County contained here and there only a few hamlets and the virgin soil was almost unbroken.  He was a large factor in its development and growth form the day he set foot on her soil to the moment of his death.  In his manner of living, he was plain and simple and was never guilty of ostentatious display.  In honesty and moral rectitude, the true dignity of his character was shown.  His suave disposition and his inborn gentility fitted him especially to deal with men, and to these qualities his great success in business and in life is principally due.  He had keen perceptions and a sound judgment, and could unravel the machinations and evil designs of men as by intuition.  The frivolous was no part of his nature, and consequently he took life as a serious business.  He was always known for his strict honesty and his fair dealings with his fellowmen.  His unyielding firmness in justice and right begat confidence and as a result, place and honor were bestowed upon him.  He honored every office that he was called to fill, because he regarded himself as a true servant of the people.

            Judge Cooley came from a long line of Puritan ancestors.  He was born November 10, 1808, in East Windsor, Connecticut.  He removed to Glastonbury with his parents in 1816.  At sixteen, he went to Hartford to learn the carpenter’s trade and afterwards to Westfield, Massachusetts, and later to Poughkeepsie, New York, where he engaged in the grocery business until 1837.  He next went to Philadelphia, then down the Ohio River, up the Mississippi, through Illinois to La Grange.  He then went to Quincy, then to Macomb and Carthage.  At Carthage, he was employed to build the Court House.  In 1838, he came to Knox County.  With a partner, Mr. Alvah Wheeler, he built the Court House at Knoxville, drawing the plans himself.  He was engaged as a contractor and builder until 1846, when he was appointed County Assessor.  He was elected for ten years, when he commenced the practice of law.

            In politics, Judge Cooley was a democrat.  In religion, he was not connected with any order, but believed in the Golden Rule and in loving and serving his fellowmen.  He was charitable, always bestowing his means judiciously whenever a worthy object was presented.  His several bequests to St. Mary’s at Knoxville, and to the hospital, Knox College, and the Universalist Church of Galesburg sufficiently attest the character of his benevolence and charities.

            He married Miss Julia A. Hanks, of Connecticut in 1833.  Of this union, two daughters are still living—Mrs. David W. Bradshaw and Mrs. Samuel L. Charles.


            Rev. Joseph Costa, O. C., R. D., was born October 18, 1822, in Pettinengo, Province of Biella, about thirty miles northeast of Turin, Italy.  His father’s name was Antonio Costa, and his mother’s, Angela Maria Facio.  His father was occupied in land-industries, and was also employed in running a tailoring establishment.

            There were four brothers in the family, of whom Joseph was the youngest and the only one in the ministry.  The others followed other professions. The family records go as far back as six hundred years from the present time.  Some of the members along the line were priests.

            Father Costa received the first rudiments of letters and music in his native town.  Subsequently, he entered a college called “Bachette,” and began his studies of Latin under Rev. Professor W. Scaglia.  Later on, he pursued his studies in classics in the city of Biella, and after an interval of two years of rest, he began his course of philosophy in the College Melerio Rosmini in the city of Domodossoia under Professor Parma, continuing for two years.  Having passed his examination in philosophy and being a member of the Order of Charity, he applied himself, under able professors, to the study of Divinity in the Rosminan Institute at Stresa on the borders of Lago Maggiore.

            In 1851, as a member of the order, he was sent by the General, the Rev. Antonio Rosmini, to the English Missions belonging to the same order.  In this, his new country, he reviewed his theology under Professor Caccia and prepared for the reception of Holy Orders.

On February 18, 1853, he was examined and ordained Priest in the Church of Oscott College, by the Rt. Rev. Bernard Ullathorne, Bishop of Birmingham.  As a priest, he labored for eleven years in Great Britain, either doing parish work or preaching at missions or teaching in college. 

            In 1864, at the request of Dr. Yunker, Bishop of Alton, Illinois, he was sent by the General of his order to work in that Bishop’s diocese.

            In the United States, the field of his labors was chiefly in Illinois—Springfield, Jacksonville, El Paso, Lincoln—and finally in 1877, he was sent to Galesburg by Dr. John L. Spalding, first Bishop of Peoria, for the social purpose of establishing Parochial Schools.  From that date to the present time, his labors have been devoted to the wants and improvements in that city for the Catholic population.

            Since his arrival here, Father Costa has worked earnestly and faithfully for the up-building of the church to which he belongs.  In the Spring of 1878, the erection of St. Joseph’s Academy was commenced, and in the Autumn of 1879, it was opened for use, with about ten teachers and four hundred pupils.  Stevens and Parry, of this city, were the builders.  The cost of the building, including heating apparatus and excluding furniture was $16,858.13.

            The convent contiguous to the Academy was erected partly by Jacob Westfall, of Peoria.  Failing to complete the contract, the building was finished under the direction of Father Costa.  The work was commenced in 1880 and finished in 1881.  It cost $11,388.52.

            The ground upon which Corpus Christi Church stands cost $4,885.  The contract of the building was given to Matthias Schnell, of Rock Island.  It cost, including heater, seats, bell, etc., $38,611.43.  Corpus Christi dwelling cost $5,500, including heating apparatus.

            St. Mary’s Primary, on the corner of Fourth and Seminary streets, cost $2,500, without the furniture.

            The lot on which Corpus Christi Lyceum stands was purchased for five thousand dollars.  The building and furniture cost about $42,000.  It was commenced in 1891 and furnished in 1894.  This edifice is private property of the Order of Charity in this country.

            Father Costa has done much in the erection of buildings in this city.  For that purpose and the benefit of his church, he had expended more than $125,000.  In the work of his hands, he has been diligent and fervent in spirit.  As a man, he is kind and gentle in manners, temperate in speech, unyielding in his convictions, and firm in his ideas of duty and right.  He is a Catholic, and lives and labors for the Catholic faith.  He comprehends the duties and responsibilities of American citizenship, and in a word, has lived a life above reproach.


These are the 1899 Encyclopedia Link Bar are all typed by "Kathy Mills"

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1899 Bio Index 1899 Index E--K 1899 Index S -- Z Babcock Berggren/Boggs Captain Burkhalter Carr & 3 others Colton Family Ferris/Flynn+ Frost/Gale Davis/Field+ Boyer/Brown

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