1899 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Knox County, IL
THOMAS GOLD FROST
Thomas Gold Frost was an exceptional man. Possessed of strong native powers and imbued with a high moral purpose and a sense of duty and right, he wrote his name high on the roll of fame among the great and good of earth. He was born in Whitesboro, Oneida County, New York, May 4, 1821.
John Frost, the father of Thomas G. was a prominent Presbyterian clergyman. He was a superior scholar and a graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont. It is said that at his examination, he recited the Latin grammar entire. He was pastor of a church in Whitesboro for nearly twenty years, and was “an earnest advocate of temperance reform and a wise and prudent actor in the anti-slavery agitation of his day”. He was afterwards called to take charge of a Presbyterian church in Elmira, New York, and it was at an abolitionist meeting here, that a mob gathered and hurried missiles of various kinds at the speakers and others. Mr. Frost, with his friends, escaped unharmed. He was a particular friend of the Rev. George W. Gale, for whom Galesburg was named, and had many interviews with him in relation to Knox College and the colony enterprise. He furthered the project in every way possible, and even purchased land in Galesburg as an aid in carrying out the plan.
Thomas G. Frost’s mother was Harriet Lavinia Gold, daughter of Hon. Thomas Ruggles Gold, a native of Connecticut and a brilliant lawyer. At an early day he removed to Whitesboro. He was chosen State Senator for two terms, and for two terms represented his district in Congress. The daughter partook of the brilliancy of intellect and keenness of wit of her father, and by her dignity of carriage, pleasing manners, and beauty of person, she became a reigning belle in Washington during her father’s temporary residence there.
Such was the parentage of Thomas G. Frost, and such were the sterling qualities that flowed down the stream of descent to the son. The spirit of the boy did not suffer these qualities to lie dormant. They were burnished and brightened by the instruction at the paternal fireside, by the lessons learned in the common schools, and by the lectures in college. It was in the public schools of his native town and in Elmira, New York, that he received his elementary education. Not satisfied with a little learning, and being thoroughly prepared, he matriculated in Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, and graduated in 1843, with the highest honors. One of his professors said of him, that he, “has the finest legal mind I have met with in my years of instruction of young men”.
Soon after graduation, he read law in the office of Stryker and Comstock, at Rome, New York, and was admitted to the Bar in 1846. Immediately, he began to practice there, continuing for twelve years. He then removed to Galesburg, Illinois, where he practiced fifteen years. His next move was to Chicago, where he practiced ten years. In every place where he practiced, whether at Rome, Galesburg, or Chicago, he won distinction and fame.
As a lawyer, he was a model. No one ever dared to criticize his methods or his speech. For assiduity and untiring energy in his labors, he had no superior. He had quick perceptions, a sound judgment, and a useful fund of intelligence, which enabled him to see readily the scope and bearings of every case. Business of great importance was entrusted to him on account of his reliability and faithfulness. His briefs were without flaws, and in conciseness, were models. His speeches at court were never harangues, but they were full of candor and facts. His oratory was the eloquence of truth, justice and right. A judge once said of him: “No man was better able to instruct the Court at this Bar than he.”
As a man and citizen, he stood before the world unsullied. His private character was as pure as his public career. He was kind in spirit, loving his family relations, and sympathetic towards all. Malice was a stranger to his heart, envy was not cherished, and his broad catholic feelings threw a mantle of charity over the foibles and short-comings of his fellow beings. His soul-cheering words dispelled the dark clouds of despair and his enlivening spirit was a sunray of hope. He was a man of sterling qualities, of lofty aims, a devout Christian, and walked and lived on a high plane of moral rectitude.
Mr. Frost was not an office seeker. At President Grant’s second nomination, he was chosen one of the Presidential electors. He took an active part in the removal of the county seat from Knoxville to Galesburg. Early he was a champion in the temperance cause, and a member of temperance organizations in the East and West. For some time, he was President of the Knox County Bible Society. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church at Galesburg for twelve years and in Evanston eight years. While in Hamilton College, he was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He united with the Presbyterian Church when only eleven years of age.
October 7, 1858, the time of the famous “Lincoln and Douglas” debate at Galesburg, he made the address of welcome to Abraham Lincoln. He assisted Dr. Noyes, of Evanston, Illinois, in his conduct of the memorable case of the Chicago Presbytery vs. Professor David Swing, who was cleared of the charge of heresy.
Politically, he was an abolitionist, having espoused the cause of the oppressed colored man in early life. He cast his first vote for the abolition ticket. He was delegate to the Free-Soil Convention at Buffalo, when that party was organized. Afterwards, he voted the republican ticket.
Mr. Frost was married November 18, 1847 at Rome, New York, to Elizabeth Anna Bancroft, daughter of Judge Edward Bancroft, of Martinsbury, New York, one of the first settlers of that section. He removed from Westfield, Massachusetts, early in the nineteenth century. He was a strong man intellectually, enterprising and of high moral worth.
Mr. and Mrs. Frost were the parents of five children: John Edward, who lives in Topeka, Kansas, and who, for many years, has been connected with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, as Land Commissioner; Louisa; Elizabeth Bancroft, living in Galesburg; Thomas Gold Frost, lawyer in New York; and a daughter dying in infancy.
Mr. Frost died near Springer, New Mexico, December 22, 1880 at the age of sixty-nine.
Re. George Washington Gale, clergyman, educator and philanthropist, was born in Stanford, Duchess County, New York, on December 3, 1789.
His <George W. Gale> grandparent's, Joseph and Rebecca (Closson) Gale, were emigrants from Yorkshire, England and settled at Stamford, Connecticut. They were the parents of six sons and one daughter. Of these, John, the eldest, married Sarah, a sister of General Waterbury of Stamford, Connecticut, and died at sea. His daughter, Sarah, married Hezekiah Olmstead, and was the mother of Sally, wife of Silvanus Ferris. Another son, Josiah, was the father of the eminent founder of Galesburg. He was the husband of Rachel Mead, whose father, Timothy, moved from Connecticut to Dutchess County, New York, and from there to Meads’ Mills, Vermont, where, with his brothers, he took up his residence before the Revolution. His wife was a cousin of Mary Mead, the mother of Silvanus Ferris. Josiah Gale was a man of muscular frame and remarkable strength, while his son, George W., was slightly built, although of graceful carriage and commanding presence. He served during the French and Indian War in the army in northern New York, participating in the battle of Ticonderoga, Oswego and Fort Stanwix. In the Revolutionary struggle, he was with the militia at the battle of White Plains, but his principal service was as the head of a vigilance committee to look after the Tories, who, in that region, were numerous and troublesome. He was of a generous disposition, and became one of the Galesburg colonists, being elected a Justice of the Peace in the new settlement.
George W. Gale was left an orphan when only eight years old, but was affectionately cared for by his sisters, of whom he had eight, married to substantial farmers in the neighborhood of their home. As he grew older, however, he became conscious that the life of a farmer’s boy would not satisfy his aspirations, and he determined to acquire a higher education. As soon as qualified, he alternated his attendance at school with the duties of the pedagogue, and by these means, with close application to study at home; he prepared himself for entering the Sophomore class at Union College. For a time, he had a tutor, John Frost of Middlebury, Vermont, who afterwards became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Whitesboro, New York, and was his counselor and coadjutor in all his enterprises in after life.
After graduating from Union, Mr. Gale entered Princeton Theological Seminary, but so impaired his health by over-study that he was compelled to leave the institution before the completion of his course. He was, however, licensed to preach by the Hudson (New York) Presbytery, in 1816. For a few years he preached to small, newly formed congregations in Dutchess and Putnam counties, being also employed as a missionary among the new settlements in Jefferson and Oswego counties, and for a time supplying a pulpit in Green County. His health partially restored, he returned to Princeton and completed his course in 1819. From the many calls to a pastorate which he received, he accepted one from the church at Adams, Jefferson County, New York; and, riding thither from Princeton on horseback, he entered upon a new field of duty. Within five years his health again failed him, and, resigning his charge, he went South, to seek the benefit to be obtained through a change of climate. A winter in Virginia proved so beneficial that he returned North; yet did not dare to resume his ministerial duties. Accordingly he secured a residence, with a small farm attached, in the pretty village of Western, Oneida County, New York.
At that time an educated ministry seemed to be a vital need of the Presbyterian Church, a fact which few men within that communion felt more keenly than did Mr. Gale. To his trained and reflective mind, the problem presented itself, how to enlist young men of piety and talent, and afford them proper training? His own experience had shown him students discouraged for want of means, abandoning their studies to earn money which was indispensable for their prosecution, and undermining their health by an intense effort to make up the time thus lost. Most of them were accustomed to the outdoor life of a farm, with physical exercise, and it occurred to him that if each student were given, each day, a sufficient amount of such work to relieve the mental strain inseparable from hard study, and at the same time to aid in defraying the expense necessary to his education, better results might be obtained. He tried an experiment. He took into his family a half dozen young men, to whom he furnished books and gave instruction in consideration of three hour’s daily work upon his farm. Out of this project was developed the Oneida Institute, at Whitesboro, New York, which was founded mainly through his efforts. He personally solicited the funds necessary for the purchase of a farm and the erection of buildings. Instructors of ability and repute were secured, dormitories and shops built, a college curriculum adopted, and the project fairly launched. Three hours’ daily labor on the farm paid for room rent and board; work in the shops was paid what it might be worth. The Institute was soon filled with students, and the pervading atmosphere was intensely religious, while strong temperance and anti-slavery sentiments were developed. From 1827 to 1834, Mr. Gale remained at its head, but in the latter year he retired from the management to enter upon the formation of the Galesburg Colony and the founding of Knox College. For a detailed account of his efforts in this direction, and the success with which they were crowned, the reader is referred to the articles entitled Galesburg and Knox College.
He first visited the site of the city in his honor in 1836, when he devoted considerable time to looking into the affairs of the colony and making ready a home for his family, whom he brought out later, returning to Whitesboro to accompany them. Their journey to their new home occupied six weeks, and was accomplished by canal to Buffalo, by lake to Detroit, and by wagon to the cabin in which they were to reside. Finding this filled with sufferers from an unfortunate canal boat expedition (see “A Canal Boat Journey), he found quarters for his wife and seven children in the already crowded cabins of helpful, sympathetic neighbors, and put up another cabin for the winter from green logs. In the spring he built another and better one at what is now the corner of Seminary and Grove streets, and four years later erected a house, yet standing, at the corner of North and Cherry streets.
From its founding until his death, which occurred September 13, 1861, Mr. Gale was prominent in the management of Knox College, serving as trustee all the time, and as a Professor from 1841 until 1856. He was also active in the affairs of the church, and for several years filled the pulpit of the First Presbyterian, long the only church in Galesburg, besides devoting much time to the establishment of other churches, in the surrounding country. In 1857, he was smitten with a paralytic stroke, but was gradually regaining his strength until, within six months before his death, he began to weaken. Gangrene finally set in, causing his death within a few days after its appearance.
The following tribute to his memory was paid by Rev. Dr. Boardman, of Philadelphia, an eminent Presbyterian divine, who knew him well: “His intellect was strong, clear, acute, penetrating, active, well furnished and well disciplined. His judgment of men and things was sound, his hopefulness large, his faith confiding, his will resolute, his fortitude unshrinking, and his courage unfaltering. His piety was a governing principle, a part of his very being, and controlling his plans, his labors, his comforts and his purse. His works praise him, and his memory will long be fresh and fragrant in the church.”
Mr. Gale was three times married. His first wife was Harriet Selden, a daughter of Hon. Charles Selden and Abigail Jones, his wife, to whom he was united at Troy, New York in 1820. She was delicately reared, and a young girl at the time of her marriage. The income from her small fortune enabled him to prosecute his plans for doing good, and she cheerfully followed his fortunes; if not with enthusiasm, at least without complaint. In 1841, a year after her death, he married Mrs. Esther Coon, a daughter of Daniel Williams, at Galesburg; and after her demise he was joined—in 1844—to Lucy Merriam, at New Haven, Connecticut. He was the father of seven sons and three daughters: William Selden, born in 1822, and now living at Galesburg; Harriet Yonvet, born in 1823; George, born in 1826, and died in 1872; Josiah, born in 1827, and died in 1863; Mary Elizabeth born in 1829, and now the widow of Rev. Edwin L. Hurd, D.D.; Margaret, born in 1831, who became the wife of Professor Henry E. Hitchcock, of Knox College and the Nebraska State University; Charles Selden, born in 1835, and died in 1836; Joseph Dudley, the first male white child born within the present limits of Galesburg, born in 1837 and died in 1856; Roger and Henry Williams, both of whom died the year of their birth, the former in 1840 and the latter in 1842.
William Selden Gale is a fine type of the best American citizen. A New Yorker by birth, a New Englander in characteristics, he brought to the West in early life the ideas so peculiar to that part our country, that all government, to be worthy of the support and loyalty of the people, must rest upon a pure and efficient administration of local affairs. As society at large rests upon the family, so the State and Nation must rest upon the township unit. Honesty, efficiency, and economy in the conduct of local interests will as surely reappear in the administration of the State and Nation as will morality and all the tender sympathies of the human brotherhood be found in a state of society, where the sacredness of family ties and obligations are observes with the sincerity of a religious conviction.
All through Mr. Gale's life, prominent and above all other considerations, this principle has been manifested; and when called to look after interests extending beyond the purely local, and touching the State at large, the influence which his measures might have upon local affairs were still uppermost in his mind. If Mr. Gale has had ambition to work in larger fields and doubles he has, for he has been eminently fitted for such service, such ambitions have always been subordinated, not only to a feeling of obligation to perform the local duties that are ever pressing upon a competent man in any community, but also to a feeling of distaste to an active political life; for not one of the many positions of trust and honor which Mr. Gale has held was he ever an active candidate, until made so by his friends. In all his relationships to his fellow citizens, his bearing has been cordial, his criticisms not harsh, but based upon a sound judgment, and therefore, never used to feed a vindictive spirit.
He stands then a man to whom every young person may look as a specimen of a typical, high-minded citizen.
He was born February 15th, 1822, at Adams, Jefferson County, New York, where his father, the Reverend George Washington Gale, afterwards of Galesburg, Illinois, was then Presbyterian pastor.
His mother, daughter of Hon. Charles Selden, was born at Lansingburg, New York, in 1800, and was married to the Rev. Mr. Gale at Troy, New York, in 1820.
Charles Selden was born at Lyme, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale in 1777, in the presence of General Washington, from whom he received, with others his class, a commission on graduation day, and entered the army. He was made Captain and served until a year after the War. He became a merchant, was State Senator, and a member of the State Board of Regents of the University.
Col. Samuel Selden, father of Charles, commanded a Connecticut regiment, was in New York at the time of the battle of Long Island and was left behind sick when the Americans evacuated and the English entered the city. He died a prisoner. Thomas Selden and Richard Ely, ancestors of Charles Selden, came to Lyme, Connecticut, about 1836, where some of their descendants still reside.
Mr. Gales was married in 1845 to Caroline Eliza Ferris, daughter of Silvanus Western Ferris, and granddaughter of Silvanus Ferris, who was so prominent in the formation of Galesburg colony.
There were eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Gale; William Selden, George Washington, Charles Selden, Caroline, Harriet, Joseph Dudley, Josiah, and John. Williams S..; George W,; and Harriet are now living. Josiah died in 1889 and was at that time Clerk of the Circuit County of this county. the other three sons died young. Though not a college graduate, Mr. Gales' education has been a liberal one. He was fourteen years old when he left New York for Illinois. At that time he was prepared for college, but was considered too young to enter. A plan for home study was begun with the expectation of entering college later, but in an advanced class. Systematic study, however, was gradually dropped on account of some business cares and the desire for an active life incident to a new and hopeful country. Having a phenomenal memory, and grateful powers of analysis and application, the habit of reading history, political economy, and other subjects of like practical interest to the citizen, made him one of the most liberally educated men of this community.
Tempting opportunities for useful and profitable vocations presented themselves. That of merchant and general trader at First seemed most attractive. His eighteenth and nineteenth years were years of education in that capacity, while in the employ of Colonel Herman Knox and James Knox. Brothers in Business at Knoxville, and of Ralph H. Hulburt, of Mr. Sterling. He became interested in real estate and other property, however, which turned his attention to the law. He was admitted to the Bar in 1846. Without the usual waiting for practice, so universal with young attorneys, his business and certain duties of citizenship absorbed all his time. His knowledge of the law was of great service to him in what was afterwards his life work.
Another preparatory experiment was the management of "the Newsletter," a paper published with the assistance of Dr. James Bunce and George C. Lanphere. It may be said that here Mr. Gale began his efforts to make Galesburg a railroad center.
Railways at that time were thought to be principally useful for overland transportation. connecting lake with lake and river with river, the waterway being still considered means of traffic. The Peoria and Oquawka, the Rock Island and Peoria, the Illinois Central, the Northern Cross (Galesburg to Quincy)., the Michigan Central, and Michigan Southern roads were all figuring for Illinois business. Knoxville and Monmouth both seemed to lead Galesburg in the chances of railroad connections; Galesburg, was therefore, greatly discouraged. It came to the knowledge of Mr. Gale that the mangers of the Michigan Southern road were about to undertake the extension of the Rock Island and the Peoria to Chicago. It was supposed that this line would come within thirty miles of Galesburg. Mr. Gale at once called attention to these facts in an editorial. A great stir was made, committees were appointed to confer with Chicago and Eastern parties, and everything looked favorable for the construction of a branch to connect with this road. Galesburg people obtained a charter for this branch, which was to be known as the Central military Tract Railroad. The Rock Island and the Peoria people agreed to take up its construction, but were, as it proved, a little too slow. The Michigan Central Railroad Company was about to extend the chic go and Aurora line to connect with the Illinois Central at Mendota. Mr. Gale saw the advantage of this line at once, and the negotiations begun with the same parties to take up the Central Military Tract road were entirely successful. A direct line to Chicago, through Mendota and Aurora, was thus secured, and , as predicted by Mr. Gale, the Peoria and Oquawka and the Northern Cross came to Galesburg to make their Chicago connections. These roads now constitute an important portion of the splendid "Burlington" system. A large part of Mr. Gale's time was freely given to this enterprise, the wisdom of which is fully demonstrated by the great, intelligent, and prosperous communities that have grown up along its lines. With the completion of this railroad. "The Newsletter" was transferred to other parties, to the great relief, though substantial pecuniary loss, of the editor.
The public offices held by Mr. Gale comprise almost everything of local character, as well as certain positions of more general jurisdiction; From 1849 to 1853 he was Postmaster of Galesburg; 1853 to 1895, with the exception of five years, Supervisor of Knox County; 1871 to 1882, and 1891 to 1895, Alderman of the City of Galesburg; 1861 to the present time, Trustee of Knox College; Member of the State Constitutional Convention, 1862; Member of the State Legislature, 1869; Member of the State Revenue Commission, 1885 and 1886; Trustee of the Illinois Western Hospital for the Insane, 1895 to 1897; Presidential Elector, 1872. IN 1853 he was nominated for County Judge during his absence from Home. He did not desire the office, made no canvass, and was defeated.
He was a member of the Whig party, and attended, as a delegate, most of its conventions until its dissolution, and then joined the republican party. He has been in the State and National Conventions, and supported the candidates, though sometimes doubting, and even regretting, the policy.
Mr. Gale is entitled to a brief consideration of his more important public work, as it will serve to bring out more clearly his natural mental tendencies and power of analysis of public questions.
The Constitutional Convention of 1862 consisted of as many delegates as there were members of the Legislature, and they were elected from the same districts. No reapportionment had been made for twenty years. Representation was, therefore, very unjust to the republicans in the northern portion of the State, which had in the meantime become very populous. Union conventions to nominate delegates were held in many counties, Knox among them and the result was only thirteen republican members in the convention. It contained many able men, and among the democrats were many strong Southern sympathizers. What, then, should be the attitude of Illinois in case the Union should be broken up, was a serious question to many, and the authority of the convention to declare it was urged. The influence of Douglas and Logan, together with Union victories, finally put discussions of this character aside, and the convention settled down to more legitimate work. Mr. Gale, though one of the very small minority, secured the adoption of a plan, giving county Boards, under certain conditions, power to submit to a vote of the people questions as to removal of county seats, the object being to take such questions out of politics. Knox county was then divided into factions on this subject, and at a decided disadvantage in every district and State convention. The proposition was dropped on final revision, through fear that it might cost the constitution votes in to some localities. In the work of apportionment, Gale was successful, having his own way as to his own locality. He had been place don the judicial and congressional apportionment committees. and the work of congressional apportionment was mainly done by Mr. Gale, and Lewis W. Ross, Of Fulton County. the constitution failed before the people, owing to prejudice created by the unfortunate character of its opening provisions.
In the Revenue Commission of 1885-6, Mr. Gale again displayed his knowledge of the details in every department of local administration. His appointment was made at the earnest solicitation of every member of the Knox County Board of Supervisors, the county officers, and the City Council of Galesburg, besides others equally prominent in matters of the public welfare -- all of whom knew of his thorough fitness for such an important work. The commission was composted to twelve members, sic from each political party. The Hon. Milton Hay, one of the most eminent attorneys of the State was chairman. The assessment of property in the State had developed into a contest between the assessors, to see which could so assess as to obtain the most relief for his taxes. The Commission saw that hits contest was unavoidable, unless the State taxes were assessed and collected in an entirely different manner from all local taxes. The commission plan, therefore, struck at the root of the difficulty. It was opposed by interests directly affected by the proposed changes, and so the work came to naught. No member of the Commission left plainer marks than Mr. Gale. The work was mostly done in committee of the whole when he was chairman.
In 1868, the people of Galesburg decided, if possible, to secure the passage of a bill, submitting to a vote, the removal of the county seat from Knoxville to Galesburg. They put forward Mr. Gale as their candidate for the Legislature and he received the nomination. The democrats nominated Alfred M. Craig. the county seat question figured largely in the issue, but Mr. Gale was elected. Mr. Gales was made chairman of the committee on penitentiaries and was also placed on the railroad committee. The county seat bill was presented and passed after a hard struggle. This was the last session of the Legislature permitting special legislation. Every member was, in consequence, very active. Mr. Gale had about thirty bills and succeeded in getting them all passed. Mr. Gales' interest in local affairs began when as a boy, he listened to the plans of the founders of Galesburg before they ]left New York, to find the spot whereon was to be built the college and around which the village and future beautiful city was to grow.
The plan worked out by the Rev George Washington Gale, and in which Mr. Selden was so much interested, has been substantially followed. The first city charter of Galesburg was drafted by Mr. Gale. George C. Lanphere and Oliver S. Pitcher. Mr. Gale declined a place in the council at that time, and afterwards until 1871, when he was elected without opposition. He remained in the council until 1882. and had an opposing candidate but once during that time. He was chairman of the finance committee during his entire service as Alderman. In the first period of his service he refunded the city debt on terms especially advantageous to the taxpayers, and which were thought impracticable by local bankers. He negotiated the purchase of the City Park, and the year after the close of his second period of service, from 1891 to 1895, he was chairman of the committee to revise the city ordinances.
Township organization was adopted in Knox County in 1853. The first ten years subsequent to this Mr. Gale was elected Supervisor without opposition. The first five years he was the sole representative from Galesburg; then two representatives were allowed. At the beginning there were still the remnants of an early prejudice against Galesburg, as a Yankee, Presbyterian, Abolitionist settlement. The town was increasing rapidly, and large bills were necessarily presented to the county for the support of the Galesburg poor, the poor being entirely a county charge at that time. Moreover, the rapid growth of Galesburg was exciting the suspicions of the people that sooner or later a successful effort would be made to remove the county seat from Knoxville to Galesburg. this feeling was shared by a majority of the County board. Mr. Gales exerted more influence in the Board than any other man, and many of the representatives were accused by their constituents of allowing themselves to be hoodwinked by him. The simple fact, however, was, that coupled with is ability were a thorough knowledge of the situation and a spirit of perfect fairness and justice, and to be associated with him in the transaction of the county business, enabled all to see the justness of his propositions and the sincerity of his purpose. In 1863, he was not re - elected. In 1865, his services were again demanded, and he was returned with H. R. Sanderson as an able associate. Galesburg was soon restored to her proper degree of influence. From this time until 1873, when the question of locating the county seat at Galesburg was finally settled, Mr. Gale had the care of many important measures. He secured an order of the county Board dividing the town, drawing the division line in such a way that it made two towns, each entitled to two supervisors, thus increasing the representation of Galesburg by two members. Later he drew a bill, which passed the Legislature, diving the City of Galesburg from the township, allowing the city representation in proportion to the population. This gave Galesburg six representatives in the county Board. this bill possessed one entirely new feature. It gave the city a township, as well as city, government. He devised the present mode of caring for the poor, dividing the responsibility between township and county, which has been so satisfactory.
The elegant three-story court house, completed in January, 1887, was mainly planned by Mr. Gale, the architect taking the floor plan entire as submitted by him. He was chairman of the building committee during the entire time of the court house construction. His part in determining the plan for the jail and letting the contracts for construction, was practically the same. The same may be said of the construction of the first insane annex to the Alms House, although he did not remain in the Board until the building was completed.
Limited space prevents the enumeration of all that Mr. Gale has done for this community; to repeat here what his opponents have said in his praise would appear fulsome in the extreme. One thing, however, his friends have seriously regretted, that he ever allowed himself to be drawn from the profession of the law; for they feel that when the conclusion was reached, that his work lay along other lines, this county lost its opportunity of furnishing to the State one of its foremost attorneys. Mr. Gales is still in active life, attending to his large farming interests in Knox and Warren Counties. A. J. Perry. typed and process by your host Foxie
George Candee Gale was born at Galesburg, Illinois, July 12, 1873. His father, George Washington Gale (bio above), a son of William Selden Gale, was also born at Galesburg, and his mother, Frances Candee, was born at La Fayette, Indiana. His father has always followed the occupation of farmer, and is a leading citizen in his community. His mother, like his paternal ancestors, was of Presbyterian stock and was the daughter of an Old School Presbyterian minister. Young Gale, therefore, very naturally, entered the Presbyterian Church. The mental qualities and tendencies which children inherit are quite likely to control them in the selection of the organized groups of thought to which they attach themselves; and so it often happens that an examination of a person's associates, individual and collective, will disclose traits of character in such person which at first would not otherwise be discerned. This rule applied not otherwise be discerned. This rule applied to George C. Gale would indicate that, Presbyterian like, he is a man who would insist upon a great deal of individual liberty in matters of opinion; that he would claim his right to feed in every corner of the civil and religious pastures, but that he cheerfully submits to be restrained by the fence erected on established lines. This somewhat uncouth illustration represents to the author of this sketch the character of Mr. Gale. From a long like of ancestors he has drawn these traits, and in whatever enterprise he may engage; wherever his services may be enlisted, we may expect to find his own personality, his won conscience, and not an imitation of anybody.
Mr. Gale has had a liberal education, judged from almost any standpoint. He attended the Galesburg public schools including one year in the High School. Two years in Knox Academy admitted him to Knox College, from which he graduated, after four years' study, with first honors, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1893. He received the degree of Master of Arts from the same institution in 1895 and delivered the Master's Oration in 1896.
Naturally Mr. Gale turned to the study of law. No other profession offers such opportunities for the full exercise of his abilities and natural traits of character. He studied one year in the office of Messrs. Williams, Lawrence and Welsh; one year in the University of Wisconsin, and one year in the New York Law School. He won the first prize, $150,000, upon the thesis "Ultra Vires," in a contest open to all graduating members of the school, and was given the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1896. He was admitted to the Bar of Wisconsin in May, 1895, and Illinois in 1896.
Mr. Gales' boyhood was spent on the farm. We can almost imagine, however, that his fondness for reading and study, and an irrepressible desire to take part in the somewhat more stirring phases of life, interfered somewhat with his usefulness as a farm boy.
He is at present engaged in the practice of law, a profession with which he is deeply in love, and is associated with Mr. Wilfred Arnold. If ability, honesty, and hard study combined will county for anything in the race for success, we may confidently expect to see some very important cases entrusted to his management before he is very old. In national politics he is a republican; in city affairs h is an independent. He has always resided in Galesburg except when attending law school. Amore extended genealogy of Mr. Gale may be seen by consulting the sketch of his grandfather, William Selden Gale, in this volume. A. J. Perry. I take it he wrote this bio on George C. Gale. typed & processed by your host Foxie....
William Lucas Steele, A. M., son of William Lucas and Anna (Johnson) Steele, was born in Adams County, Ohio, July 22, 1854. His parents were Scotch-Irish Covenanters. His father, who was a farmer and a teacher in the winter season, died at the age of thirty-nine, when William L. was a year old.
In 1859 his mother moved with her family of three children to Randolph County in southern Illinois. In 1869 she moved to Monmouth, Illinois, in order to secure the educational advantages presented there for her children.
Young Steele’s elementary training was obtained at the various public schools where he lived. His ambition was to make the most of his opportunities. Even at eight years of age, he performed the ordinary work of a man on the farm. Not satisfied with merely a common school education, he entered Monmouth College and graduated in the classical course with high honors. After graduation in 1876, his first employment was teaching. He took charge of the Yates City schools in this county, remaining there for seven years, when he was elected County Superintendent. The latter office he resigned to accept the superintendence of the Galesburg City schools, which position he has held with distinguished credit since August 1885.
At Yates City, he laid the foundation for the school library, which has been flourishing for over twenty years and has at present over two thousand volumes. As County Superintendent, he wrote the first “Outlines for Ungraded Schools,” which was published by the Board of Supervisors. As City Superintendent, he has introduced “Manual Training” and “Elective Studies” for the High School.
As an educator, Professor Steele is a popular man. He is popular among his teachers and among the citizens. In the educational fraternity throughout the State, he is well and favorably known. Before the State Teacher’s Association, he has frequently been invited to read papers on educational subjects which have reflected great credit upon his ability. In every moral enterprise, he is a worker. He never has affiliated with any society, secret or otherwise, but is a firm adherent of the Presbyterian Church. He has been the secretary of its Board of Trustees for the past six years.
In his political sympathies, Professor Steele is a republican. On that ticket, he was elected County Superintendent.
He was married October 20, 1887 to Helen Carter Benedict, who died May 3, 1893. She had been a teacher in the city schools for three years. To them were born two daughters: Gertrude Helen, born July 27, 1889, and Helen Benedict, born February 11, 1893.
Hon. Loren Stevens, son of Cassius P. and Clamentia (Smith) Stevens, was born in Westford, Vermont, May 23, 1845. His father was a farmer, whose sturdy habits were acquired and strengthened among the rocks and green hills of his native State. In early life, he joined the State Militia and attained to the rank of Major.
Young Loren passed his childhood and his youth at home on his father’s farm. He was helper in the fields, when not attending school. His early educational advantages were not the best, but he was possessed of a spirit and disposition for improving all his opportunities. At the common schools in Essex, Vermont, to which town his parents removed when he was three years old, he acquired his early education. At the age of fourteen, he attended the Essex Academy, and subsequently, at the age of eighteen, took a course in Bryant and Stratton’s Business College in Burlington, Vermont.
After leaving home at the age of seventeen he spent the first eight months in driving a team for a manufacturing establishment. Afterwards, he was a brakeman on the Central Vermont Railroad, and while so employed, met with an accident, which incapacitated him for work. During the period of convalescence, he attended the Business College at Burlington and after completing the course, was employed as a teacher in the same institution for a year and a half.
Not satisfied with the business opportunities presented to young men in Vermont, he left on November 12, 1865, for the West. He came directly to Cleveland, Ohio, and remained there and in Bedford, Ohio, until the following Spring, when he came to Galesburg, Illinois, arriving on May 25, 1866.
He was first employed in the office of George W. Brown, where he remained for one year. He then went into the office of B. Lombard, Jr. remaining for two years. He next returned to the office of George W. Brown, remaining there for the long period of seventeen years, when he tendered his resignation as Secretary, July 1, 1886. During the next ten years, he devoted his time to his personal affairs and to buying and selling real estate. On June 1, 1896 he assumed the duties as Cashier of the First National Bank of Galesburg, which position he now holds.
Mr. Stevens has won for himself a good degree of popularity and is highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens. He was elected Mayor of Galesburg on the Citizen’s ticket and held the office for two years. He is also a member of the City Park Commission and still holds that position.
Mr. Stevens is a public spirited man, and is ever ready to aid any enterprise that will be of benefit to the city. He has taken great interest in the establishment and management of the Galesburg Hospital. He was elected one of the first trustees and still holds that position. He is also Secretary, Treasurer, and Director of the Galesburg Electric Motor and Power Company; was a charter member of the Galesburg Club; was one term a director of the same, and has always retained his membership.
Mr. Stevens has traveled quite extensively in his native land, having visited thirty-six States and territories and taken trips into Canada and Mexico. By these travels, he has become well acquainted with the industries of his own country and has enlarged materially the sphere of his knowledge. Moreover, in his charitable gifts, he has been liberal as the Hospital, Y.M.C.A., Dorcas Society, and Universalist Church will testify.
Mr. Stevens is well informed and industrious. His manners are frank and simple, and his actions are courteous towards every one. His record is that of a faithful, conscientious, and patriotic citizen.
In his religious views, he is liberal, not bound by creed or ritual. He attends the Universalist Church, but is not a member. In politics, he is a republican. He is not a politician, but an earnest believer in the principles of that party.
He was married May 25, 1870 to Lizzie C. Simmons, a native of New York State. To them was born, December 11, 1876, one daughter Ethel; died August 30, 1877.
Mary Evelyn Strong, Principal of the Galesburg Kindergarten Normal School, was born at Glens Falls, New York, February 14, 1854. Her parents, Ira Harrington and Mary Ann (Holt) Strong, were natives of New York, spending the larger part of their lives in Glens Falls. They were a frugal and industrious people, and brought up their children in the strict rules of morality and right living. They came to Galesburg, Illinois when Mary Evelyn was only three years old. In the Spring of 1861, the mother was left a widow without means and with the care of five children. She was a frail woman with great energy, which enabled her to support her family. The children’s success is largely due to the tender care of early training of the mother.
Miss Strong, when only six years of age, met with an accident which disabled her. Consequently she was never able to attend school. She had, however, excellent teachers at home and learned much from the open book of nature. Every bud and flower, bird and insect and sparkling dew drop had an attraction for her. She saw in them God’s handiwork.
Though an invalid, her childhood was a very happy one. Her waking hours were spent in reading the instructive books furnished her by loving friends. Much time was spent with pets; and the raising and care of chickens was a pleasant pastime. She engaged too in rifle practice and became an expert marksman. Her skill was never exercised in taking life; for her humane feelings were too sensitive to kill the innocent beings that God has made.
Her love for teaching was an inborn passion, and when only a child, she gathered children about her to instruct. At the age of twelve, she taught Bible stories to the children of the neighborhood on Sabbath afternoons. The numbers increased until her home was not large enough to accommodate them, and finally this school was made a part of the City Mission School. Her first real teaching, however, began when she was fourteen. It was a private school, which she taught for two years. On account of ill health, this was discontinued. She still pursued her studies, and in order to obtain the necessary books, she engaged in embroidering and similar work, as this could be done in a reclining position. Soon, however, she was sent to the National Surgical Institute at Indianapolis, for surgical treatment and while there, she took a six year’s course in Miss Alice Chapin’s Training School for Kindergartners, spending part of the time in her school and part of the time teaching at home.
Miss Strong’s first kindergarten was begun in her mother’s dining room, in the Spring of 1879. In the Fall of that year, a pony and basket phaeton was secured to bring the children from different parts of town. This conveyance was nick-named the “Kindergarten Clothes Basket.”
In the Fall of 1880, Miss Strong’s mother moved to Creston, Iowa making it necessary to find other quarters for the school. Rooms were obtained over O. T. Johnson’s store; but Main Street was found to be an undesirable place for little children. Then apartments were obtained over the old fire-engine house on Prairie Street, which proved to be less desirable. All this time the kindergarten was making friends, and among whom was the Rev. Dr. Thain, pastor of the “Old First Church”. It was he that secured for the school the First Church Chapel, where it remained for six years. From this time, may be dated the kindergarten’s real success and recognition as a school.
In 1885, Miss Strong first began the training of public school teachers, who wished to use kindergarten methods in their work. Having never attended the public schools, she found that her lack of knowledge concerning grade work would be a barrier to her success. So she closed her school at the end of the Winter’s term, in order to study the common school system. She took an agency in Iowa, canvassing half a day and visiting school the other half, until she became thoroughly acquainted with common school methods. She says: “This trip proved to be financially so successful that my friends urged me to give up teaching and accept a permanent position offered me by the firm for which I worked. I had no such thought, how ever, and September found me again in the schoolroom, with my little ones and my first Normal School.”
In order that this school should be a success, permanent quarters must be obtained. The old Christian Church property was secured, and the church and the school occupied it in harmony for six years—Miss Strong residing in the same building.
In 1890, Miss Strong took the initiatory step to form a “free kindergarten”. A free kindergarten association was organized, composed of three members from each church in the city, and today this school is in successful operation.
Miss Strong is a living example of one who not only has pursued, but has acquired knowledge under difficulties. With poor health and for many years prostrate upon a couch of pain and extreme suffering, she has risen to a height that the physically strong might envy. In this city she has done a noble work for the cause of education, and in the hearts of the people, she is not without honor. In her work, she is thorough, and never attempts to give instruction on subjects in which she is not well versed. She is gentle and kind, and her moral influence over children and others is great and of a highly exalted kind. In the cause of temperance, she has labored, and in 1894 she was elected a member of the Board of Education on the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union ticket, which was endorsed by the general public. She was re-elected in 1897, with no opposition, although there were four tickets in the field. In religion, she is an earnest Christian, and for many years was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but later united with the Central Congregational Church. Her travels have been somewhat limited and connected mostly with her work as a speaker on educational subjects. For education, for morality, for temperance, she has been a faithful worker, and her reward is found in the universally expressed sentiment of all, ---”Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Joseph Tonello, pastor of Saint Patrick’s Church, Galesburg, commands the eminent respect of all who know him as a priest and as a citizen. He was born in Turin, Italy, March 16, 1851. His parents were Michael and Laura Gingia Tonello. His father carried on the business of a contractor. Both parents were lovers of art and were especially proficient in music. They were exemplary Catholics, and it is told of Laura Tonello that she was able to repeat in both Italian and Latin all the Psalms, a great part of the Book of Job, the whole of Ruth, the four Gospels, and some of the Epistles of Saint Paul, besides other portions of the sacred writings. Of the earlier ancestry, the majority had followed a military career, both grandfathers served under Napoleon I., and one participated in the fateful campaign against Russia. Besides the soldiers, however, this family had produced several magistrates and artists, one of whom, La Tonello, was a famous soprano in her time. One of his relatives was the well known Italian diplomat, Michael Tonello, who was commissioned by the Italian Government to negotiate with Pope Pius IX for the unity of Italy.
The childhood of Joseph Tonello was spent for the most part at home, during the winters in town, during the summers among the Alps of Switzerland and Northern Italy. His association was with artists and with those of artistic tastes. His own favorite recreation, even as a boy, was drawing and music. Before the time came for military service, he attended the Gymnastic and Military School for seven years. His school training began with the Society of Christian Brothers, at the age of six. At nine he entered the public gymnasium at Turin, and after completing the five year’s course required in that institution, was admitted to the Lyceum, or College. He later became a student in the University of Turin, where he specialized in mathematics and architecture. Following his course in the university, he traveled and studied in Switzerland, applying himself now more directly to the classics, to philosophy and modern languages. He finally became a student of theology and a member of the Order of Charity. In 1878, Father Tonello was ordained a priest and settled at Domodossola. In 1879, he was made Vice Rector in the college at that place, teaching various branches until his departure for this country in 1892. Upon his arrival in America, Father Tonello was employed for a time in missionary work among the poor miners; but in October, 1893, he was appointed to the charge of Saint Patrick’s, where he has since remained.
In musical circles, Father Tonello fills a conspicuous place. Some of his artist friends of early days, now famous in their profession have been brought to Galesburg because of his presence in that city. He is himself a musician of acknowledged talent, and among his numerous compositions, one in particular, “Cuba’s Dream”, has achieved widespread fame.
Hon. John James Tunnicliff, lawyer, son of Nelson and Mary (Smith) Tunnicliff, was born in Penn Yan, Yates County, New York, March 17, 1841. His father was a merchant and son of John Tunnicliff, who was one of the early settlers of Herkimer County, New York.
The educational advantages of Mr. Tunnicliff were of the better kind. After receiving the rudiments of his education in the public schools of his native town, he was placed under competent instructors and fitted for a more advanced course of study. He entered Hamilton College, located at Clinton, Oneida County, New York, and graduated with high honors in 1863. Immediately after graduation, he took a course in the Albany Law School and was admitted to the Bar in 1864. He then came West and entered the office of Judge D. G. Tunnicliff at Macomb, Illinois, where he remained until he came to Galesburg in September, 1865. His first partnership here, in the practice of law, was with the late Thomas G. Frost, one of the leading lawyers of the State, under the firm name of Frost and Tunnicliff. This partnership continued until 1871, when it was dissolved by the removal of Mr. Frost to Chicago. This firm had a large and extensive practice in the counties of Knox, Warren, Henry, Mercer, and Henderson, and also had many cases in the Supreme Court of Illinois and some cases in the United States Court.
Mr. Tunnicliff has been called to positions of honor and trust, which is an evidence of the confidence of the people in his ability and integrity. At the general election in 1872, he was elected State’s Attorney for Knox County, and was re-elected five successive times, holding the office until 1892, a period of twenty years, and then declined a re-election. He was elected Mayor of the City of Galesburg in April 1895, and held the office until 1897.
Mr. Tunnicliff ranks high as a lawyer, and when he was State’s Attorney, he prosecuted several criminal cases of national notoriety. He prosecuted John Marion Osborn for murder, who was hanged at Knoxville, March 14, 1873---being the first and only criminal suffering capital punishment in Knox County. He also prosecuted the notorious “Frank Rand”, known as the “Bandit of the Wabash”, who was sentenced to the penitentiary at Joliet for life, where he tried to murder the Deputy Warden and afterwards hung himself in his cell.
Mr. Tunnicliff holds no official position at present. He is engaged in the practice of law—the firm name being J.J. and G. Tunnicliff.
As a citizen, he has lived a life above reproach. He is esteemed as a man of stern integrity, consistent in his views, wise and discreet in judgment. He is affable towards all, and with friends, frank and familiar, without the appearance of affectation. In religious faith, he is Presbyterian. His political creed is republican.
Mr. Tunnicliff has been twice married. He was first wedded July 4, 1866 to Catherine Ludlow Burrows, who was born at Avondale, Ohio; died April 1871. By this union, one son was born to them: Fredrick B.
He was married a second time January 23, 1873 at Saginaw, Michigan, to Margaretta Willoughby Duffield, daughter of Rev. George Duffield, D. D., late of Detroit, Michigan. To them were born three children: George Duffield, Augusta Willoughby, and John J., Jr.
This distinguished educator and theologian, the third son of Justin Morgan White and his wife, Lydia Eddy, was born January 25, 1835 at Wallingford, Rutland County, Vermont. His ancestors were among the earliest settlers of New England. Nicholas White, the first American of the family, was living at Dorchester, Massachusetts (now a ward of the city of Boston), in 1642. In 1653 he removed, with his family, to that part of Taunton, Massachusetts, which in 1712, became the township of Norton. Nicholas White, the grandson of the first Nicholas, was one of the most influential citizens of the province. He was an officer to the little army which took part in the series of struggles between the whites and the aborigines between 1695 and the close of Queen Anne’s War, in 1713. He was equally prominent in civil life, and was twice a representative to General Court of the colony. Philip White, grandson of Nicholas (third) was born July 28, 1734 at Norton, Massachusetts. He married Abigail Campbell, March 2, 1758. A few weeks after his nuptials he joined the army under Abercrombie. The object of the expedition was the reduction of Fort Ticonderoga, and with other Massachusetts volunteers took part in the storming of that stronghold, July 8, 1758. He was also a soldier of the Revolution and served through the campaign of 1776. His son, Nehemiah, born August 6, 1765, married Mercy Miller at Tinmouth, Vermont in 1787. The third son of this marriage, Justin Morgan White, was the father of the subject of this brief biographical memoir.
Nehemiah White received his early education in the common schools of his native town, and entered upon his life’s work as a teacher at the early age of sixteen years. In the Fall of 1852, with the design of preparing for college, he entered Green Mountain Liberal Institute, then a well attended and prosperous institution, under the charge of Dr. John Stebbins Lee. In August 1853, he entered Middlebury College and graduated in 1857. Immediately upon leaving his Alma Mater, he became Associate Principal of the Green Mountain Liberal Institute, and in April 1859, took charge of Clinton Liberal Institute, at Clinton, New York. This post he resigned at the close of the year, on account of the failing strength of his wife. In 1864 he was offered the position of Assistant Principal of Pulaski Academy at Pulaski, New York, and on the resignation of the Principal, was made executive head of the school.
In 1865 he accepted the Professorship of Mathematics in Saint Lawrence University at Canton, New York. The funds of the young college were at that time very meager and the instructors few in numbers, so that the range of his teaching (or of what he tried to teach) was correspondingly wide. He not only gave instructions in the various branches of mathematics, but also in natural science and the modern languages. Here, however, he first enjoyed the advantages of a good library. Through the munificence of Mr. Herring, of New York City, the valuable collection of books gathered by Dr. Credner, an eminent Biblical critic, was presented to the University. Mr. White became greatly interested in patristic literature, began the study of Sanserit, enlarged his knowledge of the Gothic tongues, and earnestly sought to lay the foundations of a broader culture. He resigned his professorship in 1871.
In 1872 the chair of Ancient Languages was tendered by the Trustees of Buchtel College, at Akron, Ohio. This institution bears the name of its founder, Mr. John R. Buchtel, who ultimately devoted his whole fortune to its endowment and support. Here the work of Professor White covered a narrower field than before, his chair embracing only instruction in the Latin and Greek classics. The work prospered under his care, but in September, 1875, he accepted a call to the Presidency of Lombard University, and entered upon his duties in the following month. The inaugural ceremonies took place January 6, 1876. He tendered his resignation as President of the University in 1892, but by request remained as Instructor in the Ryder Divinity School, a department of the same institution. This charge he still holds.
Professor White married Frances Malona, daughter of Orasmus White, of Huntington, Vermont, at South Woodstock in that State, March 11, 1858. The fruit of this union was a daughter, Lois Melinda, born July 17, 1861. She died January 1, 1882, Mrs. White having passed away on April 29, 1864.
May 29, 1871, Professor White married Inez Ling, daughter of Lorenzo Ling, of Pulaski, New York. Two children have been born to them: Willard Justice, on April 19, 1872, at Wallingford, Vermont, and Frances, on July 3, 1876, at Galesburg, Illinois. Willard Justice graduated from Lombard University in 1891 and from Barnes Medical College, of Saint Louis, five years later. He is now a practicing physician at Rio, Illinois. Frances graduated from Lombard in 1897.
Professor White received the degree of Ph. D. from Saint Lawrence University in 1876; and in 1889, the degree of S. T. D. was conferred upon him by Tuft’s College.
Matthew Chambers Willard lived a life worthy of all imitation. His tastes and habits were simple, his manners suave and gentle, and his actions controlled by a keen and deliberative judgment. His qualities were those of a Christian gentleman, and inspired confidence in all with whom he came in contact. He was the son of Silas and Hannah Cordelia (Chambers) Willard, and was born in Washington, Illinois June 1843.
His father was a Vermonter, born in Barre, April 21, 1814. In 1834 he came to Illinois, in his private conveyance, with his elder brother, who was far gone in consumption, in the hope of arresting the disease. He supported himself on the way by working at his trade of harness maker. His efforts to save the life of his brother proved unavailing, for he died soon after reaching his journey’s end. After working three or four years at Alton and Jacksonville, he established himself in the harness business at Washington, Tazewell County, until nearly the time of his removal to Galesburg in 1849. A short time in Washington, he entered upon a mercantile career, which he pursued in Galesburg with great success. He at once became interested in the various railroad schemes that were agitating the community. He looked with disfavor upon the Peoria and Oquawka project as wanting in proper objective points. He then gave his attention to the Burlington system, and by his untiring efforts, with others, the road was finally brought to this city. The marked traits of his character are portrayed in the following: “His business operations have been bold, but guided by a strong judgment, and carried out by strenuous exertions, they have always proved safe and commonly successful.” While the town was small and comparatively feeble, he took the money from his own business, which gave the town the first flouring mill. And when the proposition for our first railroad was at a crisis in the struggle for existence, he boldly risked in the enterprise almost all he was then worth. Others made like exertions, and the little town is become a flourishing city.
But while risking nearly all his means in the road, he, a stockholder and director, quietly yet boldly, resisted all infringement on the Sabbath for its operations, and was especially decided against its becoming a shelter for intemperance. He was called away at the early age of forty-three. But one scarcely meets in the whole course of life with a man at once so unambitious and at the same time so capable and energetic as he. His life, like his taste and turn of mind, has been one of unpretending usefulness.
Matthew’s mother was a native of Vermont, born in Bridgeport, September 19, 1820. She came to Illinois with her parents in 1836. She enjoyed the distinction of being one of the pupils of Knox College on the first day of its collegiate year.
Matthew’s maternal grandfather was Matthew Chambers, Jr. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and on his settlement in Galesburg, became a charter member of the Board of Trust of Knox College. His maternal great-grandfather was an officer in the Revolution, and had the confidence of Washington, as is shown by testimonials in possession of the family. He was one of General Wayne’s picked men for storming Stony Point.
Matthew C. Willard received his elementary training in the public schools of this city. He then entered Knox Academy and prepared for college. He entered college and graduated in 1864 with honor and distinction. After graduation, he was employed in mercantile business, and afterwards in the sale of real estate. In 1872, his Alma Mater elected him a member to the Board of Trustees, a position he held to the day of his death, September 15, 1894.
Aside from his domestic relations, there were two objects that were uppermost in his mind—the college and the church. Of the former, he was elected Secretary, serving for several years, and was a member of the Executive Board. Its interests and welfare were ever dear to his heart. His good judgment and persistent activity were acknowledged, and to these qualities much of the success and prosperity of Knox College is due. The old First Church also claimed his attention. Here was the religious home of his parents, and here he was consecrated in May 1858. His love and zeal are shown by his strict attendance on all appointments of the church. Divine service, prayer meetings, and business meetings were not neglected. As a Christian, he fulfilled his mission faithfully and well. For several years he was Superintendent of the Mission Sunday School.
Politically, Mr. Willard was a republican, but he was not of that sort that would condone wrong-doing in his own party. He was a strong temperance man, and believed in purity of government, purity of home, and purity of life. He lived a life of honesty and integrity, and died with the plaudits of every citizen—good and faithful servant.
Mr. Willard was twice married. His first wife was Helen Frances Dieterich, a daughter of George Dieterich of this city, whom he married May 9, 1872. Her father was a man of great influence and note.
His second marriage was to Ideletta Henry, of Princeville, March 30, 1886.
Of this last union, there were born three children: one son and two daughters: Cordelia, Silas and Louise.
Thomas Rigney Willard was born in Groveland Township, Tazewell County, Illinois, November 18, 1844. He was the son of Warren C. and Caroline (Cottle) Willard. His parents were natives of Vermont, and came West at an early period; the father in 1834, at the age of eighteen; the mother in 1820, when she was three years old. Her father, Andrew Cottle, settled at St. Charles, Missouri, where he died, and she was reared in the family of her aunt, Sophronia (Cottle) Hayes. Warren C. Willard became a student in the Illinois College at Jacksonville, with the intention of preparing for the university, but failing health compelled him to seek other work. After his marriage, he built a log house and began life as a farmer. By labor in the open air his health was restored, and in 1847 at the invitation of his older brother, Silas Willard, he moved to Galesburg, and assumed the management of a general merchandise business, which his brother had established. He died in Florida in March 1871; his wife died in 1879.
Thomas R. Willard graduated from Knox College in 1866, and the next year taught Greek and Latin at Knox Academy. In the Fall of 1867, he entered the Chicago Theological Seminary, but took the middle and senior years of his course in divinity at Andover, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1870. He spent the following year traveling with his parents in California and Florida, on account of his father’s failing health. During the college year, 1871-72, he was instructor in Logic and Rhetoric at Knox College. July 9, 1873, he married Mary L. Wolcott, of Batavia, Illinois, at the home of her parents. They spent the greater portion of the next two years at the university town of Leipzig, Germany, where Mr. Willard attended lectures on the Greek language and literature. In the Spring of 1875, he visited Greece, and made a pedestrian tour through portions of the Peloponnesus and the north of Greece.
At the opening of the college year, 1875-76, Professor Willard entered upon his labors in Knox College, in which he is still engaged. At first he was the sole instructor in Greek and German, but as the course in German was lengthened, the elementary work in that language was assigned to others. In June 1899, on the resignation of Dr. John H. Findley from the presidency of Knox College, Professor Willard was appointed, by the trustees, Dean of the Faculty.
He has for many years been interested in the development of the manufacture of paving brick, first with the Galesburg Brick and Terra Cotta Company, and more recently with the Galesburg Paving Company, of which he is a present director.
Professor and Mrs. Willard have five children: Frank C., Superintendent of Schools in Tombstone, Arizona; Nelson W., Instructor in the Classics in St. Albans Military Academy, Knoxville, Illinois; Alice; Florence; and Mary. The three daughters are students in Knox College; the two sons graduated from that institution in 1896.
In national politics Professor Willard is a republican. He is a member of the Congregational Church.
Moses O. Williamson can boast of a birthplace broader than the vast prairies of Illinois. He was first “rocked in the cradle of the mighty deep”. He was born on the Atlantic Ocean, July 14, 1850. His parents, William and Margaret Williamson, were natives of Sweden, and it was during the ocean voyage while coming to America, that Moses was born. They came directly to Illinois, and settled in Sparta Township, Knox County. His father purchased a small farm on Section 22, where he lived until his death, in 1854. His mother died in 1886. They had a family of six children, who lived to manhood and womanhood.
Moses remained at the paternal homestead until he was twelve years of age, assisting in the farm labors and farm duties, according to his ability. At this time, he went from home to work on a farm of a neighbor, where he remained two years. He then came to the village of Wataga and engaged himself to Olson & Gray, to learn the harness trade, where he served for three years, afterwards working one year as journeyman. He then bought out Mr. Gray, one of the partners, and from 1867 to 1879, was in partnership with Mr. Olsen. His next venture was the purchase of Mr. Olsen’s interest in the harness business, which he carried on, single-handed and alone, until 1890 when he came to Galesburg.
Mr. Williamson has the ability to please. His rigid life of honesty and integrity has won for him implicit confidence and universal respect. Places of honor have been given him without stint, and no word of criticism or censure has ever been spoken justly against him. Before coming to Galesburg, he held the office of Councilman, Justice of the Peace, Village Clerk, and Town Clerk, and was ever regarded as a careful and reliable public man.
In political faith, he is an earnest and conscientious republican. He believes in his party creed, and has done much for the success of his party candidates and party principles. In 1884, he was made Secretary of the Republican County Central Committee, and has been its Secretary or its Chairman ever since, being its Chairman at the present time. He was elected County Treasurer in 1886, County Clerk in 1890-1894-1898, was one of the organizers of the Swedish American Republican League of Illinois, was its President in 1897, and was one of a committee of five, associated with the Republican State Central Committee, in 1906, that had charge of the Swedish part of the campaign in that year in Illinois.
Mr. Williamson is not a bigot. He believes in the freedom of religious convictions. He is an attendant at the Congregational service, though not a member of that church. Both his private and public character are above reproach. His early educational advantages were very limited, and yet by his assiduity and love of learning, he became thoroughly fitted for fields of great usefulness. In his sympathies, he is patriotic and charitable, loving country, home, and friends, and has always discharged his public and private duties ably and honestly, winning for himself the commendations of his fellow citizens.
Mr. Williamson married October 18, 1871 to Mary Driggs, a native of Oneida County, New York, and the daughter of William M. and Millicent (Housted) Driggs. Three children have been born to them, two of whom are now living: Ada and Nellie.
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