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shortly after the family removed to this State. Three children have been born of her marriage, but it is their misfortune to have lost two of them by death, viz: Maud E. and Marvin L. The surviving child is their son, Claude T. Our subject and wife are very highly respected by the entire community, not so much because of their success in life as their personal sterling characters, and admirable disposition as friends and neighbors. Mr. Wheeler has been a Republican from principle ever since he has made a study of the political economy of the country, and is one of the firmest adherents of that cause.
EORGE W. BAKER. Among the most valued and respected citizens of Holt Township, and at the same time one of the most successful from a business standpoint, is the gentleman whose biography is herein somewhat tersely presented. Mr. Baker is the son of Gibson and Anna (Hook) Baker, natives respectively of Maryland and Virginia, and of Scotch-Irish descent. In Revolutionary times the male representatives of the family played no mean part in the struggle for liberty. Grandfather Hook was throughout the war aid-de-camp to George Washington.
The parents of our subject settled in Kentucky when they were children, and were married there. The father was by trade a millwright, and found considerable opportunity for a profitable prosecution of his business. From Kentucky he removed to Ohio, and from the latter State, with wife and children, migrated to Illinois. He settled at Metamora, and there continued to reside for about twenty years, when he died at the age of eighty. He was survived about three years by his wife, whose demise occurred in the year 1873, at the ripe age of eighty-four years. The family circle included the following children, viz: William G., Sarah Jane, Eliza, George Washington, Margaret, Andrew Jackson, Clarissa, Ellen and Lucinda. William and Eliza are deceased.
The subject of our sketch was born on the 20th of July, 1820, in Brown County, Ohio, and it is with laudable pride that he is enabled to look back to the days of boyhood, and remember the pleasant school acquaintance and youthful friendship with the illustrious hero, Ulysses S. Grant. No one can be associated with men. who have been honored as was the late General and President, without the reflex of their nobility insensibly affecting, to a greater or less degree, the associate.
The days of schooling completed, our subject was busy about the home farm, and gave his attention to learning the trade of his father, giving, perhaps, more attention to the finer carpenter work than the millwrighting. His apprenticeship began when he was seventeen years of age. He continued working in this business with an increasing financial success until he reached the age of about thirty years, and then removed to Illinois, where a larger field was opened to him, and where he would be nearer his family.
The 28th of November, 1852, was a memorable day in our subject's history, one from which the radiations of happiness have never ceased to brighten his pathway; upon it he was united in marriage with Mary E. Poole, the amiable daughter of Hiram A. and Miranda C. (Niles) Poole. Her father was born at Keene, N. H.; her mother in Covington of the same State. Her early life and young womanhood were spent upon her father's farm. The family went to Illinois in 1843, and thence emigrated to Nebraska in the year 1873, settling at Table Rock, Pawnee County. There the mother died in 1875, at the good old age of sixty-six years. The father, who survived about ten years, died in 1885, aged seventy-five years. Their family included five children, whose names are recorded as follows: Mary E., Sarah H., Hiram H., Myra and Milo R.
Mary, the wife of our subject, was born on the 19th of August, 1835, the place of her birth being Haverhill, Grafton Co., N. H. She was about eight years of age when the family removed to Illinois, and at an early age began to attend the public school. Here she developed an unusual aptitude for study, and was the scholar of her class to whom the teacher looked to save the reputation of the school when upon special occasions questions might be asked to which others failed to respond. She was indefatigable in her efforts, and seemed early to grasp the idea that "knowledge is power."
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The effect of this upon her home life has been most happy, both as regards her companionship with her husband, and her ability to teach and instruct the little ones that have been given her. Upon leaving school she taught for three terms in Woodford County, Ill., with a success that was only equaled by that which had preceded while she was a scholar.
Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baker in marriage there have been born nine children, of whom, however, it has been their privilege to bring to years of man and womanhood only four. The names of the children are as follows: William G., Sarah E., Albert L., each of whom is deceased; Alva; Clarence E., now deceased; Lillie M.; James Lincoln, also deceased; Hiram G.. and Cassius A. Alva is happily married to William A. Griffing, who is prosperous in his business, which is that of a plasterer and bricklayer at Table Rock, Pawnee County, where they reside. They are the parents of three children, who are named Lillie, Mary A. and Frank R. Lillie Baker is the wife of Marion Fetters, a resident of the same place, engaged in the merchandising business.
Our subject was one who stepped forward loyally in response to the call for defenders of the Union. He enlisted at Peoria, in Company G, of the 16th Illinois Infantry, and served for a period of one year, taking part in the grand review at Washington. From a business point of view our subject has been wonderfully successful; he has built in different parts of the Prairie State twenty-seven sawmills, thoroughly equipped with every modern appliance, including steam-engine and machinery. The date of his removal to this State was 1873; from that time he has been engaged chiefly in agriculture.
The home and farm of our subject are situated upon sections 33 and 34 of Holt Township, and the property includes 320 acres of excellent agricultural land, which is thoroughly improved and highly cultivated; upon it he has erected a very pleasant and commodious farm dwelling, and the usual farm buildings. He has also set out an extensive orchard of choice, thrifty fruit trees of diverse kinds and select variety, and may be justified if a feeling of manly pride should fill his heart as he looks over the property he has acquired, which is all the result of his own labor and toil, in which he has ever been cheered, counseled and supported by the faithful companion of his life, than whom there are few more beautiful in character, more highly endowed by nature with those parts and qualities that have made woman the chiefest and best work of Creative hands. It goes without saying that our subject and his family are highly respected by the community at large. Mr. Baker is an active and earnest advocate of such things as will benefit the people, especially the young, and will advance the interests of the district or county. In political matters he is a Republican, a stanch friend and cheerful supporter of the party.
We take pleasure in presenting the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Baker on an accompanying page.
ATHIAS H. COBURN. The State of Maine has been the stage upon which have been played some of the most memorable scenes and incidents of American history; and from the time when the forty-one men of Plymouth Rock signed their memorable compact of liberty; from the time of William Bradford, who received the charter of the Plymouth Colony from the "dread sovereign lord, King James," until the present era, which has produced "the man of Maine," upon whom the eyes of the civilized world have rested, the citizens of the Lumber State have always maintained a place in the front rank of American independence, liberty and progress. Among the worthy representatives of this people is M. H. Coburn, one of Nebraska's intrepid pioneers, whose farm is situated upon section 25 of Hanover Township.
Our subject was born at Parkman, Me., upon the 10th of November, 1833, and is a son of Edward and Elizabeth (Hanscom) Coburn, also natives of the same State. His father was by occupation a farmer, and continued to reside in the East until 1855, when he migrated from the old homestead to LaSalle County, Ill., and settled upon a farm which he purchased in that State. There Mr. Coburn, Sr., died in the year 1866, aged sixty-six years. His widow survived him until 1886, and departed this life in Gage County, Neb. They were the par-
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ents of four children, whom it was their pleasure to see grow to years of maturity, and three enter the ranks of the honored and respected of the community. Mathias is our subject; Abigail is the wife of Cyrus Hanscom, and Sylvanius F. is happily married to Miss Sylvinia Philbrook.
Our subject, from the time of leaving the classes of the common school, where he had obtained his education, remained at home, being the only son, and assisted his father in the operation of his farm, thus naturally drifting into the working of the same, and made it his chosen occupation in life. When his parents removed to Illinois, he of course accompanied them, and continued to reside with them until he came to this State. In the year 1868 he purchased land in this county, and settled upon it in the year 1871. He is now the owner of a property of 240 acres in extent, including some of the finest undulating pastoral land in the county.
In February of 1867 Mr. Coburn entered the state of matrimony, and was united with Miss Lydia A. Denton. This lady is the daughter of James and Gemima (Vanboltenburg) Denton, natives of New York and Connecticut. They were the parents of eleven children, of whom their daughter Lydia was the eighth. She was born in New York on the 12th of March, 1842, and continued to make her home with her parents until her marriage. She has become the mother of two children, who have received the names of Edward M. and Frederick H., respectively. They have also adopted a daughter, Emma E.
Mr. Coburn takes considerable interest in matters political, and is a stanch friend and supporter of the Republican party, and is at all times ready and anxious to do all in his power to extend its influence and aid in its advancement. He is regarded as one of the most worthy, honorable and valued citizens, and respected accordingly.
OHN SPARKS. The name of the subject of this sketch, who died a victim to cold and exposure on the 12th of January, 1888, is held in kindly remembrance by a large proportion of the people of this county. The story of his decease is one of unusual sadness. On the morning of the day above mentioned he started out bright and early to Beatrice after a load of coal. Obtaining this he tarried for a time for the transaction of other business, and upon completing this started for his home in Lincoln Township, eight miles distant. Soon afterward the storm came on, but he pressed forward, and was within forty rods of his house when his horses were unable to proceed further, and releasing the animals from the wagon, he turned them loose, evidently with the supposition that he himself would be able to reach his own fireside in safety. Like thousands of others overtaken by a Western storm, his senses seemed to have become bewildered, and instead of going toward his home, he went directly away from it. The gathering darkness soon hid him from view, and he fell exhausted on the ground and expired. There he was found the following morning. His team in the meantime had reached home after night came on and were discovered in the yard in the morning. It is difficult to conceive why he should have left his horses, as had he mounted one of them it would have probably taken him home in safety. His melancholy demise was the occasion of general mourning in the community, as he had been a most worthy and exemplary citizen, temperate in his habits, and one who enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him.
Mr. Sparks was born in North Carolina, and was about fifty-five years old at the time of his death. He emigrated from the South to Indiana with his parents early in life, locating in Monroe County, where he was reared to manhood. There also he was first married, and later removed to Woodford County, Ill., where he established a flouring-mill, putting up the structure himself and buying grain for a number of years. He was successful as a financier and accumulated a good property, but was overtaken by reverses. After losing the sum of $6,000 he sold out and returned to Indiana. Then succeeded his marriage, in Greene County, in February, 1871, to Miss Martha E. Roberson, who was a native of his own State, and born Sept. 20, 1849.Mrs. Sparks when a young girl of fifteen years removed with her parents from North Carolina to Indiana, where she grew to womanhood. Her par-
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