1906 Historical Encyclopedia Of Illinois & History
of Morgan County IL
& HISTORY OF MORGAN COUNTY
Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1906.
FAIRBANK, John B. , was born in New Ipswich, N. H., March 16, 1796. At the district schools of his native town and at the New Ipswich Academy, he obtained a fair education, which, on leaving home at the age of twenty, he made use of by engaging in teaching. For four years he was principal of a high school in Stamford, Conn., where he married Miss Hannah M. Crissey, with whom he lived to celebrate their golden wedding. Soon after his marriage he removed to Massachusetts, and there established an extensive manufactory of palm-leaf hats, and ladies' straw bonnets, one of the first of the kind in the United States. For the sale of the goods manufactured, he opened a wholesale store in New York City, whither he removed in 1835. In 1837 he removed to Morgan County, Ill., settling on a farm on the north side of Diamond Grove, one mile south of Illinois College. Here he lived nine years, during which time his older sons received their education at the college. In 1846 he removed to the vicinity of what is now the village of Concord, where he retained his residence until the close of his life. A short time previous to his location there a church had been organized in the neighborhood, out of variety of religious elements found in that region, on a union basis, and because of this feature of the organization, and because some of the members were from Concord, N. H., it received the name Concord Church. With that church Mr. Fairbank, with his family, at once identified himself, and at a cost to himself of several thousand dollars over and above his subscription, he built its first house of worship. The building was located where the village of Concord is now situated. In 1850, in connection with his third son, D. Wilder, Mr. Fairbank opened a store near the church, and soon after platted the town, and named it Concord after the church. When the Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad was projected, he interested himself in that enterprise at once, and for a number of years was one of its Directors.
Mr. Fairbank was a decidedly public-spirited man, and was always ready, according to his ability and, indeed, often beyond his ability, to give a helping hand in the furtherance of everything which had in view the public good, whether in the sphere of civil affairs, education, philanthropy, or morals. Early in life he became a Christian, and thereafter was most heartily identified with all moral reforms and religious enterprises. While as yet it was an unpopular thing to do, he adopted total abstinence principles as to temperance, which he ever after uncompromisingly maintained. He was especially interested in the cause of Foreign Missions, to which he gave gladly his eldest son and a granddaughter, together with no small portion of his yearly income. Politically he was an old-line Whig, until the formation of the Republican party, with which he allied himself at once, because of its advocacy of the anti-slavery principles he had always held, and was identified with the first effort to organize that party in a convention held at Springfield, Ill., in October, 1854. Through a long life of mingled prosperity and adversity, in all relations of whatsoever nature, he ever maintained the character of a true Christian gentleman, and succeeded remarkably in his aim in life to be both just and generous. He died June 17, 1873, at the age of seventy-seven years, and was buried in Diamond Grove Cemetery, Jacksonville.
In Mr. Fairbank's family were ten children, five sons and five daughters.
The latter all died in infancy, while the former grew to manhood. Rev.
Samuel B. Fairbank, D.D., the oldest son, was born at Stamford, Conn.,
in 1822, graduated from Illinois College, at the age of eighteen, and from
Andover Theological Seminary at twenty-one. The following year he went
as a missionary of the American Board to India, and was stationed at Ahmedungger,
200 miles east of Bombay, in which work he spent about forty years, dying
in India in 1898. James C. Fairbank, the second son, was born at Oakham,
Mass., in 1825. While attending Illinois College, failing health caused
him to relinquish his studies, and he returned to his father's farm, remaining
with or near his parents until the father's death. He died in Jacksonville,
Ill., February 7, 1893. D. Wilder Fairbank, the third son, was born at
Oakham, Mass., April, 1829. Because of failing health when in college,
he too was obliged to relinquish his studies and his expectation to enter
the ministry. For a number of years he engaged in teaching, but later entered
the Concord store, and also engaged in farming and the stock and machine
agency business. In 1850 he married Miss Sarah Epler, daughter of the late
John Epler, of Cass County, and sister of Judge Cyrus Epler, of Jacksonville.
His death occurred in Jacksonville, Ill., February 19, 1893, a few days
after that of his brother, James C. John B. Fairbank, Jr., the fourth son
was born September 6, 1831, in Oakham, Mass. He graduated from Illinois
College in 1857, and from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1860.
He entered at once into the ministry, in the Congregational Church. After
a long career of successful pastorates in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan
and Indiana, he retired from active ministerial work, and is now serving
as Secretary of the General Congregational Association of Illinois, residing
in Jacksonville, Ill. Edward B. Fairbank, the fifth son, was born in Morgan
County, in May, 1841, and died at Concord, Ill., in September, 1863, aged
twenty-two years. He was a young man of rare social and business qualities,
and of earnest Christian principles, and gave promise of a worthy future.
He was held in high esteem, and his untimely death was mourned by all who
knew him. All the sons of Mr. Fairbank have been, at some time, connected
with Illinois College, all followed his example in engaging, to a greater
or less extent, in teaching, all early united with the church, all have
been from their youth absolute teetotallers, and all have received and
held the confidence of their fellow-men.
FANNING, Joab. - Joseph Fanning and Middleton John Fanning were the ancestors of the large number of Fannings of Morgan County; and many others of that ancestral stock became widely dispersed over the West by emigration. Joseph Fanning, father of Joab, came first from Virginia to Tennessee; then, in 1822, to Madison County, Ill., and to Morgan County in 1823. Robert Fanning, a brother of Joab, died in the Florida War while a soldier under General Jackson. Joab was a soldier in the Mexican War, serving in Company G, First Regiment Illinois Volunteers. The Fanning family were originally from Ireland, and are of the purest Milesian descent, being the race IR. Of the Hermonian line. The family settled in Ireland more than 2,000 years ago. The genealogy of this old pioneer family points with justifiable satisfaction to the chivalrous Celtic race of Ireland. The grandsires came to America when the country was under British rule. During the American Revolution Sampson Fanning often gave news to the Colonial army under Washington, of the whereabouts of skulking Tories. Many past and present excellent citizens of Morgan County have sprung from those original immigrants.
FARRELL, Felix Epler, senior member of the banking firm of F. G. Farrell & Company, Jacksonville, Ill., was born in that city October 28, 1868, a son of Felix Grundy and Anna (Epler) Farrell. (A detailed sketch of his father's life will be found elsewhere in this volume.) He received his education in the public schools of Jacksonville and at Illinois College. In 1885 he entered the First National Bank of Jacksonville as collector, and was promoted through the various positions in the bank to the Assistant Cashiership, a post he occupied when the national bank was succeeded by the private institution of F. G. Farrell & Company. In the meantime, however, Mr. Farrell went to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where, in 1893, he established the private banking firm of Farrell & Mueller. This institution he operated until December, 1897, when he sold his interest to the Banco de Minero and removed to Hermosillo, where he assisted in the establishment of the Banco de Sonora. In the spring of 1898 he disposed of his interests and returned to Jacksonville to become Assistant Cashier of the First National, to which office he was elected March 21st of that year. In this post he remained until he national bank was succeeded by the bank of F. G. Farrell & Company, on January 2, 1899. Upon the death of his father, December 29, 1901, Mr. Farrell and his brother-in-law, Edgar E. Crabtree, who had been equal partners with the elder Farrell in the management of the bank, continued operations under the old firm name as equal partners, an arrangement which has since continued. Mr. Farrell being the senior partner in the firm. The partners have inherited the extensive landed interests of the elder Farrell, which form their chief working assets.
Like his father, Mr. Farrell is unswerving in his devotion to the principles
of the Democratic party, but he has never sought nor consented to occupy
public office. Upon the death of his father he succeeded him as Trustee
and Treasurer of the Jacksonville Female Academy, and as Treasurer of the
State Street Presbyterian Church, and is Treasurer of Passavant Memorial
Hospital. Fraternally he is a member of the local lodge of Elks, and of
Urania Lodge, No. 241, I.O.O.F., in which he has passed all the chairs;
also belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the Delaware Tribe of Red Men,
No. 72, and Ridgely Encampment I.O.O.F., No. 9. He was united in marriage
April 12, 1898, with Isabel Stewart Martin, a daughter of James H. and
Sarah (Gray) Martin, of St. Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Farrell are the parents
of two children - Felix Martin and Dorothy Isabel.
FARRELL, Felix Grundy, (deceased), merchant and banker, Jacksonville, Ill., was born in Cumberland County, Ky., October 13, 1829, a son of John and Abigail (Turley) Farrell. While he was yet an infant his parents started for Illinois, where they intended to locate permanently, and in 1832 while at Beardstown, Ill., his mother was stricken by Asiatic cholera and died. His father soon afterward proceeded westward upon his journey to Iowa, leaving his son in the care of relatives. The last intelligence received from him was to the effect that he had reached Burlington, and it is supposed that he died during his journey further into the territory. Sometime after the death of his father, young Farrell was taken to Iowa, where he was cared for by his maternal grandmother until he was placed in the charge of his uncle, Neil Turley, who finally brought him back to Illinois. During his childhood and youth he attended the country schools of "Cracker's Bend" whenever the opportunity presented itself, but his early educational advantages were meager. During most of the time until he had reached the age of eighteen years he was a farm laborer. In 1847 he began learning the trade of a brick maker and burner, and was thus employed until he became of age, when he entered the general store of Link & Powell, at Arcadia, Morgan County, in the capacity of clerk and general helper. During the summer season he drove a peddling cart throughout the surrounding country for that firm, and in this way became acquainted with many men of all classes and conditions. The knowledge of human nature thus gained proved of incalculable benefit to him in his future undertakings, and doubtless enabled him to avoid many a pitfall in his later career.
In 1852 Mr. Farrell and an uncle, Thomas Turley, purchased the business of Link & Powell, Mr. Turley supplying the necessary money and Mr. Farrell the experience. The partnership was an ideal one, as Mr. Farrell had thoroughly familiarized himself with the custom, and knew the demands of the community. In March, 1853, they removed to Pleasant Plains, Ill., where they continued the business for several years. In February, 1857, the partners removed to Jacksonville, where they established themselves in the same line of business, but upon a larger scale. After seven years of successful enterprise, or in the summer of 1864, Mr. Farrell and others who appreciated the need of additional banking facilities in Jacksonville, organized The First National Bank of Jacksonville. Of this Mr. Farrell was Cashier from 1867 until January 2, 1899, when the bank relinquished its charter and the private house of F. G. Farrell & Company began operations. Mr. Farrell, who had owned a majority of stock in the national bank, and his son, Felix E. Farrell, became partners in the new enterprise, which was then operated by them until February 1, 1901, when Edgar E. Crabtree was admitted into the firm as an equal partner. The firm continued under this arrangement until the death of Felix G. Farrell, which occurred December 29, 1901, after which the business was continued as before.
The financial foundation upon which the private banking enterprise established by Mr. Farrell rested, was his real estate holdings, which consisted of more than 2,000 acres of valuable farming land, situated in Morgan County, Ill., and Jackson County, Mo. Besides this he possessed other valuable city property, all of which was accumulated entirely by reason of his own individual effort.
Mr. Farrell was always deeply interested in all well-considered efforts put forth for the promotion of the general welfare of the community. He took a great interest in educational matters, and for many years served as a Trustee of the Jacksonville Female Academy. An active member of the First Presbyterian Church (now the State Street Church) for many years, he served as an Elder therein from 1872 until his death, and for a long period was also Treasurer of the Society. He was also a most useful supporter of the work of the Passavant Hospital. For many years he was a member of the Jacksonville Board of Water commissioners, and one of the staunchest advocates of the best obtainable water supply. His sole entry into political life was his service in the Illinois State Legislature in 1867 and 1868, to which office he was elected as the nominee of the Democracy. Fraternally he was identified with Urania Lodge, No. 243, I.O.O.F., having been initiated into the order in 1857.
Mr. Farrell was first united in marriage September 18, 1855, to Mary Jane Dunlap, daughter of the Hon. Stephen Dunlap. She died in February, 1864, leaving four daughters: Mary Abigail, deceased wife of Walter Ayers; Nellie Frances, deceased wife of Harry E. Wadsworth; Dicy Elizabeth, wife of Edward A. Nixon; the second daughter, Leonora Althea, died at the age of seven years. On May 30, 1866, Mr. Farrell married Anna Epler, of Pleasant Plains, Ill., a daughter of Jacob Epler. Of this marriage two children were born, namely: Felix E., and Anna, wife of Edgar E. Crabtree.
Mr. Farrell's mind was broadened and his personality cultured by extensive
travel, which included two journeys to the Old World. The first of these
was made in 1878, when, accompanied by his three grown daughters, he visited
Europe, Palestine and Egypt. In 1884 he spent several months on the Pacific
Coast and in the Yosemite Valley; in 1888 he visited Mexico and some of
the countries of tropical America, and in 1892 returned to Europe in company
with his youngest daughter and three of her friends. Mr. Farrell's life
was molded after high ideals, and good fellowship and delicate consideration
of the rights of others were cardinal principles of his creed. He was constantly
reaching out a kindly, helping hand to others less fortunately situated
than he; but in the midst of his numerous beneficences he shunned everything
which might be regarded as ostentation. His high and unselfish public spirit
was frequently in evidence; for no appeal in behalf of a timely and well
considered effort to advance the material, moral or spiritual welfare of
Jacksonville was ever submitted to him in vain. He was, in brief, one of
the most substantial, kindly, benevolent and progressive citizens of Morgan
County, a man whom all delighted to honor, and one whose life was the source
of much inspiration to others.
FAUGUST, Oscar, a well-know and prosperous coppersmith and tinner of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born in Vestergotland, Sweden, November 5, 1860. He is a son of Gustaf and Anne Marie (Johnson) Faugust. His father was also a native of Vestergotland, born January 1, 1827, and followed the occupation of a farmer until his death, April 17, 1875. His widow was born in the same place as her husband and son, December 24, 1826, and died March 5, 1903, in Bremer County, Iowa. Oscar Faugust received his mental training in the public schools of Sweden, and then served a four years' apprenticeship as a coppersmith in Gottenborg, where he received a thorough training in his chosen trade. After finishing his apprenticeship, together with his mother, two sisters and two brothers, he came to the United States, and settled at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, April 17, 1880. There he worked at his trade until 1887, when he moved to Springfield, Ill., where he was successfully engaged for sixteen years. In May, 1902, he there established a business in tin and galvanized iron work, and tile and slate roofing, the enterprise having enjoyed a substantial and continuous expansion. Since he has made his home in Jacksonville he has been a useful and enterprising citizen, and has exercised his utmost endeavors to advance the public interests.
On October 23, 1883, Mr. Faugust was united in marriage with Lydia Sandberg,
a daughter of John and Anne (Caspersen) Sandberg, of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Six sturdy and interesting children have blessed this union, namely: Gustaf,
born June 15, 1885; Carl, born February 2, 1887; Hulda, born November 16,
1890; Nellie, born March 6, 1893; and Fred and Will (twins), born December
7, 1895. Mr. Faugust's brother, Alfred, is living at Fort Dodge, Iowa,
and one sister, Augusta Nordstrom, resides at Marshalltown, that State,
while his other sister, Mrs. Anne Noid, lives in Sioux City. Fraternally
Mr. Faugust is a member of Jacksonville Lodge No. 4, I.O.O.F.; Springfield
(Ill.) No. 1418, M.W.A., and Damascus Court, Tribe of Ben Hur, of Springfield,
FELLOWS, Richard, (deceased), late a worthy citizen of Lynnville, Morgan County, Ill., where he was for many years engaged in the tailoring business, was born in Birmingham, England, December 11, 1817. At the age of fourteen years he went to Sutton for the purpose of learning the tailor's trade, and worked as an apprentice in that line for seven years and three months, his only compensation being his board. He then returned to Birmingham, where he remained until 1844, when he came to the United States. The voyage was made on a sailing vessel and consumed eight weeks from the day of embarkation. Shortly after landing on these shores he proceeded to New Orleans, where he remained until 1849. Thence he journeyed to Illinois, and opened a tailor's shop at Winchester, which he conducted for three and a half years. He then located at Lynnville, and from 1853 lived in the house where he passed his last days in May, 1905. During this long period he was engaged in the tailoring business and in farming. In both occupations he was a careful, diligent and painstaking man, and by his close and faithful application to the task before him, and his strict integrity won an enviable reputation and an excellent standing in the community. Although not a church member, he contributed freely toward the various agencies of Christian work. On October 10, 1847, Mr. Fellows was united in marriage with Ann Wilson, who died in 1875. In 1878, he was wedded to the widow of W. J. Woodward, and a daughter of Ebenezer and Frances Ruark. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years and an earnest Christian worker, dying in May, 1905.
FLIGG, George, who is successfully engaged in agriculture on the farm where his birth took place in Morgan County, Ill., was born October 12, 1847. He is a son of John and Jane (Groves) Fligg, of whom the former was born in England. When a young man John Fligg came from his native country to the United States and began working on a farm. He moved to the place now operated by his son, George, at an early period and was there engaged in farming throughout his active life, dying at Lynnville, Ill., in 1855, aged thirty-nine years. His widow died on the homestead farm October 8, 1893, in her eighty-third year. George Fligg attended the common schools until he was nineteen years of age, when he took charge of the paternal farm, where he had been reared, in the interest of his mother. Of her six children, five died young, George being the only one to reach maturity. Mr. Fligg's farm consists of 80 acres, on which he has made all of the present fine improvements. He is an industrious and careful farmer, and good results attend his labors.
On May 29, 1870, Mr. Fligg was united in marriage with Jennie Stephenson.
Their union has resulted in six children, namely: Johnny, who died at the
age of eight years; Charles, who died about the same time, of scarlet fever;
Jessie, wife of Charles Hammell, a resident of Buckhorn Township, Morgan
County; Joseph, who is living at home; Pearl, who was born April 7, 1883,
and Roy, who was born October 13, 1888. In politics, Mr. Fligg follows
the fortunes of the Republican party. He has served six terms as School
Director of the township.
FRANK, John , a well-known and prosperous grocer and baker, of Jacksonville, Morgan county, Ill., was born in that city, March 31, 1865. He is a son of Emanuel and Frances (Fernandes) Frank, natives of the Island of Madeira, who came to this country with other Portuguese exiles. In this country the father followed the occupation of a dairyman until his death in 1896. His widow still survives him. John Frank received his early mental training in the public schools of Jacksonville, and afterward worked with his father in the dairy line, finally entering into partnership with him. They jointly and successfully conducted the dairy for twelve years, when John Frank entered the grocery business on his own account in a small store on Lafayette Avenue. In 1899 his trade had increased to such an extent that he erected and occupied a large two-story brick building on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Prairie Street. In 1903 he opened a bakery in the same building. The best of modern machinery was installed for the purpose, and the equipment is conceded to be equal to that of any similar establishment in this section of the State. In this enterprise Mr. Frank has met with remarkable success, and the grocery trade has kept pace with it. Starting with a capital of only $200, in six years Mr. Frank has become a leading baker and grocer. He devotes himself very diligently to his business and fully deserves the ample measure of success which has attended his efforts.
In 1889 Mr. Frank was united in marriage with Mary Jane Smith, of Jacksonville,
a daughter of J. C. Smith. One child, Paul, is the result of this union.
Fraternally, he is identified with the K.O.T.M. and the M.W.A.
FREEMAN, Joseph Hewett, Captain, Superintendent of the Illinois School for the Blind, Jacksonville, was born in Poland, Me., May 13, 1841, and is a son of Col. Joseph and Abigail (Gross) Freeman. The family traces its descent to Edmund Freeman, who was born in Devonshire, England, in 1590, and came to America in 1635, settling at Saugus, later named Lynn, Mass. Edmund Freeman, born in 1657, was previous to 1692, associated on a committee with John Alden and Miles Standish. Joseph Freeman, great-grandfather of Professor Freeman, was Town Clerk of Duxbury, Mass., from 1779 until 1785.
Col. Joseph Freeman was a successful merchant, and his children enjoyed substantial educational advantages. His son, Joseph H., attended the public schools, and in 1861 entered the Maine State Seminary, at Lewiston. In 1862 he enlisted for nine months in the Twenty-third Regiment Maine Volunteer Infantry, and was elected Second Lieutenant, his regiment being assigned to picket duty and engaged in the defense of Washington. On returning from the army, he reentered the seminary, which had been merged into Bates College. Before and during his collegiate course, he taught school at intervals, and in 1864 was graduated from the preparatory institution.
In the spring of 1865 he reenlisted in the service and became Captain of Company H, Fourteenth Regiment Maine Volunteer Infantry, which he commanded until the close of the war. Then he returned to Poland, resumed his studies in Bates College, and taught during the winter of 1865-6. He received the degree of A. M. from Bates College and in 1866 removed to Leland, Ill., where he served three years as Principal of Schools. In the fall of 1869 he was chosen principal of the Brady School at Aurora, and in 1870 became Principal of the Public Schools in Polo, Ill., where he remained until 1874. In the fall of that year, he was called to Denver, Colo., to serve as principal of the High School there. After spending a year in that city, illness compelled his return to Maine.
While convalescing, Capt. Freeman taught in a private school at Unity, Me., but was soon offered the principalship of the Township High School at Streator, Ill., where he served one term. Before going to Streator he was reelected to his old position in Polo, which he filled from 1876 to 1879, serving also as Mayor of that city. In 1879 he served as President of the Illinois School Principals' Society, and in the year named was made Superintendent of the West Side Schools of Aurora, continuing in the latter position until December, 1886. At that period he was appointed Deputy State Superintendent under Dr. Richard Edwards, who, in one of the biennial reports, writes thus of Capt. Freeman: "Mr. Freeman entered upon his duties without previous experience relating to the same (his work as chief deputy), but by his energy, readiness and high executive ability, he soon made himself master of all that belonged to the work." In August, 1889, Capt. Freeman was called to the superintendency of the East Aurora schools, to which position he was seven times reelected. In 1896 he served as Deputy under State Superintendent Inglis, and at the latter's death in 1898, was appointed by Gov. Tanner as his successor, serving as such until January, 1899. He was also Deputy under Supt. Bayliss until July 1, 1902. He was President of the Illinois State Teachers' Association in 1893, and President of the Illinois School masters' Club for two terms in 1897-8. Captain Freeman's retirement from the post of Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, in 1902, was due to his appointment to his present position.
In politics, Capt. Freeman is a Republican, and has been mentioned favorably in connection with the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is a devoted member of the Congregational Church, in which he serves as Deacon. For the past twenty-five years he has been a valued member of Aurora Post No. 20, G.A.R., having served as Commander for three years. He was formerly of the Masonic Order in Polo, and was Master of Mystic Tie Lodge. He is now a member of Harmony Lodge, A.F.&A.M. of Jacksonville, and Aurora Commandery No. 22, K.T., and has served as Captain General, Generalissimo and Eminent Commander.
Mr. Freeman was married August 25, 1867, to Mary A. Stone, of Unity, Me. To them six children have been born, of whom four are living, viz.: Grace, who is in her sixth years as teacher in the Springfield High School; Joseph Edwin, who is practicing law in New York City; Perley L., who is connected with the office of the Consolidated Gas Company in New York City, and Harry, who is in his junior year in Illinois College.
Mr. Freeman has been interested in several successful business enterprises, being one of the ten men who located the Scraper Works in Aurora. Several years ago, he became interested in the milling firm of Burns, Treat & Company, of Lemars, Iowa. Their plant was destroyed by fire in 1884, and the business was then reorganized under the name of the Plymouth Rolling Mill Company, capitalized at $50,000. Mr. Freeman has since been a stockholder of the company, which is doing a large business. He has also invested in farms and other property.
Capt. Joseph H. Freeman is a clear and convincing speaker, and is much
in demand on public occasions. His work as an educator has received high
commendation from prominent sources, and he is in possession of formal
testimonials from boards of education and other public bodies, attesting
in emphatic terms to the value of his labors in this direction. Though
he has been a resident of Jacksonville for a comparatively brief period,
he has become intimately identified with the social, fraternal, educational
and religious interests of the city, as his strong characteristics and
worth have found ready recognition among people of intelligence and culture.
He is an earnest worker, retaining the energy and ambition of young manhood,
and, as the head of one of the greatest philanthropic institutions of the
Middle West, has found a sphere where his splendid attainments can be best
FRENCH, Charles S., farmer and banker, Chapin, Ill., was born on his father's farm east of that place March 25, 1851, and is a son of Samuel and Martha (Fox) French. (An extended sketch of his father's career will be found elsewhere in this volume). After completing his education in the public schools, he began agricultural operations on a portion of his father's farm, to which he has added from time to time, until he now possesses about 600 acres, all of which, excepting a small timber tract, is under a high state of cultivation. He has carried on general farming and stock raising successfully, and has come to be ranked as one of the most successful agriculturists of Morgan County.
Mr. French is regarded as one of the public spirited and enterprising men of Morgan County, and has always exhibited a deep interest in those affairs pertaining to the advancement of the community in which he resides. He is a strong Republican, and has been actively interested in the success of the men and measures of his party. At various times he has filled local offices, and for some time was a member of the Chapin Village Board. A stanch worker in the cause of temperance, he has been one of the leaders in the fight against the maintenance of saloons in Chapin, which for several years has been successful. He was one of the founders of the State Bank of Chapin, of which he is Vice-President.
On December 31, 1874, Mr. French married Adelia A. Anderson, a native
of Bethel, Morgan County, and a daughter of Alexander Anderson. The latter
was born in Owensboro, Ky., removed from that State to Ohio, and in 1838
came to Illinois, locating near Meredosia, Morgan County. In 1840 he purchased
a portion of the Troy farm two miles west of Chapin, where he spent the
remainder of his life. In politics he was a strong and active Republican.
Mr. and Mrs. French have had three children, as follows: Rena Mabel, who
first married Leonard L. Masters (now deceased), now the wife of J. J.
Sheppard, principal of the High School of Commerce, New York; and Clarence
Anderson and Laura Frances, both deceased.
FRENCH, Samuel, (deceased), for many years one of the most widely known and highly respected agriculturists of Morgan County, was born in Loudon, N.H., November 9, 1812, and died at his home east of Chapin January 25, 1879. His parents were Samuel and Susan (Tilton) French. In Halstead, Essex County, England, was born on March 13, 1603, Lieutenant William French, the founder of the family in America. He came to this country in 1635 and settled in Dunster Street, Cambridge, Mass., the property of which he became the owner comprising the present site of Harvard University. Samuel French, the subject of this brief sketch, emigrated to Illinois in 1837, locating first at Alton. During his two years' residence there he was variously engaged, dividing his time between the hauling of goods from Alton to Meredosia and the operation of a small dairy. Though he worked hard to attain the success which he had been led to believe was so easy in the West, he became discouraged with the outlook, and had almost decided to return to his home in New Hampshire, when he was prompted to come to Morgan County, about the richness of whose land he had heard so much. Coming to the western portion of the county in 1839, he soon secured employment, and by 1841 had saved enough money to enable him to purchase of a Mr. Barton a farm near Chapin, on which his son, Arthur L. French, now resides. Still heavily in debt, he commenced to improve the place and rid himself of the incubus of debt. The success which met his efforts may best be judged by the statement that, at the time of his death, he was the proprietor of 1,000 acres of generally fertile and highly cultivated land. Upon this property he resided during the remainder of his life, and became widely known as a successful farmer and stock raiser - a man who kept fully abreast of the most advanced thought in agricultural science.
Mr. French exhibited a deep and abiding interest in all matters pertaining to the general welfare of the community in which he lived. Reared a Whig, he was a strong antislavery man, and, upon its organization, naturally identified himself with the Republican party, voting for General John C. Fremont in 1856, despite an overwhelming public sentiment against that candidate in his locality. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was one of the first and most liberal contributors of his means toward the support of the Union cause, and served as Captain of the "Wideawakes" during the existence of that organization. Throughout his entire life he embraced every possible opportunity to assist in the promotion of worthy enterprises of a public nature, for he was a thoroughly public spirited and progressive citizen. He was an especially stanch friend of education, and, associated with Mr. Moody and J. D. Cooper, erected the first schoolhouse in his section of the county. For many years he served as a member of the School Board, and always endeavored to secure the best possible instructors, regardless of the question of remuneration. On but one occasion did he permit his name to be used as a candidate for political office, when he accepted the nomination for Representative in the Legislature, but, on account of the overwhelming Democratic majority in the district he was defeated at the polls. In religion he was a member of the Congregational Church at Joy Prairie, to whose support he was a liberal contributor.
Mr. French was first married June 2, 1835, to Nancy S. Thompson of Concord,
N. H., who died in 1849. Their children, all of whom are now deceased,
were as follows: Frederick, Frederick T., Charles F., and Laura A. The
latter became the wife of henry J. Atkins, and left one son, Herbert F.
Atkins, now a resident of Jacksonville. On April 17, 1850, Mr. French was
united in marriage with Martha Fox, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a
daughter of Rev. John Fox, a minister of the Methodist Protestant Church.
They became the parents of two sons - Charles Samuel and Arthur Lincoln,
both of Chapin. Mrs. French died January 28, 1891.
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