1906 Historical Encyclopedia Of Illinois & History of Morgan County IL

Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1906.

NEWTON, Samuel , who resides on his farm half a miles east of Concord, has been a resident of Morgan County for two-thirds of a century. He was born at Randolph, Portage County, Ohio, May 4, 1833, a son of William B. and Sophia (Sutliff) Newton. William B. Newton, who was a native of Templeton, Mass., and a representative of one of the oldest and most worthy families of the Bay State, received a liberal education and early in life became a teacher. Removing to Ohio in the pioneer days of that State, he there engaged in educational work until his removal to Illinois with his family in 1839. His first location in this county was at Meredosia, where he remained for one year. He then engaged in farming at Diamond Grove for two years, upon the expiration of that period removing to Scott County, where he purchased a farm located eight miles east of Winchester. With splendid prospects of success before him, his life was cut short, while still in the prime of manhood, his death occurring at his home in Scott County, October 12, 1846.

Left dependent upon his own resources at the age of thirteen years, Samuel Newton began work in the spring of 1847 upon the farm of J. B. Fairbank, near Concord, receiving $6 per month for his services. After spending four years upon this farm, he was similarly engaged for one year for James Ellis, whose place was situated east of Concord. His entire service as a farm hand extended over a period of seven years, and the highest pay he received was $15 per month. Upon attaining his majority he rented 33 acres of land situated west of the railroad, near Concord, paying therefor one-third the income. The following fall he purchased a half interest in a thresher, which he operated during the harvest season, in conjunction with his agricultural enterprise. Until 1891 he continued threshing, purchasing and operating seven different machines in the meantime. In the spring of 1865 he purchased 100 acres of land, the nucleus of his present fine property, to which he has added until he now owns 506 acres, all of which has been improved except small pieces of native timber. For several years, during the earlier days of his life in Illinois, he drove hogs in large numbers to Beardstown and Whitehall, finding the undertaking quite profitable. He has found the greatest profit, however, in raising and feeding cattle.

For twenty-one years Mr. Newton served as School Director; for thirty years has been Secretary of Concord Lodge, No. 82, I.O.O.F.; and is also a member of N. D. Morse Lodge, No. 346, A.F.&A.M., of Concord. On May 5, 1860, he was married to Martha E. Sims, daughter of Rev. L. B. Sims, a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, his wife dying September 22, 1877. They became the parents of the following named children: Ida May, wife of John G. Irving, of Arenzville; Emma Florence (deceased), wife of George F. Blimling, of Concord; Nellie E. (deceased), wife of R. C. Huddleson, of Pike County, Ill.; Addie and Alice (twins)-Addie becoming the wife of C. E. Willard, of Concord, and Alice, the wife of Thomas Titus, of Trilla, Coles County, Ill.; Charles Edward, living at home; Archibald L., residing one mile east of Concord; and Katie, wife of John Rink, of Beardstown. On March 7, 1878, Mr. Newton was united in marriage with Mrs. Elvira (Park) Haney, daughter of John S. Park, who was born in South Carolina in 1802, and died in Illinois, in 1847. He removed to Spring Creek, Sangamon County, Ill., between 1832 and 1835, with his wife, formerly Mary A. Morrison, who was born near Maysville, Ky. Mr. Park finally took up government land located on the northeast edge of Joy Prairie, and at the time of his death owned 220 acres, all improvements upon which were the result of his own labors. He and his wife were the parents of eight children, one of whom died in infancy. Those who reached maturity were: Warren J., who died in Arkansas in 1876; Sarah G. (died in Oregon), wife of Martin C. Collier; Mary J. (deceased), wife of Jacob Valentine; Elmira A., who married J. A. Haney; George W., of Peculiar, Mo.; Caroline S., deceased, wife of Rev. Columbus Derrick; Josephine, widow of Ira Chase, of Haddam, Kansas. Mrs. Newton's children by her first marriage were: Ada V., wife of John F. Blimling, of Murrayville; Alma C., wife of Arthur Hamilton, Superintendent of the Railway Terminal System at St. Louis and East St. Louis; Grace E. , who died at the age of twenty; and Mary S., who died at the age of two years. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Newton have been: John Samuel, who died at the age of two years; and James Jay, residing at home.

Mr. Newton is a representative of that type of sterling man who finds delight in the accomplishment of those things which benefit his community. Possessed of an unselfish public spirit, a broad mind and generous disposition, he has come to be highly regarded as a citizen of genuine worth-helpful and progressive, and earnest in his espousal of all movements which are intended to elevate the moral, social and industrial status of Morgan County.

NICHOLS, Samuel Warren , editor and one of the proprietors of the Jacksonville (Ill.) "Daily Journal," was born near Quincy, Adams County, Ill., February 5, 1844, a son of Warren and Ann Maria (Morrill) Nichols, both descendants of old and honored families of New England. Warren Nichols was born in Reading, Mass., January 25, 1803, and was a representative of an English family which emigrated to New England in the early colonial period. He received a liberal classical education, and after his graduation from Williams College in 1830, entered Andover Theological Seminary for the purpose of qualifying himself for the ministry in the "New School" Presbyterian Church. After pursuing the rigid course prescribed by that institution, he was graduated thereform in 1833, with his health badly impaired as the result of years of hard study, and work performed in order to pay his expenses through college. Having decided to engage in home missionary work in the West, he at once proceeded to Missouri, where he spent about a year in this work. While in Missouri he suffered from an attack of Asiatic cholera, during the memorable epidemic of 1833, but from which he recovered.

In 1834 he removed to Illinois, and for fifteen years thereafter labored continuously in Adams, Pike and Hancock Counties, in the latter county striving to overcome the influence exerted by the Mormon Church, whose headquarters were then at Nauvoo, Hancock County. Warren Nichols was also one of the most ardent workers in behalf of the slave, and for a long period assisted in the workings of the so-called "underground railroad." vAs the associate of the celebrated Dr. David Nelson, he devoted a large share of his time to educational work in Illinois; and during a portion of the time in which he made this State his field of labor, served as agent for the American Tract Society. He gave freely of his time and services for the promulgation of religious principles and the education of the young, without thought of financial reward. Possessed of a brilliant intellect, with a mental equipment that was rarely to be found in the pioneer days of Illinois-a profound Hebrew, Latin and Greek scholar, and highly skilled in mathematics, Warren Nichols was able to accomplish a vast amount of good in the field of effort he had chosen, and few men of his period left a more indelible impression upon the State than he. In 1849 he removed to Ohio, where he continued to preach until failing health compelled him to abandon his labors. His death occurred in that State in 1862. His wife, who was born in Epsom, N. H., and reared in Concord, of that State, was a descendant, on the maternal side, of the Kimball and Ayers families, two of the most noted families in the history of New England.

Samuel Warren Nicholas was reared in Illinois and Ohio, and in the latter State began his studies in the public schools. In May, 1864, at the age of twenty years, he enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Fifty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served four months in the Army of the Potomac, principally in the defense of Washington, being thus engaged during Early's raid against the National Capital. About two years after the death of his father (on November 11, 1864) he returned to Illinois, and entered Illinois College in the class of 1868, during the presidency of Julian M. Sturtevant, D. D., LL.D. Though he abandoned his college course before the expiration of the four years' course, he was voted a graduate and accorded the Bachelor's degree. Entering the Jacksonville Business College, in 1866, he became the first graduate of that institution, and during the year following was engaged as a teacher therein. Disliking the work, he relinquished his post to become treasurer and collector for the Jacksonville Gas Company, in which capacity he served for three years. In 1870 he entered the First National Bank of Jacksonville as Teller. A year later he formed a partnership with Terence Brennan and Joseph DeSilva, under the firm name of Nicholas, Brennan & Co., and either as a member of this firm, or individually, was engaged in the stove and tinware trade for six years. From 1877 to 1886 he operated a photograph studio, but while thus engaged, in 1884, was employed as local editor of the "Jacksonville Daily Journal," devoting his days to his studio and the larger part of the nights to his newspaper work. In May, 1886, he disposed of his studio and engaged his services exclusively as an employe of the "Journal." From that time to the present he has been continuously identified with that newspaper. On November 22, 1886, the Journal Company was organized, with Edmund C. Kreider as President, W. L. Fay as Secretary and S. W. Nichols as Treasurer. Since that time Hawes Yates has succeeded Col. Kreider as President, but Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Fay have continued to conduct the paper, the former as editor and the latter as business manager. Under their management the "Journal" has become recognized as one of the influential newspapers of Central Illinois.

Mr. Nichols has been and still is identified with other enterprises of a more or less public nature. He has been Secretary of Passavant Memorial Hospital since its organization in 1874; for thirty-five years has been a member of the Prudential Committee of the Congregational Church, of which he is a communicant; for twenty-eight years has been Superintendent of the colored Sunday-school of Jacksonville, whose business affairs he has generously promoted, giving freely of his means towards it support; and has been Chairman of the Park Board since its organization, following his gift to the city of the public park located southeast of the city. This park will be but one of the many monuments to his memory in the years to come, though perhaps it will be regarded by many as the chief of all, inasmuch as from its very nature it cannot fail to endure as something tangible, rather than as a memory. In the fall of 1903 Mr. Nichols tendered to the city of Jacksonville the sum of $10,000 for the purpose of laying the foundation for a park system. The city accepted the gift, with expressions of the profoundest gratitude on the part of its people, and the site since selected southeast of the city, on Morgan Lake, has been laid out and its improvement begun.

This large gift for the foundation of a park system, though the most marked individual instance of Mr. Nichol's generosity, by no means represents the limit of his beneficences. No citizen of Morgan County-if, indeed, in the State-has more closely endeared himself to hundreds of children by his innumerable acts of kindness. A great lover of the young, and especially affectionate and sympathetic where the children of poor parents are concerned. Mr. Nichols has taken no pleasure trips in many years without being accompanied by young children, that he might gain added pleasure from their rare enjoyment. During the past ten or twelve years he has visited Alaska, the Yellowstone Park, the Yosemite Valley, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Old Mexico, the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, the city of Galveston, Niagara Falls and various other points of unusual interest, both in the East and the West; and on each of these trips he has been accompanied, invariably, by two or more children, all of whose expenses he has borne personally. During the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, he took three small parties of children to that great exhibit, bearing all expenses, on one occasion taking with him, in a special train, a party of 408, mostly school children. In making up this party he announced that he wanted every poor child in Jacksonville between the ages of eleven and fifteen years to go with him, and probably all coming within that class enjoyed that memorable visit to the great fair. During the past five years he has made it a rule to visit the poor authorities and the public school authorities, for advice as to children who might otherwise be overlooked at the Christmas season, and in this manner has endeavored to see that every poor child of Jacksonville shall have an appropriate Christmas present.

Mr. Nichols is a member of Matt Starr Post No. 738, G.A.R., and in Masonry is identified with Harmony Lodge, No. 3, A.F.&A.M., Jacksonville Chapter, No. 3, R.A.M.; and Hospitaler Commandery, No. 31, K.T. He was married December 30, 1873, to Helen M. Storrs, a native of Holliston, Mass., who died January 15, 1887.

That Mr. Nichols has inherited many of the unselfish and noble traits of character which were so conspicuous in his father is evident from the record of his career of usefulness and well-doing. Earnest in his religion, he has not been content to identify himself alone with the work of the church of which he is a member, but has endeavored to be of practical usefulness in carrying the message of love and brotherly kindness to those whose locations, remote from the scene of regular Sunday services, have made them intensely appreciative of his efforts. He has filled many pulpits, in the country and small towns, principally in Morgan County, in churches where no regular pastors have been maintained, and in many other ways has made his influence for good felt in the community. He modestly refuses to disclose the facts pertaining to many of his charitable acts, but it is believed by many of his friends that he has partially, and in many cases wholly, paid the educational expenses of not less than fifty young persons. He is a man among men, and a child among children. Throughout his career, though diligent in business, he seems to have been guided by a paramount desire to make his life useful to others. His liberality has been more than liberality, in the common acceptance of the term; he has been self-sacrificing in his contributions to all worthy causes of benevolence. The unstinted appreciation shown by the people of Jacksonville for a life thus far so radiant with intelligent benevolence, so thoroughly alive with kindly energy-a life at once human, Christian, gracious, manly and true-affords a living testimonial to his worth.

NORBURY, Frank Parsons, A. M., M. D. , of Jacksonville, Ill., one of the most prominent and successful physicians of Morgan County, was born in Beardstown, Ill., August 5, 1863, the son of Charles Joseph and Elizabeth P. (Spence) Norbury, the former a native of Philadelphia, Pa., where he was born May 27, 1812, and the latter born in the vicinity of Springfield, Tenn., September 17, 1822. The ancestry of Dr. Norbury is traceable in America for several generations, and, more remotely, to English origin. The founder of the family in this country was Peter Norbury, who, in 1686, accompanied by his brothers, John and Joseph, came from England with William Penn, and settled near Chester, Pa. His son, Jacob Norbury, was born in Pennsylvania. Jacob's son, Joseph, was born near Cape May, New Jersey. Joseph's son, Heath, was a native of York, Pa., and Heath's son, Joseph Britt, was born in Northumberland in the same State. He married Rebecca Frick and their union resulted in the birth of Charles Joseph, the father of Dr. Frank P. Norbury. All of the above-named members of the Norbury family were Quakers, save Joseph Britt, who had renounced that faith and become a Reformed Lutheran. Heath Norbury, Dr. Norbury's great-grandfather, had charge of the hospital service of the Continental Army, near Valley Forge, toward the close of the Revolutionary War. Through that conflict, except for this short period, he served in the ranks. His son, Joseph Britt, was a Captain in the War of 1812, and subsequently a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature. He was an attorney and for some time held a commission as Prothonotary in Philadelphia. Joseph Britt Norbury was named after an uncle, Joseph Britt, who served with the Colonial troops before the Revolution, afterward became a Major in the regular army, and took part in the campaigns around Detroit, Fort Wayne, and Vincennes.

Charles Joseph Norbury was a pupil in the Philadelphia schools, and completed his education in the Penn Charter Academy in that city. He then entered the employ of a wholesale merchant of Philadelphia, and later came to Beardstown, Ill., where, in 1833, he was employed by a Mr. Bassett, formerly of Philadelphia. He afterward opened a branch store for Mr. Bassett in Chanderville, Ill., and while there, married Elizabeth P. Spence. Soon after his marriage he established a store of his own in Beardstown, and there spent the remainder of his life. For many years he was identified with the Illinois Packet Company, in connection with his private interests in the grain and pork trade and general merchandising. Although reared in the Reform faith, he united with the Congregational Church soon after locating in Illinois. During the Civil War he strove in every way within his power to uphold the cause of the Union. Toward the end of his life, he became affiliated with the A.F.&A.M. His death occurred March 7, 1895. His wife was a daughter of Thomas and Catherine (Carter) Spence. Thomas Spence was a son of David Spence, a native of New Jersey, and the latter was a son of Thomas Spence, who was born in Scotland. He, in turn, was a son of David Spence. The Spence family in America originated with Thomas Spence, of the second generation above mentioned, who came with a Scotch-Irish colony to New Jersey, at an early period. Katherine Carter Spence, born at Culpeper, Va. Dr. Norbury's maternal grandmother, was a member of an old Virginia family, whose ancestry is traced to Robert Carter (King Carter), who came from England to assume charge of the Culpeper and Fairbanks estates. David Spence, the Doctor's great-grandfather, fought through the Revolution with Francis Marion, the noted cavalry leader. Isaac Watts, of hymn-writing fame, was a member of the same family, in a collateral relation. Dr. Norbury's maternal grandfather, Thomas Spence, was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who came to Illinois with his family about the year 1825.

Charles Joseph Norbury and his wife became the parents of thirteen children, as follows: Rebecca C., widow of D. H. Flickwir, of Brainerd, Minn.; William Spence, of Beardstown, Ill.; Lydia J., wife of Judge Samuel P. Dale, of Canon City, Colo.; Martha P., wife of O. H. Kuechler, of Jacksonville, Ill.; Arthur Frick, of Denver, Colo.; Lizzie S., also of Denver; Anna C., wife of W. D. Epler, of Beardstown, Ill.; Frank Parsons; Mary G., wife of G. B. Hegardt, United States Engineer stationed at Fort Stevens, Ore.; Heath and Henry, who died in childhood; Edward, who was engaged in the lumber business at Houston, Tex., and died at the age of thirty-five years; and Nellie C., deceased, who was the wife of J. Burns, Division Superintendent of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, at Pittsburg, Pa. G. B. Hegardt, husband of Mary G., before mentioned, is the builder of Fort Stevens, Fort Canby, the jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River and the locks in the Illinois River.

Dr. Norbury received his education in the High School at Beardstown, Ill., and Illinois College. After leaving the latter institution he entered the office of the United States Engineer in charge of the Illinois River improvement, where he remained four years, serving a portion of this time as office and field assistant to Capt. R. A. Brown. A year afterward he was employed in a wholesale iron establishment in St. Louis, but having decided upon a medical career, began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. George Bley, of Beardstown. A year later, he entered the Medico-Chirurgical College, of Philadelphia, where he remained one year. The year following he studied at the Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, from which he was graduated March 9, 1888, with the degree of M. D. Returning to Philadelphia, he became Resident Physician to the Pennsylvania Institution for Feeble-minded Children, at the same time performing post-graduate work under such men as Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, Dr. William Osler and Dr. Charles K. Mills, making a specialty of nervous and mental diseases. On August 20, 1888, he came to Jacksonville, as Assistant Physician to the Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, where he remained five years. Since his resignation from that post, July 1, 1893, he has been engaged in private practice in Jacksonville, with the exception of one year, during which he filled the chair of the Practice of Medicine, in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, St. Louis, at the same time lecturing on nervous and mental diseases in the Woman's Medical College of that city, which is now extinct. His practice has been mainly confined to nervous and mental diseases. For ten years Dr. Norbury has been editor of the "Medical Fortnightly," of St. Louis, and has been a frequent contributor to other professional journals. He is a member of the Morgan County Medical Society, of which he has been President two years; the Illinois State Medical Society; the Western District Medical Society, of Illinois, of which he was President in 1903; the American Medical Association; the American Medico-Psychological Association; and the Mississippi Valley Medical Association, of which he was elected Vice-President at its annual meeting held at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1904. He is Consulting Physician to the Illinois State Institution for the Education of the Blind; has been Neurologist in Our Savior's Hospital since its establishment; for eight years filled the chair of Psycho-Physics in Illinois College, from which he received the degree of A. M. in 1903, and is now Professor of Nervous and Mental Diseases in Keokuk Medical College, and in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, at Keokuk, Iowa.

In 1901 Dr. Norbury and others founded Maplewood Sanatorium, in Jacksonville, for the treatment of nervous and mental diseases. The institution is under the direction of a corporation of which the Doctor is President, and he acts as Medical Superintendent of the sanatorium. It has a capacity of twenty patients, and besides the Superintendent, has a staff of eleven nurses and a House Physician. At this institution the principles of the rest cure, advocated by Weir Mitchell, are followed, with some modification.

On October 2, 1890, Dr. Norbury was united in marriage with Mary E. Garm, a native of Beardstown, Ill., and a daughter of Henry and Mary D. (Haywood) Garm. Two children have resulted from this union-Frank Garm and Elizabeth.

Politically, Dr. Norbury is a supporter of the Republican party. Religiously, he is connected with the Congregational Church. In fraternal circles, he is identified with Jacksonville Lodge, No. 570, A.F.&A.M., Hospitaler Commandery, No. 31, K. T., and the K. of P.

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