1906 Historical Encyclopedia Of Illinois & History
of Morgan County IL
& HISTORY OF MORGAN COUNTY
Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers, 1906.
PATTERSON, William for many years an enterprising and substantial farmer residing in the vicinity of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., but now living in retirement, was born September 1, 1832, in Carroll County, Ohio, the son of John and Isabel (McGaw) Patterson, natives of Scotland, the father being born near Dumfries. John Patterson was a farmer by occupation, as was also his father. He remained at home until he was twenty-five years of age, then emigrating to the Unites States and settling in West Virginia. After being employed there two years, he removed to Carroll County, Ohio, where he entered 160 acres of Government land. This he cleared, otherwise improved, and cultivated until his death in April, 1868. Isabel McGaw, who became his wife, came from Scotland with her parents at a very early period. They first built a log cabin and afterward a comfortable and spacious residence, and became the parents of ten children, namely: James, of Linn County, Kans.; Margaret and Rubena, deceased; Ruthema, who lives in Ohio; William; Adam, who was killed in the Civil War; Mary, who lives in Scio, Ohio; Martha, whose home is in Richland County, Ohio; and Alexander, who lives in Morgan County, Ill. The mother of this family died at the age of forty-six years.
In boyhood William Patterson attended the subscription schools of that primitive period, and afterward pursued a course of study in the Hagerstown Academy. Subsequently, he taught school some years, and then remained at home until 1855. In that year, he located in Cass County, Ill., where he passed two years. Thence he migrated to Iowa and Missouri, and then returned to Morgan County. In 1866, he bought a farm of 240 acres five miles northwest of Jacksonville, Ill., the improvements on which were somewhat dilapidated; but he now possesses the most modern buildings and conveniences in his vicinity. He is the owner of 400 acres of land in one tract. During his active life he carried on general farming and stock-raising, but is now enjoying his later years in leisure and comfort.
In 1857 Mr. Patterson was united in marriage with Mary A. Boston, a native of Cass County, Ill., and a daughter of Anthony and Louisa (Stevenson) Boston. Nine children were born of this union: Louisa Williamson, of Jacksonville; Nettie Dewees, of Morgan County; Ulysses, deceased; George W., who occupies a portion of the home far; Torin of Morgan County; Edward, of Jacksonville; Martha and Maude, who are with their parents; and Leonard, who lives in South Dakota.
On political issues, Mr. Patterson is a positive Republican, and takes
much interest in the success of his party, having filled most of the local
offices in his vicinity. Mrs. Patterson is a member of the Methodist Episcopal
church. In his prime, Mr. Patterson was a model farmer, his intelligent,
careful and systematic diligence and enterprise always securing satisfactory
results. He is now enjoying the ample fruits of toilsome years, to which
he is richly entitled.
PAXSON, Stephen, pioneer Sunday-school missionary and organizer in the Mississippi Valley, for forty years was a notable landmark in the West in Sunday-school work, and came to be known and esteemed as a veteran without a peer in Sunday-School service throughout the entire country. The story of his remarkable heroism, moral reformation, masterful oratory, and sublime achievements unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries in any sphere and in any section of the country, or in any line of activity.
Mr. Paxson was born in New Lisbon, Ohio, November 3, 1808. His father died while his children were young, and circumstances forced the mother to seek homes for them among strangers. Stephen, who was next to the youngest of seven, had an impediment in his speech, which, under excitement, was fatal to any effort to make himself understood. His first appearance at school - an event looked forward to through a long summer of toil and lonesomeness - produced such a state of nervous trepidation that, when called upon, he could not give his name or age, or any intelligible account of his mental acquirements. The children laughed and the teacher stamped his foot impatiently, and harshly ordered the boy to go home, and sent by his hand a note requesting the people who had him in charge to teach him to talk before they sent him to school. While yet a lad he was attacked by a painful disease known as white swelling, which rendered him a helpless cripple for a long time, and partially lamed him for life. The circumstance of the boy's lameness made a change in his occupation necessary, and he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a hatter. In his master's shop he became at once the butt of ridicule on account of his stammering speech. The young apprentices showed him little mercy, and invariably called him "Stuttering Stephen." Little did he or any of them think that there was a resolute energy in that young breast which would avail to conquer nature's infirmity; that that very voice, so slow and hesitating now, would one day stir the hearts of multitudes as by the call of a trumpet.
Having an intense desire to learn to read, he began by learning the alphabet from the various signs painted in staring letters over the shop doors and the posters on the fences. Occasionally an old castaway newspaper would serve him well in the effort to learn to read. He also developed a wonderful capability and fondness for singing, which marvelously served him in his work in later years. The spirit of song seemed to subdue his infirmity and inspire him with the power of musical utterance.
In the year 1838, Mr. Paxson moved with his family to Winchester, Ill., at that time within Morgan County. The though of God was not then in his heart. He was fond of worldly pleasures, especially of dancing, in which, in spite of his lameness, he became very proficient. He employed a fiddler, giving him a yearly salary to be ready at any time to supply him with music for that favorite amusement. It is also related that he often appeared on the street barefoot, and when provocation offered, he was ready for a pugilistic tournament. He never entered a church, or paid the least regard to religious observances. Finally, through the persuasive entreaties of his little daughter, he was induced to accompany her to her Sunday-school. That was the beginning of one of the most remarkable reformations and illustrious careers of usefulness that ever occurred. For four years he attended that school, never missing a Sabbath. He was converted and united with the church. At once he became interested in organizing Sunday-schools in other places in the county. He early saw the need of unification of methods of that work, and the better qualification of teachers. With that in view he first held a few mass-meetings of various schools within reach of each other in the woods.
April 20, 1846, having made due preparation therefor, he summoned the teachers of the county to meet in convention in the old Presbyterian church in Winchester. As early as 1832 similar methods had been adopted in some of the Eastern States with excellent results, but later that means of increasing the enthusiasm and the teaching power of those engaged in Sunday-schools appears to have been little used, especially in the West. Mr. Paxson hit upon the same expedient, thus reproducing a comparatively forgotten agency, and made it more widely popular than in former days. From it sprang up the system of County, State, and District Conventions - agencies which have now assumed national and international proportions.
The great trial of Mr. Paxson's life - his stammering speech - had now become almost unendurable to him. He wanted to speak fluently and with effect in behalf of the work so dear to his heart. He began to think of attempting a cure. To this end he determined to study himself and the impediment that repressed the utterance of his thoughts which smothered his heart, in their restless throbbing for expression. Surely he would find some way! For the resolute soul there is ever a path opened. He would watch and pray. He discovered at last, almost by accident, that, whenever he filled his lungs with air and expelled it slowly, accompanying his speech with certain gestures, the nerves seemed to relax and the words came with greater fluency and ease. He acted at once upon this hint, and practiced every day. He found to his joy and amazement that the key to the combination lock set upon his speech lay in his own hands. He felt himself a new man; now he need no longer hesitate about his fitness for the work of the Master. A heart aglow with zeal, and a loosened tongue - are not these sufficient for the work whereunto he was called? Thence forward, from Maine to the gulf; from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains; in the wealthiest and most cultured churches East, West and South; and in audiences of many thousands, assembled in the open air, he addressed vast multitudes who were swayed by his irresistible eloquence; sometimes convulsing them with his drollery to laughter, then melting them into tears by the pathos of his experiences and messages. Where no Sunday-school had before existed, he organized 1,314 Sunday-schools containing 83,405 scholars and teachers, besides encouraging and aiding 1,747 other Sunday-schools with 131,260 scholars and teachers.
It should be remembered that when Mr. Paxson began, and throughout most of his long and extensive itinerant career, the means of public travel were very limited, so that he was forced to adopt primitive methods. In that matter, therefore, he used a horse which he appropriately named "Robert Raikes." In this way he assisted his master in organizing over 700 Sunday-schools, and traveled a distance nearly as great as thrice around the world. He moved form Jacksonville to St. Louis, Mo., in the year of 1868, the Society having kindly given him the easier position of taking charge of the Book Depository in St. Louis, with liberty to travel whenever he felt disposed, to attend missionary Sunday-school conventions, mass meetings, and spend his time in similar work. To business life he brought the same energy and enthusiasm which had characterized him in his Sunday-school work for the church and our country. He died in St. Louis, and is buried in the beautiful Belle Fontaine Cemetery.
A thrillingly interesting biography of Mr. Paxson was written and published by his gifted daughter, Mrs. B. Paxson Drury, from which has mostly been compiled this narrative of one of the most distinguished citizens of Morgan County.
William Pryor Paxson, D.D., son of the preceding, was born in Cherokee
County, Ala., September 8, 1837. He received his education chiefly in Illinois
College, Jacksonville, Ill., and entered the ministry in early manhood,
and at once gave promise of unusual ability and prominence, which was fully
realized in his subsequent brilliant career. After a few years of successful
pastoral service he entered upon the work of his distinguished father -
the missionary work of the American Sunday-School Union - as Superintendent
of the Southwestern District. He brought to that work very great executive
ability and the gift of extraordinary public address. In order to raise
funds for carrying on the work in his district he frequently visited the
Eastern and New England States, where he addressed large audiences which
were thrilled by his eloquent appeals and moved to great liberality in
contributions for his work. It was during the last of such visits, having
been especially successful, that he was stricken by fatal illness, dying
march 8, 1896, in Orange, New Jersey.
PEAK, Jacob H., (deceased), formerly a prominent farmer of Morgan County, Ill., living on Section 13, Town 14, Range 9, where his widow, Mrs. Matilda Peak, still resides, was born in Anderson County, Tenn., May 26, 1829, the son of Absalom and Rebecca (Buttler) Peak, who were the parents of eighteen children. Upon coming to Illinois, the Peak family first settled in Scott County, where Jacob H. was reared to farming and educated in the public schools. On November 5, 1854, he was married to Matilda Campbell, daughter of J. B. and C. B. Campbell, her father being a native of Tennessee, but of Scotch and German descent, who moved to Illinois in the fall of 1830. To Mr. and Mrs. Peak seven children were born, four of whom survive, viz.: Mary L. wife of H. Q. Rimby, a merchant of Winchester, Scott County; Lois Kate, wife of Sherman Luttrell, a farmer of Morgan County, and Lulu A., wife of Edgar L. Sweet. Mr. and Mrs. Sweet and Dora A., wife of J. P> Woods, now reside with Mrs. Peak and assist in the management of her estate.
Mr. Peak in his day was a typical Illinois farmer, beginning the battle
of life with little or no capital, and by industry, thrift and good management
accumulating a very valuable estate. He settled about two and half miles
north of the village of Franklin in 1868, and there began improvements
on his farm, in 1877, erecting the present commodious residence. Improvements
continued until the farm of 330 acres was brought to its present condition
of fertility and completeness. Mr. Peak was a member of the Christian Church,
to which faith his widow and children adhere. He served his district as
Township Trustee, and in national affairs voted the Democratic ticket.
He followed general farming in his later years, but previously had been
a breeder of Durham cattle and other thoroughbred stock. Mr. Peak died
September 25, 1894, and his widow, who survives him, resides on the family
homestead with the mature relatives mentioned above, as well as her two
grandchildren, Allyn P. and Cullen B., aged, respectively, seven and two
PERKINS, J. B., M. D., physician and surgeon, Franklin, Ill. - The great results in life are usually attained by simple means, and the exercise of ordinary talents. The road of human welfare lies along the old highway of steadfast well doing. Common sense, application, and perseverance accomplish often more than so-called genius. In no instance is this shown more plainly than in the medical profession, where undoubted worth is sure to win acknowledgment and advancement.
Dr. J. B. Perkins was born in Harrison County, Ky., on January 19, 1862, the son of A. J. and Mary E. (Eckler) Perkins, who died on their Kentucky homestead December 28, 1883, and November 18, 1902, respectively. After leaving the common schools of his native state he attended the Illinois Normal School at Dixon, graduating therefrom as a commercial student. He then began the study of medicine under Dr. B. T. McLean, of Franklin, who advised a course in the Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery. The young man remained in this institution from 1892 to 1895, graduating April 3d, of the latter year. Within twelve days after receiving his diploma the new practitioner was established in an office in Franklin, Ill., and since that date has more than held his own, being accounted more than ordinarily successful in his professional work. On September 12, 1893, Dr. Perkins was united in marriage to Minnie M. daughter of Robert S. Colpitts, of Cass County, and of this union two children have been born - Ona May and Mary Roberta.
In his political views Dr. Perkins is a Democrat. He has been a member
of the Town Board, and was for four years Chairman of the Board of Health
in Franklin, while for two years he has been President of the Board of
Education. He is a member of the State and County medical Association;
is an ardent Modern Woodman, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
PETEFISH, George - Clearly outlined against the shadowy past of Morgan County is the noble character and self-sacrificing life of George Petefish, a man who lent dignity and thoroughness to the time honored occupation of farming, and who walked quietly and with good intent among the changing conditions of the early days. Born in Rockingham County, Va., March 17, 1790, Mr. Petefish was the son of a Hessian soldier, who, as a servant of the king, came to America during the early part of the Revolutionary War. Prompted by a higher and nobler motive than had animated his earlier martial life, he espoused the cause of the down-trodden Colonists, and exchanged his Hessian garb for the uniform of the followers of Washington.
Severe limitations hedged in the youth of George Petefish. According to the terms of his father's will, he was to receive six months' schooling, and, as far as is known to those most interested in him, the time allotted represents the extent of his educational advantages. The monotony of farming in Virginia was broken by the demand upon his energy created by the War of 1812, in which contest he served what is known as two tours, being stationed for the greater part at Norfolk, Va. In the fall of 1814 he journeyed with team and wagons to Warren County, Ohio, where he erected a rude log cabin in a timber clearing, and proceeded to cultivate the land which was to furnish his sustenance for many years. Disposing of all property not transferable by wagon, he came to Morgan County, Ill., a year previous to the deep snow of 1830-31, and for the second time in his life assumed the arduous duties of the pioneer.
Although deeply interested in all that tended to ameliorate the condition
of the pioneers, and thus project the frontier further into the West, Mr.
Petefish never sought or held public office of any kind. Originally a Whig
of the Henry Clay type, he was a stanch supporter of the Republican party
from the time of its organization, a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln,
and believer in the Union of the States, which great consummation he lived
to witness, his life drawing to a close in the summer of 1867. He was a
deeply religious and unswervingly upright man, and his influence tended
to deepen respect for the simple, kindly traits of human nature. Throughout
life he was recognized and revered as peacemaker, although he was always
firm in his maintenance of the right as he understood it. As illustrative
of this dominant trait of his character, it is not known that he was ever
sued, or that he ever brought suit against anyone; therefore, as an arbitrator
in the disagreements of others, whether in or out of court, his services
were in great demand.
PETEFISH, A. H., a successful and substantial farmer, was born in the vicinity of Arcadia, Morgan County, Ill., June 5, 1858, the son of John R. and Lucy A. (Monroe) Petefish, who were married in Morgan County. Seven children resulted from this union, namely: Noah, a carpenter by trade, who lives in Kansas; Lydia, wife of J. J. Clark, of Arcadia, Ill.; Charles, who is in the implement business at Lawrence, Kans.; A. H. Taylor, who lives in Kansas; and George and Ellen, deceased. John R. Petefish was engaged in teaching for several years, afterward purchasing his first farm of 120 acres, where his son A. H. was born, and which is now the property of Mary E. Crum. There he lived until 1882, when he moved to Virginia, Ill., and retired from active life. Politically, he was a Republican, and fraternally, a member of the I. O. O. F. In his boyhood A. H. Petefish attended the common schools, and remained on the home farm until he was twenty-one years of age. At that time he began working on a farm by the month, being thus employed for several years. In the course of time he purchased land and now owns a farm of 290 acres, upon which he successfully conducts general operations and stock-raising.
On February 21, 1891, Mr. Petefish was united in marriage with Sarah C. Bramer, who was born on the farm now occupied by Mr. Petefish, and is a daughter of John and Catherine (Richart) Bramer. Her father, who was born in Virginia, January 7, 1806, when a young man, some time in the early 'thirties, moved thence to Ohio with his parents. He was a wagon-maker by trade, and worked as such after coming to Morgan County. His wife, Catherine (Richart) Bramer, was born in Ross County, Ohio, January 26, 1811, and moved to the Petefish farm soon after her marriage, where they lived in a log cabin. In 1842 Mr. Bramer built the brick residence on the farm. He and his wife had six children, namely: Mary E., who was born August 6, 1840, became the wife of A. Smith and died November 21, 1904; Simon, born September 1, 1841, who died in infancy; William D., who was born October 18, 1842, and died January 26, 1865; Nancy E., who was born March 4, 1845, and died September 7, 1883; John H., who was born May 3, 1847, and is a farmer in Morgan County; and Sarah C., who was born October 8, 1850.
William D. was a soldier in the Civil War, belonging to Company B, One Hundred and First Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was wounded in the battle of Resaca. The father of this family died June 18, 1877, and his widow passed her last days on the Petefish farm, dying March 19, 1900. She was blind for several years before her death. Mr. Bramer first entered Government land in Morgan County, and ultimately owned more than 800 acres. He was a member of the German Reformed Church.
In politics, Mr. Petefish is a supporter of the Republican party, and
has held the office of School Director of his township. He is a systematic
and progressive farmer, whose good judgment, energy and practical knowledge
produce satisfactory results. Socially, and in civic relations, his standing
is of the best.
PETEFISH, Aaron Wesley, one of the most widely known and honored farmers of Morgan County, Ill., residing at Literberry, is a descendant of one of the old pioneer families of the county. He was born on his father's farm near Literberry, now a part of the "three-mile strip" in Cass County, January 3, 1841. His father, George Petefish, was born in Rockingham County, Va., March 17, 1790, and was a son of a Hessian soldier who came to America with the British army during the early days of the Revolutionary War, but afterward left the Hessian force and joined the Patriots. George Petefish served three months with the American army in the War of 1812, and upon the expiration of his term continued for a similar period as a substitute for his brother Jacob. During most of this time he was stationed at Norfolk, Va. at which point it was expected that the British troops would endeavor to make a landing. In reward for his services he received from the Government a land warrant for 80 acres, on which one of his sons based a claim in Iowa. He was brought up to farming in Virginia, and for a time worked at the trade of a cabinet maker. About the close of the War of 1812 (probably in 1814) he removed to Ohio, locating for a time in Warren County. About 1823 he came to Illinois, purchasing an eighty-acre claim which was located on the so-called "three mile strip," then in Morgan, but now a part of Cass County. In payment for this land he gave a team of oxen. He subsequently entered a Government claim of 40 acres of timber-land, and ultimately became the owner of 200 acres of fine, easily cultivable land. In early life a Whig, he became a Republican upon the organization of that party, but never cared for public office. He was nevertheless a man of high public spirit, and accomplished all in his power for the advancement of the welfare of the community in which he lived. In the early days his home was a headquarters for the pioneer ministers in the Methodist Protestant Church, and services were frequently held there. He was one of the first members of the society of this denomination which worshiped in the Petefish log school-house, and was always deeply interested in the work of that denomination, as well as in Christian charities generally.
George Petefish was married three times. His first wife was Polly, daughter of Harmon Aughe, who bore nim the following children, all in Ohio; Jesse (deceased), who was born in July, 1818; Harmon (deceased), born October 2, 1820; and Mary Jane (deceased), born December 30, 1823, and married John Fry. His second wife was Margaret, daughter of John Ream, a native of Pennsylvania, and of German ancestry. She died in the summer of 1844. The children of this marriage were: John R. (deceased), born in Ohio, March 10, 1825; Eliza Ann, born in Morgan County November 24, 1826, married D. A. Gibson; David H. (deceased), born September 7, 1828; Dianah (deceased), born August 16, 1830, married Jackson Henderson; Jabez, born October 10, 1832, now resides at Oronogo, Mo.; Emanuel (deceased), born November 2, 1834; George W., born May 19, 1836, lives in Douglas County, Kans.; James M. (deceased), born July 17, 1837; and Aaron W., whose sketch follows.
The entire life of Aaron W. Petefish has been spent either in Cass or Morgan County. He received his education in the subscription schools which were conducted in the log school-houses of that period, but at the age of twelve years abandoned his studies to assist his father in work upon the farm. On August 9, 1862, he was mustered into the service of the United States as Corporal in Company E, One Hundred and First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, served through the Atlanta campaign, and October 29, 1864, was discharged on account of disabling wounds received at the battle of Peach Tree Creek, Ga., being then a Sergeant in the same company and regiment. After returning to the farm he was compelled to walk upon crutches for about a year. He first purchased a farm of 100 acres located in Cass County, which he traded for his present homestead near Literberry, and where he has resided since 1871. He now owns 410 acres of fine land, on which he is engaged in general farming and stock-raising.
Mr. Petefish cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, and since that
time has faithfully maintained the cause of the Republican party. He has
filled various local offices, and for many years has been a member of the
School Board. In religion he is connected with the Christian Church at
Literberry. On December 23, 1868, he married Martha L. M. Paul, a native
of Morgan County and a daughter of Jacob Paul. Her death occurred July
28, 1882. The children of this marriage were: Alma O. (deceased), born
November 4, 1869; Abraham Ellsworth, born February 7, 1871; Harrison Wallace,
born May 9, 1873; Estella Clara, born November 4, 1875, married Melvin
O. Smith; Gracie Margaret, born December 25, 1877, married Franklin L.
Ogle; George Ellis, born November 28, 1828. On February 28, 1883, Mr. Petefish
married Mrs. Lourena Wright, daughter of Jesse T. Liter. They are the parents
of the following named children: Lora Dell, born January 29, 1885; Aaron
Dudley, born March 21, 1887; Orville O., born December 17, 1889; Evalee,
born November 30, 1892; Jesse Liter, born September 21, 1895; and Dewey
Hobson, born June 12, 1898.
PFEIL, John C., (deceased), formerly a prominent and prosperous farmer and an inventor of some note, long a resident of Morgan County, Ill., was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, June 9, 1822. He had a fair business education there when a boy, and began working at the tailor's trade. In 1840, after the death of his mother, with his father, three brothers and three sisters, he came on a sailing vessel to America, the voyage consuming several weeks. The names of the other children were as follows: Margaret, who married Henry Smith; Catherine, Wife of Conrad Dowd; Henry; Conrad; Maria, Mrs. John Long. The family finally reached Cincinnati, where the father died. After remaining a short time in that city, John C. Pfeil came to Beardstown, Ill., where he worked at his trade and clerked in a store. There he was taken sick with typhoid fever. About 1850 he moved to a farm, which he cultivated until his death. At first he bought 40 acres, and from time to time added to this tract until he owned over 300 acres in the home farm. Besides this he was the owner of considerable land in Kansas.
In 1867 Mr. Pfeil patented the gang plow, which he manufactured on the farm. For his patent he was once offered $50,000, which he refused. He also invented the roller cutter, and a sulky plow, ll of these implements being manufactured on his farm.
On December 22, 1847, Mr. Pfeil was married to Amanda Christiana Hamaker, a daughter of David and Sarah (Ream) Hamaker. Her father, who was born March 2, 1795, came to this section in 1830 with a team of horses and a few cows, and settled in North Prairie, Cass County. Mr. Hamaker bought a land claim with a one-room cabin, and lived in that vicinity many years. He died at Augusta, Ill., August 29, 1863, his wife who was born December 28, 1810, having preceded him October 24, 1855. Mrs. Pfeil was the eldest child born to her parents, the others being as follows: John, who was born October 26, 1830, and died in Oklahoma; Daniel H., born August 9, 1844, who was a soldier and died during the Civil War; and Catherine, who was born May 19, 1848, and married John Seckler, of Leavenworth, Kans.
The union of Mr. And Mrs. Pfeil resulted in eleven children, eight of
whom are living, viz.: Maggie, wife of G. B. Rawlings, of Morgan County;
Herman C., who lives in Seattle, Wash.; Edward, of Arenzville, Ill.; John
W., who is on the home farm; Catherine A., wife of James Caldwell, who
is with her mother; James C., who operates a part of the home farm; Amanda
C., who lives at home; and Charles O., an architect of Memphis, Tenn. Those
deceased are: Sarah E., who married Frank Hackman, and died in 1903; and
Henry D. and Ross, both of whom died young. Mrs. Pfeil is a member of the
Methodist Church. The father of this family was a man of strong mind, sound
information and notable force of character, being religiously reared in
the Lutheran Church. His death occurred July 31, 1884, and his loss was
greatly lamented throughout the region which he did so much to develop.
His remains are interred in Arenzville Cemetery.
PHELPS, Charles C. , a prominent business man of Jacksonville, Ill., carrying on an extensive dry-goods business in partnership with his brother-in-law, Samuel D. Osborne, under the firm name of Phelps & Osborne, was born at Greenfield, Franklin County, Mass., July 14, 1853, the son of Charles Benson and Louise (Cummings) Phelps, natives respectively of Greenfield, Mass., and New York City. Charles B. Phelps was, by profession, a dentist and, at different times, was engaged in the practice of his profession in Greenfield, Mass., Buffalo, N. Y., and St. Catharines, Canada West, and in each of these cities Charles C. attended school and acquired his education. At the age of fifteen years, in 1868, he visited his aunt, the late Mrs. Martha B. Day, of Jacksonville. Here he secured employment with Messrs. Grassley & Moore, grocers, with whom he remained two years, then became a clerk for Jonathan Gill, a dry-goods merchant, continuing thus for seven or eight years, when, upon the death of his employer, the business was closed. In 1880 he went to Kansas and was engaged in the drug business there for one year, returning to Jacksonville in 1881, when he engaged in his present business in partnership with S. D. Osborne. They have been associated in business since and have established a large and prosperous business in dry-goods, cloaks, ladies' suits, and similar lines. In 1883 they moved into their present capacious premises on the northeast corner of the Public Square.
Charles C. Phelps was married October 14, 1880, to Almira Osborne, daughter of Robert N. Osborne, and they have two children-Charles Howard and Helen Rebecca. Mr. Phelps is a member of the Episcopal Church, while his wife is connected with the Christian Church. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and in politics, a Republican.
The first member of the Phelps family to come to America was "William the Emigrant," who was one of the passengers of the "Mayflower," and a citizen of Twekesbury, Gloucestershire, England. The paternal great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Rufus Phelps, was born in Northampton, Mass., March 9, 1766, and married Sybil Benson June 30, 1789. His son, the paternal grandfather of Charles C. Phelps, Col. Ansel Phelps, was born in Northampton, Mass., November 17, 1789, and married Hannah Ames July 6, 1813. He settled in Greenfield, Mass., in 1812, and was Lieutenant-Colonel and Acting Adjutant of the Vermont Militia, and in 1835 a member of the Executive Council of Massachusetts. He was a printer, publisher and editor, and for many years, or until 1847, was associated with the leading newspapers of Greenfield.
Dr. Charles Benson Phelps, the father of Charles C., was born in Greenfield,
Mass., October 27, 1824, and on October 24, 1849, married Rebecca Louisa
Cummings, who was the oldest child of Thomas S. and Jane (Cook) Cummings,
born in New York City, September 8, 1827, and died in Buffalo, N. Y., August
6, 1859. Dr. Phelps was a dentist, in 1854 resided in New York City, and
later removed to Buffalo. He died in Deerfield, Mass., May 14, 1868.
PITNER, Thomas J., M. D. , one of the most prominent and successful physicians of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born in what is now Cass County, Ill., November 17, 1842, the son of William and Catherine (Price) Pitner, the former a native of Eastern Tennessee, and a neighbor of General Jackson. The grandfather, Michael Pitner, was born in Rockingham County, Va., whence he removed to Tennessee. Michael's father, John, served with the Virginia troops in the Revolutionary War, as did also his brother, Adam. They came from Coblenz-on-the-Rhine, Germany, before the Revolution. Michael fought under General Jackson's command at New Orleans. He located in Cass County, Ill., in 1834, his brother, Montgomery, who had come to Illinois in 1820, having settled on Government land two miles east of Jacksonville. Michael Pitner, who was a farmer by occupation brought his family. William, his son, had been engaged in teaching in Tennessee, but in Illinois applied himself to farming. He also served as Sheriff of Cass County, subsequently held the office of Justice of the Peace, and died in 1875. His wife was Catherine Price, daughter of Henry Price, of Cass County and afterward of Macon County, Ill. Mr. Price, who was a farmer, was born in Rockingham County, Va., whence he moved to Ohio, and thence, about the year 1830, to Cass County, Ill. Mrs. Catherine Pitner died in 1853, the mother of two children - one died in infancy, and Thomas J.
The subject of this sketch received his early mental training in the country schools of Cass County and the city of Beardstown, in 1862, graduating from Illinois College, Jacksonville, with the degree of B. S. His post-graduate studies covered one year in Illinois College, after which he was employed one year as a clerk in Jacksonville. In April, 1864, he enlisted in a company composed of students, for 100 days' service, was mustered into Company C, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and assigned to guard duty for five months, principally in Southwestern Missouri. IN 1865 Dr. Pitner commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Hiram K. Jones, of Jacksonville, now deceased. He afterward pursued a one year's medical course in the University of Michigan, and continued his professional course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, graduating from that college in 1869, with the degree of M. D. With the exception of a year and a half of study and travel in Europe, Dr. Pitner has continuously occupied the same office since his graduation, having been always engaged in general practice. In 1875 he spent a year in the hospitals in Vienna, Austria, taking private courses. In length of practice, he is the oldest physician in Jacksonville. He is a member of the American Medical Association, and served one term (1899-1900) as President of the Illinois State Medical Society. He is also a member of the Morgan County Medical Society, and several district medical societies, being also a Trustee of the Illinois Woman's College and of Illinois College.
On May 28, 1889, Dr. Pitner was united in marriage with Eloise Griffith, a native of Louisiana, MO., and a daughter of the late Dr. B. M. Griffith, of Springfield, Ill., who, at the time of his death, was President of the State Board of Health. Before her marriage, Mrs. Pitner Spent most of her life in Springfield.
In politics, Dr. Pitner is a supporter of the Republican party, and
an earnest advocate of all beneficial public measures. Religiously, he
is a member of Grace Methodist Episcopal Church of Jacksonville, of which
he is a Trustee. He has been an officer of the local Y.M.C.A., for thirty
years, and was President of the Association when its present building was
erected, in 1880. Dr. Pitner has an extensive and lucrative patronage,
and his reputation as a physician of learning and exceptional skill extends
far beyond the limits of his practice.
PRATT, Julius Franklin, farmer, who resides near Chapin, Morgan County, was born in Bridport, Addison County, Vt., August 25, 1819, a son of David Pratt, a native of South Adams, Mass., and a descendant of an ancient New England family, which participated prominently in the affairs of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early period. The Williams family, of which Mr. Pratt's mother was a representative, is of old and distinguished New England ancestry, some of its members having occupied conspicuous positions in the commercial, educational and religious life of the Colony and the State.
Julius F. Pratt was reared on the farm and educated in the common schools of Vermont and the academies at Shoreham and Middlebury, in that State. After completing his education he taught school during the winters and worked for wages as a farm hand during the summer months until his marriage, August 25, 1845, in Middlebury, Vt., to Loranie Snow. She was born January 18, 1816, also in Bridport, Vt., and was a daughter of Leummim and Alice (Bennett) Snow. Her father was a native of New York State and her mother of Connecticut. Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Pratt started for the West with his wife and sister, Charlotte, who afterward married Sylvester Joy, of Morgan County. Arriving in Jacksonville, Mrs. Pratt soon afterward began to teach school, in which work she was engaged near Concord during the winter of 1845-46, her husband being similarly employed near Elm Grove. When Mr. Pratt and his wife reached Morgan County it was in the expectation of purchasing land for farming operations, but as he had but $150 capital, he and his wife agreed that it would be best to increase their resources by teaching, as there was a strong demand for educated teachers in the new country. Having accumulated sufficient money to carry out their ambition, in the spring of 1846 Mr. Pratt rented of William C. Cleary 50 acres of land on Joy Prairie, and in the little log cabin located thereon he and his wife began housekeeping. The land had been broken by Mr. Cleary, but was otherwise unimproved. After spending a year in the development of this property, Mr. Pratt rented of Mr. Chenery a farm located nearer Chapin, where he spent another year. He then returned to the original farm owned by Mr. Cleary, which he operated two or three years longer, in the meantime contracting for 80 acres of his present farm, for which he agreed to pay $7 per acre. This land he broke to the plow the year he was on the Chenery place. Soon afterward he purchased an additional 80-acre tract adjoining his first purchase; and these two parcels of land comprise the farm which he now occupies. Upon this farm he removed with his wife in 1851, and has resided there continuously since. The house in which he resides was completed in 1856, and has been his home since August 25th, of that year. It is worthy of note that most of the land surrounding the property of Mr. Pratt was unbroken prairie when he settled in Morgan County, and deer and other game were very abundant.
In 1854 Mr. Pratt and his wife united with the Congregational Church at Concord, through the presentation of a letter from the church at Bridport, Vt., of which both had been members for some time. In the spring of 1858 he was elected a Deacon of this church, and still occupies the office by continuous reelection every four years. This church was originally organized as a Presbyterian society, but as most of its members were of the Congregational faith and favored independent government, they afterward voted to affiliate with the Congregationalists.
A stanch Republican since the days of the founding of that party, prior to which he had been a Whig, Mr. Pratt has been actively interested in the success of the men and measures of that organization. His disposition to bear his full share of the public burdens and responsibilities is illustrated by the fact that he has served for many years as Township Trustee, School Director and Township Trustee for School Funds, filling the latter office for a period of thirty-two years. Mrs. Pratt, who was the daughter of Leummim and Alice (Bennett) Snow, of Bridport, Vt., was a woman of rare graces of character, devout in her Christianity and beloved by all who were favored with her friendship. Her death occurred May 22, 1892. She was the mother of four children, all of whom are still living, as follows: Alice Asenath, wife of John B. Joy; Lyman Leummim; Ellen Eugenia, who resides with her father; and Thurlow Hayward. All the children are residents of Morgan County, and highly respected by their fellow citizens.
Mr. Pratt is highly esteemed by the people of Morgan County, who, during
the long years of his residence among them, have learned to appreciate
the strength of his character, his integrity and straightforwardness, and
his abundant public spirit. He is a man of generous impulses, kind to those
who are troubled or afflicted, and a friend to all worthy enterprises.
As a representative of the best citizenship of Morgan County, the record
of his life is entitled to a permanent place in the annals of the county.
PRIEST, James O., a well known and successful attorney-at-law, of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born in Bloomfield, Scott County, Ill., March 9, 1863, the son of Henry and Sarah (Ward) Priest, whose ancestors were of German origin, and emigrated to this country before the Revolutionary War. His parents were born near McConnellsville, Morgan County, Ohio, in 1854, locating in Bloomfield, where they lived together until the father's death in 1901. His widow is still living on the home estate.
In early youth James O. Priest received his primary mental training in the public schools, and afterward spent three years in the Northern Indiana Normal School, at Valparaiso, Ind. While there he attended law lectures and after their completion read law with Hon. J. M. Riggs, of Winchester, Ill. After serving three terms as City Attorney of Winchester, he located in Jacksonville June 19, 1893, and opened his present office, where he has since practiced law with notable success. Mr. Priest is generally recognized as one of the ablest lawyers at the Jacksonville bar, and enjoys the unreserved confidence and respect of his clientele.
On December 30, 1890, Mr. Priest was united in marriage with Annie Hurd,
of Winchester, Ill., and three children have been born of this union, namely:
Winnie, born July 3, 1894; Henry Hurd, who was born March 30, and died
July 10, 1896; and Martha, born February 26, 1901.
County main page
materials contained on these pages are furnished
for the free use of
individuals engaged in researching their