Boone Co., IL Biography - Orville S. Cohoon

COHOON, Orville S.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1207-1208

Orville S. COHOON, a well known and enterprising farmer of Boone County [IL], residing in Flora Township, section 12, is a native of PA, born in Green Township, Erie County, 29 Oct 1833.  His father, John COHOON, was born in the town of Milo, Yates County, NY, 20 Mar 1812, and passed the first eight years of his life in his father's home on the banks of Seneca Lake, whence he removed with his parents to Erie County, PA.

The paternal grandparents of our subject, Steward and Charity (CULVER) COHOON, were natives respectively of CT and England.  The grandfather moved from his birthplace to the State of NY at an early day, and was an officer in the War of 1812.  He married Miss Charity CULVER for his second wife, and in March 1820 removed from Yates County, NY, with ox teams and sleds, and settled with his large family in Erie County, PA, becoming one of the pioneers of the highlands and dense forests of that county.  He remained there until his death, which occurred at Gospel Hill about 1840.  His wife died in Columbia County, WI, 10 Jan 1855, at the advanced age of 87.  The paternal great grandfather of our subject, Nathaniel COHOON, was born in CT, and tradition says that his parents were Hollanders.  He died and was buried in Mill Creek Township, Erie County, PA, in Jan 1827.

John COHOON, father of our subject, was married 10 Feb 1831 to Miss Fanny WAIT, and their three children are all living at this date (1892):  Orville S., Justina M., and Arlington R.  Mrs. Fanny COHOON was born was born 26 Jul 1806, and died 02 Oct 1876.   She was a faithful, devoted wife and a true and loving mother.  Her family and domestic cares were the pleasure of her life, and she won the regard of all whom she met.   Her life was that of a practical Christian, and during her more than 70 years of life she never attended a theatre or circus.

The first born of the family is the subject of this sketch, who is only a little more than 21 years younger than his father.  His early education was acquired under some difficulties, for in those early days the enforcement of the Schoolrate Bill threw the payment of the teacher's salary almost entirely upon the man who had a large family.   He remembers the scenes of pioneer life and the hardships of existence amid primitive surroundings.  Postage of 25 cents was charged on letters, which were folded instead of being placed in envelopes.  At the age of 18 he taught one term of school in Erie County, PA, and then in 1852, with his father, removed to Porter County, IN, where he resided one year and taught school one term.

On 17 Jun 1853 Mr. COHOON arrived in Belvidere, Boone County, IL, and embarked in business as a merchant, continuing thus engaged for about two years.  In the summer of 1855 he engaged in the carpenter's and builder's work, during which time he erected several houses in South Belvidere.  He built the first house, with the exception of one buiding known as the old Otis CASWELL farm house, and one car shanty standing on the present site of the South Baptist Church, east of Pearl Street and south of Logan Avenue, and which was located on the corner of Whitney and Second Streets.  In the spring of 1856 he took a course in Bacon's Mercantile College at Madiosn [Dane County], WI, which was among the pioneer business institutions in the country.  During the remainder of that year he was engaged in closing up a large amount of property interests for his father.

The marriage of Orville S. COHOON, 26 Mar 1857, united him with Miss Juliett R. WOOSTER, of Beloit [Rock County], WI, and the young couple located on the farm he now owns and occupies on 08 Apr following [08 Apr 1857].  Mrs. Juliettt COHOON died 04 Apr 1864, and was buried at Beloit, WI.  our subject continued thereafter in agricultural pursuits, which had previously occupied his attention, and [p 1208] followed literally the injunction given by Solomon that after you have taken hold of the plow, never look back.   He divided and subdivided his farm into fields of convenient size, suitable for the pasturage of stock and the raising of grain, and also aided in opening roads and building bridges and embellished his farm with substantial barns and a neat residence, and notably with trees and shrubery.

In all his labors our subject has received the efficient aid of his devoted wife, to whom he was married 26 Jan 1865.  She was formerly Miss Anna H. FIELD, of Whitmore Lake, MI, and was born at Niagara Falls [Niagara County], NY, 09 Oct 1829.  Having no children of their own, they have reared two children, a boy and a girl, who are now married and have families of their own.  Their farm and home is their paradise, and they have ever retained their faith in the great Master Spirit of the Universe as the Master of the situation, in whose hands they rest their care with perfect assurance that after the acts of this life have been played, the next will be on a grander scale, filled with opportunities that all may reach, and that on the shores of eternity there will be no friction of mind and heart, but all will be peace and happiness forever more.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.