Hancock, McDonough and Henderson
Counties Illinois

Lake City Publishing Co.

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CHARLES W. BALDWIN, who for many years successfully engaged in farming and stock-raising in Hancock County, but is now living a retired life at Hamilton, is a native of Orleans County, N.Y., his birth having occurred on the 19th of April, 1827. The family is of German lineage, and the parents of our subject, Abram and Bridget (Van Waggonner) Baldwin, were both natives of New Jersey. The father was a farmer by occupation, and was also a hatter by trade, but during the latter part of his life he devoted his time and attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits. In the Baldwin family were seven children, three sons and four daughters: Mary A., who married Otis Malcolm, a farmer of Warren County, Ill., both being deceased; John M., who was a ranchman of Bitter Water, San Bernardino County, Cal., and died on the 1st of May, 1893; Abram W., deceased, who was a farmer of Warren County, Ill., Emeranda, who was married and died in Kansas; Charles W., of this sketch; Sarah M., wife of Charles W. Mather, a farmer of Le Roy, Kan.; and Myra, wife of Jacob Brake, an agriculturist of Jasper Coutny, Mo.

When our subject was a child of four years his parents removed to Upper Canada, now called Ontario, where they remained for seven years. In the spring of 1838, the family removed to Orleans County, N.Y., where they remained for a year, and in 1839 emigrated to southern Michigan, where the succeeding three years were passed. The year 1842 witnessed the arrival of Charles W. Baldwin in Illinois. He took up his residence in Warren County, where he made his home until 1848, when he came to Hancock County, settling near the site of Basco. The town of that name was laid out by him. Mr. Baldwin enjoyed only a district-school education. He worked on the farm during the summer months, and attended school through the winterseason. At the age of twenty-one he began farming in his own interest on a one hundred and sixty acre tract of land, which he purchased on a tax title. This farm was located in Bear Creek Township, just east of Basco.

In his business, Mr. Baldwin won a high degree of success and was ranked among the leading agriculturists of the communtiy. His land was under a high state of cultivation, and the fields were made to yield to him a golden tribute in return for the care and cultivation he bestowed upon them. He also made a specialty of stock-dealing, raising, feeding and shipping stock quite extensively. This also proved for him a profitable source of income. His untiring and enterprising labors at length acquired for him a comfortable competence, and in the spring of 1889 he laid aside business cares and removed to Hamilton, where he erected an elegant residence and has since made his home. He still retains the ownership of two farms, one in Montebello Township, and one in Wythe Township.

On the 6th of April, 1852, Mr. Baldwin wedded Miss Mary A., daughter of Isaiah and Sarah Wiley. They became the parents of six children, namely: Lavina, now deceased; Alice, wife of M.C. Girard, a grain and stock dealer of Elvaston; Emma, wife of C.A. Denton, an attorney-at-law of Butler, Mo.; Ida, wife of R.A. Piggott, who is engaged in farming near Bruning, Neb.; Charles, who carries on agricultural pursuits in Wythe Township; and Mattie, wife of J.H. Guckert, a tailor engaged in business in Keokuk, Iowa. The mother of this family was called to her final rest July 16, 1892.

Politically, Mr. Baldwin is a Democrat, and has served as Supervisor, Assessor and Road Commissioner of Bear Creek Township. He has never aspired to public office, but has been called to these positions by his fellow-townsmen, who appreciated his worth and ability and knew that he would prove true to his duties and to the trust reposed in him. Ill the spring of 1890, he was elected Alderman of Hamilton for a term of two years, and on the expiration of that period he was elected for a second term so that he is now filling that office. Socially, he is a member of Black Hawk Lodge No. 238, A. F. & A. M. He manifests a commendable interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and to the advancement of public enterprises. For forty-five years he has resided in Hancock County, and has therefore witnessed the greater part of its growth and development. In the history of the community he well deserves representation as one of the honored pioneers.


ANDREW JACKSON DALE, who now resides on section 13, Carthage Township, Hancock County, claims Kentucky as the State of his nativity. He was born in Woodford County, on the 28th of October, 1818, and is a son of James B, and Polly (Dawson) Dale. When Andrew was only two years of age his parents removed to Indiana, making the journey by team, and located in Fayette County. Later they removed to Elkhart County, where the father entered land from the Government and began the development of a farm. The year 1834 witnessed his arrival in Illinois. For a year he operated rented land in Morgan County, and in 1835 he came to Hancock County, settling on a farm on section 25, in what is now Carthage Township. He here made a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, partly timber and partly prairie land, and with characteristic energy began opening up a farm.

In the Dale family were eight children six sons and two daughters, but only two of the number are now living; George W., who is engaged in mining in Nevada; and our subject. The latter was a young man of seventeen when he came to Illinois. His educational privileges were limited to those afforded by the district schools, and his advantages in other directions were likewise meagre. His training at farm labor, however, was not limited. He early began work in the fields, and soon became familiar with all the details of farm life. He continued under the parental roof until twenty-five years of age, and then started out in life for himself

In February, 1845, Mr. Dale was united in marriage with Miss Nancy N. Davis, and by that union were born eight children, namely: Sylvester, Wesley and Thomas, all of whom are now deceased; William, who is living in Kansas City, where he is serving on the police force; Mary, wife of Reuben Jacoby, a resident of Carthage; Lillie, wife of J. C. Jacoby, who is also living in Carthage; Squire; and Maretta, who completes the family. The mother was called to her final rest November 17, 1871, and her remains were interred in Webster Cemetery. Her loss was deeply mourned, for she was a most estimabIe lady, and had the high regard of all who knew her. The family is one of prominence in the community and its members have many friends throughout the county.

Mr. Dale has led a busy and useful life, devoting the greater part of his time and attention to agricultural pursuits. He has also aided in the development of this community, and is numbered among the honored pioneers who laid the foundation for the present prosperity and advanced condition of the county. The best interests of the community have ever found in him a friend, and he is always ready to aid in the promotion of those enterprises which are calculated to prove of public benefit. He cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and supported the Whig candidates until the organization of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks.


JOHN LAIRD, deceased, who for some years successfully engaged in farming in Henderson County, and is numbered among its highly respected citizens, claimed Ireland as the land of his birth. He was born in County Donegal, and there spent the days of his boyhood and youth. At length he determined to seek a home in the New World, and ill 1840, having bade adieu to home and friends, he crossed the broad Atlantic to America in a sailing-vessel and landed in New York. For some years he remained in the Empire State, there making his home until 1851, when he resumed his westward journey and came to Henderson County, Ill. The following year he purchased the farm on which his widow yet resides.

Mr. Laird was twice married. His first union was with Miss Elizabeth Wasson, and they became the parents of three children, Ralph, James and William, but all are now deceased. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Laird was again married, his second union being with Miss Margaret Venable, daughter of James and Ellen (Ewing) Venable. The lady is also a native of the Emerald Isle, her birth having occurred in County Tyrone. She waseducated in the public schools of her native land, and there grew to womanhood. The year 1856 witnessed her arrival in Mercer County, and on the 23d of August, 1857, she became the wife of John Laird. By their union were born eight children, six sons and two daughters: George, who is now engaged in the livery business in Little York, Ill.; Jennie, who resided in Little York; Ralph, at home; Joseph, who is living in Henderson County; Charles; Lee; Stella and William. The younger members of the family are still with their mother.

On purchasing his land, Mr. Laird at once began its development and transformed it into a good farm, placing it all under a high state of cultivation and improving it with the necessary buildings, fences and other accessories of a model far. He was an industrious and energetic man, and everywhere about his place could be seen evidences of his thrift and enterprise. In his political views, he was a Democrat, but never aspired to public office. Socially, he was connected with keithsburg Lodge, A.F. & A.M., and held membership with the United Presbyterian Church. He was a loyal citizen, ever interested in what tended to advance the general welfare, was a true and faithful friend, and a loving husband and father. He passed away on the 21st of January, 1889, and his loss was deeply mourned throughout the community. Mrs. Laird and five of her children are still living on the homestead which was left her by her husband.


HENRY K. MCLELLAN, who carries on a billiard hall in Hamilton, is a vative of the Pine Tree State, his birth having occurred in Lincoln County, Me., on the 1st of May, 1838. His father, Thomas McLellan, who was also born in the same county, was a sea captain. In 1848 he removed to New Orleans, and after remaining in the Crescent City one year came to hancock County, Ill., in 1849. He settled in Carthage, and gave his attention to the distiling business and to farming. In 1850 he returned to Maine, and brought our subject back with him to illinois. In connection with A. Hamilton, Thomas McLellan laid out the present city of Hamilton, and was otherwise prominent in the upbuilding and development of the community.

Henry K. McLellan whose name heads this sketch is the youngest in afamily of nine children. Mary A., the eldest, became the wife of Benjamin Davis, and died at their home in New York City; Lydia C., deceased, was the wife o Crockett Wilson, of Carthage; Adeline F. is the wife of H.F. Emery, a ranchman residing near Hoxie, Kan.; william T. is a railroad conductor on the Wabash Road, and makes his home in Hamilton; and Adelia H., deceased, was the wife of Franklin Bell, of this place.

Our subject spent the first twelve years of this life in his native State, and acquired his education in the public schools of Lincoln County. When a youth of twelve summers he was brought by his father to Hancock Coutny, where he continued for four years, when, possessed with the spirit of restlessness which is oftern characteriest of youth, he ran away from home. Making his way south to New Orleans, he there secured a position as cabin-boy on a steamboat on the Mississippi. For one season he followed the river, and then engaged in the lightning-rod business for two years.

Soon after the breaking out of the Civil War, Mr. McLellan was found among the defenders of the Union. In May, 1861, he donned the blue, enlisting as a member of Company D, Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, for one hundred days' service. After having been at the front for twenty days he re-enlisted for a term of three years. He remained with his old company for one year, and was then discharged, on the 21st of May, 1863. Immediately after, he returned home, where he spent a week, but feeling that his country still needed his services, he then re-enlisted, becoming a member o fCompany G, Twelfth Iowa Cavalry, and with his old command took part in the battles of Monroe Station and New Madrid. After becoming a cavalryman he engaged in the battles of Harper's Ferry, Antietam, and in numberless skirmishes. For one month he was ill in the hospital at Martinsburgh, Va.

After his return home in 1863, Mr. McLellan began driving team and stages on the western plains, and was also steward in different hotels in the West. In Oakland, Cal., he learned the painter's trade, which he followed for about three years. He then returned home and took up his residence in Canada, but later he went to Indiana, where he engaged in canvassing for some time. He also worked at his trade of painting in the Hoosier State for a considerable period, and subsequently embarked in the fire-insurance business, which he continued for a year. After abandoning that enterprise he became connected with a hotel in Bunker Hill, Ind., serving as day clerk. The succeeding two years of his life were thus passed, after which he engaged in the show business, which took him all over the United States and Canada. In this way he continued his travels until 1891, when he returned to Hamilton, and opened the billiard hall of which he is now proprietor.

On the 14th of May, 1850, in New York City, Mr. McLellan was united in marriage with Miss Mary A. Violet, daughter of Monsieur A. Violet, a native of France. In politics, our subject is a Republican, and has supported that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, in 1860. He has never aspired to public office, however, preferring to give his time and attention to other interests. Socially. he is connected with Russell Post No. 86, G. A. R., and Rapid City Lodge No. 286, K. P.


EDWARD A. MESECHER carries on agricultural pursuits on section 34, La Harpe Township, Hancock County. He is numbered among the native sons of this county, his birth having occurred in Pilot Grove Township on the 13th of June, 1867. He is also a representative of one of the pioneer families of the community. His father, Elkanah Mesecher, is likewise a native of Hancock County, and he too is a farmer by occupation. A sketch of his life is given elsewhere in this work. The mother of our suhject here the maiden name of Rebecca M. Butler, and is a daughter of Samuel Baxter and Lucinda (Younger) Butler. Edward A. Mesecher is the eldest in a family of four children. The educational privileges he received were those afforded by the common schools. He early became familiar with all the duties of farm life, and to his father he gave the benefit of his services, and aided in the labors of the farm, until his marriage. On the 6th of Fehruary, 1889 he was joined in marriage with Miss Amanda James, daughter of William E. and Susan (Wright) James. Their union has been blessed with three daughters, Pearl Esther and Bertha Emily.

The parents have many warm friends in this community and hold all enviable position in sociaI circles. Their home is also noted for its hospitality. Mr. Mesecher is a member of the Christian Church of La Harpe, and his wife holds Membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Liberty, McDonough County. In politics, he is a stalwart advocate of the Republican party and its principles, and his first Presidential vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison in 1888. He has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, but has served as School Director. He is a wide-awake and progressive citizen, and one who takes an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community and its upbuilding. Throughout his life he has followed agricultural pursuits, and his industry and good management have brought him success in his chosen vocation. He is a worthy representative of an honored pioneer family, and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of his life.


WILLIAM J. REED, a retired farmer, now living on section 26, Rozetta Township, Henderson County, claims Kentucky as the State of his nativity. He was born in Elizabethtown, Hardin County, on the 17th of March, 1829, and is a son of John and Julia (Merrifield) Reed. The father was a native of Massachusetts, and in an early day went South. He was twice married, and by the first union had the following children: RAchel, Elizabeth, Amanda, William J., and James, Milton, George and Jane, who are deceased. By his second marriage seven children were born, namely: Emily, John, Anthony, Asel, Calista, Annie and Joseph. The subject of this sketch spent his early boyhood days on his fatherís farm in Kentucky, and attended the subscription schools, which were held in a log schoolhouse, to which he had to walk a distance of two miles. His privileges in that direction were quite limited, and he is practically self-educated. When a youth of twelve summers, he came to Illinois with his parents, the journey being made by team. From the Government his father secured the farm on which William is now living. Here he grew to manhood, his time being largely passed in farm work. On attaining his majoritv, he started out in life for himself, and for a short time worked as a farm hand by the month. He then began improving an eighty-acre plot of wild prairie land, and for twenty years lived upon that farm, making it one of the valuable and desirable places in the neighborhood. At length, however, he returned to the old homestead, where he has one hundred and forty-four acres. This is under a high state of cultivation, and well improved with all modern accessories and conveniences. All of the buildings upon the place stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise, for they were placed there through his own efforts. Of late years he has lived a retired life, enjoying the rest which he has so truly earned and richly deserves.

Mrs. Reed bore the maiden name of Sarah E. Davis, and was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Sykes) Davis. Their marriage was celebrated on the IIth of August, 1854, and by their union were born six children, but three are now deceased. Henry died in infancy; Mary died February 28, 1887; Francis died in infancy; Alice is the wife of Edward Salter, of Stronghurst: Delia is the wife of Samuel ElwelI, a Methodist preacher, now living in Washington, Kan.; and Eliza is the wife of James Hays, and resides on the old homestead.

In his political views, Mr. Reed was formerly a Republican, but on account of the strong temperance principles which he entertains, he has of late years supported the Prohibition party. He has served as Road Commissioner and School Director, but has preferred to give his time and attention to business dealings rather than to politics. He and his wife both hold membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and take an active part in its work and upbuilding. During their long residence in the county they have always been numbered among its best citizens, and their true worth has won them many warm friends.


ROBERT R. WALLACE, the efficient and popular Cashier of the State Bank of Hamilton, and one of the wide-awake and progressive young business men of the city, was born in Montebello Township, Hancock County, July 2, 1867. He comes of a family of Scotch-Irish extraction, and his grandfather. Washington R., and his great-grandfather, Henry Wallace, were both natives of Ohio. The father, Francis M. Wallace, married Miss Susanna Davis, a native of Keokuk, Iowa, and they became the parents of seven children, the eldest of whom is Robert R. Nettie is now the wife of Lovell J. Foster. Station Agent of Clatonia, Neb.; Grace is engaged in teaching; Walter is now deceased, William A. is a telegraph operator in Clatonia, Neb.; Kate is living in Weaver. Iowa; and Harry is now deceased.

Mr. Wallace of this sketch left home at the age of seven years. He probably never attended school more than a year altogether in his life, but through his own efforts, by reading, study and observation, he has become a well-informed man, and now holds teacher's certificates. In 1882 he began business as a peddler, and was thus employed one summer. He then resumed work as a farm hand by the month, and continued to devote his time to agricultural pursuits for five years. In 1887 he made an engagement to teach school, but before entering upon his term cancelled the contract and entered the employ of M. B. Lane & Co., of Hamilton, druggists. insurance agents and bankers. He took charge of the books of this concern, and was with this company until 1889, when Mr. Lane was taken ill and Mr. Wallace took charge of the insurance business, and also became Assistant Cashier in the bank. October, 1889, the State Bank of Hamilton was organized, and Mr. Wallace was made its first Cashier, a position he has held continuously since, with credit to himself and satisfaction to his employers.

On the 4th of March, 1890, was celebrated the marriage of Robert R. Wallace and Miss Lizzie Denton, a daughter of Edmund P. and Jemima B. (Whitney) Denton, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. The young couple are widely and favorably known in this community and hold all enviable position in social circles. Their home is noted for its hospitality. Mr. Wallace takes considerable interest in civic societies, and holds membership with Black Hawk Lodge No. 238, A. F. & A. M.; Tecumseh Chapter No. 152, R. A. M.; Montebello Lodge No. 697, I. O. O. F.; Genevieve Lodge, D. R.; Rapid City Lodge No. 286, K. P.; and the Modern Woodmen of America. He was also the first Captain of George O. Felt Camp No. 183, S.V., and is a member of the Sisters Pythias. In politics, eh is a stalwart Republican, and is now serving as a member of the City Council. The best interests of Hamilton ever find in him a friend, and one ever ready to aid in the promotion of those enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit.


GEORGE C. WAGGENER, a retired farmer now residing on section 31, Pilot Grove Township, has been one of the inductrious and enterprising citizens of Hancock County, and as the result of his perseverance and well-directed efforts acquired a competence which now enables him to lay aside business cares. His success is well deserved, for it is the just reward of his labors.

As Mr. Waggener is widely and favorably known in this community, we feel assured that the record of his life wil prove of interest to many of our readers. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Jefferson County, near Louisivlle, April 6, 1817, and is a son of James and Elizabeth (O'Neil) Waggener. The father was a native of Virginia, and as ameans of livelihood he always followed farming. His death occurred in Kentucky, and his wife also passed away in that State. They were the parents of three children, a son and two daughters: George C., of this sketch; Mary E., deceased; and Ellesif, wife of B.G. Anderson.

Upon his father's farm, Mr. Waggener, our subject, spent the days of his boyhood and youth. His education was acquired in the old-time subscription schools, which were held in a log schoolhouse, to which he walked a distance of three and a-half miles. He has added greatly to his knowledge, however, by reading and business experience, becoming a well-informed man. He continued under the parental roof until seventeen years of age, and in 1837 he emigrated to Illinois. The trip westward was made by team, and he chose Hancock County as the scene of his future labors. After renting land in Carthage Township, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 31, Pilot Grove Township, a wild and unimproved tract, whereon not a furrow had been turned. He erected a log cabin 18x26 feet, and in that primitive home lived for several years in true pioneer style. This community was then but sparsely settled. There was only one house between his home and the Mississippi River, and the Indians often visited the neighborhood, but they were usually friendly in their relations with the white people. Warsaw was the nearest market-place, and the prices that could be obtained for farm produce were very low, corn selling for six cents per bushle and wheat for twenty-five. Mr. Waggener was also actively interested in the Mormon War, being a strong opponent of that sect. He lived upon the farm where he first located until 1851, when he removed to another tract of unimproved land, where he resided until 1872. The succeeding year he passed in Burnside, and then purchased the arm on which he now resides, an eighty acre tract on section 31, Pilot Grove Township.

On the 6th of August, 1835, Mr. Waggener was untied in marriage with Miss Mary F. Anderson, daughter of Nicholas and Sarah (Bullock) Anderson. The lady is a native of Kentucky, and there spent the days of her maidenhood. Six children have been born unto our subject and his wife, namely; James N., who now resides in Carthage; William J., who is living in Missouri; Jasper B., who is engaged in the banking business in Missouri; George, who died in infancy; Sarah, wife of Charles Thompson, a prosperous agriculturist of Pilot Grove Townhip; and Mary O., who is living at home.

Mr. Waggener cast his first Presidential vote for Henry Clay, and since the organization of the Republican party has been one of its stanch supporters. He has served in the office of Justice of the Peace, but has never sought political preferment. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and this worthy couple have the high regard of all who know them. Mr. Waggener may truly be called a self-made man, for he started out in life a poor boy, and is now the possessor of a handsome competence.


GEORGE C. WAGGONER. of Hamilton, is one of the oldest native sons of Hancock County who still reside within its borders. He was here born on the 20th of May, 1839 and is a worthy representative of an honored pioneer family. His father, Isaac N. Waggoner, was one of the earliest settlers in the county, the date of his arrival beings 1824. He pre-empted three hundred and twenty acres of land four miles north of Hamilton, known as the Waggoner Tract, and was one of the successful farmers of the neighborhood. He had removed to this state from Pennsylvania. He was also one of the earliest pilots on the river, and was captain of a keel-boat, propelled by poles and sails, before the days of steamers. He afterwards owned and built several steamboats, and followed the river until about four years prior to his death.

In Nauvoo, Mr. Waggoner married Miss Mary White, daughter of Capt. James White, a pioneer settler of Hancock County, who bought land from the Indians where the town of Nauvoo now stands, giving them seven bushels of corn for each wigwam, and receiving all Indian deed on wampum for the same. On this tract he erected a stone house, the first one in Nauvoo. He also followed the river, whereon he owned two keelboats. Mr. and Mrs. Waggoner began their domestic life upon the land which he had pre-empted, and which he transformed into a well-cultivated tract. Their union was blessed with seven children, three suons and four daughters. Martha, the eldest, is the widow of Henry B. Parsons, of Hamilton; George C. comes next; Austin and Milton are both residents of Hamilton; LuelIa and Eleanor are deceased; and Clara is the wife of Ed Curry, a farmer of MontebelIo Township. The mother of this family, who is still living, resides in Hamilton, and is said to he the oldest settler now living in the county.

Our subject was reared to manhood on his father's farm, and acquired his education in the oldtime district schools. With the family, he shared in all the hardships and experiences of frontier life, and was early inured to the hard labors of developing wild land. He knew the county when it was part of the western frontier, and when much of the land was still in the possession of the Government. He has been an eye-witness of its growth and development, and has also aided in its progress and advancement, taking an active interest in all that pertained to the public welfare.

Mr. Waggoner continued farm work until 1855, when he began work on the river. He spent four years in learning all about the stream, its channels, its sandbars, etc., and in 1859 he secured a license to act as a pilot from St. Louis to St. Paul. During the war he served on a United States gunboat in that capacity for three years, participating in a number of naval engagements. He enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Eighteenth Illinois Infantry, in 1862, and on the 10th of July, 1863, was transferred to the navy. When the war was over he was mustered out, July 8, 1865. Returning home, he then engaged in the milling business for six years on the old homestead, but in 1871 he returned to the river, and has since served as master and pilot. He has been in every packet trade from St. Louis to St. Paul. During the winter months he is engaged in the real-estate business.

On the 17th of July, 1867, Wr. Waggoner was united in marriage with Miss Emerilla Forney, and to, them has been born a family numbering three sons: Isaac N., who is now an attorney-at-law of Keokuk, Iowa; Herbert, who is employed as telegraph operator in Hamilton; and Willard, who is engaged in the jewelry business.

In his political views, Mr. Waggoner is a Democrat, and is a member of the Christian Church. Socially, he is connected with Russell Post No. 68, G.A.R.; and with Montebellor Lodge No. 697, I.O.O.F., of which he has been a member for twenty years. Mr. Waggoner is widely known throughout his native county, and all along the river. He makes friends wherever he goes, and his many excellencies of character have gained for him the confidence and good-will of those with whom he has been brought in contact.


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