Page images



Hon. Elijah M. Haines was born in branches. Taught school, at the age the town of Deerfield, Oneida county, of 20, in Waukegan, where he now re. New York, and was the fourth of a sides. He also soon acquired a fair family of six children; a sister and knowledge of the Latin and German two brothers being older, and two sis- languages, and at length studied law, ters younger than himself. His father and, in 1851, was admitted to the bar. died when the subject of this sketch He resided on his farm in the central was six years old, leaving the family part of Lake county (now the village no means of support; hence, the chil. of Hainesville), from 1837 to 1851, dren were soon separated and placed when he removed to Waukegan, in in different families where they might the same county. Here, in 1855, he do something in the way of earning a compiled the laws of Illinois which subsistence. Mr. Haines lived with a had reference to town organization, farmer and labored on the farm the adding notes and forms, making a most of the time he remained in his complete book of instructions for native state, and had no home that he town officers, which became very popcould call his own until, in mature ular, and is now in general use. In years, he provided one for himself. the same year he made a similar work In the spring of 1835, while still quite for Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan a small boy, he and his brother set and Missouri — the first two by state out for Chicago, hoping to find better authority. He also prepared a treatise advantages for themselves than in on the Duties of Justices of the Peace, their native place. They came by which is still the standard authority canal to Buffalo, thence by railroad to on the subject in Illinois. He also Detroit, and then walked across the wrote a work called the “Probate territory of Michigan to Chicago. At Manual.” He early took a leading this time Chicago was supposed to part in matters of education around contain about six or eight hundred in. him, and acted as school committee habitants and as many or more Indi. and superintendent for Lake county. ans might be seen on the streets than For fifteen years he has published a white men. Elijah soon went into the monthly paper in Chicago called the country, about forty miles south of Legal Adviser. In 1860, he opened a Chicago, worked on a farm in sum-law office in Chicago, to which he mcr, and attended school the next goes in the morning, returning at winter. This was his last schooling. night. In 1858, he was elected repre. In the spring of 1836, he went north sentative in the legislature, and conto what is now called Lake county, tinued thus, by reelections, for six and remained there until August, years. In 1869, he was elected a mem. when he returned to Chicago, and ber of the constitutional convention hired out as clerk in a store until the to revise the constitution of the state, spring of 1837. Went into a survey- and, in 1870, was again elected repreor's office for a while, and then re- sentative and continued two years. turned to Lake county and began to In 1874, was again clected representamake a farm for himself on land as tive, made speaker of the house, an yet unsurveyed. After he left school, office he still holds, and, by the laws he supplied himself with books to of Illinois, in case of the death of the use in unoccupied hours, and soon governor and lieutenant governor, the became a proficient in the common speaker of the house becomes govern. or. In character he is upright, and, much ability, and was considered an in disposition plain and outspoken, excellent judge. In 1857, he was despising all shams and deceptions, nominated as the Republican candi. and seldom going with the current in date for governor, and was elected. society. Has never joined any church, . In 1858, he entered upon his duties and yet has great respect for the and discharged them with such abil. churches which bave religion in them; | ity and satisfaction to the people that joined the Masonic order in 1849; has he was reelected in 1859. He was one been Master, and afterward was Junior of the very best of war governors in Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge the country. The energy and bold. of the state. He married Miss Melin-ness with which he labored gave him da G. Wright, a relative of Gov. Silas a National reputation as an able and Wright of New York. They have patriotic man. In 1861, Gov. Randall two children - a son and a daughter; /' was a candidate for United States Sen. have a beautiful home, sightly, finely ator. The contest was a sharp one, surrounded and nicely furnished. He and after several ballots were taken has been successful, indeed, in busi. in the nominating caucus, Gov. Ran. ness, and has given the children large dall withdr from the contest; and educational advantages which have most of his friends gave their votes been improved.

for Mr. Howe, who was nominatel

and elected. At the close of his term Hon. Alexander W. Randall was as governor, President Lincoln apborn in Cooperstown, New York state, pointed Goy. Randa!), Minister to about the year 1819. After passing Rome. In 1865, he was appointed through his school days, he read law. assistant Postmaster General of the Soon after his admission to the bar, United States, under the Hon. Wil. he removed to Wisconsin and located liam Dennison, of Ohio, who was at at Prairieville, now Waukesha. He the head of the Postoffice Department. commenced the practice of his pro. On the resignation of Mr. Dennison, fession with a fair show of success; he became Postmaster General, which but his love of political life was so position he held until the end of Mr. great, and he devoted so much time to Johnson's term. In following the forihat subject as to interfere consider tunes of Mr. Johnson, Gov. Randall ably with his legal practice. In poli- naturally drifted into the Democratic tics Gov. Randall was originally a party, with which organization he Democrat. In 1816, he made his first acted until his death. He died at his appearance at the capital, as a mem- residence in Elmira, N. Y., July 26, ber of the First Constitutional Con. 1872. vention, and took a prominent posi. tion in that body. In 1848, Gov. Ran. Hon. John Cofer, son of Wm. Cofer dall was prominent in the great Free and Sarah Winn Griffin Cofer, was born Soil State Convention. In 1854, he near Cane Spring, Bullett Co., Kywas elected as an independent Demo- July 9th, 1804. And on the 1st day of crat, a member of the next assembly, December, 1825, be married Miss and was made chairman of the judi. Mary Eleanor Macgill, who was the ciary committee; and as the journal daughter of Robert Macgill and Helen of that session will show, he was a Stockett Macgill, and born in Annapovery laborious and able member. In lis, Md., Feb. 7, 1807. They have 1855, Mr. Randall was placed upon had ten children, two of which died the Republican State ticket for attor- in infancy, and two after they were ney general. He made a gallant can grown up, leaving them now three sons vass, but was defeated, as were the and three daughters, with twenty-four others upon the ticket, with the ex. grand children and two great grand ception of governor. In the guberna- children. Col. Cofer's early education torial contest between Bashford and was limited; but his thirst for knowlBarstow, Mr. Randall displayed edge made him a good student, and marked ability as a lawer. In 1856, he soon became a profound thinker, a Gov. Bashford appointed Mr. Randall logical reasoner, and a ready writer. judge of the second judicial circuit, As a whig, he represented' Hardin composed of the counties of Milwau- county in the lower house of the legis. kee and Waukesha. He displayed | lature of Kentucky in 1838, 1839, 1810 and 1841, and Hardin, Meade and parations of the table munificent, lavLarne counties in the senate of that ish and full, the presents rich, useful, state from 1848 to 1850. Being a and eminently appropriate, and the farmer, he became the champion of several speeches of the honored pair the great interests of labor and pro. were touching and tender indeed. *Esduction, and an advocate of economy pecially interesting and thankful were in public expenditures. He also ad. the brief reminiscences of their lives, vocated a system of general education, such as the simplicity and scantiness internal improvements, and of charit. of their house and outfit, fifty years able institutions. As a member of the before; their planting corn together committee on internal improvements, while the first born lay in the fence he originated and aided in drafting corner; the mine of gold the loom and passing the charter of the Louis- and wheel bad been to tire household, ville & Nashville Railroad Company, and what a chorus of industrious mu. now the most prosperous and useful sic his shoe hammer and her spinning corporatiou in Kentucky. He was wheel had made during the winter also the active, eloquent and efficient evenings of the long ago. All of friend of the other railroad interests which was told in that loving and ap. of that state. In 1854, he removed to preciative manner well becoming Illinois; was postmaster at Rural those who have stood nobly side by Retreat; was elector on the Filmore side through the storms and cares of ticket in 1856, and on the Bell and half a century. And then the other Everett ticket in 1860. Since then he dear ones, the four children (gone to has been independent in politics, the mystic shore), were referred to so though generally acting with the dem- tenderly, through a beautiful poem re. ocratic party. Devoted to the union peated by Mr. and Mrs. Midwinter of the states, he opposed with manly that day (which represented them as firmness nullification, secession and "not there," and yet as there''), that emancipation (unless gradual and ac- the full family group seemed present, companied by colonization). In 1871 and thus a monument of affectionate and 1872, le represented Douglas memory, richer by far than any mere county in the general assembly, with device in marble could possibly be, his accustomed zeal and ability: was reared in thought over the dear Through strictly temperate habits and and departed ones. And it was meet, indomitable energy, he has been suc- indeed, that the father should have a cessful in business, and after provid. gold headed cane from the children, ing homes for all his children, he yet and a gold pencil, glasses, etc., from retains a competency for himself and different parties, and a fit tribute to wife in their old age. He has been a gentle and self forgetting worth, for consistent member of the Methodist the father to present to the honored church for more than fifty years, and mother a beautiful gold watch and has the proud satisfaction now, in old chain, to count out for her the remain. age (while remembering that he has ing hours of life, and also that a pair been the architect of his own fortune), of gold glasses, a pencil, etc., should to know that he has so lived as not on- be hers from other parties; but one of ly to win, but to deserve the confidence the richest events of the occasion was and esteem of all who have known a warm and tender embrace which the him, a pleasant instance of which mother gave Mrs. Martin, the lady was seen at his golden wedding, which who had taken and filled so happily may be briefly stated as follows: On the place of a departed daughter. the 1st day of December, 1875, this Rich because so uncommon, and then loving, aged and honored couple, with so pleasant and grateful when so real. their six children, and all their grand ly due. Thus under a canopy of children, and a large number of neigh- smiles and love, the happy group rebors and friends, celebrated their gold- viewed the past, and in hope, Christian cn wedding, at the old homestead, now hope, glanced onward along the path the hospitable mansion of Mr. Thos. of coming months and years. and Mrs. Henrietta M. Midwinter (in the home of one of the daughters). Hon. James T. Lewis was born in The day was beautiful, indeed, befit- Clarendon, Orleans county, N. Y., ing the joy of the occasion, the pre- Oct. 30, 1819. He received his aca: demical education at Clarkson and I few fortunate purchases, Mr. Preston Clinton, N. Y., and read law with found that the small capital with Gov. Seldon, at the former place. He which he had commenced banking came to Wisconsin in July, 1845; was two years previous had increased to admitted to the bar of the supreme the snug little sum of $5,000. With court; and commenced the practice this amount he opened another bankof law at Columbus, where he has ing house in Chicago, and, directly since resided. He has held eight following this adventure, camne the different offices in the state, com. failure of A. Klemm, of New York, menciag with that of district attor. who had $6,000 of Mr. Preston's ney, and closing with that of governor. money in his possession. Although Wien elected secretary of slate, he by this misfortune he lost his entire received every vote cast in his own capital, still he was not discouraged, city. When elected governor, his ma- and going to work with renewed jority was nearly twenty-five thou vigor, he soon placed himself on a sand, - a very large majority for Wis. firmer foundation than ever. His consin. For his record as governor banking houses both here and in Chiof the state of Wisconsin, we have cago are widely known, and have en. only to refer to the history of that joyed the confidence of the moneyed stirring period of sacrifice and blood, men of the country for a long term of to show that, preeminently, he was a years. During the money panic of successful war governor; and not- September, 1873, the banking house withstanding the fact that he made of D. Preston & Co., in Detroit, was but little diplay, he accomplished obliged to suspend for a few days, not great things for the state. Although because they had sustained any loss, or le lias retired from public life, at his of the defalcation of any person conbeautiful home in Columbus, his nected with the firm, but entirely on unanimous call to the chairmanship account of their not being able to con. of the recent Republican State Con- vert their securities into currency fast vention shows that his great popular. enough to supply the demand of their ity is still alive. Should he consent depositors. This suspension was only to again enter pnblic life, his career temporary, and within a very short would, no doubt, be marked with suc. time the doors were thrown open cess. He is wealthy, and enjoys life again and business proceeded with as only a man with a clear conscience as usual. The Chicago firm of Pres. can.

ton, Kean & Co., of which Mr.

Preston has been a member for the David Preston, of Detroit, Mich., past ten years, were able to pass was born in Harmony, Chautauqua through the above mentioned financounty, N. Y., September 20, 1826. cial trouble without any serious diffi. He received a common school edu-culty. Mr. Preston is best known, cation in the schools of this county, however, to the people of Michigan and emigrated to Michigan in 1848, for his unbounded generosity. No arriving in Detroit on the 4th of No object of a charitable nature is ever vember of that year. Upon his arri- presented to him for his aid, with. val in that city Mr. Preston was with out receiving substantial assistance. out money and friends, having bor- Within the last ten years he has given rowed twelve dollars to pay his fare. away over $75,000 to forward various During the first year of his residence charitable enterprises, and has thus in Detroit he received a salary. of engrafted himself into the affections $150; the second year it was increased of the people of the whole northwest. to $200, and the third found him getting $250, while the fourth brought a John H. Shaffer. The subject of further advance to $350. Mr. Preston this sketch was born in Albany coun. commenced the banking business in ty, N. Y., March 17, 1829. His early Detroit in May, 1852, with a capital advantages for education were good: of but $450, and out of which he fur- but being married at 17, his school nished his house, having been mar- days were few, and the books were reried but a short time previous. In linquished and the implements of May, 1854, through industry, honesty hired husbandry taken up for the fam. and strict attention to business, with a lily support until 1856, when he re

moved to Broome Co., N. Y., and en. | ident he signed the first four hundred gaged in lumbering as well as farming thousand bonds and the coupons that on his own account. In 1862, he re- were used in the construction of the moved to Boone Co., Ill., and bought road. He was attorney for the same a farm, which he added to, worked company under its present name unand improved until 1867, when he left til January, 1874; was mayor of Ful. the farm and engaged in the sale of ton City four years; was a judge two the McCormick Reaper and Mower. years, and master in chancery from In this business he was so successful 1857 to 1874; he was also a member that he opened an agricultural store in of the constitutional committee that the city of Kankakee, Ill., in 1869, and formed the present constitution of the built a very fine and large store there state of Illinois; he was delegate to for his trade (in all kinds of farming the Baltimore convention, and aided implements, and the sale of field, flow in the nomination of Lincoln; was er and garden seeds), in 1872,' thus one of the first presidential electors of exhibiting fine business talents and a Grant and Colfax for president and commendable energy in whatever he vice presideift; is now practicing law has undertaken. In April, 1875, he and stands at the head of his profeswas elected mayor of the city of Kan- sion. He has been a mason since kakee, being also one of the largest 1851; is not a church member, yet is shareholders in the Northwestern But- a believer in the truths held and ton Company, which has a paid up taught by the orthodox churches; is capital of $100,000, for the purpose of temperate indeed, but does not belong manufacturing cloth buttons in the to any temperance order; is very firm city of Kankakee; the only factory of in his purposes, and does not yield the kind west of the Hudson river. In until he must; never holds what is character Mr. Shafter is honest, posi- called a grudge, but aims to cancel tive and straight forward; in disposi. all such things at the moment and on tion, frank, social and generous, and the ground. He has an active and en. in his religious preferences an old terprising family of children, one school Calvanistic Presbyterian. He daughter and five sons; two of whom is also a member and a worker in the are lawyers, one a physician, and two masonic lodge of his city. His wife's still at home. He has a tine property; maiden name was Elizabeth Winne. a good home, with ample and pleasThey have a neat and well furnished ant surroundings. dwelling, finely situated and outwardly adorned, and are blessed with one Hon. James G. Strong was born at living child, one having gone to a sol. Lebanon, Boone county, Indiana, dier's grave in our late national strug. March 4, 1836. He received a good gle.

common school education, and after

ward attended the Indiana University Hon. James McCoy was born in at Bloomington in that state in 1857 Gambier Co., Va, September 22, 1817. and 1858, and in the spring of 1859, Studied law with Johnson Reynolds, at the Cincinnati law school. Re. of Lewisburg, Va., for some time; re moved to Dwight, State of Illinois, in moved to Illinois in 1839, and was ad. the month of May, 1859, and com. mitted to practice law by the supreme menced the practice of law. He also court of Illinois in 1843. In 1851 he took an active part in the political originated the idea of constructing a and social interests of the community. railroad from Chicago to California, Was school treasurer, school director, and for this end lobbied the legisla. town clerk, president of the board of ture of Iowa and Illinois in February, trustees of the corporation, and town 1851, and procured charters for that supervisor at various times while he purpose across the state of Illinois to filled some of these positions for a Fulton City, and from Lyons, Iowa, to long time. In 1870 he was elected to Council Bluffs. The first charter ob- the state legislature, which place he tained of that part across the state of filled for two years. In 1872 he was Illinois was "The Mississippi & Rock elected to the state senate from the River Junction Railroad Company,” counties of Ford and Livingston for and of that company he was president four years, and was engaged in the and a director for three years. As pres. I business of real estate, banking, law

« PreviousContinue »