THE IRISH IN KNOX COUNTY
Excerpt from the History of Knox County, Volume I, by Albert Perry, pages 723 - 737, submitted by Janine Crandell.
"To begin wid ", Knox County bears the name of an Irishman. It has been estimated that one-fourth of the officers in the Revolutionary War were of Irish birth or parentage. Among that number was General Henry Knox, the distinguished soldier, statesman and confidential friend of the great Washington. In the naming of the many counties of the military tract it was planned to do honor to the heroes of the revolution, and thus it came about these twenty townships of the fairest land and all Illinois have become a lasting monument to the memory of Henry Knox. Stark, Sullivan and Wayne are the names of sister counties that in like manner give lasting testimony to the high percent of Irish blood that officered the American Revolution, while we make a passing reference here to the quantities of that blood which fired the veins of the rank and file of the colonial army.
In their earliest county records we find the name of Michael Fraker, the first settler not only in Lynn Township, but the first in that entire portion of the county. Major Thomas McKee, hero of the First and Second Black Hawk wars, and Hon. William McMurtry, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1848, were pioneers of Irish extraction, the latter locating in Henderson township in 1829.
The descendants of Francis McDonough are today living upon the land just north of the limits of Galesburg that was given to Mr. McDonough by the government for his services in the War of 1812. Mr. McDonough came here from Kentucky in 1854 with the family of his daughter, Mrs. Michael Duffy, to take possession of his allotment of the military tract.
At the village of St. Augustine in Indian Point township occurred in 1837 the first grouping of Irish settlers within the county. It has been said that the state of Illinois constituted an important link between the north and the south in the stress of Civil War times, stretching its length for 400 miles across the very center of the nation. It lay open to two distinct lines of settlement, namely the Hudson River, Mohawk Valley and Great Lakes route and the Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky trail. Over the one came the Yankee, the York stater and the rawer immigrant from the old country; over the other came the drawling, slow-moving, courteous Southerner, and with him many of pure blood Irish families, identified for two or more centuries, perhaps, with the American colonies of the Southern Seaboard. In Illinois these two streams flowed rapidly together and became an important factor in cementing the Union. To Knox County came Irish blood by both channels. The southerner came first.
Up from Beardstown, Kentucky, in the late thirties came the founders of St. Augustine. They traveled on horseback and were headed by one Patrick Clements, a man of wealth and related to the Spaulding family of Maryland. With him came Henry and Austin Mattingly, William and Henderson Hogan, Hamilton O'Man, Joseph, Marcellas and Lawrence McKiernan, John Gallet, George Tippet, Thomas Livers and Patrick H. Smith. There were men of English and French extraction in this party, but as many of the names given are pure Irish and most of the families seemed to be related we give the entire roll.
These men established the Catholic Church in St. Augustine, and became important owners of land in Fulton and Knox counties. As to their sterling and kindly qualities, we have the interesting testimony of the venerable Mrs. Mary Barber Roe, of Garfield Avenue, Galesburg. Mrs. Roe is herself a native of New York, and came to St. Augustine in 1841. Her mind is bright and active at the advanced age of 97. Of the pioneers mentioned above, she says, "I tell you those were good people. No matter what Church the sick or needy belonged to, they would take them right hand and care for them. "
Robert Supple and John Kinella joined the colony in the late '40s.
From Pennsylvania, by way of the Illinois River came the families of Thomas and Michael Dougherty, in 1854. They were soon followed by about fifteen other families, among them were Patrick 0Pray, Edward, John and Barney Larkins.
After the Northern Cross railroad was built, which soon became the Quincy branch of the Burlington, the colony was greatly augmented.
The following with their families came in the '50s: Nicholas Crow, Thomas and William Burke, James and John Fogerty, John Kearns, Patrick Mack, Laurence and M. Condon.
A group that formed almost immediately after the St. Augustine colony was that of the Presbyterian Irish of Salem township. The sturdy pioneers came from the counties of Northern Ireland, and landed most of them at Philadelphia. From 1839 to 1850, they were entering from the government small pieces of land in the township where their descendants now own extensive tracts.
The Matthews, William and John, were immigrants from County Tyrone. The late Robert G. Matthews was a son of John Matthews. For six years R. G. Matthews served on the County Board of Supervisors and was chairman of that board while the court house was being built. For a term of eighteen years he served the county in the offices of sheriff and deputy sheriff alternately. In that capacity also he rendered valuable service to the county. Charles H. Matthews, father of Mrs. J. Grant Beadle, in 1883, was rated as the wealthiest man in Galesburg, was the son of another John Matthews, also an immigrant from County Tyrone.
The Sloans, John and Solomon R., were emigrants from County Antrim and County Derry respectively. The former is known as the Hon. John Sloan, having served on the County Board of Supervisors from 1869 to 1878, after which he was sent to the state legislature, where he served several terms as Democratic representative. His son, Hugh Sloan, has long been a prominent member of the county board.
The McKeighans, Alexander and James, were immigrants from County Antrim. Alexander H. McKeighan is a son of the former and for many years has been proprietor and publisher of the Yates City Banner.
John Wasson was a native of County Fermaugh, and like the others of this group, became, during his long residence in Salem, a man of wealth and influence.
The Office of W. S. Gale, in the year 1851-52, was a meeting place for the directors of the Central Military Tract Railroad Company. These promoters, one Patrick Dunn among them, were using every means to attract the prospective railroad through Galesburg. Their gigantic efforts brought gigantic returns. Their every hope was realized and some things unthought of as well, for at that very time, as we have shown, events across the sea were loosing the unparalleled flood of immigration that swept into the land during the 50s and 60s. The heads of nearly every full blooded Irish family in the county came in by stage or along the new laid rails of the "Q " during those two decades, first perhaps, as roistering, high spirited lads plying the pick and shovel in the construction gangs that pushed the glistening steel into the waiting west, often as raw farm hands and untrained housemaids stepping from immigrant trains with scanty bundled belongings. A few years, and they came as better trained artisans, having been apprenticed in the towns of Massachusetts and New York, where they had lingered for a short time before pushing west.
In Columbia County, New York, the Shaker settlements were flourishing in the 50s. Many of the immigrants took the stage at Albany and obtain employment in and about Lebanon. The Tilden family of that place, as well as the Shakers, were large employers; and just over the line in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Barker Brothers, manufacturers of drugs, added many other Irish to their payroll. There, at Lebanon and at Pittsfield, many a lad and lassie from opposite counties of Ireland met for the first time and either married out right or plighted their troth until they should lay up a little and meet again on the plains of Illinois, for this stop in the Mohawk Valley was merely to get their bearings and earned a prize of a railroad ticket to the state where it was rumored the Gales, Moshers, and Ferrises would pay higher wages and so open the door to larger opportunities.
In Pittsfield was formed the clan of Redingtons, Hobins, Herleys, Clareys, Hewitts, Magners, Mackeys, Browns, Franeys, O'Connells, and Haleys. From Lebanon came another group made up of the Nortons, Penderghasts, Maleys, Coffeys, Minihans, Milans, Shays, Nashes, O'Connors, Ryans, Hustons, Carmodys, Flynns, Torticells, Slatterys; as Mrs. Margaret Nash Minihan puts it, "We followed each other like the ducks. "
Mr. John Slattery tells of early experience on the Tilden place.
Weeding all day under a blistering New York Sun at raw seventeen was far different from leading the life of an idle carefree boy under the caressing skies of Limerick. Worn out by the sickening heat, he laid down to rest a moment between the rows of herbs. He closed his eyes and opened them to behold H. A. Tilden himself peering down at him. The reddish kind of a blush poured up into the boy's hair. At the same instant there flashed into his mind the possible consequences of this breach of duty--disgrace, no work, the dependent brothers and sisters. "I'm sick," he faltered. Mr. Tilden cried out " He's sunstruck, " lifted the astonished lad carefully to his feet, supported his agitated steps to the house and telling him not to try to talk made him comfortable on a couch. At sundown he was dismissed as being out of danger and the shamefaced boy scuttled home to his father's cabin, he vowed a lasting devotion to his kind hearted employer.
When Samuel J. Tilden was elected by the people to the presidency, in 1876, and lost by one historical vote in the heated contest that followed, there was many a democratic vote polled and Knox County that carried with it an extra measure of good will, because of personal memories of Lebanon and the Tildens.
Many families came to Galesburg from the old country directly, such as the Connertons, and Keefes. Mr. Connerton used to twit his pious little wife with having said to him fifty years ago when preparing for their wedding trip, "Tom, I will go any place in the West with you and live on two meals a day if you will settle near a church. "We lived next door to St. Patrick's Church, first on one side and then on the other," said Mr. Connerton, "but all these forty-seven years I have noted she likes her three square meals a day." The home of this pioneer couple were rendered sacred to many of Galesburg family as the place where "father and mother " were united in matrimony before the completion of St. Patrick's church.
Most of those mentioned in the proceeding groups made permanent homes in Galesburg, while a high percentage took up land at the earliest opportunity and became prominent and permanent farmers in their respective townships.
Henderson Creek was a sizable prairie stream. All along its banks stretched heavy patches of timber, and these miniature forests have become historic in Knox County as "Henderson Grove" or briefly, "the Grove." (We are indebted to Mrs. Eliza Minehan, of Arthur Avenue, and the family of Mr. Michael Huston for most of our data concerning the Grove colony.)
This timber land was obtainable by the early settlers in fifty acre tracts. The price was low, but mountain high to the penniless. At the cost of heavy and prolonged manual labor, any able-bodied man might become a landlord. The Milans, Boylstons, Minehans, Coffeys, Penderghasts, Shays, O'Briens, Powers, Donahues, McGraths, Cofields, and Slatterys here obtained their first square foot of land and were well established as tillers of the soil at the outbreak of civil war. In many cases two brothers would take fifty acres between them, sell the trees and grub out the stumps by their combined efforts. Fuel and building material were to be had for the hacking and splitting. Log houses were quickly rolled up and housekeeping began with the briefest of ceremony. One great advantage of living in the Grove was the diversity of labor obtainable when the farming season ended. Wood could be cut at fifty cents per cord and hauled to Galesburg. Coal mines were being opened here and there along the creek, while Brow's brickyard was rapidly converting timber clay into building material. Blazed trails led from cabin to cabin and each newcomer from Lebanon or far off Ireland was given the hardiest of welcomes by each hearthstone where he listened with open mouthed pleasure to the bombastic measures of "the praises of Henderson Grove" as sung in the wailing cadences of a genuine Celtic "Come All Ye. "
At Williamsfield the first Irish settler was Patric Grady, who made himself memorable in that section by using as a building material for his house quantities of pebbles from the banks of the Spoon.
Peter Morgan arrived soon after. Peter gave up the seafaring life for that of a farmer. We are told that he crossed the ocean seventeen times.
From Limerick, in 1852, came the Welsh brothers, Richard and Michael, accompanied by James Murphy. They landed at New Orleans on Christmas Day of that year. The father of these elder Welshes raised horses for the fox chase in the old country. Owing to this circumstance his son's struck up an acquaintance at first sight with the driver of an especially fine team of horses on the streets of Peoria. The driver was Simpkins of Maquon. As a result of this chance meeting, the wanderers located at Williamsfield. The Welsh brothers had had the opportunity of college training at Dublin. Michael, generally known as Squire Welsh, filled many offices of trust during his long life in Elba township. The Squire was justly proud of his title and resented from his old associates the familiarity with which some of them addressed him as "Mike." Michael Grimes was riding home from Williamsfield with him one rainy day, and in his conversation frequently and emphatically addressed him as "Mike." The Squire chafed inwardly and at length protested. "Why don't you call me Squire, that's my title?" "Faith, Ill never call the likes of you Squire," was the answer. Arguing the point they reached the banks of the angry Spoon. The Squire stopped his forces and seemed greatly concerned as to the condition of one of the traces of the nigh horse. "Will you get out and fasten that trace, Grimes?" "I will that," said Grimes. He had scarcely clear the wheel when the Squire struck the spirited horses a resounding crack with the whip. They plunged headlong into the river and before the astonished Grimes could draw a second breath, the tailboard of the wagon was far beyond his reach. He realized he was beaten. He said several things to Mr. Welsh in loud tones. It was only when he began pleading, "Please, Mr. Squire, won't you come back?" that Mr. Welsh's hearing returned.
Other pioneers of the vicinity of Williamsfield were Philip Brenan, John Malone, Dennis Murphy and Michael O'Connor. These in their day and generation acquired fine farms which have passed on to their descendants.
In Sparta Township on the rough land bordering North Creek, which is a tributary of Spoon River, settled a number of immigrants, chiefly from County Waterford.
Mr. Patrick O'Connor, of Wataga, gives the following account of early settlers at Barefoot. Mr. James O'Connor with his sons, Patrick and Thomas, took up land there in 1855. Antedating them several years was Solomon McCleary of Scotch-Irish descent.
Following the O'Connors came Peter O'Hern, Michael Murray, John Mangon, William Butler, James Torticil, Thomas O'Brien, and Ed Kennedy, known throughout the community as "the king". He was considered final authority on all matters pertaining to law and justice.
These men, by their industry and perseverance, converted timber land and virgin prairie into productive farms, which in many cases are still operated by their sons or grandsons. The dwellers along North Creek were quaintly termed in an early day "the Barefoot Nation." There, as elsewhere throughout the county, expensive shoe leather was reserved for wear on Sundays and state occasions. Sometimes there was but one pair of shoes in a family and he who was most speedy in dressing stood the best chance of securing the family shoes to complete his toilet.
There was a lovesick swain in the North Creek Community who felt his heart strings drawn in the direction of Henderson Grove. Being a little bit slow, perhaps, or possessed of more than ordinary good nature, he found that Sunday after Sunday he was losing his turn at the coveted footwear. He must have been stout of heart, as well as calloused of sole, for nothing daunted, he covered regularly the long miles that intervened between him and the object of his affection. The people of the Grove took notice of the young man's courage and devotion and, overlooking their own bare toes, which were quite the correct thing when one was at home, a humorously term to their friends of the North Creek locality, "the Barefoot Nation," which in time became abbreviated to " Barefoot. "
As early as 1855 a number of Irish were already settled within a radius of a few miles of what is now the village of Oneida. Among the first were the Sullivan brothers--Owen, Michael and Daniel. A few years later came the Swift brothers--Martin and John; the Barry brothers--James and Michael--came in 1857: Joseph and James McGovern, Simon, Clark and Owen Conley settled in the locality since known as Dublin. Other early comers were Dan Faloon, Pat Mead, Locke Feely, Timothy Hannon, Thomas Huston, and Patrick Nash.
The breaking out of prairie sod, the digging of coal, the quarrying of stone and the making of brick were the chief occupations of the new comers to Ontario and Sparta townships. A brickyard was kept by Tom Quinn and Tom Ryan near Oneida. John Dimsey conducted one of the first butcher shops there.
Mr. Timothy Hannon opened a shoe shop in 1857 in this village. During the 55 years that have since elapsed Mr. Hannon has shod two generations of Oneida's inhabitants. In front of his store stands a splendid hard maple that was planted by him and his good wife on their wedding day fifty-three years ago. His most distinguished patron was one that walked into a shop which he operated in Springfield previous to his coming to Oneida. That patron was Abraham Lincoln, for whom Mr. Hannon made a substantial pair of shoes.
Michael Courtney was an early resident of Oneida, a colonel in the civil war, and, like the others of his family, influential in the life of the community. George Courtney was a road foreman of engines for the C. B. and Q. R. R. at the time of his death by accident in 1889.
There were but few Irish families scattered over the other townships of the northern portion of the county.
John Sheahan took up a quarter section of land in Lynn Township in 1864. His brother-in-law, Richard Goodman, came to Lynn in 1865. The Story family, James Graham, and John Hagarty came a few years later. Patrick Sheahan and his family took up land in Walnut Grove Township in 1866. The Welsh brothers, Patrick, James, John and Thomas, with their brother-in-law, Henry Locklin, were pioneer owners of land both in Rio township and over the line in Henry County.
These early settlers by their untiring efforts and keen business insight became, all of them, substantial citizens, and some of them owners of extensive tracts of land, which today it means wealth and independence for their children. But few of the emigrants from the old country were so daring as to embark at once on the stormy seas of a business career. The following did so and were highly successful:
Daniel Farrell was a pioneer in the clothing business in Galesburg, and those who knew him best are enthusiastic in their appreciation of all that he did in the old days of religious and political dissension as a mediator. He lived to a ripe old age, always at his post of business, a dignified and lovable figure in the community. Edward Houston conducted a grocery store in Wataga for years. He was postmaster of the place during both of Cleveland's administrations. Mr. Thomas Keefe was in the grain business first at Wataga, then at St. Augustine and for the last 25 years has been a leading lumber merchant in Galesburg.
An amusing incident of Mr. Keefe's boyhood is the fact that when his father decided to leave the old home in Roscommon and try his fortune in the new world he deliberated long and earnestly over the chances of his youngest children securing an education in America. Depressed by reports of scanty schools in that wilderness, he left the young Thomas and his brother, still younger, to attend the school kept by his uncle in Ireland. The father and the rest of the family proceeded to New York. Four years passed before the younger children were permitted to come on and join their elders in "York state."
Mr. James O'Connor, now in the real-estate and insurance business, has been actively associated with the growth and development of Galesburg from early manhood. Timothy Hannon, pioneer shoe merchants at Oneida, has been mentioned previously.
There is a tendency to regard the Irish as merely an element of the rank and file, while the truth of the matter is, their work has been structural. At first they had nothing to offer but labor, and labor was what Knox County needed in her early days. In the clearing away of timber, and the breaking up of prairie sod, in the building of railroads and in the construction of solid masonry, the handiwork of the Irish laborer was everywhere. That laborer had had but the briefest of schooling in the newly established national schools of the old country. In many cases he could barely write his name and just spell out the headlines in the weekly paper. Most of them, however, were well able to peruse that paper from end to end and were soon deeply interested in every live question of the day. That laborer, being Irish, was the best of good fellows (often to his undoing). He was fluent of speech, a persuader of men by birth and a leader of causes by inheritance. Fate and a lack of education left him a worker with his hands. He raised large families, and to his children he gave the education for which he had thirsted and with it his native gifts of magnetism and persuasion. The second generation took to the professions, to business and to public life like the duck to the quiet pool.
From many generalities we have at last come to the winding path of continuous personal mention. As your guide on the long journey that we have come together, we must warn you of many abrupt turns from this person to that and of very sudden leaps from one calling to another in no way connected with it.
Hon. M. J. Dougherty represents the second generation of the St. Augustine group. The father of Mr. Dougherty came to this country at the age of five. With his parents he boarded the first ship that sailed out of Londonderry harbor after peace was declared and it was known in that port that the War of 1812 was over. News traveled but slowly in those days, and we know that the Battle of New Orleans was fought after peace was declared. It was interesting to learn that the above mentioned ship was given a lively chase, all of one day, by an American privateer. How much of wit and good fellowship The Knox County Bar would have lost had one of those death dealing cannonballs taken affect! Landed at Philadelphia, they went west by ox team and steamboat until Thomas Dougherty cast his lot with the Augustine colony. The younger Mr. Dougherty has been for years a prominent member of the bar. He was postmaster for the city of Galesburg during Cleveland's administration and has represented this district in the state legislature for a number of terms.
John Keefe, the eldest son of Thomas Keefe of Galesburg, left St. Augustine for Sioux City, Iowa, where he has long been a prominent and respected citizen. Mr. Keefe is a member of the firm of Flynn and Keefe, street pavement contractors.
We have already mentioned two representatives of the second generation of the Salem group, R. G. Matthews and Hugh Sloan. James Wasson, the attorney, belongs to that group.
Representatives of the Henderson Grove group are James Minehan, editor of a paper at Geddes, South Dakota; W. H. Coffey and the Slattery brothers. Mr. Coffey is justice of the peace in Galesburg. Dr. W. H. Slattery is located in Lincoln, Neb., and Dr. George N. in New York City.
From Williamsfield came those able attorneys Judge J.D. Welsh and his cousin, James J.; also Dr. Thomas Murphy, a prominent physician of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Of the Oneida barefoot group Harry A. Nash, son of Patrick Nash, represents the second generation. Mr. Nash is a leading citizen of Perry, Iowa, where he follows the business of real estate, insurance and investments. The Torticell brothers, sons of James Torticell, are both in business in Kewanee, James L. in the plumbing, and Will dealing in hardware. Dan Hannon, son of Timothy Hannon, is auditor for Adams Express Company in Denver, Colorado.
Prominent sons of Galesburg are Dr. L. R. Ryan, widely known as an eye and ear specialists, the Maley brothers, Dr. W. H. and Dr. George, Dr. Thomas Birmingham and Dr. Frank Flynn. Attorneys, the late J. C. Stephens, Edward McTiernan, of Chicago, Will Brown of Bellingham, Washington, W. H. Sullivan and J. E. Maley. In mercantile pursuits are M. J. Buckley, grocer; John Huston, grocer; George Farrell, one of the partners in the clothing store founded by his father Daniel Farrell; J. B. McAuly, contractor; the O'Connor brothers, Mart and J. D., contractors; Miss Jean Halpin, beauty parlors; Miss Molly Morrissey, ladies' supplies; Daniel Nolan, of the blacksmithing firm of Dewine & Nolan, Joseph Sullivan, laundry business; Bernard Ryan, banker and a lumber merchant at Neleigh, Nebraska; the Hurley brothers, Myer and Edward. Edward Hurley is president of the Hurley Machine Company of Chicago. Through the successful management of a newly invented pneumatic tool he leaped into the millionaire class. Mr. Myer Hurley is proprietor of a hardware store at Marceline, Kansas, and holds an important position among the officials of the B. of L. E. Miss Kathryn Ryan is proprietor of a dry goods store at Black Foot, Idaho. Mr. Edwin Daughterty, son of Hon. and Mrs. N. J. Daughterty, is in the wiring business at Riverside, Calif.
Among the adopted sons of Galesburg, are Dr. W.O'R. Bradley, Dr. John Bohan and Dr. Fred Gurley, J. P. Foley, undertaker; J. P. Quigley, plumber.
Knox County has contributed these names to the role of the clergy: Rev. William Graham, son of James Graham, theological student at Rochester, New York; Rev. Edward Welsh, of Keithsberg, son of Thomas Welsh; Rev. J. J. Burk, of Peoria, son of Thomas Burke, of St. Augustine.
Less than twenty years ago Knox County adopted that genial clergymen, Rev. John Phelan, who came direct from the Royal University at Dublin to open Corpus Christi lyceum. Of a retiring nature, he has endeared himself by the charm of his personality not only to the students in his charge, but to the various communities which they represent.
From the first, the Irish have been intimately associated with the railroad. Mr. James Clary, of South Chambers Street, retired from active service ten years ago. He was for 47 consecutive years a section boss on the Quincy branch and gives many interesting pictures of the floating population that made up his gangs throughout all that period. Mr. John Sullivan entered the employ of the Burlington in 1860. He was made division road master in 1871, which position he is acceptably filling today.
Of the second generation and railroad life are the following: Michael Franey, who was called from the Galesburg shops to become master mechanic as superintendent of shops at Collinwood, Ohio, for the Lake Shore Railroad. Will Graham comes from a family of railroaders, his father and five uncles had been well known conductors. Mr. Will Graham is road master at Superior, Michigan. Maurice Daley is superintendent of a western railroad with headquarters at Seattle, Washington. His brother, James Daley, is state boiler inspector of Montana, with headquarters at Helena. Frank P. Dolan, son of John Dolan, of North Cedar Street, won distinction in the railroad world at an early age. Born and educated at St. Augustine, he became a dependable operator at the age of fourteen. He rose rapidly to the general superintendency of the Rock Island, with his headquarters at Topeka, Kansas.
Patrick H. Morrissey, has made Galesburg his home for a quarter of a century. Entering the railroad life as a call boy, he is now president of the American Railroad Employees and Investors Association. His national standing is best attested by the following extracts from lengthy articles concerning him in our best magazines. The Saturday Evening Post of January 8, 1910, says: "Mr. Morrissey is a diplomat of long experience and approved scale, a man of fairness and moderation. "He is justifiably proud of a letter written him by a recent tenant of the White House, in which he is assured "that mighty few men have helped me make as much as you have." In the Outlook of August 5, 1911, Mr. Roosevelt says of a speech made by Mr. Morrissey to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, "It sets forth such good doctrine that I wish it were possible to quote it in full. I cordially agree with Mr. Morrissey's views on this matter." These quoted words are much more forcible and expressive than would be any comment of ours.
George Davis, for twenty years treasurer of Knox College, was a native of County Lietrim, Ireland. This splendid new building just dedicated to science at Knox is a lasting monument to his name. A large donor to that building was J. T. McKnight, a son-in-law of Mr. Davis, a trustee of Knox, and a most influential citizen of Galesburg. Although a man of means, Mr. McKnight is also a man of affairs, active in every interest of the community. Mr. McKnight is the son of an immigrant from County Monaghan.
The late Alfred M. Craig was one of Knox Countys best known sons, both as a jurist and banker. He served on the supreme bench of the state for twenty-seven years. Judge Craig was the grandson of an immigrant from Londonderry.
Dr. Thomas McClelland, for the past twelve years president of Knox College, is a native of Colraine, North Ireland. During his administration the endowment of Knox College has been raised three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Two handsome buildings have been erected during this term which have greatly enhanced the usefulness of this progressive college.
Professor W. L. Steele is the son of an immigrant from County Antrim, his father being twenty years of age when he came to this country. Mr. Steele has devoted a life work of incalculable and lasting value to the county, first as superintendent of county schools and later as superintendent of the public schools of Galesburg. He has given these schools a reputation that is statewide for excellence and efficiency. By the introduction of the outline of study for the country schools and the institution of the yearly township examination, he brought order out of chaos and gave to the whole system a solid basis of well graded work.
Thomas Smith, father of Mrs. George W. Gale, was a pioneer contractor and mason, widely respected throughout the county.
Rev. Joseph Bell, the present superintendent of the Galesburg District of the Methodist Episcopal Church, informs us that his four grandparents were natives of the County Down.
Others of more remote Irish descent are W. F. Boyes, County Superintendent of Schools; Judge R.C. Rice; the Hardy brothers, of the law firm of Hardy, Welsh and Hardy, and attorney B. E. McLaughlin; John George, a pioneer farmer of Galesburg, whose sons, C. and E., are ranked among the prominent businessmen of Omaha; Capt. F. A Freer, for many years postmaster of Galesburg, who came of a Huguenot family that emigrated from France to Ireland. There the original name Frere took on its present form. J. C. Stuart, father of Mrs. F. W. Wolf and Miss Maude Stuart, was mayor of Galesburg for three terms. The grandfather of Mr. Stuart was a native of Ireland. Our list ends with the name of Galesburg present mayor, George Sanderson, who is a grandson of Patrick Dunn, one of Galesburg first bankers. . .
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