Page images
PDF
EPUB

social time, friends and acquaintances grouping together in squads as circumstances favored.

At night was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which was witnessed by an immense crowd of people. But unfortunately for a full fruition of great and well founded expectations, the electic fireworks of the clouds began to illuminate the western horizon early in the evening, and warn the people that time nor thunder storms waited not for man nor for any public gathering. The people stood their ground, however, in the face of the ominous thunder and lightning until about the last minute, when there was a simul. taneous start for home.

Taking it all in all, was an occasion of which eastern Mason county may well feel proud, in that despite the wind and weather they did their duty towards commemorating the Great Centennial Fourth, and if any failed to find in it all we promised in a rather extravagant article on the subject last week, we charge it more to their lack of appreciation, hearing and eyesight, than to an overwrought imagination from exaggeration on our part; and if we should be editing the Independent when the next centennial comes round, and you, kind readers, should be the readers of it, we will make all right then whatever may have been amiss this time.

BIOGRAPHICAL.

In presenting the biographies of present residents and the former EARLY residents of Mason county, we have taken representatives of three divisions of subjects, viz: Old settlers who were early identified with the settlement of the country and have passed away; secondly, old settlers identified with the interests of the county who are still living; and thirdly, the representatives of the business interests of the county at the present time. In these I have taken subjects from all lines of business and professions, without regard to wealth or official position, but to present briefly all the different divisions above stated.

LYMAN LACY.

Lyman Lacy was born in Tompkins county, New York, May 9, 1832. He is the son of John and Cloe (Hurd) Lacy, who removed to Michigan in 1836, and in 1837 settled in Fulton county, Illinois. His preliminary education was acquired in the public schools of Illinois, whence he was transferred to Illinois College, at Jacksonville, from which institution he graduated in 1855. In the same year he commenced the study of law at Lewistown, with Hon. L. W. Ross, and in 1856 was admitted to the bar.

He located in Havana in October, 1856, and continued the practice of law until 1862, when he was elected to the lower House of the Legislature, on the Democratic ticket, to represent the counties of Mason and Menard, and served one term. In June, 1873, he was elected Circuit Judge of the seventeenth district, comprising the counties of Mason, Menard, Logan and DeWitt. He was married May 9, 1860, to Miss Caroline A. Potter, of Beardstown, Illinois, who died September 12, 1863, and he married again, May 19, 1865, to Mattie A. Warner, of Havana.

The official positions held by Judge Lacy have been filled with ability; with great credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. His standing as a judge is deservedly high.

JAMES W. KELLY.

The subject of this sketch has been a resident of this county twenty-two years. A practical farmer, a practical business man, and soundness and substantiality are the leading characteristics of his organization. He was born in the State of Delaware, January 8, 1819, and is consequently now in his fifty-eighth year, though his

appearance would indicate ten years less to the casual observer. His avocation is that of a farmer, and a life-long experience has made it, with him, a financial success.

He removed with his parents to Ohio in 1827, and settled in Miama county. During his residence there he married to Miss C. Benham, in 1843, and for thirty-three years have they traveled the journey of life together, with a larger amount of health and comfort than usually falls to the lot of humanity.

They removed to Illinois in 1854, and settled on the farm where they now reside. An interesting family has sprung up about them. Mr. Kelly, in common with other substantial residents of our county, has served a full share in those humble but very important and useful positions of school and township trustee, and is a member of our county Board of Supervisors this centennial year; a body that feels his influence, and is benefited, by and indebted to his judgment and practical business ability.

[ocr errors]

L. M. HILLYER,

Is a native of New York, and removed to this town Sept. 15, 1851, when this region was somewhat primitive, and Havana contained less than three hundred inhabitants. His occupation was that of a plasterer and bricklayer; he was a first-class workman, and a man of unusual energy and perseverance in the prosecution of his avocation, his motto being to do with his might what his hands found to do, provided always that it was done well, For about ten years he followed that avocation with more satisfaction to those for whom he labored than with profit to himself. About the year 1857 or 1858 he was elected a justice of the peace, in which office he served his constituents acceptably for a period of eight years; a position which his sound judgment and impartiality abundantly qualified him to fill. He was also a member of the board of town trustees for eight years, a place filled so much to the satisfaction of his constituents that they continued to re-elect him to the same position. So satisfactory was his services in these hum- . ble but useful positions, that the people of the county said very emphatically, “come up higher.” This they compelled him to do by electing him sheriff in 1864, under the old constitution, when two successive terms could not be served by the same man. He was re-elected however in 1872, and again in 1874, making four successive years of service in that important office, with credit to himself and satisfaction to his friends and constituents, and is the incumbent at the present time.

A personal acquaintance and neighborship with the subject of this sketch for over twenty years, has, perhaps, disqualified the writer from passing an impartial estimate and unbiased opinion on the man. We will hazard the remark however, that we have never known him to decline doing a favor or rendering a service for the accommodation of others. This, too, has been done as freely for the poor (and more so) than for the rich; and when there was no possible remuneration or hope of reward.

It has been the privilege of the writer to know of efforts by him to benefit others that have resulted in pecuniary loss, and that quite

In a private conversation on the subject, he remarked that "where intentions were all right, there were no one to blame." But it is to his official career as sheriff that we love to refer.

“He knew his duty, a dead sure thing,

And went for it there and then." While kindness to all is a predominant law and element of his nature, that principle of firmness so essential to strict official duty was its balance. Many incidents have occurred in his long official career that nothing but his indomitable firmness and strict adherence to duty have made the sequel to his honor and credit. His official term expires this fall, and he declines a re-election, which has been suggested by his friends. Active and prompt in the dis

severe.

a

charge of his official duties, satisfied with nothing less than his whole duty, a gentleman in his intercourse with all with whom he, has to do, doing to others as he would that they should do to him; it is not strange that he has fast friends, and many of them. Enjoying uniform good health, he bids fair for many more years to enjoy the good things of this world.

JOHN W. PUGH.

It is with hesitancy that we approach the work of sketching the history of him whose name is at the head of this article. A man who delights in doing good to others in a quiet and unostentious way; that shrinks from publicity and notoriety; of deep religious character; that prefers that his right hand should not know what his left doeth; to give to the public our knowledge of his life is a pleasant and delicate task.

Mr. Pugh is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Luzerne county, August 5, 1824. He removed to Mason county, Illinois, in 1850; like

many others, attracted by the fertility of the soil, healthful climate, though at that time not possessing the advantage of churches, schools, etc., afforded at the present day. He has been engaged in farming, practically and successfully.

He was married in 1854 to Miss Sarah Apple, daughter of Major Apple, of Lewistown, Fulton county, Illinois, hence for twentytwo years they have together traveled life's pathway, on the borders of which few have found more flowers or become less wearied. His official career is alike creditable to his head and heart. Seldom has the time arrived since his residence in this county that he was not trustee of town or school or both, as every good citizen is expected to give his time freely to these non-paying but useful and indispensable positions. For nine years he has been a member of the county board of supervisors, and is the present incumbent, and one whose influence and judgment has much to do in the legislation of the affairs of the county.

He was elected to the legislature and served the last session, and his term includes the years 1874 and 1876. Here, as in the county board, his influence was felt, and his votes stand recorded creditably to himself and constituents.

« PreviousContinue »