Following are some biographies of families who at one time or
another lived in Henry Co. Illinois. In some cases it is the parents, spouse or child who was a Henry Co. resident
so please read carefully!
JOHN M. TAZE
Many years must needs elapse before Oxford Township will cease to feel the loss of
John M. Taze, one of the most worthy, substantial and interesting of the men who have dwelt within her borders. He
was born September 13, 1832, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, his parents being Isaac and Margaret J. (Irvin)
Taze. The father was born in the north of Ireland and the mother in New York City, but both the Taze and the Irvin
families are of Scotch descent. The father died when John M. Taze was only twelve years of age, but the mother
lived out a long life of usefulness until her eighty-fifth year. About ten years after the father's demise, the
family went to Washington County, Iowa, and lived there for one year previous to coming to Illinois. They engaged
in farming near Vermont, in McDonough County, this state. Mrs. Taze, after her husband's death, had upon her
shoulders the sole responsibility of the raising of eight children. Jane became Mrs. John Jaynes, of Oxford
Township, Henry County, both she and her husband now being dead. Margaret married Orson Patterson, of Oxford
Township. William, also deceased, married before leaving Pennsylvania, but was a resident of Oxford Township at the
time of his death. Martha, deceased, became Mrs. Alexander McCurdy, of Oxford Township. Ann is deceased. John M.,
the subject of the sketch, is next in order of birth. Elizabeth became Mrs. Festus Cole, whose husband survives
her, and is now a resident of Oxford Township. The youngest, Irvin by name, died before the family left their home
in Pennsylvania. The father had been only a renting farmer, a man of scant means, and he left the family destitute
at his death. It was indeed quite frequently a matter of diligence on the part of everybody to keep the wolf from
the door. Some of the children came west prospecting before the removal of the main part of the family, and several
of them were married before coming to Illinois.
John M. Taze preceded his mother to Illinois by a short time, coming in the Spring
of 1854. He traveled by boat from Pittsburg down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi River to Cairo, Illinois,
and later overland to Washington, Iowa, where several members of the family were already located. There he engaged
in farming until 1861, when he went to the far west, traveling over Idaho, Montana and Utah, prospecting for gold.
He worked both independently and for a company and had many rare experiences and suffered many hardships, all of
which he accepted philosophically and thus gave to the making of a fine character. Among his adventures was his
discovery, while prospecting with two companions, of a cave evidently never before entered in the memory of man,
which upon exploration showed evidence of occupation by human beings of strange modes of living. He was successful
in his mining ventures and remained in the west for five years before rejoining his mother and several other
members of the family in Oxford Township, this county.
Before going away Mr. Taze had acquired a farm of one hundred sixty acres of land
which formed the nucleus of what grew to be a magnificent estate before he died. He invested some of his mining
money in land and at once took up agriculture on his return to Illinois. In addition to crop raising he engaged in
the stock business, his animals being the finest in Oxford Township. When he left the farm to reside in Alpha he
owned five hundred and seventy acres of land in Oxford and Clover Townships, while in Texas he was the proprietor
of seven thousand, six hundred and eighty acres of land. It is thus evident that he had in his control vast
resources. In 1901 he built a fine residence in Alpha, where he established his household, and gave up active
farming to devote his energies to the supervision of his large land interests. He also assumed banking interests,
becoming the owner of the Alpha Exchange Bank, Rio in Knox County, in February, 1903; in 1908 he organized the
Peoples Bank of Woodhull; and in March 1909, he organized the Farmers Bank of Ophiem. Their management consumed a
great part of his time and attention until July 1, 1909 when they were all of them sold to a Chicago
Mr. Taze was united in marriage September 24, 1874 to Miss Elizabeth S. Rutledge,
a daughter of William and Ann (McCurdy) Rutledge, who came from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in March 1873,
and settled in Oxford Township. They had lived in the same neighborhood as the Taze family and the two young people
were well acquainted before they left the east. Mr. Rutledge was a farmer by occupation, although as a young man he
had been a boatman on the canal from Pittsburg to Youngstown. He is still living at the age of eighty-seven years,
but his wife died May 18, 1898. To Mr. Taze and his wife were born three children, William I., Anna Margaret and
Jane Ella, the daughters being at home.
Mr. Taze was a loyal adherent of the principles of democracy, but he could not be
called active in politics in the sense that he had any desire to be an office holder. He was, nevertheless, a
public-spirited man. In 1900 he organized the Alpha Electric Light Company in conjunction with his son and Almon H.
Linn, of Cambridge, thus giving Alpha her first lighting plant, and putting another item upon the town's debt of
gratitude to him. He was a man of few words but had a keenly analytical mind that grasped the merits of a business
proposition instantly. He was a kind and devoted husband and father, his home being his kingdom. Mr. Taze was by
birth and belief a Presbyterian, and although not a member of the church, he lived and died a Christian. By
circumstances deprived of anything but the scantiest education, he acquired vast knowledge by reading, observation
and wide range of travel, of which he was especially fond. His business life, his home life, and his daily
intercourse with men, all eloquently speak his praises. His death, which occurred July 12, 1909, produced universal
sorrow. He is interred in the Summit Ridge Cemetery, near Alpha, where other members of the family lie.
William I. Taze, son of the foregoing, passed his early years upon his father's
farm, attended the public school and was graduated from the Alpha High School with its first class in 1895. This he
supplemented with a course in Brown's Business College in Galesburg, in 1897. In the fall of that year he entered
the Alpha Exchange Bank, and in a short time his efficiency recommended him to the responsible office of Vice
President and Cashier of the chain of banks organized by his father. He continued in this capacity until the banks
were transferred with the Chicago syndicate.
Mr. Taze was united in marriage to Miss Mabel Long of Orion, their union being
celebrated January 25, 1899. Mrs. Taze is the daughter of Dr. H. H. and Mary (Jordan) Long, of Orion, who are also
the parents of two sons, Donovan L. and Edwin H.
Mr. Taze is a democrat by inheritance and conviction but he is not active in
politics. He is a prominent member of Oxford Lodge, No. 367, A. F. & A. M., at New Windsor, and has affiliation
with Rio Chapter and Galesburg Commandery. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church as is also his mother
and sisters. The son possesses many of the business characteristics of his father and is a young man of much
In the household of Mrs. John M. Taze are her aged father, William Rutledge, and
her two daughters, Anna Margaret and Jane Ella. Her home and that of her son are the most elegant and pretentious
in Alpha, large and modern throughout, and having an atmosphere of refinement, culture and genuine
Book contains photograph
Source: "History of Henry County
Illinois" by Henry L. Kiner, Volume II, Chicago: Pioneer
Publishing Co 1910
Submitted by: Alice Gless
GEORGE WALLACE THOMPSON
George Wallace Thompson was born in the Dominion of Canada, near St. Mary's,
Ontario, August 9, 1850. He is the son of Robert and Theresa (Lee) Thompson and was brought up on a farm. His
parents came to Knox County in 1872, and are now living on a farm near the city of Galesburg. They were born
in the northern part of England, and the father in his younger days was a stonecutter.
Judge Thompson received the customary instruction of the common school of his
native town. Afterwards, he attended the grammar school at St. Mary's, working on the farm during
summer. He then entered Upper Canada College at Toronto, and finally Toronto University, where he took a
fully literary course. He graduated in 1874 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, winning a scholarship every
year and a gold medal at graduation. By the labors of his own hands, he earned the means, principally, to meet the
expenses of his college course. He read law while a student at college, and afterwards, with William Davis in
Galesburg He was admitted to the Bar in Iowa at Fort Madison in 1875 and practiced at Sibley, Iowa, for two
years. In June, 1877, he came to Galesburg, and practiced uninterruptedly in the courts of Knox County and
the State, until he was elected to the office of Circuit Judge.
His boyhood was passed on his father's Canada farm, which was stony and once
heavily wooded. Early, he had a great fondness for books and a desire for learning. While attending the
district school in winter, he borrowed books to begin the study of the classics; and while working on the farm
during the day, he spend the early morning and the evening with a portion of the night in reading and
A chancery suit, involving his father's farm, was the immediate cause of Judge
Thompson's removal from Iowa to Illinois. His first co-partnership was with Mr. Davis under the firm name of
Davis and Thompson. This co-partnership was dissolved, and from 1883 to 1893, he practiced alone. Then
the firm of Thompson and Shumway was established, and in 1896, that of Thompson, Shumway and Wasson. Judge Thompson
remained a member of this firm until June, 1897, when he was elected Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of
Illinois, comprising the counties of Knox, Warren, Henderson, Hancock, McDonough, and Fulton.
Judge Thompson has never been an office-seeker. He has held but few
offices. He was elected Alderman of the First Ward of the City of Galesburg in 1880, and held the office
until 1884. He is a member of several societies and has filled important positions therein. He is a
member of the Masonic Order, Oddfellows, and Knights of Pythias. He joined the Alpha Lodge of Masons in 1877,
and was an officer continuously therein from 1878 to 1898. He was Worshipful Master four terms, and Eminent
Commander of Galesburg Commandery the same length of time.
As a lawyer, Judge Thompson has always borne a very high reputation. His
fame expanded and spread by reason of his intelligent management of cases at court, and his fair treatment of
witnesses on the stand. He has always been sought after for his reliability and fair-mindedness and for his
superior knowledge of common and statute law. As a Judge, he is known for his quickness of decision and
impartiality. He is just in his citations of points of law, and has earned the respect and esteem of both
counselor and jury. As a citizen, he is kind and forbearing, and is worthy of public confidence. He is
charitable in speech and act, is helpful in all needed reforms and improvements, and never withholds a helping hand
from the needy and suffering.
Judge Thompson is broad and liberal in his religious views. He belongs to no
church, but is a regular attendant at the Baptist Church, of which his wife is a member. He is a strong
republican, and has been identified with that party from the time he was old enough to cast his first
He was married September 12, 1884, to Hettie Linsley, who was born at Galva, Henry
County, Illinois. She is a graduate of Knox College, and was Librarian in the Galesburg Public Library five
years prior to her marriage. Her father, James H. Linsley, up to 1899, was Road Master of the Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy Railroad. With this road, he was connected for forty-six years. Judge and Mrs.
Thompson are the parents of three children: Alma C., Ruth L., and Wallace L.
Source: Historical Encyclopedia of
Illinois and Knox County, Munsell Publishing Co, 1899
NORMAN FREDERICK TILDEN
Norman Frederick Tilden, a well-known blacksmith of York, has for several years
been actively identified with he industrial interests of York county, and is numbered among its useful and honored
citizens. He was born November 13, 1859, in Henry county, Illinois, and is a worthy representative of an old and
highly respected family of New England. The genealogy of the Tilden family is lengthy and forms interesting
His father, Orrin Tilden, was born in Windsor county, Vermont, and was a son of
Josiah and Elizabeth (Tracey) Tilden, the former born in 1760, the latter January 14, 1790. They made their home on
a farm near White River Junction, Windsor county. In his native state Orrin Tilden married Miss Orrill K. Moore,
whose birth occurred July 14, 1818, and they continued to reside with his parents until 1854, when they left the
Green Mountain state and removed to Henry county, Illinois, locating on a farm near Woodhull. To the cultivation
and improvement of his place the father devoted his energies until life's labors were ended, dying there in 1879,
at the age of seventy-two years. His estimable wife is still living and in her eightieth year. In their family were
six children, four sons and two daughters, namely: Josiah H., Mary G., James F., Frances H., Cyrus F. and Norman
In company with his oldest brother, Norman F. Tilden left the old homestead in
Illinois and made their way to Bradshaw, Nebraska, arriving there in the spring of 1879, which was then a thriving
little railroad town in York county. There they set up a shop and engaged in general blacksmithing and repairing.
Wishing to extend his business, our subject removed his shops to the city of York in 1888, and soon succeeded in
building up a large and profitable business which he still enjoys, and which is well merited, for he is a skilled
and expert workman as well as a reliable business man.
At the age of twenty-five years, Mr. Tilden was married, March 31, 1885, to Miss
Mary U. Byrnes, who was then twenty-two. Her parents are Robert C. and Paulina I. (Miller) Byrnes. Mr. and Mrs.
Tilden have three children: Robert B., Dwight M., and an infant. The parents both hold membership in the
Presbyterian church, while socially he is identified with the Ancient Order of United Workman and the Royal
Highlanders, and Mrs. Tilden belongs to the ladies' auxiliary lodge of both societies. Both merit and receive the
esteem and confidence of all who know them.
Source: Memorial and Biographical
Record of Butler, Polk, Seward, York and Fillmore Counties Nebraska,
William Tindall was born in New York City in 1849. His father, George P. Tindall,
was a native of the East, and a descendant of German ancestry; was by trade a cabinet and carriage maker. His death
occurred in New York City. The mother of our subject was Mary Garrison. She died when he was a small
Young Tindall spent his early years on the farm and received a limited education
in the common schools. At the age of fifteen he enlisted in the service of his country; but his father, thinking
him too young for the hardships of camp life and the battle field, took him out of the regiment. At eighteen he
came West and located at Kewanee, Henry county, Illinois, where he subsequently cast his first vote for General
Grant. From there he moved to Stark county, same State, where he remained until 1878. That year he came to his
present location, section 4, Douglas township, Adams county, Iowa. Here he purchased eighty acres of wild land
which he has since improved and developed into a fine farm. His cottage home is located on a natural building site
and is shaded by beautiful oak trees.
While a resident of Stark county, Illinois, Mr. Tindall was married, at Osceola,
August 13, 1869, to Miss Jane Gary, a lady of intelligence and of good family. She was born at Nesquehoning, near
Mauch Chunk, Carbon county, Pennsylvania. He father, Daniel Gary, a native of county Cork, Ireland, came when a
young man to America, and in Pennsylvania was united in marriage to Mrs. Elizabeth Abbott, a native of Derbyshire,
England, and a daughter of William and Ellen Marsden. Daniel Gary and wife had four children. He died in
Pennsylvania in 1855. Mrs. Tindall received her education at Tamaqua, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania. The seven
children born to Mr. and Mrs. Tindall are as follows: Sarah, Florence, Ray, Retta, Jessie, Charles and Emma
Marsden. The two oldest daughters and their parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Carbon. Mr.
Tindall is an intelligent and much respected citizen. His political views are in harmony with Republican
Source: Biographical History of
Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Lewis Publishing
Company, 1892 (Adams Co)