William H. Calkins


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From "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County"
Munsell Publishing Co. - 1913
Edited by Charles L. Hostetter

CALKINS, William H., whose retentive memory carries him back to days when agricultural operations in the oldest settled sections were carried on with an expenditure of time and effort that would no be deemed entirely out of date, lives in considerable retirement at Milledgeville, Ill. He was born in Wayne Co., N. Y., July 1, 1843, and is a sone of John and Sally Ann (Van Valkerburgh) Calkins, natives of Vermont. The mother was a descendant of one of the early settlers of the Green Mountian State. John Calkins and wife moved with other relatives to Wayne Co., N. Y., and there La Follette Calkins, the grandfather, died in 1850. The grandmother married (second) James West and she died at Frog Point, N.Y. The parents of William H. Calkins were married in 1837, and the mother who was the first wife of John Calkins, died in Wayne Co. in 1850. His second marriage took place in 1854 to Nancy J. Frazeir and, in 1855 they moved to a farm six miles from Kalamazoo, Mich. In that same year they came to Whiteside county, Ill., settling within three miles of Milledgeville. At first John Calkins rented land, but in 1864, purchased forty acres. He made an excelent farm of that property and lived on it untill 1877, when he bought a house in Milledgeville, where his death occured March 20, 1905, having reached the age of ninety three years, respected and esteemed beyond the usual amount of regard shown to venerable age. In early life a Whig. he became prominent in the Republican party later on. In religious believe he was a Babtist. The four children of his first marriage were: William H., Stephen Q., who lives at Quincy, Ill., is a verteran of the Civil War and was wounded at the battle of Shiloh; Abraham, who died September 13, 1908; and Mary A., who married David Bushman, both of whom are deceased, being survived by one daughter, who is the wife of William Flemming. Three children were born to the second union, all of whom are now deceased.
William H. Calkins accompanied his parents to Michigan and then to Illinois and started to school in April, 1856, attending until he was twelve years of age at which time he went to work on a farm, his duties continuing through th summer while in the winter time he had further school advantages. He well remembers tramping through deep snow and facing sharp winds, but in those days boys were not supposed to mind such exposure and in fact did develope sturdy frames and sound constitutions. He remained with his father for some years and then went to live with his brother Abraham and together they rented 200 acres of land and operated it jointly until October 8, 1864, when he enlisted for service in the Civil War, entering Company M, Eighth Illinois Cavalry for one year or during the war. His regiment wasa stationed at Farifax Courthouse, Va., but in the spring of 1865 it was ordered to Missouri for military work on the plains, but he was honerably discharged in July of that year. He returned home and resumed work on the farm and was married febuary2, 1870 to Miss Emma Scoville. She was born in Whiteside county, Ill., January 17, 1853, a daughter of James and Elizabeth Scoville, early settlers in that section, now both deceased.
After marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Calkins settled on a farm in Genesee township, Whiteside county, three and one half miles from Milledgeville. This farm Mr. Calkins developed into one of the best in the township and additionally has done some building and home painting, although he never served an apprenticeship to these trades. He has done well for a man that started out in life with a capital of $50, owning at present some very valuable property, having educated his children, and at all times done his full duty as a citizen. In recalling early days he remembers the old shovel plow and equally primitive implements for farm use. On Aprill 11, 1884, Mrs. Calkins died and was survived by three children, namely: John E., married Flora Blackman and they have four sons; Elvin E., who was born in 1876, married Pauline Haug and they have one son, Lawrence. Elvin who is now operating the home farm. Mr. Calkins was married (second) to Mrs. Carrie M. (Hendrick) Bushman, who was born August 16, 1864, a daughter of Lewis C. and Catherine L. (Herald) Hendrick, natives of New York. By her first marriage, Mrs. Calkins had two children: Lolla, now the wife of Herbert Page of Rockford, Ill.; and Dora E., who died in infancy. Mr. Bushman died July 27, 1886. One child has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Calkins, Zolla Iona, born March 13, 1896. Mr. Calkins belongs to a number of social and fraternal orginizations, including: The Grand Army of the Republic, the Modern Woodmen of America, Mystic Workers, Patriotic Order Sons of America, while Mrs. Calkins of the Women's Relief Corps and Mystic Workers and for eight years was treasurer of the former body. They are worthy members of the Church of the Brethren. Politically, he has always been a Republican and for four years served as a member of the board of alderman of the town and during this time the cement walks were laid and other improvements completed.