Marshall County


Jonas DIVELBISS. This gentleman occupies no unimportant position among the leading citizens of Henry, where he is now living a retired life, passing his declining years in ease, and enjoying the respect and confidence of his fellow men in the highest degree. He was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, May 7, 1819, a son of John and Catherine (RUSSELL) DIVELBISS, the former of whom was a native of Maryland, and the latter of the keystone state. His paternal grandfather, Michael DIVELBISS, in company with his brother George, came from Germany to America in 1731 and settled in Maryland, the former in Hagerstown and the latter in Frederickstown. In their journal appears the following: “Michael DIVELBISS and George DIVELBISS, raised in Palatinate, sailed from Rotterdam, Holland, September 16, 1731, in the English ship Brittania, Captain Franklin. The ship touched at Southampton.” The grandfather served throughout the entire Revolutionary war in the Continental army. He continued to reside at Hagerstown until his children were all grown, and then removed to Franklin county, Pennsylvania, where his death occurred at a ripe old age. His family were as follows: John, Jacob, Michael, George, David, Frederick, who was a soldier of the war of 1812; and Catherine, wife of David MILEY. All had gone to Kentucky before the parents’ removal to Pennsylvania, and have now passed away.

John DIVELBISS, the father of our subject, learned the tanner’s trade with his father, later worked at saddle-tree making until his marriage, and then followed the occupation of a farmer. He was well educated, having attended a German school for seven years and an English school four years. He was a natural mathematician, an excellent accountant and was well informed on the leading subjects of the day. For fifteen years he served as justice of the peace by appointment of the governor of Pennsylvania and for the same period filled the position by election.

Our subject is the youngest in a family of ten children, the others being as follows: Jacob, a wagon-maker by trade, married Catherine SCHENCK, and removed to Springfield, Illinois, where his death occurred; John, born in 1800, came to Illinois, but later went to Kansas, where he passed away; Michael, emigrated to Ohio and later went to Indiana, where he opened up a farm and there died near Columbia City. He married Miss Margaret SCHWENCK, daughter of one of the Hessian soldiers, who were hired to aid the British in the revolution; George, a shoemaker by trade, wedded Mary FOSNOUGH, and on coming to Illinois first located in the city of Peoria, but spent his last days upon a farm in Peoria county; Frederick married Miss Elizabeth HENILINE, and died in Huntingdon county, Indiana, February 25, 1896, at the age of eighty-seven; Daniel, a wagon-maker by trade, married Rosana PHENICIE, and died at Angola, Indiana; Samuel moved to Peoria county, Illinois, in 1845, and after a time spent in that county went with our subject to Marshall county in 1850. In 1875, while he and his wife were on their way to camp meeting in Stark county, Illinois, his team became frightened by the cars and ran away, throwing him out of the buggy. After three days’ unconsciousness he passed away. Both he and his wife were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church; Catherine, who married Jacob McCOWN, and Margaret, who married John McATEE, spent their entire lives in Pennsylvania.

Being reared to agricultural pursuits, Jonas DIVELBISS continued to follow the same throughout his active business life, and still owns a good farm of one hundred twenty acres in Marshall county, which he rents. He and his brother purchased a soldier’s warrant and entered land in the county, the cultivation and improvement of which he continued until his removal to Henry. He was numbered among the substantial, enterprising and energetic farmers of the county, and is one of the honored and valued citizens of the community, one who has the happy faculty of easily making friends and retaining them. His political support is unswervingly given the republican party, and in early life he was a whig, casting his first presidential ballot for William Henry Harrison. Although he has acceptably filled several local offices, he cares nothing for political distinction.

 In Pennsylvania, on the 11th of February, 1845, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. DIVELBISS and Miss Nancy PHINICIE, who was born May 16, 1816, a daughter of Joseph and Nancy (LONG) PHINICIE. She died May 24, 1891. She was a faithful member of the Dunkard church. One child was born of this union; Frances Louisa, now the wife of Newton RAY, a retired farmer of Chillicothe, Illinois, by whom she has two children: Cludia Madge and Clemens Sumner.

Mr. DIVELBISS was again married May 6, 1894, his second union being with Mrs. Sarah N. HECOCK, a native of Canada and a daughter of Charles and Britanna (HOWARD) DAVISON. Her mother was also born in Canada, and was the daughter of Dr. Peter HOWARD, an eminent physician of that country. Charles DAVISON was born in Massachusetts, July 7, 1800, and died September 3, 1873. He was twice married, his first wife being Britannia ELLIS, by whom he had three children: Patrick, Elizabeth and one who died in infancy. After her death he wedded Britanna HOWARD, who was born August 17, 1806, and died May 30, 1851, and they became the parents of six children: Amelia, widow of Rev. John BREDEN, a Wesleyan minister of Ontario, Canada; Charles B., also a resident of Ontario; Mrs. DIVELBISS; Peter H. and Adaniram J., who died in infancy; and Emma T., wife of Frank PHILLIPS, a farmer of Lawrence county, South Dakota. The parents of these children wee faithful members of the Baptist church, in which Mr. DAVISON served as deacon for many years.

On the 31st of August 1848, was consummated the marriage of Russell E. HECOCK and Miss Sarah N. DAVISON, and immediately after their marriage they came to the United States. He was born in Canada, December 19, 1816, and first came to Illinois in 1837, locating on the Fox river, where for some time he worked at the mason’s trade. Later he went to what is now the city of Chicago, and in 1841, came to Marshall county. After working at his trade in Henry, in 1857, he removed to a farm a mile north of that city, which he made his home until his death February 22, 1889. He was one of the family of ten children born to Nathan and Elizabeth HECOCK. His sister Elizabeth is the widow of John HINDMARSH, who was killed by lightning and was the first to be interred in the new Henry cemetery. Another sister, Minerva, is the wife of a Mr. GYLE, of Canada. Mr. HECOCK was a charter member of the Odd Fellows society of Henry, and was one of the honored pioneers and well known citizens of Marshall county. For four years after her husband’s death, Mrs. HECOCK continued upon the farm, and then removed to Henry, where she later became the wife of Mr. DIVELBISS. She is a most highly esteemed lady and a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

With her for the past twenty years has resided Miss Mary E. SMITH, a daughter of Thomas T. and Maria R. (EGGLESTON) SMITH, natives of Westchester county, New York, both now deceased, the former dying in 1866, at the age of fifty-eight years, and the latter in 1859, at the age of fifty-two. Mary E. is the youngest of their three children, the oldest being Warren E., and the other Prosper E., who was a soldier in the Union army during the civil war. Her maternal grandfather, Prosper EGGLESTON, was a revolutionary soldier, and erected his house on the site where General Washington camped. In 1872, Miss SMITH came to Illinois, and soon afterward took up her abode with Mrs. DIVELBISS. She too is a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Extracted May 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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