One of the most prominent business men of Sparland and Marshall county is Timothy E. GAPEN, who is well liked wherever known and best liked where best known a fact indicative of many good qualities and of his prominence and responsibility in commercial circles. A native of Illinois, he was born in Stephenson county in 1840, and is a son of Charles O. and Sarah (FORT) GAPEN, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. The father was born July 17, 1808, and, removing to Illinois at an early day in the history of this state, he followed blacksmithing at Lacon after living for a time in Stephenson county. Subsequently he was appointed postmaster at Lacon and filled that office for twelve years, after which he retired to private life. In politics he was an inflexible advocate of the republican party and a stalwart champion of its principles. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and was a man true to his principles and his convictions. His death occurred in 1898. In the family were three sons and a daughter: William T., who married Elizabeth BAILEY, and is now engaged in the harness business in Lacon; Washington F., who married Fannie NELSON, and lived in the city of Washington at the time of his death; Mary A., the wife of Theodore BLACKMAN, who has been with the Avery Manufacturing Company of Peoria, Illinois, for years; and T. E., of this review.
Mr. GAPEN, whose name introduces this record, spent the days of his childhood in Lacon and there passed through successive grades in the public schools until he was graduated from the high school. He was one of the first pupils of the free schools of that city, and following his graduation he entered business life as a clerk in the drug store of Dr. BOAL, with whom he remained for four years. Subsequently he engaged in clerking for Dr. THOMPSON for a year and then became a partner in the store. In 1886, leaving the store in charge of a clerk, he purchased the City drug store in Ottawa, where he conducted business for nine years. He still owns the Ottawa store, which is conducted under the firm style of T. Gapen & Son. In 1895, however, he returned to Sparland, and is now conducting the store here under the firm name of Gapen & Company, having a well appointed establishment which is one of the old landmarks of the business district of the city. He also owns sixty acres of land adjoining the town of Sparland on the north and has six hundred and forty acres in Rush county, Kansas.
Mr. GAPEN was married in 1884 to Miss Mary FISHER, who was born in Summit county, Ohio, in 1843. They have one son, Charles L., who is his father's partner and is conducting the drug store in Ottawa. He married Grace BOWER, and they have two children: Helen and Marian.
Mr. GAPEN is a citizen whose aid can always be counted upon to further any progressive public measure, and Sparland has benefited by his efforts in her behalf. He has held several offices, including those of supervisor and town trustee, and for twelve years he was postmaster of Sparland. His political allegiance is given the republican party, and he is a stalwart champion of its principles. His name in Sparland and Marshall county is a synonym for business integrity and for loyal citizenship, and wherever known he is respected by reason of his many excellent traits of character.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.