Benjamin SUTCLIFFE is well known in Hennepin and Putnam county, where in former years he was closely associated with agricultural and with mercantile interests. A life of business activity has been crowned with a measure of success that enables him to enjoy well earned rest. He was born in London, England, April 7, 1835. His father, John SUTCLIFFE, whose birth occurred in that country in 1815, was a finisher of silk hats and worked in a factory for a few years. A well educated man, he became a local preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist church and wielded a wide influence in its behalf. He was always a great student and often arose at three o'clock in the morning in order to study. At length he became interested in an emigration aid society and in 1849 came to America to lecture for that society. He landed at New York, where he began lecturing, but in the same year he passed away in Pennsylvania, being then about forty-nine years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Sarah FINDER, was born in England and lived to be seventy-seven years of age, her death occurring in Hennepin. Benjamin SUTCLIFFE's older sister, Mrs. James BRADBURY, was living in this county at the time of her father's death. The widow of John SUTCLIFFE and her family afterward came here and located on land in Hennepin township. It was nearly all forest land, but in the midst of the woods a small house had been built. At a later date Mrs. SUTCLIFFE became the wife of J. D. McCARTY, at one time county judge of Putnam county and since known by that title. At the time of her mother's arrival her children, Samuel SUTCLIFFE and a daughter, also came to Illinois.
The family numbered altogether eight children, as follows: Sarah, who became the wife of James BRADBURY and lived in this county; James, who died in infancy ; John, a tailor, who remained in England; Mary Ann, who became the wife of William PATTERSON and settled in La Salle county, Illinois, where he became wealthy; Thomas Ebenezer, who crossed the Atlantic to America but afterward returned to England, where he died; Jane, who departed this life in England; Samuel, who came to the United States with his mother in 1852 and died in Putnam county in May, 1901; and Benjamin, of this review.
Benjamin SUTCLIFFE, now living retired in Hennepin, spent his boyhood days at Staly bridge near Manchester in Lancastershire, England. In his youth he learned the plumber's trade and he made his home with his parents until in his eighteenth year. He then went to Liverpool and joined the army, with which he started for Malta in 1854. The troops proceeded to Turkey, sailed on the Black sea and took part in the Crimean war. Mr. SUTCLIFFE received a badge at Sebastopol for meritorious service, the badge being handed to him by Queen Victoria. He served for four years and one hundred and ninety-four days in the English army and took part in all of the battles of the Crimean war, including the siege of Sebastopol. For a time he was head butler for the officers' mess.
Mr. SUTCLIFFE afterward returned to England and in 1857 volunteered to go to Delhi, India, with the army. He was on a furlough of thirty days, during which time he received a letter from his mother telling him that his services were needed in Putnam county, Illinois. Mr. SUTCLIFFE had a good friend in a major of his regiment and through his kindly offices was granted a discharge by Prince Albert. In 1858 he came to America, making his way at once to Putnam county, and assisted his brother Samuel in clearing up and working the home farm, where the mother and brother had previously located. In 1862, when this country called for volunteers, Mr. SUTCLIFFE enlisted at Ottawa as a member of Company K, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served until June, 1863, and was then taken ill, after which he was transferred and later discharged. Subsequently he returned to Putnam county, where he engaged in farming. On the death of his mother the farm was divided and he received eighty acres as his share of the home place. His time and energies were then devoted to farming for a long period and he continued to cultivate his land until 1890, when he removed to Hennepin and engaged in the butchering business with John Weeks. After two years he sold out and then for a short time was engaged in the implement business, but was not successful in that venture. Not' being able to work his farm, he retired from business, sold his land and has since made his home in Hennepin, where he is now comfortably situated. He disposed of his farm about four years ago, but he still owns a good dwelling in Hennepin and a large garden. He suffers from rheumatism and other ailments incurred by his service in the Civil war and the hardships and exposures of army life, and the government grants him a pension of twelve dollars per month.
Mr. SUTCLIFFE was married on the 15th of March, 1864, to Miss Harriette L. OSBORN, who was born in Hennepin, September 15, 1837, a daughter of John E. OSBORN, now deceased, who came to Putnam county in 1835. For many years he followed farming and later engaged in the drug business. Mrs. SUTCLIFFE is the only surviving member of her father's family. By her marriage she became the mother of eight children: Arthur E., who was born February 15, 1865, and died on the 3d of August of that year; Lewis C., who was born July 21, 1866, and died on the 17th of August following; Charles E. who was born November 6, 1867, and married Ella SMITH, their home being now in Missouri; Margaret P., who was born April 5, 1870, and died on the 25th of July of the same year; Alice M., who was born January 30, 1872, and died September 16, 1872; Lucy Jane, who was born March 30, 1873, and died September 23, 1873; John F., who was born August 26, 1875, and is at home; and H. Edna, who was born February 14, 1882, and is also at home.
Mr. SUTCLIFFE and his family are members of the Congregational church and are interested and active in its work. He is a public-spirited citizen, aiding in many matters of general interest as far as his means will allow. In politics he has always been a republican since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, yet he has never been an aspirant for office nor held any position of political preferment save that of school director. He has always been as loyal to his country in days of peace as in days of war and has lived an honest, upright life, winning him the respect and good will of all with whom he has been associated.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.