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Henry W. Humphrey
Portrait and Biographical Album
Lake County, Illinois, 1891

HENRY W. HUMPHREY, a retired farmer residing on section 27, Antioch Township, has for thirty-six years been a resident of the county. He was born on the 27th of May, 1826, in Columbia County, N. Y., where for four generations the family had resided. His grandfather, David Humphrey, was a New York farmer and married Permelia Brown, by whom he had seven children, three sons and four daughters. The eldest, Rufus, was the father of our subject. He was reared on the old homestead and received excellent educational advantages. He served his country during the War of 1812, participated in the battle of Sackett's Harbor and in later years was awarded a pension in recognition of his services. He learned the carpenter's trade and becoming a contractor and builder followed that business as long as his health permitted. He died in Delaware County, N. Y., about 1878, at the age of eighty-four years but was buried near his old home in Columbia County. His wife whose maiden name was Maria Wagner, was a native of New York, and was of German descent. Her death occurred in 1854. Their family numbered five sons and five daughters as follows: Mrs. Fidelia Tipple, now deceased; Mrs. Fannie Palmer, who is living in Otsego County, N. Y.; Mrs. Caroline Coon, a widow living in New York; Betsy, deceased; Philip, who died in infancy; Peter, a wagon-maker of the Empire State; Henry, of this sketch; William a well to-do citizen now living a retired life in Greenbush, N. Y.; Lorenzo, who is living retired in Columbia County; and Sarah, wife of William McNeil, also of that county.

Under the parental roof our subject was reared to manhood and at the age of fourteen he began his business career. He studied for two years in a doctor's office and then entered a drug store, after which he worked for nine years in a gristmill and upon a farm. In 1850, he was joined in wedlock with Mary E. Bain of Columbia County, where she was born January 8, 1826. She is the third in a family of five children whose parents were John and Sallie (Stickles) Bain. Her father, also a native of Columbia County, N. Y., was an agriculturist by occupation. He spent his entire life in the county of his nativity, and, dying at the age of sixty years, his remains were interred in the cemetery near his home. In politics he was a stalwart Whig, warmly advocating the principles of that party. His wife died at the advanced age of eighty-five years. She was a devout member of the Church and the sincere Christian life which she led won her the confidence and love of all who knew her. In their family were William, who married Miss Catherine Smith and died in Washington in 1887. He was a retired farmer at the time and his wife is also now deceased; Norman who wedded Miss Mary Ann Proseus, a native of New York, was a farmer of Columbia County, Y. Y., and died in the winter of 1890. His wife still survives him. Mrs. Humphrey is the next younger, Sarah Ann is the wife of Friend Miller, a retired farmer of Columbia County, N. Y. John, who married Miss Hannah Smith and followed farming, died at his home in this county in 1885. His widow is also living. Mrs Humphrey acquired her early education in the common schools and her girlhood days were spent on her father's farm until her marriage.

For three years succeeding his marriage, Mr. Humphrey engaged in business as miller and merchant of Chatham.His health caused him to abandon that work and for two years he followed farming. In 1855, he reached Illinois and after a time settled upon the Jones place on section 28, Antioch Township, purchasing two hundred acres of land in company with his brother-in-law, William Bain. Houses were built and improvements made and he continued to reside upon that farm for ten years, when he sold out to his partner and made purchase of one hundred and five acres on section 27. He has placed upon that farm many excellent improvements, both useful and ornamental and his home with its surroundings, all neat and orderly in appearance, give evidence of careful management. For about seven years his son has had charge of the farm.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey have been born two children. Carrie, who was born in Bristol, Kenosha County, Wis., is the wife of Thomas White, a resident of Lyons, Neb.; Charles was born on the MacDougall farm, married Ella Van Patton, and is now operating the home farm. He is one of the wide awake and enterprising young men of the community. He attended college in Columbia County, N. Y., and Carrie was a student in the schools of Waukegan. Thus both received educational advantages which ably fitted them for the duties of life.

Mr. Humphrey has held a number of positions of trust, having been Assessor, Trustee, etc., and the duties of these offices have ever been faithfully discharged. He cast his first Presidential vote for Zachary Taylor and supported the Whig party until 1856, when he voted the Republican ticket and since been a member of that party. He was personally acquainted with Martin Van Buren, to whom when a young man, he often sold chickens and was paid in cheques, which he had to get cashed at the old bank of Kinderhook. His life has been such as to win him the confidence and regard of all with whom he has come in contact and he is well and favorably known throughout the county. He deserves great credit for his success in life, for his posessions have all been acquired through his own unaided effort.
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