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Biography - CHARLES H. RATHBUN

There is a class of representative American citizens who in the active affairs of life have won continued advancement and gratifying success. No land offers to its people such advantages as does this republic, and throughout the nation are found men who have continually worked their way upward to positions of prominence in military and civic circles and who in the business world have gained positions of distinction where substantial financial reward has awaited them. Such a one is C. H. Rathbun, of Streator, who is now superintendent of the mines of the Star Coal Company and is also the representative of various other important concerns.

Mr. Rathbun is a native of Steuben county, New York, born in 1846, and is a son of Hubbard S. and Lucretia (Calkins) Rathbun. In tracing the genealogy of the family we find that he is descended from a long line of sturdy, intelligent and honorable ancestors, and that in both the lineal and collateral branches representatives have been prominent in the affairs which form the history of the country. The first of the name in America, of whom we have record, was Richard Rathbun, who was born in 1574. He married Marion Whipple, sister of Captain John Whipple, and they had four childred, all sons. So far as we have been able to discover none of them have left issue except John. He was born about the year 1610 and married about 1633. His son John Rathbun (2) was born about 1634 and married Margaret Dodge, a daughter of Tristram Dodge, and their children were Thomas, John, Sarah, William Joseph and Samuel. The father of this family was one of those who on the 17th of August, 1660, met at the house of John Alcock, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to confer concerning the purchase of Block island.

John Rathbun (3) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, about 1658, and married Ann Dodge, whose father settled on Block island in 1662. Just before his marriage he received from his father a deed to sixty acres of land on Block island, the consideration being "one barrel of pork." From some old records we learn that Great James and his wife (Indians) bound their daughter Betsey to John Rathbun and his wife Ann as an indentured servant for the period of eighteen years, the consideration being "one gallon of rum, one blanket in hand, and for five years afterward one gallon of rum. If she remained five years the said Rathbun to pay four blankets and every third year thereafter." The children of John and Ann Rathbun were Mercy, Jonathan, John, Joshua, Benjamin, Anna, Nathaniel and Thomas.

Benjamin Rathbun, the fifth member of that family, was born on Block island, February 11, 1701, and became a resident of Escoheag, Rhode Island, but afterward removed to West Greenwich. He was admitted a freeman there in 1737. He was married October 31, 1732, to Hannah Carpenter, and their children were Benjamin, Joshua, Anna, Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah and Martha.

Benjamin Rathbun (2) was born about 1720, was married November 11, 1742, to Mary Cahoon. and their children were Daniel, Benjamin, Job and Simeon. Of this family Job Rathbun was born at Colchester, Connecticut, in 1748, and married Deborah Welch, who was born in Wales, England. He removed to Howard. Steuben county, New York, in 1808, and there his death occurred May 1, 1838, when he had reached the age of ninety years. His wife died at the advanced age of ninety-two. Their children were Washington, Eunice, Russell, Deborah, Lydia, Betsy, Ami Riley, Hubbard W., Alfred, Sarah Ann, Amariah, Dana and Clarissa.

Hubbard Welch Rathbun. the grandfather of him whose name heads this record, was born about 1790, in New York, was married in 1810 to Abbie Saxton, and died in 1859. Their children were Hubbard, Saxton and Abbie.

Hubbard Saxton Rathbun was born in the Empire state, May 11, 1811, and was married February 24, 1836, to Lucretia Ann Calkins, whose death occurred February 6, 1856. On the 15th of September, 1858, he married Julia Barton, and on the 20th of October, 1861, he was called to his final rest. The children of the first marriage were Helen M., Margelia R., Charles H. and Lucretia.

Charles H. Rathbun, whose name introduces this review, spent his boyhood days in his native town, and there acquired his preliminary education, which was supplemented by study in Rochester Seminary and Genesee College, being graduated in the latter institution in the class of 1863. Three years rolled away, at the end of which time the young man determined to seek his fortune in the west. Accordingly he came to Illinois, where he found employment with the Chicago & Iowa Railroad Company, after which he was with the Chicago, Burlington & Northern Railroad Company for several years. He diligently applied himself to the task assigned him, and his marked business and executive ability won him promotion from time to time until he was made auditor, at St. Paul, Minnesota, where he remained for two years. On the expiration of that period he severed his connection with the railroad and came to Streator in 1888 to superintend the mines of the Star Coal Company of this place. In 1881 he had been made secretary of the company, and in both capacities he has rendered invaluable service to the corporation. They own and control six mines, some located in other states, and most of these are kept under constant operation. The output of the Streator mines is about two hundred thousand tons annually, a ready sale being found for the product in this locality and in the neighboring metropolis. In addition to this business connection Mr. Rathbun is. secretary of the Streator Mercantile Company, and is a director in the Union National Bank of this place, besides having other investments.

Some years ago Mr. Rathbun and his family took up their residence in one of the beautiful modern homes of Streator, located on one of the leading avenues of the city. On the 2d of August, 1869, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Rathbun and Miss Mary M. Dawson, of Rochelle, Illinois, who died a few years later, leaving a daughter, Winnifred L., now the wife of William R. Hawkins. They have one son, Charles Rathbun Hawkins, born February 20, 1898. On the 25th of February, 1881, Mr. Rathbun and Miss Sarah M. Landon were united in marriage, in Oregon, Illinois. Her ancestry can be traced back through many generations to Ezekiel Landon and his wife, of Connecticut. Their son Horace married Bethia Jennie, born at Collins, Erie county, New York, April 22, 1820, and married Amelia Agard, June 3, 1847. He died in the town of his nativity, June 6, 1855, and his wife died in Oregon, Illinois, July 20, 1899. Their children were Newton and Sarah M. The ancestors of Amelia Agard were Joshua Agard, who was born in 1756, married Ruth Needham and lived in Wilmington, Connecticut. He died January 24, 1830. His son, Joshua Agard, married Lucy Sibley, and lived in Concord, Erie county. New York. Amelia Agard, their daughter, was born in Erie county, New York, November 9, 1822. Joshua Agard, Sr., was a private in Captain Waterman Clift's company, of Plainfield, Connecticut, the Sixth Company of the Sixth Regiment, commanded by Colonel Samuel Holden Parsons.

In his political affiliation Mr. Rathbun is a staunch Republican. Socially he is a prominent Mason, being an honored member of Horicon Lodge, No. 244, F. & A. M.; Rochelle Chapter, No. 167, R. A. M., and Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T. That Mr. Rathbun has met success in his business life is indicated by the prominent position which he now occupies in commercial and financial circles. His career clearly illustrates the possibilities that are open in this country to earnest, persevering young men who have the courage of their convictions and are determined to be the architects of their own fortunes. When judged by what he has accomplished his right to a first place among the representative citizens of Streator cannot be questioned.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 288-291.

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