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Biography - EDWIN T. READ

For more than forty years Edwin T. Read has resided upon his present farm in Grand Rapids township, LaSalle county, and is numbered among the pioneer settlers of 1854. Great changes have occurred since his arrival and the county has made wonderful progress and advancement along educational, commercial and agricultural lines. In the latter department Mr. Read has been especially active and is a recognized factor in public affairs in his locality.

A native of the Empire state, Mr. Read was born in Chautauqua county, New York, near Jamestown, December 25, 1832. His father, Thomas Read, was born in Washington county. New York, in 1801, and was a son of Rev. M. Read, a Methodist minister. He was reared and educated in New York, and there married Miss Eliza Ferguson, a native of western New York. Their union was blessed with eleven children, nine sons and two daughters: Edwin T.; Frank, who was a member of Company A, Fifty-third Illinois Infantry and lost an arm and leg while fighting for his country at Jackson, Mississippi, and died of the wounds; Henry, who was a member of the Ninth New York Cavalry in the war of the Rebellion, died at Alexandria, Virginia; Harriet, died in Ford county, Illinois; Helen, who resides also in Ford county; Thomas, John B., William T., Charles M., and Arba D. are all residents of that county; and Emmett died in LaSalle county, at the age of eighteen years. The father died in western New York, in July, 1862, leaving the mother with her eleven children to support. He had at one time been a man of considerable means, but through the failure of a railroad enterprise he lost greatly and his widow paid three thousand dollars' security debts. By careful management and earnest toil, however, Mrs. Read managed to keep her children together and provide a comfortable home for them, ever fulfilling every obligation of a faithful mother. She taught them to live upright, honorable lives, and early instilled into their minds habits of industry and economy, thus preparing them for the practical duties of their later years. She died October 19, 1878, at the home of our subject, when sixty-six years of age, and was laid to rest in the Grand Ridge cemetery. She held membership in the Methodist church, and hers was an earnest Christian life.

Edwin T. Read was reared on the old family homestead in New York. His educational privileges were somewhat limited, for he was the eldest son and his services were needed on the farm. In the fall of 1854 he came to the west and purchased eighty acres -of land in Grand Rapids township, the purchase price being ten dollars per acre. Two years later he broke the raw prairie and taking up his abode upon the place continued its development and cultivation. Soon abundant harvests rewarded his labors and in course of time he became the owner of one of the most desirable farms of the locality. As a companion and helpmeet on life's journey he chose Miss Helen E. Ebersol, the marriage being celebrated March 15, 1860. The lady was born in Grand Rapids township, LaSalle county, and is a daughter of Joseph Ebersol, a pioneer settler who came to the county from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1834. He died February 13, 1873, at the age of eighty-two years, and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Shuey, departed this life February 26, 1871, at the age of seventy-four years. Mr. and Mrs. Ebersol were the parents of six children, three of whom are now living: Mrs. George Rugg, of Ottawa, Illinois; A. H., who was a soldier in the civil war and is now residing in Englewood, Illinois; and Mrs. Read. Those deceased are D. F., A. M. and Mrs. Catharine Budd.

Mr. and Mrs. Read began their domestic life in a small frame house, which is now used by tenants. In 1885 their first home was replaced by a commodious modern residence, in the rear of which stand large barns and other necessary outbuildings, which provide good shelter for grain and stock. Everything about the place is neat and thrifty in appearance, giving evidence of the careful supervision of the owner, and the house indicates the watchful care of Mrs. Read. This worthy couple have an adopted son, Frank E., who married Bertha Katz, of Ransom, Illinois, by whom he has a son, Edwin T., named in honor of our subject.

Mr. Read is a stanch advocate of Republican principles and is a recognized leader in the party ranks, doing all in his power to promote its growth and insure its success. For some years he has served as supervisor, and has discharged his duties in a most commendable manner. Socially he is a Mason, belonging to Marseilles Lodge, No. 417, A. F. & A. M., at Marseilles; Shabbona Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M., and Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T. From his boyhood he has been accustomed to earnest toil and to his own labors may be attributed his success. Energy and perseverance are the salient points in his career and have brought to him a comfortable competence.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 329-331.

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