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Biography - HARRY W. TODD

Harry W. Todd, the prosperous and well known grocer of LaSalle, was born on the Vermilion river, at Todd's Mills, near Vermilion, July 9, 1856. He is a son of Ira and Mary W. (Cushman) Todd. The family are of Scotch extraction, and the great-grandfather fought in the war of the Revolution. The grandfather, also named Ira Todd, came west in 1832 and bought the mill at Todd's Mills. Previous to this he conducted mills at Jersey City, New Jersey; Cooperstown, New York; Northampton, Massachusetts; and Hartford, Connecticut. He was at the head of the milling company in St. Louis, a company which he helped to organize and which had formerly had its headquarters at Jersey City and Detroit. He died at Winona in his eighty-sixth year.

Ira Todd, the father, was one of ten children, eight sons and two daughters, of whom but one is now living. That one is George Todd, of St. Louis, who is now in his eighty-fourth year and has resided in that city since 1835. He was an extensive manufacturer of mill machinery. Ira Todd remained at Todd's Mills until 1857, when he came to LaSalle and conducted a wholesale grocery house, at the same time operating a mill in Peru which was known as that of W. & I. Todd & Company. He was the victim of the "wildcat" currency and failed in business during the war as a result of that policy. He then opened a retail grocery in this city in company with J. S. Roberts, Calvin Wilson and Dr. J. C. Brown. Later he had charge of the books in the glass factory and the Oglesby Coal Company's offices. After his son Harry opened his grocery store he assisted in that, retiring from active life a few years prior to his death. He was a man of robust constitution and great endurance. He was a great reader in all lines of importance to the public and a close Bible student. A man of decided views, he formed his opinions after mature deliberation, and was not easily moved to change them. He was a Republican in former times and a great friend of Alexander Campbell, of LaSalle. He was also a friend and admirer of Abraham Lincoln. He later became a strong Prohibitionist. The mill first operated by him was the one his father purchased in 1832. Farmers used to bring their grist a distance of fifty miles and wait until it had been converted into flour or meal.

He was married to Mary W. Cushman, a sister of the late Colonel Cushman, of Ottawa, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Todd were honored members of the Congregational church, in which he held the office of deacon for about twenty-five years. He was a native of Hartford, Connecticut, while his wife was from the state of Massachusetts. Three children were born to them, of whom two are living: George I. and Harry W., both of LaSalle. The father died January 25, 1899, after passing his seventy-sixth year. His wife died November 7, 1894, when in her seventieth year. The father of Mrs. Todd was Hercules Cushman, a native of the state of Massachusetts and of English descent. His grandfather came to America about the time the Mayflower brought the early Pilgrims. Hercules was a lawyer in his native state, where he died in middle life. He was twice married, the ladies being sisters named Washburn. He had three children, two daughters and one son.

Harry W. Todd has made his home in LaSalle from the time he was brought here by his parents in 1857. Here he received his education. He was with E. B. Treat seven years, quitting his employment once to open a hardware store of his own. This was conducted but a short time when he returned to his former employer. He also engaged for a time in the wholesale and retail butter and egg business. In 1883 he opened his grocery store at 545 Marquette street, where he has since conducted it. He has a growing and prosperous business and endeavors to satisfy the wants of his many patrons. He is a Republican in politics and is a member of the Congregational church society. He is also a member of the Knights and Ladies' Security. He has traveled extensively in the states and is a man of pleasing address and an intelligent converser. It has been forty-three years since he first made his home in LaSalle, and thirty-five years of the time have been spent in the old home at No. 1007 Marquette street. In November, 1899, Mr. Todd married Miss Neva L. Dimmitt, of Kansas City, Kansas.

Extracted 26 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 2, pages 407-409.

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