LaSalle County

Biography - HENRY B. NEFF

The gentleman to whose life history we now direct attention — Henry B. Neff — was born in Franklin county, Indiana, October 14, 1821, a son of Ebenezer and Susanna (Buck) Neff, pioneers of that place.

Ebenezer Neff was a native of the Green Mountain state, being born in Vermont, August 4, 1790; was a pioneer of Indiana, and in 1835 left the "Hoosier" state for Illinois, coming to Mission Point, LaSalle county, where he spent the rest of his life, dying May 31, 1867. He was a farmer by occupation, always took an active part in the public affairs of the community in which he lived, and when the Republican party was organized in LaSalle county became one of its ardent supporters. He was twice married. His first wife, nee Susanna Buck, was born October 2, 1784, and died in Franklin county, Indiana, July 25, 1823. Their children who grew to maturity were Daniel B., Betsey, Almira S., Olive, Isabelle P. and Henry B. Mr. Neff's second wife was before marriage Miss Margaret Douglas. She was born July 12, 1799, and died December 9, 1871. The children of this union, that lived to adult age, were William B., Rachel, Sarah Bell, Janetta, Ellen, George and Margaret.

Henry B. Neff was a boy in his 'teens when he accompanied his father and family to Illinois. He was reared a farmer, receiving only a common school education, and when he started out to make his own way in the world it was as a poor young man with no capital save a willing hand and a determination to succeed. He engaged in farming in Kendall county, Illinois, was prosperous from the start, and as the years went by accumulated a large amount of property. He continued farming until 1882, when he moved to Ottawa, near which city he had a farm, and during the rest of his life his time was spent in looking after his property, loaning money, etc. He died in Ottawa, January 14, 1895. Politically, like his father, he was a stanch Republican, but never aspired to official honors. His religious creed was that of the Congregational church, of which he was a consistent member.

Mr. Neff was married April 15, 1852, to Miss Mary J. Freeland, a native of Dearborn county, Indiana, born February 24, 1829, a daughter of Richard and Ellice (McMath) Freeland. Mr. and Mrs. Freeland were natives respectively of New York and Pennsylvania, were among the early settlers of Indiana and were married in that state. Their family consisted of the following named members: Mary J., John W., Samuel L., Ann Eliza and Ellice Augusta. In 1848 the Freeland home was changed from Indiana to Mission township, in LaSalle county, Illinois; and many years afterward to Troy Grove, this county, where the mother died. After the mother's death the father went to Champaign county, Illinois, where he passed the closing years of his life. Mr. and Mrs. Neff had no children, but adopted a daughter, Lillian V., whom they reared as their own. Mrs. Neff is a member of the Congregational church.

Extracted 13 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 630-631.


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