LaSalle County

Biography - JOHN J. WINTER

One of the reliable citizens and substantial business men of Garfield, LaSalle county, is the gentleman of whom this sketch is penned. Pie has ever been sincerely interested in the growth and prosperity of this town and county, and is entitled to great credit for the public spirit which he has manifested at all times. A review of his life will prove of interest to his numerous friends and cannot fail to be an inspiration to the rising generation — to those especially who are starting out to fight the battle of life empty-handed as he did a few years ago.

He is of German extraction and comes of two sterling Pennsylvania families. His paternal great-grandfather was a hero of the American war for independence; and his grandfather, John Jacob Winter, was a native of Germany, but at an early age became a resident of the Keystone state. Later he removed to Ohio and spent the declining years of his life on a farm in Licking county. He died when in his sixty-third year, respected and admired by all who knew him. For a number of years he had been a minister of the gospel, being identified with the United Brethren church. To himself and wife, whose maiden name was Catherine Miller, five sons and a daughter were born.

One of the sons, Daniel Winter, was the father of our subject. Born in Pennsylvania, he went to Ohio with his family in 1837, and in 1875 came to Illinois. For a wife he first chose Sarah Simmons, a native of the Keystone state, and after her death, in 1835, he wedded Susanna Ann Beabout. Three sons and one daughter were born of the first union. The daughter is now deceased, and the sons are Nicholas C of Villisca, Iowa; David S., of Ottawa, Illinois; and John J. Mrs. Susanna Winter departed this life February 13, 1875, after which event the father made his home with our subject until the summons to the silent land came to him. January J 2. 1877, when he was in his seventy-second year.

John J. Winter was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania. September 19, 1832, and at the age of five years he removed to Licking county, Ohio, with his father and family, where, when old enough, he began attending the common schools. Later he pursued his studies in the local academy, after which he engaged in teaching, and was thus occupied for three terms in the Buckeye state. In 1855 he came to LaSalle county, Illinois, and for four years thereafter he taught school during the winters and worked upon farms near Ottawa in the summer. At length he concluded that he did not wish to devote his entire life to either of these vocations, and he determined to enter the commercial world. Thus for nine years we find him steadily and industriously engaged in employment as a traveling salesman for a Dayton (Illinois) woolen factory, and then for three years he was head salesman for the Cushman Manufacturing Company, of Ottawa, Illinois.

Having had this necessary business experience, Mr. Winter came to Garfield and started a lumber yard, which he managed successfully for three years. Since 1876 he has given his entire attention to the carrying on of a general merchandising establishment at Garfield, save when he has been officiating as the postmaster of the place. He was first honored with this responsible position during the administration of President Hayes, and continued to serve until President Cleveland's election made it necessary for him to resign the duties of the office to the Democratic appointee. Needless to say. he is a stalwart Republican, and though he has never sought public office he has frequently been called upon to serve the people, as when he was elected the town clerk for one year and a justice of the peace for four years. Fraternally he belongs to Camp No. 4127. Modern Woodmen of America.

On the 1st of April. 1855, Mr. Winter wedded Martha Maria, a daughter of William and Jane (Millikin) Parkinson, who were natives of England and Pennsylvania respectively. Her father was brought to America by his parents in 1801, when he was three years old. His father, John Parkinson, also of English birth, was a farmer and kept a dairy farm in New York state for a period, then removing to Licking county. Ohio, where he died when well along in years. He had four sons and two daughters. William Parkinson removed from Ohio to Illinois in the spring of 1856 and settled in LaSalle county, on a farm adjacent to Ottawa. He died as the result of a fall from a wagon, November 15, i860, when he was in his sixty-third year. His widow, who survived him until November, 1878, was seventy-eight years and four months old at the time of her death. Both were earnest members of the United Brethren church. The father of Mrs. Parkinson, James Millikin, who was born in the Keystone state, was of Scotch descent. He was a carpenter by trade and followed that calling until shortly before his death, which event occurred in his native state when he was advanced in years. Mrs. Mary Millikin, the maternal grandmother of Mrs. Winter, was a native of Ireland. She was a very remarkable old lady, noted for many things, among others that when she was ninety-four years old she was able to walk a mile or two without excessive fatigue, and still operated her spinning-wheel much as in the days of her prime. She died in 1856, when five months past the ninety-fifth anniversary of her birth. Mrs. Winter was one of the five surviving members of a family which originally comprised five daughters and four sons. Her sister, Margaret A., is the wife of Clark Downey, of Wenona, Illinois; Catherine R. is Mrs. William Trumbo, of Shafter, Missouri; and Sarah E. is the widow of Aaron Martin, of Wenona; while William H. Parkinson resides near the same town. Mrs. Martha M. Winter died January 15, 1900, on the sixty-eighth anniversary of her birth.

The union of Mr. and Mrs. Winter was blessed with three sons and three daughters, namely: Harry A., who married Florence Wilson and resides on a farm seven miles west of Wenona; Orrel Dell, who wedded P. H. Jennett and lives near Whitamore, Iowa; Lyman Lee, whose wife was Annie Lechner in her girlhood; William D., who chose Ida Thrasher for a wife; Sarah J., the wife of Jefferson R. Eward, of Garfield; and Susie, who died when about eight months old. The children of Harry A. are named respectively Jay W., Reuben Roy and Floyd Leslie. Mr. and Mrs. Jennett have ten children: Albert William, Walter Lee, Ora Mae, Edwin Matthew, Luella, Hugh Burnett, John Austin, Ralph, Jason and Francis. Lyman Lee Winter, of Garfield, has four living children: Arthur J., Jennie B., Wilbur Ray and John Lawrence; and William D. Winter, also a citizen of Garfield, has two living children — Oliver Guy and Frances Emma. Mr. and Mrs. Eward are the parents of three children — Mattie Edith, Elsie Dell and Thomas James.

The wife of our subject was identified with the church of the United Brethren in her early womanhood, but of late years she has held her membership in the Presbyterian denomination. She has been a faithful helpmate to her husband, a loving mother and a helpful, sympathetic friend and neighbor, endeared to every one who knows her. Mr. and Mrs. Winter are justly regarded and highly respected by those who know them and are held as models worthy to follow.

Extracted 13 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 673-676.


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