Monday, April 30, 2007

Fulton: Ancestral Home of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan’s Great-Grandparents:

Michael Reagan: Buried in Fulton in March 1884.

Michael O’Reagan was born in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1829. He married Catherine Mulcahey October 31,1852, in London. In England, his occupation was soapmaker. They emigrated to Carroll County, Illinois, in 1858 and farmed in Fair Haven, Illinois. At age 54, he died from congestion of the lungs. He is buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Fulton.

Catherine Mulcahey Reagan: Lived in Fulton 25 years.
Buried in Fulton April 1908.

Catherine was born in the county of Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829. She and Michael had five children who lived to adulthood: Thomas, John, William, Margaret, and Mary. Only one of the children, Margaret, was living at the time Catherine died at the age of 70. Catherine also had five grandchildren: Will Reagan, John E. Reagan, Will Chapman, and Margaret Chapman, and Josephine Baldwin Wittle. One year after her husband, Michael, died, Catherine moved to Fulton and lived here 25 years.

Their children:
Thomas: (1852-1889) Buried in Fulton. Drowned at a 4th of July picnic at the age of 37.
John: (1854-1889): Born in England. Grandfather of Ronald Reagan
Margaret(1856-1947): Married Oscar G. Baldwin
William (1858-1883): Died at age 22, TB. Sick for 8 years.
Mary (1867-1908): Married E.D. Chapman and Dr. G.W. Clendenen

Ronald Reagan’s Paternal Grandparents

John Reagan and Jennie Cusic(k) married and buried in Fulton
John and Jennie Cusic(k) Reagan were married in Fulton in 1878 at the Immaculate Conception Church. In 1885, John was building a house in Fulton for the family of four children. The husband and wife had short lives both dying of TB. In 1886, Jennie died at age 30 and in 1889, John died at the age of 35. John’s mother, Catherine, age 60, and John’s two sisters, Margaret and Mary raised the four children, Katherine (1879), William (1881-1925), John Edward (1883- 1941), and Anna (1885).

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Mary

Lived in Fulton from age 17 until death at age 43. Buried in Fulton.
Mary A. Reagan was born in Fair Haven, Illinois, March 13, 1865. At 17, she came with her mother, Catherine Reagan, to live in Fulton. She took a two year business course at Northern Illinois College and then with her sister Margaret engaged in the millinery business for 22 years. Her first marriage was in 1890 to Edward Chapman whose accidental death occurred six years later leaving her a widow with two small children, an invalid mother, and the four orphan children of her brother, John. Her second marriage was in 1904 to Dr. G.W. Clendenen, the founder and supreme medical examiner of the Mystic Workers of the World. Their beautiful home (710-11th Avenue) welcomed many guests. Four years after this marriage, Mary became ill and died suddenly at the age of 43. The Chapman children and the children of John and Jennie Reagan were then cared for by their grandmother, Catherine, and their Aunt Margaret.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Margaret

Margaret is the aunt who lived a long life and spent much of it as a caregiver. Margaret and her sister, Mary, were partners in the millinery business in Fulton. At age 38, Margaret married Oscar G. Baldwin. He operated dry goods stores in Bennett, Iowa, and Prophetstown, Illinois. They provided a home for the four orphan children of Margaret’s brother, John, who had died in his 30’s and her sister, Mary, who died at 43 with two Chapman children. She also cared for her mother, Catherine, who was paralyzed for two years prior to her death in 1908. In the 1930 US Census, Margaret (71) was living in Clinton, Iowa, with Marguerite Chapman (Mary) who had married Allen Lockhart in Fulton. Margaret died in California in 1947.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Uncle William

William spent most of his life in Fulton where he was a cigar-maker. He died at age 45 and had problems with alcoholism and mental illness.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Anna

Anna attended the school for the deaf in Carbondale, Illinois.

Ronald Reagan’s Maternal Grandparents

Mary Anne Elsey Wilson had been born in England and immigrated to the US to work as a domestic servant.
Thomas Wilson was born April 28, 1844, in Whiteside Co.
Thomas and Mary Anne were married on January 25, 1866, in Morrison and had the following children: Emily, John, Jennie, Alexander, George, Mary, and Nellie Clyde. In the 1900 US Census, Mary Wilson lived with Nellie, a student, on Base Street in Fulton. Mary Anne died on October 6, 1900, and is buried in Fulton. Thomas died December 12, 1909.

Ronald Reagan’s Parents

John (Jack) Edward Reagan and Nellie Clyde Wilson born and married in Fulton.

John (Jack) Edward Reagan was born July 13, 1883, in Fulton. He lived with his Aunt Margaret in Bennett, Iowa, after the death of his parents. On his return to Fulton as a young adult, he worked as a clerk in J.W. Broadhead’s dry goods store. He was a salesman with particular success in the shoe business. He lived in Tampico, Dixon, Chicago, Galesburg, and Monmouth. In 1941, he died in California at age 56.
Nellie Clyde Wilson was born July 21,1883, in Fulton the youngest of seven children of Mary Ann Elsey and Thomas Wilson. Nellie’s father left them when Nellie was 7. Her mother died when Nellie was 17. Nell(i)e worked as a milliner in Fulton. In November 1904 when Jack and Nelle were 19 years old, they married at Fulton’s Immaculate Conception Rectory. They had two children: John Neil, 1908, and Ronald Wilson, 1911 both born in Tampico, Illinois.

In Fulton: Places to Visit With Reagan Connections:
Broadhead’s Dry Goods: SW corner of 10th Avenue & 4th Street
Millinery Shop: 1003 4th Street
Cigar Shop: 1005 4th Street
Immaculate Conception Church: 703-12th Avenue
Catholic Cemetery: North 4th Street (Reagans are on highest hill).
John & Jennie’s house: 907-12th Avenue
Dr. G.W. Clendenen’s house: 710-11th Avenue

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Patent Novelty Company: Toys

One of the lovely Christmas window displays in Fulton during December 2000 was in the Musk Building on 4th Street. Among the many wonderful toys was a boat and rower with box marked Fulton, Illinois, Patent Novelty Company. The Fulton Journal, December 8, 1916, records the history of the company to that date.
“A splendid industry that has built up within the past ten years in Fulton is the Patent Novelty Company, engaged in the manufacture of advertising novelties and hardware specialties.
The enterprise was founded by C.L. Passmore in 1905, and among the articles of utility that was first made was a handle dustpan invented by Mr. Passmore. It was not long before the factory sold a million of the “So E-Z” dustpans in one year.
In 1906, Mr. Passmore sold out to Frank W. Dana for a nominal sum, and soon afterward L.A. Lemke became Mr. Dana’s partner and the business was expanded and a building was purchased on the corner of Tenth Avenue and Fifth street and machines installed and a japanning oven constructed.
In 1907 Edward H. Downs was added to the firm and the company incorporated with capital stock of $20,000. The business proved wonderfully successful and, finding lack of room in the Tenth avenue factory, the company purchased a block of lots on Eighth avenue, paralleling the C,B.&Q railroad, which enabled it to have a side track. A new factory was built in 1910 and many new articles added to the list of manufactured products. Several traveling salesmen were employed and the factory was enlarged, and in 1912 the large brick building on the northeast corner was erected. Business increased so rapidly that the company increased the capital stock to $140,000 and decided to build a new brick factory, which was commenced in July and is just completed. It is a model plant and the building cost about $20,000 with the new American Blower heating plant.
The new structure is ninety feet wide and two hundred and forty-two feet long, built of brick and steel and contains 26,000 square feet of floor space. The building is admirable planned and lighted for factory purposes, and scores of machines, operated largely by electricity fill the floor space. It is, in fact, a model manufactory with fine equipment and now rushed to fill orders to the full capacity with over ninety people employed. The line of goods made embraces fifty different articles, the greater part of which have a regular and increasing demand.
Frank W. Dana is president of the company; E.H Downs, secretary and treasurer.
There are nineteen people in the office force.
T. A. Landa has charge of the salesmen in the large cities.
S.C. Coman is general sales manager.
C. J. Harned, manager of sales in the premium department.
Miss Catherine J. Dugan has charge of the bookkeeping and collections department, and has proved highly efficient.
George H. Reimer is superintendent of the factory.
S.H. Wilson is foreman of the metal stamping department.
Sika Poel is foreman of the finishing department.”
According to Wayne Bastian in his book A HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY, the Patent Novelty Company produced toys as early as 1908 when the Little Nemo Popgun and Mocking-Bird whistle were made. In 1927, the assets of the O.K. Toy factory of Sterling were purchased and moved to Fulton. In 1929, 410,000 toys were manufactured and part of them exported to 14 countries. The new line included Whirling Maypole, Tick Tack, Twirlo and Ben Hur. The company developed new toys and produced them for years.
Such fun it would be to see both the catalogs and the toys produced here in Fulton!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Considine Family

From the Fulton Journal
January 1/31/08

One paragraph from the obituary on Stephen Considine:

“The Considine family is among the oldest of the old residents of Fulton. The stone cottage on the river bank is one of the first dwellings built here and is over sixty years old, and is often pointed out as of historical interest.”

The Considine family also owned a stone quarry on 4th Street and the assumption is made that the stone on their house came from their quarry. The stone was used to build two Catholic churches in Lyons, Iowa, and is part of the old Presbyterian Church in Fulton.

Researching the Considine cottage on the river led to phone calls to Mary Catherine Considine Sanderson and some cemetery tromping, but details of the lives of John and Hannah Considine were slim. John had died in 1899 and we have no Fulton Journals on microfilm for that time period. Now I’ve found Hannah’s obituary in the March 17, 1916 Fulton Journal.

Death of Aged Resident
Mrs. Hannah Considine, for Nearly
Sixty Years a Resident of Fulton,
Is dead.

“Mrs. John Considine died at her home in this city Thursday afternoon, March 16, after a lingering illness. Mrs. Considine had been an invalid eight years and was confined to her bed the past two years, during which time she was carefully cared for by her daughters and other members of her family, who mourn the loss of a kind and loving mother who was devoted to her home and family.
Hannah Flanigan was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1835 and came to America with her parents when about eight years of age settling in /Ellicettville, N.Y., where she was united in marriage to John Considine in 1851. The young couple came west a few years later, settling in Fulton, where they made their home and raised their family and were classed among the early residents of this city.
Mr. Considine died in Fulton in 1899. To this union were born ten children, who all lived to maturity but five of whom have now passed to their home beyond. The children are R.P. Considine of this city; William J. who died in 1900; J.J. who died in 1893; Frank M. of Clinton, Iowa; Mary, who married James Martin and died in Chicago in 1893; Edward H., who died in 1901; Daniel of Savanna, Dennis of this city; Julia, who married Edward Lee and resides in Fulton; S.A. who died in 1908 and Margaret, who has been a faithful daughter to her mother at home during her long illness.
Requiem high mass will be held to the Catholic church in this city Monday morning followed by the funeral services conducted by Rev. J.J. Clancy with burial in the Catholic cemetery.
A large number of relatives and friends from away are expected to be here to attend the funeral and the pall-bearers will be selected from her grandsons.”

The first census done for Fulton was in 1860 and listed are John Considine, 28, born in Ireland, Hannah Considine, 25, born in Ireland, and children Pat 7, Wm. J. 5, and John 3, all born in Canada and Michael F. 9 months born in Illinois. That would put the Considines in Fulton sometime after John’s birth in 1857 and before Michael’s birth in 1859. Now how do we come up with a date for the Considine cottage that still sits on the river bank in Fulton? Did they build it or move into it? If only we could ask.

I wrote recently about Hannah Considine and speculated about her family’s arrival date in Fulton. Also, the 1860 census listed their oldest child as “Pat” and I had a difficult time locating him later. The 1880 census listed the following Considines: John, 60, Hannah, 44, Patrick 27, Frank 20, Mary 18, Edward 16, Daniel,13, Dennis 11, Julia 10, Augustus, 6, Margaret, 4 and John 6 months. The Pat problem has been solved with a new lead, a book listing death dates, causes of death, places of birth of the deceased and places of birth of the parents of the deceased. The oldest Considine child, “Pat” was Robert Patrick and his obituary says the family came to Fulton in 1857. His mother is listed as “Hanna Flannigan.” The undertaker was Doran.

Fulton Journal: February 23, 1934:


Funeral services for the late Dan Considine were held Thursday morning in Savanna, with burial in Riverside cemetery in Prophetstown, Ill.
Daniel Considine was born in Fulton, Ill., August 3, 1867, the son of John and Hanna Flannigan Considine. His death occurred Tuesday morning at 1:15 o’clock after an illness of several weeks duration. He had one foot amputated recently and his death was attributed to gangrene.
He spent his early life in Fulton, but before going to Savanna to reside, he made his home in Prophetstown for several years. He lived in Savanna for nearly thirty years.
He is survived by his wife, Myrtle Clifton Considine, two sisters, Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago, and Mrs. Julia Lee of Fulton, and several nieces and nephews. The following brothers and sister preceded him in death: Robert; William, John, Frank, Edward, Dennis, Gustav, and Mrs. Mary Martin.

Fulton Journal: April 17, 1936


The many friends of Mrs. Julia Lee, were grieved to learn of her death, which occurred Wednesday morning at 6:20 o’clock in her home on North Fourth street. She had been ill about three weeks suffering from pneumonia and complications. Her condition had been critical, but she seemed to rally and her sons who had been called here because of her condition, returned to their homes a week ago.
Funeral services will be held in the Immaculate Conception church at 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, the Rev. J. Egan singing the Mass. The remains are reposing in the home of her sister-in-law-, Mrs. Kate Considine, until the funeral hour.
Julia Considine was born June 22, 1870 in Fulton, in the stone house on North Fourth street which has been the Considine homestead for many years. It was there that she passed away.
She attended the Fulton schools and in 1889 was graduated from the Fulton high school. She was a member of the Altar and Rosary society of the Immaculate Conception church.
On May 28, 1891, she was married to E.J. Lee, the ceremony taking place in this city. To this union five children were born, all of whom survive. They are Mrs. Gardner Lawrence (Hannah) of Ustick, John of Pittsburgh, Pa., the twins Ed and Will, of Hollywood, and Joe, also of Hollywood. Others who mourn her death are her husband of Perth, Ontario, Canada, one sister, Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago, who has been with her sister during her last illness, and six grandchildren, Hannah, Bill, Jack, and Dick Lawrence of Ustick, Jack Lee and Patricia Lee of Hollywood, Calif.
Mrs. Lee was one of eleven children, all of whom, with the exception of Miss Margaret Considine, have preceded her in death.

Fulton Journal: January 22, 1922.

Death of Pioneer Citizen
Robert P. Considine, Old Resident of Fulton, Died Sunday Morning.

“Robert Patrick Considine, who for over sixty-five years had been a respected and continuous resident of Fulton, died unexpectedly Sunday morning, January 22, after several days’ illness of pneumonia at his home on Fourth street.
Mr. Considine was born in New London, Canada, August 20, 1852, and was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Considine, who with their children located in Fulton in 1857. Prior to the dismantling of the Culbertson, Smith & Co.’s saw mill in the north part of the town, he was employed by that company. When the mill ceased to operate he found employment with Gardner, Bachelder & Welles Lumber company’s mill in Lyons and became head sawyer. He remained until the company ceased to operate the mill, about twenty years ago. Mr. Considine then secured employment with the Clinton Lock company, and later was promoted to superintendent and remained with the company until the time of his death.
About forty-five years ago he was married to Miss Mary Maher, who died a year later. Mr. Considine’s second marriage was to Miss Catherine Cleary.
For a period of fifty years he worked in Lyons and during that time, when the Mississippi river was navigable, crossed the river twice each working day, rowing a skiff. Without exaggeration, it can be said that Mr. Considine made more trips in a skiff across the Mississippi river between Fulton and Lyons than any other man in Fulton, Lyons or Clinton.
When less than eighteen years old he became a charter member of the Roman Catholic Temperance and Benevolent society , which was organized in Fulton August 14, 1870, and remained a member until it dissolved twenty years later. During all these years Mr. Considine remained true to his pledge of total abstinence. He was a man of exemplary habits, true to his friends at all times and proved to be a worthy and reliable citizen holding the respect and esteem of all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, Robert P., Jr. and William J: one daughter, Margaret F., wife of Archie D. Cowan: three brothers, Frank of Clinton, Daniel of Savanna and Dennis of Fulton, and two sisters, Mrs. Julia Lee and Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago.
The funeral will be held Wednesday morning at ten o’clock with a requiem high mass conducted by Rev. J.J. Clancy with burial in the Catholic cemetery.”

Fulton Journal: Sept. 5, 1941


Mrs. Katherine Considine, age eighty-three years, passed away suddenly at her home on North Fourth street at 4:15 o’clock on Monday afternoon. She had been in failing health for several years, but her death at this time was unexpected and came as a shock to her family. A heart attack about three o’clock the same afternoon was the cause of her death an hour later. Throughout her illness she was cared for by her daughter, Mrs. A.D. Cowan.
Funeral services were held at nine o’clock Thursday morning in Immaculate Conception church, with the Rev. J.T. Egan singing the requiem high mass. Many relatives and friends attended the last rites to pay their last respects to one whom they held in high esteem.
Pallbearers were Walter Field, Gardner Lawrence, James Jones, and Frank Daley of Fulton, Edward Dolan of Albany, and Daniel Martin of Chicago.
Interment was in Calvary Hill cemetery in the family lot.
Katherine Cleary was born in Sterling, Ill., July 17, 1858, the daughter of John and Bridget Fahey Cleary. On December 27, 1892, she was married to Robert P. Considine of this city, the ceremony taking place in Clinton, Ia. They immediately located in Fulton and this city has been the family home ever since.
To this union four children were born, Mary, who died in infancy; Margaret, now the wife of A.D. Cowan; Robert P. Considine and William C. Considine, all of Fulton.
Others who survive are four grandchildren, Patricia, Robert, Mary Katherine, and William C. Considine, Jr., and two sisters, Miss Mary Cleary of Clinton, Ia., and Mrs. Margaret Irwin of Milwaukee, Wis.
Mr. Considine passed away in January, 1921, and she was also preceded in death by her parents, five sisters and one brother.
Mrs. Considine was a devout member of the Immaculate Conception church, attending the services as long as her health permitted. She lived her life in keeping with the teachings of her church and lived an exemplary life. She had many friends for, to know her was to love her, and she will be truly missed. Her children and grandchildren were devoted to her and while they know she had been spared to them much longer than the allotted three score and ten years, it does not assuage their grief.
“Life’s work well done,
Earth’s course well run,
Heaven’s crown well won,
Now comes rest.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Early History of Fulton Schools

Fulton Journal, November 28, 1905:

From the time John Baker settled in Fulton in 1836, little effort was made to secure educational advantages until 1840, when James McCoy, then a young lawyer, who located here a year previous, opened a select school. From that time until 1847 independent schools were taught at different intervals.
In 1847, School District No. 1, now 111, was organized and through the efforts of James McCoy the first school house was built. The building was a one story structure, about thirty feet square and located on Base street, the present site of the city hall. When completed, it was considered the finest school house in Whiteside county. When the Galena and Chicago Union railroad, now the Northwestern, was built into Fulton in 1855, the population increased and the stone building was no longer adequate to accommodate the large enrollment of pupils. Finally on April 27, 1857, the school board voted to sell the old school building and to purchase the site where the high school building (Park school) now stands. A special election was held July 11, 1857, when it was voted to bond the district for not less than $8,000 to build a new school house. Forty-two votes were cast, and only one was against the project.
The bids awarded were A Fellows & Company for painting, $130; H. Fuller, carpenter work, $3, 240; William Price, masonry, $4,850. The total cost of building when completed was $14,643.45. The present high school building was not completed until the spring of 1858. The first superintendent was G.G. Alvord, who taught from 1857 to 1858, a term of six months at a salary of $350 for the term.
The superintendents who have served to the present time are: G.G. Alvord, S.M. Dickey, W.E. Bradley, Mrs. M.T. Scott, Ivan T. Ruth, George G. Manning, J. Thorp, J.R. Parker, George C. Loomis, R.V. DeGroff, J.E. Bittinger, A. Ebersole, W.A. Pratt, M.A. Kline, J.D. Rishell, and Lewis Eigel is the present superintendent.