Biographies of Whiteside County, IL 1885
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Biographies Whiteside Co 1885 > William Patterson Culbertson

20 Jul 2011

History of Whiteside County, IL 1885

Pg. 541

William Patton Culbertson, capitalist at Fulton, was born Dec. 3, 1819, near Erie, Pa. In the paternal line of descent he is of Scotch lineage, his earliest recorded ancestor having been

one of those who went to Londonderry, Ireland, to escape the persecution of the Scottish “kirk,” and who was in the siege of that place during the attack by King James. John Culbertson, son of the latter, landed at New Castle, Del., during the reign of the first George. His son, John Culbertson (2nd) was born in 1708. The record of his children is as follows: Andrew, born in 1731; James 1733; Jane, 1735; John, 1737; Samuel, 1744; Elizabeth, 1746; Margaret, 1749; Benjamin, 1751; Ebenezer, 1757: Esther, 1763. The children of Andrew Culbertson were William, born in1765; John Boyd, 1767; Elizabeth, 1769; John B. (2nd), 1770; Andrew, 1772, James, 1774; Samuel, 1776; Mary, 1780; Jeannette, 1783.

Andrew Culbertson (2d), 1770, father of Mr. Culbertson of this sketch, was born in 1772, in Northumberland Co., Pa., the increasing generations having settled in that State. He married Ann Culbertson, a cousin of several removes and they had the following children: John B., born in 1798, Jane, 1800; Duncan, 1802; Agnes, 1803; James, 1805; Eliza, 1807. The mother died and was succeeded by Ann Moorhead, who was born April 29, 1781, in Lancaster Co., Pa., of Scotch-Irish parents. The children were Thomas M., born June 21, 1810; Andrew J., April 21, 1812; and William P., as above stated. Their father was a farmer, and a pioneer of Erie County. He located a farm, which he cleared of the heavy forest and placed in creditable agricultural condition. Desirous of changing his locality, he determined to make his way Westward, and made every preparation to that effect about 1811; but family considerations prevailed, and he settled about ten miles east of Erie, where he secured a claim in the dense primeval forest and cleared another farm.  He died in 1848. The demise of his wife took place Nov. 17, 1867. Thomas M., their oldest son, died Oct. 16, 1881. Andrew was for many years a farmer in Garden Prairie Township, Boone Co., Ill. He is living there in retirement.

Mr. Culbertson obtained a fair degree of common-school education under the difficulties naturally attendant upon pioneer conditions; and after he was 21 years of age, acquired an expert acquaintance with the business of a carpenter and joiner, going to ‘Washington County, in his native State, for that purpose, and was occupied there in the vocation of a mechanic between two and three years. In 1843, circumstances induced him to make a chance trip to Western Illinois, and he remained throughout that year and until the fall of 1844 in Rock Island and Warren Counties; and during the period of his stay in the latter, he was occupied in the pursuit of his trade. He returned to the State of his nativity at the time referred to, having contracted the “chills,” a malarial disease which was more troublesome than dangerous, and in the early days of Illinois seemed likely to postpone indefinitely the period of her permanent settlement.

Mr. Culbertson was first married in Erie County, Aug. 22, 1846, to Mary, daughter of Robert McCord. She was born in Newville, Cumberland Co., Pa. In October, same year, they moved to Belvidere, Boone Co., Ill., and in the fall of 1850 Mrs. C. returned to Erie Co., Pa. to spend the winter and there died, Feb.16, 1851. Mr. Culbertson continued to operate as a contractor and builder. In 1852 he entered the employment of Beloit & Madison Railroad corporation as superintendent of construction of buildings and bridges, continuing in that capacity until 1855, when he was appointed to the position of Assistant Superintendent of the more extended railway, the Dixon Air Line, now the Chicago & Northwestern, his chief being George Bassett. His business relations brought him in June, 1855, to /Fulton, where he wasd for some time occupied in constructing several buildings in the railroad interest. In the spring of 1850 he caught the inspiration of the gilded rumors from Pike’s Peak, and set out thence to push his way to fortune by a more rapid route, and he passed the summers of 1859-60 in mining for gold with reasonable success. On his return in 1861 to Fulton, he formed an association with Dr. Leander Smith, now a banker at Morrison, for the purpose of prosecuting the lumber business. In 1862 they purchased the Dement saw-mill near Fulton, which they continued to manage several years. De. Smith fell into ill health, and in 1868 sold his lumber interest to E.P.Wells, now a banker at Clinton, Iowa. After the return of Dr. Smith with restored health, he and J. M. Fay bought the half interest of Mr. Wells, the firm style becoming Culbertson, Smith & Co. They continued their joint transactions until 1878, when they suspended active business, and at the date of this writing (1885), the partnership has not been formally dissolved.

In 1879 Messrs. Culberson & Fay established a grocery enterprise at Fulton, which they conducted two years with satisfactory results, and closed in the spring of 1882. Since that date Mr. Culbertson has given his attention to financial transactions.

Politically, he is a Republican, but has never been aggressive in his political action and has never sought the emoluments .In 1882 he was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the Northern Illinois College, and is still the incumbent of the position.

Oct. 28, 1852, he married Helen M., daughter of Dr. Daniel Reed, of Belvidere, Ill., and they had two children: Carried J., born April 23, 1854, is the wife of Prof. Carl V. Lauchman, founder of the Conservatory of Music at Minneapolis, Minn., and they have a daughter, Helen Reed, who was born Aug. 30, 1878. Professor Lauchman was born March 27, 1853, in Missouri and descended from German parents. He has spent many years in the acquisition of musical knowledge abroad. In 1881 he and his wife, who is an accomplished musician journals of America during her residence in Germany and has since been connected with musical literature in her native country. Charles R., the only son of Mr. Culbertson, was born March 18, 1857, and is a resident at Fulton.

The mother died at Fulton, Nov. 6, 1857. Nov. 18, 1858, Mr. Culbertson entered into a matrimonial alliance with Mary M., daughter of John Fay, at Westfield, Chautauqua Co., N. Y. She was born there Aug. 21, 1821, and died at Fulton, July 19, 1866. Mr. Culbertson was again married Feb. 8, 1871, at Westfield, to Charlotte, daughter of Asa Hall.  She was born Sept. 23, 1828, at Westfield and died at Fulton, Sept. 17, 1882.

The portrait of Mr. Culbertson, which appears on a previous page, is copied from a likeness taken in 1880. It is justly regarded as a fitting addition to the catalogue of portraits presented in this volume, form the character and position of the subject. Upon him has fallen the mantle of the upright, thrifty and honorable race of which he is a descendant. Fulton has been the field of his operations in business matters for a period of 30 years; and during that time he has maintained his record as a man of probity and unswerving rectitude. He became a convert to the faith of his ancestor in early life, and for 20 years has been an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Physically, he has preserved the erect stature and firm, sound constitution of the days of his prime. Although he is approaching the limit of years allotted to man, his mental powers are in full vigor, and he manifests in not even the smallest degree the encroachments of time. His eyes exhibit the fire and keenness of early life; and his face glows with the ruddy hue of health.

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