22 Apr 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
William H. Colcord, Principal of the School at Coleta, Supervisor of Genesee Township and Postmaster of the village where he lives, is a native born citizen of his township, and represents one of the earliest names connected with the settlement of the township of Genesee. His father, Ivory Colcord, came to Genesee Township in 1836, and bought a claim, consisting of 200 acres of prairie and 300 acres of timber, paying therefor $150 in gold. He returned to his home in Steuben Co., N. Y., and in 1837 set out with his family for the West. They took passage on a flat-boat on the Allegheny River, proceeded to Pittsburg, went thence to the Mississippi River by way of the Ohio River, and from the junction of the two streams went to Fulton, whither they were conveyed by wagon to Genesee Grove, arriving there on the 15th of October. A small shelter was provided for temporary use during the winter that followed, where the domestic machinery was operated, and which also served as a house of public entertainment, as there was no hotel for the accommodation of the army of land-lookers and prospective settlers. One of the controlling elements of a pioneer community is that of hospitality, and faces that have lately looked on civilization seem connecting links. The senior Colcord was a practical farmer, and a man of cultivated mind. He was the first school-teacher in Genesee Township, and was also its first magistrate after the organization of the township. He died Jan. 25, 1865. He was born July 20, 1799, in Maine, and married Elzina Smith, who was born June 27, 1805, near Keene, N. H., and they settled in the State of New York. The mother is yet living, with a daughter, in the village of Coleta. She is 80 years of age, and has been the mother of 13 children, eight of whom survive.
Mr. Colcord is the third white child born in Genesee Township. His birth occurred July 29, 1839, and he is lineally descended from the Pilgrims of Massachusetts, his paternal grandmother being a Bradbury. In the maternal line he is equally well descended, and his veins contain a mixture of Scotch and English blood, in which nationalities his earliest ancestors had their origin. His education was begun under the supervision of his father, and was continued until he became of age.
He was married Feb. 16, 1860, to Fianna V. Linerode. The ceremony was performed by A. H. Law, at that date a magistrate of Genesee Township, and now a resident of Mercer Co., Ill. Their marriage has been blessed with 10 children, three sons and seven daughters, as follows: Alice C., married to James L. Peugh, a farmer in Genesee; Eustatia V., married to J. Fred. Fehrensen, druggist, in Coleta; Annetta A., married to George A Over, merchant, in Sterling; and Edith B., Ernest S., Clayton E., Nellie L., Bertie S., Glenn D. and Elzina G., still at home with their parents.
Mrs. Colcord was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Her mother died when she was young, and her father removed to Genesee Township when she was young, and he became prominent in the official history of the county. He died in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Colcord settled on a farm in Genesee Township. The former passed the chief portion of the succeeding years in the improvement of his property, and devoted the winter seasons to teaching. With the exception of two intervening years, he passed his life in this manner until 1878. In that year he relinquished his agricultural projects in order to apply his time and energies wholly to the labors of a teacher, in which vocation he has since been engaged. His farm, contained 20 acres, and was situated on section 21. In 1884 he sold the place, and bought 150 acres near Sheldon, O’Brien Co., Iowa. He owns his residence at Coleta.
In 1884 he succeeded Henry Wickey in the position of Postmaster. He has officiated one term as Justice of the Peace, has been Township Clerk three years, and is serving his fourth term as Supervisor, being appointed during 1884 to fill a vacancy created by the death of Rev. Cephas Hurless. He has also served two years as Assessor.
Mr. Colcord is interested in local and general political issues, and is an influential and consistent Republican.