26 Apr 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
John Stuart, carriage manufacturer at Fulton, established his factory in 1865. He is a native of the North of Ireland, of Scotch descent, and was born May 8, 1844. His parents were Alexander and Margaret (Ellis) Stuart. He emigrated with his family to Canada, in childhood, where he learned the blacksmith and carriage trade, at Mitchell, Canada West, at which he served a regular apprenticeships of three years. His compensation was limited, and increased slowly. For the first year he received the princely sum of $25, the second $35, and the last year $45. But, strange as it may sound to modern apprentices, he had every dollar of his three years’ wages at the close of his apprenticeship. He continued with his employer a half year longer, and in March, 1859, came to the United States. He first tried his fortunes in Missouri, but was obliged to abandon that field on account of the climate; he then came to Fulton, Ill., July 8, 1859, and engaged as a journeyman blacksmith with Mr. James Broadhead, at 50 cents a day. He continued to work as journeyman till March, 1862, when, having accumulated a cash capital of $65, he opened a blacksmith shop of his own. Three years later he began the carriage business in a small way at his present stand. The superior quality of his work, together with a reputation for fair dealing, soon increased his trade till he was obliged to erect additional buildings and increase his force. This he has been doing from time to time, till he now has commodious quarters, and employs a force of from 12 to 16 men. His works turn out from 75 to 100 single and double carriages yearly, of various styles and of the finest workmanship. Mr. Stuart uses Ohio timber, and builds his work up from the rough to the last touch of the painter’s brush, or the final stitch of the upholsterer. His market is principally in Iowa, although his trade, to a considerable extent, extends to California and the Territories.
In 1873 William Stuart, a younger brother, purchased an interest in the business, and the firm became J. & W. Stuart. This connection continued till Feb. 29, 1884, when John bought him out and now operates his factory alone.
Mr. Stuart was married at Fulton, Ill., Nov. 12, 1863, to Miss Mary A. Stevenson, daughter of Simon and Mary (Irwin) Stevenson. They have had six children, --four sons and two daughters, John A., Simon, William, Mary, Fanny and Arthur, --all of whom are living except Fanny, who died aged seven years.
Mr. Stuart is a member of the present City Council from the First Ward, and has been Alderman once before from the same. He has been a member of Fulton City Lodge, N. 189, A.F. & A.M., since 1872, and is also a member of Fulton Chapter, No. 108, R.A.M., of which he is Treasurer. In politics he is a Republican.