Tampico Area Historical Society
30 Jul 2007
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
Hezekiah Brink, farmer on the northeast quarter of section 22, Sterling Township, was born May 21, 1809, in Vermont. His father, Isaiah Brink, a native of Germany, adopted this as his country in an early period of his life and became a soldier in our war with Great Britain in 1812-4 losing his life. His widow, nee Anna Murdock, a native of New York State, afterward married Samuel S. Geere, in Erie Co., N.Y.
Having received a common-school education, Mr. Brink, at the age of 16 years, left home and went to Madison, Ind., to learn the hatter’s trade, extending his period of apprenticeship until he was 20 years old. He then opened a shop in Ripley Co., Ind., and carried on business there and in Coventry until 1834. Selling out, he came to what is now the city of Sterling, entering in June 1834, the quarter-section which he still owns and occupies. During the summer and fall, he broke a piece of ground and built a log house 18 x 20 feet in dimensions, and with a puncheon floor. The one room it comprised was parlor, kitchen, and bedroom. This was his residence until 1841. The following December (1834) he returned to Indiana and brought out his family to their new home, arrived May 1, 1835.
In 1836 he built a saw-mill in Milledgeville, and the next year he erected a frame for a grist-mill, and purchased the buhrs and machinery, but sold out before completing the mill. In May 1836, he sold an interest in his farm to Capt. Harris & Bros. for a part of a cargo of provisions, which they brought up Rock River by steamer from Galena. Their complete cargo comprised about $600 or $700 worth of provisions. After this exchange, Mr. Brink erected a building 18 x 20 feet for a store. Being of hewn Logs, it was considered in those days a very fine structure. It was built on what is now Block 41, in the city of Sterling, where it still remains, occupied as a dwelling. After conducting the store here for four years, Mr. Brink disposed of it by sale. In the meantime he had built saw grist and carding mills at Empire, connected with one power, which he ran until 1847 when he sold them.
Returning then to Sterling, he put up a saw-mill at Elkhorn, three miles above Empire, and after running it about one year he sold it; and, renting a mill at Coe’s Grove, he operated that a year. Then he followed farming until 1854. About this time he went to Canada and purchased from Theodore Wynn his undivided interest in Sterling. Returning home, he built a stone house and rented it to the School District for a public school. In 1855 he engaged in general building, contracting for and erecting most of the brick houses in Sterling up to 1870, and often having as many as 65 men in his employ at one time. He manufactured all his brick and stone. During this time he also conducted a store for five years. In 1870 he returned to his farm.
Mr. Brink did the first “breaking” in Como and in the county, in 1834, with three yoke of oxen. He also did “breaking” for the neighbors for miles around, at $5 a day. In 1835 he broke 40 acres of land where the village of Sterling now stands and raised crops upon it for several years. At present he is devoting his attention principally to the culture of small fruits, having in all four acres, three acres of which consist of black and red raspberries. This fruit is put up chiefly by the canning factories of Sterling. He also raises apples, pears, plums, etc.
In his political views, Mr. B. is a Republican, and in his religious relations he has belonged to the Methodist Church ever since he was 15 years old.
He was first married Sept. 25, 1829, to Miss Martha Buchanah, a native of Indiana, who died Oct. 16, 1839, after having become the mother of four children,--Thomas, Samuel, Margery and David. Oct. 1, 1840, Mr. Brink, was again married, to Sophronia L. Griffin, a native of Ohio. She died Dec. 23, 1866. By this marriage, there were 11 children, namely, Harvey, Charles, Caroline, Albert, Julia, Newton, Alona, Ada, Ella, Martha B., and Allen.