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
Omar E. Fanning, farmer, section 14, Hopkins Township, is a son of Asa and Phebe A. (Cole) Fanning, natives of New England, who first settled in Chenango Co., N.Y., and afterwards removed to Broome County, that State, where he died in the summer of 1863; she came to Whiteside County in 1883 and now resides in Sterling. They had a family of three children,--Omar E., Franklin and Wallace.
Mr. Fanning, the subject of this biographical outline, was born in Oxford, Chenango Co., N.Y., Feb. 2, 1829, received a common-school education, in Broome Co., N.Y., and lived there till he was 22 years of age. He then came to Whiteside County, in August, 1851, and engaged as a clerk for Joel Harvey at Empire. He was in his employment about three years at that time. He then engaged in carriage and wagon making at Empire, having learned that trade in Broome Co., N.Y., where he served an apprenticeship of about one and a half years. He continued in that vocation at Empire, about two and a half years, when he sold that business and bought a half interest in the mercantile establishment at Empire, with Joel Harvey, and the company was known as Harvey & Fanning. They continued together about three years, when Mr. Fanning sold out his interest to Mr. Harvey. In the spring of 1860 he rented a farm in Hopkins Township, which he carried on one season, and in the meantime he purchased 40 acres on section 14, which he afterwards sold. He has been engaged in farming since 1860, with the exception of four years, during which time he has bought and sold various tracts of land. He is now owner of 160 acres in Hopkins Township, all of which is tillable.
Mr. Fanning was first married in Round Grove, Hopkins Township, in March, 1855, to Miss Louisa Simonson, daughter of Frederick and Sabrina (Harvey) Simonson, who were natives of the State of New York. Mrs. F. was born in Tioga Co., N.Y., and died in Hopkins Township, Nov. 8, 1868. Mr. F. was again married Nov. 22, 1870, to Mary J., daughter of John and Mary A. (Stackhouse) Lefferts, natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Whiteside County in the spring of 1855 and settled in Hopkins Township, where they lived till their death. He died March 8, 1870, and she April 29, 1884. They had a family of six children,--Mary J., Carried E., Anna J., Sarah E., Charles H. and Susanna. Mary J, (now Mrs. F.) was born in Newtown, Pa., Aug. 20, 1840, and came to Whiteside County when about 15 years old, with her parents. She taught school a number of years, commencing in 1859, in Hopkins Township. Mr. and Mrs. F. are the parents of four children,--Phebe, Frank C., Jessie and Omar A.
Mr. Fanning was an active member of the Patrons of Husbandry, having been Secretary of the State organization four years. He has held many of the township offices, as Commissioner of Highways one term, Collector two years, Township Assessor 12 years, Township Trustee, etc. In politics he is identified with the Republican party and its interests.