3 Jan 2008
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, 1855, Chapman Bros.
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin, Tampico Area Historical Society
Stephen SHERWOOD, farmer, section 35, Genesee Township, is prominently identified with the agricultural interests of Whiteside County. He was born Aug. 7, 1801, in Peekskill, Westchester Co., N.Y. He represents prominent and honorable families in both lines of descent, his father, Caleb SHERWOOD, and his mother, who was Phebe OAKLEY, having belonged to families who came to this country prior to the organizations of the Government, and their ancestors were personally interested in the stirring events that resulted in the independence of the colonies. They were also represented in the War of 112, and the later generations sustained the repute of their ancestral valor in the War of the Rebellion. Van Wert and Paukling, two of the captors of Major Andre, during the War of the Revolution, were cousins of Caleb SHERWOOD. Two uncles of his wife were participants in the second war with Great Britain.
There were six children in the family to which Mr. SHERWOOD belonged, and he was seven years of age when his father died. A few years after that event eh went to the city of New York, where he went t school until he was 16 years of age. He then engaged in the Hudson River service, in the capacity of a cabin-boy, where he was occupied some years. He became later a sailor on the “Mary Augustus,” a merchant vessel in the West India trade, Captain Miller, and he was on the ocean about 18 months. He then resumed his operations on the North River, where he was engaged until he came of age. In 1822 he became a clerk in a wholesale grocery in the city of New York, where he was occupied some years. He was a Whig of enthusiastic proclivities, and did excellent service in the Presidential election of 1840 when, by his own exertions, he secured the 17th ward in the city, which was notoriously Democratic, for his party. In 1841 the value of his efforts received due recognition, and he was appointed a clerk in the post office of that city, and he continued in the position through the administrations of Harrison, Tyler and Polk.
In 1852 he came West. He settled in Whiteside County, locating 160 acres of land on section 35 of Genesee Township, of which he took possession in 1853. It has since been his permanent home. Everything surrounding him was in the most primitive condition. The county was still, much of it, unsettled, and the city-bred man, who abandoned the most advanced metropolis on this continent to struggle with an unbroken prairie farm, experienced all the novelties of the situation, which, treated after the homely old fashion, would appear as homesickness. But Mr. SHERWOOD conquered his discontent and identified himself with the element that was putting forth every effort to further the progress of Whiteside County. On his farm no improvements had been made, and he drew the lumber for his small house many miles. His estate now contains 245 acres, and is all under cultivation.
The first marriage of Mr. SHERWOOD, to Caroline CHASE, occurred in the city of New York. She was born in Boston, June 30, 1812, and went at the age of 18 years to the city of New York. She died in Genesee Township, July 4, 1854. Of five children of whom she became the mother only one is living, Caroline A. She is a widow, and lives at Dixon, Ill. The names of their deceased were Eliza E., Stephen M., Maria L. and William H. Her parents were natives of Massachusetts, and her father was interested in the woolen industry of that State. Mr. SHERWOOD was again married May 31, 1855, at Sterling, by the Rev. Mr. STEBBINS of the Presbyterian Church, to Marena C. Harrison, daughter of Mark and Mary (TAYLOR) HARRISON, of whom a sketch is given in connection with that of her brother, James H. HARRISON. She was born in Putnam County, Ill., and was but five years of age when her parents settled in Whiteside County, becoming pioneers and representatives of the period of first things in Genesee Township. Mr. and Mrs. SHERWOOD have had 10 children: Fanny E., married Fayette BERBECK; he was born in Wisconsin, and died Oct. 2, 1823, in Cambridge, Cowley Co., Kan., leaving two children F. Guy and Clarence; Emma R. married William BUSH, and lives in Barton Co., Dan.; Gilbert is deceased; Phebe married Edward KNOX; Elnora, Benjamin F., Charles J., Clara B., Asa K. and Arthur C. still reside at home.
Mr. SHERWOOD is a Democrat, and is still an adherent to the principles which controlled his actions when he attained his political freedom. He cast his first Presidential vote for Henry CLAY.