The world instinctively pays deference to the man whose success has been gained through his own efforts and whose methods have ever been such as will bear close investigation and scrutiny. Such has been the record of Colonel Charles Bogardus, one of the most prominent and influential citizens of Ford county. The progenitor of the different branches of the Bogardus family in America was Everardus Bogardus, a Dutch Reform clergyman, who emigrated from Holland to New Amsterdam (now New York city,) in 1633, and was the second minister in that city, residing on what is now Broad street. In 1638 he married Annetje, widow of Roelof Jansen, (her name was corrupted later into Anneke Jans,) who had obtained a grant of sixty-two acres of land, (she being a relative of King William and Mary,) in what is now the center of New York city. This farm, long known as "Dominie's Bowery," in time became vested in Trinity church by unfair means and caused continuous litigation until about the middle of the nineteenth century. He is the only one of the name that has come to this country.
Colonel Bogardus is a lineal descendant of the above clergyman and is a son of James H. and Louisa M. Bogardus. He was born in Cayuga county, New York, March 28, 1841, and when but little over six years of age was left an orphan, both parents being taken away by an epidemic. He was taken by an uncle, W. H. Bogardus, who gave him common-school advantages until he was about twelve years of age, at which time young Charles entered a grocery store as clerk at a salary of a dollar and a half per week. This position he held for nearly four years, receiving increase in salary from time to time. His earnings were paid every Saturday night to the uncle, who, without the boy's knowledge, invested the same for him and subsequently offered to turn all over to him, notwithstanding his uncle was a poor man. But the boy, although only eighteen years of age, declined the offer and the money with thanks.
When in his sixteenth year he went to Ridgeway, New York, to accept a clerkship in the store of another uncle at eight dollars per month and board. He was rapidly advanced in position and salary, becoming head clerk before he was nineteen.
Early in August, 1862, Colonel Bogardus, having just attained his majority, enlisted for the war in Company A, One Hundred and Fifty-first New York Infantry. But before going to the field he was united in marriage, on the 17th of August, 1862, to Miss Hannah W., daughter of William H. Pells, both of whom are mentioned on other pages of this volume. On the organization of the company, August 13, 1862, Colonel Bogardus was elected first Lieutenant; was promoted to the rank of captain of Company I, December 12, 1862; to lieutenant colonel December 10, 1864; and was breveted colonel by order of the president of the United States "for gallant and meritorious services in the charge in front of Petersburg, Virginia, April 2, 1865." The letter from the governor of New York accompanying the commission states the reason for granting the commission and reads as follows:
"Colonel, I have the pleasure to transmit herewith a brevet commission conferred by the president, in recognition of your faithful and distinguished services in the war. I feel a just pride in this acknowledgment of the gallantry and devotion of an officer of this state, which serves to heighten the reputation won by the valor and constancy of the soldiers of New York.

Very truly yours,
R. E. FENTON, Governor."
Colonel Bogardus was twice wounded in the battle of Monocacy, Maryland, July 9, 1864, an engagement comparatively insignificant in itself but important in its results, about three thousand Union troops by the skillful management of General Lew Wallace, held in check nearly six times their number for twenty-four hours, thus giving General Grant barely time to move the first and second divisions of the Sixth Army Corps from City Point, Virginia, to Washington, arriving there just as the Confederate General Early appeared in front of the outer defenses of Washington. Had that heroic little band of boys in blue given way, the Capital City must have fallen a prey to the enemy. In the battle of the Wilderness the Sixth Corps to which Colonel Bogardus belonged, was on the extreme right and all remember what a desperate effort Lee made to crush that part of Grant's army; next followed in rapid succession the battles of Spottsylvania, Tolopotomy and Cold Harbor, (in the latter battle his regiment lost five captains and the young, then Captain Bogardus came out of this battle acting as lieutenant colonel, all officers above him in rank but one having been shot,) Mine Run, Petersburg, Sailors Creek, Appomatox, or Lee's surrender, and the other battles and skirmishes in which he was engaged will ever be remembered, as experiences in our subject's army life.
When getting ready for the battle of Petersburg, the Colonel's orderly, Johnny Byron, packed one pocket of the colonel's overcoat, tightly with hard tack, when putting it on, discovering it, told the orderly to take them out. Byron begged him to leave them in saying it might be a long time before he could get anything else to eat. He was very fond of Byron and to please him let them remain. Later a confederate sharp-shooter's bullet was deflected by the hard-tack just enough to save his hip and perhaps his life, making a very severe bruise and lameness, but the hip was saved.
At the battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864, Colonel Bogardus was so severely wounded that he could not endure to be transferred by ambulance, hence was carried three miles on a stretcher to the hospital at Frederick City, Maryland. Had his injuries been less he would have been sent to Richmond or to Libby prison. Frederick City soon fell into the hands of the Union troops again, and he was transferred, about three months after, when able to travel, to the officers' hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, where he regained his strength sufficiently to come home on crutches and cast his first presidential vote for Lincoln. As soon as he could get about by the use of a cane he returned to his command and served until he was mustered out on the 26th of June, 1865. A striking illustration of the wonderful transforming power of ideas on the lives and actions of men is given in the case of Colonel Bogardus and his maternal grandfather. The latter owned and worked slaves in New York state before they were manumitted — the former risked his own life for their freedom, and today the negro accounts the Colonel one of his warmest friends. In 1885 he was appointed colonel and aide-de-camp by Governor Oglesby, and was reappointed in 1889 by Governor Fifer, holding the two positions eight years.
When hostilities had ceased Colonel Bogardus returned to Ridgeway, New York, where he became a partner of his old employer, A. V. Pells, (to whom he feels he owes much of his success,) in the mercantile business, continuing until failing health, the effect of his wound, compelled him to quit mercantile pursuits. In April, 1872, he became a resident of Paxton and has since been prominently identified with its best interests, as well as those of the surrounding country. The varied and extensive business interests he successfully conducts prove him to be a man of broad comprehension and of fine executive ability. Besides doing a large real-estate and loan business he is extensively interested in stock-raising and farming, owning several thousand acres of valuable farming land in Illinois. He was president of the Ninth Congressional District Farmers' Institute from its organization. It grew to be one of the largest in the state. Democratic reapportionment destroyed it geographically, thus ending it after years of success. He was one of the organizers of the Paxton Brick & Tile Company, of which he was a director and part owner for twenty-one years, and was one of the incorporators of the Paxton Canning Company, another substantial concern. He sold his interest in both these companies some years ago. He was one of the incorporators and the first president of the Paxton Building, Loan and Savings Association and has been reelected twenty-five times, now serving his twenty-sixth year.
Upon the death of Mrs. Bogardus' father, she and her brother inherited among other properties a large tract of timber land in northern Michigan, later on the death of her brother, November, 1899, his interests became hers also. In the spring of 1900, at her request, he went to Michigan to look over the properties for her, getting up from a sick bed to do so; he spent the summer getting well and studying the properties and in the fall founded the first mill for the manufacture of shingles, next a sawmill, later a planing-mill, another sawmill, lath-mills were added, in the meantime he had located Tindle & Jackson, the largest manufacturers of slack cooperage, broom handles and hoops in the world. An extensive turning works was recently started, which with other matters has made Pellston jump from one child in the public school when he and his wife arrived there, and a population of three or four families, until today Pellston has a school census of three hundred and eighty-seven, and a total population of between eighteen hundred and nineteen hundred. Has a village organization, fire department, system of water works, shade trees on each side of every street, fine park, and is already quite a pretentious young city, still rapidly growing, and has changed under his short administration from the smallest hamlet and postofifice to the second largest in the county.
He is president of the Bogardus Land & Lumber Company, is interested in the Pellston Light & Power Company, in the Pellston Planing Mills and the Pellston Turning & Manufacturing Company. In all of his business interests he has been assisted by his estimable wife, a lady of good business ability and keen discrimination. Colonel Bogardus and his wife have donated fourteen hundred and forty-one acres to the University of Michigan for the purpose of establishing a summer school for the engineering department of that university. The land is valuable and the gift is one of the most generous ever made in that state. The regents have named it the "Bogardus Engineering Camp of the University of Michigan," in honor of the donors.
In political affairs Colonel Bogardus has been a prominent and influencing factor. He has served two terms, 1884 to 1888, in the lower house of the state legislature, and at the close of his second term as representative, he was elected, in 1888, senator, was reelected to the senate in 1892 and again reelected in 1896, from the eighteenth senatorial district, serving as a member of the legislature for sixteen consecutive years. In the fifteen county and senatorial conventions before which he was a candidate for nomination for House and Senate, he received a unanimous vote in each case. One of his important bills, and the first to become a law on the subject in Illinois, is that compelling instruction in the public schools, in physiology and hygiene, with reference to the effects of alcoholic beverages, stimulants and narcotics on the human system. Another bill worthy of mention is that regulating the weight of flour, compelling full weights under severe penalties. The indigent soldiers' bill, the bill establishing a State Board of Pardons, and the bill to promote the education of children to prevent truancy, are among the valuable laws that bear his name. In the thirty-fourth general assembly he was one of the republican members who in that memorable senatorial contest, which lasted four months, succeeded in electing General John A. Logan to the senate of the United States. Subsequently the one hundred and three republicans who stood so firmly by the general, organized themselves into a society called the "Logan 103," of which Colonel Bogardus was secretary and treasurer from its organization until he declined to serve longer. In the thirty-fifth general assembly he was unanimously chosen chairman of the republican house caucus for the session. At each session he was appointed on some of the most important committees and held several important chairmanships. In 1895 he was chosen president pro tem by acclamation in the republican caucus — the highest place in the gift of the senate. In 1895, in the absence of the governor and lieutenant governor, he was constitutional governor of Illinois for some time. Strong and positive in his republicanism, his party fealty is not grounded on partisan prejudice, and he enjoys the respect and confidence of all his associates, irrespective of party. Of the great issues which divide the two parties, with their roots extending down to the very bed-rock of the foundation of the republic, he has the true statesman's grasp. Well grounded in the political maxims of the schools, he also studied the lessons of actual life, arriving at his conclusions as a result of what may be called his post-graduate studies in the school of affairs. Such men, whether in office or out, are the natural leaders of whichever party they may be identified with, especially in that movement toward higher politics which is common to both parties and which constitutes the most hopeful political sign of the period.
Colonel Bogardus has but one living child, Maria L., wife of Oscar R. Zipf, an attorney of Freeport, Illinois. He has four grandsons: Oscar Robert, Charles B., George K. and Theodore F. He lost his only son, Edgar A., in 1889, aged fifteen and one half years.
Our subject has also been interested in local politics, having for six years served as a member of the city council, and for nine years on the school board, of which he was president a part of that time. He was a trustee of Paxton Collegiate Institute for years. He maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades, is a member of Paxton Post, No. 387, of which he was the first commander. He is likewise a member of Paxton Lodge, No. 416, A. F. & A. M., Ford Chapter, No. 113, R. A. M., Mount Olivet Commandery, No. 38, K. T., Gibson Council, No. 72, R. & S. M., and Patton Lodge, No. 498, K. P. He and his wife attend the Presbyterian church, to the support of which they contribute liberally, giving generously to all church and charitable interests, as did also the daughter, who is gratefully remembered at Paxton for her exemplary character, her interest in church work, and particularly her successful career as teacher and superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday school when she was but a young miss herself. Her kindness of heart was well known among the less fortunate and their needs when known to her had quick attention, with always a wish on her part that only The Master, the recipients and herself should know.
The terms, progress and patriotism, might be considered the keynote of Colonel Bogardus' character, for throughout his career he has labored for the improvement of every line of business or public interest with which he has been associated, and at all times has been actuated by a fidelity to his country and her welfare. The difficulties which he had to encounter in his own business career have made him ever ready to extend a helping hand to young men who are starting out in life without capital as he did, to whom his business record should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement.

Extracted 19 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 1, pages 323-331.

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