BIOGRAPHY - Dekalb Denman

DR. DEKALB DENMAN is one of the well-known contractors and builders of Paxton, and his handiwork may be seen in many of the principal buildings of this city. The life record of this gentleman is as follows: He was born in Montgomery County, Ind., February 4, 1842, and was one of a family of six sons and four daughters who grew to mature years, but one son and two daughters are now deceased. The father, A. J. Denman, was born in Ohio, April 20, 1811, and in 1829 accompanied his father, William Denman, to La Fayette, Ind., where the grandfather settled with his family. About three years later, he removed to Montgomery County, becoming one of its pioneer settlers, and in its development aided largely. He had served his country in the War of 1812.

A. J. Denman acquired a good education and in his younger life suceessfully engaged in teaching school for a time. In Montgomery County, Ind., he married Nancy Smith, who was a native of Ohio, but spent the days of her maidenhood in Indiana, whither she came with her father, Samuel Smith, who was born in Virginia. They began their domestic life upon a farm in Montgomery County, where they resided until 1852, .when they removed to Fountain County, where Mr. Denman is still living, a hale and hearty old gentleman of eighty-one years. His eldest son carries on the farm. The death of his wife occurred December 31, 1888.

The educational privileges which our subject received were only those afforded by the common schools. The days of his boyhood and youth were passed upon his father's farm, but, wishing to follow some other pursuit beside that of agriculture, he served a four-years' apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade in Montgomery County. He was united in marriage in this county on the 11th of February, 1869, to Elvira Lytle, a native of Montgomery County, Ind., and a daughter of Seth Lytle, who was born in Ohio, but when a young man went to the Hoosier State. He was there married and for some time resided in Montgomery County, but afterward became one of the honored pioneers of Ford County of 1859. He located on a farm near the city but is now residing in Paxton.

After his marriage, Mr. Denman returned to Indiana, where he worked at his trade for two years and then became a resident of Paxton. Since 1876, he has engaged in contracting and building, and has done an excellent business which is constantly increasing. He has built a large number of the residences and business houses of the city and also has been employed largely throughout the surrounding country. He employs on an average about eight hands. As he always does his work in a satisfactory manner and is known to be a straightforward, honorable business man, he receives the liberal patronage of which he is so deserving.

Mr. and Mrs. Denman have four children: Aimer, who graduated from the Paxton Collegiate Institute, is now station-agent on the Wisconsin Central Railroad at Franklin Park, a suburb of Chicago; Eva, Clarence and Amy. They also lost three children: Ernest, who died at the age of eight years; Delbert, who died at the age of sixteen months; and Gussie, who died at the age of two years.

Mr. and Mrs. Denman hold membership with the First Congregational Church of Paxton. He formerly exercised his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, and, on account of his views concerning the temperance question, is now a Prohibitionist. He has never been an office-seeker, but has served as Alderman of the city in an efficient manner. Mr. Denman commenced life a poor man, with his own way to make in the world. There were many hardships in his path and many difficulties to overcome, but by perseverance and determination he has worked his way upward to success and is now in comfortable circumstances. He has the best interests of the city at heart and is held in high regard by those with whom he has been brought in contact.

Extracted 04 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 229-230.

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