BIOGRAPHY - Augustus Laurence

AUGUSTUS J. LAURENCE, mayor of the city of Paxton, has resided in that city since his emigration in 1869. His father Johan Nilsson, who combined the farmer's occupation with the carpenter's trade, lived in the little town of Grenna, Sweden, where his son, Augustus Laurence, was born Dec. 12, 1849. After his arrival in Paxton he substituted the given name, Laurence, for that of Johnson to avoid confusion. Having reached the age of twenty before coming to America he naturally had enjoyed a common school education in the old country. This was supplemented by two years of study at Augustana College, then located at Paxton.
In 1875 Mr. Laurence engaged in the dry goods, carpet and shoe business and can now look back upon a successful career of more than a quarter century as one of the leading business men of Paxton.
Having been united in marriage May 28, 1878, to Jennie W. Egnell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. N. G. Egnell of Paxton, Mr. Laurence has a family of four sons and one daughter, viz., Austin Evald, Elmer Theodore, Agnes Ottilia, Victor Emanuel and Albert Fredrick. One daughter is deceased.
Mr. Laurence is a devoted member of the local Swedish Lutheran Church, which he has given many years of service, having been secretary of the congregation for twenty-seven years, of the church council for sixteen years and a member of the board of deacons for twenty-five years.
For a number of years he has been a director of the Young Men's Christian Association of Ford county and was reelected in January, 1907, for three years as a director in the Scandia Life Insurance Company of Chicago. He has served as supervisor of Ford county for ten years. He is a director in the Paxton Chautauqua Association, and a member of the Paxton Club and of the Paxton Retail Association.
In recognition of his sterling citizenship the citizens of Paxton finally conferred upon Mr. Laurence the highest honor within their gift by electing him to the mayoralty. This office he has filled for the past two years.

Extracted 28 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from History of Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908, Volume 2, pages 188-189.

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