BIOGRAPHY - James L. Saxton

JAMES L. SAXTON, a leading merchant of Gibson City, a dealer in dry-goods, carpets, boots and shoes, established business in that town on the 10th of April, 1875. He was born in the town of German, Chenango County, N. Y., August 13, 1847, and is a son of Henry and Serenia (Brown) Saxton, both natives of Massachusetts. His father was born March 12, 1814, and his mother's birth occurred December 24, 1816. Both are still living and make their home in Cincinnatus, Cortland County, N. Y.

When James L. was six years of age, he removed with his parents to Cincinnatus, where he received an academic education, after which he was engaged in teaching school until August, 1866, when he came to Illinois, and was employed as a merchant's clerk in Henry, Marshall County, for three years. He was next engaged in the same capacity in Mackinaw, Tazewell County, for a year and a half, after which he became an equal partner of his brother William, of that place, and there continued merchandising until March, 1875, when he came to Gibson City, starting his present business. He was quite successful, and has now an annual trade amounting to $40,000 and upwards. He is the oldest dry-goods merchant in the city in continuous years of business, and, since the beginning, his trade has rapidly increased.

On the 20th of June, 1871, Mr. Saxton married, in Henry, Marshall County, Ill., Miss Mary E. Whitney. The lady is a native of Fulton County, Ill., and is a daughter of John and Jane Whitney; the former, a native of Massachusetts, is now deceased. Her mother, who is still living, was born in Indiana, and is a resident of Gibson City.

In politics, Mr. Saxton affiliates with the Republican party, and he and his wife are consistent members of the First Presbyterian Church of Gibson, in which he holds the office of clerk. In Sunday-school work, Mr. Saxton takes an active interest and part, having been Superintendent eight years; President of the Ford County Sunday-school Association one term; Treasurer of the same three years; President of the Sixth District Sunday-school Association two terms.

In 1886, he removed to Owatonna, Minn., where for two years he carried on merchandising, and then returned to Gibson City and resumed business there. With the exception of the two years spent in Owatonna, he has been engaged in business in Gibson City continuously since 1875. Mr. Saxton carries a full and complete stock of goods in his line, is always up with the times in styles, and is one of the most popular and successful merchants in Ford County, where he is widely and favorably known. As a business man and citizen he stands deservedly high, and during his many years of business in Gibson has won the good opinion of the best people in the city and adjacent country, with whom he has had business or social relations.

Extracted 04 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 224-225.

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