McDonough ILGenWeb ILGenWeb

Stephen A. Hendee

HENDEE, Stephen A. — Few men have contributed so substantially to the commercial upbuilding of Bushnell and McDonough County during the past forty-six years as Stephen A. Hendee. At the present time the general store of Mr. Hendee is regarded as one of the business bulwarks of Bushnell, having been established there upon his arrival in 1860, and since conducted at times with the aid of various partners. Mr. Hendee also has been one of the foremost and most extensive promoters of the grain industry hereabouts, and for years has operated six elevators in different towns in the county. To a capacity for making money he has added the faculty of investing it wisely, and his possessions at present include his town home, a farm of 247 acres in Walnut Grove Township, and an interest in the banks of Adair and Roseville. On both sides of his family Mr. Hendee is descended from pioneers of the Atlantic coast, having been born in the historic town of Hartford, Conn., March 9, 1830. His father, Amasa Hendee, was born in Vermont, and his mother, Mary (Lock) Hendee, was a native of Rhode Island. Amasa Hendee was a mason by trade, and in the pursuit of his calling moved from Connecticut to New York, from the latter State to Ohio, and from Ohio to Illinois in 1838. Locating in the wilderness at Hackental's Bridge, on Spoon River, four miles south of Lewistown in Fulton County, he plied his trade in connection with farming for the balance of his active life, his death occurring in 1848 and that of his wife in 1873.

While helping to till his father's Fulton County farm, Stephen A. Hendee attended the early subscription schools at Hackental's Bridge, Duncanville, at the age of twelve years applying himself to a mastery of the miller's trade, which he followed until 1849. He then went to Lewistown and clerked in the general store of Joel Solomon, from whose employ he went to that of N. Beadles. The gold excitement which swept over the country during the middle of the last century struck a responsive chord in Mr. Hendee, and in the spring of 1852 he crossed the plains with an ox-team, at the end of six months arriving at the Hangtown mines, where he remained for two years. At the expiration of that time he came to the conclusion that mining was at best an uncertain business, and for a year was agent at the mines for the Wells-Fargo Express Comiiany. Returning to Lewistown, Ill., he bought out the stock of N. Beadles, and later lived and conducted stores in Marietta and Bardolph, Ill., coming to Bushnell, as heretofore stated, in 1860.

November 8, 1858, Mr. Hendee was united in marriage to Sally N. Gronendyke, a native of New Jersey, and daughter of Daniel and Adriana (Nevins) Gronendyke. Mrs. Hendee, whose death occurred September 9, 1893, was the mother of six children: Luem B., born in 1865, the wife of Clarence S. Clark; Adriana G., born in January, 1868, wife of F. E. Hicks; N. B., who married Winnie Smith; L. N., who is unmarried; Edward, who married Ada Lipe; and Fannie G., who is the wife of Albert Roach. Politically, Mr. Hendee is an independent voter, and with the exception of serving as President of the first Board of Aldermen of Bushnell, has never held office. He has been a member of many social and other organizations in which the town and county abound, and is prominently identified with the T. J. Pickett Lodge No. 301, A. F. & A. M., of Bushnell. He is a man of strict integrity, great capacity for industry, and unquestioned public spirit. His association with the town and county has been for its increasing betterment, and his business transactions give evidence of the most desirable and stable of human qualities.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 903-904, extracted 09 Mar 2019 by Norma Hass.

McDonough County ILGenWeb Copyright