John Wesley LONGDON

John Wesley Longdon was born at St. Claire, Schuylkill Co., PA, on the 29th day of January 1841, and died at Newton, New Jersey, June 8, 1913. His early years were spent in Belleville, Illinois, where his father, John Longdon, was engaged as a coal miner.

When he grew to manhood, he came to Council Hill, Ill. and found employment with his uncle Rev. William Birkbeck who was then the proprietor of a general store in that village. While thus employed, he was married to Sarah A. Hodson, a sister of Thomas H. and William T. Hodson, attorneys of this city, on the 30th day of September, 1864. He then formed a partnership with his said uncle, and conducted a grocery store in the city of Galena.

He subsequently purchased his partnerís interest and conducted his business alone, until the Narrow Gauge railroad was built; when this road was completed he was one of its first engineers to drive an engine over its narrow, crooked paths. A few years later he was engaged as bookkeeper and salesman in the wholesale house of Richard Barrett, and continued at this employment up to the time he removed from Galena.

The later years of his life were spent with his son Charles, who is the patentee of a sensitised paper, used by photographers in making photographs all over the world known as the "dry plate process". There with his affectionate wife and son he struggled for two years with a diseased heart and finally fell into that long last earthly sleep, beloved and honored by his many friends and relatives.

He was never known to do an intentional wrong to any one; courteous and kind to all alike, he seemed to have a natural faculty of scattering sunshine wherever he went and his life has made the world better and brighter. He leaves to mourn his death as near relatives, a brother, Benjamin [Cyrus] Longdon [of San Jose, CA]; and his beloved wife, Sarah A. Longdon, and the following children: Charles, of Newton, N.J.; Mrs. George Keller [Mae], of Chicago; Mrs. Dr. William A. Stephenson [Elizabeth], Galena; Mrs. John A. Forrest [Alice Josephine], Dixon, IL. Intermant will be made in Newton, N.J.

[NOTES: John W. Longdon is buried at Greenwood Cemetery, W. Galena Twp, along with his wife Sarah Alvina Hodson Longdon (died 21 June 1914); his son Charles Longdon (died 7 June 1916, Chicago, IL); his daughter Elizabeth Longdon Stephenson (died 18 Feb 1946, Dubuque, IA); and his son-in-law Dr. William Allman Stephenson (died 23 Oct 1935, Galena, IL). John W. Longdon was the son of John Longdon and Sarah Eastwood who emigrated to the U.S. from England. His siblings were Charles Longdon; Anna (Henry) Thornbury of Belleville, IL; Benjamin Cyrus Longdon of an Jose, CA; Henry Atkinson Longdon; Mary E. Longdon; Theophilus Longdon and Emma Longdon. John was the grandson of John Eastwood and Elizabeth Ann Atkinson of Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, England.]

Galena Daily Gazette, June 10, 1913


Submitted by Allyson Tilton