Capt. George B. Stanchfield


Capt. George B. Stanchfield, an aged and respected resident of Nora village, after the labors of a long and busy life is now living quite retired, although enjoying the acquaintance of hosts of friends whom he has made during his sojourn in this county. A New Englander by birth and ancestry, he was born in the town of Livermore, Oxford Co., Me., Feb. 3, 1809, and was the eldest in a family of five children, the offspring of William and Sally (Canwell) Stanchfield, who were also of New England birth and parentage. The paternal grandfather, Roger Stanchfield, was a farmer by occupation, and spent his entire life among his native haunts in the Pine Tree State.

The parents of our subject emigrated to Minnesota about 1854, where they located in Minneapolis, and where they spent the remainder of their lives - the father engaged in farming. Two of their children are living - one in Minneapolis. George B. grew to manhood in his native county, and as soon as old enough to labor assisted his father in farming, and later engaged in lumbering. He left the parental roof in the fall of 1844, emigrating to Boone County, Ill., with his wife and six children. The journey to Boston was made on a steamboat, thence by rail to Albany, thence to Buffalo by canal, and from that point to Chicago by the steam propeller, "Missouri." At this latter point he hired a man with a team to convey himself and family to Belvidere, Ill., where they arrived about the last of November. Mr. Stanchfield, from that time until September following, employed himself at whatever he could find to do, then resolved to strike out farther westward and endeavor to secure a homestead.

Coming now to this county Mr. Stanchfield made a claim of 160 acres in what is now Nora Township, and which he still occupies. He was the first settler on the present site of Nora village. He purchased a small frame house which he hauled to his claim and which he occupied with his family until erecting the present dwelling. After a few years he divided up a portion of his land into city lots, which he sold to good advantage and has now about 130 acres remaining. Since coming to this county he has given his entire attention to agriculture with the exception of two winters, when he was logging in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He was the pioneer in this business, cutting the first logs which were sawed at St. Anthony's Falls.

At the age of twenty-four years our subject was elected and commissioned as Captain of the State Militia at Milo, Me., which commission he held for six years, and has since been familiarly known by his old military title. He was a man who always interested himself in thc prosperity and progress of his community, and held the minor offices, officiating as Township Supervisor one term, and was Postmaster of Nora from eight to ten years, having occupied this office as its second incumbent. He was the first President of the Village Board; and, during the early days, a leader in many of the

enterprises set on foot for the advancement of the people.

Capt. Stanchfield, while a resident of his native State, was married, at Freedom, near Belfast, Waldo County, about 1831, to Miss Abigail Westcott. This lady was born in the town of Cornish, Me., April 30, 1806, and they traveled thc journey of life together, sharing its joys and sorrows from that time until the death of the devoted wife and mother, which took place March 10, 1882, at their home in Nora Township. The seven children born of this union are recorded as follows: Reuel W. is a carpenter by trade, and a resident of Nora; George H., during the late Civil War, enlisted in a regiment of Illinois Infantry, went with his command to the front, and was captured by the rebels and taken to Andersonville prison, where he died; Julia A. was taken from the home circle in 1853, when an interesting maiden of eighteen years; James M. is occupied as a carpenter in Nora village; Lorinda became the wife of Henry Lawrence, and died in Nora in 1863; Sarah F. died at the homestead in 1847, when a little child of two years; Theresa became the wife of William Hughes, and died in Nora in 1868.

Mr. Stanchfield cast his first Presidential vote for Jackson; and for lo! these many years has been an uncompromising supporter of Democratic principles. His kindly face has become known to a large proportion of the people of this county, and by whom he is accorded that tacit reverence and respect extended to few. His has been an experience rich with many events and changes, and no man has watched with warmer interest the growth and development of one of the richest sections of the United States. Although not making any very great stir in the world, his upright life and fidelity to duty have created for him a name and a record which will live in the hearts of the people long after he has departed hence.

Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)