Obadiah Breed, one of the oldest settlers in Elizabeth Township, did good service as a pioneer of Jo Daviess County, actively assisting in the development of its mining and agricultural interests, is now enjoying the fruits of his early labors in his pleasant home, finely located on section 3, on one of the best-improved farms in the township.
Our subject was born in the State of New York, in Otsego County, Sept. 15, 1815, and was a son of Obadiah and Lucy (Cole) Breed, also natives of New York. His grandfather Breed was a gallant soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving in the Continental Army from the opening battle until the close of hostilities. The Breed family in this country originated from two brothers who settled in Boston in Colonial times, both taking an active part in the Revolution, and Breed's Hill, now known as Bunker Hill, was named for them. The father of our subjecttook part in the War of 1812, doing a brave service for his country. He settled in Otsego County with his parents when quite a young man, and he there married and became the father of nine childern, five of whom are living, namely: Obadiah, Amos, Charles, Electra, and Bradley.
Obadiah Breed, of who we write, was reared on his father's farm in his native county, received but limited school advantages, but his naturaly quick intellect and keen perceptive faculties amply made up in after years for his early educational deficiencies, as he has always been a close and studious reader, and also by observation has learned much that has escaped men of superior education. He remained at home until after he attained his majority, but the spring of 1837 finds him pushing westward to try pioneer life in Northwestern Illinois. After his arrival here he pre-empted the land comprising a part of his present farm, paying $1.25 an acre for a 160-acre tract, raw prairie and timber-land, with not a furrow turned or any improvement on it. The first seven years of his residence here he devoted himself to mining exclusively. At the expiration of that time he turned his attention to farming his land and building up a home here on section 3. He has been more than ordinarily successful in the prosecution of his vocation, and, besides making valuable improvements on his original purchase, has bought more land, until he now owns a splendid farm of 400 acres, all in a body, and all well-fenced. There are many traces of the aboriginal settlers of the country on his place, and our subject has often found Indian relics here, such as stone axes, arrow-heads, etc., and it has been proved that the Indians had a furnace here for the purpose of melting lead, which they fashioned into rude dishes.
July 23, 1844, was the date of an important event in the life of our subject, for on that day he was united in marriage with Miss Mary A. Cook, and for forty-five years they have traveled the journey of life together, and to her capable assistance he is greatly indebted for his present prosperous circumstances. They have had thirteen children, eleven of whom are living: Dovica, the widow of J.C. Lee, lives in Elizabeth; Melinda is the wife of Joseph Hancock, of Elizabeth Township; Annie is the wife of George Holland, of Kansas; Harriet is the wife of Edward Howard, of Elizabeth Township; Vesta is at home with her parents; William is in Montana; Nelson is in Kansas; Lucy is the wife of Nicholas Reed, of Montana; Mary, deceased; Lincoln lives in Elizabeth Township; Florence is the wife of Arbor Buser, of Wisconsin; Olive is the wife of Henry Balback, of Elizabeth Township; Ansell, deceased.
Mrs. Breed is a native of Cheshire, England, Feb. 26, 1826, being the date of her birth. She is a daughter of William and Ann Cook, natives of England, who, when she was about eleven years old, came to America. They came directly to Jo Daviess County in the spring of 1837, and, settling in Elizabeth Township, remained there until death called them hence. They were highly respected people, and were among the pioneers of this county. They were the parents of ten children, of whom the following survive: Sarah, Nancy, Mary A., Henry, James, and William.
Our subject has been an important factor in building up this section of the State of Illinois, and has, perhaps, performed as much pioneer labor as any man in the county who has been here the same length of time. He has been an influence for good in this community during his more than fifty years' residence here, and he, and his wife also, are universally respected. They are members in good standing of the Baptist Church, and are among its most zealous and liberal supporters. Mr. Breed has served as Assessor of the township, and he never fails to second all schemes for its improvement or for the benefit of the county at large. He is a man of broad views, and is naturally independent in politics, not caring to be bound by any party. His portrait adds value to this Album of a county he had so much toward developing.
Source: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess County, ILL", Chapman Bros., Chicago, 1889, p653-4.