Henry Clapsaddle, who for forty-six years has been a resident of De Kalb county, is now living a retired life in the village of Shabbona. He is a native of Herkimer county, New York, born January 1, 1827, and is the son of Dennis Clapsaddle, a native of the same state, born in 1774, and a grandson of Major Clapsaddle, who was a soldier in teh Revolutionary war, in which he held a major’s commission. The Clapsaddles are of German ancestry, the family being among the early settlers of New York. Dennis Clapsaddle grew to manhood in his native county and state, and there married Elizabeth Frank, also a native of Herkimer county, and a daughter of Squire Frank, of the same county and a soldier of the Revolutionary war. By occupation Dennis Clapsaddle was a farmer, and spent his entire life in agricultural pursuits in Herkimer county, dying there in 1842. His wife survived him some twenty years, dying in 1862. They were the parents of five sons and six daughters, all of whom grew to mature years and married, our subject and three sisters being the sole survivors.
In his native county Henry Clapsaddle spent his boyhood and youth on a farm, and there received a good common-school education. After his father’s death he remained with his mother on the old farm until after he attained his majority. In 1852 he came west to De Kalb county, Illinois, where he joined an older brother, Michael Clapsaddle, who located here about 1847. He had, however, come to De Kalb county two years previously and purchased a tract fo one hundred and twenty acres in Paw Paw township, after which he returned to New York. He was married February 26, 1852, in Herkimer county, New York, to Elizabeth N. Cross, a native of Herkimer county and a daughter of Peter and Ora (Ingraham) Cross.
Soon after his marriage Mr. Clapsaddle came to De Kalb county with his young bride, and made a permanent location on the farm which he had previously purchased. There was a log house on the place and in that they resided a few years while improvements were being made in the place. Later he built a good house and barn, made other improvements and there resided twelve years. In 1864 he sold that farm and purchased and improved one of two hundred acres in Shabbona township, which he further improved by the erection of a large and substantial residence, barns and other outbuildings, and upon that farm he resided for twenty-eight years. In 1891 he rented the farm and in 1892 moved to the village of Shabbona, where he purchased lots and built a fine residence, which has since been his home. He has since sold the farm to his son, but owns one of one hundred and seventy acres near Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, a well improved place. Mr and Mrs. Clapsaddle are the parents of three children, the first born, Dean, dying in childhood. H. J. now owns and operates the old home farm. He married Ella Lane of De Kalb county. Delos D. is now married, owns and operates a farm in Cerro Gordo county, Iowa. He married Mary Smith, of De Kalb county, and they have two children, Guy and Clare.
Politically Mr. Clapsaddle is a staunch Republican. Before the organization of that party he was a free soiler, and in 1848 voted for Martin Van Buren, the free soil candidate for president. On the organization of the Republican party, and on account of his liberty loving principles, he naturally drifted into it, and voted for its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, in 1856. He has never missed casting his vote for the presidential nominee of the party, from that time to the present. He has ever taken an active interest in local politics, and was first elected commissioner of highways in Paw Paw township, serving as such until his removal to Shabbona township. For eight consecutive years he served as supervisor of Shabbona township, a portion of which time he served as chairman of the committee on public printing, and was on various other committees. He also served as township trustee of Paw Paw, and has filled the same office in Shabbona township. In various conventions of his party he usually serves as a delegate.
Mr. and Mrs. Clapsaddle are members of the Congregational church in Shabbona, and he is a member of the official board, serving as trustee and deacon. Mrs. Clapsaddle is an active worker in the different church societies. Fraternally he is a Mason, first holding membership in the lodge at Paw Paw, into which he was initiated about 1859. He is a charter member of the Blue lodge at Shabbona, and has served through all the chairs and has also represented his lodge in the grand lodge of the state. In whatever position he may be found every duty is faithfully discharged. He is a man greatly esteemed in the community where he has long resided, and his friends are many throughout the county. [The Biographical Record of De Kalb County Illinois, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago 1898, p.191-192.]
Submitted by Terry Todd