William Todd, who is engaged in general farming in Shabbona township, was born in Wales in 1847. His father, Owen Todd, was also a native of that rock-ribbed country and in 1847 he came to the United States, settling in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, near Mauchchunk. He was a coal miner for five years and followed that pursuit in the Keystone state. In 1852 he came to Illinois, settling on section 28, Shabbona township, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of good land. Though his educational advantages were limited, he was a man of good business capacity and prospered in his undertakings. Attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he made his way to that state in 1849 and began the search for the precious metal in the mines of the far west. Becoming ill with Panama fever, he returned to Illinois at the end of a year, having but little more capital than that with which he had started out. He retired from the farm in 1886 and took up his abode in Shabbona, his last days being spent at the home of his son. In his farming operations he was active and energetic, carefully cultivating the fields and securing thereby good harvests annually. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, in the work of which he took an active part. In politics he was a republican, becoming a naturalized American citizen in Pennsylvania, and from that time forward he was most devoted to the interests of his adopted country. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Ann Morgan, was born in Wales and died in 1881, on the seventy-eighth anniversary of his birth, while Mr. Todd passed away in 1891, at the age of, eighty-four years. She was also a member of the Methodist church and was a worthy Christian woman.
They had thirteen children but all of them have now passed away with the exception of William Todd of this review. The three oldest children were born in Wales and the others in this country. Owen Todd, Jr., a brother of our subject, served as a soldier in the Civil war. He enlisted at Shabbona Grove in 1861 in the Fifty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry as a member of Company C and served for three years and two months. He was mustered out at Savannah, Georgia, after having experienced all the rigors and hardships of war. He was with Sherman for some time and the first battle in which he participated was at Fort Donelson. He was in many other engagements under the intrepid Sherman including the famous march to the sea. At Corinth, Mississippi, he was taken prisoner and was imprisoned at Belle Isle, at Richmond, Virginia, for eight months at the end of which time he was paroled. In the mean-time he had been ill in the hospital and that he suffered all the hardships of southern prison life is indicated by the fact that he weighed one hundred and forty pounds when captured and when released weighed only ninety-two pounds.
William Todd, whose name introduces this record, obtained his education in the district schools of Shabbona township and was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the work of plowing, planting and harvesting. He began farming for himself in 1871 in Shabbona township upon a tract of land which he rented. After a year be bought sixty acres of land on section 32, Shabbona township. where he is still living. In addition to this place, he owns one hundred and sixty acres on section 28 of the same township. He carries on general farming, raising the cereals best adapted to the soil and climate, and he also raises cattle, being a breeder of Herefords. His business interests have been carefully conducted and have brought him a large measure of success, his holdings now comprising three hundred and forty acres.
In 1871 Mr. Todd was married to Augusta Baltz, who was born in Germany in July of 1863 and who is the daughter of Henry and Nellie Baltz, both of whom were natives of Germany. They came to the United States in 1855 and settled in Du Page county. The father was a woolen worker by trade and he died in Du Page county in 1856 while his wife passed away in DeKalb county. They were the parents of eight children, of whom Mrs. Todd was the seventh in order of birth. By her marriage she became the mother of eight children: Robert, who is farming in Paw Paw township; David D., a resident of Shabbona township; Mary, the wife of Wid Kittle, a resident of the village of Shabbona; Edward, who is a telegraph operator at Sandwich; John and Will, who are attending school; and Anna and Estelle, who are also attending school. There are also twelve grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Todd are consistent and faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. Todd is an ardent republican giving unwavering support to the principles of his party. Fraternally he is connected with the Aurora lodge, Knights of Pythias, and with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Almost his entire life has been spent in this country where he has now resided for more than half a century. He has witnessed many changes as the work of improvement and progress has been carried forward and as the years have gone by he has borne his full share in the task of developing the county, supporting its principal public enterprises. In his business life he has been reliable, diligent and persevering and as a result of these qualities has met with prosperity. [Ref: Gross, Lewis M., “Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois,” Vol, I, p 267-8, (The Pioneer Publishing Co., Chicago, 1907).]
Submitted by Terry Todd