Biography of Isaac Divan

Isaac Divan when a small boy fought for the preservation of the Union, some years later came to this part of Illinois, built a home and developed a farm, and for the past nine years has enjoyed the comforts of retirement in his pleasant and attractive home at Ogden.

Mr. Divan was born in Licking County, Ohio, September 26, 1848, son of Jacob and Ellen (Jones) Divan. His father was a native of Pennsylvania. There were nine children, six daughters and three sons, in the family, all of whom received their education in the primitive district schools of Licking County. There were no such opportunities for an education open to the boys of that day as at present, and Mr. Divan recalls the scantily furnished log buildings in which he learned his early lessons. When he was seven years of age his father was killed by a falling tree and at an early age he had to assume responsibilities in advance of his years.

He was not yet thirteen when the war broke out between the North and the South, and as the war progressed he found himself unable to restrain his enthusiasm and passion for his country, and with about eighteen other boys went to Newark, Ohio, and became members of Company L in the First Regiment of United States Engineers. This regiment was sent to relieve some of the veteran troops whose time had expired. They recruited and disciplined at Todd’s Barracks in Columbus, were sent to Chattanooga, did garrison duty and other work in Tennessee, and after five months of active service Mr. Divan was mustered out at Nashville, and received his honorable discharge.

In the meantime his mother and family had moved to Indiana, and he joined them at Logansport in Cass County. He was there two years, and in the fall of 1867 his family made another stage in the western migration, moving from Cass County, Indiana, to Vermilion County, Illinois, and settling on a rented farm. Isaac had then to take active control of the farm, since his brothers and sisters had left home for themselves. His mother kept house for him from 1867 until his marriage in 1878.

At that date Mr. Divan laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Anna Rutledge. She was born near Danville, Illinois, daughter of William and Charlotte (McVicker) Rutledge, her father a native of Kentucky and her mother of Virginia. Both of them were brought to Illinois when children by their respective parents, and they grew up and married in Vermilion County.

Mr. and Mrs. Divan after their marriage located near Burr Oak Grove in Vermilion County, where he bought eighty acres of land at $9.70 per acre. In that locality he kept his home for seven years, when he came to Champaign County and has since been a resident of Ogden Township. In the Vermilion County location he showed his best efforts as a farmer and the passing years brought him success until he had a finely developed farm of 100 acres. He had eighty acres in Vermilion County and 100 acres in Champaign County. He improved his land with good buildings and in other ways, and it stands as a monument to his work as a practical farmer.

Three children, two daughters and one son, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Divan, named Nellie, Walter and Stella Ellen. These children were educated in the Burr Oak School, while Walter studied in Urbana and in Brown’s Business College. While in college he fell in love with one of his fellow students, Anna Arms, and they were married. His wife died in February, 1912. Walter is now connected with a clothing store at Champaign.

The daughter Stella E. married Fernie Clark, a farmer occupying the old Divan homestead. They have two children, Rexford Clark and Janice Virginia.

Nellie Divan married Warner Scott. Their one child, Goldie Leone, is now Mrs. Clyde Harry of Ogden. Goldie was a student of Olivet College near Danville. The daughter Nellie was a young woman of splendid intellect and many fine qualities of character. She suffered poor health, spent some time with her family in the healthful climate of Arizona to no avail, and finally contracted pneumonia and died September 23, 1907. Her little daughter was taken into the home of her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Divan, and carefully reared and educated.

Mr. and Mrs. Divan have a very attractive and nicely located home just at the edge of the town of Ogden, where the advantages of the country are combined with the facilities and conveniences of town. This home was called the John Lee homestead. Since it came under the ownership of Mr. Divan he has made many improvements that add to its value and comfort. Mr. and Mrs. Divan are active members of the United Brethren Church and he served it as steward eight years. Politically he is a Republican, having cast his first vote with that party for General Grant nearly fifty years ago, and has never had a valid reason to change his party affiliation.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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