Biography of Robert Allen Sturgeon

Robert Allen Sturgeon. For more than a quarter of a century Robert Allen Sturgeon has been a resident of Champaign County, and during this time it has been his fortune to have built up a prosperous business, to have established an extremely creditable record as a public official and to have made a lasting place for himself in the confidence of. the community through honorable conduct of the activities of life. In the difficult field of realty operation Mr. Sturgeon has achieved standing and reputation, and in the office of justice of the peace has proven a conscientious and efficient official.

Robert A. Sturgeon was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, October 29, 1861, being the third in a family of five sons born to Samuel and Margaret J. (Wilson) Sturgeon, all of these children surviving. His brothers are: William S., who is engaged in business at Chicago, Illinois, is married; Samuel W., who is married and engaged in agricultural operations in the vicinity of El Paso, Woodford County, Illinois; James F., who is married and a resident of El Paso, where he is cashier of the Woodford County National Bank, a graduate of Knox College, and admitted to practice in the courts of Illinois; and Charles B., a resident of Peoria, Illinois, where he is identified with the United States Mail service.

Samuel Sturgeon was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and there received his education in the public schools and upon reaching his majority adopted the vocation of agriculturist. He continued to reside in the Keystone state until 1858, in which year he removed to Tazewell County, and there continued as a tiller of the soil until 1868, when he went to Woodford County. There he purchased a farm, developed and cultivated it, and continued actively engaged in farming and stock raising until 1895, when, he retired and passed on the heavier labors of the homestead to younger shoulders. From that time until his death, in 1908, he lived quietly in his comfortable home near El Paso, where he was widely known and highly respected. His first presidential vote was cast in support of a candidate of the Whig party, but he saw the birth of the Republican organization and thereafter was always a loyal and active supporter of the Grand Old Party. He was always ready to. tender his abilities to his community in positions of public trust, and his fellow citizens, having confidence in his ability and judgment, frequently took advantage of this willingness and elected him to act in offices of preferment. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Masonic order, and both he and Mrs. Sturgeon were members of the Presbyterian Church, which they joined at Peoria and of which they continued devout supporters all their lives. Mrs. Sturgeon was born near the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and there received good educational advantages, attending the common schools and the Dauphin Academy. Her parents having died when she was still a girl, she was left in charge as a “little mother” to care for three of her brothers and sister, and nobly she performed this loving task, guiding them to honorable manhood and womanhood. She met and married Mr. Sturgeon in Pennsylvania, and in death they remain united, for they both lie at peace in the cemetery at El Paso, where a handsome and appropriate stone marks their final resting-place.

Robert Allen Sturgeon was about seven years of age when his parents removed to Woodward County, and there he secured his education in the district schools and the El Paso High School, subsequently attending the Illinois State Normal School for one year. His first work on his own account consisted of working farms on shares, and his cash capital was small indeed. After several years of this kind of work he embarked in the grain business at Elliott, Illinois, a venture in which he remained for two years, and in which he was reasonably successful, but in 1890 he disposed of his interests at that point and removed to Dewey, where he also lived for two years. The year 1892 marked his advent in Fisher, where he first engaged in the grain business and became well and favorably known in commercial circles of the city. However, in the meanwhile he had become interested in realty matters and was convinced of the future prosperity of Champaign County. He began dealing in a small way in real estate, and his business in this line soon grew to such proportions that he was compelled to give it all his attention and he accordingly disposed of his grain enterprise. In 1900 Mr. Sturgeon was elected justice of the peace of Fisher, and during the seventeen years that he has held this office he has acted as counsel and adviser to his fellow citizens in a manner that has left no doubt as to his ability, tact and judgment, as well as his general usefulness to the community.

Mr. Sturgeon was married June 12, 1895, to Miss Lucy Leota Elliott, who, like himself, believes in the advantages of good educational facilities and in fitting children for the higher walks of life. The elder of their two daughters, Margaret E., did two years of work in the Fisher schools, graduated from the Champaign High School, and then taught successfully for two years in the schools of Champaign County. Her first wage was $55 per month, which was raised in the second year to $65, and in September, 1916, she entered the Illinois State University, where she is now a student. The other daughter, Carol Elliott, is in the second year of high school.

Mrs. Sturgeon is a native of Ford County, Illinois, born December 18, 1872, was educated in the Elliott schools, and for four years was a successful teacher. She is a daughter of Samuel and Anna (Crawford) Elliott, natives of Ohio, the former of whom, a farmer and stockman and later a pioneer grain merchant, laid out the town of Elliott. He was a stanch Republican, and both he and Mrs. Elliott were faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Sturgeon also belongs to this church, and is likewise a popular and active member of the Domestic Science Society.

Always a stanch Republican from the time he attained his majority, Mr. Sturgeon cast his first presidential vote for James G. Blaine, the Plumed Knight, and has supported every candidate of that party since. As noted, he has been justice of the peace since 1900, and since 1902 has been township assessor of Brown Township, having held both offices continuously. He has likewise served in the capacity of village clerk, and at various times has been a delegate to conventions of his party. Fraternally a member of Sangamon Lodge No. 801, A. F. & A. M., he has filled all the chairs in that lodge, and is at present secretary, a position which he has held for a number of years. He is likewise a member of Camp No. 2534, Modern Woodmen of America, which he joined at the time of its organization. His religious belief makes him a Presbyterian, and he has always been a good friend of education, with four years’ experience as a teacher to give him a knowledge of the needs of the public schools. The Sturgeon home at Fisher is one of the comfortable residences of the community, where hospitality reigns, and its occupants are numbered among the people who give strength and stability to this thriving Champaign County village.



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

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