T. F. Berkley, who for a number of years has been the leading flour merchant in the village of Ogden, is a miller by training and experience, as was his father before him.
Mr. Berkley was born at Maxburg in Muskingum County, Ohio, a son of C. F. and C. M. (Richardson) Berkley. This branch of the Richardson family were prominent both in Ohio and Kentucky. C. F. Berkley in the early days conducted a mill on the Muskingum River, but in 1851 removed to Charleston, Illinois, when his son T. F. was only three years of age. C. F. Berkley while at Charleston became a friend of Abraham Lincoln, then a prominent Illinois lawyer, and he often met this great statesman after that and was a warm and stanch admirer of him both personally and in politics. T. F. Berkley was the youngest of five sons.
On September 29, 1869, when T. F. Berkley was twenty-one years of age, he married Lydia A. Howver. She was born at West Middleburg, Ohio. After their marriage they lived for a time at Homer, Illinois, and then for twenty-seven years Mr. Berkley conducted a flour mill in Vermilion County. He also lived at Charleston, Illinois, ten years. He has conducted an extensive business as a flour and grain miller and is still active at Ogden.
Three children were born to him and his wife, Herbert, Tina M. and Roy F. Herbert married Marie Dugan. Her father was a Baptist minister and her home was near Louisville, Kentucky, but while visiting in Illinois she met Herbert Berkley and they were soon afterwards married. Their children are Irene and Charles F., who assists his father in the business at Ogden. Roy Berkley is now a ticket agent in the Union Depot at St. Louis, Missouri. He married Edith Molmon, of Ohio, and has two children, Merle and Fred. The daughter Tina M. was taken away by death in beautiful young womanhood.
Mr. Berkley was deprived of the companionship of his wife on April 18, 1917, after they had been happily married for nearly fifty years. She was a most lovable woman and had endeared herself to a large circle of friends by her goodness of heart. Mr. and Mrs. Berkley usually attended the New Light and Methodist Episcopal churches. In politics he has always been a Republican. His sons are members of the Woodmen and Knights of Pythias orders. For eighteen years Mr. Berkley has lived at Ogden and has followed the business of miller and has enjoyed much success.
The Berkley family were natural musicians and possessed also many genial and sociable qualities. When the country was new and social opportunities and places of amusement were limited T. F. Berkley and other young men of kindred tastes organized a string band. He was one of the violinists, and should be mentioned as one of the old time fiddlers of Champaign County. For years their organization furnished music for dances all over the country. There was no gathering of young people considered complete without these young men to add to the cheer of the occasion, and for years they gave music for the entertainment of many communities. These public dances were noted for their splendid order and the fine class of people who patronized them. Many of the participants in those public dances have grown gray, but they often refer with pleasure to the old time dances. Through all the years of his life Mr. Berkley has retained the friendships made in his youth as well as many formed in later years, and the confidence and esteem given him then have followed him through all his years. He has been peculiarly blessed with a spirit of sociability and cheerfulness, and these taken in connection with his good business judgment have brought him a more than ordinary place of esteem and success.