This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was submitted by Celia G. Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Maj. William Haddock

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


MAJ. WILLIAM HADDOCK, Editor Of the Champaign Times, was born near Watertown, N. Y., on the 24th of October, 1822. His father, Samuel, was a blacksmith, who learned grammar, mathematics and Latin, from written lessons, copied from his text-books at night, and pinned to the chimney of his forge during the day.

Maj. Wm. Haddock, spent his boyhood days on a farm, and at the age of twelve was placed in a printing office at Watertown, where he became familiar with the details of business, and subsequently acquired a strong taste for literary pursuits. At the age of eighteen he commenced the study of law in the office of the Hon. William Ruger, of Watertown, and when nineteen, entered the Black River Institute, of the same place, with the view of preparing for Columbia College, of New York city, and in nine months was prepared to enter the freshman class in that Institution.

On reaching the city in August, 1843, he found the printing business (his only reliance) at so low an ebb, that he was compelled to abandon his college project, and be content, for the time being, with merely earning a bare subsistence. But his nine years of city life had its compensations, for he saw and met many of the leading journalists and prominent men, among whom were Horace Greeley, Henry J. Raymond and the elder Bennet, from whom he gleaned much information. He also witnessed many dramatic and literary entertainments, by the most celebrated actors and lecturers of the world, prominent among whom were the elder Booth, Macready and Miss Brougham, all of which had their influence in developing his mind, and as a consequence he wrote considerably for the press. His political inclinations were to the side of reform, and during the later years of his residence in the city, he was an active member of the National Reform organization. For about a year he was editor of one of its organs, called the Landmark, a weekly journal devoted to Homestead exemptions, Freedom of the Soil to actual settlers and land limitations---three objects which had the support of some of the foremost thinkers and writers of the day.

On the 15th of October 1846, he was married to Miss Kate RAFFETY, by whom he had one son and one daughter, viz:---William J., age 30, and Alice (now Mrs. Dr. A. N. EVARTS) age 28.

In 1851, he organized a colony to settle in the west, and in February, 1852, went in advance to Minnesota, and selected a site for it, on Polling Stone Creek, about six miles north of the present city of Winona, the table lands bordering the Mississippi. At the time of this settlement, the Indian-title to that portion of Minnesota had not been formally extinguished, and when the advance settlers of his colony landed in April, he was compelled to make a temporary treaty with the Sioux chief, which was six barrels of flour, in order to keep his fellow-settlers from being molested.

After locating this colony, he returned to New York, for his family, which he immediately brought west and introduced to their new home. This change was an important one for his wife. Like many others of the colony she soon fell a victim to the poisonous miasma, incidental to all new western locations, and in a short time was sorrowfully laid away in her grave, within sight of the " Great Father of Waters."

Soon after the death of his wife he went to Anamosa, Jones Co., Iowa, where in October, 1852, he began the publication of a weekly, six column, folio, called the Anamosa News, an independent journal, with democratic proclivities. He remained there about three years, during which time he enlarged his paper, was admitted to the bar, and elected prosecuting attorney of the county. About the close of his term the question of keeping slaves out of the territories, was taking a strong hold on the public mind of the worthy, and appealing to the consciences of all good men under such circumstances. Mr. Haddock did not hesitate a moment which side to take, but joined the new party, and took his journal with him into the fight. The contest that all resulted in the election of the first Republican state ticket.

While living in Anamosa, he was married to Miss Sarah CORNWELL, an orphan, by whom he had one son---Edward---now living, age 22. Subsequently he sold his printing establishment and moved to Waterloo, Black Hawk county, where he commenced, in October, 1855, the Iowa State Register, a weekly eight column folio, with Republican bias, but not a party organ.

Soon after locating at Waterloo his second wife died from consumption. He was again elected, on the Republican ticket, prosecuting attorney. Being without a companion, Mr. Haddock was again married to Miss Cordelia FAGLES, daughter of Col. J. W. FAGLES, of Cattaraugus County, New York. By this union they have two children, Belle, aged 22, and Frank, aged 10 years.

In 1859 he again sold his printing establishment, and the following year started a weekly newspaper in Butler Centre, Butler County, and called The Jeffersonian. This he continued to publish during the Lincoln-Douglass-Breckenridge presidential contest, and warmly espoused Lincoln, and the cause. At the breaking out of the Rebellion Mr. H. gave his heart and hand to the northern cause, and in the fall of '61 raised a company for the 12th Iowa Inft. Regiment, in which be was mustered in October as Captain of Company E. Leaving his family at their residence in Waterloo he went, in the following spring, with his regiment to the front, and took part in the capture of Ft. Henry. Was at the battle of Shiloh, where he together with one hundred and fifty union officers, and nearly two thousand privates, were taken prisoners. They were held for six months, and while at Madison, Georgia, they held a formal celebration on the 4th of July in their Cotton Mill prison, at which Gen. Prentiss was president of the day, and Captain Haddock the orator. In the early part of October the prisoners were sent to City Point, on the James river, where they were paroled and sent home, and in January, 1863, the Shiloh, prisoners were exchanged and returned to their respective regiments.

While at Vicksburg Captain Haddock received from Governor Kirkwood, of Iowa, a commission as Major in the 8th Iowa cavalry, which he accepted, but was afterwards assigned as Major in the 9th Iowa Regiment.

The Major was assigned the third battalion, and was soon ordered to St. Louis, where he spent some time in drilling. In the spring of 1864, the regiment was ordered to Arkansas, where they spent a season in watching the movements of the Confederate army in that section.

But one engagement occurred, which was with Gen. Shelby, near Brownsville station, where some one hundred and fifty men were killed and wounded on both sides.

In October, 1864, after having spent three years in the service, the Major resigned, came north, and with his family settled in Effingham, where in October, 1864, he started the Effingham Register, a weekly Republican journal, which he continued until 1872. He was a delegate to the Cincinnati Convention, and actively assisted in the nomination of Mr. Greeley, his old friend, and immediately enlisted his journal in the support of the ticket. Still later in the canvass he received a substantial call from the Liberals and Democrats of Champaign to establish a Liberal Journal, which he accepted, and on Saturday, August 31st, 1872, bought out the Liberal Democrat, which was changed to the Champaign Times, July, 1873. During his residence in Effingham he did much to improve the city. In 1871 he built a fine three story opera house at a cost of $16,500. He also built a neat residence now occupied by his family, which he visits weekly. Since his advent to Champaign he has been a zealous advocate of Democratic measures. His journal is recognized as the leading democratic organ of the 14th congressional district.

Such is a brief record of the eventful life of Major Haddook, the brave soldier, thorough scholar, accomplished gentleman and successful journalist, whose many genial social qualities and remarkable energy place him prominent among the best citizens of Champaign County.

Back to Index

Return to Main Page