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 transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Otho E. Culbertson

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


OTHO E. CULBERTSON.  One of the most genial and kindly natured men it has been the fortune of te biographer to meet, is a resident of Tolono, and State Agent and Adjuster for the Ætna Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, with which he has been connected for a period of over twenty years.  He is a native of Flemingsburg, Ky., and was born in Dublin, Ireland, and emigrated to the United States when a young man, settling in Mason County, Ky.  He departed this life in Rush County, Ind., in 1836, aged about sixty years.  He was married early in life to Miss Sarah WEAVER, a native of Kentucky, and they became the parents of three children, who are all living, namely, William G., a farmer of Edgar County, this State; Otho E., of our sketch, and Amanda N., the wife of John U. GRACE, of Vermilion County.  After the death of her first husband Mrs. Culbertson was married to William RANEY, with whom she located in Edgar County, Ill., and became the mother of three children, only one of whom is now living, Sarah, the wife of Theodore MATKIN, a resident of Vermilion County, where the mother died in 1852.  She was a lad greatly beloved and respected, and left behind her a record f womanly virtues and kindly deeds.

Our subject, when a small boy, went to Roseville, Parke Co., Ind., where he became employed as clerk in a store and remained until 1843.  In that year he came over into Illinois, and thereafter lived in various places in the State for a couple of years.  In 1846, the Mexican war being in progress, he enlisted as a soldier in the 4th Illinois Infantry, under Col. Baker, Brig. Gen. Shields and Maj. Gen. Taylor.  Not long afterward he was discharged for disability.  In 1847, setting out on horseback, he traveled over the States of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

Mr. Culbertson now began to feel that he had wandered over the country long enough, and determined to establish home and domestic ties.  He had formed the acquaintance of a most lovable young lady, Miss Jane COX, and made her his wife on the 28th of March, 1848.  He located with his bride in Georgetown, this State, and became interested in the plow and wagon manufactory at that point.  Subsequently, he began dealing in hardware in Indianola, whence, in 1858, he removed to Tolono.  Here for a few months he was engaged as a contractor and builder, and secured the contract for furnishing the Illinois Central Railroad with timber, ties, etc.  He also supplied other roads in Illinois and Missouri with building material.  In consequence of the labor involved in looking after his various interests, his health began to fail, and he was obliged to suspend operations for a brief time.

In 1866 our subject entered the employ of the Ætna Insurance Company as special agent, and developed from the first rare qualifications for this department of business.  He rose rapidly in the esteem and confidence of the company, who, appreciating his intelligence and fidelity, soon entrusted him with more important interests, and he in due time became Adjuster of Claims in the Northwest, having under his supervision especially their transaction in Illinois.  During the long period with which he has been connected with the old Ætna, he has not taken a vacation and has not lost a day's salary.  A singular feature about the contract was, that the question of salary was never mentioned, Mr. C. trusting to the company to bestow upon him full value for his services, and the latter proved worthy of the trust, and have bestowed upon him liberal wages from the first.  During the first day in which he entered their employ he was crippled by a railroad train, and laid up for some time, but as soon as able got about on crutches and attended to business as well as he could.  His salary in the meantime went on, and the company, in addition, paid his expenses.  With this record little further need be said in regard to his standing with one of the oldest and most popular insurance companies of the United States.

The household circle of our subject and his wife was completed by the birth of four children:  Sarah N. became the wife of F. E. C. HARTMAN, and they reside at Peoria; Candace A. is at home with her parents; Jennie married Mr. W. E. HANDY, of Tolono; J. W., the youngest, is attending school in Valparaiso, Ind.  The family residence is pleasantly located, and its inmates are surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.  They are highly respected in the community, and number among their friends and associates the most cultured people of Tolono.  Mr. Culbertson, although over seventy years old, does not look over fifty or fifty-five.  He has an open countenance, a bright, intelligent eye, and is a many with whom it is a pleasure to converse.  He is well informed upon matters in general, and takes an intelligent interest in the progress of the world, both morally and intellectually.

Return to Links Page

Return to Main Page