Hon. Ethelbert Callahan, lawyer, Robinson. Mr. Callahan, whose portrait appears in this work, was born in Licking County, Ohio, December 17, 1829. His ancestors, contemporaries of Daniel O'Connell, left "Old Ireland" to find a home free from oppression in the new world, and engaged in the primitive pursuit of tilling the soil, Mr. Callahan followed in the footsteps of his father, and spent the first twenty years of his life in farming. During this time, he enjoyed the advantages of a common school education.

At the age of twenty, he resolved to leave the parental home and push his fortune in the then great West. Accordingly, he arrived in Crawford County in the spring of 1849, possibly traveling with his father. When Mr. Callahan left the parental roof, he had but a few dollars in his pocket, and he started out with his little pack containing all his worldly possessions, taking his course on the National road running centrally through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois to St. Louis. Over this route he could pick up many chance rides when his means ran too low to travel by stage coach. Soon after crossing the Ohio line, he had found the bottom of his pocket, and stopping at one of the many country hotels, which abounded along that then great national thoroughfare, which occupied almost as great a niche in the history of the country in connection with immigration as the Pacific Railroad does at the present. On asking for a night's lodging and telling his financial condition, he was offered work through harvest, which was then just on hand. This he gladly accepted, and by it he raised sufficient funds to enable him to reach Crawford County by a careful husbanding of his means.

He was possessed of fine physical health, and a determination and will to succeed. He immediately cast about him for something to do, and as he had improved his opportunities both in and out of school, he was specially qualified for teaching, a position which was lacking at that time in first class qualifications in this county. He accepted a position as teacher of a country school the wages at that time being merely nominal with that paid at present. This he followed, alternately working on the farm for three years, when he took a position as a clerk in the store of Preston Bros., where he remained for a time, when he purchased the Hutsonville Journal printing office, and took charge of the paper and commenced his political career, taking strong grounds in favor of free territories and free States. He continued in the newspaper business about a year. His vigorous intellect, under a proper course of reading and study, had been expanding, and then he entered the memorable campaign of 1856, with a mind well stored with facts and fancy, and acquitted himself with honor as a campaign speaker.

He taught in the country schools the winter of 1849, for three months, at $15 per month; he edited a newspaper at Marshall for a while; married Mary Barlow Jones on June 27, 1854. They had one child, Mary Callahan Mercer who was very active in social, church and civic affairs in the county.

In 1857 he was elected Justice of the Peace; was admitted to the bar to practice law in 1859; in 1861 he opened an office in Robinson and continued in active law practice until his death; he was a member of the State Legislature for several years; Mr. Callahan and Abner P. Woodworth through their influence and heavy investment in the stock of the company secured the first Railroad for Robinson, the C.C.C. & St. L. Ry. They were directors and guaranteed the extra cost of bringing the road through our village and as in most cases of pioneering they were heavy financial losers but Robinson had a Railroad.

Mr. Callahan built a hotel building at the southwest corner of the public square, at the present location of the Illinois Brokerage Store, which was operated by Joe Browning (Fred Brownings father) and called "Browning's Hotel." Several years later this building was sold to George E. McQueen (Fred and Roscoe McQueens' father" who moved it to the west part of town and occupied it as a home the remainder of his lifetime and it is still the property of the estate; he owned and operated a farm of 420 acres in Honey Creek township, where he had a very fine orchard and one of the best herds of Jersey cattle in this part of the state. He called it his "Birchwood Farm".

In 1857, he was elected a Justice of the Peace, and commenced the study of law. In 1859, he was admitted to the bar, and almost at once took rank among the oldest and best lawyers at the bar of the county. He continued to reside at Hutsonville until 1861, when he removed to Robinson in order to be at the headquarters of the court. He had in his two years' practice made such a reputation as a lawyer and a pleader, that there was not a case in our court of the least importance upon which he was not engaged on one side or the other, and when a law suit was about to come up it was a race between the litigants as to which should see Callahan first. His reputation was not confined to the county alone, but in the neighboring counties of the circuit he was employed in important cases, both civil and criminal, and he enjoys a large practice in the Circuit, Appellate, Supreme and United States Courts at Springfield. In his extensive practice, he has been almost universally successful, frequently gaining cases in jury trials that when he took charge of them looked almost hopeless. He is conscientious, however, in his practice, being careful to ascertain that the cause is a just one-that his client has a case-before taking charge of it.

In politics, Mr. Callahan was originally a Whig, with Free-Soil antecedents, and has been a Republican since the Republican party was first organized. Although he has taken an earnest stand for his party, and given much of his time and labored hard for its success, he has not enjoyed much of the emoluments of its triumphs. It has been his misfortune, if he had political aspirations, to live in a section of the State where his party has been largely in the minority.

When the war broke out, he took his stand boldly in favor of the prosecution of the war for the preservation of the Union, and contributed much by his speaking, working and influence to raising soldiers and recruiting depleted ranks. His pocket-book was always open to the wants of a crippled or needy soldier, or to the families of those who were at the front. In 1864, he was nominated by his party for Congress, and made the race against Judge S. S. Marshall, in the face of a hopeless opposition. He made a gallant and noble fight for the principles of his party, polling a larger vote than had been anticipated, and by his clear, logical arguments adding to the future good of his party.

When the State Board of Equalization was organized under our new constitution, he was appointed by the Governor the first member of the Board for this district, and took a prominent part in its proceedings. In 1872, he was a candidate for nomination by the Republican State Convention to the office of Attorney General, and would have received the nomination had it not been that he was too conscientious to resort to the trading and intrigues too common in such places. As it was he was beaten by less than a dozen votes. In 1874, he was elected as the minority member of the State Legislature from this district He took an active and prominent part in the workings of the session, and came out of it with a much better reputation than many others of more experience-the session of which he was a member being known generally as "Hoyne's Circus."

In the Republican State Convention of 1880 Mr. Callahan was selected as one of the Presidential electors for the State at large, and made a number of speeches throughout different parts of the State, contributing largely by his able and clear presentation of the principles of his party to the 40,000 majority given by the State to the lamented James A. Garfield.

Mr. Callahan has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church from his boyhood, and, as with everything else, in his religious views he has been no idler, but an earnest believer and worker. He has been either superintendent or a teacher in the Sunday schools most of his life. Through his earnest works the Methodist Episcopal Church at Robinson, which is a credit to the town and county, was erected, he paying more towards its erection than any other three or four members. He was a lay delegate from this State to the National Conference of the church which met in New York in 1872, and took an active part in the proceedings of that body, being on some of its most important committees.

In 1855, he was married to Mrs. Mary Jones, of Hutsonville, who had a young son, now one of the Circuit Judges of the Fourth District, who resides at Robinson. Since their marriage two children have been born, a son who died quite young, and a daughter, Miss Mary, who graduated, in 1879, at the Illinois Female College, at Jacksonville, and was for a short time a teacher in the Institution for the Feeble Minded at Lincoln. This not being to her tastes, she gave up her position, and having given her attention somewhat to painting and drawing while at school, has recently been a student in an art school at Chicago, and is now devoting her attention and talents to that of art.