Some lives seem touched with a strange dispensation of providence and are crowded with important events -- incidents a little out of the ordinary – all along the journey form the cradle to the grave. While some lives seem void of all but the most commonplace routine matters of every day existence, others fairly bristle with important circumstances and striking events. There is no correct manner in which to account for these strange conditions -- yet they exist, are absolute facts, and we are forced to accept them as we find them.
Henry Abbott, the subject of this sketch, was born in Morgan county, Illinois, November 24, 1843. He resided in that county until he was five years old and then the family moved to Naples, Scott county, which place he has since called home. Although he was a child of parents who were moderately welltodo, his father, believing that every young man should have a trade – something to fall back upon in the hour of need –sent him to St. Louis in 1857 to serve an apprenticeship as watchmaker and jeweler. At this he worked about one and a half years, and then gave it up to accept a position in a mercantile establishment, thinking it more to his liking. After a time he attended school in St. Louis, taking a full course in the Jones Commercial College, graduating and receiving his diploma.
In 1864, after seven years spent in the city, his father, who was getting up in years, recalled the young man to Naples to assist in take an interest in his business. In 1866 he purchased his father’s interest in the business and continued the same until 1896, when he retired. Between the years of 1870 and 1880 he conducted at Naples a lucrative and flourishing wholesale business.
In September, 1871, he married to Miss Mary Thompson, and after a very happy married life, covering but few months, she died in June 1872. In 1877 he again married, Miss Minna L. Long, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Long of Barry, Illinois, being the lady of his choice. Of this union six children have been born, four daughters, and two sons. They are Mary Elitha, Helen K., Emily Rae, Merton H., James Hubert and Minnie May.
There is but little about the history of Naples in the past half-century that Mr. Abbott is not familiar with. There is much connected with that history that clusters him, and many of its unwritten chapters would reveal an anxiety, a solicitude, beyond the power of language to portray. It is not our purpose to deal with matters of sentiment – it is facts we desire to here record. The years of Mr. Abbott’s life in Naples have been eventful and there he has labored for the building of his own fortune and the commercial supremacy of his town. In the latter case, however, the struggle was vain, for with the advent of railroads the trade drifted to larger cities and better markets. Mr. Abbott has ever been attentive to his business, had discharged every social obligation, and among the people he loves, and with whom he has lived so long, he is spending his days quietly and pleasantly.