Biography - Theodore F Dove

THEODORE F. DOVE, who is practicing law at Shelbyville. Shelby County, has gained distinction in his profession in the courts of this county, where, at one time, he occupied a prominent position as an educator, and during his residence here his name has ever been closely associated with the best efforts of the citizens of Central Illinois to promote its social and religious advancement, and its well-being generally.
Among the pioneers of Ohio who were active in its early development was the Dove family, of whom Henry Dove, the grandfather of our subject, was then the head. He was born in Rockingham County, Va., February 7, 1765, coming of one of the old Colonial families of that State, and there he grew to manhood and married, taking as his wife Mary Magdalina Altarfer, who was also born in the Old Dominion, January 1, 1775, the date of her birth. Grandfather Dove lived in his native State until 1804, and he then took his wife and the five children that had been born to them across the border into Ohio, making the journey over the mountains and through the intervening rough country with pack horses, and there founded a new home in the primeval forests of Fairfield County, of which he was one of the earliest settlers, he had previously visited that locality in search of a suitable location, journeying on horseback and carrying his silver for the purchase of land in his saddle bags. He invested in a tract of heavily wooded land in what is now Bloom Township, paying therefor at the rate of $2.50 an acre. There was a log cabin on the land, in which the father of our subject was subsequently born. His father replaced it after a few years by a more substantial hewn log house, 20x30 feet in dimensions, which is still standing and is used as a dwelling. For many years there were no markets for produce nearer than Cincinnati, and consequently stock was very cheap, and horses, cattle and hogs were driven to Baltimore to be disposed of. The highest priced horses would bring but $40 at Fairfield, large hogs sold there for $1, and steers were sold from $6 to $8 each. The people raised their own food, varying the fare occasionally by a haunch of venison or bear meat, or wild turkey, for all kinds of game then abounded. By years of faithful toil the grandfather cleared a farm, on which he passed his closing years serenely, dying at a good old age in 1856. His wife preceded him in death many years, dying in 1817. She was a notable housewife, was expert in spinning and weaving, and clad her children in garments of homespun.
The father of our subject grew to a stalwart manhood under the pioneer influence that he obtained in his native county in the days when he was young. The school that he attended was taught in a log house, rudely furnished with slabs for seats, which were without backs, and there were no desks such as are in use at the present day. Holes were bored in logs, into which wooden pins were inserted, and a wide plank placed upon them answered the purpose of a more elaborate writing desk for the large scholars. Mr. Dove resided with his parents until he attained his majority, and he then began his independent career as a farmer by renting the old family homestead, he afterward purchased the interest of the other heirs, and still retains the farm, although he ceased to occupy it in 1883, when he came to Shelbyville, and is living here in retirement at a venerable age. He has always been a devoted adherent of the Democratic party since he cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Jackson more than half a century ago. Religiously, he is a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; which he joined in 1829.
Mr. Dove was first married May 21, 1835 to Mary Small, who was born in York County. Pa., March 18, 1814, and was the eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth (Loucks) Small, who were also Pennsylvanians by birth. The mother of our subject died September 1, 1877, leaving behind her the record of a life spent in well-doing, and the blessed memory of a true womanhood. She was reared in the faith of the German Reformed Church, but after her marriage united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which her husband belonged. Of that marriage eight sons and seven daughters were reared to maturity, of whom twelve are living. April 19, 1883, the father of our subject was married to a sister of his first wife, Tarcy Hall Small, and in her he finds a devoted companion.
Theodore F. Dove, of whom this sketch is principally written was born on a farm in Bloom Township, ten miles northwest of Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio, April 22, 1846, said farm being also the birthplace of his father, Elijah Dove, who was born there July 27, 1811. Theodore gained the preliminaries of his education in the local district schools, and afterward pursued a liberal course of study at the Fairfield Union Academy, from which he was graduated in 1869, his proficiency in mathematics having won him the compliment of being selected to teach a class in that branch while a student in that institution. He subsequently entered the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and in due time graduated from that with a high standing for scholarship. He first turned to teaching after he left college, and was thus engaged in his native State until 1874, when he came to Shelbyville to accept the position of Superintendent of the city schools.
Our subject's work as an educator was, however, but a means to an end, as he purposed to adopt the legal profession, and in preparation therefor he devoted his spare time to the study of law. At the close of the school year in 1875 he returned to Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in Delaware County.
He came back to Shelbyville and resumed the charge of the schools, which flourished under his care, and he held his office until 1876. In that year he again returned to the State of his nativity and for three months practiced law at Columbus. He next opened an office at Danville. Ill., and was in that city until April, 1877, when he came to Shelbyville to enter into a partnership for law practice with W. J. Henry. He severed his connection with that gentleman in August, 1879, and since then has carried on his legal business alone. He enjoys a good practice and has an enviable reputation as one of our most trustworthy lawyers, and his clients feel satisfied that he will use his best efforts in their behalf, knowing also that he is well versed in all the technicalities of the common law, and understands thoroughly how to employ his knowledge to the best advantage so as to impress the jury.
The marriage of Theodore Dove with Miss Alta W. Clark was consummated December 27, 1877, and the home that they have established in this city is a cheerful, cozy abiding place, its pleasant hospitalities being one of the social features of the community, where host and hostess have made many friendships during their residence here. Their two sons, Theodore C. and Frank Roy, complete their household. Mrs. Dove is, like her husband, a native of Ohio, her birthplace at Mechanicsburg, and she is a daughter of Dr. John and Elnora (Williams) Clark.
In local affairs, our subject has done good service as a member of the Shelbyville School Board. He is unswerving in his allegiance to the Democratic party, as he believes its policy the best for the guidance of the nation. He is prominent socially as a member of various organizations, the Masonic Lodge of Carroll, Ohio; Modern Woodmen of America; and of Big Four Lodge, No. 436, Order of Tonti. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, their names being associated with those who are most liberal in its support, and who by the daily example of lives guided by Christian principles have contributed to raise the moral standard of their community.

Extracted 07 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 197-199.

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