Biography - JOHN T. TODD

John Thomas Todd, who is one of the active and successful business men of Tuscola and who has been with the exception of two years, agent for the I. D. & W. Railway Company from the time the road was built to the present, having first entered its service as agent at Marshall, Indiana, on August 1, 1879, was born in Edgar county, Illinois, June 8, 1862. He was reared in Edgar and Champaign counties and received his education in the public schools at Newman. In 1866 his parents removed to Douglas county and settled on a farm near Newman. He is a son of David and Mariah (Wilson) Todd, who were natives of Ireland, and who were both Episcopalians in their religious belief. David Todd was a bookbinder by trade and in about 1844 emigrated to this country, first settling in New York City, where he worked at his trade until 1855, when he emigrated west and located on a farm in Edgar county. The grandfathers of Mr. Todd were James Todd and William Wilson, both born in Ireland.

In 1883 Mr. Todd was united in marriage to Miss Laura, a daughter of L. J. Cash, of Newman. He is the founder of the Douglas County Telephone Company, now a sub-licensee of the American Bell Telephone Company, the change being made in order to get the use of the instruments and the long-distance connections of the Bell Company. Mr. Todd is still the president and business manager of the company, with J. W. Hamilton as secretary. In 1892 he removed to Chicago, where he was engaged for two years in perfecting and developing an invention known as the "thermograph," of which Mr. Todd is the patentee and inventor. This instrument is for automatically recording the variations of temperature of refrigerator cars while in transit, also of the several rooms of cold storage plants, hot houses, etc., where it is desirable that a uniform temperature be maintained. With Mr. Todd's invention it is possible to have a printed record made on a narrow strip of paper ribbon, showing the variations of temperature at such intervals of time as may be desired, from the time a car of meat leaves Chicago until it arrives in San Francisco, from which record any neglect in re-icing car en route may be located, and as the record shows the time of day and date of every variation, it is an easy matter to place the responsibility for any neglect by the several railway companies handling the car.

John T. Todd is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and his standing as a man, especially in railroad circles, is second to none. During his residence in Tuscola he has borne an important part in the progress of the city, and his courteous manner and his integrity and ability have won him a high place in the esteem of his fellow citizens.

Extracted 09 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 210, 213.

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