David M. Cummings

Cummings, David M. (deceased) later of the firm of Cummings & Emerson, 416 and 418 S. Washington street, was born March 29, 1824, in Oswego county, N. Y., one of nine children, the country was new; there were no luxuries and but few comforts, and toil was the portion of all the children; and David was early compelled to find his own support. He moved to Oneida county, N. Y., when quite young, and was soon familiar with all the duties which a lad can perform on a farm. When he was 16 years old his mother died and he went forth from home to make his way alone. His mother's memory clung to him all through his life, and to his latest breath held the warmest place in his heart. When Mr. C. left home he engaged with a farmer at nine dollars per month, a moderate sum even in those days. He found no fault with his wages, doing always the best he could, considering this simply honest and fair. He now perceived the neccessity of an education which the hard labor of his younger days had forbidden, and not quarreling with his fortune, uselessly repining over lost time, he set himself to get the rudiments. With close attention to his studies, at the age of twenty-three, offered himself as teacher and taught two years successfully in Waterville, N. Y., then removing to Illinois he opened a school in Peoria. In 1850 he was among the adventurous young men who were flocking to California, for one year followed mining, but with indifferent success. His quick eye perceived that money was to be dug out of the earth in other forms than those of the yellow metal. He planted a garden and fed the men who labored in the mines. During the four years in California he accumulated five or six thousand dollars, and in 1854 returned to Peoria and entered into business. In 1858 he undertook a hotel in Springfield, Ill., and lost every cent he had made in the seven preceding years. Penniless he found his way back to Peoria, turning his hands to what offered a living. In the beginning of the war he enlisted in the 11th Illinois Cavalry, and was in continual service until 1863, when he resigned. Married Miss Eliza Hibben, February 7, 1871, at Hillsborough, Ohio, whom he left with two children. Mr. C. died at his residence in Peoria, January 25, 1878, in the 54th year of his age.

from The History of Peoria County, Illinois, Johnson & Co., 1880