February 10, 1826–May 8, 1906:
The death of Simon Sheaff at his home in Holcomb on the night of May 8th, removed an old and highly esteemed citizen of Ogle County, and one who will be missed by a large circle of relatives and friends. Mr. Sheaff was of sturdy stock and by long line of descent an American, the first of the name having come to this Country as early as 1752. He was born in Cayuga County, New York, February 10, 1826. He came to the West in 1851, making the trip on horseback through Ohio and Indiana, locating permanently in the place where his life was spent. He was united in marriage to Elizabeth Chaney, March 17th, 1853, his married life extending over a period of 53 years. Of the union were born two sons, John and Joseph, and two daughters, Mrs. Alice L. Countryman and Miss Eudora Sheaff, all of whom survive to mourn the loss of their father.
As a young man he was active in public life and deeply interested in the development of his community and his country. Energy, economy, common sense and the natural progress of values made him in time a man of large affairs. There is no need of any one to write in eulogy of this quiet modest man. His life speaks for itself and tells a story of simple and honorable living, of family happiness, of warm friendship, of useful citizenship, of a character woven of those homespun virtues which make the strength of society and the state. He was a man straight forward and sincere, averse to display, a lover of the good and the genuine; healthy of body, wholesome of mind, honest and patriotic and deeply religious. And to these solid qualities were added the gentler graces of heart. That best portion of a good man’s life, the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of Love. In matters of state policy, no less than in those higher questions which are never far from the mind of a serious man, Mr. Sheaff did his own thinking, by methods simple and direct, and held to his conclusions with the subdued enthusiasm of conviction. He saw things as they are, had respect for realities, and based his opinions on those extremely simple and profound truths which life and death unfold to the honest seeker after light.
He was a man of liberal Christian faith, that faith born of a wide common sense which knows little ecstasy, and less of dispair [sic]. It is the large and simple faith that God is good, a wise, powerful, loving father; that man is made in His image; that salvation is by character; that the moral law is sovereign and supreme; that the Christ spirit is divine; that we must love mercy and do justly; ‘That life is ever lord of death, And love will never loss [sic] its own.’ In this faith Simon Sheaff lived without reproach and died without fear, leaving behind him a sorrowing family, a host of friends and an honored tradition. The funeral of Mr. Sheaff was largely attended by the community and by many old settlers who had known him for years. The services were conducted by Rev. Joseph Newton, of the People’s Church of Dixon, assisted by Mrs. A. C. Dolleymer and Mrs. Francis Parker of that city. The body was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery with Masonic honors by Meridian Sun Lodge, of which Mr. Sheaff was a charter member.
“What is excellent
As God lives, is permanent.
Hearts are dust; heart’s loves remain;
Heart’s love will meet thee again.”
Contributed by Juli Chaney Jarvis