Although the character of the immigrants that come to America today seems
to be changing, yet there is not a single doubt but that in years past some
of the most sturdy, energetic and progressive people living upon our soil
were the ones that come to us from foreign lands. They have brought to us
not only the spirit of thrift and endurance, but have contributed to the
loyal American spirit to a degree which can hardly be overestimated. Among
the many worthy of mention in this connection we refer to Mr. and Mrs.
George S. Fyfe, of Alma, Illinois. Mr. Fife was born at Dundee, Scotland,
January 20, 1820, and his life experiences have been most interesting and
varied. He became a machinist by trade, serving as an apprentice in his
native town, at the end of which period he went to London, and there
followed his trade for two years, but not being fully satisfied with the
confinement incident to the work in which he was engaged, he kept alert for
an opportunity for a wider experience and this came to him, when he enlisted
in the Turkish navy as an engineer. His father, George Fyfe, was a sea
captain before him and the son seemed to inherit the father's spirit for a
life of travel and adventure. He remained in the Turkish navy for three
years and during this time and thereafter he traveled in many countries,
spending considerable time in Palestine and Egypt, sailing up the Nile from
Alexandria to Cairo, where Moses was born, and where Paul wrote his speech
to the Philistines. Here he saw the noble Egyptian obelisk, that famous
shaft of stone that lay for centuries prostrate upon the sands, but which
was later, at great expense, taken to New York and set up once more to mark
the path of the sun by day and at night to point again to the same
glittering stars that have studded the clear Egyptian skies since the
daybreak of time. Here, also, he stood under the shadows of the pyramids,
those wonders of ages past that have been the marvel of mankind throughout
Mr. Fyfe also had a brother who was a sea captain, now deceased, and another whose home was in Melbourne, Australia.
After coming to America, Mr. Fyfe spent some time in Boston, and it was here that he was married to Miss Hutchinson Spinks, on February 5, 1852. Miss Spinks is also of Scotch descent, having emigrated to America from her native land when sailing vessels were the ones most used for crossing the broad Atlantic. Ten children were born to this union.
When Mr. Fyfe came west he bought mostly prairie land from the Illinois Central Railroad. Mr. Fyfe now has a fine farm to show for his energy and application. Both he and his wife have used good judgment in their work, and Mrs. Fyfe, though seventy-seven years old, has never worn glasses. They belong to the Baptist church, although their parents before them were Scotch Presbyterians. Mr. Fyfe affiliates with the Republican party and through his calm judgment and broad minded experience has done much to advance the cause of good citizenship in the community.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 519-520.