James McCutcheon, of Hennepin, was born in Ireland, December 27, 1859. He was reared and educated by an uncle, attending school until eighteen years of age, when he became an active assistant to his uncle, who was engaged in merchandising. Mr. McCutcheon was thus employed until he attained his majority, when he emigrated to America the first of April, 1881, and secured employment as clerk in the office of the Lake Shore Railroad, where he remained for five years. He was afterward for eleven years with the firm of Harrington & King, working in iron and perforating metals. As a representative of that firm he acted as shipping clerk and won promotion until he became assistant superintendent. Four and a half years ago he came to Hennepin with the intention of remaining but a year, but since his arrival he has been an active factor in the material improvement of the village. He has remodeled the residence of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Trerwiler, and has erected the brick building wherein he carries on business at the present time.
It was seventeen years ago that James McCutcheon was united in marriage to Miss Mary Trerwiler and they have one child.
The time and energies of Mr. McCutcheon are now largely given to the development of what promises to be one of the most important industrial enterprises of this part of the state. On the 6th of July, 1906, he began working on plans for the organization of a company to build a factory for the manufacture of brick and at a recent date this company has been incorporated under the state laws for the manufacture of building brick, the firm name being the Sand, Lime & Brick Company. In this enterprise James McCutcheon is associated with Charles Rembe and Meyer Greisheim, both of Lincoln, Illinois, as incorporators. The business has been capitalized for twenty-five thousand dollars and the stock is all subscribed. A meeting will soon be held in Peoria, where the main office is to be located, and the election of officers will then take place. At present they have three sites in view for a location. Mr. McCutcheon had an expert from Chicago inspect a location four and a half miles northwest of Hennepin and he claimed that they had an unlimited supply of sand of just the right quality for making brick. Samples have been made of three different grades of brick and the result has been a fine, smooth quality of building brick which stands every form of test that can be made. It can be thrown into a furnace and when red hot put into cold water with no bad effects and will stand equally well freezing and thawing. The plant is to be built after the pattern of one which is being successfully operated in Savannah, Georgia, and is to be put up, equipped and furnished by the American Sand Lime Brick Company, of Chicago. The sand will be taken from a high embankment and when screened passed to a rotary drier. The fine gravel left over after the screening process will find ready market for gravel roofing. The lime used is to be shipped from Quincy, Illinois, and is to be hydrated in cylinders used for hardening the brick. This lime after hydrating can be stored and kept for twenty years and it will find market where lime is needed for any purpose. The sand and lime when mixed passes to a four-mold brick press with a capacity of twenty thousand brick daily. From the presses the brick are conveyed on steel cars to a hardening cylinder, each car holding one thousand brick. This cylinder is seventy-eight inches in diameter and sixty-six and a half feet in length. From the cylinder the brick will be placed on cars ready for shipment. A plant of this nature is in operation at Anderson, Indiana, but none in this state. Mr. McCutcheon has every reason to be highly elated over the prospects for the new industry and it is due to his efforts that the present progress has been made in the business. He is a man of much push and energy, who forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution, and these qualities promise well for a successful future to the new enterprise.
Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 505.