James Hinkley, interested for many years in business life in Rockford, was born in Posey county, Indiana, in 1829, and died in this city, January 8, 1891. He came of English lineage, and among his ancestors was a governor of Massachusetts. In 1858 he removed to Washington county, this state, where he followed farming until the fall of 1860, when he came to Winnebago county, settling in Rockford. He owned a fruit farm in this locality and also established a canning factory in the west end of the city, the business being first located on the E. H. Skinner place. The factory had been built by Mr. Skinner and Mr. Hinkley purchased an interest in the business, finally becoming sole proprietor. He conducted the enterprise for a number of years and this together with a two-hundred-acre fruit farm in southern Illinois occupied his attention and claimed his time and energies until he had accumulated a comfortable competence. His business interests were discerningly directed along well defined lines of labor, and his sound judgment and persistent energy were the strong factors in his success.
Mr. Hinkley married Miss Harriet Andrews; also a native of Posey county, Indiana, now living at the age of seventy-three years, and they became the parents of six children: Anson A., who resides upon a farm in Washington county, Illinois; George, deceased; Arthur S., an architect living in Boise, Idaho; Ella, who has also passed away; Hargrove Otis, a florist of Rockford; and Ralph W., who is secretary and general manager of the Rockford Packing Company.
Mr. Hinkley attended the Christian Union church. He gave his political support to the republican party throughout the greater part of his life, but voted for Grover Cleveland. He never held office nor did he have aspirations in that direction, but he was not remiss in the duties of citizenship and co-operated in many measures for the general good.
Ralph W. Hinkley, a native son of Rockford, pursued his education in the public schools, took up the study of stenography, and was afterward employed at stenographic work for different attorneys and as court reporter. In 1892 he became connected with the Rockford Packing Company, with which he is now identified as secretary and general manager, being one of the large stockholders. His interest in its success indicates his careful control of its affairs, a large business being annually conducted, for the product of the plant finds a ready sale on the market. Mr. Hinkley is a republican, but like his father give his attention in undivided manner to his business affairs. He is popular in the city where his entire life has been passed, and the circle of his social as well as his business acquaintances is continually broadening.
Source: Charles A. Church, Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1905), pp. 779-780.