The 2020 photo with this article is of the house at 510 S. Main St., Urbana. This Looking Forward is from the perspective of Joseph Brand Whitlock, who was born at this location, though probably in an earlier house, on March 4, 1869. His parents were Elias B. Whitlock and Mollie Brand Whitlock. Brand Whitlock’s maternal grandfather was Joseph C. Brand, whose house at 132 W. Reynolds St. was previously featured in this column.
As Brand’s father was a Methodist minister who served various Ohio churches, the family moved frequently. When Brand became a teenager, the family lived in Toledo, Ohio, where he worked for a time as a newspaper reporter. Later he turned to the law and practiced in Toledo, where he became active in community and political affairs. He was elected mayor of that city in 1905 and served three more terms before declining further nomination.
In 1913 he was appointed Minister to Belgium by President Woodrow Wilson. When World War I started Whitlock was in Brussels, Belgium, where he was admired and recognized for his assistance to the Belgian people during the war. At war’s end he was appointed US Ambassador to Belgium. In recognition of his contributions to the Belgian people, King Albert honored Whitlock with the highest decoration of his country.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tues. - Fri. 10-4 and Sat. 10-2.