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McKeown, John, known through Henderson County, Ill., as a farmer and a breed of mule-foot hogs and other stock, and as a citizen of character and influence, has his home in Stronghurst Township, on Stronghurst Rural Free Delivery Route No. 3. He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, May 16, 1853, a son of Samuel and Jane (Calvert) McKeown, and was educated in schools of his native land. He made his advent to this county at Biggsville, March 20, 1871, and for about five years thereafter worked by the month for different farmers. Then he began farming for himself in Media Township. After one year’s experience there he went to the Thompson place in Stronghurst Township. Twelve months later he went back to Media Township, where he operated one rented farm eighteen years. He next established himself in Terre Haute Township, where he farmed successfully six years.

In the fall of 1904 Mr. McKeown bought 160 acres in the northwest quarter of Section thirty-six, Stronghurst Township. He moved onto the farm February 20, 1905, and has since lived there, doing general farming and giving special attention to pure bred mule-foot hogs, with an average production of about one hundred annually. He cultivates about fifty-five acres of corn, devoting the remainder of his land to hay, oats, and pasture.

Mr. McKeown is independent in politics, owning allegiance to no party and voting at all time for such men and measures as he believes promise most for the best interests of the public. His interest in pulic education is evidenced by the fact that he has filled the office of School Director seven years. He is a member and liberal supporter of the United Presbyterian church. March 7, 1876, he married Miss Isabella Stevenson, born in County Antrim, Ireland, April 27, 1852, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Gibb) Stevenson, who came to Henderson county in 1871 and settled near Biggsville, where eventually they passed away. The children of Mr. and Mrs. McKeown, named in the order of their birth, are as follows: Jane, Elizabeth, Ella, Maggie, Robert, John J., Martha, Mary and Orville. Ella is Mrs. Walter Salter, of Biggsville township, and Martha is now Mrs. O.W. Lauver of Raritan Township. The others are members of their parents’ happy home circle.

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, Vol. II, 1911. (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M. History of Henderson County, Vol. II, Illustrated, edited by James W. Gordon)


ADAIR, William, a farmer of Biggsville, Ill., on Kirkwood, Rural Route No. 1. Not the least interesting portion of the history of Henderson County is that concerning the Scotch-Irish colony that located at and near Biggsville. The person sketch of the prominent farmer mentioned above necessarily includes mention of it.

William Adair, born nine miles from Belfast, in County Antrim, Ireland, March 18, 1844, is a son of Robert and Jane (Donald) Adair, both of who died in his and their native land. He acquired such an education as was afforded in schools near his home and helped his parents with their small and primitive farming until he was sixteen years old. Then, going to Belfast, for three and one-half years he was employed at teaming. Eventually he crossed the sea to America and locating at Biggsville, worked on farms by the month two years. Later for thirteen years he operated rented land around Biggsville and hear Monmouth, meanwhile buying 140 acres of land in Section 36, Gladstone Township, on which he eventually lived eighteen years, until he bought his farm of 240 acres in Section 1, Biggsville Township, where he has lived since 1894. He does general farming and feed and raises many cattle and hogs. He is a man of public spirit and a staunch Republican. In religion he is affiliated with the Unite Presbyterian Church.

April 17, 1868, Mr. Adair married Ann Jane Stevenson, a native of County Antrim, Ireland, and daughter of John and Eliza (Gibb) Stevenson, who came to Biggsville with their daughter and son-in-law as members of the colony of fourteen which settled in the vicinity of Biggsville, and which is elsewhere referred to. Mrs. Adair has borne her husband children as follows: Henry, born November 10, 1870, married Ida Wood, and they have four children and reside in Stronghurst Township; Martha, unmarried; Elizabeth, born September 29, 1872, is Mrs. Newton Vaughn, of Stronghurst Township; John, of Gladstone Township, was born December 29, 1874, and married Nettie Nelson; Robert, born February 25, 1876, died at the age of eighteen years; Anna, born June 28, 1879, is Mrs. Manford Vaughn, of Burlington, Iowa; Mary, born February 10, 1882, married Fred Ackerman and died April 18, 1910, at the age of twenty-eight years, leaving two children; William S., born October 23, 1884, lives with his parents. Martha and Elizabeth (the latter Mrs. Vaughan) are twins, both born September 29, 1872. The first child (of William and Ann Jane was a daughter, Elizabeth, who died at the age of two and one-half years.

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, Vol. II, 1911. (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M. History of Henderson County, Vol. II, Illustrated, edited by James W. Gordon)


BOYD, John, Farmer and cattle raiser, Biggsville, Biggsville Rural Route No. 1 - It is always pleasant to record or to read of the career of a self-made man. Such a narrative is not only interesting in itself, but is at the same time enlightening and encouraging to thoughtful young men about to enter earnestly into the battle of life. These thoughts are suggested by the advancement made slowly but surely by the earnest and judicious farmer whose name is the title of this article.

John Boyd was born in County Antrim, Ireland, August 12, 1847, a son of Robert and Catharine (McClure) Boyd, and in the maternal line a grandson of John and Ellen McClure. He gained a fair education in schools near his home and, his parents and grandparents having died, came to the United States when he was about nineteen years old. During the succeeding sixteen years he operated rented farms round about Biggsville. Then he bought a place north of that town and ten years afterward 160 acres of land a mile and a half south of it. He has improved a fine farm and does general farming, giving much attention to cattle and hogs. Politically he affiliates with the Republican party, religiously with the United Presbyterian Church.

December 18, 1865, Mr. Boyd married Miss Elizabeth Stevenson, born in County Antrim, Ireland, a daughter of John and Eliza (Gibb) Stevenson, who settled in Biggsville Township in 1871 and there lived out their allotted days. She has borne her husband these children: Catherine, Mrs. Frank Tadlock, of Burlington, Iowa; Agnes, who married James Frakes and died aged thirty-six years; John Boyd, Jr., who is married and lives in Biggsville; Robert and Ellen, who are members of their parents’ household; and Thomas, who died at age three years.

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, Vol. II, 1911. (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M. History of Henderson County, Vol. II, Illustrated, edited by James W. Gordon)


GIBB, David A., widely known as a farmer and stockman, whose farm is located in Section 33, Biggsville Township, Henderson County, is of Scotch-Irish parentage. It may be well here to remind the reader that scarcely any one can be better born than of parents from good Irish or Scotch stock. There are no European families older than the old Irish families, or of more illustrious history. Mr. Gibb’s parents were James and Jane (Stevenson) Gibb, natives of County Antrim, where they were married in 1858. The father had come to the United States about 1848, bringing his first wife and four children. They landed at New Orleans and came up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. While on the trip Mrs. Gibb and three of the children contracted cholera and died at the latter city. Mr. Gibb and his second wife, Mrs. Jane (Stevenson) Gibb, reared seven children, of whom David A. was fourth in order of birth. Mr. Gibb mad a visit to California that consumed six months, walking all the way except for two days of the trip when he was sick, the date of this journey being about 1849. David A. Gibb was born in Biggsville Township, April 13, 1866, and he was educated in the district schools and Biggsville High School. He remained with his parents until 1888, and on December 8th of that year he and his brother, W. J. Gibb, bought 160 acres of unimproved land in section 33, Biggsville Township. In 1891 he bought his brother’s interest and since then has brought the place to a high state of improvement. In 1901 he erected a large modern two-story residence, one of the best in the vicinity, fitted with modern accommodations. For a number of years he sold most of the grain raised on the farm, but later began feeding cattle every year, planning thus to use his corn crop each year. Mr. Gibb is a Republican but an independent voter. He served as School Director about sixteen years, but further than this has no inclination to enter practical politics. He is a member and an elder of the United Presbyterian Church of Biggsville. February 14, 1889, he married Miss Lizzie Shaw, a native of Biggsville, born February 14, 1867, and daughter of Patrick and Sarah J. (Hull) Shaw, natives of Ireland and early settlers of Henderson County. She has borne him three children: Oleva May, Clarence P. and J. Marshall, all of who are members of their parents’ household. The two older are about finishing their course at Monmouth (Ill.) College, and the youngest is a student at Biggsville High School.

Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, Vol. II, 1911. (Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M. History of Henderson County, Vol. II, Illustrated, edited by James W. Gordon)


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