These are out of the 1886 Portrait & Biographical Album of Knox Co., IL. They were typed by Kathy Mills & emailed to me. Thanks bunches & bunches Kathy...... My hat is off to you... woman...
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HEAD, JOHN W., among the citizens of Knox County, who have won repute as enterprising men and substantial persons in a social way, may be reckoned John W. Head, a farmer living on section 3, of Indian Point Township. To speak of him as one of the most able and sound residents of this section of country is the only way in which to convey a commensurate idea of his worth.
The gentleman of whom we write was born in Highland County, Ohio, Dec. 29, 1846, and came to Illinois, Oct, 2, 1853. His parents located at Macomb, McDonough County, and he remained under the parental roof until 1864, and came with his widowed mother to Abingdon. Nine years previous to this time, his father had realized the truth that “To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late,” and yielding up his life went out into the great unknown country. The parents of John W. Head, our subject, were Wilson and Sarah (Foraker) Head.
Wilson was born in Ohio in 1822, and died at Macomb, IL., Oct. 2, 1855. He occupied the pulpit at the Methodist Episcopal Church, at that place, and taught school in the western part of the city, devoting himself to religious and intellectual pursuits, with the honest desire to lay the foundations of good citizenship and practical Christianity.
He united in marriage, in February 1845, with Sarah Foraker, who was born in Highland County, Ohio, May 22, 1837, celebrating his nuptials at the date previously stated. In August, 1860, she married Rev. W. B. Carithers, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with whom she lived until her death, Jan 12, 1878, which occurred at Toulon, Stark County. Mr. and Mrs. Head were the parents of three children: John W., the eldest; Margaret S. and Mary E., the two latter of whom were twins. Margaret died at the age of two years, but Mary, who grew to womanhood, was united in marriage with H.B. Lequatte, of Rock Island County, on the 7th of June, 1872, and their home is in Drury Township, Rock Island County.
John W. Head formed the acquaintance of, and subsequently married, Miss Ella Scott, Sept. 19, 1878. She is the daughter of W.K. and Sarah J. (Stickle) Scott, and was born Oct. 31, 1851. Her father was born in Kentucky, Jan. 4, 1822, and her mother April 4, 1829, in Pennsylvania. This pair were the parents of nine children, viz: Mary J., born Jan. 12, 1850; S. Ella, Oct. 3, 1851; Susan M., in 1853, who died in 1856; Annabel, Paulina J., Fannie F., Emma, Myra, Martin E. and one who died in infancy, unnamed.
Mr. Head is the owner of 80 acres of fine land in a high state of cultivation, lying one and one half miles from Abingdon. He is engaged in the breeding of Short-horn and Polled-Angus cattle, and has been highly successful in almost every venture he has undertaken, all efforts of his resulting in the ultimate improvement of his possessions. He and his wife are consistent and worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his fitness for office has given him a place in many of the local positions of his neighborhood. He has held the office of Postmaster for an extended length of time, and has an interest in politics. He is a Republican in belief and by vote. He is the father of but one child, a boy, now in his sixth year, whom he proudly designates as his son and heir; the date of his birth was March 25, 1880.
HEARN, JOHN C., the biographer finds in his interviews with the people of Persifer Township, that many of the prominent and well-to-do citizens were brought here, or to the county, by their parents when they were in early childhood or youth. Their families were pioneers, and as the children grew and developed into manhood, many of them assumed the management of the business interests, not only of the family estate but of the community. Prominent among this number is John C. Hearn, who today is a prosperous agriculturist, residing on section 29, of the township named. He was a ten year old boy when, in Nov. 1835, his parents arrived in Knox County. They located in Orange Township, where they became widely known and highly respected. The father, James Hearn, died in Chestnut, and the mother, Nancy (Dix) Hearn, died in Orange Township.
John C. Hearn passed the first three or four years after coming to this county, in Orange Township, when the family moved to Knox Township, and later on he came into Persifer. As early as 1848 he purchased 160 acres of land in the latter township, where he settled and has since lived. Here he has erected a splendid suit of farm buildings, and is the fortunate owner of 400 acres of valuable land, 300 of which are under cultivation.
Our subject is a native of Kentucky, where he was born July 20, 1825. Shortly after he had reached his 21st year, Oct. 7, 1846, he and Mrs. Eliza McPherrin nee Wilson, were united in marriage. She grew to womanhood in Champaign County, Ohio, and there married Mr. McPherrin, and immediately after, in 1835, moved to Knox County, locating in Knox Township. Here they engaged in farming until the death of Mr. McPherrin, which occurred in Knox Township Jan. 5, 1845. He was highly esteemed and respected among the early pioneers of the county. By him Mrs. Hearn became the mother of two children, John T. and William H., both of whom reside in California. They are both married and well-to-do farmers. John resides in Tehama County, and William in Sutter County. They married two sisters, the Misses Stevens, the eldest has five children and the youngest four. Mrs. Hearn was born in Champaign County, Ohio, Jan. 21, 1815, and was the daughter of Francis and Priscilla A. Wilson. She has borne to Mr. Hearn two children, Lorena A. and one who died in infancy. Lorena is the wife of Albert Breece, of Elba Township, and is the mother of three children, Harry L., John C., and Eliza M.
During the intense excitement over the discovery of gold on the Pacific Coast, Mr. Hearn joined the great army of gold seekers, and crossed the plains, and like thousands of others his success was not flattering. Before the close of the year (in December) he started for home, returning via the Isthmus, reaching home the following 2nd of April, 1851.
Mr. H. has been called to fill some of the minor official positions of his township, among which are that of Highway Commissioner and School Director. In his political convictions he votes and works for the Republican party. Mrs. Hearn many years ago joined the Methodist Church, though she had been reared in the Presbyterian.
Mr. and Mrs. Hearn have by industry, perseverance and economy, succeeded in securing a handsome competency. Their home is provided with all the comforts that are needed for the enjoyment of life, and it is here that they dispense a liberal hospitality with the ease and grace of “The olden time”.
As a farmer and stock raiser, Mr. Hearn takes prominent rank among the leading men in this especially favored county. A view of their handsome residence is shown on another page of this volume, and their portraits are given, accompanying this brief outline of their life histories.
One of the earliest settlers of Knoxville and a prominent citizen is
Edson Huggins, who is identified as one of the pioneers of that section
and who is the subject of this personal history. He has occupied his
present home since an early day and has been an eye-witness to the
growth and prosperity of Knox County.
J. H. Harrison. --Civil
War Vet---Among Knox County citizens of note-worthy repute
and substantial worth of character stands the subject of this brief
personal history, whom we take pleasure in citing as an example of
worthy industry and honest labor. His home is situated on section 24, of
Copley Township. He has an extensive interest in landed estates and is
engaged in raising and breeding fine stock, at which he is unusually
successful. His barns, out-buildings and other late improvements are as
convenient and well-finished as any in the county. His residence is neat
and handsome, and his homestead includes 378 acres of land.
EDWARDS, ROBERT C., one of the earliest pioneers of this county, resides on section 26, Cedar Township. His birthplace is located in the southern part of the State of Virginia and he was born in the year 1818. Many years back he traveled to Illinois and located on the section where he still lives.
In marriage he was united with Miss Elizabeth Ensinger, on the 5th of April, 1844. His wife was a native of Virginia and was born in that State, May 30, 1825. After a union with Mr. Edwards of 39 years, she was called to the better land, Oct. 14, 1883, her remains resting in Cherry Grove Cemetery, at Abingdon, IL.
Very little is now known of this lady’s parentage, but that they were natives of Virginia is certain. In that State they lived up to the date of their death.
To the devoted union of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards nine children were born, viz: Sarah, David, Hester A., Susan, Nancy, Eliza, Mary, Esterlina, and Bell, all of whom are married with the exception of Esterlina and Bell. The latter young lady is the youngest of her father’s family and at present has the entire supervision of her father’s household, over which she presides with unceasing care. Mr. Edwards has 56 acres of prime land in this township and a comfortable home, in which he has resolved to spend the remainder of his days. Politically speaking, he is a firm Democrat, in the fullest sense of the word.
GIVENS, THALES H., deceased, a former resident of Abingdon, and a pioneer settler of McDonough County, IL, of 1854, as well as a gentleman honored and respected for his sterling worth and integrity by all who became acquainted with him. He was born near Richmond, Ky., Sept. 20, 1822. He was the son of James and Martha (Miller) Givens, and moved with his parents to Monroe County, Indiana while yet in childhood. The grandfather died in Knox County at the residence of his son in 1867. The grandmother died 10 years prior in Monroe Co, Indiana. There our subject was reared to the occupation of a farmer. He served a regular apprenticeship at cabinet-making and subsequently at the carpenter’s trade, acquired his education and lived there developing into manhood.
It was in that State and county that he was united in marriage with Miss Julia Carter, in 1842. She was the daughter of John Carter and was born in that part of Virginia, which at the present time is known as West Virginia. She died Jan. 9, 1874.
The union of the parents of Mr. Givens, of this notice, was blessed by the birth of ten children, five sons and five daughters, and of whom the elder five were born in Indiana, and the younger, in Illinois. Seven of the ten children are yet living: Strawther, has a biographical notice in another part of this work; Araminta H., is living at Abingdon; Walter E., died in infancy; Laura, is the wife of W.G. Nesbit, of Evans, Colorado; Newton, died in infancy; Florence is the widow of Dr. Livy Hatchett, and resides at Abingdon; Clara A., died in infancy; Thales E., married Miss Olive A. Lesh, and resides in Indian Point Township, and of whom a biographical notice is given in this work; Dora F., is serving in the capacity of head book-keeper in the wholesale house of Shaver & Dows, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Hattie M., is the wife of William A. Jones, of Abingdon.
Thales H. Givens removed with his family to McDonough County, this State, in 1854, and was there engaged in the honorable calling of an agriculturist, together with that of stock-raising, until April 1865. He then came to Abingdon, and subsequently engaged in his former occupation in Cedar Township, adjacent to the city.
In 1872, in company with his eldest son, Strawther, and Mr. J. M. Dawdy, under the name of the Union Bank of Abingdon, they began business. Mr. Givens, nevertheless, continued his farming and stock-raising up to the time of his death, which occurred April 23, 1882.
He was a gentleman of considerable ability, strictly honest and upright in all his dealings and was prominently identified with the educational interests of Abingdon, as well as of other places in which he had formerly resided. He took an active part in support of the Abingdon College and sided very materially in prolonging its existence. The present Abingdon College was constructed and built under his supervision. He was an honored member of the Christian Church and in his politics, an active worker for the success of the Democratic party.
SMITH, WILLIAM, as a representative of the agricultural class of Knox County, is the subject of this notice, and resides on the southwest corner of section 10, Ontario Township. Mr. Smith is one of the successful farmers, respected, and honored citizen of that township, and his success in life is a fair measure of what may be accomplished by an individual possessing a large amount of perseverance and energy, for his accumulations have been acquired through his own exertions and not by being the recipient of any legacy.
William Smith was born in Washington County, Vermont, Sept. 15, 1816, and is consequently nigh onto 70 years of age at the date of writing. He is a son of Samuel Smith, who was a farmer by occupation, a native of Vermont and of New England ancestry. The great-grandfather of our subject came from England and made settlement in the United States at an early day. His son, Joseph, grandfather of our subject, was born in New England and in early life became interested in the cause of the Colonies and was one of the first to enlist in their defense. He served for seven years in the War of the Revolution and lived to see the cause of the Colonies victorious. When the War of 1812 broke out, he again enlisted, this time accompanied by his two sons, aged 12 and 14 years, they being musicians. He fought all through that war, and received no injuries of a serious nature in either of the conflicts in which he participated. He was a farmer by occupation and died at the extreme age of 96 years in Vermont. His wife, Hannah (Derkee) Smith, of New England parentage, lived to attain the age of 99 years, and died in Orange County, Vt. They have one child yet living, Mrs. Dolly White, who is a resident of Orange Co., Vt., and at this writing has attained the venerable age of 103 years. The entire family seemed to have been noted for their longevity. Mrs. White reads readily without glasses and in her actions is more agile than many ladies from 20 to 30 years her junior.
The mother of our subject was, prior to her marriage, a Miss Bettie Rood, born in Windsor County, Vt. Her mother’s maiden name was Betsey Kibling, the patronymic having been spelled prior to the settlement of her ancestry in this country, Kiblinger, the “er” having been dropped on their settlement in Vermont. Numerous among the families of that State as well as throughout the Western States, are to be found Kiblings.
The parents of Mr. Smith lived in their native State, where his father followed the occupation of a farmer until his death, which occurred in August 1865, and that of the wife one year later, he being 77 and she 75 years of age. They were members of the Christian Reform Church. Of the 11 children born of their union, 8 lived to attain the age of man and womanhood. William Smith, of whom we write, was the second in order of birth of his parent’s children, and of whom seven are yet living. He remained at home, assisting on the farm and received the advantages afforded by the common schools and developed into manhood.
In Sept. 1837, he left the parental roof-tree and engaged in traffic in “Yankee notions”. He afterwards engaged in business in Franklin and various counties adjacent to York State and was thus occupied for about 20 years, meeting with signal success. In 1854, he disposed of his business in Franklin County and went to Montreal, Canada, where he engaged in the lumber business, and was thus occupied for several years. While there he erected a wharf at a large expense to the Canadian Government and also completed several other large contracts.
In 1859, Mr. Smith left Montreal and emigrated to this State, making settlement in this county, where he secured a four year’s lease to a section of land which he broke and seeded by the following June, and from which he afterward reaped a large harvest. By the time his lease had expired he had been enabled to save sufficient to purchase a farm of his own and immediately invested his means in 165 acres of land, a portion of which had been improved. As soon as his lease had expired he erected a residence on the land he had purchased, into which he moved his family, and at once entered actively and energetically upon the cultivation of his land and the improvement of his place and where he has continued to reside until the present time. He has added to his original purchase until he is at present the proprietor of 330 acres of as good drained and watered land as there is to be found in Knox County. His farm is supplied with two hydraulic pumps and is also drained by a sufficiency of tile to make it rich and productive. His residence is a good and comfortable one, heated by furnace, and his out-buildings are of a substantial nature.
December 27, 1865, Mr. Smith became united in marriage with Mrs. Margaret Frame, nee Boher, a native of Pennsylvania, born in Washington County, July 12, 1831. She was first married to Dr. Thomas Frame, by whom she had three children: Thomas, a teacher in the public schools; Emma, wife of James Tilden, a resident of York County, Nebraska; and Ella, wife of J.F. Friend, a resident of Henry County, IL. Her husband, Mr. Frame, died in Greene County, IL., in May 1864. He was a practicing physician of considerable prominence.
Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, three children have been born, one of whom is deceased: Levi G. and Lucy R., both of whom are skillful musicians. The parents of Mrs. Smith were of German descent, and her father followed the occupation of farmer. They emigrated to this State in 1858, and here resided until their death, that of the father occurring in 1860, and that of her mother 10 years later, in 1870.
Politically, Mr. Smith votes with the Republican party. Religiously Mr. S. and his wife are members of no denomination. Mr. Smith is a prominent factor in the Knox County Farmer’s Insurance Company. He is a gentleman well-read and thoroughly posted in the issues of the day.
Mrs. Smith is a literary contributor of no small prominence, several of her articles occurring in the Western Rural under the nom de plume of “Mother”.
The landed possessions of our subject in this county and other western states, amount to more than 1,000 acres, a large majority of which is under an advanced state of cultivation. His stock upon his home farm, consisting of Poland-China hogs, and thorough-bred Durham cattle, are of the best quality, and in this branch of his chosen vocation, as well as others, he is meeting with that success which energy and perseverance, coupled with good judgment are sure to bring. As a representative of the agricultural class and a thorough-going energetic business man of Knox County, he is certainly the peer of any.
ALLEN, SHELDEN O., this gentleman is the son of Sheldon W. and Fidelia (Leach) Allen, whose names occur prominently in another place in the Album. The subject of the present biography was born in Log City, Henderson Township, on the 10th of Sept., 1838, and was the first male child born there. He was only in his second year when his parents removed to Galesburg, and in this city he spent his early life. His education was mostly received at the common schools. Having made rapid progress he attended Hamilton College, Madison County, N.Y., during a six-months term. This he intended as a commencement of a college course, but being ambitious to uphold his western home he returned to Galesburg and finished his school training there.
Subsequently he was employed as fireman of the C, B. & Q. R.R., and in July 1861, settled in Henderson Township, where he has since lived. He is the owner of 198 acres of land, which is in a highly improved state of cultivation.
He was married in this township on the 25th of October, 1860, to Zipporah Edwards, the daughter of Marcus and Hannah (Ferkins) Edwards, natives of New York. They came to Knox County in 1839, and have resided in Henderson Township since that date. They have a family of thirteen children, of which Mrs. Allen was the sixth in order of birth. She was born in the township named, on the 12th of Jan. 1844. She received her education at the common schools, and by her marriage has become the mother of four interesting children: Dora F., Edwin A., George S., and Laura M. Dora F. is the wife of Ben. Brown, and resides in Henderson Township. She has one child, Laura M. The other children reside at home.
Mr. Allen has not been an aspirant for office of any kind and has in consequence not held any of importance in this township. He is, however, one of the most capable men in Henderson Township, and would do credit to any position of public trust.
The names of the brothers and sisters are as found below:
On the paternal side of the house, Mrs. Allen is of English origin, and the maternal side is of English-French ancestry. Her grandfather, George Ferkins, was a member of the English Parliament. He came to this country and fought in the War of 1812 against his mother country. He died in 1856, at the age of 98. Her grandfather, Moses Edwards, was a soldier of 1812, and also fought in the Black Hawk War.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen are charter members of Fidelity Lodge of Good Templars, of Galesburg. They are among the most active temperance workers of their vicinity, and within two years have traveled over 1600 miles in Knox and Warren counties organizing and directing temperance societies. Most of this traveling was done on Saturdays and Sundays. Mr. Allen is a correspondent for the Republican Register, of Galesburg, as well as filling the office of President of the Correspondents’ Association, of the same publication. He is a thoroughly progressive and enterprising man, and one who is up with the times in every respect. He is always ready and willing to assist in the advancement of any good cause, a fact taken advantage of by many persons interested in the public good. He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, of Galesburg, where they are held in high esteem. In politics he is a Republican, active and uncompromising, and with a clearness of judgment that is rarely met with in men not holding the highest offices, decides measures of good in the public cause that commend themselves to the gratitude and consideration of his fellows.
THURMAN, ALEX, a summary of the lives of many of the residents of Knox County are detailed on her records and go to show what claim may be made to genuine manhood, citizenship, and a place among the active workers in life. Among those none was better fitted to draw forth approbation than that of our subject, whose home was situated on section 29, Maquon Township, who followed the vocation of farming until his demise, which occurred in August 1882.
He of whom we write was born in Highland County, Ohio, Dec. 1, 1821. His parents were John G. and Dorothy (Strange) Thurman. They were natives of Ohio and Virginia, respectively. The father was born in 1795, and died in 1859. The mother was born in 1899 and is now living with her son’s wife at the advanced age of 87 years.
He came to Knox County in June, 1841, and six years later, on the 26th day of November, was married. After marriage he settled in Maquon Township, where he was actively engaged in following the avocation of an agriculturist , and there met with extraordinary success until his decease, as above stated.
The maiden name of the wife of our subject was Eliza A., daughter of Mark and Fannie (Merchant) Thurman. Her parents were pioneers of Knox County, coming here as early as 1829. There they resided until their demise. Mark Thurman, the father of Mrs. Thurman, was the first Justice of the Peace in Knox County. His demise occurred Oct. 26, 1845. The paternal family consisted of ten children, of whom Mrs. T. was the third in order of birth. Feb. 14, 1820, in Highland County, Ohio, she first saw the light. She was only seven months old upon her arrival in this county, where she has lived all her life, she being one of the oldest settlers in the county.
Mr. and Mrs. Thurman, of this notice, have become the parents of one child, a daughter, named Clarissa, who died at the interesting age of two years; Dec. 19, 1850, being the date of her death.
Since her husband’s death, Mrs. Thurman has come in possession of the extensive farm of 320 acres of land, 200 of which is in a most excellent state of cultivation.
Mr. and Mrs. Thurman, having lost their only child, have raised five children, all reaching the age of man and womanhood. The names of the children they have reared will be found below: Zeruial McCullock, who was five years of age when he was taken to raise; Loren E. Thurman was the next child adopted, he being only three years of age when he was taken as one of their children; Catherine Potts was raised and became the wife of Luther Moats; Nettie Hall came to their home when only 13 months old and has grown up to womanhood and is now the leading support of Mrs. Thurman.
Mc MURTRY, JAMES, conspicuous among the prominent citizens of Knox County, and its enterprising and worthy men, useful for the characteristics they show forth, may be found James McMurtry, a brief sketch of whom may be found herein recorded. He resides on a farm situated on section 3, Henderson Township, and is respected by one and all. Mr. M. was among the early settlers of Knox County, coming here in 1829, at a time when this part of Illinois was a broad prairie, with nothing to break the monotony of the gently undulating country, as far as the eye could reach. His home was in Crawford County, Indiana, but his birthplace, Hardin Co, Ky, and the date of his birth Oct. 31, 1807. When he was eight years of age his parents went to Harrison Co, IN., and three years later, in 1818, moved to Crawford Co., his mother dying there the same year. Here the subject lived until 1829, when his father emigrated to Knox County. The father died in Henderson Township in 1851. James received only a limited education while attending school, his time being abbreviated to about one year.
Mr. McMurtry has engaged largely in agricultural pursuits, and, although regretting his lack of early drill, has often demonstrated that the heart may be cultured though long mental training is denied. No one can know him long and not recall the fact that “Often in a wooden house a golden room we find.” He has devoted his time almost exclusively to farming with the exception of three years spent on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
He entered partnership with his brother William, who was afterward elected Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois, and together they purchased a quarter-section of land in Henderson Township, and also bought a claim on another section. He then settled on section 3, where he has lived and established, and made desirable one of the finest farms in the township and county. He is one of the oldest settlers of this section of the country. In 1848 he met with a severe and painful accident, one of his arms, his right one, being caught in a threshing machine and so injured that he was obliged to have it amputated. He however, bears his loss with cheerfulness. He is at present the owner of 150 acres of land, 50 of which is timber and pasture, and has been prosperous in almost every endeavor.
He united in heart and hand with Eliza Rice, April 5, 1829, in Crawford County, Indiana. This lady was born in Hardin Co, Ky., Nov. 20, 1809. She was the mother of 12 children, eight of whom survive. The four deceased are: Jonathan, William, George and Ellen. Of the remaining part of the family, Minerva is the wife of Ruben Reeves and has a home in Iowa; Margaret is the wife of Michael Conley and resides in Nebraska; Lucinda is the wife of Fielding Scott and is pleasantly situated in Nebraska; Andrew J. resides in Iowa; Ruth wedded John Conley and has a home in Kansas; Jacob resides in Iowa; Ezra makes his home in Warren County; and Harriet resides at home
Mrs. McMurtry departed this life in Henderson Township, Sept. 23, 1879. Mr. M. has held many of the local offices: has been Justice of the Peace, Supervisor and Assessor, besides other smaller ones. In politics, he is a Democrat, and voted the Presidential ticket for Andrew Jackson in 1828. In 1832, Mr. McMurtry, accompanied by two men—F. Freeman and Thomas McKee—went to Rock Island for guns to protect the settlers form the Indians during the Black Hawk War, and was instrumental in having 100 sent down the river by boat as far as Ruthsbury, and from there transported by teams to his house, where they were distributed to the settlers. Mr. M. served during the Black Hawk War under Major Butler. Foxie's Note: Most of the family is buried in the Rice ~ Blue Cemetery. I was there this summer and Colonel William Me Murtry's tombstone is missing. It's not there anymore.. And he was a veteran of the above War.
NEWELL, THOMAS, the Treasurer and one of the Trustees of Hedding College, at Abingdon, and one of the originators of the People’s Bank, of that town, is the subject of this brief biographical narrative. He was one of the prime movers or factors in the growth of Hedding College. He has held the position of Treasurer of Hedding College since June 1883, and was Financial Agent from that date to 1885. He has held the position of Trustee for six years, and his active management and wisdom as a financier have almost freed the College from a debt amounting to $20,000. Being known as a safe, conservative business man, the position of Financial Agent was warmly urged upon him at the time he accepted it. The funds were entrusted entirely in his judgment, and ensuing results have shown that the right man was chosen for the place, the debt having shrunk to a few thousand dollars.
Mr. Newell was born in Brown County, Ohio, Sept. 19, 1821, and is the son of Thomas and Margaret (Taylor) Newell. His father was a native of the same county and of Irish descent. His mother was of Scotch lineage and first saw the light in the Buckeye State. When Thomas was 13 years of age his parents, with him in charge, went to Park County, Indiana, and made a settlement at Rockville, where at the age of 22, on Sept. 14, 1843, he united in wedlock with Louisa M. Smith, daughter of Hector Smith, who claimed as her birth-place Vigo County, Ind.
Into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Newell have come six children, of whom the two eldest were born in Indiana and the others in Knox County. He removed from the State of Indiana, to Chestnut Township, Knox Co. in 1848, in which section of the country he has been engaged in farming. There he remained until Jan. 4, 1877, when he removed to Abingdon, in which town he has since resided.
Of his family of children, Sarah A. is the wife of George Burnside of Chestnut Township. John W. have been twice married and lives in Clarke County, Iowa; his present wife was formerly Miss E.A. Roberts; William H., married Salina Meek and lives in Indian Point Township; Julia M. is the wife of Cornelius McFarland, of Clarke County, Iowa; Harriet E. wedded C.A. Lee and has a pleasant home in Albert Lea, Minnesota; Katie E. is a student in Hedding College and still remains under the parental roof.
Mr. and Mrs. Newell are devoted and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is politically a supporter of the Republican party, and is an active, energetic citizen and no drone in the hive of life. He is one of the Directors of the First National Bank and is noted for his shrewd business tact and financial ability. He has held high offices in the College, as previously stated.
GIVENS, THALES EDGAR, among the prominent business men of Abingdon is the subject of this notice, Cashier of the Union Bank, and also a breeder and dealer in French draft horses. He was born in McDonough County, IL, Nov. 8, 1857, and is a son of Thales H. and Julia (Carter) Givens. A biographical notice of his father is given in this work is up above.
Mr. Givens was educated at Abingdon College, and in 1875 engaged as book-keeper in the Union Bank of Abingdon. He continued to serve in that capacity until 1880, when he was promoted to Cashier, and has held that position continuously to the present time. In addition to his duties as Cashier, Mr. Givens is to no inconsiderable extent engaged in the breeding of French draft horses on his fine farm adjacent to the city, and keeps on an average from 20 to 25 head, five of which are thorough-bred.
Mr. Givens became a benedict, Oct. 30, 1879, by uniting his destiny with that of Olive A., the accomplished daughter of Lewis Lesh. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and has borne her husband three children: Eugene E., Olive P., and Ruby B. His residence is adjacent to and just south of the city limits. In politics he votes with the Democratic party.
PEDRICK, SAMUEL K., Mr. Pedrick’s orchard and grounds are located on section 33, near the city limits of Abingdon, Cedar Township. This gentleman is a native of Circleville, Ohio, and was born on the 7th of August, 1823. While attending the district schools he was employed on his father’s farm until attaining his majority.
At the age of 33 he married Miss Harriet W. Kirk, the ceremony being performed in McDonough Co., IL. His wife was born June 17, 1830, and was a native of Green Co., Ky. She came to Illinois with her parents in 1834, the family locating west of Macomb. She remained here until her marriage. To this desirable union there were born four children: Nancy E, April 21,1858; William L, April 21, 1859; John K., Dec. 11, 1862; and Samuel E., was born July 21, 1868 and died July 5, 1872.
In all the country around there is no better land than the 32 acres of fruit orchard belonging to Mr. Pedrick. This he purchased Feb. 1, 1877, and at once turned his attention to the cultivation of blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Of all these he has five acres, and intends increasing the productions from year to year. Together with the Creston Seedling he has eight other varieties, but these former he considers preferable excepting the Green Prolific. He has two varieties of red and two of Black Cap raspberries. He has a two-story brick residence, which is very commodious and fitted up with every comfort. Mr. Pedrick is a prominent Prohibitionist and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The father of this gentleman was Levi and his mother Elinor (Keffer) Pedrick, both natives of New Jersey, the former being born Dec.29, 1792, and dying Nov. 6, 1856. His mother was born May 1, 1802, and died Sept. 18, 1828, in Circleville, Ohio. They were married March 5, 1822, and by the union there were two children, Samuel K. and William. His second marriage was with Miss Elizabeth Hoover. She was a native of Pennsylvania, born Feb. 17, 1804, and still lives on the homestead. There were four children by this marriage, viz: Sarah A., Lewis, Elizabeth A., and Joseph. Besides Mr. Pedrick, Elizabeth is the only surviving child.
The parents of the present Mrs Pedrick were John and Nancy (Coe) Kirk, natives of Kentucky. The father was born in 1790 and died in Nov. 1856; the mother, born in 1793, died Aug. 1, 1863. There were 11 children born of the marriage: Malinda, Paulina, Julia A., John J., Harriet W., Maryetta, Lucy, Miranda, Mannery, Edward, and Nancy. Mr. and Mrs. Kirk were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and politically speaking, he was a Whig in his day.
Mr. Pedrick is a gentleman of quiet demeanor, though exercising considerable religious and political influence in his locality.
WOODMANSEE, GEORGE, the subject of this personal narration, whose career is herein briefly recorded, is noteworthy for having lived a most useful life. At present he is living in retirement, on section 35, Knox Township. His home property includes neat and substantial frame buildings, and in his former active life and earnest industry, he has proved that to him at least, “Honest labor wears a lovely face”.
Mr. W. was born in Greene Co, Pa., May 20, 1810. His father, Thomas Woodmansee, was a native of New Jersey, and was born April 13, 1780. His father—the grandfather of our subject—James Woodmansee, was also a native of New Jersey. He was the son of Thomas Woodmansee of Connecticut, who as the son of Gabriel Woodmansee. The entire Woodmansee family claimed French ancestry, a part of the forefathers going from France to England and coming, previous to the Revolutionary War, to Long Island, where they first settled. Later, they removed to New Jersey and their descendants are now scattered all over the United States. The grandfather of our subject removed from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and from there to Ohio, locating in Butler Co, where he was a pioneer, and there continue to reside until his death.
Thomas Woodmansee was a child of eight years of age when his parents removed to Pennsylvania, and in Fayette County, where they settled, he grew to manhood. While still young, in Greene Co, he was united in marriage with Mary Taylor, who was born Jan. 18, 1787 in Maryland. They went at once to live in Greene Co., and there tarried until he fall of 1817.
In 1816, the father and mother of our subject visited Ohio, each on horseback, and at this time he purchased 360 acres of timber land in Clinton County. In the spring of 1817, he returned to Clinton Co. and began cultivating and improving, and after devoting a brief space of time to this immediate duty, went back to Pa for his family. Then, taking their two children they went to the State of Ohio, which journey was made with horses and wagons. With them they carried their household goods, drove their domestic animals, and camped and cooked by the way. The husband came out in the spring, raised a partial crop and erected a portion of his cabin. His brother-in-law completed it for him, which being ready for them, into it they moved. Immediately following their arrival the husband and father began the work for which he had come to this place. He rented some land near and while working this cleared some of his own. In 1818, he bought a farm with a few acres broken, which he worked until 1853. At this time he sold out and came to Knox County, locating near Abingdon, and about two years later, bought a farm near by and there remained until called home by death. His widow remained at the home of our subject until she departed this life. She had been a most devoted wife and mother and was ready to go, realizing that “To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die.” She was the mother of two children, of whom our subject was the eldest. His brother James lives at Abingdon.
George Woodmansee was a child of but seven years when he came with his parents to Ohio, and there grew to the estate of man. His early life was spent in assisting his father on the farm, which was all unbroken and had to be cleared. In spite of the obstacles and drawbacks that came in his way, he devoted a portion of his time to gaining an education. At that period there were but few schools and his sole dependence was on the subscription school.
In his early manhood he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Hollcraft, who was born in Warren Co, Ohio, March 15, 1815, and was the daughter of James and Eliza (Lyttle) Hollcraft, both natives of Pennsylvania.
At the time of his marriage he took up and marked the boundaries of the first piece of land his father had bought and commenced house-keeping in the old family log-cabin. Here they remained until 1855, when, on the 26th of Sept., they emigrated to Illinois. Like many others, they made the journey to Knox County with teams. They had with them seven horses, two buggies and two wagons, and reached their point of destination after traveling 19 days. Previous to this he had visited the county and bought land in Knox Township. There was on this a small brick dwelling and a frame house. The family first moved into the brick house and one year after built the residence which is the present home. At the same time he erected a good barn and planted a large number of shade trees. All these improvements tended toward producing that sweetest of all possessions, a home.
Their family circle is an extended one, including 12 children, ten of whom survive: Thomas (see sketch); Mary, wife of James Huffmire; Lucinda, who married Peter Lacey and who lives in Haw Creek Township; Adaline, wife of Hiram Ward, whose home is in Polk County, Iowa; Leroy is married, living in Orange Township; George, whose home is in Washington County, Ark; Victoria, wife of A.J. Ferguson, living in Orange Township; Xenophon, whose home is in Orange Township; Loreno, wife of Charles T. Chase, also of Orange Township; and Alonzo, with his family, living in Boone County, Iowa.
Mr. and Mrs. Woodmansee are most excellent people and practical every-day Christians, and are united by profession of faith with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. W. joined that body in Ohio, and served for some years as Trustee. He is a vigorous and alert politician, well versed in the details of questions relative to National affairs. He has had unchallenged opportunities for watching the fluctuations in political questions, as he cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson. Later, he became a Whig and then an Abolitionist, and during the Rebellion was a stanch Union man. He is at the present time a Republican, to which party he has belonged ever since its organization.
MILES, HON. RUFUS W., among the honored and respected citizens of Knox County, whose record as a public man bears upon it no spot or blemish, and whose motto through life has been “Act and deal honorably with your fellow-men”, is Mr. Miles. Mr. Miles is a fair representative of what an individual can accomplish, providing he is possessed of these three necessary requisites—pluck, perseverance, and good judgment. He is at present passing the afternoon of life on his fine farm on section 34, Persifer Township, engaged in agricultural pursuits.
The parents of Mr. Miles, Solomon and Eliza A. (Gilmore) Miles, were natives of Ohio and Vermont, respectively. They were married and settled in Licking Co, OH., where they resided until 1836, when they came to this county, locating in Orange Township. There they lived for one year, and in the spring of 1838, moved to Persifer Township, and settled on the identical tract on which their son, our subject, is now living. There they continued to live and labor for the best interest of themselves and children, until their demise, that of the father occurring Oct. 6, 1876, and of the mother, July 19, 1880. The former was a Presbyterian preacher in Ohio, but while in the discharge of his duty as a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus, his health failed him and he was obliged to resign his charge. His family comprised ten children: Rufus W., Sarah O., James G., Catherine E., Benjamin S, Marion C., John S., Parnach O., Putnam L., and Perrigrine F.
Rufus W. Miles was born in Newark, Licking Co, OH., Sept. 21, 1822. He attended the common schools of his native county until coming to this county in 1836, when he was but 14 years of age. His desire while yet a youth, was that in the future he might be a useful man, and to this end he applied himself to study and was soon prepared to enter Knox College. He, however, attended only half of the Freshman year, when he went to work upon the farm, and his business since that time has been mainly that of agriculture. In 1850, soon after the gold fever had swept over the country. And many thousands believed that all that was necessary to attain a fortune, was simply to cross the plains and gather the gold in hatfuls, almost from the surface of the soil, Mr. Miles concluded to try his luck in that far-off coast. He consequently crossed the plains, and, on arriving there, worked for one year at mining on Weber Creek, in Eldorado County, meeting with partial success. He, however, did not tarry there long, for, in the latter part of August of the following year, 1851, we again find him settled on the old homestead, acting in the capacity of a sturdy tiller of the soil, and the help of his parents during the remainder of their lives.
The marriage of Mr. Miles took place in Knox Township, Jan. 18, 1846, at which time Miss Mary J. Bruce, born in Vermont, Jan. 24, 1830, became his wife. Her parents were Silas and Hannah D. (Scott) Bruce, natives of the Green Mountain State. They left that State in 1845, coming to this county and making settlement in Knox Township. Her father was a shoemaker by trade, and died while in the prosecution of his vocation in Knoxville, in 1872. His wife, mother of Mrs. Miles, still survives. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce are seven in number: H. Elizabeth; Mary J., (Mrs. Miles); Dwight; Lucretia M.; Atlanta L.; William M.; and Abby C.
In the fall of 1858, Mr. Miles was elected to represent his district in the State Legislature, beating his opponent, Ford, by nearly 1,000 votes. In the fall of 1878 he was again elected as a member of that honorable body, and served his constituents with credit, during the sessions of 1878-79. In 1867, Mr. Miles was appointed by Gov. Oglesby as one of the members of the Board of State Equalization, and in the fall of 1868, was elected to that office for the counties of Knox, Fulton and Mason, and in 1872, was elected to represent the counties of Knox, Peoria, Fulton and Stark, making a service of ten years in that capacity.
Mr. Miles was an ardent admirer of our martyred President, Abraham Lincoln, and, after Mr. Lincoln was elected President the first time, Mr. Miles sent him an eagle’s quill, with which the Chief Magistrate wrote his first inaugural address. The letter written by Mr. Miles to the President, and sent with the quill, which was two feet in length, was of such eloquence and prophecy, that we deem it interesting to such an extent as to gladly give it place in this sketch.----
Mr. Miles, in his own township, accepted the office of Supervisor, and for 19 years has been the incumbent of that position, serving at present. He has also been the incumbent of the office of Justice of the Peace, and of Township Clerk, as well as other minor offices. Socially, he is a member of the order of Masonry, and at one time belonged to the I.O.O. F. He is a true and consistent Christian gentleman, belonging, with his good wife, to the Presbyterian Church. Having printed the foregoing letter, it is unnecessary for us to state that his is a Republican in politics, for the tone of that letter indicates, with more positiveness than anything we can say, the part to which he belongs.
Mr. and Mrs. Miles have had their home circle blessed by the birth of seven children: Lucy W., Hannah E., Emma M., James H., Rufus H., Joseph W., and Mary J. James H. died July 27, 1877, when he was in his 21st year. The cause of his death was drowning in Spoon River, while bathing; Lucy is the wife of Charles Mastin, a resident of Elba Township, and she has borne her husband seven children: Carl, Jon, Rufus W., Winnefred, Eliza, Albert K., and Myrtle. The remaining children reside on the old homestead.
Mr. Miles has been Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for several years. Having done good work in the past, now in the sunset of life, he is enjoying a competency on his fine farm of 270 acres, on section 34, Persifer Township, 160 of which is tillable. He is respected by all who know him for his sterling worth and integrity, and none can point to a single act in the history of his life, wherein he has wronged his fellow man, or where he has refused to listen to the earnest entreaty of true charity.
BARTLETT, LOAMMA M., truly a good and honorable citizen of Knox County and a man esteemed for his popularity and enterprise, the subject of this sketch stands but in distinct prominence among the residents of that section of country as an example of nobility and manhood. His life has been an instance of what may be accomplished by dogged persistency of purpose that holds its own against “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Mr. Bartlett owns a farm on section 17, Rio Township, and has made his home a model of taste and convenience.
Our subject came to Knox County in May 1844, from Genesee County, N.Y., and may rightfully claim a place among those noble pioneers who left the refinements and luxuries of their Eastern homes and with spirit undaunted, entered the wilderness of the Wild West, and here made for themselves and their descendants a name and a fortune. Immediately after reaching the west, Mr. Bartlett entered Knox County and located the foundation of what is now his beautiful home. He is the present owner of 97 ½ acres of land, all in a high state of cultivation.
He was born in Alexander, N.Y., July 14, 1828. His father was by occupation a hotel keeper, and when Loamma was old enough so to do, he assisted him in the business. (See sketch of E.A. Bartlett). He was allowed the privilege of attending the common schools and studied with a fair amount of perseverance and industry. After coming to Knox County he began and has since followed agricultural pursuits.
He was united in the holy bonds of matrimony in Rio Township, Dec. 11, 1851, to Ann P., daughter of Joshua and Eliza P. Kibby) Willitts, native of Ohio, the former of whom died in Mercer County, near New Boston, in 1840, and the latter in Rio Township in 1875. Mrs. Bartlett was born in Milton, Indiana, April 13, 1833.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett has been made perfect by the birth of two children, by name of Marietta and Lucy M. Mary is the wife of Sylvester Thompson and resides in Washington County, Iowa, and is the mother of three children: Edwin C., Alma B., and Arthur B. Lucy is the wife of Charles G. Farnham, and lives at Rio; she is the mother of three children: Grace B., Ray, and Everett L.
Mr. Bartlett is an active public man and fills many of the local offices of his neighborhood. He has held the offices of Township Clerk and School Director for a number of years. He is dignified and elevated in sentiment politically, and always endeavors to vote for the right man. His principles bear the Republican stamp.
GLISSON, THOMAS R., one of the well-to-do and enterprising farmers of Knox Township, and standing among those persons distinguished for energetic industry and the success that crowns such effort, is the subject of this biography, who resides on section 26. When he first came to Knox Township he purchased his present farm, and has since added to and improved on the original, until he owns one of the finest farms in that entire section of country, comprising 220 acres of fertile soil.
Mr. Glisson was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, Jan. 29, 1815, and is the son of Thomas Glisson, who was born in Pennsylvania, in the town of Carlisle. By occupation he was a cabinet-maker. Removing to Hamilton County when but a young man, he there married Miss Rebecca Runyan, a native of New Jersey. She was a daughter of Benjamin Runyan. In 1817 he removed to Indiana and settled near Brookville, where he bought a saw-mill and engaged in business, working at his own trade until 1828. At that time, during the month of December, he sold out and returned to Hamilton County, where he labored at cabinet-making until his death, which took place in 1849, having survived his wife (who died in 1843) six years. They were the parents of ten children—six boys and four girls.
One of the sons, O.S. Glisson, is Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, now on the retired list. He was educated at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. The subject was the fourth son, and as soon as he grew large enough to be of any use whatever, he entered his father’s shop and there learned the trade of cabinet-making. At this he worked until he attained the age of 23 years, when he learned the cooper’s trade. This he followed until 1854, in Hamilton County, when he concluded to go west. Accordingly, he came to Knox County, purchased 180 acres of improved prairie land on section 26, Knox Township, and 40 acres of timber land on section 12 of the same township. He located on the former section and has there resided ever since, building up a pleasant and attractive home. The farm contains two sets of frame buildings, his only son occupying one of the houses.
He married Miss Mary Edwards in Oct. 1838, who was born in the city of Philadelphia, Aug. 30, 1819, and who is the daughter of William and Ann (Outterbridge) Edwards, both natives of Maryland. To them have been born nine children, two of whom are deceased, and seven now living, as follows: Elizabeth, wife of James Redick, who lives in Hancock Co, OH.; Abbie, who wedded James Hadley and who lives in Yolo Co, CA; Nellie, Sarah, Charles, Pameli and Harris. Charles is married and carried on the home farm. The four younger daughters reside at home. Mr. Glisson has given his children the benefits of a good education.
Mr. and Mrs. Glisson are active members of society and good workers in the neighborhood to which they belong, the wife and mother and four of her children being members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. G. is a Republican in politics, and a wide-awake, earnest thinker.
Charles, the only son, lives on the home place and follows farming, the vocation to which he was reared. He was born in Hamilton Co., OH., Oct. 19, 1853, and was but a year old when he came to Knox Co. with his parents. He married Miss Emma, daughter of Alexander and Ellen (Curl) McPherson, who was born in Knox Township, and to them has been born one child, a son, named Oliver. Both the younger Mr. Glisson and his wife are favorites with the younger members of society, and desirable friends and neighbors. They are worshipers under the Methodist Episcopal doctrines of faith, to which Church they are connected by membership.
GRIFFITH, HOWARD M., farms on section 2 of Cedar Township, and was born May 4, 1854 in Knox County. He is the son of Abel and Hannah (Gore) Griffith. His mother was born near Hagerstown, Md., Sept. 13, 1811, her parents also hailing from Maryland. This lady’s parents were John and Mary (Spindler) Gore, and by the union five children were the result, viz: Jacob, Samuel, Nicholas, now living in Iowa; Rosena, through marriage Mrs. Thornburg, who died in1877; and Hannah, the eldest, was the mother of Mrs. H. Griffith. She married Mr. Abel Griffith, April 2, 1854, her husband being born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Oct. 16, 1803.
The father of Abel, Mr. Benjamin Griffith, was quite a lad when he removed with his widowed mother, and though yet young took charge of her affairs until her death in 1845, in the State of Ohio. She was buried in Muskegon County, near Zanesville. Her husband was interred in Bucks Co, Pa, 1816. By the marriage there were five children: William, Abel, Horatio, Rebecca A., and Elizabeth.
Through the union of Abel and Hannah Griffith there were eight children: Morris, born in Pa, Feb. 17, 1836; John, Aug. 13, 1834; Ann, July 4, 1839; Mary, Aug. 24, 1840, in Ohio; William, Dec. 8, 1843, in the same State; Rebecca, March 12, 1846; Duc, May 9, 1853, in the State of Illinois; George, Aug. 18, 1848, in Ohio; Howard, May 4, 1854, in the State of Illinois; and Francis B., in Illinois, July 5, 1856. All these children, except the last named, are married.
Mr. Griffith, whose name heads this history, married Miss Edith E. Parsons, Oct. 1, 1884, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. A.R. Thair. This lady was born Oct. 1, 1852 in Knox County, she being the daughter of Franklin and Sarah (Bullard) Parsons. They were natives of Ohio and Canada, respectively. He being born in Ashtabula Co., OH., on Jan. 29, 1821, the date of his wife’s birth is unknown. By this devoted union there were nine children, viz: Leonard W., Edotha E., Frank D., Ellen A., Rollin J., Lincoln E., Sarah E., Emma N., and Effie M. Of these there are five living.
The subject of this sketch has a son, born Dec. 23, 1855. Mr. Griffith’s farm consists of 221 acres of prime land, on which he erected a desirable two-story house in 1882. During two winters he attended the Knox Academy, where he won distinction in his classes.
He had three brothers in the army; one of them served two years and the other twelve months. John was Captain of the Red River Expedition, and was incarcerated 14 months, at Taylor, Texas.
The subject is a prominent member of the Congregational Church, and considered by that community a gentleman of broad sympathies, whose good common sense is worthy of reliance whenever called into requisition.
HUMISTON, ELISHA, (deceased) the gentleman whose name honors this brief review of a worthy life, was one among the earliest pioneers of Knox County, IL., having arrived in the State in 1834. He was born in Connecticut not long subsequent to the War of Independence. He was twice married, his first wife being Elizabeth Hartshorn. Two children, a son and a daughter, were born to the union, Hartson and Almira, both births occurring in Broome Co., N.Y. The daughter married Mr. Gary Tuggles, a gentleman of prominence. While the country was still a wilderness, Mr. Humiston moved from Connecticut to Broome Co, N.Y., and resided there until 1834, when he came to Knox Co, IL., settling in this, Cedar, township.
Having lost his first wife he married Betsy Noble by whom he had four children: Elizabeth, Phoebe, Delia, and Hobert. The last three were early associated with the history of Knox County. Hartson Humiston, who was born in Broome Co, N.Y., April 1, 1805, was married in that place to Miss Mary Church, June 28, 1832, five children being the result of the union: Cyrus J., Mary E., Helen M., Francis M., and Joanna. The last named being the wife of Joseph F. Latimer, of Cedar Township, Knox Co, IL.
In 1846 Mr. H. Humiston emigrated with his family from New York to Knox County, and immediately engaged in farming, with profit to himself and much satisfaction to those who had dealings with him, he continued in this occupation until his death, July 6, 1876.
EASEL, ERASMUS J., among the more prominent and enterprising farmers of Knox County, noteworthy for persistent industry, and financial ability, may be counted the subject of this sketch, a brief summary of whose personal history is herein given. He owns a farm on section 10, of Indian Point Township, and upon it stands a pleasant and attractive home. He is within a convenient distance of town privileges, living two and three-quarter miles southeast of Abingdon.
Mr. Easel, of this writing, was born in Adams County, Illinois, March 28, 1855, and came to Knox County in 1865, at the age of 10 years. Considerable attention was given to his educational training and he seemed to possess a natural predilection for intellectual industry. He attended Hedding College three terms and his application won him golden opinions.
He is the son of Harvey D. and Margaret (Sampson) Easel, the former of whom was born in Ohio, in 1831, and the date of the latter parent’s birth not being positively known, the records, by some unfortunate circumstance being lost.
Mr. Easel, of this sketch, lost his mother when about 8 years of age. She died of congestive chills, the date of her death being 1863. She was the mother of five children, by name: Mary E., who died at the early age of four years; Erasmus, Silas, Mary F., and Jennie F.
Mr. and Mrs. Erasmus Easel were united in the holy bonds of wedlock, July 3, 1878, and his wife’s maiden name was Mary Elwell. She was born Feb. 9, 1859, and was at the time of her marriage, 19 years of age. She is the daughter of Jacob and Harriet (Haynes) Elwell, and her father was born in Indiana, July 4, 1835, while her mother, Miss Harriet Haynes, first saw the light of day, Oct. 2, 1841. The father now lives in Van Buren Co., Iowa. She died Aug. 20, 1865, leaving one child, a daughter, who is the wife of our subject. One year after Mrs. Elwell died, Mr. Elwell remarried, Mrs. Emily A. Laymon, of Ohio, being his chosen companion. Both she and her husband survive, and are living in the State of Iowa. To them were born five children, viz: Arominta, who died in infancy; Anna W., Myra, Hattie, and Ora. To Mr. and Mrs. Easel, of this sketch, have been given two children: Harley D., born April 18, 1879; and Jamie R., Aug. 30, 1882.
Mr. Easel is the owner of 100 acres of fine land and devotes himself to the breeding of good blooded cattle. He has always been prominent in public affairs and has held the office of School Director for a long period. In politics he affiliates with the Republican party and keeps his eyes open relative to public and private good. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Abingdon, and formerly attended the St. Mary’s Seminary at Knoxville, at which institution she remained two years.
Mr. Easel has an intelligent and interesting family and the home is a place of pleasant resort to friends and neighbors.
LATIMER, JONATHAN, as consistency is ever a trait in the records of remarkable men, one can scarcely recall the name of the subject of this biography without at the same time being struck with the roundness and complete unity in character of the man immediately under our notice.
Mr. Latimer, now deceased, whose pen portrait is given here, was one among the earliest pioneers of Knox County. He settled in the year 1832, though arriving in Illinois as early as 1829.
At the home of his parents in Robinson Co, Tenn, the boy was born May 23, 1803, his father being Elder Joseph and his mother Anna (Dobbins) Latimer.
Descended from one of those old and sturdy New England families who played a most conspicuous part in the struggle for American Independence, Mr. Latimer through a life devoted to duty and the good of his fellows, lost none of those strong traits which so distinguished his ancestors. During the Revolutionary War the grandfather of Jonathan held rank as Colonel, and contributed to the Colonial forces no less than twelve sons, each serving under his gallant father’s command.
On the 24th day of Feb., 1824, Miss Nancy West became the wife of Jonathan Latimer. After his arrival in Illinois in 1829, he took up his abode in Sangamon County. Three years later, however, the subject of our sketch finally located in Knox County, upon section 28, in what is known as Cedar Township. At the date referred to, the township only numbered four other families, proving the rapid growth during the past half century of that now prosperous district. Deciding to make his home on the newly located section, Mr. Latimer at once engaged in farming and stock raising, a vocation which he followed creditably and with profit up to the date of his demise, the 4th of Aug., 1866.
The children born to the Latimer family were ten in number: Mrs. Latimer through a course of long years proving a most exemplary mother of the old time school. The family, at the date of writing, are disposed of as follows: Emily is the wife of J.B. F. Chesney of Abingdon; Mary Latimer is deceased; Alexander married Miss Julia Meek, and is living in Winnegabo City, Minn.; Louisa twice married, first to Joseph Meek, but is now widow of L.C. Bacon, living at Abingdon; William (deceased) married Elizabeth Humiston her father's bio above., who lives now in Abingdon, her husband dying in the year 1872; James married Jennie Hartford, and resides at Pleasanton, Kansas; Anna became the wife of Charles Foster, now dead; Clara is the wife of Mr. F.C. Wells, of Wheaton, IL., and a prominent business man in Chicago; Joseph F. married Joanna Humiston, and resides in Cedar Township; Columbus married Angie Ranson, and lives in Tiogo Center, N.Y.
Early in life Mr. Jonathan Latimer became a member of the Presbyterian Church. At the Cherry Grove Presbyterian Church he subsequently became one of the original members, and was leader among the leading Elders of that body. As one of the chief founders of the Cherry Grove Seminary, and most incessant worker in the cause of education Mr. Latimer’s name will be remembered by not only those who were benefited, but by those who took an active part in the good work of the hour. During the latter 25 years of his life he engaged in various business and manufacturing enterprises. During the building of what is now the C., B. & Q. Railroad he contracted to tie the road to Quincy, and was connected with it until his death.
Seconded and encouraged by one of the most devoted and loving among wives, Mr. Latimer’s zeal in the cause of religion grew daily, and his upright and honorable intercourse with his fellow men became a subject of remark.
He was not only open-handed but generously bountiful to all who really needed his help, or desired to help themselves. This was a common trait in the Latimer family, and is shared today by the wife who survives this good man. At Abingdon, where she now resides, the universal respect and love shown this lady is not lost. She is in her eighty-fourth year, being born in North Carolina in 1802.
JOHNSON, OLOF, the senior member of the firm of O. Johnson & Co., manufacturers of boots and shoes at Abingdon, whose business was established in 1881, and who is associated with his son, M. C. Johnson, is the gentleman, the brief outlines of whose personal history are herein given.
The subject of this biographical notice was born in Sweden, Nov. 5, 1826, and is the son of John and Matilda (Swanson) Matteson. In his native country he learned the shoemaker’s trade, entering his apprenticeship when a boy of 12 years. He is fully a master of his trade, having worked at it continuously for almost 47 years. He emigrated from Sweden to America in the year 1854, coming directly to Illinois and settling in Galesburg, where he worked at his trade for a few months and from which city he removed to Abingdon. Here he continued a year and a half, working as before at his trade, and then returned to Galesburg, and subsequently, in 1859, to Monmouth. Here he labored a year and a half and again cast his lot at Galesburg, where he went into business, in which he remained seven years.
Leaving this, he engaged in farming in Knox County, in 1871, but relinquished this after two years experience, when he moved to Abingdon, where he worked as journeyman till 1881 and then commenced business for himself, forming, in 1882, the existing partnership with his son, M.C. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson, of this writing, took to wife Miss Ellen, daughter of Swan Matteson, Oct. 22, 1855. They were married at Galesburg, and the result of their union is seven children, four of whom lived to grow up, and of which number three survive, as follows: Matilda, wife of Peter E. Nelson, of Stanton, Iowa; Carrie, who died at the age of 12 years; M. C., the junior partner of the firm of O. Johnson & Co.; and Joseph, the youngest. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are useful members of the community in which they reside and congenial friends and neighbors. They are devoted members of the Congregational Church to which they both belong.
More to come it's in the work until the
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006 01:09:51 PM updated & uploaded
Created Saturday September 24, 2005 11a in the morning.