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This is a Biography of John Peck Terpening taken out of the

Portrait & Biographical Album of Warren County, IL

It is copyrighted by the Chapman Bros.  ,In the year of 1885.


John Peck Terpening, a well-known resident of Kelly Township, is a settler of

Warren County of 1836. 

He is a native of Saratoga Co., NY, and accompanied his parents to Illinois in 1835. 

His Father, Ezekiel Terpening, was born in the town of Clifton Park, Saratoga County, NY, in 1781.

  The great-grandfather of John P. came from Holland and settled in NY after it’s capture

 by the English.  From there, he moved with his family to Ulster

County, that state, where he died.  One of his sons, Peter, moved with his

family to Saratoga County, to what is now called Clifton Park, where he (Peter)

 passed the remaining years

of his life.  He-~~ Peter, John P.'s grandfather~~- served as a soldier during the war

of the Revolution; his great-great -great-great-great-granddaughter ~~Foxie Hagerty~~ Joined the

Lucretia Leffingwell Chapter Daughters of the American

Revolution Chapter at Knoxville, IL, under him; Petrus Terpening.  Note: Petrus is the Dutch spelling

 and pronunciation of America's Peter... I prefer the Dutch...  Foxie also found

 out that Petrus's father Jacob Terpenning signed the Articles of the Revolution

and two of his brothers~~ Theunes (sp) and Jacob Terpening also fought

in the American Revolution..

  His son, Ezekiel, who was the father of our subject, was a soldier of the War of 1812. 

His grandfather, on the maternal (Peake), assisted in defending the rights of the colonies,

and died from the effects of the hardships that he endured while in the service.

 His name was Peake, and he was of English ancestry.

Ezekiel Terpening had learned the trade of a blacksmith.  He gave his attention to that

business until the proceeds of his labor enabled him to buy a farm, after which he abandoned

his trade for the pleasure of agriculture.  In 1835, accompanied by his family, he set out to

 seek a home in the West.  They started on the Erie Canal, by which they took a

steamboat to Cleveland.  From that city, they again took passage on a canal extending

from that place to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River, where they embarked on a steamboat on the

 same river and reached the Mississippi River, on which they journeyed to St. Louis.   The freezing of the

river detained them   there a month, and at the end of that time they proceeded to Quincy, where they arrived

0n the 1st day of January, 1836.  No vacant house could be found at Quincy, and, in company with other

emigrants, they took possession of a camp three miles from the city, where they remained a month. 

About the 1st of February, the father and son, (the latter the subject of our sketch), set out for

Rock Island County to see the claim J.P. had previously bought, but met a man, who was then

living where Moline is now located and whom he knew was living near the place he had

 purchased.  Mr. T. learned from him that the claim had again been sold, the man getting only $5

more than Mr. T. was to give.   He had agreed to pay him $450 on taking possession by the

1st of March.  They were then some 30 miles south of Monmouth, but thought best to go to

Hendersonville, Knox County, IL, and look around.  They finally found a desirable location,

on section 33, in township 12 north, of range 1 west (Kelly Township).  Previous to starting,

the family had removed to a vacant house in Quincy, where the remaining members were comfortable

 situated while the father and son were away seeking a place for their future home.  They returned to

Quincy and remained in the city until spring, when, with a pair of horses and a wagon they drove to

their new home.  There were a few improvements on the place, consisting of a log house and stable

and four acres of prairie broken.  This was the homestead during the remaining years of the life of

 the father, Ezekiel, and he bought additional land,  until he was the owner of 480 acres. 

He (Ezekiel) died July 16, 1867.  Their family included 11 children.

Mr. Terpening, of this sketch, is the third in order birth.  He was born in the same town in

which his father was born, April 12, 1811.  He was reared on the homestead in Saratoga County

and received a good common-school education.  At the age of 21, he became a clerk in a grocery,

 at Rexford’s Flats, in the county of his nativity.  

In May, of that year, 1835, he set out for Illinois.  He stopped in various places in the

 intervening States of New York and Ohio, and after he reached Jackson, in the Buckeye

State, he came the remainder of the Distance to Illinois on foot.  In September of the same

year he returned to Saratoga County for the sake of Fulfilling a promise to a young lady

named Mindwell Smith, to whom he was joined in marriage, September 24, 1835,

 after he had arrived home.  She is the daughter of Richard and Sally Peck Smith,

 And was born in Clifton Park Township, Saratoga County, and April 2, 1813.  Mrs. Terpening

was the eldest of a family of eight children, namely, Abijah, Eliza, Nathan, Richard P.,

Samuel, Solomon P. and one who died in infancy.  Eliza married Solomon Waite, and now lives

 in St. Clair Co., MO.  Samuel now lives in Pettis Co. MO. Solomon P. resides at

Waterford, NY. He was Colonel in the late war, in which he lost one of his arms.  Of the

paternal side, as far back as she can trace, Mrs. T. is of American ancestry, and on the

maternal side is of English origin. (It should have been stated that the elder

Terpening assisted a man and his family to come with himself.  The man settled in Scuyler Co., IL)

Upon the 2nd of November, 1835, the elder Terpening (Ezekiel) and his family, including the

 bride of his son, set out for the journey to Illinois that has been related in detail in connection

 with what has been told above concerning the fortunes of the father.  The arrival of the entire

 party in what is now Kelly Township, occurred March 9, 1836.  The elder Terpening bought the

southwest quarter of section 33 of  L. W. Billups. Upon this was a log cabin, 18 X 20 FEET IN

 SIZE, and Mr. Billups and his family of ten and Mr. Terpening’s family of twelve, twenty-two

 in all, lived in it for three weeks.  Mr. Terpening says that “we were thicker than three

 in a bed, as the floor, our only bed, was covered.”  At the end of three weeks, Mr. B. had

completed his in the vicinity and moved out. 

The first year of his stay in Warren County, Mr. Terpening rented a farm on section 28,

 and in 1837, he bought 80 acres of land on section 26, Kelly Township..  It was nearly all covered with timber,  but a small log cabin had been erected, of which he and his wife took possession for a

 short time, until a more comfortable and convenient dwelling could be prepared for their use.

  The new house was built of logs, but it was the home

 of the household for seven years.  At the southwest quarter of section 34,

to which he removed.  They were there resident five or six years, after which the proprietor

bought and removed to the place a frame house.  He continued to manage the place until he

had broken and fenced about 50 acres, when he again sold

 his farm and bought a place on section 2, of the township of Cold Brook. 

The family were the occupants of this until 1851, when Mr. Terpening bought the

 farm on which he is at present residing.  It was then Unbroken prairie.  He moved

a log house to it and commenced to improve his property.   He has placed it in a condition,

which will compare favorably with others in the townships of similar pretensions.

Mr. Terpening’s household included eight children.

 Smith, the eldest son , resides in Galesburg, Ill.;

John Wesley is a resident of Marion C., MO;

Sarah, is the widow of William M. Armstrong,

who was s soldier in the war of the Rebellion and Captain of Company B, 102d Ill. Vol. Inf.,

to which reference has so often been made in the course of these records.  At the battle of Averysburg,

 he was severely wounded and never recovered from the consequences of the injury.

 After his return, he was elected Sheriff of Warren County, but did not live to fill

his term of  office. 

Harrison P. married Martha Nicolina Armstrong and  is a resident of Marion Co., MO;

Olive is the wife of W. B. Armstrong,

and they are settled in Vernon Co., Mo

 Nathan is a citizen of the same county;

 Charles is the manager of the Homestead; 

 Edwin lives in the township of Cold Brook, Warren Co., IL. . 

The son, Harrison Peck was a soldier

 in the Rebellion, and served in the 59th Ill. Vol.  Inf.; along with his brothers-

 William Henry, John Wesley, and Nathan  Alonzo were soldiers in the same company and regiment

of which their brother-in-law was the chief officer.  All served through the war.

The record of the brothers and sisters of Mr. Terpening is as follows:

Maria T. is the wife of George W. Brown, of Galesburg, IL, the inventor of the corn planter that bears his name; Olive Foxie's note:  From a descendant of Olive Terpening Hibbard, I have found out Olive who was sister to my 3rd great grandfather was never married to anyone else but her husband; Frestus I. Hibbard; is Mrs. Boswell. Where they came up with this Mrs. Boswell they could not  of been referring to his sister Olive. I have her obituary.

Peter lives in Vernon Co.,  Mo., George is a resident on section 28, in Kelley Township; David lives on  section, 33 of the same;

William H. is a citizen of Pettis Co., Mo.

Mr. T. has held various township offices, such as Collector, Assessor, School Director

and Superintendent of Highways.  He was appointed Postmaster of the office at Utah,

under the administration of Zachary Taylor, and held the office for eight years.  During the late war,

 he was enrolling officer.  He wanted to enlist himself and follow the fortunes of his three

(actually it was four sons) sons in the service of his country, but owing to his age,

the recruiting officer would not accept him.  His friends very justly thought he

had already shown sufficien patriotism and done enough by sending to the front three of his sons,

actually it was four sons, Namely Harrison, John Wesley, William, and Nathan,

two of his sons-in law and one brother, Samuel Terpening.  Politically, he is a Republican ,

and he was elected President of the Union League. 

His wife is a member of the Methodist Church.

As one of the best known of the early pioneers of this part of the State, as well as a venerable

 and highly respected citizen of the county, the portrait of John P. Terpening will be regarded

 as one of the most valued in this ALBUM.

John P. and Mindwell’s  children were:

                            Smith Terpening  married Isabella Armstrong                   

John Wesley Terpening  married Jennie Pearson                            

Sarah Ann Terpening  married  William M. Armstrong

{They were married on the same day as Harrison and Martha below.   Always

wondered if it was a double wedding at Tylerville Church.}                         

Harrison Peck Terpening,  I am descended through him. to John Thomas Terpening.

Olive Terpening  married William Bracken Armstrong                           

Nathan Alonzo Terpening  married Carrie Grahm

Charles W. Terpening  married Mary Armstrong                        

Edwin Ezekiel Terpening  married Cynthia Adcock     

This is a story  written

by Jessamine Terpening Glass,

daughter of Smith and Isabella Armstrong Terpening,

Jessamine married Fred Ulysses Glass;

as told to her by her

 grandparents on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.


    The subject of this sketch, Mr. John Peck Terpening, was born in

Saratoga Co., NY, April 12, 1814.  He was

reared on the homestead and  received a good common school education.

  At the age of twenty-one, he became a grocery clerk at Rexford Flats in the county of his nativity.

    "In May of that year, 1835, he started for Illinois.  He stopped in various places in the

intervening states of New York

 and Ohio.  When he reached Jackson, Ohio, he came the rest of the way to Illinois on foot.

  He bought a claim in Rock Island County agreeing to pay $450.00

 and take possession the 1st of March.  In September of that year,

 he returned to Saratoga County for the sake of full filling a promise to a young lady

 named Mindwell Smith, to who he was joined in marriage September 24, 1835.

    "After their marriage, accompanied by his father and family (his father's family

consisted of 11 children)  (plus the father and mother) 14 in all,

they set out for the West.  They started on the Erie Canal by which they reached Buffalo,

whence they took a steamboat to Cleveland.  From that city they took passage

on a canal to Portsmouth on the Ohio River, where they embarked on a steamboat

and reached the Mississippi River, on which they journeyed to St. Louis.  The freezing

of the river detained them at St. Louis a month.  They arrived at Quincy, Illinois on the

1st day of  January 1836.  No vacant house could be found in the town and in

company with other immigrants they took possession of a camp three miles from the city,

 where they remained a month.  They then found a house

 where they were comfortably situated.    "About the first of February, he and his father

set out for Rock Island County to see the claim he had previously

bought but, when they were about thirty miles south of Monmouth, they met a man,

 who was then living where Moline is now located and when, he knew, was living

near the place he had purchased.  He learned from this gentleman that

 his claim had again been sold, the man getting only $5.00 more than he was to pay.

"After hearing this, they thought it best to go to Henderson, Knox Co., and look around.

 This they did and finally found a desirable location in Kelly Township, Warren co.,

 Father and son returned to Quincy where the family remained until spring.

    "About this time, one of his sisters, Elizabeth, was married to a Quincy merchant, Mr. Jones,

who had a home prepared for her in Quincy.  Another of his sisters, Annis, remained with

the Jones' while the rest of the family with a team of horses and a covered wagon

drove to their new home.

    There were few improvements on the place only a log cabin and a stable and

four acres of broken prairie.  March 9, 1836 was their arrival date. 

The cabin was 18 X 20 ft.  Mr. Billups, the man living there, and his family of ten

and Mr. John P Terpening and wife, father and family making twenty-two in all, lived in

this log cabin for three weeks.  "The floor, our only bed, was covered', They said. 

At the end of three weeks, Mr. Billups had completed his house in the vicinity and moved out.

    "The young married couple, John and Mindwell, rented another farm the first year,

and in 1837 he bought 80 acres of land.  It was nearly all covered with timber

but a small cabin was there of which he and his wife took possession for a short time,

until amore comfortable and convenient dwelling could be built.  They lived in their new log

 house for seven years.  Then they bought another farm where they lived 5 or 6 years,

 When he again sold and bought the place where he now lives.  On the hill on the southeast

corner at Utah and Tylerville.)

    "During the first year after their arrival in Kelly Twp., Warren Co., IL, the men

 were busy gathering their crops when Mr. and Mrs. Jones arrived at the log cabin to tell

them of the death of their sister who had been staying with them.  It was one day while in the

 company with a young gentleman at a picnic a few miles out of Quincy that she was taken ill

 and asked her escort, Mr. Rodger, to take her home.  she lived only three days afterwards.

  They buried her at Quincy.    "While Mr. and Mrs. Jones were here, Mrs. Elizabeth Terpening

 Jones was taken sick and died.  She was the first to be buried in the Terpening Graveyard.

  Then her parents thought they would like to have both daughters buried at the same place. 

After remaining here until cold weather, Mr. Jones and John Peck Terpening started to Quincy

in a sleigh (bob sled).  they reached Quincy on a Saturday evening.  Sunday they went to

church and then to this sister's grave.  In the meantime his brother-in-law had engaged some

 men to dig up the remains, which they did that afternoon, placing it in  his store. 

Mr. JP knew nothing of it until Monday morning when he went to the store with his brother-in-law.

  After he found it out he concluded to start home that day with the corpse.

    "The first day he got along all right but the second day as he was going up a hill, the whipple

 trees became loose and the horses came very near getting away from him.  The sled went

back down the hill.  About this time a man came along and helped him get started again. 

The third day he got along all right until towards evening, he discovered a pack of wolves

were following him.  It would be easier for you to imagine his feelings than it would be for

me to try to tell.  He says there was one big black wolf and the rest were gray.  It was not long

before they were thick on all sides but he drove as fast as his team would go. 

As he neared Monmouth, the wolves began to disappear.  They had followed his about six miles.

  He stopped in Monmouth, ate his supper while his team was fed then started on his way again

reaching home in the middle of the night.  The next day they buried his sister beside the other.                      The grave yard still bears the Name "Terpenning Cemetery".


Terpening/Armstrong Reunion in September of 2001.  

There has long been a Terpening/Armstrong

Reunion in and around Galesburg, IL, for over the last 60 years. 

It is still held every year The Sunday

Before Labor Day at the Lincoln Pavilion, Lincoln Park, Galesburg, IL. 

It belonged to David Terpening,  brother to John Peck Terpening.

David wrote his name in the book on the front page.

David also has a biography  in the book. 

There is also a picture of John P Terpening on page

560 and his biography sketch is on page 561-563.




1860 Warren Co Federal Census --- Kelly Township

below are my Terpening Ancestors along with related families. They either married into or were related to John Peck & Mindwell Smith Terpening.

Dwelling No in order of visitation. Family No in order of visitation Name Age Sex Occupation Property Birth



Terpening, Smith 23 M


$494 IL
    Terpening, (Armstrong), Isabella 23 F     Ire
    Terpening, Mindwell 4/12 F     IL
    Armstrong, John 17 M


2168 2180 Mcluhan, John 38 M Farmer 24000 PA
    Mcluhan, Leah 35 F     PA
    Mcluhan, Leander 10 M school   IL
    Mcluhan, John 1 M     IL
    Armstrong, John 22 M Laborer   Ire
    Terpening, Samuel 38 M Farmer 1000 NY
    Terpening, Abagail (Rockwell) 30 F     OH
    Terpening, Delbert J. 11 M School   IL
    Terpening, Anise E. 6 F School   IL
    Terpening, Fannie J. 1/12 F     IL
2173 2185 Terpening, David 34 M Farmer 2000 NY
    Terpening, Catherine Keiger 24 F     OH
    Terpening, Charity A. 2 F     IL
    Terpening, Elbert Lincoln 2/12 M     IL
2175 2187 Terpening, George 34 M Farmer 2000 NY
    Terpening, Amanda F. (Cox) 24 F     VA
    Terpening, Alice E. 2 F     IL
2176 2188 Terpening, Peter Ezekiel 52 M Farmer 1750 NY
    Terpening, Hannah Franciscoe 37 F     NY
    Terpening, Francis M. 16 M School   IL
    Terpening, Harriet A. 11 F School   IL
    Terpening, Sarah 5 F School   IL
    Terpening, Cynthia 2 F     IL
    Terpening, Mary E. 1/12 F     IL
2177 2190 Terpening, Ezekiel 80 M Farmer 8000 NY
    Terpening, Olive (Peake) 73 F     NY
2181 2193 Smith, Samuel 33 M Farmer 4000 NY
    Smith, Cornelia 29 F     OH
    Smith, Ryan R. 9 M School   IL
    Smith, Roland A. 8 M School   IL
    Smith, Alice 6 F School   IL
    Smith, Mindwell 5 F School   IL
    Smith, Sidney 2 M School   IL
    Hector, Elizabeth 16 F School   Eng.
    Smith, James 20 M Laborer   IL
2182 2194 Terpening, John Peck 47 M Farmer 7200 NY
    Terpening, Mindwell Smith 47 F     NY
    Terpening, John Wesley 21 M Farmer/School   IL
    Terpening, Sarah Ann 20 F School   IL
    Terpening, Harrison Peck 18 M School   IL
    Terpening, Olive 17 F School   IL
    Terpening, Nathan Alonzo 14 M School   IL
    Terpening, Charles 12 M School   IL
    Terpening, Edwin Ezekiel 07 M School   IL
2183 2195 Terpening, William H. M 32 Farmer $2400 NY
    Terpening, Cordelia Rhykirk F 30     NY
    Terpening, Lydia M. F 07 School   IL
    Terpening, Eva F 04 School   IL
    Terpening, John F 02     IL
2190 2202 Armstrong, Alex M 53 Farmer 1250 Ire
    Armstrong, Martha Richey F 48     Ire
    Armstrong, James M 22 Farmer/School   Ire
    Armstrong, William Bracken M 20 Farmer/School   Ire
    Armstrong, George M 15 School   Ire
    Armstrong, Samuel M 13 School   Ire
    Armstrong, Margaret Jane F 11 School   Ire
    Armstrong, Mary F 7 School   Ire
2188 2200 Townsend, Alex M 34 Farmer 400 OH
    Townsend, Sarah J. F 31     OH
    Townsend, Daniel M 13 School   IL
    Townsend, Sarah Ann F 12 School   IL
    Townsend, Charles W. M 9 School   IL
    Townsend, Margaret J. F 7     IL
    Townsend, Susan F. 6     IL
    Townsend, Francina F 4     IL
    Townsend, Elizabeth F 1     IL
2192 2104 Kellogg, Josiah M. M 40 Farmer 4000 MA
    Kellogg, Lizzie F 25     NY
    Kellogg, Foster M. M 16 School   NY
    Kellogg, Oscar M. M 14 School   NY
    Kellogg, Elmira F 11 School   NY
    Kellogg, Elvira F 9 School   NY
    Kellogg, Mary E. F 4     IL
    Kellogg, Martha J F 1     IL
2172 2184 Wallace, William John Thomas M 35 Farmer 6000 KY
    Wallace, Mary (Alliingham) F 27     KY
    Wallace, William Christopher M 15 School   IL
    Wallace, John D. M 13 School   IL
    Wallace, Hardin S. M 8 School   IL
    Wallace, Nancy R. F 6 School   IL
    Wallace, George D M 3     IL:
    Buzan, James M 22 Laborer   Ireland
  See below* Terpening, Anna J F 18     IL
*Ann J. Terpening lived with the Anson C. Gregory family
1860 Warren County, Illinois Federal Census -- Coldbrook Township
2804 2817 Armstrong, Francis 54 F Farmer 400 Ire
    Armstrong, William Merwyn 24 M Farmer   Ire
    Armstrong, Fannie Jane 20 F School   Ire
    Armstrong, Thomas A. 18 M School   OH
    Armstrong, Hugh Copland 15 M School   OH
    Armstrong, Martha Nicolina 13 F School   OH
Cold Brook Township 1880 Census
Terpening, Smith Head M 43 Farmer IL NY NY
Terpening, Isabella (Armstrong) Wife F 43 Keeping House IRE IRE IRE
Terpening, Martha Dau F 17 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, Sarah Dau F 15 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, John Son M 13 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, Jessamine Dau F 11 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, James Son M 09 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, Mary Dau F 06 School IL IL IRE
Terpening, Erma Dau F 02 -- IL IL IRE