William Carroll


Carroll County Biography



The pioneer history of this county would by no means be complete without due notice of the subject of this sketch. He arrived within its limits during the period of its earliest settlement, battled successfully with the elements of a new soil, and is now comfortably located on a good farm of 138 acres, finely situated on section 3. He possesses all the qualities of an honest man and a good citizen, and is not a member of any church, but is looked up to and respected by all who know him. His wife is a member of the Christian Church.

A native of the Old Dominion, our subject was born July 11, 1807, in Fairfax County. His parents were John and Malinda (Birch) Carroll, who were natives of Maryland, whence they removed to Virginia, and from there, in 1811, to Christian County, Ky. This journey was performed overland by wagon, and they traveled two days through what is now West Virginia without seeing a house; that part of the country at that time being an almost unbroken wilderness. They arrived at their destination after a journey of eight weeks. They located on a tract of land, where they made considerable improvements; but the father died in October, 1819, leaving his widow with a family of five children, namely: William, our subject; James, John, Mary, and Margaret. About 1822 the mother went to live with her half-brothers, Walter and Charles Lowe, in Tennessee, where her death took place in 1828.

Our subject remained a resident of the Blue Grass State until after the death of his mother, and then, in October, 1827, emigrated to Alabama, and in June following to West Tennessee, sojourning upon what was called “Jackson’s Purchase” until the spring of 1830. We next find him in St. Clair County, this State, where he arrived about the 1st of April, that year, and where he remained until the spring of 1834. Starting out once more, he came to Northern Illinois, and was engaged in the lead mines of Jo Daviess County until fall, when he returned to St. Clair County, and occupied himself in the coal mines during that winter. In the spring of 1835 he returned to that part of Jo Daviess, which is now Carroll County, and took up a Government claim about one and one-half miles north of the present site of Mt. Carroll. It is hardly necessary to say there was then no indication of the flourishing town which afterward grew up. His neighbors were few and far between, and he lived and labored in true pioneer fashion, having in view the building up of a farm and the establishing of a fireside of his own. He was married, on the 26th of March, 1840, to Miss Ann L. (Anna Louisa) , daughter of Daniel and Christina (Arnsbarger) Christian. The young people began their wedded life together in a small house which our subject had prepared for the reception of his bride, and they lived there a period of ten years.

At the expiration of this time Mr. Carroll sold out and purchased the farm where he now lives and to which he removed in October, 1850. This consisted of 135 acres, and here his family of five children were reared to mature years. Emma M., the eldest daughter, is now the wife of R. R. Field, a resident of York Township; James L. occupies himself at carpentering in Oregon; Calvin C. makes his home on the old home-place; William A. is carrying on carpentering in Dakota; John M. was born Dec. 31, 1851, was reared to man’s estate under the parental roof, and was married, Oct. 25, 1877, to Miss Margaret D. Carpenter. Her father during the Civil War enlisted as a union soldier in Company C, 92d Illinois Infantry, and died at his home in York Township, June 28, 1863. To John M. and Margaret Carroll there have been born two children, namely: Raymond A, and Ursala.

Mr. Carroll, our subject, during the summer of 1832, served as a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and enjoyed an intimate acquaintance with Gov. John Reynolds, who was then Commander-in-Chief, and by whom the company under Mr. Carroll was detailed to guard the town of St. Clair and adjoining counties. Mr. Carroll journeyed up the Mississippi from Fulton, Tenn., to St. Louis in 1834, and in making his journey thence to Northern Illinois drove a team from St. Clair County to the present site of Galena, and also made two trips thereafter over this road in the same manner. His experience of pioneer life, if fully detailed, would make a good size volume, and there are few who can tell him anything about the struggles and difficulties of the early settler, for he has a full knowledge of them, and the evidences are that he performed his part well during the period which tried men’s souls.

Mrs. Carroll, likewise with her husband, deserves all the credit and praise due those women who performed their part so patiently and courageously in the early settlement of this county. She was born Dec. 22, 1819, in Washington County, Md., and came with her parents to Illinois in the spring of 1838, landing in Savanna on the 20th of April. They journeyed overland by wagons to Wheeling, W. Va., and there took a boat on the Ohio River, following it to its mouth, and thence came up the Mississippi to their destination, locating near the present site of Mt. Carroll. The father took up a tract of Government land, and remained upon it until his death, which occurred Jan. 14, 1848. The mother survived her husband a period of twenty-two years, passing away on the 12th of August, 1870, in Mt. Carroll.

Daniel Christian, the paternal grandfather of Mrs. Carroll, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and her father, Daniel Christian, later served as a Lieutenant in the War of 1812. The third generation was also worthily represented in the role of patriotism by the son of our subject, James L., who served three years during the late Civil War, in Company E, 45th Illinois Infantry, as Corporal, and one year in the Veteran Corps under Gen. Hancock. He escaped without a wound, although at one time his gun was knocked out of his hand by a rifle ball.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical Album Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, IL (1889), p. 863

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