Mt. Carroll Township

Carroll County Biography

Hiram G. Francis has been for many years one of the representative farmers of Carroll County, where he has had his residence for about half a century. He is the son of Daniel and Abigail (Lathrop) Francis, of Vermont, the latter born Dec. 11, 1772; her father, Thomas Lathrop Ewq., was a very prominent man in Vermont in the early days, and was born in that State in 1745. He was a soldier during the War of the Revolution, and for many years served as Justice of the Peace, and owned a large farm. He was the father of ten children, of whom Abigail was the eldest. Daniel Francis was married Aug. 16, 1789 and he and his wife settled on a small farm near Burlington VT. They afterward removed to South Hero, Grand Isle Co., VT where he rented a farm for a number of years. From this place he emigrated to St. Lawrence County NY and in the heavy timber of that region began to clear a farm. There he lived until his death October 9, 1824. His widow survived him for nearly 40 years, dying Nov. 3, 1863. Of their union four sons and three daughters were born.

Our subject, who was the 5th child was born May 25, 1802 in Burlington VT. Until age 20 he lived on the home farm with his parents and took a part in the arduous work of clearing it, as other farmers did in that region in those days. School facilities were very meager and his only education wsa what he could get by attending school for three months at a time during a few winters. At the age of 20 he started in life for himself, working at all sorts of jobs, not disdaining to engage in any honest employment which came to his hand. After his fathers death he carried on the home farm, and at the same time bought and cultivated another about 1 1/2 miles from that place. This place he worked hard to clear, cultivate and improve, continuing its owner for about 8 years when he sold it for $800, but had to wait several years for his pay.

About this time his attention was directed to the West, and he determined to make his home on the broad prairies of Illinois. Accordingly he emigrated in the year 1836, reaching Galena in the summer of that year. At that time there was no house between Savanna and Elk Horn. During the summer he found employment for a few months at farm work and on the approaching winter went to Savanna, to chop wood for the steamboats on the river. That winter proved an exceptionally mild one, there being no snow in this section, and he choped over 100 cords of wood, but had to give half of it for banking it.

In 1838 our subject determined to return to his old home in the East, and he started out, walking all the way to Chicago, the trip so far taking about four days. He arrived at his old home in NY in due time and resumed work on the old place, there remaining until 1841. During that year he returned by team to Carroll County, which has ever since been his home. On coming here at that time he bought a farm in partnership with his brother Hezekiah, buying the interest of the latter's partner. Afterward Hiram came into sole possession of this place, which he continued to cultivate until about 1856, whe he sold it, and bought his present home on Section 11, Mt. Carroll Township. This he now has all under fence, finely improved, provided with good and substantial buildings and a splendid residence.

Our subject was married in 1856, to Mrs. Nancy Osborne, who lived until July 12, 1865, when she passed from earth, at the age of 42 years, leaving no children. Mr. Francis has never taken a very important part in public matters, but was a Whig, and consequently a Republican by inheritance, and has ever been a stanch supporter of his party. His first Presidential vote was cast for John Q. Adams and his last, so far, Benjamin Harrison, whose grandfahter, "Old Tippecanoe" he had voted fro in 1840. The only offices he has ever held have been those of School Director and Overseer of Highways. Now in his 87th year the old gentleman is hale and hearty, and is contented and happy in his present home. Of a genial temperament, he makes many friends, and is respected and venerated by every resident of the township. He distinctly remembers the battle of Plattsburg, fought between the British and Americans in 1812, at which time he was sent for the horses to bring the older members of the party to a point where they could witness the fight. That he may long be spared is the sincere wish of everyone who knows the venerable old gentleman.

Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 803