Carroll Co IL Biographies


Many of the most pleasant homes of Lanark and vicinity are owned and occupied by retired farmers, who came to the county during its first settlement, secured a tract of land, upon which they improved a valuable farm, and, after a series of years, filled in with practical industry and economy, were enabled to withdraw from their arduous labors and enjoy the fruits of their early toils and sacrifices. Among them may be mentioned the subject of this notice.

Our subject was born in Clark County, Ohio, June 8, 1817, and is the son of Joseph and Ellen (Morrison) Laird, who were born in Scotland, and were of pure Scotch ancestry. They came to American before their marriage, and after this event settled in Clark County, Ohio. Thence they came to Northern Illinois in 1837 and taking up their abode on a tract of wild land in Freedom Township, this county, lived upon this until they were recalled from the scenes of earth. Both died in 1845 the father being seventy five years of age and the mother aged sixty-eight.

To the parents of our subject were born eight children, of whom only three are living, the two besides him being residents of Missouri and California. John was the seventh child of the family, and was a lad of twenty-one years when he came with his parents to Illinois, and he followed farming on the land which his father took up from the Government, until 1874. In the meantime, he was first married in Freedom Township, in 1842, to Miss Elizabeth B. Beatty. This lady was born in Pennsylvania, and only survived her marriage six years, dying at her home, in Freedom Township, in 1848. She had become the mother of two children a son and a daughter. The daughter, Mary E., died when thirty-one years old. William R. is in Freedom Township, this county.

Our subject, in 1849, contracted a second marriage alliance with Miss Christina Eshelman. This lady was a native of Bedford County, Pa., and was born May 3, 1820. This union resulted in the birth of six children, who are recorded as follows: John E. remains at home with his father, and is engaged in stock-raising; James M. is a resident of Nebraska, where he is engaged in farming; Sarah A., deceased; Amelia is at home; Abram, deceased, and Joseph continues as member of the parental household.

For a man who started out for himself without other resources than his own industry, Mr. Laird has certainly made a good record. He was at one time the owner of 1,000 acres of land. Of late years he has made a specialty of live-stock, realizing therefrom a handsome return. He has never identified himself with any religious organization, but endeavors to follow the precepts of the Golden Rule, and confines himself to the principles of truth and honesty. He cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison in 1840, and, as may be supposed, voted with equal enthusiasm for Benjamin, the grandson of the old hero, during the November election of 1888. His residence, which is finely-located in the west part of town, is a handsome brick structure, erected at the cost of several thousand dollars, and all his surroundings indicate the existence of cultivated tastes and ample means. He is one of those men to whom Carroll County is most largely indebted for the ambitious efforts which have culminated in its attaining to its present position among the other intelligent and well-to-do communities of this part of the Prairie State.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical Album for Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, IL (1889), p. 861-2.

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