John A. Melendy


Carroll County IL Biography



This well-known resident of York Township, Carroll County, Ill., is of English ancestry, and is a son of Josiah Melendy, whose father, Nathaniel, was a son of William Melendy, who came from England in the year 1735, as nearly as is now known, and locating in Massachusetts engaged there at his trade of coopering. The grandfather of, our subject was a native of Massachusetts, who when quite young removed to Hillsborough, N. H., where he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hutchinson, who was also descended from English ancestry. This couple had eight children, of whom our subject’s father was the second in order of birth. About the year 1815 the latter was married in Hillsborough County, N. H., to Miss Lucy P. Arbuckle, a native of New Hampshire, and a daughter of John Arbuckle, who was born in New England. His father was born in Ireland.

Josiah N. Melendy, our subject’s father, had six children, of whom John A. was the eldest; Horace N. is a resident of Vermont; Nancy J. is the wife of Monroe Bailey, and lives in Kansas; Nathaniel H. is a resident of Mt. Carroll, Ill.; George S. lives in Kansas, and Lucy is the wife of Justice Bailey, a farmer in this township.

Our subject was born in Cambridge, Vt., April 19, 1819, and was reared, educated, and married in that place. His marriage took place Dec. 9, 1842, his bride being Miss Matilda L. French, a daughter of Judah and Betsy (Orr) French, the former born Jan. 28, 1776, and the latter Dec. 14, 1770. This couple have reared two children, Mrs. Melendy and a son, Judah G. Our subject and his wife have two children – George N. and Flora L. The latter is the wife of Aloysius Trail, and they are living on her father’s home farm. Mrs. Melendy died Dec. 14, 1887, aged seventy years.

Mr. Melendy arrived in this county Oct. 23, 1844, and then bought a farm on section 29 and 30, which has ever since been his home. When he came here the nearest post-office was at Savanna, twelve miles distant, and the country was in a comparatively wild and unsettled condition. At this time there were but three other men living in the township, who were here when he came. There was then not a church or a school-house in the village, and he helped to put the roof on the first log-school built here. This building was completed in 1844, and stood near where Norman French now lives. The desks were rude planks laid on pins driven into the wall, and the pupils sat on slab seat, with their faces turned to the wall. Ten years later, in 1854, a frame school-house took the place of the old log building, which is yet in use. For this building our subject drew the plans. Before any railroad was run through the county a post-office was established at the house of Norman French. Mr. Melendy was appointed Postmaster in 1850, holding the office for several years.

Our subject has prospered since taking up his residence in Illinois. When he first came here, for one year he worked for Norman French; but his labors here have been rewarded, and he has acquired a comfortable competence. He formerly owned 491 acres in the Mississippi Bottoms, about one and a half miles east of Thomson. This farm he sold to his son, George N., who lives on it. Mr. Melendy has never been a politician in the ordinary sense of the work, although he has served his fellow-townsmen in several local offices, holding, among others, the office of Road Supervisor – the first one ever elect in the township; and he has also served on the School Board.

Our subject and all of his family are consistent members of the Baptist Church, and his wife was especially a devoted worker in the cause of her Master. She was a lady of kind heart and marked benevolence, and possessed of all the attributes which go to make up an exemplary Christian character. Mr. Melendy is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having joined Fulton Lodge No. 128, A. F. & A. M., and one of the charter members of Thomson Lodge No. 559. A man of fine character and of an upright and straightforward life, he stands high in the estimation of the community with which he has so long been connected.

Transcribed and contributed by Carol Parrish. Portraits & Biographical Pg. 832

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