WALKER, Columbus T.
Columbus T. Walker, of Virginia precinct, is a native of Fauquier county, Virginia, born May 12, 1838. His parents were Solomon and Emma (Wilkins) Walker. Both were natives of Virginia, father born in 1804, and the mother four years later. They removed to Cass county, Illinois, in 1855, and located on a farm near Virginia; here they both died, the mother in 1881, and the father in 1890. They had nine children: William W., Darius N., Peter L., Columbus T., Mary F., Churchill A., David T., Jennie E., and James T.
Columbus T. was nineteen years old when he came to this county, and has resided here ever since. He attended the schools in this precinct after arriving in the county He first learned the tanner trade, and also learned to be a leather dresser, but did not follow the business after leaving Virginia. He has been a farmer all his life. He has a farm of 100 acres, on which he has excellent improvements. He is a Republican in politics, although all his brothers are Democrats. He has held all the township offices, and has been School Director for fifteen years, also Head Commissioner and Judge of Elections, etc. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, of which he is a Deacon, having held that office for twenty years. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., and has been since 1859, and now is a Past Grand of Saxon Lodge, No. 68.
He was married in Cass county, February 8, 1868, to Emma J. Angier, a native of Cass county, born October 10, 1846. Her parents were Addison G. and Annie E. (Wilson) Amgier of Ohio. They were among the earliest settlers in Cass county: mother is still living in the county, but father died April 7, 1890.
Mrs. Walker died March 16, 1889, leaving seven children. She was aged forty-two at her death. The children are: Ella G., born December, 1865, married Edward Tink, and died in 1892, leaving two children: Edward A., born in December 1868, married and resides in Kansas City; Hattie M., born May, 1871, married Charles Etchison, and resides in Virginia precinct; Louie F., born August 1875; Charles H., born April, 1878; George R., born April 1881, and Dollie, born March, 1884. He married for his second wife, Mrs. Leona Walker. She was a native of Cass county, and the daughter of George and Permelia (Freeman) Arenat. Mrs. Walker is a member of the Christian Church.
Mr. Walker is a man of representative type, -- a distinction among his fellows attained by his honest, straightforward business methods and fine social qualities. His successes in life justly merit for him the approbation of business associates and competitors, and from the same source he receives warm sympathy for the late reverses which in a degree have temporarily checked his usual flourishing condition. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 300-301]
WALKER, Darius N.
Darius N. Walker, ex-Judge of Cass county, Illinois, and a resident of Virginia, is a native of the Old Dominion, born in Fauquier county, February 16, 1834. Of his life and ancestry we record the following facts:
Solomon Walker, junior and senior, father and grandfather of the Judge, were also Virginians by birth, and the former was a native of Fauquier county. The latter suffered privations and hardships in the various campaigns of the Revolutionary war, being in the service seven years, and never fully recovered his health afterward. He spent his last years in Culpeper county, Virginia. The maiden name of Grandmother Walker was Frances Taylor. Her father was a native of England, and when but a small boy was kidnaped by sailors, brought to America and bound out until twenty-one years of age. He spent his last years in the State of Virginia. Solomon Walker, Jr., learned the trade of tanner, and followed his trade in connection with farming in Fauquier county, remaining a resident of that place until 1855. Then he sold his interests there and came to Illinois, locating in Virginia precinct, Cass county, on a farm he purchased a mile and a half east of the present courthouse site. He engaged in agriculture and remained a resident there till after the death of his wife. He spent his last years at the home of his son, Judge Walker, where he died, in 1889, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. His wife, Emma Wilkins, was born in Prince William county, Virginia, daughter of Thomas Wilkins. She died on the home farm in 1879. Nine of her children reached adult years.
Judge Walker was reared and educated in his native State, and when a mere boy he commenced to assist his father in the tanyard and on the farm. He is a natural mechanic, and while a resident of Virginia worked a portion of the time at the millwright trade. He came to Cass county with his parents in 1855, and lived at home until he was twenty-three years old; was then employed at farming and carpenter work. April 15, 1862, he started with others for Oregon. They went by rail to St. Joseph, at that time the terminus of the railroad, and thence by boat to Sonora, Missouri. There they equipped themselves with ox teams and provisions, and on the 12th of May started on their journey across the plains, arriving at the present site of Baker City, Oregon, August 23. He remained at Auburn, near Baker City, till February, when he went to Placerville, Idaho Territory, and engaged in mining, remaining there until the fall of 1864. Then he went to San Francisco, and from there went to New York, via Panama; thence to Cass county, Illinois. Soon afterward he bought a farm in Virginia precinct, which he sold the following fall, came to Virginia and engaged in work at the carpenter's trade. In the fall of 1868 he purchased a tin and stove store, and carried on that business until 1873, when he was elected Police Magistrate of Virginia, and devoted his attention to the duties of that office. In 1880 he visited the Rocky mountains. He went as far as Western on the railroad and thence by stage to Leadville, Colorado. Five months later he returned to Virginia and has since resided there.
Judge Walker was married in the fall of 1861, to Elizabeth Adams, who was born in Morgan county, Illinois, daughter of William and Mildred (Bryant) Adams. She died in 1873. In January, 1876, he married Martha E. Clark, a native of Schuyler county, Illinois, her parents being Thomas and Annie Clark. He has two children living by his first marriage: Emma E. and John L.
Politically, the Judge has always affiliated with the Democratic party. He served as Police Magistrate from 1873 to 1882; has also served as Alderman and Mayor. In 1882 he was elected County Judge, was re-elected in 1886, and served two full terms. He is a member of Saxon Lodge, No. 68, I.O.O.F., and Washington Lodge of Mutual Aid. Mrs. Walker is a member of the Presbyterian Church, while the Judge is a Baptist. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg.265-266]
WATKINS, Squire James M.
Squire James M. Watkins, a popular Justice of the Peace and one of the most prosperous farmers of Cass county, Illinois, residing in township 18, range 9, was born in Richmond precinct, same county, February 5, 1839.
His parents were Elijah and Lydia A. (Montgomery) Watkins, both natives of Kentucky, the former born in Green county, in 1797, and the latter a native of Hart county. His father's parents were Samuel and Mary (McClure) Watkins, the former a native of Wales and the latter of Maryland. Samuel Watkins came to America when a very young man and settled in Maryland, where he was married, and whence he removed to Kentucky. He was a prominent pioneer of the latter State, in which he made his home for many years, and where he died at the age of eighty-five years. His wife also died in that State, aged sixty-five or seventy years. They were the parents of twelve children, eleven of whom survive. Two of these, Lewie and Hank, were brave and efficient soldiers in the war of 1812. The mother of this subject was a daughter of Simpson and Salie (Gum) Montgomery. She was one of five children, two of whom were half brothers. Her father was of Scottish descent, his parents never coming to America, and her people were mostly farmers. Her father was a boatman, and lost his life by being struck on the head with a gun.
The father of the subject of this notice resided at home until he attained the age of nineteen. He then worked for a while by the day and month in Kentucky until he had accumulated some means, and when, about the year 1833-'34, he emigrated with his wife to Illinois, at that time the frontier of civilization. They came overland with one wagon, drawn by oxen, and brought some stock. They first located in Wayne county, but shortly afterward removed to Menard county, where he continued to live until 1838, when he sold out and came to Cass county. Here he first rented land for five or six years, then bought eighty acres, a few of which were broken on it. This house served as their home for about a year, when it was replaced by a better one. The father was an exceedingly energetic man, and his success in this new country was a foregone conclusion. He added, from time to time, to his original purchase, until he possessed 300 acres of choice farming land, 160 of which was received from the Government. His death occurred on the old homestead in 1884, to the great sorrow of many friends, who esteemed him for his ability, industry and uprightness of character. He and his worthy wife wore earnest and useful members of the Primitive Baptist Church, and he helped to build the first church in his locality. He displayed his usual activity in church and all good work, and acted as a Deacon for many years.
The subject of this sketch was reared to farm work and attended subscription school during the winters, working on his father's farm in the summer. Owing to his busy life, his education was limited, and he is essentially a self-educated and self-made man. Extensive reading, supplemented by excellent judgment and an active mind, have combined to render himself successful in life and a leader among men. He lived at home until after his marriage, and the following year moved to his father-in-law's farm, on which he remained until the nest year. He then bought twenty-five acres, a few of which were broken, and built on it a box house, 16 x 18 feet. He and his family lived in this house for twelve or fourteen years, when he erected his present substantial and comfortable home. He has lived on the same place ever since, which now contains 120 acres, devoted to mixed farming, and is one of the finest farms in the county.
He was married June 14, 1859, to Miss Nancy Jane Lewis, an estimable lady and a daughter of Azariah and Sarah Lewis, a sketch of whom appears in this work. She was born April 4, 1842. They have eleven children, as follows: Sarah E., born March 10, 1860, married H. Spoulds, and they have seven children; they live in South Dakota; Charles L., born Oct 16, 1861, married Susan McNeil, a native of this county; they have three children; Simpson Lee, born November 13, 1863, married Ida Tylor, and lives in Chandlerville; William B., born December 28, 1867, married Belle Miller, and they have two children; he lives in this neighborhood; Laura, born December 15, 1865, married James Cooper, and they have three children; John R., born March 29, 1870, married Dora Lucas, and they have one child; Azariah, born August 20, 1872. Stella M., born December 19, 1874; Miamia B., born June 16, 1877; Josephine, born August 28, 1880; Casper, born June 25, 1884. All of Mr. Watkins' children have had educational advantages.
Mr. Watkins is an old Andrew Johnson Democrat, and cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas. With the exception of his vote cast for General Weaver for President, he has voted a straight Democratic ticket ever since. Acknowledging his ability, his constituents have sought the advantage of his judgment and experience by electing him to various local offices. He went from the school room to the position of school director, in which capacity he has served ever since. He has held the responsible position of Justice of the Peace for twenty years, discharging his duties with justice and impartiality.
His wife is a faithful member of the Primitive Baptist Church, and both by her influence and means, contributes to its support.
Mr. Watkins' life is a brilliant example of what may be accomplished by intelligent and persistent effort, which not only insure material prosperity but also crown their votatries with honor and happiness. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 225-226]
WAY, William A.
William A. Way, farmer and stock-grower, section 6, range 10, township 17, post office, Virginia, was born in Morgan county, Illinois, October 5, 1842. He was the son of Jesse and Melinda (Guin) Way, early settlers in Morgan county. The father came to the county in 1832, and has been a resident of either Morgan or Cass county ever since, and now resides in Virginia city. The mother died in Virginia in 1880, leaving six children: Elizabeth, the eldest, married T. H. Williams and died in Nebraska; Mary died when twelve years of age; Richard is a farmer, residing in Cass county, Virginia precinct; Stephen is the same, and John died at the age of twenty-six years.
William attended the public schools and then learned the carpenter trade, intermingled with farming. He enlisted August 11, 1862, in Company I, One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was assigned to duty in the army of the Cumberland. A few days after the battle of Chickamauga, while on a scouting expedition, composed of details from the different regiments, he was taken prisoner with several others. He was sent to Richmond, via Atlanta, and was kept there about six weeks, quartered in the Smith building near Libby prison. He was ten taken to Danville, Virginia, kept there five months, and then to Andersonville, where he remained almost eight months. From there he was sent to Charleston, and on from there to Florence. At this place he was paroled December 7, 1864, after fourteen months and thirteen days imprisonment. To say that he suffered a thousand deaths during this long confinement is no exaggeration. He was attacked with scurvy while in Andersonville and suffered greatly from that cause. Even to this day his limbs are scarred and measurably deformed. After this he was sent to Annapolis, Maryland, and then home, remaining there three months under treatment. He rejoined the regiment at Shield Mill, and remained there until the end of the war. He was discharged June 11, 1865, and returned to Virginia, Illinois.
He was married December 24, 1868, in Cass county, to Hattie Davis, daughter of Julia Ann and Edward Davis, old settlers of Cass county. Mr. and Mrs. Way have four children: Lenora married D.J. Parkison, a railroad employe; Walter, Linnie and John L. are all under the parental roof.
Mr. Way's grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812. Mr. Way is independent in politics, voting for men rather than for parties. He is one of the men that a grateful country would delight to honor. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 309]
WELLFARE, Frederick E.
Frederick E. Wellfare, foreman of the copper shops of the Quincy Railroad at Beardstown for the past nine years, was born in Candage, Erie county, New York, June 23, 1858. He was but one year old when his parents moved to Illinois. He is the son of John Wellfare, who was born in England, of English parentage, and was yet a small child when his parents brought him to the United States and settled in New York. Here he grew up in the town of Candage and acquired a complete knowledge of the coppersmith's trade, also tin, sheet-iron and pipe fitting; and, having become skilled in these departments of mechanical work, he came in 1859 with his family to Illinois. Here he was connected for about two years with a prominent manufacturer of copper pipe, sheet copper and brass goods, and his skill secured him the foremanship of the shops. Finally he was offered a partnership, but refused it and went to Aurora to take charge of the copper shops of the main line or Chicago division of the Quincy Railroad. He was afterward connected with this large corporation for about thirty years, but owing to failing health he had to withdraw and entered into the hardware business, in 1883, in Aurora; but, not receiving the proper relief for his malady (catarrh of the head), he went to Kansas, and after two years, not being able to stand the heated winds, he went in 1886 to Los Angeles, California, and there opened and has since carried on a first-class restaurant. He is now about sixty years of age. He was married in Youngstown, New York, to Harriet Myers. She was born and reared in the Empire State, and was of German parentage. She is yet living and is about three years her husband's junior. They are members of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Wellfare is a sound Republican in politics.
Our subject is the eldest of three sons and three daughters yet living. He began when about twelve years of age with his father in the Quincy shops. Here he has remained with the exception of about three years. One year he was with his father in his hardware store at Aurora, and later was one year with the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, with headquarters at Dubuque, Iowa, and the last year with the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad, with headquarters at St. Joseph, Missouri. Since then he has been in the employ of the Quincy Railroad, for the last eleven years at Beardstown. He is a practical and thorough workman in his department. He also does the tin and sheet-iron work for the St. Louis division, and the steam-pipe fitting for it also.
He was married in Aurora, to Miss Almira Warner, of New York, born in 1862. She was brought to Cook county in 1867, and reared near the city of Chicago. She is the daughter of John P. and Julia (Havens) Warner, both now living near Aurora. Mr. Warner is a stock-breeder, and he and family live on a farm one mile southeast of Aurora.
Mr. and Mrs. Wellfare are good, hardworking young people. Mr. Wellfare is a member of the Ark Lodge, No. 116, I.O.O.F., of Beardstown. He is a sound Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Wellfare are the parents of two bright little children,--Lydia, aged seven, and Dare, aged four. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 162-163]
Jesse Wight, farmer of township 17, range 10 west, Little Indian post office, was born in Delaware county, New York, February 13, 1828. His parents were Harvey and Judith (Jenkins) Wight--father born in New Jersey and the mother near Bunker Hill, Massachusetts. Both died the same week in New York State. Of a family of twelve, Jesse was the second youngest. The family has been scattered, some to Michigan, others to Pennsylvania and one to Illinois.
Jesse came to Beardstown on May 1, 1846, and hired out to work on a farm in this precinct, where he continued to work in that way for four or five years. He then rented land for several years, and about thirty years ago purchased his first real estate in Illinois. He was raised and educated in New York, and left there at twenty-two. Mr. Wight, by industry and economy, has accumulated a snug property, where he now lives in comparative case. He owns a fine farm of 107 acres in a good state of cultivation, and raises grain and stock. Mr. Wight has never seen any of his father's relations, and hence knows but little of his family's genealogy.
He was married here in 1851, to Margaret Taylor, of Montgomery county, Ohio, who was born in 1826. Mr. and Mrs. Wight have eight children: Abigail, the eldest, married Taylor Berry, and lives in Morgan county; William is a farmer and lives in Nebraska, where also lives John I.; Amos Harvey lives on his father's farm; Lizzie J. Parker is now a widow and resides at home with her father; Mollie is still unmarried and lives at home. Mr. and Mrs. Wight are members of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Wight is a member of the Republican party. He has held various positions of trust in the precinct.
Amos Harvey, the youngest son of the above, now managing his father's farm, was born in this precinct, February 14, 1859. He grew to manhood on the farm and attended the public schools. He was a farmer one year in Dakota and was otherwise employed there for one year. He was also one season in Nebraska, herding cattle and running a threshing machine.
He was married, January 15, 1894, to Ollie Gilpin, born in Morgan county, Illinois, June 9, 1871. Her parents were James and Becky Gilpin. Her father was a soldier during the late war and is a pensioner. Mr. and Mrs. Wight have one child, Nettie May, born January 9, 1892. Mr. Wight died at their home August 24, 1892. Mr. Wight is a member of the I.O.O.F., and in politics is a Republican. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 303-304]
WILLIAMS, Thomas R.
Thomas R. Williams, Superintendent of the Cass County Poor Farm, was born in Bertie county, North Carolina, June 1, 1850. He is the son of Williamson A. and Margaret (Thomas) Williams, natives of Bertie county, North Carolina. The family is an old one in the State. The parents lived on a farm until after the birth of six children, and in the fall of 1856 removed to Illinois by wagon, and settled in this favored section, not far from Bluff Springs. They rented for two years, and then purchased the farm where they lived, when the mother died in May, 1884, three-score-and-ten. She was a member of the Methodist Epicopal Church. Her husband remained on the farm for two years longer, and then went to Beardstown, and one year later came to Bluff Springs, and here spent his last years, dying in October, 1888. He was a good citizen, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a stanch Democrat, and a very worthy man.
Our subject and his brother are the only members of the family now living. Mr. Williams has lived in this county since he was six years of age, and has been a practical farmer since he was twenty-two years of age. He took charge of the Poor Farm in 1887, after his brother had managed it for eight years. It is located at Bluff Springs, and consists of more than 100 acres of fine land. It is well managed by Mr. Williams.
The average poor in attendance all the time is about twelve, and there is but one feeble-minded person among them.
Our subject was married in this county to Sophia Reichert, born in Beardstown, in 1857, reared and educated in Cass county, and a daughter of Conrad and Sophia Reichert, of Germany. The mother died in the prime of life, in Cass county. Mr. Reichert was married the second time to Mrs. Withroe, and they live in Beardstown, now quite old.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams have three children: Charles F., John F. and Howard, all at home. The family belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Williams is a Democrat. The county has the right man in the right place. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 207]
WILSON, David D.
David D. Wilson, a popular and successful business man of Virginia, Cass county, Illinois, dates his birth in Oldham, Lancashire, England, November 23, 1841. His father, James Wilson, was born in the same shire, his parents having passed their lives in England. James Wilson and his brother, Thomas, and three sisters, were the only members of the family who came to America. Thomas settled in Cass county in 1841, and has since made his home here.
James Wilson was reared and married in Oldham, and was there employed in a cotton factory till 1842, in the spring of which year he sailed for America, embarking at Liverpool and landing at New Orleans. He came up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers into Illinois, and located in Cass county. He subsequently moved to Jacksonville, and five years later to Springfield, his death occurring at the latter place in 1850. His wife was before her marriage, Miss Amelia Taylor, and she, too, was a native of Lancashire. Her death occurred in Cass county a few months after their arrival in this county.
After the death of his father, David D. was taken in charge by a family in Sangamon county, and with them he lived until he was fourteen. From that time he cared for himself. He found employment with his brother-in-law till 1860, and at that time commenced to learn the trade of carpenter. His employer soon emigrated to Iowa, and in 1861 young Wilson turned his attention to the trade of printer, at which he worked in the office of the Jacksonville Journal.
In 1862 he enlisted in the One Hundred and First Illinois Regiment Volunteer Infantry, and was in the State service one month. When the regiment was mustered in, he was rejected on account of a crippled hand. In 1864 he enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Thirty-third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, this time being accepted. He served till the term of his enlistment expired, when he was honorably discharged. He then went to Nashville, Tennessee, expecting to work at his trade, but was taken sick and soon afterward returned to Illinois. After his recovery he farmed in Morgan county one year. Then he worked at his trade in Jacksonville for a time. In 1875 he came to Virginia, being employed in the office of the Gazette from March till July of that year. Next we find him engaged in the grocery business, which he still continues, and in which he has been eminently successful. He began with a small stock of goods, his natural business ability secured him a good trade, and he is now ranked with the successful business men of the town.
Mr. Wilson is a man of family. He was married, in 1866, to Martha Taylor, a native of Morgan county, Illinois, and their union has been blessed by the birth of four children: Mamie, Ella G., Herbert S. and Mabel.
He and his wife are members of the Christian Church. Politically he is a Republican, favoring prohibition. [Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois - 1892; pg. 276-277]
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