genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

HON. JOSEPH ADAMS is one of the worthy citizens of Christian County whose home is situated on section 11, Prairieton Township. He served his district in the Legislature in the winter of 1891, and is one of the memorable one hundred and one who stood firmly by and voted for Hon. John M. Palmer until he was triumphantly elected on the one hundred and 16 fifty-fourth ballot. He has also occupied nearly all of the local positions within the gift of the people, and his discharge of the duties pertaining to whatever office he has filled has been marked by fidelity and a realization of the trust bestowed in him. He is one of the honored pioneers of this county, with whose welfare he has been connected since 1836.

Mr. Adams was born in Montgomery County, Ky., January 17, 1833, and is a son of Ellington and Elizabeth (Gordon) Adams. The father was also born in Montgomery County, Ky., coming from one of the early pioneer families of that State. His father was of English descent and a native of the Old Dominion. Our subject's mother was a daughter of Randel Gordon, who was also from Virginia, and one of the early settlers of Kentucky.

Ellington Adams removed to Illinois in 1833 and first made a settlement in Sangamon County. After a residence there of three years he finally located in what is now Christian County, the date being 1836. He entered land in Prairieton Township and proceeded with industry to develop a farm in the wilderness. He reared his family and spent the remainder of his life on this farm, dying in 1875, aged seventy-two years. The wife and mother survived him for several years, passing away in 1885.

Joseph Adams is one of a family of ten children, namely: Rachel, who died in her thirty-fifth year; Isom, a well-known farmer of this township, whose sketch may be found elsewhere in this work; Joseph, the subject of this sketch; Richardson, who is engaged in farming in the same township; G. W., who was formerly a prominent farmer of the county, but met his death by accident in July, 1893; James Martin, deceased; Robert, whose death occurred at the age of fourteen; Martha, wife of Benjamin Bramlett, of this county; and Lucy, who died at the age of sixteen years.

Our subject's boyhood was passed in Christian County, and in those early days, as educational advantages were of the most limited description, he was not able to obtain much assistance, and therefore has had to depend upon his own study and resources. The nearest school was situated three miles from his home, but the subscription schools which he attended, and which was kept only three months during the year, was six miles distant from his home, and he made the distance on foot.

On reaching his majority, Mr. Adams bought a tract of three hundred and sixty acres of railroad land and one hundred acres of other land adjoining. On this farm he located in 1856, at which time only about thirty acres had been cleared for cultivation, and a small frame building was the only improvement. This was the home of himself and family for a few years, during which time he rapidly developed the farm, and as the years rolled by the income of his industry and energy was invested in more land, until he now owns sixteen hundred acres. Much of this is rich bottom land, and on these various farms are six large and substantial residences, good barns and other buildings. The success of Mr. Adams shows what can be done on these fertile Western prairies by a man who is able and willing to do his utmost in their development.

In Decatur, Macon County, Mr. Adams and Miss Nancy Widick were married, June 9, 1856. The lady was born in Macon County and is a daughter of Samuel Widick, who was one of the original settlers of Kentucky and participated in the War of 1812. He also fought valiantly for the Old Flag during the late Civil War, and at the end of three years died in the service.

Our subject and his wife have reared a family of nine children. Millie became the wife of John Myers, now deceased; George A. is married and is engaged in business in Moweaqua, Shelby County; Wheeler, a farmer, lives in Shelby County; Florence is the wife of Henry Harpool, also a farmer, of Christian County; Iva is the wife of Leonard Cazalet, a farmer of Assumption Township; Eva is the wife of Frank Johnson, of Shelby County; Bettie and Annie are at home. Mr. and Mrs. Adams have twelve grandchildren, one of whom, Johnnie Myers, resides with them.

Mr. Adams is well known as a supporter of the Democratic party and has supported its candidates since 1856, when he voted for Hon. James Buchanan. He has also taken an active part in local politics, and for a great many years has served his friends and neighbors in various positions, among which we mention that for twenty years he was Supervisor of Prairieton Township, and was for thirty-four years one of its School Trustees.

It is very fitting that to one who is faithful over a few things greater honors should be added, and it was with this idea in view that his many friends chose him as their Representative in the Legislature. Mrs. Adams is a member of the Christian Church, while our subject, though not a member of any church organization, is very liberal in the support of this and other denominations, as well as of all general benevolent enterprises.



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