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.
ALONZO A. AUSTIN, one of the representative agriculturists of Pana Township, residing on section 33, has the honor of being a native of Illinois. He was born in St. Clair County January 21, 1861, and is the eldest child of Jesse W. and Mary M. (Miles) Austin. His father, who is now deceased, was a prominent farmer of this community. He was born in Indiana September 19, 1832, and was the third child of George and Polly Austin, the former a native of Tennessee, and the latter a native of the Hoosier State.

Jesse Austin was reared from infancy in St. Clair County, Ill., and the public schools afforded him his educational privileges. At the age of eighteen he started out in life for himself. Going to St. Louis, he spent a portion of his time in a livery stable and on a farm. Three years later he went to Cairo, Ill., where he worked in a sawmill for a time and then returned to St. Clair County, where he ran a threshing-machine.

Mr. Austin was married March 19, 1860, to Mary Miles, and they began their domestic life in St. Clair County, coming thence to Christian County in 1867. He here purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 35, Pana Township, and began its improvement. In 1879, he added to it two hundred and forty acres and built a fine residence. He was a very prosperous farmer and accumulated a handsome property.

In early life he was a Democrat and voted for Stephen A. Douglas, but at the breaking out of the war became a Republican. He held membership with the Odd Fellows' Lodge. He died July 3, 1891. His widow still lives on the homestead.

Mrs. Austin, mother of our subject, was born in St. Clair County February 2, 1842, and is the daughter of Alex and Sarah (Clarke) Mills, both natives of New York. Her father died when she was only eight years old. Her mother is now living in St. Clair County, at the age of eighty years. Mrs. Austin was the third child in order of birth in a family of twelve. She has become the mother of four children: Alonzo A., William J., Owen J., and Amy, wife of Jesse Adams. Mrs. Austin is the owner of a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which is now rented to her son William.

In taking up the personal history of Alonzo Austin we learn that he spent the first six years of his life in his native county, and then came with his parents to Christian County. He had previously begun his education, which was completed in the schools of Pana. To his father he gave the benefit of his services throughout his youth, remaining at home until twenty-five years of age.

He then chose as a companion and helpmate on life's journey Miss Maria, daughter of Cyrus and Hannah (Wilson) Rayhill. She was born in Indiana, and their marriage was celebrated March 11, 1886. One child graces their union, Epho F., born February 20, 1889.

Mr. Austin located upon his present farm in 1876. He here owns one hundred and twenty acres, and in addition has one hundred and ten acres on sections 27 and 36, which he rents. In politics, he is an advocate of the Republican party, and is now serving as School Director. He belongs to Pana Lodge No. 226, A. F. & A. M., and also to the Woodman Lodge of Pana, and to the Protective Association. He carries on general farming and stock-raising, and is recognized as one of the leading young agriculturists of Christian County. He possesses good business ability, is industrious, and the success that comes from earnest toil will no doubt crown his efforts in a high degree.


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