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.
RICHARD N. EMERSON, deceased. Among the worthy pioneers of Christian County was our subject, who was one of the first settlers of Stonington Township. He was a man of good education and was a musician of no small merit. He was born February 17, 1825, in Fayette County, Ky., and was the eldest of the large family born to Perry and Catherine (Aldridge) Emerson. The father was of German ancestry and followed the occupation of a farmer. He passed from this life after having reached an advanced age. His wife was also a native of Kentucky, and was only thirty-five years of age at the time of her demise.

Richard Emerson was only a small child when his mother died. His youth was passed in farming during the summer months and attending school during the winter. He taught in Kentucky for several years, and continued in that pursuit during the first winter of his residence in Stonington Township, this county, to which he came in 1854. Becoming the owner of eighty acres of prairie land, he found his time occupied for several years in bringing it under cultivation. He taught school, however, during the winter months for a number of years.

The marriage of our subject to Miss Ann E. Keiser took place May 2, 1854. Mrs. Emerson was born August 29, 1835, in Fayette County, Ky., being a daughter of James L. and Abigail (Stipp) Keiser. Her father was born near Lexington, Ky., and came to Christian County, Ill., in 1854, at the same time as our subject. He was a farmer and engaged in tilling the soil until his death, when in his fifty-fourth year. His wife, also a native of Kentucky, died in that State, aged forty-one years.

Mr. and Mrs. Emerson became the parents of eleven children, six sons and five daughters: Thaddeus W., a farmer of Christian County; Joseph M., also a farmer, of Stonington Township: Elliott M., likewise a farmer of the same township; Henry J., who now owns the old homestead, and is one of the prominent young men of the community; Reuben L., a resident of California; George H., who is engaged in farming in Christian County; Abbie, wife of William Hull, of Taylorville; Ola, who owns a store in the same city; Mary E., wife of B. F. Winter, an agriculturist of this community; and Ila G. and Emma G., who both died in childhood.

A poor man on his arrival in Christian County, Richard Emerson left at his death two hundred and seventy acres of well-improved land. His death occurred March 10, 1882. He was quite interested in political affairs, voting for the Republican nominees. As he was one of the first settlers of the township, he was called upon to fill nearly every local office within the gift of the people.

He lies buried in the old Stonington Cemetery, where his last resting-place is marked by a substantial monument. He had a host of friends and no enemies. His widow survives him and still resides on the old homestead.

In the early days. Mr. Emerson often went a number of miles to play for a dance or the entertainment of a party of settlers gathered at the home of one of the number. He delighted in music and was a good musician for those days.


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