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.

DR. B. GREENWOOD, a leading physician of Edinburgh, has long made his home in this county, dating his arrival from 1865, and well deserves representation among its early settlers. In the years which have since come and gone he has been prominently connected with the growth and upbuilding of the community, and has ever borne his part in the work of public improvement and advancement.

He was born in Barren County, Ky., September 29, 1810, and is a son of John Greenwood, a native of Virginia. His grandfather, Dr. Basil Greenwood, was a native of England, in that country was reared and married, and then emigrated to America, taking up his residence in the Old Dominion.

John Greenwood married Triphena Garretson, who was born in Virginia, of Welsh parentage, their union being celebrated in Bowling Green, Ky., where they resided for two years. Removing to St. Louis at that time, they spent only a few months in the West, being driven out by the Indians.

They then went back to Kentucky, but afterward went to Illinoistown, near St. Louis. Again they were driven away by the redmen, and the Doctor, who was then only four years old, was separated from his parents. He was taken by the savages and lived with them for several years, and in 1819 he was taken by them to where the city of Springfield now stands. About 1824 he was ransomed by the Government, and remained in the Government employ for several years as an interpreter.

In 1836 Dr. Greenwood engaged with the firm of Cope & Harpester, drovers, to lead the lead-ox from Springfield to Philadelphia, Pa. While on the way his employers failed, and thus he, without money or friends, was left to work his way back as he might. After three months he again reached Springfield, where he began serving an apprenticeship to the millwright and carpenter's trade.

He then embarked in business for himself, and in the next few years built mills in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. During this time he was studying medicine, and was graduated from the old Missouri Medical Institute in 1847. Locating in Springfield, he there remained for two years, when he sold out and went with an emigrant train engaged in exploration under Fremont.

Returning to Springfield, the Doctor was there married, November 15, 1849, to Eliza A. Townsend, a native of Cape May, N. J. In 1852 he joined the Illinois & California Mutual Insurance Company for a trip across the plains. Returning in the fall of 1856, he formed a partnership with a brother physician and engaged in the practice of medicine.

The war came on and his property was all destroyed, so he again went to Springfield to make a new start. On the 14th of February, 1865, however, he came to Christian County, locating four miles from his present office, for the town of Edinburgh had not then sprung into existence. In connection with medical practice, he conducted a general store and a grist and saw mill. At length he sold out and removed to Edinburgh, establishing the first store in the place. He assisted in starting many lines of business, in fact the growth and success of the town are due in no small degree to his labors. At his own expense, and at a great cost, he sunk the first coal shaft. A company who worked the mine was afterward incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000, and the Doctor was elected President. This company is now known as the Electric Light, Coal and Tile and Brick Company, and has a capital stock of $150,000, all of which has grown out of the first efforts of our subject, who is still President of the company. He has continuously carried on the practice of medicine with good success, and has been connected with other business interests. Greenwood Township was named in his honor.

Unto the Doctor and his wife have been born four children: Triphena A., wife of Charles Whitmer, of Springfield; Parthenia, deceased; John R., assistant superintendent of the coal shaft of Edinburgh; Sarah M., wife of Robert H. Poole; and Julia A., wife of Asa H. Culver, now of Bates County, Mo. The mother of this family died in 1885, leaving many friends to mourn her loss.

The Doctor was a Whig in early life, but since the organization of the Republican party has been one of its stanch supporters. He was a personal friend of Lincoln, with whom he worked in his early years, and was also a personal friend of Douglas. Few men in Christian County are better known than Dr. Greenwood, on account of his connection with its upbuilding and development. He may well be called one of the founders of Edinburgh. His life has been a well-spent and useful one, and has been quite eventful. Wherever he has gone he has made friends, and in the community where he now lives he is alike esteemed by young and old, rich and poor.




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