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.
|PROF. LLEWELLYN SPRAGUE HAM, who is Principal of the West School
of Pana, and is an educator of fine ability, was born in Wales, Me., on the 15th of January, 1843, and is a son
of Joel and Maria (Maxwell) Ham, who were also natives of the Pine Tree State. He was reared on a farm until eighteen
years of age, and during that time attended the common schools and an academy. From early boyhood he manifested
special aptitude in his studies and a great fondness for books.
At the age of eighteen, Prof. Ham attended a seminary for a short time, then followed teaching, and afterward entered the Maine State Seminary, at Lewiston, Me., now known as Bates College. There he pursued a preparatory course, after which he entered Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Me., which institution has graduated many of the most prominent men of the country, including poets, professors, men of letters, etc.
He began his studies there in 1864, and after completing the classical course was graduated in 1868 with the degree of A. B. in a class of twenty-three, among whom was Prof. Robert L. Packard. He was also a member of the Psi Upsilon, a Greek society. Prof. Ham met the greater part of his expenses in college with the capital which he had formerly acquired in teaching, and with teaching special classes in Bowdoin. It will thus be seen that he is a self-educated and self-made man, and through his own efforts may be attributed his success in life.
When his collegiate course was completed, our subject resumed teaching, becoming principal of the High school in Alfred, Me. In the spring of 1869, he removed to Wisconsin and took charge of the La Crosse Valley Seminary, at West Salem, where he remained two years. On the expiration of that period we find him in Springfield, Ill., where he engaged in civil engineering on what is now the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. He served as assistant engineer on the survey from Edgewood to Pana, and was division engineer on construction from Edgewood to Tower Hill. He also assisted in building the shops in Pana, after which he entered the works here as book-keeper. Subsequently for one year he filled the position of chief clerk in the freight office. Altogether he was connected with the Ohio & Mississippi [Rail] Road for three years.
In 1873, Mr. Ham became Superintendent of the public schools and acceptably filled the position for four years, when the schools were divided and two principals selected. Three years later he resigned his position. For one year he engaged in teaching in Rosamond, and for two years served as Principal of the East School in Taylorville. He then returned to take charge of the West School of Pana, in 1881, and under his able management it has been so successfully conducted that Pana is justly proud of her schools, which rank among the best in this part of the State. He has eight teachers under his supervision and has an enrollment of three hundred and fifty pupils.
On the 7th of December, 1875, in Pana, Mr. Ham was united in marriage with Frankie Tomlinson, daughter of John Tomlinson, a native of Massachusetts. She was born in Adrian, Mich. Seven children have been born of their union: Bertha A., Elmer L., Eva I., Arthur C., Harold, Alice E., and Walter L., who died when three years of age.
Prof. Ham and his wife occupy an enviable position in social circles, and are prominent members of the Presbyterian Church. He has been closely connected with church and Sunday-school work and is now serving as Elder. Prof. Ham may always be called upon to advance the best interests of the community, and his influence is widely felt for good throughout Pana.
In politics, he is a Republican. He is now serving as Secretary of the Pana Building and Loan Association, and has aided in laying out additions to the city. He is a member of the State Teachers' Association, and each summer devotes much of his time to institute work. Prof. Ham has the faculty of readily and clearly imparting to others his knowledge of any study, and this, combined with his excellent management and executive ability, has made him a very successful instructor. His long-continued service in Pana indicates his popularity with her citizens and the confidence they repose in his ability.
© Judy Edwards and Genealogy Trails