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.
GILBERT BURNETT HANKINS, who for some years was connected with the agricultural interests of Christian County, is now living a retired life in Taylorville. He is a self-made man, and his business career of strict honor and integrity is well worthy of emulation. He has been successful, yet his prosperity is not the result of good fortune, it being the legitimate outcome of toil and energy.

Mr. Hankins is a native of Kentucky. He was born April 12, 1828, in Shelby County, and comes on the maternal side from a family of German origin, which was founded in America by his grandparents. His father, Gilbert Hankins, Sr., was a native of Virginia, and when a young man went to Kentucky, where he spent his remaining days. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Rebecca Caress, was born in that State.

Under the parental roof our subject spent his boyhood days midst play and work, no event of special importance occurring during his childhood. In 1856, he left the State of his nativity with the determination to try his fortune on the broad prairies of Illinois, and located near Rochester, in Sangamon County.

The following year he came to Christian County, and when a young man he followed the carpenter's trade. In this way he secured sufficient money to purchase a farm, and became the owner of a slightly improved tract of land in South Fork Township, nine miles west of Taylorville, for which he paid $12.50 per acre. With characteristic energy he began the development of his land, and in the course of time abundant harvests rewarded his labors, the wild prairie being transformed into rich and fertile fields.

For a companion and helpmate on life's journey, Mr. Hankins chose Miss Mary Mason, the daughter of John and Isabella (Clemens) Mason. Her father was a native of England, and when a young man came to Illinois, entering land near Springfield. He is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Sangamon County.

Upon his farm he was married when about twenty-one years of age. His wife was a native of Virginia, was reared in Kentucky, and at an early day came with her parents to Illinois. In 1856, Mr. and Mrs. Mason removed to Christian County, where they lived until called to the home beyond. His death occurred in South Fork Township in 1878, at the age of eighty-one; and she died in Taylorville, in 1892, at the age of eighty-four, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Hankins. Of their family of eleven children, all grew to mature years, and nine still survive at this writing, in the fall of 1893. Mr. Mason was an extensive farmer and land-owner in Christian and Macon Counties, and his possessions were all acquired through his own efforts.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hankins was celebrated in South Fork Township, February 11, 1864. They have no children of their own, but have reared two: William Kelley, who came to them at the age of thirteen, and is now living in Twin City, Tex.; and Mary Prince, who made her home with them from the age of four years until her marriage to R. S. Peck, of Taylorville. They now reside in Ft. Smith, Ark. These children received good educational advantages and were carefully and tenderly reared.

In 1875, Mr. Hankins left his farm and came to Taylorville, since which time he has engaged quite extensively in selling nursery stock. He still owns his home farm of one hundred and sixty acres of valuable land, and another tract of eighty acres in this county, besides some fine city property, including four lots where he now lives, upon which are two good residences. Mr. Hankins has never taken a very prominent part in public affairs, yet always faithfully performs his duties of citizenship. He was formerly a Republican in politics, but is now a stalwart supporter of the Prohibition party. He was made a Mason in Shelby County, Ky., about 1854, and now holds membership with Mound Lodge No. 122. A. F. & A. M., of Taylorville.


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