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.
BENJAMIN HAMLIN HARGRAVES, who is engaged in general farming on section 28, Pana Township, owns and operates ninety acres of the rich land of Christian County. His farm is one of the best improved places of the neighborhood, neat in appearance and highly cultivated. The owner is a native of Virginia. He was born in Sussex County, on the 26th of September, 1815, and is a son of Robert Hargraves, who was born and reared in the same State.

The paternal grandfather, Jesse Hargraves, was a native of England, and was the founder of the family in America. Robert became a farmer by occupation, and also followed school-teaching for a number of years. He married Nancy Ellis, who was also born in the Old Dominion and was of English and Scotch descent. Her father, Benjamin Ellis, was likewise a native of England.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hargraves was celebrated in
Sussex County, and they there began their domestic life upon a farm. He served as a private in the War of 1812, and after that struggle they removed to Kentucky, in 1816, there making their home until 1830, when they came to Illinois. Locating at Edwardsville, Madison County, they removed thence to Macoupin County, Ill., where Mr. Hargraves entered land from the Government and began the development of a farm, upon which he resided until his death, which occurred at the age of sixty-six years. The mother there passed away at the same age.

The subject of this sketch was the second son and child in a family of five children. He was only a year old when his parents left
Virginia and went to Kentucky, where he remained until a youth of fifteen, when he accompanied the family to Illinois. He was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads and received such educational privileges as the district and subscription schools afforded. Experience and observation and contact with men and things have made him a well-informed man. Like a dutiful son, he remained with his parents until their deaths, and tenderly cared for them in their old age, as they had done for him in childhood. He is now the owner of a good farm of ninety acres on section 38, Pana Township, where he successfully carries on agricultural pursuits.

Mr. Hargraves was once a member of the
Farmers' Alliance but is not now connected with that society.

In 1892, he made a trip to Oregon on the
Northern Pacific Railroad and spent about four months in the Far West, visiting many points of interest on the journey. He has long lived in this neighborhood, and has therefore witnessed much of the growth and development of the county. He is recognized as a valued citizen and one that manifests a commendable interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the community in which he now makes his home.

On the 3d of December, 1878, Mr. Hargraves was united in marriage with Louise M. Randle, a daughter of John H. and Sarah (Arnold) Randle. the former a native of
North Carolina, and the latter of Virginia. They were pioneer settlers of Illinois. Mr. Randle first came to this State about 1814, and was for some years in the United States Land Office at Vandalia. In 1825 he went to Kentucky and married Sarah Arnold, and three years later returned to this State. Settling at Edwardsville, Madison County, he there built a mill, which he lost by fire soon after it was erected. He later removed to Macoupin County, where he spent the remainder of his days.

In early life Mr. Hargraves was a Whig in politics and cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, in 1840. He has been a supporter of the Republican party since its organization.


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