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 by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

WILLIAM EUGENE HAYWARD, Mayor of Pana. It affords the compilers of this work much pleasure to present to their readers a brief sketch of a gentleman and of a family whose interests are so prominently identified with the early growth and advancement of Christian County. The Hayward family in this country originated during the misty period of Colonial history, and various branches from the parent stem are now found in several States, and in many instances men of the name have exerted a substantial influence in advancing civilization. There is a natural sturdiness of manhood and refinement of character found in numbers of those who have borne the name, so that to one familiar with the family history they have certain characteristics easily recognizable as belonging to them. There appears a natural reticence in individuals bearing the name, which often prevents them from reaching those public positions of honor so frequently obtained by other men of less ability. There is also a marked steadfastness of purpose in them, which rarely fails to carry to a successful issue any venture undertaken; and a natural tendency of mind for matters of advanced intellectual thought. It is also noticeable that the family has furnished a large quota of finely educated men.

In the early days of Harvard University one of its famed graduates was Beza Hayward, the grandfather of our subject. He embraced the ministry, but did not make that his life work, having preferences for a political career. For years he held the responsible position of Register of Deeds in Plymouth, Mass., and later he became a representative of the people of his district in the Upper House of the General Assembly. Entirely at home in debate, his abilities especially fitted him for forensic battle, and he is remembered as a man of brilliant intellect and one not easily conquered in the discussion of public questions. He was a leader of men, his abilities and training giving him a power and eloquence that made him well known in whatever field his lot was cast. He died at Plymouth at the advanced age of seventy-eight years.

John S. Hayward, father of our subject, inherited many of the family traits and became a man of wealth and influence in this and adjoining counties of Illinois. He was an extensive land operator and one of the representative men of the Prairie State. His birth occurred at Bridgewater, Mass., in 1803. Further mention of him is found on another page of this work. He married Harriet F. Comstock, and of their family of six children, our subject is one of three who arrived at years of maturity. John Augustus and Harriet are both deceased, and our subject is the only one now surviving.

The education of W. E. Hayward was acquired in the public schools at Hillsboro, and was supplemented by a course at Antioch College, in Ohio, and the Williston Seminary, in Easthampton, Mass. The outbreak of the war coming before his college course was completed, he, at the age of nineteen, enlisted in Battery I, Second Illinois Artillery, in which he became Second Lieutenant and did valiant service with his brigade for two years. In 1865, he became Captain of Company F, Second Regiment United States Volunteers, with which command he operated until the close of the war. His father having large interests in Pana, he then located here, and soon embarked in the banking and real-estate business, which he conducted with unvarying success until 1878, when he discontinued his banking business and has since devoted his attention more particularly to real estate and loans. As will be seen by reference to his father's sketch, large landed properties had been obtained, and the improvement of these demanded much of his time. His interests in real estate extend over various States, including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, and his management has resulted most satisfactorily.

Mr. Hayward was married November 26, 1868, to Miss Clara M. Turnbolt. Of six children born to them, Beza T., Lucian P., Clara T. and Eugenia are deceased. Susan L. and Evadne, two lovely and charming little girls, are the joy of their parents' home. The Hayward residence is a beautiful roomy brick structure, standing conveniently near the business centre of Pana, and is widely known as the abode of hospitality and refinement.

Mr. and Mrs. Hayward have traveled extensively, and every country and every clime has contributed not only to their general information and culture, but has supplied many articles of virtue and beauty for the elevation and adornment of their pleasant home. Being devoted to masterpieces in art and literature, elegant volumes of the standard poets, historians, philosophers and novelists are found on the shelves of their library, which is one of the finest and most elaborate private collections in central Illinois. Here are found the best thoughts of the ablest men, and human nature, as depicted by the pens of the brightest writers, in the "Les Miserables" of Victor Hugo, or the no less interesting study of the "Wandering Jew," by Eugene Sue. To one absorbed in living with these men who have painted in brilliant colors all phases of human life, this library would be a never-failing source of enjoyment. The studios of the most famous painters have contributed in finest reproductions of their choicest gems, and almost every first-class art publication in America is found on these shelves. To no less a degree have other lines of art furnished beautiful productions in artistic and valuable vases from domestic and foreign artists, in exquisite and intricate hammered brass from Benares, and deeply engraven shells from the best workmen of Italy. One noticeable and beautiful gem, a master-piece of marble, is the bust of a handsome woman, chiseled with such naturalness and delicacy that the beholder expects each moment to see the bosom heave. It comes from an Italian sculptor, and stands upon a pedestal of delicate Mexican onyx, the whole making a work of art that leaves a sense of lasting pleasure.

While selecting works of art for the adornment of his home, Mr. Hayward has not neglected the beautiful and far more wonderful works of nature, the greatest artist of all. He has extensive cabinets filled with choicest gems, well illustrating all the various stages of geological formations, especially those wherein Nature as a painter and designer most distinctly shows. Having ample means to supply all desires of his mind, Mr. Hayward has not hoarded his wealth, but has poured it out with a lavish hand to secure those things that contribute so much toward the elevation and advancement of humanity. He has gathered these rare gems around him not to appease the base vanity of a shallow mind, but to gratify an innate love of the beautiful and ennobling, and to exert an influence on the lives of those around him that no other expenditure of wealth would secure. He has been ably seconded in these tastes by his estimable wife, whose gracious presence adds a charm to the home circle which rounds out and completes a most interesting family.



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