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.
LEONARD HOOVER, who owns a well-equipped farm on section 17, May Township as a self-made man, having started out in the battle of life without capital, and in spite of adverse circumstances and the discouragements that come to all, he has acquired a good competence and a well-improved farm. He is one of the honored veterans of the late war, and was several times wounded while serving in the defense of the Union.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Hoover's birth occurred January 18, 1833. He was next to the youngest in a family of ten children born to Samuel and Phoebe (Westbrook) Hoover. The family are all now deceased with the exception of our subject and his two brothers, Richard and Timothy. The former is engaged in farming in Missouri, and the latter follows a similar calling in Texas. Samuel Hoover was a native of the Keystone State, where he grew to maturity.

Thence he went to Ohio, where he was married, after which he engaged in farming in the Buckeye State for several years. About 1837 he came to Illinois, making a settlement at Woodburn, Macoupin County, where he resided until his death, which occurred when he was about sixty years of age. His ancestors were natives of Germany, who settled in the United States at an early day, and his father participated in the Revolutionary War. The mother of our subject was born in New York State, and died in Christian County at an advanced age.

Leonard Hoover was only a small boy when he came to this State with his parents. He lived at home until his father's death, when he took his mother and supported her during the remainder of her days. He learned the blacksmith's trade in St. Louis, at which calling he worked for about eleven years.

In 1857, he came to this county and purchased the farm where he now resides, at that time only owning forty acres, however. The land was in a wild condition, and he at once began its improvement. For several years he worked more or less at his trade in connection with carrying on his farm.

In July, 1861, Mr. Hoover enlisted as a member of Company G, Forty-first Illinois Regiment, and was in active service for three years. He participated in the siege of Ft. Donelson and Ft. Henry, in the former battle receiving two flesh wounds and being taken prisoner by the rebels. In a few hours, however, he managed to escape, as the enemy thought he was too seriously injured to travel and therefore did not place him under strong guard. At the battle of Shiloh he also sustained slight injury.

Under the circumstances most men would have felt it impossible to leave home, but Mr. Hoover felt impelled to take up arms in defense of the Flag. He made arrangements for his three children to live with a neighbor during his absence, and left his farm and other interests to take care of themselves.

On his return from the war our subject resumed farming in this county and has ever since devoted his entire attention to the cultivation and improvement of his place. It comprises one hundred and fifty acres of fertile land, which has been so well improved that it is considered one of the most desirable pieces of property in May Township.

In 1853, Mr. Hoover and Miss Barbara Rubey, of Ohio, were united in marriage. She was called from this life in May, 1860, leaving three children to mourn her loss. John, the eldest, is a well-to-do farmer of Idaho. Phoebe Ann became the wife of Alonzo Mayo, and is a resident of Nevada, Mo. Samuel is engaged in farming in the State of Washington.

In 1866, our subject was married to Miss Mary Ann Chatham, of Fayette County. They have one child, Charles W., who is a resident of Taylorville, Christian County. Mr. Hoover is in political faith a Republican, and is a member of Taylorville Post No. 392, G. A. R. He is now serving his sixth year as a Commissioner of Highways, and in that office has done much toward the improvement of roads in this locality.


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