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.
J. C. McBRIDE, one of Christian County's most prominent attorneys, was born on the 16th of July, 1845, near Palmyra, Macoupin County, Ill. The ancestors of the McBrides were Scotch, and the family was founded in America at a period long prior to the Revolutionary struggle. They were a patriotic and country-loving people, and the family has furnished gallant soldiers for nearly every war that has taken place in this country.

Two brothers fell at the bloody battle when Braddock was defeated, during the French and Indian War. It furnished heroes for the struggle for independence; and its sons were in the War of 1812, and in the Mexican and other wars. The family of McBrides were to some extent pioneers of three States: Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois.

Thomas W. McBride, father of our subject, was born in Tennessee, and thence came to this State as a pioneer. He was then only a boy, and the greater part of his life was spent in Macoupin County. His wife, the mother of our subject, Margery A. McBride, was the daughter of Sandy and Melvina Wiggins, and came to Illinois from Kentucky when but a child. She lived here prior to the memorable winter of the deep snow, and often around the fireside told her children tales of the many hardships and experiences of pioneer life. In the family were three sons and five daughters, all of whom are still living.

The subject of our sketch spent his boyhood days on the farm near Girard, Ill., working in the fields during the summer and attending school during the winter.

Anxious to secure a good education, in the winter of 1865-66 he attended Earlham College [ed., founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)], of Richmond, Ind., and in the fall of 1866 began a course of study at Lincoln University [ed., Lincoln College], of Lincoln, Ill., where he remained for three years, being graduated June 17, 1869, with the degree of Bachelor of Science.

He was a thorough and diligent student, in fact was always at the head of his classes. He took a great delight in the Literary Society, and did much to make the Athenian Society, of which he was a member, a great success. Mr. McBride was always a fine debater, for he presented his views in a clear, able and earnest manner. In the winter of 1869-70 he taught school, and read Blackstone's Commentaries, and other noted works of law during his leisure hours.

The following spring he entered the law office of Judge W. R. Welch, of Carlinville, Ill., with whom he read until his admission to the Bar the following fall. About the 1st of January, 1871, he moved to Taylorville and opened an office.

On the 17th of May, 1871, Mr. McBride was married to Mattie Wheeler, a former schoolmate, then living in Lincoln, Ill. She has aided him in bearing the misfortunes and disappointments experienced by so many young lawyers in beginning practice, and has, indeed, proved herself to be a true helpmate.

She is a daughter of Aaron and Elmira (Stockwell) Wheeler. Her father died many years ago, but her mother is still living in Lincoln on the old homestead, and is remarkably well preserved for one of her years. During the present summer (1893) she spent ten days at the World's Fair.

Mr. and Mrs. McBride have four children: Willis Brammer, born September 9, 1872; Horace C., December 26, 1874; Elma, March 8, 1879; and Marcella, July 12, 1890. The eldest son is now engaged in teaching school in this county, and the next two children are attending school.

Christian County recognizes in Mr. McBride one of its leading and influential citizens, and every one speaks well of him. It is such men as he that make the dignity of the law and are an honor to the profession. He takes a great interest in his clients, and spares neither time nor labor in working for those by whom his services are engaged.

He has been connected with some of the most important cases of the county, including the famous Emma Bond case, in which he was associated with Judge McCaskill and Judge Thornton, of Shelbyville, Ill. This trial lasted four weeks and excited great interest all over the country.

Mr. McBride has an excellent law library, and his familiarity with the contents of these works has made him a most excellent and successful practitioner. He is a most enterprising citizen, and is connected with various interests.

He is President of and owns nearly a-fourth interest in the mines of the Taylorville Coal Company, in which enterprise he has taken an active and leading interest from its inception. He is also a stockholder in the First National Bank and one of its Directors.

He owns three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land. Mr. McBride takes quite an active part in politics and campaign work, but has never sought official preferment for himself. He is a member of the Board of Education of the High School, being associated with Messrs. Provine, Vanderveer, Jayne and Adams. This board planned and erected at a cost of over $30,000 the High School Building, which adds greatly to the beauty of Taylorville and to its literary influence.

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