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.
CYRUS RAYHILL, who is numbered among the early settlers of the county, where he has lived since 1864, now resides on section 22, Pana Township. With the agricultural interests of the community he was identified for a quarter of a century, but is now living retired in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.

He was born in Washington County, Ind., near New Philadelphia, April 24, 1835, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Cathcart) Rayhill. The paternal grandfather was a native of Virginia. The father was born in Botetourt County, Va., in 1810, and at the age of six years accompanied -his parents on their removal to Washington County, Ind., where he was reared to manhood.

He there married Miss Cathcart, who was born fifty miles from Charleston, S. C., February 4, 1814. Her father, Hugh Cathcart, was a native of the same State, and was of Irish descent. Their marriage was celebrated December 16, 1831, and they began their domestic life near New Philadelphia, where Mr. Rayhill followed farming, though he was a tanner by trade. In 1864, he came direct to Christian County, Ill., and located upon a farm in Pana Township, where he spent his remaining days, dying in 1883. His widow still survives him.

The Rayhill family numbered ten children: Catherine S., now the wife of Harry C. Johnson; Cyrus, of this sketch; Alexander, of Davis County [ed., Daviess County], Ind.; Henrietta, now deceased; Elizabeth, widow of John Snyder; John, of Pana Township; Sarah Jane, wife of C. Yount, of Pana; Carrie L. C., wife of William Hoyle, of Pana; and two children who died in infancy.

Mr. Rayhill of this sketch, who is the eldest son, was reared in the county of his nativity and early became familiar with the tanning business, working in his father's tanyard. He was trained to habits of industry and usefulness and through his labors in early life developed self-reliance and force of character which have proven of much benefit to him in his later years. On attaining to man's estate, he left home and in 1860 was joined in marriage with Miss Hannah E. Wilson, a native of Indiana.

Eight children were born unto them, namely: John M., deceased; Maria E., wife of A. A. Austin, of Pana Township; James A., of Pana Township; C. W., who is employed as a salesman in Chicago; Joseph C. and David R., both of whom reside in Pana Township; one child who died in infancy; and Sarah A. who died at the age of fourteen years. Mrs. Rayhill died at her home in Pana Township, August 16, 1878, at the age of forty-four years, and her remains were interred in the West Cemetery, of Pana.

Mr. and Mrs. Rayhill began their domestic life in Washington County, Ind., but in 1862, he left home to enter the service of his country as a member of Company B, Sixteenth Indiana Infantry. He aided in raising his company and was elected First Lieutenant. During his first battle, at Richmond, Ky., he was wounded by a piece of shell, which passed through the lower part of his left arm. This disabled him for further duty, and in 1863 he was honorably discharged.

Mr. Rayhill at once returned to his home in Indiana, and in 1864 came with his family to Christian County, Ill. Locating on a farm in Pana Township, he has since here made his home, and to its cultivation he gave his time and attention until the year 1887, but since then has lived retired. Under his arduous labors acre after acre was placed under the plow, until waving fields of grain took the place of the once barren tract, and the farm became a valuable and desirable place. Our subject has led a useful and busy life and has now a handsome competence, which surrounds him with many comforts and luxuries. He keeps up his army acquaintance through his relations with Pope Post No. 411, G. A. R., of which he is a charter member. He also belongs to Adair Lodge, No. 334, I. O. O. F., and is a demitted Mason. In politics, he is a supporter of the Republican party, and at one time served as Assistant Supervisor.


© Judy Edwards and Genealogy Trails