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.

JOHN L. SANDERS, one of the honored old pioneers and representative farmers of Stonington Township, resides on section 26. For over half a century he has been identified with the history of Christian County, and has seen its development from a wilderness to the garden spot of Illinois. He well remembers when the family were obliged to go to Springfield for their mail and to do their trading, although that city was thirty-two miles distant.

The birth of our subject occurred February 11, 1831, in Voluntown, Conn. He is the third in a family of five children born to Nicholas and Sarah (Douglass) Sanders. Louisa, the eldest, died only six weeks after the family's arrival in Illinois, when she was ten years of age. Nicholas D. is now one of the active farmers and stock-dealers of this county. Lydia married Tyler Chapman, a retired farmer and one of the pioneers of Christian County. Julia became the wife of Alfred Briggs, also engaged in farming in this locality.

The father was born and reared in Connecticut on a farm. For several years after his marriage he continued a resident of the Nutmeg State, but believing that he could better his fortune in the West, he came in 1837 with several other families to Illinois, and founded what was known as the Stonington Colony. He was one of the most respected citizens of the township and for a number of years was Justice of the Peace. Here he continued to reside until called from his labors by death in September, 1878. His wife, who was also born in Connecticut, is still living, though she is eighty-nine years of age.

John L. Sanders was a child of only six years when his parents brought him to the West. They made the journey by water to St. Louis, proceeding from that city to Christian County by ox teams. They found the country sparsely settled and wild animals still numerous. 

Mr. Sanders resided with his parents until he had reached his majority, and received but limited educational opportunities, as the schools of the early days, which were poor, were only kept for a couple of months in a year and were conducted on the subscription plan. When he was thirty years of age he purchased a farm of eighty acres, which he has improved and lived upon ever since.

On the 19th of February, 1860, Mr. Sanders was united in marriage with Achsah F. Palmer, who was born in the same county in Connecticut as her husband, and came to this county with her parents when about twelve years old. Nine children have been born of this union. Mary became the wife of William Bugg, who is a well-known agriculturist of Christian County; Nicholas is carrying on the home farm; Laura lives at home; Ernest is assisting his brother in managing the homestead; Katie Pearl is the wife of Edward D. Moore, who is a progressive farmer of the county; Oliver is still at home; and three children died in infancy.

The homestead belonging to Mr. Sanders comprises at the present time four hundred acres of valuable farm land. The property is located four miles southeast of Stonington and is well improved. Until 1892, our subject affiliated with the Republican party, but at that time joined the ranks of the Prohibition party. He has no desire to fill official positions and has ever declined to serve.

For about thirty-six years he has been a consistent member of the Baptist Church, and is active in all good works. He is well posted on all of the leading topics of the day, and is largely self-educated, as he is also a self-made man in financial matters. He has a large circle of friends and probably not an enemy, as he is upright and a man of integrity, who makes friends wherever he goes.



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