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, p243.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
CHARLES WALTER SIBLEY, residing on section 6, Pana Township, was born in the Bay State, the place of his birth being Spencer, Worcester County, Mass., and the date July 2, 1826. His grandfather, Paul Sibley, was a native of the same town, was of English descent and was a farmer by occupation. The father, Walter Livermore Sibley, was born in Spencer, where he followed farming and was a prominent and influential citizen. He served as Colonel in the State militia, was Justice of the Peace, and filled many offices of honor and trust, and was a Deacon, Chorister and Sunday-school Superintendent for many years. He married Ruth Watson Ryan, who was born in Spencer, of Irish parentage. Her father, Samuel Ryan, was born in the Bay State and had a family of fourteen children, thirteen of whom attended school at one time. Mr. Sibley, father of our subject, died at the age of forty-five, and his wife, who long survived him, passed away in Christian County, Ill., at the age of ninety-four.

Their family numbered three sons and two daughters: Mary, who died in infancy; R. Eliza, of Pana Township; William Evans, who is living in the same township; and Henry Nelson, who was drowned at the age of sixteen. Two nephews, David and Nelson Scott, late prominent and successful druggists in Worcester, Mass., were reared in the family.

Mr. and Mrs. Sibley stood with David Scott, the father, in three marriages, and in 1851 Mrs. Sibley stood alone with Mr. Scott, the fourth time as his wife, and died his widow.

The subject of this sketch remained upon the home farm until nineteen years of age and attended the district and high schools. He then entered Leicester Academy, graduating in 1850, and later became a student in Yale College. When his education was completed, he became clerk for the Ryan Manufacturing Company, of Norfolk, Conn., and continued his connection with that firm for four years. On the day of his marriage the firm made an assignment, and he lost nearly all he had, but he managed to open a general store in Norfolk, where he carried on business for two years. On the expiration of that period, he sold out and emigrated Westward, locating in Louisiana, Mo., where he carried on merchandising until 1859. That year witnessed his arrival in Pana, where, with G. P. Lawrence, he carried on a general store until the breaking out of the war.

In 1861, Mr. Sibley donned the blue as a defender of the Union, becoming a member of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He enlisted as a private, but was promoted to be Commissary Sergeant and clerk of the regiment. After a year, on the reorganization of the regiment, he was tendered a commission as Quartermaster, but declined. Returning to Pana, he secured a position as clerk in the office of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, where he remained for a year, and then removed to Pleasant Mound, his present home, in 1855. Within the boundaries of his homestead are comprised four hundred and fifty acres, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation.

In November, 1855, Mr. Sibley wedded Susan Pettibone Lawrence, daughter of E. Grove Lawrence, of Norfolk, Conn., where the lady was born and reared. They have adopted four children. Elizabeth, who came to them at the age of twelve, is a graduate of the Protestant Hospital [nursing school] of St. Louis, and is now a professional nurse in that city. Josie, eighteen years of age, William Michael, also eighteen years of age, and Rose Michael, a maiden of sixteen, are still with Mr. and Mrs. Sibley.

Our subject was reared a Whig, became a Free Soiler, and then a Republican. He now votes with the Prohibition party. He has always been a strong temperance man and has never even used tobacco in any shape. He gives his support to whatever lends to upbuild the moral interests of the community and prove of public benefit. The cause of education finds in him a friend; and as a member and Secretary of the Educational Board, he was active in organizing the graded system of Pana and in building the first school building.

Afterward for fifteen years he was School Trustee. He is a member of the Good Templars' Society and the Grange, and is a faithful and consistent member of the Presbyterian Church. He served both as Deacon and Elder from 1860 until 1885, and bore a prominent part in promoting the work and interests of the Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as Superintendent of the District Sunday-school. His life has been well and worthily spent, and he can look over the past with little regret.


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