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 by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
MELVILLE W. STAPLES, M. D., of Grove City, is one of the active and successful professional men of Christian County. He is a native son of this State, having been born in Tazewell County, September 8, 1850, and has passed nearly his entire life in the Prairie State. Rev. John J. Staples, the father of the Doctor, was born in the Old Dominion, and was a lad of only nine years when he came with his parents to Illinois. The family settled in Peoria County, about 1825. The marriage of Mr. Staples occurred in Springfield, Ill., his wife being an adopted daughter of Erastus Wright, one of the early settlers and pioneer teachers of Illinois. After his marriage, Mr. Staples settled in Tazewell County, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1859, when he emigrated to Missouri and took up his residence in Carrollton, where he remained for a few years. In 1861, he returned to Illinois, settling in Decatur. He was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was placed on the Decatur Circuit. At the end of two years he was transferred to the Harristown Circuit, and in 1865 came to Taylorville, where he engaged in pastoral work until 1874. At this time he retired from the conference and went to Kansas on account of his health. After a short time, this being partly restored, he returned to the pulpit and was afterward made Presiding Elder, acting as such until his death, which occurred May 3, 1882.

Under the careful guidance of his father, Dr. Staples grew to manhood and received a good education. He attended the Bloomington Normal after leaving the common schools, and for six months taught school quite successfully. That avocation not being to his taste, however, he learned the painter's trade, following that business for several years in order to obtain the means whereby to pursue a thorough course of medical study. During the winter of 1881-82, he took his first course of lectures in the St. Louis Medical College, returning the two following winters. He was graduated in the Class of '84, after having spent seven years in his medical studies. He had come to Christian County as early as 1865, and his first practice in the line of his future work was in Edinburgh, Ill., but he soon removed to Grove City, arriving here on the 4th of June, 1885, and has since continued actively engaged in practice. His efforts have been crowned with success and he is kept busy all the time, his practice being quite extensive.

In Edinburgh, Ill., on the 1st of March, 1874, occurred the wedding of Dr. Staples and Miss Mary Ida Johns, who was born at Columbus, Ga., but grew to womanhood in Illinois. To our subject and wife have been born five children: Arthur, Gertie, Roy, Altha, and Lizzie, who died in infancy. The family move in the best social circles of the place, and are active workers in the Grove City Methodist Episcopal Church, to which the Doctor and his wife belong, the former being one of its officers.

Our subject is greatly interested in civic societies, is a member of the Odd Fellows' Lodge of this place and has passed all the chairs. He is Past Grand and has represented the lodge in the Grand Lodge. He is now Deputy Grand Master, and is also a member of the Taylorville Encampment. He is a true-blue Republican, having voted for every Presidential nominee of that party since the election of 1872. He has been always a hearty supporter of public schools, and one of the prime movers in securing the graded schools of which the citizens of this place are so justly proud.


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