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, p. 273.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

FRANCIS STEWART. This gentleman, who is well known in Christian County, where he has made his home since 1860, is engaged in farming on section 32, Mosquito Township. He was born in 1837, in County Down, Ireland, and grew to manhood in the home of his parents.

He was early inured to farm duties and became thoroughly conversant with everything pertaining to the successful management of the farm. This practical information has been of great use to him in his agricultural pursuits, and in his youth he formed habits of industry and perseverance which have been the foundation of his prosperity in later years.

The parents of our subject were James and Dorothea (Brown) Stewart, who were both natives of County Down, where they passed their entire lives, both dying after attaining an advanced age.

Our subject is the youngest in the family of seven children. When he was eighteen years old he bade adieu to the friends and scenes of his youth and went to Scotland. For two years he worked in the city of Glasgow, after which he determined to try his fortune in America.

In 1857, Mr. Stewart crossed the broad Atlantic, and after arriving in New York City first settled in New York State, where he obtained work on a farm. In the fall of 1860, he came to Illinois and purchased the nucleus of his present farm, a tract of forty acres, on which he has ever since made his home. At the time of his coming here there were few settlers in the township. His farm is fertile and well tilled, his broad acres yielding an abundant income to their fortunate possessor.

The year after his arrival in Christian County, Mr. Stewart was united in marriage to Miss Isabella Irvine. She is a native of Ontario, Canada, and has become the mother of seven children: James, who is engaged in farming in this county; Dorothea and Maggie, twins, the former of whom died in infancy, and the latter at the age of twenty years; Belle, the wife of William Black, a prosperous farmer of Macon County; William, an agriculturist of this county; Charles, who is now attending Knox College, in Galesburg, Ill.; and Rutherford B., who died in infancy.

The farm owned by Mr. Stewart has been extended from the forty-acre tract he originally purchased to one covering two hundred and forty acres. Many valuable improvements have been made upon the place, and waving fields of golden grain have for many years yielded him an abundant income as the reward for his untiring care and cultivation.

In politics, our subject is a thorough Republican, having always voted for the nominees of that party since casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln. As all true American citizens should be, he is interested in educational matters and has served for twenty years as one of the School Directors in his district. For a period of six years he was one of the Commissioners of Highways.

In religion, he is a Reformed Presbyterian. His wife holds membership with the Methodist denomination.

He has seen the prairie, which in former years was covered with rank grass, become a fertile and beautiful farming country, and has taken his share in its happy transformation. He was also in the service of his country in the late war, having enlisted in the One Hundred and Fifty-second Illinois Infantry for one year, and served till the war ended.



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