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. 278.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

JOHN NELSON WADDELL, an honored veteran of the late war, and a retired farmer now residing in Taylorville, was born near Wheeling, Ohio County, W. Va., April 4, 1841, on the day on which William Henry Harrison passed from this life.

His parents, James and Jane (McDonald) Waddell, were also natives of the same county. In 1867, they removed to Washington County, Iowa, where their last days were spent. They had a large family of children, the eldest of whom, Rev. William, came to Illinois about 1853, and preached for the Spring Creek church of the United Presbyterian denomination. He did much to establish the present church, but died while engaged in this work in his twenty-seventh year, and was buried in Hall Cemetery, one mile east of Taylorville.

Archibald came to the Waddell farm in Christian County in 1850, and there made his home until 1860, being extensively engaged in stock-dealing. In 1860, however, he returned to Virginia, but is now living in Bureau County, Ill. Joseph B. was a student in the Theological Seminary of Allegheny, Pa. [Pittsburgh Theological Seminary United Presbyterian Church of North America], but left the college to join the Christian Commission [the U.S. Christian Commission] with the Army of the Potomac during the late war. He afterwards finished his course of study, and died while engaged in ministerial work in Midway, Pa., at the age of forty-eight.

James V. enlisted in the Twelfth West Virginia Infantry during the late war, but was rejected, and then joined the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. He rose from the ranks to be first Sergeant, and at the age of twenty-three was killed while making a charge at the battle of White Sulphur Springs, August 26, 1863.

The three daughters of the Waddell family are Elizabeth, wife of Alex Duff, of Washington, Iowa; Maggie, Widow of Rev. A. Conner, of Washington, Iowa, and now a resident of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Belle, wife of Rev. Ferris Brown, of New Concord, Ohio. All came to Christian County in the '50s, and all were teachers in May Township. At one time nine families of Waddells lived in that township.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who remained upon the home farm until twenty-one years of age, when, on the 14th of August, 1862, he entered the service of his country as a member of Company D, Twelfth West Virginia Infantry, under Col. W. D. Curtis. He did service in the Shenandoah Valley, and in front of Petersburg and Richmond. He went to Appomattox, and continued in active service until after the close of the war.

For a while he was on detached duty in the hospital as clerk at Annapolis, Md., and at Parkersburg, W. Va., and was clerk in the Provost-Marshal's office in Martinsburg, W. Va., for four months. On the 15th of March, 1865, he reported to his regiment at Richmond, and was with the troops during the battles of Hatchie's Run, Fort Gregg, Farmville and Appomattox. In June, 1865, He was honorably discharged, after about three years of faithful service, for the war was now over and the Stars and Stripes proudly floated over a united Nation.

Mr. Waddell at once returned to his home, but in 1866 came to Christian County. He, however, went back to his old home, and on the 17th of January, 1867, near Wheeling, was celebrated his marriage with Adessa Wilson, a native of that State. He brought his bride to Illinois, and was also accompanied by his two brothers, Benjamin E., now of Willey Station, and Thomas J., of Taylorville. Each had a farm of two hundred acres in May Township, which had been purchased in 1850 by their father.

Mr. Waddell at once began the development of the land, and his arduous labors soon transformed it into a valuable farm. In connection with its cultivation, he also engaged extensively in raising and breeding stock. Prosperity came to him as the years passed, and though he began life empty-handed he is now enabled to live retired in the enjoyment of a comfortable competence. He still owns one hundred and twenty acres of the home farm.

Mr. and Mrs. Waddell are the parents of four children: Millie, now the wife of Charles Hunter, a farmer of Locust Township; Anna; J. Clark and Jennie. In politics, our subject is a Republican and takes an active interest in the success of his party. Socially, he is a member of Francis M. Long Post No. 392, G. A. R. He has long been a member of the Presbyterian Church, and for ten years has served as Elder. True to his country in her hour of peril, he is alike faithful in times of peace, and in Mr. Waddell the community finds a valued citizen.



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