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.

DE WITT C. WILLEY is one of the progressive farmers of May Township, and makes his home on section 5. He was born October 30, 1831, in Hamilton County, Ohio, being the third in a family of eleven children, comprising eight sons and three daughters. His parents were Israel and Arthenia (Stevenson) Willey. The eldest child, Stephen, died in this county; Allen died in childhood; De Witt C. is our subject; Horace is now deceased; Israel is a minister of the Methodist denomination, and is now located at Belle Plaine, Kan.; Alga is a dealer in implements in Nebraska; Winfield S. is engaged in farming in Kansas, as is also the next younger, Frank; Sarah Jane and Lucy are deceased; and Ann Eliza, who became the wife of John Catherwood, is a resident of California.

The father of our subject, Israel Willey, was a native of Stonington, Mass., born in 1808. He removed to Ohio with his parents when quite young, and, emigrating to Christian County in 1844, he entered a tract of land, which he engaged in cultivating until he was called from this life, December 10, 1873. He was of French and English extraction, and his father, who bore the Christian name of Jude, was a patriot in the War of 1812. The father was a distant relative of De Witt Clinton, one of the early Governors of the Empire State. Our subject's mother, who was also of French and English extraction, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, and died in this county in 1863.

The early life of De Witt C. Willey was passed at his birthplace, where he was given practical training in carrying on a farm. There were very few schools at that early day in this locality, but he made the most of his opportunities and is now a man of good education. When he became of age he purchased the farm where he still resides. At that time it was unimproved prairie land. He has placed it under good cultivation, and waving fields of grain are the result of his care and labor. The farm comprises one hundred and sixty-nine acres of fertile and desirable land, and the owner is numbered among the leading farmers of the township.

In the year 1856, Mr. Willey was united in marriage with Miss Mary Black, a native of Sangamon County, Ill. Unto this worthy couple has been born a family of nine children. Three of the number died in infancy. John Andrew is a farmer of this county; Hattie became the wife of John David, who owns and operates a farm in Christian County; Henrietta wedded Newton Brown, a resident of Taylorville; Horace Lincoln also makes his home in the same place; and the two younger, Raymond and Frank, are still residing with their parents on the homestead.

In his political views Mr. Willey is a stanch Republican, and has always taken a great deal of interest in political matters. He is a public-spirited citizen, and uses his influence for the promotion of all enterprises calculated to benefit the neighborhood in which he dwells and the community at large. He has served as one of the School Directors in May Township, and is a firm advocate of good schools and teachers. Religiously, he holds membership with the Methodist Church, and as a man is upright and honorable at all times.



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