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 and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
HENRY J. YARNELL is one of the old settlers and representative farmers of Christian County, his home being on section 22, Mosquito Township. He was born January 8, 1844, near Carlinville, Macoupin County, Ill, and was the fourth in a family of seven children, whose parents were Isaac A. and Rebecca (Bonham) Yarnell. Our subject has only two sisters living, namely: Olive Caroline and Sophronia B. The former is the wife of Francis J. Miller, a farmer of Nance County, Neb. The younger sister married James A. Piper, a grain-dealer of Greenfield, Ill.

Isaac A. Yarnell was born December 13, 1810, near Knoxville, Tenn., and has been engaged in farming all his life. He came to Illinois and entered land in Macoupin County in 1833. He there remained until 1845, when he sold his farm and purchased a tract of land in Greene County, Ill.

In the fall of 1867, he came to Christian County, becoming the owner of a farm, which is now the property of our subject. He was called from this life August 7, 1887. Politically, he was first a Whig and later a Republican, and religiously was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

He was of Irish ancestry, his forefathers having located in this country at a very early day. His father, Mordecai Yarnell, was born April 17, 1767, was a farmer, and died July 30, 1846. The father of the latter was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

The mother of our subject was a daughter of Benjamin and Olive Bonham, and was born November 10, 1811, in Blount County, Tenn. She died in the faith of the Methodist Church, August 16, 1852, in Greene County, Ill. Like her husband, she was of Irish descent.

Henry J. Yarnell was reared on his father's farm in Illinois, and during the winter terms attended the country schools until nearly eighteen years of age. On the 8th of September, 1862, he became a private of Company K, Ninety-first Illinois Infantry, having enlisted for a term of three years. He served for two years and ten months, when he received his discharge, as Lee had surrendered. He had been a soldier for about four months when he was taken prisoner at Elizabethtown, Ky. With his company, he was obliged to surrender to John Morgan on December 27, 1862. He was sent to the parole camp at Benton Barracks, near St. Louis, and was exchanged June 5, 1863, with his regiment, and newly equipped. On the 7th of the following July he went to Vicksburg and with his regiment was attached to the Thirteenth Army Corps, remaining as a part of that body until September. He was sent to Morganza, on the Mississippi River, and later to Point Isabel, Tex., where he arrived November 3, 1863. For several months he did provost duty in New Orleans. On the 17th of March, 1865, with his company placed in advance, he started for Mobile and had to march forty miles. On the 27th of the same month they met the enemy, and our subject was under fire for fourteen days. His regiment was in the last engagement East of the Mississippi River, at a point called Eight-Mile Creek. Being mustered out July 12, 1865, he returned home, having escaped with slight injuries.

Feeling the need of a better education than he yet possessed, Mr. Yarnell went for one term to a private graded school at Scottville, Macoupin County.  Afterward he assisted his father on the farm, and during the winter six-months term he taught for sixteen years.

On the 4th of April, 1872, Mr. Yarnell and Miss Jane A. Wilkinson were married. The lady was born in April, 1844, in Macoupin County, her parents being Thompson and Mary A. Wilkinson, early settlers of that county. The father was born in England, and settled in Virginia with his parents. When a young man, he came to Illinois,
and is now a resident of Nebraska. His wife, who was a native of Vermont, is also living. Our subject and his wife have two children: Oscar, a young man of good education, who has taught school and is now reading medicine; and Maud, who is a bright little girl of four years.

In politics, Mr. Yarnell supports the Republican party. He resides in a Democratic township, but has so far won the friendship and confidence of his neighbors and friends that he has been honored by them with various positions of trust and honor. For two terms he was the efficient Supervisor of the township, and in 1889 was a candidate for nomination as Representative of Christian County, and had the support of nine of the seventeen townships in the county.

He is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to Lodge No. 682, of Blue Mound, of which he is a charter member. He and his worthy wife are members of the Baptist Church, in which he is one of the Deacons. The property of Mr. Yarnell comprises one hundred and forty acres, which are cultivated and improved. Here the owner carries on general farming and stock-raising with ability and success.

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