William B. Anderson
Born in Jefferson County, Illinois, April 2, 1830 ; studied law, but never practiced the profession; was twice elected to the State Legislature, and once to the State Senate ; was a delegate to the Convention which framed the present Constitution ; in 1861 he exerted himself to raise a regiment of volunteers for the army, and commanded it through the war, receiving the brevet title of Major-General ; and in 1874 he was elected a Representative from Illinois to the Forty-fourth Congress.
*Source: Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States by Charles Lanman
Downing Baugh came early, acted well his part as a business man, Judge, Justice of the Peace, enterprising and useful citizen. and above all, as a Christian. Some years ago he moved to McGregor, Iowa, and but recently died there at a ripe old age of perhaps ninety-live. He left his imprint on the early history of Mount Vernon, and left with us his posterity, of which we are justly proud. His children were: Mrs. J. J. Fly, who is still with us, at an advanced age, and is the mother of Walter, Oscar and Addison Fly, and Mrs. Carrie Spiese and Amy, at home; Mrs. H. H. Wilkerson, who moved to Chicago and died; Thomas J. (dead); John W., our well known express agent-whose children are: Frank and Nellie; Joe V., the present editor of the Mount Vernon News, whose children are: Ernest and Harry, and Mrs. "Hat" Thurston, living in Dakota. The writer well remembers being one of the charivari party who "serenaded" Mrs. Fly and Mrs. Wilkerson both having been married the same night, over fifty years ago. The Baughs then lived on what is now Herrin's corner. We were sent over to Aunt Mariah's, who kept gingerbread and cider about where George Carter now lives, for the "treat" and it was a good one just such a one as Aunt Mariah (colored) delighted to give.
[Source: History of Jefferson County, IL, By: John A. Wall, 1909 page 87 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]
Lemuel L. Breeze
Lemuel L. Breeze, scholar, school teacher, lawyer, and now a progressive and successful ranch and cattle man of Routt county, living near Craig, who has tried his hand at several vocations and won success in greater or less degree in all, was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, on June 18, 1852. He received a good scholastic and professional education, attending the public schools, the Southern Illinois Agricultural College, Butler University in Indiana, Hanover College in the same state, and the State University of Iowa, being graduated from the law department of the last named. In order to get this full measure of collegiate education he taught school in Illinois and the state of Washington, and after completing the law course at the Iowa University he practiced his profession in Illinois. In 1881 he became a resident of Colorado, and here he practiced law in Summit county three years. In 1883 he located his present ranch, three miles southeast of Craig. The water supply is sufficient to make a large acreage tillable, and he raises good crops of the usual farm products in the neighborhood. He takes an active interest in the fraternal life of the country as a Freemason and an Odd Fellow, and in its political life as an earnest working Republican. On May 18, 1891, he united in marriage with Miss Rosella Teagarden. They have one child, Willard L. Mr. Breeze is the son of Robert and Martha J. (Downs) Breeze, who were born in Indiana and were among the earliest settlers in Jefferson county, Illinois, locating there when almost the whole county was a wilderness. There the mother died on April 14, 1882, and soon afterward the father moved to Colorado, taking up his residence in the vicinity of Craig, Routt county. He was an ardent Democrat until the beginning of the Civil war. He then became a Republican and followed the fortunes of that party to the end of his life, which came on February 19, 1897. He was a man of prominence and influence in Illinois and also in this state. Both parents were members of the Christian church. They had nine children, of whom Charles, Nancy, Robert and Mrs. W.W. Wayman are dead, and Lemuel L., John M., Lewis H., Mrs. Henry Lucas and Mrs. Sallie C. Jackson are living. [Source: "Progressive Men of Western Colorado", By A.W. Bowen & Co, Publ 1905. Transcribed by Kim Mohler]
S. C. Brown
Shelby C. Brown, who has gained prestige as a lawyer of ability in Neosho county, and is now holding the office of city attorney of Chanute, was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, March 4, 1855, his parents being Russell and Nellie Brown, the former a native of New York and the latter of Illinois. In the year 1852 the father removed westward locating in Jefferson county, Illinois, where he has since resided, having now attained the age of seventy-seven years. At the time of the civil war he gave his aid to the Union cause by enlisting at President Lincoln's first call for seventy-five thousand troops, becoming a member of the forty-fourth Illinois infantry and held the rank of lieutenant while later he was promoted to the position of acting quartermaster. He served for nearly four years in the army of the southwest and took part with General "Pap" Thomas in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. He was taken prisoner and held for a week, and was then exchanged. He was never wounded nor were any of his six brothers, all of whom entered the army and all left it to return home after rendering valuable service to their country. He has served as county surveyor, as county commissioner and tax collector, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, his official honors being conferred upon him, in recognition of his trustworthiness and ability, by his fellow townsmen. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and has reached the age of sixty-four years.
In the county of his nativity, S. C. Brown was reared and after acquiring his education he engaged in teaching for several terms in the country schools of St. Clair and Jefferson counties, Illinois, in order that he might thus provide for the expense of a college course. He also engaged in clerking, and in canvassing for the "Royal Path of Life." He pursued his college course in McKendree college and completed his literary studies by graduation in the class of 1880. He then began the study of law and completed that course with the class of 1882. In 1883 he was invited to return and deliver the master oration and at that commencement the degree of master of science was conferred upon him.
Mr. Brown began the practice of law in 1882 following the profession for two years in Chicago, after which he came to Chanute, Kansas, in April, 1884, opening an office in this place. He has since remained here and has become an active member of the bar, and has practiced law in the state and United States courts. In 1890 he was appointed city attorney and served for one term and in 1894 was elected county attorney. Since his retirement from the latter office he has served for two years as city attorney. While acting as the county prosecutor the most important case with which he was connected was that of the State vs. Ed Anderson, the latter being prosecuted and convicted of murder in the first degree. The case was tried in the July term of 1896 and be it said to the credit of the county that no murder trial has since been held up to August, 1902, in the Neosho county court. Mr. Brown is a thorough and pains taking lawyer, devoted to his clients' interests, yet never forgetting that he owes a higher allegiance to the majesty of the law. It is the duty of the lawyer to aid the court in arriving at just and equitable conclusions and in this regard Mr. Brown conforms to the high standard of professional ethics. He never surrounds his case with a sentimental garb of unnecessary oratory, but seeks to present his cause in the strong, clear light of reason and common sense and is widely recognized as one of the. leading and popular attorneys of this portion of the state. In addition to the offices which he has filled in connection with his profession, he has served for one term on the school board. 0n the 22nd of December, 1887, Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Ella O. Heller, a native of Tuscarawas county, Ohio, and daughter of John and Kate Heller, also natives of that state. They now have two children. Shelby Gale and John Russell. Mrs. Brown is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Brown belongs to the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities and to the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is Past Chancellor of the second named and Master Workman of the local lodge of the last named organization. In politics he is an ardent Republican and comes of a family strong in the support of the principles of that party. As a citizen he is enterprising and progressive and as a lawyer has broad information, learning, and keen insight, which enables him to readily determine the strong points of a case, while his argumentative powers enable him to present clearly and effectively the point with which he wishes to impress the jury or court. He has won many victories for his clients and his ability as an attorney is widely acknowledged. . [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by VB]
Lawrence E. Coltrin
Lamp-lighter retires; still carries torch
Lawrence E. Coltrin, “the old lamp lighter”, has retired on pension after 38 years with the Illinois Central, the last seven years of which have been spent repairing, filling and keeping bright and shining the 118 switch lamps between McCord Street, and the south end of “E” Yard, a mile south of the roundhouse.
But while he has retired as a lamp-lighter for the Illinois Central, as pastor of the Shookville Pentecostal Church four miles due east of Centralia, he is still lighting the candles and piloting his flock along the stairway to heaven.
For 31 years, as pastor of various Pentecostal Churches in this community, he has been keeping the lights shining along the heavenly “Great White Way,” and if he lives to be a thousand years old, he will still be tending his lamps as conscientiously and as punctually as the one who hangs out the sun, moon and stars.
A Yen for the ministry seems to run in the family. His grandfather, Preston Coltrin, was a minister. At one time he was pastor of the Congregational Church at Sandoval. His uncle, George Coltrin, was a traveling evangelist in Texas who served for a time as chaplain of the senate in the Lone Star State.
Lawrence remembers his visit here once in a characteristic Texas outfit a ten-dollar, ten-gallon hat, a highly polished ornamental and expensive pair of boots and a dollar pair of trousers. The trousers and the rest of his outfit which were wrinkled and out of shape, received little attention but the hat and the boots had to be just so.
In 1944 Lawrence became pastor of the Pentecostal Church at Boyd, a charge he kept for several years. While there he felt the need of and promoted the idea for a new church, with the result that his pet project was completed a year or so ago.
Among the members of his congregation at Boyd was James Flowers of Walnut Hill, a car man for the Illinois Central here, who retired in 1947. The two families were good friends and every Sunday morning on their way to the church at Boyd the Coltrins would go by and pick up the Flowers family. When Lawrence transferred to the Shookville Pentecostal Church three or four years ago his good friend followed him they’re too. His is an elder in the church.
Lawrence was born and reared in Centralia. His father was a miner. At fifteen he was a clerk in Hallie Andrew’s grocery store which stood in South town about where the Laundromat is located now. He kept that job for three years, then changed to the Jones Concrete Co., where he made concrete blocks for eleven years.
He went to work for the Illinois Central as a section man here on May 23, 1918. He was promoted to section foreman in 1943 and worked at that job. He worked under several section foremen, among them Newt Cannon, Tom Dailey, Richard Johnson, Tobe Davis and John Kelley.
While for the most part he enjoyed his work he recalls many miserable nights he put in after an all day’s work, sweeping snow out of switches or making emergency repairs to track that had been torn up in a derailment, sometimes working in zero cold or a torrential down pour.
Lawrence has had a busy life. Maybe that is what has kept him young. He has been so busy he didn’t have time to grow old, and maybe his religion helped too. At any rate he doesn’t look his age. You could give him ten years and then never suspect that he had reached the railroad voluntary retirement age.
His recipe for staying young is work and lots of it, to be enthusiastic about everything you do, and to open up your heart to the vitalizing influences of religion. His experiences and appearance would seem to bear out his theory.
Thirty-eight years ago he was working for $2.88 a day on the section long days of hard, grueling work -- the hardest work on the railroad.
He bought five acres of land out on the Walnut Hill Road a quarter mile south of the Southern Railroad Crossing, not too far outside the city limits, which he refers to as a weed patch.
In his spare time he built a nice home on this land, doing practically all the work himself, with his own hands, and his own tools. The basement he excavated with a spade and wheel barrel.
For thirty-one years he has been preaching three nights a week, making sick and other calls, and doing all the other work incidental to being pastor of a church. So you can see why he hasn’t had time to grow old.
June 12th, 1913 he married Miss Alma Moseley. They have two children, William employed at the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, whose wife was Lorene Wimpy, daughter of Engineer and Mrs. Robert T. Wimpy and a daughter of engineer T. O. Heern. They have five grandchildren and one great grand-child. [Unknown source, though probably a newspaper -- Submitted By: Kiowana Hayes Ferguson]
Samuel Lewis Dwight
Samuel Lewis Dwight, judge of the fourth judicial circuit of Illinois, has gained an eminent position at the bar of Illinois, and in his present official capacity stands as the conservator of that right and justice which are the protection of human life and liberty. The legal profession demands a high order of ability, and the judiciary, it is unnecessary to say, requires not only ability but a rare combination of talent, learning, tact, patience and industry. The successful lawyer and the competent judge must be a man of well balanced intellect, thoroughly familiar with the law and practice, of comprehensive general information, possessing an analytical mind and a self-control that will enable him to lose his individuality, his personal feelings, his prejudices and the peculiarities of disposition in the dignity, impartiality and equity of the office to which right, property, life and liberty must look for protection. Judge Dwight has won high honors in his chosen calling and merit has been the ladder on which he has risen to fame.
A native of Mount Vernon, Illinois, he was born March 15, 1841, and is a son of Lewis Dwight, a native of Dudley, Massachusetts, who was educated in Yale College, and when a young man came to the west. Locating in Mount Vernon, he engaged in teaching and also labored as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. He married Miss Mahala P. Casey, daughter of Governor Z. Casey, one of the distinguished men of the state. The Judge was reared in the city of his birth and there attended both public and private schools. Later he pursued a one year's course of study in McKendree College, after which, on the advice of his uncle, Samuel K. Casey, he became a law student in the office of Tanner & Casey, of Mount Vernon. His studies, however, were interrupted by his service in defense of the Union. Loyal to his country, he responded to the call for aid, and enlisted as a private of Company I, Sixtieth Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry. Later he was promoted to the captaincy of that company, and for a time served as aid de camp on the staff of General Vandever. His service included the celebrated march to the sea under General Sherman, and with an honorable military record he returned home at the close of the war. In 1866 Judge Dwight left Mount Vernon and removed to Centralia, where he completed his legal studies and was licensed to practice law. He then entered into partnership with Colonel Lewis F. Casey, which connection was continued until the death of the Colonel a few years ago. Judge Dwight then continued in the practice alone until his elevation to the bench in June, 1897.
Careful analysis, close reasoning, logical deductions and clear, concise statements characterized his conduct of a suit. He realizes, as few men have done, the importance of his profession and the fact that justice and the higher attribute of mercy is often in his hands. His reputation as a lawyer has been won through earnest, honest labor, and his standing at the bar is a merited tribute to his ability. On the bench he is also demonstrating his power to handle with masterful skill the important and intricate questions which come before such a court, and by his fair and impartial course, based upon a sense of equity and guided by the soundest legal wisdom, he has won the confidence of the public and the highest respect of the bar.
On the 4th of September, 1872, Judge Dwight was married in Centralia, Illinois, to M. Irene Noleman, the eldest daughter of Captain R. D. Noleman, who up to the time of his death was very prominent as a Republican and in business affairs. The Judge and Mrs. Dwight are identified with the Methodist Episcopal church, and socially he is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of'Pythias fraternity. In politics he has always been a stalwart Democrat and was elected on that ticket to represent Alarion county in the twenty-seventh general assembly of Illinois. While on the bench he fully upholds the majesty of the law, and in private life he is a social, genial companion and a loyal friend. [Source: "The Bench and the Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent" By John McAuley Palmer - Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
The Hickses were among the first pioneer families in Jefferson County. Isaac Hicks, one of the first settlers, moved from the Ohio River in 1803. He married Rebecca Casey, a daughter of Isaac Casey, another of the first Jefferson County pioneers. Isaac Hicks and his family along with the Casey family moved to Jefferson County from the Ohio River area in the spring of 1817. Isaac and his family settled in what is now McClellan Township. Descendants from this early pioneer family remained in the area of McClellan, Blissville and Shiloh Township during the early history of the county.
When the villiage of Williamsburg was founded in 1867 in Blissville Township near the present site of Waltonville. David J. Hicks built the first residence and two of his sons opened businesses there. In the 1880's and 90's one of the sons, Isaac drove a "peddlers" wagon out of Williamsburg trading needed household and farm items to farmers throughout the general area for products such as poultry, eggs, cream, meat, etc. These products were returned to Williamsburg for sale there. Isaac and his two sons, Artie and Samuel, opened a general store at Dareville in Elk Prairie Township in 1900. When the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad was built, Isaac and his sons moved their families in 1910 to the new villiage of Bonnie on the railroad line. A large general store was opened here to serve this developing part of the county. Artie had four sons and one daughter: Lester, Kathryn, Bill, Harold and Orloff. All are still living except Lester.
Isaac Hicks was first married to Mary Alpha Gilbert, who died in 1882. He later married Dora Hicks, the wife (s/b "daughter" not wife??) of David J. Hicks and Elizabeth Finch. The father of Mary A. Gilbert was Waldo Gilbert of Washington County, Ohio, who came to Jefferson County in 1839. He married Helen Hayes. The parents of Waldo Gilbert were Eli Gilbert, born in Washington, Vermont, in 1788, and died in Jefferson County, Illinois, 1875, and Susanna Gale, born in Newburg Port, New Hampshire, in 1791, and died in Jefferson County, Illinois, in 1865.--------- Patsy Hicks Lipps
[Source: "Facts & Folks, Jefferson Co, IL" © 1978, page 198 - Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
George W. Jenkins
GEORGE W. JENKINS, of Lafayette township, Gratiot county, is a well known and most highly esteemed farmer citizen of that section. He was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, June 10, 1858, son of James E. and Hannah (Gates) Jenkins, natives of New York, who had two children, George W,. being the eldejst. Up to his eighth year he was reared by his grandmother, Ann Jenkins, in St. Joseph county, Michigan, and in that year located in Clinton county, Michigan, living with his father and stepmother until he was thirteen years old. He then went to Roscommon county, Michigan, where he lived until he reached his majority, at that time locating in Gratiot county, purchasing forty acres of farm land in Lafayette township, where he has since resided. He has always followed farming, and now owns sixty acres, forty of which are under cultivation.
Mr. Jenkins was married in North Star township, September 3, 1882, to Miss Jennie A. Marshall, who was born in Geauga county, Ohio, a daughter of Nathan N. and Hannah H. (Turner) Marshall. To Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins two children have been born: Charlotte, who died in Lafayette township in her fourteenth year; and Neil. Mr. Jenkins has taken a great degree of interest in all township affairs; he is a Democrat in political faith. [Source: "Biographical Memoirs of Gratiot County, Michigan... - Page 159 by J. H. Beers & Co - Gratiot County (Mich.) Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
Like the Caseys and Maxeys, the Johnsons one and all have been prominent from the earliest settlement of the county. Benjamin Johnson, the ancestor of our Jefferson county Johnsons, was a Marylander. John, a son of his, was the father of our pioneers. Lewis, the son of this John Johnson, was among our very first settlers. He had nine children Milly, Anna, Lucy, married L. Foster and they lost their house by fire and their infant son was cremated; James E. Johnson was the eldest son of Lewis. He was quite a preacher and improved the farm where John T. Johnson raised his family. John T., the next oldest brother of James, was licensed to preach when but twenty years old. He joined the conference and took regular work. Nicholas lived in Grand Prairie and died there. Elizabeth married G. B. Afflack, of Richview. Nancy married James Barnes, of Richview. Susan married A. Witherspoon, and went to Kentucky. James Johnson, second son of John, married Clarissa Maxey in Tennessee, and came here in 1818. His eldest son, John, married Sarah Hobbs and they were the parents of our present Dr. A. Curt, James D. and John N. Johnson, Mrs. Henry T. Waters and Mrs. David H. Summers. He was an enterprising man, a physician, but chose rather to do other business. He merchandised and built several houses in Mount Vernon, among them the Johnson House, the big brick near the Methodist Episcopal church, in 1854. He died, much missed and lamented, in 1858.
John, the youngest brother of Lewis and James, came later, in 1834, and located in Mount Vernon. He died here in 1858. His children were Doctor T. B., who died in Kentucky in 1870; the wife of Blackford Casey; J. Fletcher; Washington; G. Wesley, J. Benson, a girl and boy who died in childhood, and Adam Clark, the faithful historian of the pioneers of Jefferson county. John Johnson, "Uncle Jacky," as we knew him in our boyhood days, was born in Virginia, in 1783 born in poverty and left an orphan. By the help of a slave he learned the alphabet, and after he was converted in his teens, he could not read intelligently. But by the light of pine knots he studied the Bible at night, after hard days' work, and on Sunday, at some cabin on the hillside he would proclaim the Gospel with a pathos and power that always carried the hearts of his rustic hearers by storm. He had a voice of unusual power and could he beard two miles away. His discourses were brief, but always plain, practical and convincing. Yet with all his rugged vigor his heart was as tender as a woman's, with a sympathy that extended even to the insect at his feet. He was to all intents and purposes, a pioneer preacher of the Cartwright order, except that he had none of the great preacher's belligerency. He traveled the country from Ohio to Natchez, in Mississippi, and preached at every opportunity. His allotted work led him through much uninhabited country, among Indians, wild animals and equally wild men, but always trusting in the Lord. He was certainly a great preacher and a very remarkable man. Over sixty years ago we heard him preach from the text "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" and we have never forgotten the text, the sermon, nor the man. His widow died here in 1895, and his sons are all gone, except Washington S. The descendants of J. Fletcher and G. Wesley are still in our midst. and rank among our very best people. His death was peaceful, and triumphant. Many of his descendants are valued citizens of Mount Vernon.
"So fades a summer cloud away,
So sinks the gale when storms are over;
So gently shuts the eye of day.
So dies a wave along the shore."
[Source: History of Jefferson County, IL, By: John A. Wall ©1909, page 83-85 - Sub. by Cindy Ford]
Edwin Lee Johnson
JOHNSON, Edwin Lee, educator; born Mount Vernon, Ill., October 25, 1874; English-Irish descent; son of Adam Clarke and Margaret Ann (Sweeney) Johnson; father’s occupation real estate dealer and abstractor; paternal grandparents John and Susannah (Brooks) Johnson; maternal grandparents John and Ellen (Golden) Sweeney; educated Oxford, Miss. High School and University of Mississippi and Vanderbilt University, Nashville; graduated University of Mississippi A.B. 1894; graduated Vanderbilt University A.M. 1900; Ph.D. degree conferred upon him by Vanderbilt 1910; taught Latin and Greek, Quitman College, Ark., 1896-98; Instructor in Alexander Institute, Jacksonville, Tex., 1902-04 and 1905-09; delegate from Texas to World’s Sunday School Convention, Rome, Italy, 1907, on which occasion he traveled in Palestine and Egypt; Fellow and Assistant in Greek Vanderbilt University since 1909; Democrat; member M.E. Church, South. [Source: Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler]
James B. Lemmon
submitted by his grand daughter, Mrs. Vanetta Walker Rosenberger
James Barnes Lemmon, born Norwich, Norfolk County England, November 16, 1836. The 7th of 11 children born to James and Charlotte Barnes Lemmon.
The father James was a printer and the son James learned the trade at an early age. At the age of 14 he enlisted in the British Navy and served five years. He fought in The Crimean War between Russia and England and was engaged in the Battle of Sebastopol.
After his discharge he emigrated to America. His first work in America was in the New York Tribune office under Horace Greeley. He later went to New Haven, Connecticutt where he again worked in a printing office, but returned to New York where he remained until 1857. He then went to Butler county Pennsylvania where he worked on a farm for two years. He then came west and did farm work in Randolph county, Illinois until October 16, 1860 when he enlisted in Company K 49th Illinois Infantry and was mustered into service at Camp Butler.
He fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, The Red River Expedition and Pittsburg Landing. He was wounded at Shiloh when an ounce ball passed through his shoulder. He was mustered out of service in January 1865 with the rank of First Lieutenant given him for his valliant service at Shiloh. He came to Jefferson County after his discharge and engaged in farming in the Knob Prairie area. On January 16, 1866 he was married to Miss Josephine Place daughter of Sidney and Rhoda Dufer Place.
Five children were born to them: Florence Mae who died at age 21. Rhoda who died at five years. Charles S. who married Laura Newell, daughter of George and Sarah Gilbert Newell. Lola who married James Benthal, son of William Benthal, and Emma Harriett who married John F. Walker, son of Ben F. and Catharine McConnaughey Walker.
Mr. Lemmon took his family to Nebraska where they joined Isaac Place a brother of Mrs. Lemmon and took up homestead near Grand Island. The wife and mother died there in 1883 and two years later the family returned to Jefferson County Illinois and built a home in Bald Hill Township where he served as Clerk, Justice of the Peace and Supervisor. He also served as Postmaster when the Office known as Reform was located in his home, and as commander of Stephen Place Post 581 of G. A. R. a lodge named for the brother of Mrs. Lemmon, Stephen Place, who died at Andersonville Prison during the Civil War.
James Barnes Lemmon died October 11, 1911, at the home of his son Charles, and is buried at Davenport Cemetery.
Editors note: Davenport Cemetery is about ¾ mile northeast of Knob Prairie Cemetery. A quarter mile north of the old Roy Gilbert Place.
"The Prairie Historian"
March 1974 Volume 4 Number 1
Transcribed By: Abby Newell
J. L. Maxfield
J.L. MAXFIELD, a veteran conductor on the Central at Centralia, was born at Rome, now Dix, in Jefferson county, Illinois, June 7, 1853, the eldest of a family of twelve children all of whom are living.
Mr. Maxfield began railroading at the age of twenty at the bottom of the ladder. For a few days he worked on the section in the Centralia yards under Chris. Davis, and was then set to work shoveling coal onto the engines in the yards at what was to him then good wages, a dollar and a quarter a day. When he was promoted to brakeman by trainmaster J. W. Seymour, on the run between Centralia and Cairo, at a dollar and seventy-three cents a day, he thought he was drawing munificent wages. After three years twisting brakes, Mr. Maxfield was surprised one evening to be ordered to Ullin to take charge of a wrecking train and clear up a wreck. From that time on he was in charge of a train having his monthly wages increased from sixty-six the first to seventy-five dollars the third year. After about four years in the freight service between Centralia and Cairo he resigned February 9, 1881 and did not re-enter the service until August 27, 1886, when he was given a run between Centralia and Champaign and has been regularly in that service since, excepting some ninety days when there was sickness in his family. During all his service he has not suffered a suspension nor received a demerit mark, and the two wrecks in which he has been involved have been chargeable to others and not to him.
Mr. Maxfield was married to Miss Hattie Morrison. Her mother was born in Gilford county, North Carolina. Her brother, James K. Morrison, was for many years an employe of the Central, and has been engaged the past seven years as passenger conductor in the service of the Minneapolis & St. Louis line below St. Paul. Mr. Maxfield's parents, John and Charlotte Maxfield, now reside at Farina, Illinois.- To Mr. and Mrs. Maxfield ten children have been born, of whom Charles E., the eldest, is now braking on the Champaign division of the Central; Caryol, now Mrs. Maddox ; Ida B., James L., C. Harold, Clinton C., Earnest R., George W., Marion M., and Raymond. [Source: "History of the Illinois Central Railroad Company and Representative" by William K. Ackerman, Page 316 - Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
Joshua Roberson born in Georgia March 8, 1797, came to Tennessee when a young man, married Margaret Caldwell and came to Jefferson County, Illinois. Died February 27, 1849 after a short illness. His sons were Edward C. who married Nancy McWright, went to Missouri then to Kansas. Henry L. who married Mary A. C. Watson, and settled in Elk Prairie. John J. who married Susan Hodge, lived in Moore's Prairie then in Frizzells Prairie. Elbert, who also married a Hodge, Jane, lived several years in Elk Prairie and at last moved to Frizzells Prairie, and Jasper who served all through the war, married Jane Bundy in 1866 and located in Elk Prairie. Of Joshua Roberson's daughters Elizabeth A. married John Cockram, but lived only a few years. Lucinda married William Abney in 1846. He died in 1858, then she married Sam Parks. Delilah married Ben Pickett and moved to Kentucky. Slatha married George W. Henderson of Elk Prairie who was drafted and died during the War. Edward Roberson, brother of Joshua didn't remain here but went to northern Missouri.
The Prairie Historian
March 1973 Volume 3 Number 1
Submitted By: Abby Newell
In January 1891, Francis Ryder and his son Frank Wilson Ryder of Michigan came to Jefferson County and purchased 140 acres of farm and timber land in McClellan Township just north of the junction of Big Muddy River and Rayse Creek. Father and son farmed the land, cut some of the timber and built a house, then Mrs. Ryder arrived from Michigan.
The Ryder men continued to farm and operate a sawmill selling some of the lumber and using some to build a larger house with a store building that housed a General Store, a U. S. Post Office and a Photography Studio. And 3 or 4 other houses.
Mrs. Louisa Ryder Modert and young son Alson Wilson Modert, (Dr. A. W. Modert of Mt. Vernon) came from Michigan to visit her parents. Mrs. Modert liked the area so much she persuaded her husband, Peter Manville Modert to sell their possessions in Michigan and come to "Ryder" to live near her parents. The Modert family lived in the Marco Community a few years where two sons were born, Orley G. Modert, of Mt. Vernon, Illinois)and Peter who lived less than a year. Then they moved into one of the houses at "Ryder" where a daughter Violet, (Mrs. John Lloyd Davis, Mt. Vernon) was born.
In 1897 or 1898 young lady (from Dix, Illinois) Miss Mattie Brown, came to the community to teach school. She met Frank Ryder and they were married in December 1898. They too made their home in "Ryder" and helped with the business operations, the general store, post office, and photography studio, and saw-mill.
Two children were born to Mr. & Mrs. Frank W. Ryder, Annie Ferne (Mrs. Mitchel Rachels of E. St., Louis, IL) and Harl Edgar Ryder (of Mt. Vernon, IL).
Shortly after 1900, Mr. & Mrs. Francis Ryder moved back to Michigan.
The P. M. Moderts moved to Mt. Vernon, to build houses, and Frank continues to operate the sawmill selling lumber and building houses in Mt. Vernon, Dix, and Centralia.
About 1908 the Frank Ryder family moved from Ryder to Mt. Vernon and went into the grocery business.
In 1910 the Frank Bean family moved into the big house and farmed the land until 1932, when they bought their own farm.
Wayman Brown and family rented and lived on the farm until they built their own home. Bud Brown still farms the land for the Ryder family.
All the old houses and barns have been demolished. A few acres have been sold to Rend Lake for a Wild Life Preserve. The rest of the land is still being farmed.
The Prairie Historian
December 1972 Volume 2 Number 4
Submitted by Pearl Ryder, Transcribed by Abby Newell
John A. Wall
Our Jefferson county historian, born in poverty, 1836, in Saline county, Illinois, was early bereft of parents and brought to Mount Vernon at the age of five years and "bound out" to Eli Anderson, and his old maid sisters, who kept the old Mount Vernon Inn. As usual with children of this kind, he had task-masters and was "bossed to the limit." Having been familiar with slave help the family in which he spent his early life made him feel the sting of servitude and it is no wonder that as he grew to manhood he hated slavery with a holy hatred. By the articles binding him until he was twenty-one he was to have recieved a good education and a horse, saddle, and bridle, but Anderson, the party of the first part having died and the good education not being forthcoming, at the age of seventeen, he feeling that the horse and saddle and bridle would be like the education, he quit the job and went to work on the Illinois Central Railroad, which was then being built; afterwards working in a blacksmith shop, and then helped Uncle Johnny Bogan in the Jeffersonian office. He "rolled" for the first paper printed in Mt. Vernon in August 1851. His printing office education was much like his schooling, a day in a day out, but still he recieved more education in the office than he did at school. In five years in connection with others he has taken charge of the office, and for thirty years thereafter was connected editrially and printatorially with many papers in Southern Illinois, having edited papers at Salem, Pinckneyville, Marion, Carbondale, Cairo, Coulterville, Benton, Mount Vernon, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
In August, 1861, he dropped the pencil and stick and went to the front to help save the Union and the flag. He was in three days' battle oat Pea Ridge, at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, and was in a bayonet charge, was severely wounded in the battle of Stone River, and taken prisoner and suffered in Libby and other prisons for some months, before being exchanged. He came home in 1863, and started the "Unconditional Unionists" with which to fight rebels while he was unable to use implements of warfare.
In 1889 Mr. Wall was made postmaster at Mount Vernon and served nearly five years with satisfaction to the people and credit to himself. After that he served as assistant postmaster for nearly nine years, making his service in the post office fourteen years. He served the Republican party in two terms of the Legislature as doorkeeper of the house, and sergeant-at-arms of the Senate. He served one term as assessor of Mount Vernon township and did the entire work himself. He was often placed on the party ticket to "fill up" and always reduced the opposition of the majority. He is now nearly seventy-three years old, and is rounding out his life by writing the History of Jefferson County and awaiting his final discharge.
In 1859 he was married to Miss Milly F. Watson and they lived happily together until 1905, when she departed for the better land, leaving him to follow. Their children are Angus, deceased, Al J., foreman of the Republican office at Kankakee; Emma, widow; and Bessie, at home, and his grandchildren are as follows: Ethel and Walter, children of Angus, deceased; Lola, Leland, Dorris and Donald, children of Al J. at Kankakee; and Mildred, daughter of Emma at home.
Mr. Wall is a Methodist in his religious affiliation, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and an Ancient Odd Fellow.
Mr Wall has always considered himself in the servant class if by effort, he could be helpful to others. When he was a "bound" boy he felt that he was a servant; so, when he helped to saw wood and help make ties for the railroad; so when he became a disciple of Faust; sp, when he took the obligation to love and cherish the bride of his choice; so, when he volunteered to fight for his country and defend its flag; so, when he returned from his military successes and took up the peaceful duties of citizenship; so, when he took upon himself the obligations of a Christian soldier, and so, when he undertook to compose this Jefferson County History. Labor is part of his religion. His opinion of the man who will not work is expressed in the following lines:
The man who don't toil and spin
To meet his earthly need,
May think he's in the lily class;
But he's just a measly weed.
[Source: "History of Jefferson County" By: John A. Wall ©1909 - Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
Dr. John Watson came to Jefferson county in 1821, "squatting" for the winter at Mulberry Hill until next spring. John H. and Asa B. built a large crib on their claim north of town (the old Watson place), and they moved to it. In this they lived until the hickory log house was built. They tended a crop near Union the first year, but had their own place ready for business by the next season. The head of the family was a physician the first to locate in the county. His quinine cost him ten dollars and fifty cents an ounce, and he sent east for an ounce of veratrum, and it cost him forty dollars, which showed that there were "trusts" in those days as well as now, but they would not trust the country doctor for medicines. The people in those days were quite healthy and never thought of having the new fangled diseases that prevail in this enlightened age. The doctor found time to assess the entire county, and still keep up his practice, for which service he received seventeen dollars about enough to buy an ounce of quinine. The dressed fawn skin in which he carried his Assessor's books is still in the Clerk's office. He left the farm work entirely to the boys, while he attended to his professional and official duties. The wife died March 3d, and the doctor died June 3, 1845, beloved and respected by all who knew them. Their children were: Virginia, who married John Summers, whose mill and home east of town was always considered the most hospitable place in all the country; John H., who married Betsy Rankin, and their children were: John R., who married and died in Iowa; William D., who at an advanced age, resides in Colorado, and has raised a large family; Thomas P.. who recently died without offspring; Milly F., beloved wife of the writer; Samuel H., long prominent in the politics of Jefferson county, now residing in Los Angeles, California; Joel P., postmaster at Ashley; Dr. J. H., practicing physician at Woodlawn; Amelia, deceased, wife of B. S. Miller, and Nancy, who died in youth. Then came William B., who married the Leonard girl and who resided in St. Louis. Then Asa B., who married Diana Ham, and their children were: Andrew J., Thomas J., Mrs. Lydia Collins, Mrs. Carrie Pavey, Mrs. Lew Tolle, Mrs. Hal Goodwin and Mrs. R. House. Then came Joel F., for many years County Clerk, and who married Elder Taylor's daughter, and they were the parents of Doctor Walter, Attorney Albert and Howard Watson. The latter lived in St. Louis, and died but recently. Joel's second wife is still living a noble, Christian woman, who was Tom Pace's widow. The youngest was Harry M., who married a Cummins, and left two daughters, both now living in the far West. [Source: "History of Jefferson County" By: John A. Wall ©1909, pg 85-87 - Submitted By: Cindy Ford]
Located in Elk Prairie Township, Jefferson County, Illinois was born near present residence in October 5, 1843, son of William and Lucy Farthing Wells, the former was born in Giles County, Tennessee. The father came to Elk Prairie in an early day and engaged in farming. He died in 1888. The mother was born near Licking, Ky and died in 1890. For a short time Harvey was a student in the pioneer school house held in a log cabin with puncheon floors. Small trees split open were used for seats and supported by wooden pins. A plank on the side of the wall was used for a writing desk. When he was 19 he began teaching in the county, for 6 years. Then took a course at Carbondale, in 1871. He married Miss Margaret Cutherie (daughter of Elisha and Rebecca Gutherie). They were parents of 2 children, both dying in infancy. Mother died in 1875. Mr. Wells later married Mrs. Lorenda (Farthing) Puckett, daughter of Wm. & Lyda (Mendenhall) Farthing. Two children survived from this marriage, viz: Pearl and Gay.
The Prairie Historian
March 1973 Volume 3 Number 1
Submitted By: Abby Newell
B.F. WHISSENHUNT, farmer, PO Spring Garden, was born in Middle Tennessee May 21, 1830; is the son of Uriah & Dorcas (Roach) Whissenhunt, natives of that State; The Grandparents, however came from Pennsylvania. Our Subject was the only child. When about one year old, his parents came to Marion Co.,IL, where they remained about 12 years. In that county our subject attended his first school. In 1843, the family came to Jefferson County and settled on the farm where our subject now lives, where the mother died in 1859, the father in 1860. In this county our subject had but little chance to attend the subscription schools, and consequently his education is very limited. His life for upward of twenty years was spent at home with his father, and then commenced life for himself on a piece of Congress land which his father entered for him. That has since been increased until he now owns about 160 acres in Sections 2 and 3 of Town 4 Range 3 East. Mr. Whissenhunt was married April 3, 1850 to Susan Book, a native of this county, and a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (SHELTON) Book. The father was a native of Virginia, the mother of North Carolina. This marriage resulted in nine children, and of that number two are living-- Ellen Catherine, Wife of George Harveil, and George Washington. Is a member of Moore's Prairie Baptist Church. In Politics, he is a Democrat.
[Source: History of Jefferson Co,IL; 1883, Part IV Biographical Sketches, Spring Garden Township, Page 111 - Submitted By: Lonnie Fink * LonFink@insightbb.com]
Three generations of the family of this name have taken part in the development of Illinois. The founder, Rev. S.M. WILLIAMS, a pioneer missionary Baptist minister, was born in North Carolina,, January 28, 1792, and located in Franklin county, Illinois, in 1837, dying there in 1875. He married Frances SHAW, also a native of North Carolina, who died at Franklin county homestead in 1874. This pioneer couple had fourteen children. Next to the youngest of these was Stephen L. WILLIAMS, whose birth occurred in Franklin county, Illinois, November 13, 1839. He remained at home until he reached his twenty-fourth year, when he started out to make his own living as a farm hand. He remained in Franklin county until 1865, when he went to Cincinnati and entered as a student in the Physio-Medical College and, after finishing the course, returned to his native county to begin the practice of medicine. Soon afterward he located at Spring Garden, in Jefferson county, which has been his home ever since. In 1877 he graduated from the St. Louis American Medical College. January 22, 1869, Doctor WILLIAMS was married to Margaret J., daughter of James M. and Nancy (FELTS) ARNOLD, of Robertson county, Tennessee. After an active practice of many years, Doctor WILLIAMS is now living in peaceful retirement at Spring Garden. His wife was a native of Tennessee and came to this county when fourteen years old. Doctor and Mrs. WILLIAMS had four children: Hugh, deputy Sheriff of Jefferson county; Viola May died in infancy; Curtis and Alsa, who is an optician in business in Jefferson county.
Curtis WILLIAMS, the third child, was born at Spring Garden, Jefferson county, Illinois, July 21, 1873. After the usual term in the district schools, he entered Ewing College in Franklin county, when seventeen years and remained there during four school years, graduating in 1905 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He taught school for seven years, during and subsequent to his college career, his educational work being mostly done in Jefferson county. He was a teacher in the Mount Vernon high school one year, at Woodlawn for three years and Opdyke one year. In the fall of 1901 he entered the University of Missouri at Columbia and was graduated in the class of 1904 with the degree of bachelor of Laws. The next year he located at Mount Vernon, having been admitted to practice law by the Illinois Supreme Court, December 12, 1904. He has since been steadily engaged in prosecuting his profession, his office being in rooms 1-2-3 of the Rockaway and Emmerson building. He is attorney for the Fidelity & Casualty Company, of New York, and has other prominent clients, including the Home Insurance Company of New York.
June 11, 1907, Mr. WILLIAMS was married to Miss Maude L., daughter of Alvin and Anna (WATKINS) GILBERT, a farmer and stock raiser, of Waltonville. One child, Alvin Lacey, was born March 13, 1908. Mr. WILLIAMS has served as deputy and grand chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. He is also a member of the Masonic order and is prominent and popular both in fraternal and social circles. He is a member of the Republican County Central Committee and takes an active interest in politics.
[Source: WALL'S HISTORY OF JEFFERSON CO., ILL., pgs. 545-7; Pub. 1909 by B.F. Bowen & Co. - Sub. by Cindy Ford]
John R. Thomas, of Metropolis, was born at Mount Vernon, Jefferson County, Illinois, October 11, 1846; received a common-school education ; served in the Union Army during the war of the rebellion ; rose from the rank of private to that of Captain of Infantry ; studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1869 ; was elected and served as State's Attorney from
1872 to 1876; was elected to the Forty- sixth Congress, and was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress as a Republican, receiving 16,873 votes against 15,146 votes for William Hartzell, Democrat, and 1,000 votes for A. B. Roberson, Greenback candidate. Re-elected.
EIGHTEENTH DISTRICT COUNTIES — Alexander, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Union,
[*Source: Official Congressional Directory By United States Congress]
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