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Preston Webber McFATRIDGE, a successful farmer of Bloomfleld Township, was born on the farm upon which he now lives October 12, 1825. His father, John McFatridge, was born in Tennessee, and his father, William McFatridge, was born in Ireland, but was of Scotch ancestry. He was reared and married in his native land and came to the United States soon after his marriage, locating in Tennessee, and residing there until about 1810. He then came to the Territory of Illinois, and was one of the first settlers of Johnson County, where he located in what is now Simpson Township and secured a tract of Government land on Mack's Creek.  Here he built a house, cleared a farm and lived many years. He then sold out and moved to Pulaski County, and bought land on the bank of the Ohio River, upon which he spent the rest of his life.  In religion he was a Baptist, in politics he was a Democrat, and he served one term as a Representative in the Territorial Legislature.

The father of our subject was ten years old when he was brought to Illinois, and hero he was reared and married. He entered from the Government the land which is now included in the farm owned by the subject of this sketch and upon which he erected a rude log house or cabin, in which our subject was born. All the lumber in this cabin was sawed by hand, even to the boards which covered the roof, but later he was enabled to erect a more substantial house, which is still standing, and in which he resided until his death, which occurred in 1863. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Margaret Bain; she was born in North Carolina and was the daughter of John and Martha (Brooks) Bain. She still lives on the old homestead farm, aged eighty-six years, with her son, the subject of this sketch.

Preston Webber McFatridge attended the pioneer schools that were common in his boyhood days. In these schoolhouses there was not to be seen such furniture nor such conveniences as are now common everywhere in this broad land. For desks there were then pins driven into holes in the logs at the sides of the rooms, upon which rested a split log, the smooth side up, for the larger scholars to write upon. The seats were made of similar material, split logs with pins for legs, and the floors were also made of split logs, the only difference in the logs being that those split for floors were of larger size. This was the famous puncheon floor, of which we now read or of which we hear, and there was no chimney in this primitive schoolhouse, there being logs cut out at one end and stones put in their place for a fireplace, a hole being cut in the roof for an exit or escape for the smoke. At that time the people lived off the products of their land. Mr. McFatridge's father kept sheep and raised cotton, and his mother used to card, spin and weave the cloth out of which the clothing for her family was made. Wild game was plentiful, such as deer, wild turkeys, bears and panthers, all of which roamed the woods at will. With the exception of a few weeks he has spent his whole life on the farm upon which he now lives.

Our subject was married October 1, 1846, to Nicinda S. McCorkle, who was born in Vienna Township, Johnson County, and was the daughter of Joseph and Mary McCorkle, To this marriage of Mr. McFatridge there have been born eight children, viz: John H., Margaret, Joseph, Monterey, Kate, Grant, Norman and Robert. Mr. McFatridge and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics he is a members of the Prohibition party. They are well known and highly esteemed by their neighbors and friends.






transcribed by Nan Starjak

Source:
The Biographical Review of  Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties
Chicago
Biographical Publishing Co., 1893
pp. 380-383

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