William T. Modglin

  William was born in what is now Grantsburg Township, Johnson County, October 3, 1833, and is now (1893) a resident of Metropolis, Massac County.
     His father, Benton Modglin, was born in Wilson County, Tennessee and was reared there and married. He immigrated to Illinois and was one of the pioneer settlers of Johnson County, where he secured a tract of Government land in what is now Grantsburg Township, cleared his farm and made a home there until his death, about 1851. The maiden name of his wife was Martha Haley. She was born in Tennessee and died a short time before her husband, having been the mother of 7 children, namely: Pleasant H., Nancy, Martha, Joe, William, Benton and James F.
     William T. Modglin attended the pioneer schools of Johnson County. They were taught in the primitive log house, with earth and stick chimney, a part of a log being taken out on one side for a window, and the seats made of split logs and wooden pins inserted for legs, with no backs behind and no desks in front. The country was then, of course, but little improved, there was no railroad for years, and the people lived exclusively off the products of their farms and the wild game that was abundant in the woods.
     The mother of William T. was accustomed to carding, spinning and weaving, in that way dressing her children in homespun cloth and in clothes which were made by her own hand.
     After the death of William’s parents, he went to live with an elder brother in Pope County and remained there one year. He then engaged in farming with his brother-in-law one year, and in his twentieth year married, after which he bought a land warrant of a Mexican soldier for eighty acres and secured the land in the Grantsburg Township. There was a log cabin on the place, to which he took his bride and in which they began housekeeping. The land was heavily timbered and he commenced at once to clear up his farm, on which he lived one and a half years, and then traded his 80 acre farm for one hundred and twenty acres in the same precinct, and lived there until 1879. In the meantime he bought other land, and at one time he owned 800 acres all in one body. About 1879, his health being very poor, he removed to Allen’s Springs, Pope County , and bought a farm of 129 acres, remaining there until 1891, and then removed to Metropolis, where he has since retired from active business.
     April 16, 1853, William married Rachel E. Simmons, who was born at Cape Girardeau, Mo., February 8, 1834, and who was the daughter of Lewis Simmons, of Wayne County, Tenn., his father, Thomas Simmons, being one of the pioneer settlers in Pope County, having removed from Tennessee. He lived the rest of his life in that county and died there.
     The father of Mrs. Modglin, Lewis Simmons went to Missouri when a young man, married in that state, and came from there to Illinois about 1836. He was a pioneer in Johnson County, secured Government land in what is now Simpson Township, improved a farm and lived there many years. He then removed to Grantsburg Township and here resided until his death. The parents of Mrs. Modglin reared four children, namely: Sarah, Irving, Hezekiah and Rachel. [The children listed are inaccurate. I have a copy of Lewis Simmons Estate listing Elizabeth Modglin and her brothers and sisters. Her sister, Catherine was my father’s maternal Grandmother.]
Our subject , William T. Modglin and his worthy wife have four children, namely Nancy J., wife of W. J. Miller, who has seven children; Sarah C., wife of A. D. Howell; Fanny B., wife of William B. Bivens, who has one child; and Ida M., wife of Leonard Whitesides, who has one child. The parents of these children are members of the United Baptist Church, and Mr. Modglin is a Republican in politics. He served three years in the late war, in Company A, One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois Infantry, and was captured and confined in Andersonville, where he remained ten months, and was so starved that he was not able to stand alone when liberated. But those privations did not quench the patriotic fire that burned in his bosom, and we feel safe in saying that he would fight for his country again if necessary.

Copied from The Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties, Illinois Chicago Biographical Publishing Co. 1893

contributed by Faye Bowman


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