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Overton STANLEY was born in Middle Tennessee, February 10, 1828, and now lives in Goreville Township, Johnson County. His father, Mark Stanley, born in North Carolina in 1783, was a son of William Stanley, who was a farmer of North Carolina, and moved first to Tennessee, and thence to Kentucky, where he died on his own farm in 1823, at a ripe old age. He was married twice, and by his two wives had three sons, of whom Mark was the first-born by the second wife. Mark Stanley married Polly Underwood,of White County, Ill., who was a daughter of James Underwood, and came to Illinois with her parents about 1813.

After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Stanley immediately returned to Tennessee, where the former carried on farming on his own farm, and afterward removed to Kentucky, where he lived about two years and then came to Illinois, locating in Williamson County in the spring of 1837. He brought with him his wife and ten children, moving with two yoke of oxen and two wagons, and consuming about two weeks en route from Hopkins County, Ky. Having but little means, he located on Government land, paying a settler for his claim. He made that place his home for life, at his death owning one hundred and sixty acres. His first abode on this farm was a rude house of hewed logs, and in that house he died in 1862, during the siege of Vicksburg. His son Charles was killed in that siege, aged twenty-three, and left a wife and
one son, Zack Stanley. The wife of Mark Stanley had died in 1855, aged sixty-five years. She had had ten children, six sons and four daughters, ofwhom Overton was the seventh child and third son in order of birth. There are but three now living, namely: Polly, wife of Joseph Burpo, a farmer of Williamson County, Ill.; Mark, of the same place, who served in the Thirty-first Illinois Infantry, serving three years, most of the time in the ranks, and is now a well-to-do farmer; and Overton, our subject,

Mr. Stanley, of this sketch, was brought up a farmer's boy, and remained at home until his marriage, January 23, 1851, to Ellen J. Bernard, of Kentucky, and daughter of the Rev. Alexander Nelson Hiram and Dicey A. (Allen) Bernard, both natives of Kentucky. They came to Illinois in 1849, and some five years later removed to Missouri, where they died in 1876, within six weeks of each other. She was sixty-three and he sixty-five years old. They had four sons and five daughters, of whom Mrs. Stanley was the first-born, and is now believed to be the only survivor. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley began married life on their present farm, buying fifty acres, for which they paid $5 per acre, and from time to time added to it until the estate now aggregates two hundred and seventy acres in the home farm. He owns in all in the State of Illinois eight hundred acres of land, four different farms. He started in life without cash capital, beginning in a log house, in which lie lived until November, 1892, when he moved into his present fine frame one and a-half story house, containing eight rooms. He has also fine outbuildings. His farm is a very productive one, and upon it he carries on mixed farming, growing mostly wheat and hay. He also raises and deals in stock to a considerable extent. Of late years, however, he is not leading such an active life as in the past. Mr. Stanley's home is on an eminence, commanding a view of a beautiful landscape. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley have lost one son and one daughter: James Monroe, who died in his twelfth year, and Elizabeth C., who passed away at the youthful age of twenty-two years. They have living three children, namely: Hiram H., a prominent farmer of Williamson County, who has a wife, four sons and two daughters; Ida M., wife of O. P. Brown, of the same county, who has one son; and A. D., a young man of twenty years, at home on the farm when not in school. He has attended school at Danville, Ind., four terms. Mr. Stanley is a Republican in politics, but is not a member of any order or church, thinking the common brotherhood of man is narrow enough for him, though he respects all honest opinions.

transcribed by Nan Starjak

Source:
The Biographical Review of  Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties
Chicago
Biographical Publishing Co., 1893
pp. 306 - 307

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