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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



LAFAYETTE ARCHER, Deputy Sheriff of McLean County, is a native of Genesee County, N. Y., and was born June 13, 1832. His father, David Archer, was also a native of the Empire State, and his grandfather, Basil Archer, also born in New York, served as a soldier in the War of 1812, and was held as a prisoner by the British for some time. After peace had been declared he engaged in farming pursuits and passed the remainder of his days in the State where he was born.

His son David, the father of our subject, was reared upon a farm and remained in New York State until 1834. He then came to Illinois, and locating in Bureau County operated a sawmill there until the following spring, when he returned to New York for his family. He proceeded with them to the headwaters of the Alleghany River and they went on a raft to Pittsburgh, and from there via the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, reached Hennepin, where they took a private conveyance into Bureau County.

Mr. Archer proceeded with his mill operations a few years, then purchased a tract of wild land and commenced the improvement of a farm. The principal market for grain and pork at that time was Chicago, 110 miles distant, and it usually took seven days to make the trip. Upon these journeys the pioneers carried their provisions, camping and cooking by the wayside.

David Archer was a man of resolution and courage, overcame all the difficulties which he encountered, and lived to see the county developed into prosperous farms, and railroads running through it. As years passed by the city of Princeton was started and grew, being located five miles from his farm. After laboring for a period of over forty years upon the homestead which he established in the wilderness, he passed his declining days in peace and comfort, and having arrived at the advanced age of eighty-four years, departed this life in August, 1885.

The maiden name of his wife was Climena Grovier, who was also a native of New York State, and lived the faithful and affectionate companion of her husband until within a few months of his death, her decease occurring January 18 of the same year. Of their union there were born twelve children, of whom ten grew to mature years.

The subject of this history was a child three years of age when his parents came to Illinois. He attended the pioneer schools and grew to manhood in Bureau County, assisting his father in the duties of the farm. He then served an apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade, which he followed in Bureau County until 1858, and then coming into McLean County was similarly occupied until 1862.

The late war being then in progress he enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. A, 117th Ill. Vol. Inf., Capt. Kinsey commanding, and served until the close. He participated with his comrades in the battles of Pleasant Hill [ed., Louisiana] and Meridian, Miss., and at the battle of Nashville received a gunshot wound which compelled him to remain in the hospital for a number of weeks. After several other engagements and skirmishes he received his final and honorable discharge in May, 1865. He then returned to Me Lean County and resumed work at his trade, at which he has been occupied since that time.

Mr. Archer was married, Dec. 31, 1855, to Miss Louisa Kinsey, a native of Ohio, and daughter of John and Elinore (Bevans) Kinsey, a sketch of whom will be found in another part of this work. Of this union there were born six children, as follows: Cicero H., a resident of Ft. Niobrara, Neb.; F. Aurelian; Addie, the wife of Bert Rice; William Lewis, of this county; Hattie L. and Eva E., at home with their parents. Mr. Archer has served as Collector of Mt. Hope Township, and is fulfilling the duties of his present position as Deputy Sheriff in an able and efficient manner. He belongs to McLean Lodge No. 469, A. F. & A. M. [ed., Ancient Free and Accepted Masons], and to Harrison W. Ward Post No. 173, G. A. R.

The children of David Archer and his wife, the parents of our subject, are recorded as follows: Emily became the wife of John L. Wilson, and died in Kansas; George W. served as a soldier in the 64th Illinois Regiment, known as Yates' Sharpshooters, and now lives in Dakota; Lafayette was the third child; Peru and LaSalle (twins) also served with their brother George in the 64th Regiment; Peru died while in service at luka, Miss., in 1863; LaSalle lives at Joplin, Mo.; Martin V. served in the 8th Missouri Infantry [ed., 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry], and now lives at Rock Island, Ill.; Milton resides on the homestead; Lewis C. served in the 146th Ill. Inf. [ed., 146th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry], and lives at Ft. Niobrara, Neb.; Ellen became the wife of Edward Nottingham, and occupies a part of the old homestead. The maternal grandfather of our subject was a native of New York and served in the War of 1812. He was of English and German ancestry.

Mr. Archer cast his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont, and has voted for each Republican candidate for that office since that time.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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