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McLean County, Illinois
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LYMAN W. BETTS, a pioneer settler of Bloomington Township, is now comfortably located on section 12, where he has spent the greater part of forty years, and been actively and successfully engaged in general farming. Mr. Betts was born in Cecil County, Md., Aug. 5, 1825. His father, Franklin Betts, was a native of Richmond, Mass., born March 28, 1789, and was the son of Zebulon Betts, who was a farmer of New England, and died in Massachusetts. Franklin Betts, when a young man left his native town for the city of Baltimore, where he engaged in the boot and shoe business, and where, in due time, he was married to Mrs. Ann Davis, a native of his own county. After the birth of three children, among whom was the subject of our sketch, the family removed to Brooklyn, N. Y., where two more children were born, both daughters. The three eldest were sons -- Franklin M., Robert C. and our subject, Lyman W. The sisters, Mary A. and Louisa A., are now both living in Iowa.

Mr. Betts spent the greater part of his boyhood and youth in the city of Brooklyn and afterward went to New York City. Then, when nineteen years of age, he removed with his parents to Otsego County, N. Y., where both the latter died a few years later. Lyman W. then set out for the West, and coming into McLean County, Ill., located near Bloomington, where he engaged in the cattle trade with the late Judge Davis, his half-brother. His good education and some previous experience in mercantile business, had given him a good insight into methods of doing business, and he was quite successful in his trading operations. His connection with Judge Davis continued for a score of years. In 1876 Mr. Betts removed to the farm which he now occupies, and engaged in the breeding of standard horses -- Hambletonians. His two stallions are Bright Ratler and Roscoe Thorndale, magnificent animals which promise great things for the future. Mr. Betts has already attained a fine reputation as one of the most successful breeders of this section. The dam of these horses is "Roxy" from Alexander's "Norman" of Kentucky.

After coming into this county Mr. Betts spent some years in "single blessedness," but finally concluded that his condition would be greatly improved by the acquisition of a helpmeet and partner. He was consequently united in marriage, on the 19th of September, 1853, with Miss S. R. Davis, the daughter of Dr. David Davis, and second cousin of Judge Davis. Their wedding took place in Cecil County, Md. The mother of Mrs. Betts, before her marriage, was Miss Emeline Wicks, and she is yet living in Cecil County, Md., where she was born, and is now arrived at the advanced age of eighty years. Dr. David Davis, the father of Mrs. Betts, died in Maryland in 1844. He was a successful physician, and practiced in his native State from the time he became of age until his death. Mrs. Betts has still in her possession some rare old pieces of china, and the silver buckles worn by her great-grandmother on her wedding day.

Mrs. Betts was born in Kent County, Md., Feb. 24, 1831. After the death of her father, her mother, with a family of eight children, removed to Cecil County, where Mrs. Betts was reared and educated, and remained until her marriage with our subject. Of this union there were born four children, one of whom, William, died in 1876, at the age of twenty-two years; Emma became the wife of J. A. Jordan, trainmaster at Roodhouse, Ill.; Fannie married E. B. Mitchell, Jr., a farmer near Danvers, this county; Anna, Mrs. J. V. Nichols, is living with her husband on a farm near Covell, Ill. All the members of the family are connected with the Protestant Episcopal Church, and Mr. Betts, politically, is a solid Republican.

[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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