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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JEFFERSON BIRDSELL, who is successfully engaged as a gardener and a grower of small fruits, is pleasantly located on section 21, in Randolph Township. He came to McLean County in 1852, and since that time has been engaged at his present business. Mr. Birdsell was born in Harrison, Hamilton Co., Ohio, on Christmas Day, 1825. His father, John Birdsell, a cooper by trade, was an old resident of Harrison, and died there some years ago. The mother who, before her marriage, was Miss Allen, departed this life when our subject was but a week old, and he never afterward saw his father.

Our subject, after the death of his mother, was taken into the family of John Richards, a German by birth and parentage, and they came to Dearborn County, Ind., young Birdsell remaining with them until he was seventeen years old. He then went to live with his brother-in-law, Joseph Lawson, the husband of his eldest sister, Sarah A. Mr. Lawson served through the late war, and afterward joined the standing army. He was with Custer's Division in Wyoming Territory at the time the hero of the frontier was killed. He was Captain of a company and on his way to reinforce Custer, but arrived only in time to witness the slaughter of the United States troops and the flight of the redskins. Capt. Lawson died in Wyoming Territory in 1883.

When twenty-four years old Mr. Birdsell left the home of his brother-in-law in Cincinnati, Ohio, and coming to Illinois, located in Randolph Township, this county. He was married to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Lavina (Passwater) Birdsell, who died on the 22d of September, 1883. By her first husband, William W. Birdsell, she had become the mother of five children, the record of whom is as follows: Jesse J. was born Aug. 26. 1829; Emily C., May 16, 1834; William F., Jan. 20, 1837; John S., May 25, 1839; Sarah C., April 20, 1842. Mr. and Mrs. B. united with the Christian Union Church soon after their marriage. Our subject is a Democrat politically, and socially is a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and is Past Grand of the Subordinate Lodge and a member of the Encampment. He has in all respects been an honest man and a good citizen, and is highly esteemed in his community.

[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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