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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



EZRA F. BRAMWELL, of Dry Grove Township, is pleasantly located on section 14, where he is carrying on the peaceful pursuits of a farmer's life, and passing the latter days of a busy life in the enjoyment of a comfortable home, and the respect of hosts of friends.

Our subject was born in Vernon, Jennings Co., Ind., Oct. 4, 1820, and is of Scotch-English parentage, his parents being William C. and Catharine (McDonald) Bramwell. They were born in the counties of Mercer and Garrett, Ky. William C. Bramwell first opened his eyes to the light on the 27th of October, 1788, and the greater part of his life followed his trade as spinning wheelwright and chair builder.

The parents were married in Kentucky in 1810, and came to Indiana the following year, where the father took up the carpenter's trade and became prominently connected with the affairs of his adopted State.

At the time of his marriage he could neither read nor write, but he afterward became proficient in astronomy and logarithms, and mastered Greek and Hebrew. He was a man of great force of character, fond of argument, and became one of the bright lights in the politics of the State.

He served one term in the Legislature of Indiana, and came to McLean County, Ill., in the fall of 1856. He afterward turned his attention to religious matters, and occupied the pulpit for many years, first as a Baptist, and afterward espoused the doctrines advocated by Alexander Campbell. In politics he was an old-line Whig, but after the abandonment of that party practically withdrew from political work.

The mother of our subject, Mrs. Catharine Bramwell, was born on the 25th of March, 1791, and died in Johnson County, Ind., July 2, 1865, three weeks after the death of her husband. Their marriage took place in Kentucky, and they became the parents of eight children, seven sons and one daughter, as follows: John M., James H., Solon C., Jesse V., Ezra F., Zenas F., William A. and Nancy M.

The subject of our history went to Iowa from Indiana in 1837, with a surveying party, and stopped at Keokuk, where he remained three weeks. He then returned home and remained until 1857, when he came with his parents to this county.

During his childhood he attended the common schools, and at the age of fourteen years went to the city of Madison, and was employed as clerk in a dry-goods store for four years following.

He then commenced the study of medicine under the instruction of Dr. Philo Andrews, of New York City, with whom he remained for three years, and then commenced practice. He followed his profession until 1844, but not finding it sufficiently lucrative, abandoned it.

He then took a contract on the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, for laying track, and after the completion of this, became, first fireman, then engineer, and afterward conductor on that road, being thus engaged four years, in the meantime losing an eye by a scale from the smoke stack.

Mr. Bramwell was married on the 6th of February, 1842, to Miss Rebecca C. Griffith, a native of Steubenville, Ohio. Mrs. Brain well was the daughter of Hezekiah and Lydia (Mobley) Griffith, natives of Maryland, but of Welsh ancestry and parentage. Their family included ten children.

The father of Mrs. Bramwell was born March 1, 1790, and died in Indiana, Aug. 13, 1840. The mother was born Jan. 24, 1795, survived her husband thirty-four years, and died in Indiana on the 16th of April, 1874. Mr. and Mrs. Bramwell have become the parents of eleven children Henrietta, Rachel, Alice, William C., Daniel D. Charles L., Lydia, Kate, Esther, Frank L. and Eugene F.

Mr. Bramwell came to McLean County in 1857, and for the first six years cultivated rented land, then purchased eighty acres of his present homestead. He was prospered in his agricultural operations, and afterward doubled the amount of his real estate, so that he now has 160 acres under a fine state of cultivation. His stock includes some fine specimens of Jersey cattle, and his residence, barns and out-buildings, are indicative of the thrift and enterprise of the proprietor.

Mr. Bramwell has held the office of Township Trustee for a period of twelve years; has been Town Clerk over seven years, and has served as Constable and Commissioner of Highways. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and a man of influence in his party in this section. The various members of the family are connected with and regular attendants of the Christian Church.

[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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