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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



CAROLINE M. BRINING, widow of Hamilton Brining, is the possessor of a fine property consisting of three farms, the main one being located in Mt. Hope Township, and which constitutes the present homestead of the subject of our sketch. The other two lie in Downs Township and consist of 160 acres each. They are all finely improved and cultivated, and bear evidence of having been superintended by an intelligent mind.

Mrs. Brining was born in Orange County, Ind., Dec. 25, 1833. Her father, Eli Jones, was a native of North Carolina, and her grandfather, Allen Jones, a native of the same State, was a descendant of English and Welsh ancestry, and emigrated from North Carolina to Indiana at an early period in the history of that section. He made the journey overland, and after locating in Orange County, followed his trade of carpenter and cabinet-maker for many years, and spent the latter part of his life there. His son Eli, the father of our subject, was quite young when his parents removed from his native State. He grew to manhood in Indiana, and was united in marriage with Miss Hannah Snyder, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Hawse) Snyder.

Mr. Jones learned the trade of his father, and in addition to the work of a carpenter and joiner also became an experienced millwright. In 1853 he purchased a tract of land in Greene County, Ind., upon which he lived until 1862, and from there removed to Owen County, whence after three years he proceeded to Illinois and located in Logan County. From there he moved into McLean County, of which he is now a resident, having his home in Allin Township. He is now in his seventy-ninth year.

Mrs. Brining remained with her parents during her childhood and youth, receiving careful home training and a fair education in the common schools. On the 6th of February, 1861, she was united in marriage with Hamilton Brining. He was a native of Spencer County, Ky., and the son of Jacob F. and Barbara (Hawse) Brining. He was born on the 13th of June, 1830, and was but six years old when his parents removed from Kentucky to Illinois. The entire journey was made overland with wagons, and they camped and cooked by the way. They were among the first to make settlement in Logan County, and there Mr. B. grew to manhood, and was educated in the pioneer schools. He lived there until 1867, when he sold his property and purchased 160 acres of land in Mt. Hope Township, McLean County, on section 8. This land was wild and uncultivated, but he was a man of great energy and industry, and in due time had effected a remarkable change in its original condition. He erected a good set of farm buildings, planted fruit and shade trees, and subsequently added to his possessions, until at the time of his death he was the possessor of 320 acres here, and two farms of 160 acres each in Downs Township. He departed from the scenes of his earthly labors on the 16th of March, 1886, while still active and little past his prime.

In early manhood Mr. Brining was married to Miss Sarah Mountjoy, and of this union there were three children Martha, May J. and Alice. Of the second marriage there were born seven children, viz., Charles E., Imo G., Minnie M., Owen L., Leslie C. and Lyman T. (twins), and Luther V. Mr. and Mrs. B. were both connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in politics he was an uncompromising Republican.

Since the death of her husband Mrs. Brining has superintended the management of the estate with ability and success. She is a lady of rare intelligence and courage, and was well fitted to be the helpmeet of such a man as her husband. The family residence and the entire homestead is first-class in all its appointments, and bears evidence of the thrift and enterprise which first established it and by which it has been perpetuated. It is one of the attractive spots of McLean County, and invariably attracts the eye of the traveler through this section.

The portrait of Mr. Brining, which accompanies this sketch, will be recognized by all as that of a worthy and honored representative of McLean County.

[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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