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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy


John Carlyle

JOHN CARLYLE, widely and favorably known as the proprietor of Pleasant Park Farm, is one of the self-made men of the Prairie State, and has in all his operations distinguished himself as one of the most worthy representatives of his excellent Scottish ancestry. He was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, Feb. 18, 1822, on a farm named "Millbank," in the parish of St. Mungo. His father, Walter Carlyle, and his grandfather, John Carlyle, were natives of the same parish, the latter being a farmer and stock-raiser and a man of note. He spent his entire life in his native parish. His son Walter was reared on the farm, and became an expert plowman, taking the prize at several county fairs. His fame became so great that finally no one would compete with him, and he was then appointed one of the judges at these trials. He also spent his entire life in his native country. His wife, the mother of our subject, was formerly Miss Jeanette Bell, a native of his own parish, her father, Thomas Bell, being formerly the owner of Millbank Farm. This lady also died in her native parish. The parental household included six children, of whom the subject of our sketch was the second, and the only one of the family who came to America.

John Carlyle was reared to farming pursuits, and remained under the parental roof until 1855, when he married, rented land, and commenced farming on his own account. He operated thus for six years, and then, in May, 1861, started for the United States, accompanied by his wife and three children. After a voyage of four weeks they landed in New York City, the head of the family possessing but a few dollars. They made no stay there, but proceeded directly westward to Illinois, and located in this county, where the husband and father was employed as a farm laborer at 50 cents per day. In 1862 he rented land in Funk's Grove Township, and his first crop of corn yielded him 15 cents per bushel. He occupied that farm five years. Corn in the meantime had advanced in price till it was worth $1.10 in Bloomington. Mr. Carlyle, however, had not confined his operations to grain growing exclusively, but purchased calves and fed them until, in 1867, he was possessed of a good herd of cattle. The most of these he sold at a good price, and with the proceeds purchased a tract of land in Belleflower Township, which included the north half of section 25. There was a small frame house on the place, and in this the family lived for a time, and then Mr. C. erected a more commodious dwelling. He has also a good barn and other necessary out-buildings. From time to time he added to his landed possessions until finally he became the owner of 560 acres of land, which he improved, and continued its cultivation until 1885, and then practically retired from active labor.

The marriage of our subject and Miss Mary Smith was celebrated at the birthplace of the bride, Linn Hall Farm, in the parish of Tundergarth, Dumfriesshire, March 6, 1855. Mrs. Carlyle was born Feb. 7, 1827. Of this union there were born seven children, the record of whom is as follows: Ellen B., who married Robert Ritchie; Walter, who married Miss Edith Warner, and John, who married Miss Annie Smith, all live in Belleflower Township; Jane became the wife of Samuel Pollock, and they reside in Foosland, Champaign County, this State; Margaret died Oct. 10, 1864, in infancy; Jemima died April 27, 1865, in infancy, and Mary J. M. died June 12, 1877, at the age of eleven years. Mrs. Mary Carlyle departed this life on the 17th of August, 1881, deeply mourned by her husband and a large circle of friends. Mr. and Mrs. C. connected themselves with the United Presbyterian Church many years ago, our subject being one of the three who organized the Belleflower Church, of which Rev. J. G. Fairley is the pastor. Politically Mr. Carlyle is a stanch supporter of the Republican party.

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), 528. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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