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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



WESLEY T. CRAIN, a prominent and successful farmer of Mt. Hope Township, is pleasantly located on section 8, and carrying on agriculture and stock-raising in a first-class manner. He is a native of Logan County, Ky., and was born July 20, 1841. His father, William Crain, was born in the same county, and his grandfather, Armisted Crain, was a native of Virginia, and removed to Kentucky in an early period in the settlement of that State.

He was the friend and associate of Daniel Boone, and located near the Boone settlement when first becoming a resident of Kentucky. He purchased a tract of timber land and cleared a farm from the wilderness, where he established a comfortable home and passed the remainder of his days.

His son William, the father of our subject, was reared in his native county and assisted his father in clearing the farm, remaining with his parents until his marriage. He then purchased a tract of heavy timber land, twelve miles from his father's place, and cleared nearly 1,000 acres. Upon this he engaged extensively in stockraising, and bred horses, mules and sheep, which he drove to Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi for sale.

He was a thorough Union man, and at the breaking out of the war joined the Union force and became Lieutenant of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry. He died in the service at Hopkinsville, Ky., on the 7th of March, 1863. His wife, before her marriage, was Miss Amanda McMillan, a native of the same county and State as her husband, and the daughter of Bloomer McMillan, a pioneer settler of Logan County. They became the parents of nine children, all of whom, with one exception, lived to become men and women: Lemuel, the second son, served in the war in the same company with his father, and also died while in the service at Elkton, Ky., Dec. 31, 1862. The mother is still living, and a resident of Atlanta, Ill.

The subject of our sketch was the eldest child of his parents' family. He remained with his parents and assisted his father in the duties around the homestead until he was fifteen years of age, and then made annual trips to the South with horses and mules to sell, usually spending his winters in that warmer clime. In the spring of 1860 he was united in marriage with Miss Jane E. Porter, a native of Butler County, Ky., and born Dec. 11, 1841. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Nancy (Hutchinson) Porter, of Butler County, Ky., and remained with her parents until her marriage with the subject of our sketch.

After his marriage Mr. Crain purchased a tract of timber land in Butler County, Ky., where he built a log house and commenced the improvement of a farm. After five years he sold out and proceeded north into McLean County, Ill., and purchased in Mt. Hope Township sixty acres of land lying on section 5. Two years afterward he traded this for a tract of eighty acres on section 8, which he now owns and occupies, and where he has resided since that time. He subsequently added to this last purchase and now has a fine farm of 160 acres, all in one body and all improved. Upon this he erected a comfortable farm residence. He has good barns and out-buildings, and all the necessary machinery and implements for carrying on agriculture after the most modern and approved methods. The homestead bears evidence on every hand of cultivated taste and ample means. Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Grain there were born five children, who are recorded as follows: William B. is a resident of Mt. Hope Township; Rurie M. is a student at Bloomington, Ill.; Virgil U., Ira L. and Elon P. are at home.

Mr. Crain is Republican in politics, and occupies a prominent position in the Masonic fraternity. He has always taken a great interest in the success of the order, having become a Mason in Kentucky as early as 1863, as a member of Gasper River Lodge No. 247. After coming to Illinois he assisted in the organization of McLean Lodge No. 469, in the fall of 1865. He also assisted in organizing Stanford Allen Lodge No. 605, and still holds membership in that lodge, having been Worshipful Master for several years. He is a great admirer of the doctrines of the fraternity, and has given liberally of his time and means to promote the interests of Masonry.

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), 274. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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