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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JOHN & CHARLES ELLSWORTH, Bloomington Township, own and operate one of the most finely improved farms of this section. It is located on section 11, and embraces 320 acres. In addition to this they also own another tract of equal dimensions, located in Old Town Township, and also under a high state of cultivation. The brothers possess all the appliances of modern agriculture, and these, coupled with their wise judgment, energy and industry make them the leaders in this department of industry in this section.

John, the eldest of the Ellsworth brothers, came to this township in 1838. His brother Charles had visited this section two years before and made a purchase of some choice land which embraces the present homestead, and upon which he has remained since that time.

He was joined in his purchase by his youngest brother, Oliver, who died Nov. 27, 1871, at the age of fifty-nine years. This brother was twice married and lost both wives before his own death. They had become the parents of one child, a daughter who died in girlhood.

Gurdon Ellsworth, the father of John and Charles, was a native of Connecticut, and born near Windsor, April 17, 1773. Early in life he left his native town and became a resident of Ellington, where he remained until he came to years of manhood, and was there married to Miss Martha Stoughton, Jan. 9, 1800; she was a native of the same State, and was born in the year 1777.

Gurdon Ellsworth was a farmer by occupation and spent the remainder of his life on his homestead near Ellington. His wife came to reside with her sons in McLean County about 1854, and died Nov. 1, 1857. The father of Gurdon E., Capt. Daniel Ellsworth, in early manhood married Miss Lydia Makepeace, and it is supposed they were descended directly from English ancestry, the grandfather having obtained his title of Captain on account of services in the Revolutionary War. He returned home after the independence of the colonies had been established, and died in 1782, at the advanced age of eighty-two years. The early partner of his joys and sorrows, and the mother of his children, also attained to a ripe old age, and died in Connecticut.

To the parents of John and Charles Ellsworth there were born eleven children, of whom the record is as follows: Sophia died, unmarried, in February, 1883; Laura, also unmarried, was born March 25, 1802, and although eighty-five years of age, preserves her strength of body and mind to a remarkable degree. She lives with her brothers, the subjects of our sketch; Martha became the wife of George E. Knapp, deceased, and died in October, 1882; they were the parents of three children, of whom Charles is deceased; the survivors are George and Carrie; Minerva married Simon Carew, and they are both deceased, the former dying in 1882, and the latter about 1874; Lydia became the wife of Joseph Spalding; they are both now deceased, dying at a ripe old age; Gurdon, Jr., died at the age of about twenty years, in Connecticut; John, born Feb. 6, 1809, is one of the subjects of our sketch; Charles, the younger brother, was born Feb. 9, 1811; Oliver died in 1871, as before stated; Eunice S. died in childhood; Eunice, the younger, became the wife of Abe Brokaw and resides in Bloomington, her husband being one of the wealthiest men in McLean County.

The Ellsworth Brothers, still unmarried, have mainly been the architects of their own fortune, and although having reached an advanced age are still hale and hearty and capable of much endurance. They have taken good care of their health, have been strictly temperate in all things, and in their later days are leaping the just reward of blameless lives. The property which they possess has mostly been accumulated by stock-raising and general farming, and their straightforward methods of doing business, with their honesty and integrity have secured for them the profound respect and esteem of their associates and fellow-citizens. They are prominently connected with the Presbyterian Church, and are solid Republicans, as have been all the male members of this remarkable family since the organization of that party.

The homestead of the Ellsworth s is one of the finest farm estates in McLean County, and invariably attracts the eye of the traveler passing through this section. The residence, barns and out-buildings all give evidence of refined tastes and ample means. Their farm machinery is of first-class description, and in every respect the homestead is a model one and reflects credit upon those who have built it and brought it to its present condition.

The portraits of John and Charles Ellsworth, which are shown in connection with this brief outline of their lives, will be gladly welcomed by a host of friends throughout the county. It is with pleasure that we also present the portrait of their sister Laura, as that of one of the most esteemed ladies in McLean County.

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), 445. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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