REES GADDIS. This highly respected old gentleman, who has been a resident of the Prairie State for a period
of over forty years, is widely and favorably known throughout Tazewell County. He is at present a resident of Martin
Township, this county, and although only having located here since 1885, has fully established himself in the confidence
and esteem of its best citizens, to whom his form on the streets has become a familiar figure, regarded with peculiar
affection. Mr. Gaddis is a native of Greene County, Ohio, born near Xenia, on the 26th of September, 1807. His
grandfather, Rees Gaddis, Sr., was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. His father, John Gaddis, was a native of
Pennsylvania and removed to the Buckeye State with his parents when a small lad.
The father of our subject, after reaching years of manhood, was married to Miss Abigail, the daughter of John Seaman. They settled in Greene County, Ohio, and were there occupied in farming pursuits for a brief time only, the death of John Gaddis occurring when the subject of this history was an infant but six weeks old. Rees Gaddis, Jr., was the second child of his parents, and remained with his mother until arriving at manhood.
After the death of her husband Mrs. Gaddis and her two children went to live with her father in Hamilton County, Ohio, whose home was on the banks of the Ohio River. This kindly old gentleman, John Seaman by name, was a native of Virginia, and is supposed to have been of Welsh descent. He removed from his native State to Ohio as early as 1800, settling in Hamilton County, and was among its earliest pioneers and lived there the remainder of his days. On the Gaddis side, the grandfather of our subject removed from Pennsylvania to Campbell County, Ky., at an early period in the history of that State, after serving as a Captain in the Revolutionary War.
Young Gaddis remained an inmate of his grandfather's house until he reached mature years. When twenty-seven years of age he and his mother went back to Greene County, Ohio, where they remained until the spring of 1848. They then came to Illinois, settling on a farm near Tremont, in Tazewell County, which remained the home of the mother until her death, which occurred at the advanced age of ninety-two years.
In 1851 Mr. Gaddis was united in marriage with Miss Martha Ann, daughter of John Bennett, Esq., of Tazewell County, to which he had removed from Clinton County, Ohio. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. G. settled on a farm in Tazewell County which had become the property of Mr. Gaddis in 1848. His original purchase was 125 acres, to which he subsequently added until he became the owner of 300 acres, a part of which was valuable timber. He made a specialty of hogs and cattle, in the feeding and sale of which he realized a handsome sum of money.
Mr. Gaddis remained on his farm in Tazewell County until the spring of 1885, and then sold out and removed to his present homestead in McLean County, on section 16, which he has occupied since that time. This consists of 320 acres of choice land in a good state of cultivation, on which he has erected a handsome and substantial set of farm buildings, and in all respects has converted it into one of the handsomest homesteads in this county. Our subject is now in the eightieth year of his age, and is still hale and hearty, in possession of those faculties which have made such a success of his life and earned for him the admiration and respect of his fellow-citizens. In early life he was a Jeffersonian Democrat, but after the abandonment of the old Whig party by the organization of the Republican party, he cordially endorsed the principles of the latter. He is a strong advocate of temperance and expects to see the cause succeed through the Republican party.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Gaddis, five in number, included four sons and one daughter, of whom John is deceased; William is a resident of Martin Township; Alpheus is married and at home; James is single and at home; Sarah is the wife of A. M. Hicks of Tazewell County, and is the eldest of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Gaddis, together with all their children, are members of the Christian Church.
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), 708. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards