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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



ADAM GUTHRIE, who is identified with the industrial interests of Bloomington as a tobacconist, is located at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets, Northwest Side. Mr. Guthrie is a native of the Buckeye State, his birth having taken place in Pickaway County, March 10, 1825. He is the son of Robert and Catharine (Spawr) Guthrie, natives of Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather of our subject was of Scotch-Irish descent, while the mother s ancestors were from Germany. Robert Guthrie came to Illinois and settled in Funk s Grove in September, 1826. He took up a Government claim of 160 acres, built a log cabin and made some improvements, then sold it and made another claim in Money Creek Township. After partially improving the latter claim he sold this to the Ogdens, then in 1831, with his family, moved on land belonging to James Allin, which is now in the city limits of Bloomington. After occupying this two years, the father of our subject moved into what is now the city and built a house of split boards on the comer of Lee and Front streets. The floor of this structure was of puncheon and the weather boarding was rived and shaved by hand. A door was improvised out of a poplar box, which Mr. G. had brought with him from Ohio, full of goods. Into this house the family removed, where the father remained until his death, in 1846. The mother survived ten years and died in 1856.

When the father of our subject first moved into Funk s Grove he took his ax on his shoulder and went out to work. Not far away he found two buck deer, which had been fighting and were locked together by their horns. He slipped up to them and killed them with an ax and the bodies furnished his family with meat and oil for light during that winter. Upon removing to Money Creek, Robert Guthrie, in company with Frederick Trimmer, journeyed to St. Louis after goods for James Allen, being equipped with one ox-team and a horse-team. After they had secured their merchandise and arrived near Edwardsville, on the return trip, they were obliged to stop on account of the deep snow. They put their goods under shelter and turned their oxen into a corn-field and made their way home laboriously on the backs of the horses. In the spring they went back and got their goods and oxen. At this time the parental family, included seven children, who remained on the farm and lived on hog and hominy all winter, having no bread in the house. Afterward four more children were added to the household circle and of the eleven which completed the family, only four are now living: Rev. Robert E., of Wichita, Kan.; Margaret, Mrs. Steele, of Kansas City; Adam of our sketch, and Peter, formerly of Normal but now a constable in Bloomington City. Robert Guthrie was a steady and energetic man, and in addition to his farm and other business, was employed as a contractor, bricklayer and plasterer. Politically he affiliated with the Whig party and was a great admirer of Henry Clay. Upon first coming to Illinois, both parents were connected with the Presbyterian Church, but after the older children joined the Methodists the parents went with the latter and adhered to this denomination the balance of their lives.

Adam Guthrie remained at home until after the death of his parents, in the meantime receiving a good education in the subscription schools. He then worked with his father at plastering and followed the same until 1862. Then, the Civil War being in progress, he enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. A, 94th Ill. Vol. Inf., where he soon became Corporal and was in the service eight months. He engaged with the enemy at Prairie Grove, Ark., in December, 1862, and when he returned home was quite content with his experience of army life. The following year he was made a member of the police force of the city of Bloomington, being thus employed for two years and then resumed his trade until 1866. In that year he was elected Township Assessor, in which office he continued fifteen years and then established his present business, in which he has been engaged since that time. Being one of the oldest settlers of the county now living, he is accorded that peculiar deference and respect which is involuntarily shown toward those who saw this country in its virgin state and assisted materially in bringing it to its present prosperous condition. Our subject is Republican in politics, and with his wife, is a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Adam Guthrie was married in 1849, to Miss L. L. Butler, of New York, daughter of Ira and Lydia (Thrasher) Butler, of the same State. Of this union there were born three children: Eva, now Mrs. Kimball, of Bloomington, has three children Bernie, Cora and Lucian; Permeno A. married Miss Anna Noble, a native of this county, and they have two sons, Sydney A. and Dudley; Permeno A. is Deputy County Clerk; Oscar F. is a ticket broker, having his office at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets. The residence of Mr. G. is pleasantly located at No. 802 North Center street.

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), 468. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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