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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JAMES J. HASTINGS, who has been a resident of the Prairie State since 1859, was originally a plasterer by trade, but of late years has been engaged in farming pursuits. He is now the owner of 280 acres of valuable land in Dry Grove Township, where he has a fine residence and all the appliances of a modern country estate. His land is under a high state of cultivation, and his thrift and prosperity are the result of his own enterprise and industry. He has lived temperately and economically, has invested his profits wisely, and is in all respects one of the prosperous and representative citizens of the township. The homestead is located on section 12, and commands the attention of travelers through this locality as being the home of wealth and comfort.

Mr. Hastings was born in Fayette County, Pa., on the 25th of February, 1826. His parents were John and Jane (Carroll) Hastings, both also natives of the Keystone State, and of American ancestry. John Hastings was born May 17, 1797, passed his entire life in Pennsylvania, and died upon his farm there on the 14th of December, 1832. He was a member of the old Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Jane C. Hastings was born Nov. 6, 1796, and died in Pennsylvania Nov. 19, 1858. She was an earnest Christian lady, a member of the same church as her husband, and the mother of five children, all of whom were living in 1886. The record of the parental family is as follows: William married Miss Sarah Cooper of Guernsey County, Ohio, and they are living in Vinton County, that State; Mary A. was first married to Moses Hayes, who is now deceased; her second husband was Alex Dougherty, and they live in Illinois. James J., of our sketch was the third child of the family; Thomas C. married Miss Rachael Hayes, and they are living in McLean County, Ill.; Jane became the wife of James H. Beeks, and they reside in this State.

The marriage of James J. Hastings and Miss Ella Lenhart was celebrated on the 25th of January, 1854. Mrs. Hastings was born in Somerset County, Pa., March 14, 1837, and is the daughter of George and Mary (Garey) Lenhart, natives of Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Both are now deceased. Of their children the record is as follows: Catharine became the wife of Josiah Wymer, and is now deceased; Benjamin married Miss Ella Fleck; Joseph and Angeline died in infancy; Monroe married Miss Rosa Coleman; Hannah, Mrs. B. Waltor, resides in Pennsylvania; Eucebie married Mr. C. Shumaker; Victoria married Miss T. Searberg; Mary and Ella were next in order of birth; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of William Goslin; George was the youngest of the family.

Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hastings there were born ten children, all but one living, and the record is as follows: Alice J. was born Oct. 25, 1855; Mary F., Feb. 2, 1857; John B. was born Feb. 12, 1859, and married Miss Ida Smith; they are living in this county; William C. was born Oct. 5, 1860; Thomas J., born Aug. 2, 1862, died July 1, 1881; Charles G. was born Aug. 25, 1864; Bertie E., Aug. 2, 1868: Mark L., April 7, 1870; Stella C., June 30, 1872; James J., Feb. 23, 1875.

Mr. Hastings came to this county in 1859, after working at his trade of plasterer in Pennsylvania for about eighteen years. He followed the same business in connection with farming for some time after coming here, and previously purchased eighty acres of land in Dry Grove Township. He then entered upon its improvement and cultivation, and subsequently added to his acreage as stated above. While not connected with any church organization he is a believer in the Scriptures, and endeavors to follow the teachings of the Master and do unto others as he wishes them to do unto him.

Politically he is a Democrat. He has always taken an active interest in the prosperity of his township, and has contributed liberally to the erection of churches and the establishment of schools. Although not receiving a collegiate education he is a gentleman of fine attainments, having been an extensive reader and keeping himself well posted upon matters of general interest.

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


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