GEORGE HINSHAW, JR., deceased, and late of Bloomington Township, of which he was one of the pioneer settlers, was a native of Tennessee, born near the county seat of Overton County on the 26th of December, 1820, and departed this life June 12, 1874, at his home in the township of which he has been a resident for over fifty years. During this long period he had fully established himself in the confidence and respect of his fellow-citizens, and was a bright example of a useful and worthy life.
Mr. Hinshaw came with his parents from his native State of Tennessee to McLean County, Ill., in 1827, when a child of seven years old. His father, also named George Hinshaw, was a native of the same State as his son, and was occupied in farming pursuits. He was one of the solid and substantial men who came North at that period in the history of the development of the new territory of Illinois, and assisted in opening a way for the advance of civilization. The country was then wild and unbroken, but he possessed the dauntless spirit of the pioneer settler of that day, and having set his hand to the plow, was not the one to turn back. His ancestors were of English Quaker stock, hard-working and industrious people, of whom the representatives in this country are not now numerous.
The parental household of our subject included seven children, of whom he was the youngest but one. The family is now almost extinct, and never having been very prolific, a few of the immediate relatives of our subject are the only representatives living.
Mr. Hinshaw of whom we write, after attaining to years of manhood, was married to Miss Polly M. Tolliver, July 3, 1848, near the western limits of the city of Bloomington. Mrs. Hinshaw was the fifth child and fourth daughter of James and Elizabeth (Maxwell) Tolliver, and was born Dec. 21. 1828, in a pioneer log cabin of Bloomington, and has never lived more than five miles away from her birthplace. Her parents were natives of Ashe County, N. C., where they were reared, and during early youth came with their respective parents to Indiana, where they were united in marriage after attaining to suitable age. Their wedding occurred in Clay County, and after the birth of four children they made their preparations for a journey to the farther West. Coming into McLean County, Ill., they settled in Bloomington Township on the farm of Mr. J. H. Rhodes, and in the log cabin where Mrs. Hinshaw first opened her eyes to the light of day and was reared to womanhood.
Mr. Tolliver was successful in his western venture, and as time passed he accumulated a large body of land lying in what is now the west end of the city of Bloomington, and which is the site of some of the best buildings erected there. This land, afterward laid out in town lots, was entered by Mr. Tolliver from the Government, and he paid for it at the rate of $1.25 per acre. It is now valued at hundreds of dollars per foot. This land he retained possession of until his death, which occurred April 20, 1848. He was a thorough business man, and an industrious, enterprising and reliable citizen. In politics he was strongly Democratic, and worked hard for the success of his party in this section. His wife, the mother of Mrs. Hinshaw, is yet living, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, and makes her home with her daughter. She is still strong and active, and retains, to a remarkable degree, her mental and physical powers, and often relates in an interesting manner many incidents of her girlhood and the after years which followed during the time of the early settlement of the Prairie State.
Mr. Hinshaw was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and ability, and kept himself well posted in regard to matters of general interest. He was well informed, an extensive reader, and took an active part in local politics, being a zealous worker for the success of the Democratic party. In business affairs he was a skillful manager, shrewd, and keenly observant of what was going on around him, and exercised good judgment in his money transactions. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Hinshaw has managed the large business interests left upon her hands in a highly intelligent and successful manner. She comes of a good family, was carefully reared and educated, and eminently fitted to be the companion of her husband. She owns 240 acres, which constitutes the present homestead, and also eleven acres within the limits of Normal, this county. Belonging to the estate there is also a tract of land comprising 1,200 acres near Baxter Springs, Cherokee Co., Kan.; they also own a three-story business house at No. 108 West Front street, Bloomington. The family residence is a tasteful structure, comfortable and convenient in all its appointments, and the barns and out-buildings correspond in every respect to the dwelling. The children were carefully reared and educated, and are of invaluable aid to their mother in the management of the large interests for which she holds herself responsible. Mrs. Hinshaw has a family of four children, three sons and one daughter; Ida became the wife of Dr. Hull; the sons Ezra, Toby and Rolla remain at home assisting their mother.
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), 250-1. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards