JOHN PROTHERO. A large proportion of those who first ventured into the Western country, having the courage to
stake their all on the untried prairie or in the virgin forest, were natives of another continent. They crossed
many miles of ocean before reaching the land which they believed would, by the exercise of well directed efforts,
yield them a home, and in return for their tireless industry, a competency.
Among these, who is also numbered with the honored pioneers of 1838, is the subject of our sketch, a retired farmer now living in ease and comfort in the village of Saybrook. His birth took place in the southern part of Wales on the 4th of August, 1814.
When a lad of fourteen years, Mr. Prothero came to America with his parents, who settled in Canada. The only education he ever received was during the few years' schooling he had in his native country. He lived with his parents in the Dominion until 1838, then started Westward with his brother-in-law, Lawton Case, and a neighbor, Thomas Newland. After arriving in this State he worked at carpentering which he had previously learned. He took up his abode in Cheney's Grove, and in 1842 was united in marriage with Miss Catharine Cheney. Mrs. Prothero was born May 30, 1825, and was the daughter of Jonathan and Katie (Owens) Cheney, both natives of Virginia and of Welsh descent, and highly esteemed people. Of this marriage there were born five children, but the household was left desolate by the loss of all. They were born as follows: Elliott L., Aug. 25, 1848; Francis M., Sept. 24, 1850; Margaret, Aug. 2, 1858; David A., March 17, 1861; Charlie A., May 30, 1863. Mrs. Catharine (Cheney) Prothero departed this life on the 9th of May, 1869. She was a highly esteemed Christian lady and a devoted member of the United Brethren Church.
The second wife of our subject, to whom he was married on the 23d of March, 1871, was Miss Laura Case, who was born in Portage County, Ohio, in 1832, and came to Illinois in 1857. Mrs. P. is finely educated and taught school for several years in Ohio, and later, in this county, and also in McDonough County, and met with unqualified success, being admirably adapted by disposition and intellect for this calling. Mr. and Mrs. P. for some years after their marriage lived on the farm of our subject in Cheney's Grove Township, and thence, in 1873, removed to Saybrook. Their home is supplied with all the comforts and conveniences of modern life, and Mr. Prothero, surrounded by the friends which he has made by his honorable and upright course, is passing a happy and contented old age. He is a prominent member of the United Brethren Church, of which he has served as Steward and Trustee for several years. He was Justice of the Peace in Cheney's Grove Township for eight years, in which office he served with remarkable success and good judgment, never having one of his decisions reversed by a higher court. Politically, he has been a Republican, but recently became greatly interested in the movements and success of the Prohibitionists, believing that the issues put forward by that party are paramount to all others in which the American people are now interested and with which they must deal. Besides his finely cultivated farm of eighty acres in Cheney's Grove Township, he has several improved lots within the limits of Saybrook, and a snug little sum at interest.
In the portrait of Mr. Prothero are delineated the features of a gentleman whom to know has invariably been to honor, and who, after reaching more than threescore years and ten, can look back upon a career in which there has been little to regret, and whose impulses and desires have enabled him to act upon the higher plane, illustrating fully the character of an honest man and a good citizen, performing well his part in life, and at its close will receive, and not alone from his fellow-citizens, the plaudit of "well done."
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), 732. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.