JAMES RYBURN, one of the progressive farmers of McLean County, is located in Randolph Township, on section 12,
of which he owns half, and besides this, 280 acres in Wapello Township, De Witt County, near his present homestead.
Mr. Ryburn is rated as one of the best farmers and most successful stock-breeders of the township. He keeps only
a good grade of animals, and everything in and about his homestead denotes the supervision of an intelligent mind
and cultivated taste. The farm residence is a modern structure, handsome and substantial, and his barns and all
other out-buildings are of first-class description. Everything is kept in good order and repair, and the homestead,
with its beautiful location, invariably attracts the eye of the traveler through this region.
The subject of our sketch took possession of his present farm in 1872 and its present condition is largely due to his own industry and enterprise. He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Washington County, near the city of the same name, Sept. 19, 1826. When seven years of age his parents removed to Harrison County, Ohio, where they remained until 1853, and coming thence to the Prairie State, located in this county. James was the eldest of the family and was reared to habits of industry, receiving the advantages of but a limited education. He remained under the parental roof until his marriage, which took place in Cadiz, Harrison Co., Ohio, Feb. 9, 1854, the maiden of his choice being Miss Elizabeth Hamilton, who was a native of the Buckeye State, and born April 5, 1832. The wedding took place at the home of the bride's parents, Rev. James Forsythe officiating. Mrs. Ryburn is the daughter of Joshua and Jane (Craig) Hamilton, natives respectively of Fayette and Washington Counties, Pa. Her grandfather, William Hamilton, was born in Fayette County, Ohio, of American parentage and Scottish ancestry. Her grandfather Craig was born in the North of Ireland, was of Scottish descent, and a Protestant in religion. He emigrated to the United States when twenty-one years old, and was afterward married to Miss Elizabeth Johnson, of Washington County, Pa. Both the Craigs and Hamiltons were prominent families in Pennsylvania. They followed agricultural pursuits, and removed to Harrison County, Ohio, at an early period in the history of the Buckeye State. John Craig died when fifty-five years old, Aug. 22, 1825. In addition to his farming pursuits he also carried on a dry-goods trade in Harrison County, and was one of the most valued citizens of the town of Cadiz. William Hamilton spent his last years also in Cadiz, and died there in January, 1839, after reaching the advanced age of eighty years. His son, Joshua, the father of Mrs. Ryburn of this notice, was the second child of his parents' family, by whom he was reared and educated near Cadiz, Ohio, and remained with his parents until his marriage with Miss Jane Craig, on the 28th of October, 1819. He then located on a farm which he operated successfully, and the union thus happily begun remained intact for a period of over fifty-one years, when Joshua Hamilton, who was born Sept. C, 1793, departed this life, his demise taking place Dec. 17, 1870, at seventy-eight years of age. The mother is still living, making her home with two unmarried daughters at Springfield, Ohio. She was born June 14, 1802, and is consequently over eighty-five years of age. She became the mother of eleven children, two of whom died in infancy unnamed. Those who lived to years of maturity were as follows: John married Miss Rebecca Pritchard, and lives in this county; William married Miss Elizabeth Sellers, and is farming in Knox County, Ohio; Craig was twice married, both times to ladies by the name of McFadden, the last one being yet living; he died Oct. 5, 1880; Alexander was first married to Miss Martha McFadden, now deceased, his second wife was Miss Mary Haverfield, who now resides in Colorado;, this, son died in Colorado, April 2, 1885; Elizabeth, the wife of our subject, was the next in order of birth; Rachel married Henry Croskey, and resides with him on a farm in Empire Township; Margaret married Oscar Clark, a farmer of Walton, Harvey Co., Kan.; Rebecca and Mary are both unmarried. Mary holds the position of clerk in a dry-goods store at Springfield, Ohio.
Mrs. Ryburn was reared and educated at Cadiz, Ohio, and remained with her parents until her marriage. She is a lady of rare intelligence, having a remarkable memory for dates of important events, and carries in her mind a perfect encyclopedia of interesting happenings all over the world. This valuable gift, possessed by few, makes her a most interesting conversationalist, and she is considered one of the brightest ornaments in the society of the community where she lives. By her union with our subject she has become the mother of nine children, one of whom died unnamed, in infancy. John H. is a resident of Knickerbocker, Tom Green Co., Tex., being a stockholder of the Stillson & Case cattle ranch; Belle married Rev. S. H. Dunn of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, of Duluth, Minn.; Jennie M. resides in Bloomington, Ill.; Ingram C., who was given the maiden name of his great-great-grandmother on the maternal side, lives at home with his parents; Frank is with his brother. John, in Texas; Lucy resides at Bloomington, and Harry and James are there also, attending school. Belle graduated at Wesleyan University [ed., Illinois Wesleyan University] in 1878, and Jennie in 1880; Lucy is also a graduate from the musical department of that institution. Mr. and Mrs. Ryburn are members of the Second Presbyterian Church at Bloomington, as is also their daughter Jennie. In politics, our subject is a solid Republican.
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), 643. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.