CHARLES J. STRONG, of Danvers Township, is widely and favorably known in this vicinity, and is prosecuting his
agricultural pursuits on a fine homestead located on section 26, a view of which is shown on another page. Mr.
Strong was born in Richland County, Ohio, Aug. 27, 1837, and is the son of Abel and Hannah (Berdine) Strong; the
father was of English descent, and the mother of French Huguenot extraction. The father of our subject was born
in Connecticut in 1795, and died in Ohio in 1840. He was a merchant and Justice of the Peace, and the Representative
of Richland County to the Legislature, being elected on the Whig ticket. Besides a large stock of general merchandise,
in which he enjoyed a lucrative trade, he owned 240 acres of fine farming land which, with the buildings thereon,
constituted a valuable homestead. The wife and mother is still living in New York City, and enjoying good health
for a lady of advanced years.
The parental household included seven children, of whom the record is as follows: James died at the age of four years, and Orlen when seventeen; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of H. J. Hayes, of Toledo, Ohio, who is now a commission merchant and a member of the Board of Trade; of this union there were born three children, only one of whom is living; Mrs. Hayes died in 1846. William L. married Miss Mary Aborn, and is a dry-goods merchant of New York City; he was born in Richland County, Ohio, March 22, 1827, is a prominent and useful citizen, and a member of the Republican party; Rhoda married Rev. Benjamin Thomas, a Baptist minister, and died in Bloomington, Ill., in 1856, leaving three children; her husband died in Arkansas in 1883; Charles J., of our sketch was the sixth child; Abel died when two years of age.
Charles J. Strong and Miss Mary Simpkins were married on the 3d of September, 1873, in McLean County, Ill. Mrs. Strong was born in Highland County, Ohio, Aug. 28, 1846, and was the daughter of Jeremiah and Margaret (Roads) Simpkins, natives respectively of New Jersey and Ohio. Her father was born Jan. 22, 1823, and the mother April 12,1827. After the birth of five children, the latter died on the 2d of July, 1857. Mary, Mrs. Strong, was the eldest of the family; Morris was born in 1848; Josephine in 1851; Ida, now deceased, was born in 1854, and Emma in 1856. For his second wife Mr. Simpkins married Miss Sarah Jacoby, in 1858. She was a native of Illinois, born in 1835, and is still living. Of this union there were nine children, four of whom died in infancy. Those living are Jeremiah, born in 1863; Daniel, in 1867; Julia, in 1870; Jennie, in 1874, and Jessie. The father of these children is still living, and is now in Kansas. He served as a Union soldier in the late war, in the 94th Illinois Regiment for three years as a private, receiving an honorable discharge at the close. He is now a member of the I. O. O. F. and the G. A. R., and in politics is a strong Republican.
Mr. Strong came to Illinois in 1854, and after remaining in Bloomington two years went back to Ohio, staid there with his mother a year, and then went to his brother in New York City. In 1859 he enlisted in the Regular army for five years, being quartered at Carlisle, Pa., for three months, and upon the opening of the Rebellion went into active service. He participated in the seven days' fight at Gaines’ Mills, Va., at Gettysburg and Antietam, and at various other general engagements, At Gaines’ Mills he was wounded by a bayonet thrust through the right hand, but not so seriously as to be sent to the hospital. After brave and faithful service he received his honorable discharge on the 3d of March, 1864. In 1880 he took possession of his present farm in this county. This consists of 160 acres under a good state of cultivation, with a substantial dwelling and all convenient and necessary outhouses. He is a straightforward businessman, greatly respected by his fellow-townsmen, and in politics is a firm adherent of the Republican party.
The father of our subject was a Captain in the War of 1812, having command of a company of Connecticut militia, serving throughout the conflict until the treaty of peace was signed, and was among the sturdy spirits of the old colonial times.
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), 572. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.