JOHN T. TANNER, an extensive dealer in grain, lumber, tile, coal, live stock, etc., is one of the pioneers of
McLean County, and a resident of Anchor. He was born in Tazewell County, this State, May 24, 1837. His father,
Joseph Tanner, was born in Tennessee, but in early 7 life came with his parents to Illinois. They settled in Tazewell
County in about 1829, being among the early pioneers of that region. Joseph Tanner took up a tract of land and
engaged in farming and there spent the remainder of his days, dying in about 1839. The mother of our subject before
her marriage was Miss Jane Brown, also a native of Tennessee. By her marriage with Joseph Tanner she became the
mother of two children, John T., and another son, who died when young. The mother, after becoming a widow, married
Elijah Smith, and her later home was near Danvers, this county.
The subject of our sketch was a small boy when the family came to Tazewell County. He received his early education in the district schools and remained an inmate of his mother's house until he attained to years of manhood, although at different times he was engaged as a farm laborer in that vicinity. When twenty years old he started out for himself, beginning by farming on rented land, he having previously paid his stepfather for the privilege of leaving home and becoming his own master. The land which he cultivated belonged to J. C. Chrisom and this he operated for several years, then purchased a tract of timber land in the edge of Woodford County, a part of which he cleared and upon which he resided for three years. At the end of that time, in March, 1869, he returned to McLean County and purchased 160 acres on section 8, in Anchor Township, which he cultivated until March, 1886, and in the meantime he worked a wonderful change upon it from its original condition, and erected a handsome and substantial set of frame buildings. He then removed to Anchor Station, where he had previously established a store, of general merchandise. This business increased to such an extent that be judged it best to give it his entire attention. Accordingly, renting his farm, he moved into town and in due time extended his operations so as to include the commodities in which he deals at present. He is finely adapted to his present employment, of which he is making a success and which yields him annually a handsome income.
The marriage of our subject occurred in this county in March, 1859, the lady of his choice being Miss Sarah C., the daughter of Absalom and Mary Bailey. Mrs. T. was born in Indiana, and by her union with our subject became the mother of ten children, three of whom died young. Of the seven living the record is as follows: Eliza became the wife of O. T. Larson and lives in Anchor Township; James is a resident of Cropsy [ed., Cropsey] [ed., Cropsey]Township; Lucy married Charles Hudson of Anchor Township; Mary, Walter, Dora and Lois are at home with their parents.
Mr. Tanner politically is independent. He cast his first ballot with the Republican party, with which he affiliated until during the late war, and since the close of that conflict, has voted for the men he esteemed best qualified for office, regardless of party. He is well read and informed and served as Justice of the Peace eleven years, besides holding many of the local offices of his township. He has been connected with the Christian Church for thirty-five years, being one of its most earnest supporters and contributing cheerfully and liberally of his means to its maintenance and welfare. He is a member in good standing of the Masonic fraternity and belongs to Colfax Lodge No. 61, also Martin Lodge No. 652, I. O. O. F.
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), 692. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards