JOHN F. TRIMMER, importer and breeder of French draft horses, has been a resident of Normal Township since 1886,
when he purchased his present property, erected a large barn, and made preparations to inaugurate the first stock
farm in this part of the county. To this he brought a number of high-grade animals, and entered upon the business
which has yielded him a handsome income, and in which he has established for himself an enviable reputation among
the stock-growers of the Prairie State.
The subject of this narration is the son of Jesse and Amanda (Gilmore) Trimmer, and was born in Money Creek Township, this county, Jan. 17, 1845. He was reared on the farm of his father, received a common-school education, and remained under the parental roof until the breaking out of the late Civil War. He was rather young for a soldier at its commencement, but as time passed on and recruits were constantly in demand he enlisted in February, 1864, in the 94th Illinois Infantry, serving until the close, being mustered out in June, 1866. While in the service he was transferred to the 37th Regiment and went to Texas with his comrades to guard the Freedman's Bureau.
After his return from the army Mr. Trimmer pursued his studies in the Commercial College at Bloomington for a period of three months, and then engaged in farming and stock-raising in his native township. In 1874 he sold out, with the intention of going further West, but the grasshopper scare preventing, he gave up the idea and purchased another farm in Money Creek Township, which he still owns. This contains 465 acres, and besides this he has 760 acres in Bates and Henry Counties, Mo. In 1879 he removed to the latter-named county, where he engaged in operating a portable sawmill, his business principally being the cutting of walnut timber. He also carried on a farm and engaged in stock-raising; for two successive years he gathered the corn from 400 acres, and had enough stock to consume it. In 1884 he returned to Illinois, and in 1886 purchased the property in Normal which he now owns, and has devoted his entire attention to his present business. He now has some of the finest thoroughbred animals in McLean County, having in 1884 imported nine head of horses from France, and in 1886, eleven more, among which are six mares, so that his stables now contain twelve head of full-blood horses.
In 1869 Mr. Trimmer was united in marriage with Miss Priscilla Surface, who was born in Illinois but at the date of her marriage resided in Dayton, Ohio. They have become the parents of six children, of whom one, Pearlie Gene, died in childhood. Those living are Artie, Daisy, Willie, Myrtle and an infant son. They occupy a pleasant and attractive residence, and are surrounded by all the comforts of life, besides enjoying the esteem and friendship of a large circle of acquaintances. Politically Mr. Trimmer indorses the principles of the Republican party, but is more interested in his business pursuits than in politics.
The parents of our subject, Jesse and Amanda (Gilmore) Trimmer, had a family of ten children, of whom the record is as follows: three—George, Ada and Charles—died in childhood; William enlisted as a Union soldier in Co. C, 33d Ill. Vol. Inf., and served until discharged on account of physical disability; returning home he died soon afterward from disease contracted in the army. Eliza became the wife of T. McNaught; John F. is our subject; David F. resides in Lexington; Sarah E. married J. A. Scott, and Mary became Mrs. Frank Hobart; Enos R. is engaged in farming on the old homestead in Money Creek Township.
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), 552. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.