MRS. CLARISSA WALL, a pioneer of 1839 and a resident of Le Roy, is a highly respected lady of good education
and rare intelligence, and of more than ordinary in conducting business affairs. She is a native of Kentucky, born
Nov. 30, 1807. Her father, Aaron Garrison, a native of South Carolina, left his native State when a young man and
wended his way to Ohio, stopping first at Cincinnati. While there he met and married Miss Lucy McColun, who was
a native of his own State, and whose parents removed to Cincinnati while it was yet an infant village.
After marriage Mr. Garrison located across the river in Kentucky, where he remained until 1811. He then proceeded to Indiana and settled nine miles west of Lawrenceburg, in Dearborn County, upon a tract of timber land, consisting of sixty acres, where he put up a hewn-log house and cleared fifty acres. In 1824 he disposed of this and purchased 248 acres of timber land in Rush County, where he put up another hewn-log house, which he occupied with his family until 1856. In the meantime he also cleared a large portion of this purchase. Then, disposing of this he purchased 160 acres in Brown County. This was partially improved. He was then in the eighty-fourth year of his age and lived but a few months after his last removal, his death occurring in December of that year. Mr. Garrison was three times married, his first wife, the mother of our subject, dying in Rush County, Ind., in 1829. The second wife, formerly Miss Elizabeth Scott, also died in Rush County. He married his third wife when eighty years of age. His children, nine in all, were by the first marriage. Of these, four sons and four daughters grew to years of maturity.
The subject of this history made her home with her parents until she had grown to womanhood, and until her marriage, Jan. 29, 1835, to Jacob Karr. He was born in Essex County, N. J., in July, 1799, and their marriage took place in Lawrenceburg, Ind. They located in Hamilton County, Ohio, Mr. K. purchasing a farm sixteen miles from Cincinnati, which he occupied until 1839. On the 12th of May of that same year he started for Illinois, which he had previously visited, and purchased 487 acres of land in what is now Empire Township, this county. There was a log house and barn and sixty acres were broken. There were also fifty bearing apple-trees. Mr. K. was accompanied by three children of the first marriage. Their outfit consisted of two loaded wagons, one drawn by horses and the other by oxen. Mrs. K. came with her father-in-law, Capt. John Karr, accompanied by her two children and her brother-in-law, Thomas Karr, with a two-horse carriage. In the latter part of January of the year following, Mr. Karr returned to Ohio to settle unfinished business and collect money due him. He started for the West the latter part of February, making the trip on horseback. He caught cold from exposure, was quite sick when he reached home and lived but a few weeks afterward, his death occurring April 1, 1840.
In 1849 Mrs. Karr was married the second time, to Elias Henry Wall, who was a native of Warren County, Ky., whence he came to this vicinity at an early period in the history of McLean County. Mr. and Mrs. W. occupied the Karr homestead some time, then purchased a farm in Downs Township, where they lived until the death of Mr. Wall, which took place Jan. 18,1875. After the death of her husband Mrs. W. returned to the Karr homestead, which she still owns, and occupies a part of the time.
By her first marriage Mrs. Wall became the mother of three children: Mercy J. was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, Dec. 1, 1835, became the wife of Harrison Barnett, and departed this life March 23, 1863; Mr. Barnett died October 9 of the same year, leaving one son, Asbury, who is now a resident of Le Roy. The second child of our subject, James Karr, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, Sept. 8, 1837, and died Sept. 16, 1838. The youngest, Rachel, was born Jan. 4, 1839, married George W. Powts, of Le Roy, and died Feb. 24, 1863. Of the second marriage there was born one son, George A. Wall, who died March 16, 1863, aged twelve years and seven months. Asbury Barnett, her grandson, is the only survivor of her immediate family. He was born in West Township, this county, Sept. 25, 1854, and was in his ninth year when his parents died. He then went to live with his grandmother, with whom he remained until his marriage, Sept. 25, 1873. The maiden of his choice was Miss Mary S. Johnson, who was born in Downs Township, this county, Dec. 15, 1853. They have three children—Nettie M., Fannie B. and Marcy. Mr. Barnett is engaged in the livery business at Le Roy.
Mrs. Wall through many trials and afflictions has preserved a brave and courageous spirit, and has proved herself equal to every emergency. She has conducted her business and farming affairs intelligently and successfully, and her two homesteads are both handsome and valuable. She is greatly respected in her community, and during her long residence here has distinguished herself for her womanly virtues and kindness of heart.
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), 581. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.