Peoria County, Illinois
Thomas McRill was born in Millbrook Twp., the son of Amos and Kathryn Tucker McRill, Peoria County, Il. He was wounded twice,once in the shoulder and once in the abdomen, was a prisoner of war in Andersonville, escaped, was recaptured, escaped a second time and died in Keocuk,Iowa. He is buried in Oakland, Cemetery Cemetery in Keokuck,Iowa [This is Family History, Written and Submitted by Donald McRill Dean]
We present, in the introduction to this article, the name of one who has passed a third of a century in Neosho county and who entered the land on which he now resides. He began his somewhat checkered career in Erie township in the month of ___, 1869, and was a settler from Illinois where he went as a youth of seventeen and where he attained his majority and married. He was born in Oswego county, New York, on the 13th of March, 1838, and is a son of Benjamin and Abigail (Young) Clark, both native New York people. The father died in 1840. There were five of the Clark children, viz., Sarah, Anna, Nancy, deceased; Benjamin and Stephen.
The life of our subject can be said to have begun at the infantile age of seven years, for it was then that he left his mother's watchful care and went to live with Daniel Metcalf who agreed to "keep him for what he could do;" and those who fall into such hands and under such conditions usually do enough for their "keep." At thirteen years old he hired out at $6.00 per month for a year. For the next three years he worked at anything that came in his way, cutting cord-wood, and what not, and in 1855 he accompanied his mother and stepfather to Peoria county, Illinois. He was a resident of this county and state fourteen years and passed his life as a modest farmer. He was married in 1860, his wife being Mary E. Finch, a lady born in the same county and state he was; her birth occurring December 15, 1842. She was a daughter of Benjamin and Louisa A. (Reed) Finch, and was one of six children in the family. Mr. Finch was born December 20, 1819, and died February 4. 1890. Louisa A. Reed was born February 16, 1819. The children of this venerable couple surviving are, Mrs. Anna E. Mindell, Mrs. Mary E. Clark, Mrs. Emma J. Brown, Nathaniel J. and Frank Finch. Establishing themselves as pioneers in Kansas Mr. and Mrs. Clark erected a small house on their claim where their modest but hospitable home was maintained. Mr. Clark maintained the family by getting out and hauling ties for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad and for the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad, then building through the state. He took other work as it came in his way, and thus kept the wolf from the cabin door while he was making his new farm ready for profitable cultivation. The experimental years passed, the fertile soil and the family industry combined to produce abundant harvests of the cereals and other crops adapted to the climate and prosperity abounded in the home. In Mr. and Mrs. Clark's family were nine children, namely, Mary C., wife of Jesse Gilmore; Laura A., who married John Gilmore, now of Kansas City; Flora Fiant, born 1866 and died 1885; Alva, born July 27, 1868; Oliver, born November 8, 1873; Charles E., born January 6, 1880; Eddie G., born January 30, 1882, died January 7, 1883; Grace, born March 18, 1883, died 1884, and Sardis, born November 17, 1885. . [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by VB]
Joseph M. Barney
One of the distinctively early settlers of Neosho county and a gentleman who is prominently identified with the agricultural interests of Erie township is he whose name introduces this review. Born in Warren, Bristol county, Rhode Island, Mr. Barney is a son of Hiram and Elizabeth (Smith) Barney, of the same state. The father was cashier of the Cohanout bank, of Taunton, Massachusetts, for many years and in 1814 moved out to Illinois and settled in Peoria county where he located his family and engaged in merchandising in Brimfield, Peoria county. He died there in 1863 at seventy years old, while his wife survived to the age of eighty-seven, dying in 1891. Of their four children Joseph M. is the oldest, Hiram, the next, resides in Topeka, Kansas, and Emily Lowe and Sarah Gilson reside in Peoria, Illinois.
Joseph M. Barney was thirteen years old when his parents left Rhode Island, and he completed his minority on his father's farm in Illinois. In 1855 he returned to New England and was married in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to Miss Sarah Farwell, a native of Fitchburg, that state. She was born May 31, 1836, and is a daughter of John T. Farwell and Mersylvia (Todd) Farwell, the latter of New Hampshire birth. Seven children blessed the Farwell union, five of whom survive - three in New England and John A. Farwell, of Chicago, and Mrs. Barney. Mr. Barney resided in Peoria county, Illinois, till 1867 when he and family came west to Neosho county, Kansas. He entered a piece of land six miles northwest of Erie, when he came to Kansas, where he pitched his tent and began work on his log cabin home. He endured the scourges and hardships of the early day, with stood the occasional hostility of the elements and lived through the grasshopper raid, twice, and had his property destroyed by fire, but kept on plowing and planting with encouraging results, for instead of his original one hundred and sixty acres of prairie grass he owns a half section, well and substantially improved and in a fertile and productive state. When he took possession of his claim there was not a house north of him to the county line, and the surface of the country showed plainly the earmarks of the aborigines. During the time of great need and when aid was being solicited for the settlers of Kansas, Mr. Barney received two barrels of potatoes from an uncle in the east, a present which was timely and appreciated and the only aid he ever received from any source. .
As an important adjunct to his farm Mr. Barney engaged in the raising of horses. He was a lover of blooded horseflesh and entered into the business with a zest and a deep interest which foretold success. Other matters, aside from the general and commonplace work of raising grain, have felt the pulse-throb of his industry and the various avenues of income have placed him on a financial plane, independent of and beyond the common wants of man.
Mr. and Mrs. Barney have been blessed with a family of seven children, only four of whom are living, viz., Frank, of Longton, Kansas; Elizabeth, of Evanston, Illinois; Mrs. Emily Whiteley, of Lombard, Illinois, and Mrs. Mabel Young, of Wichita, Kansas. In politics our subject is a lifelong Republican. He was born September 24, 1831, and was consequently a voter in 1852 when General Scott was the Whig candidate and was defeated for the presidency by Franklin Pierce. He has not had the time or the inclination for politics as a part of his business but has consented to perform public service whenever required of him. He has been treasurer of his township and was for a score or more of years a member of his school board. . [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by VB]
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