William H. Ragan
William H. Ragan, although among the younger members of the bar, has an excellent reputation as a criminal lawyer. He was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, September 30, 1830, the son of James W. and Ellen (Springer) Ragan. His paternal ancestors were of Irish extraction his great-grandfather being born on the Emerald Isle. The maternal ancestors were of German and Swedish blood but came to this country in the early Colonial days and one of his great-grandfathers served as a soldier all through the Revolutionary War. Fairfield County was the native home of his parents and there they were married and reared their family, but removed to Illinois in 1867, and located first in Clark County, next in Effingham County, whence they came to Shelby County. The mother, who still survives, is a widow, her husband having died in 1886 at the age of sixty years.
James W. Ragan, the worthy father of our subject, was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, being a member of Company C, One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio Infantry. After the battle of Haines Bluff he was detailed as nurse on a hospital boat which bore the name of the "City of Memphis" and went up the Mississippi River to Paducah, Ky., at which place he was injured by a fall, while unloading the dead bodies of the brave boys who had fallen in conflict. In consequence of this accident he was placed in the hospital at St. Louis, from which he was in due time discharged, but he never entirely recovered from the injury, and his sufferings from it hastened his death. There were eight children in the family of the parents of our subject, namely: Laura A., now Mrs. John J. Gallagher; William H. our subject; Silas A., Eber A., George W., James F. and Joseph A. (who was drowned at the age of five years, in a small creek near their home in Fayette County, Ohio) and Addison A.
The early life of William Ragan was passed upon the home farm and at the age of fourteen he hired out as a farm hand at $5 a month, and served in this capacity until he reached the age of eighteen years. He then saw the need of an education and so for a number of years we find him attending school and teaching and he finally became a teacher in the High School at Shelbyville. He studied law in the office of Hamlin & Holloway and in 1884 was admitted to the bar. After practicing for one year he entered the Union College at Chicago, which college is the law department of the Northwestern University at Evanston. Since taking his diploma in 1886 he has given his entire attention to his profession at Shelbyville. He has a general practice but gives particular attention to criminal practice. The domestic life of Mr. Ragan is a very happy one, as he was married July 1, 1877, to Mary C. Gallagher, daughter of Jacob and Sarah Gallagher, who was born in Shelby County, where her parents are among the pioneers. They have had three children to gather about their fireside, the eldest, Jennie, dying in infancy, but Elza M. and Maude A., remain to be the joy and comfort of their parents. He is deeply interested in political movements and espoused the cause of the Republican party until 1888 at which time he supported the Democratic ticket, stumping the State and making brilliant and effective speeches in sixty different places. He has never sought office and prefers to give his attention to private practice. He is identified with the Masonic fraternity and has been an earnest and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since he was fourteen years of age. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Cecil J. Rawlings
Cecil J. Rawlings is a general farmer and the owner of a fine tract of land comprising one hundred acres on section 27, of Pickaway Township, Shelby County. His place is highly improved and every aid that science has brought to bear upon agriculture, has been made to favor the improvement of his property. He has erected a good class of buildings upon his place, the most important and central being his residence, which is attractive from without and comfortable and convenient within. Prior to his becoming proprietor of this farm he was engaged in farming in this county, in which work he has been devoted since his majority. Our subject came to Pickaway Township with his parents in 1865. His advent here was made from Maryland, where he was born in Cecil County, March 11, 1853. His father was John Rawlings, a native of Maryland, who came of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and a cousin on the maternal side, to George B. McClellan, his mother having been an aunt to the honorable gentleman. John Rawlings lost his father when very young and was reared by his mother until he became of age. About that time he learned the wagon-maker's trade, but as the work did not agree with him physically he left it to become clerk in a store, in which position he continued for a time, after which he went to Guernsey County, Ohio. He there lived until 1865 when he removed with his family to this State, purchasing a large farm in Ridge Township upon which he made some improvements. Later, in 1883, he came to Pickaway Township and secured one hundred and sixty acres on section 34, and there made valuable improvements, purchasing other land and owning in this county not far from seven hundred acres. He made and improved his property entirely by his own efforts, being a practical and thrifty farmer, and was so fortunate as to make the proper investments such a time as to return large profits to himself. He died at his home in this township, September 29, 1887, being then past sixty-nine years of age. Our subject is the eldest of six children yet living - two children having passed away. He of whom we write acquired a practical education in the common schools of the district. He had the advantages of a beautiful home life and an example in both parents of uprightness, honor and integrity, and an ideal being constantly before him of gentleness and patience, which are the leading characteristics that the sect to which his father belonged endeavor to cultivate. He became of age in Ridge Township, and there married his wife, in April, 1878. Her maiden name was Amelia T. Robinson. She was born in Kentucky, February 8, 1856. She came to this State and located in Shelby County, when but a girl, in 1867, coming hither with her parents, James J. and Margaret (Gaines) Robinson, who are now successful farmers in Todd Point Township, this county. Mrs. Rawlings is of a good family having been reared most tenderly. She has taken advantage of every opportunity to add to her native attractions by making the most of all educational opportunities, and is the possessor of many accomplishments. For some seven years before her marriage she was engaged as a teacher, and as teachers generally do, she makes a delightful home for her husband.
Mrs. Rawlings is the mother of five children. Two of those are deceased, namely: Mabel M. who was ten years of age at the time of her death, and Loren who was but five months old when called away. The living children are Adrian C., Zena B. and Ethel S. Our subject is a member of the Presbyterian Church. His wife belongs to the Christian Church, and although by force of habit and education they go their different ways in church matters, they are one in their Christian life, striving to do unto others as they would be done by. As was his father before him, Mr. Rawlings is a Democrat, believing those principles to be the ones most favoring freedom in the sense that as a Republic, we desire.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Harry M. Rawlings
Among the agriculturists of Shelby County who are so capably carrying on their affairs, both as farmers and citizens, as to be deserving of representation in a biographical work, may be mentioned Mr. Rawlings, an esteemed citizen of Ridge Township. His home of one hundred twenty acres is on section 9, and being well managed, is the source of a better income than some of much greater extent. It affords a good maintenance and enables Mr. Rawlings to make some provision for the future, and as a home, it is comfortable and pleasant. The owner is industrious and prudent, and care is taken to make the best possible use of the acreage that he cultivates and to supply it with modern improvements, such as befit the home of a cultured and intelligent family.
John Rawlings, father of our subject, was born in Cecil County, Md., in 1817 and upon reaching man's estate was married to Martha E. McMaster, a native of Maryland. After their marriage the worthy couple located in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1856. After a sojourn in that county of nine years, they came to Shelby County, Ill., in 1865, and located on section 9, Ridge Township, where their son, our subject, now resides. After improving this farm and making it their home for a period of sixteen years, they removed to Pickaway Township, where the father died September 30, 1887. The mother still survives. Their family comprised eight children, five sons and three daughters, our subject being the second in order of birth.
The birthplace of our subject was Cecil County, Md., and his natal day August 10, 1855. He was a mere babe when his parents took him to Ohio, where he remained until he was ten years old, in the meantime gaining the rudiments of his education in the district schools. In 1865 be accompanied his parents to this county, where he has since resided. He has from childhood been engaged in agricultural pursuits and his thorough knowledge of agriculture in all its departments has fitted him for an honorable and successful career. He was married in Ridge Township, February 24, 1885, to Miss Katie Weakly, daughter of the late Samuel Weakly. For further information in regard to her parents the reader is referred to the sketch of Edson B. Weakly. Mrs. Rawlings was born in Ridge Township, September 6, 1861, and is universally esteemed for her noble qualities.
In politics Mr. Rawlings gives his support to the Democratic party; religiously he and his estimable wife are consistent members of the Presbyterian Church. His farm is embellished by all buildings necessary for the shelter of stock and storage of grain, as well as a comfortable residence, and such arrangements are made for sowing and reaping as show that the owner possesses progressive ideas and a worthy ambition. He is a judicious and successful agriculturist and deservedly commands the confidence of the business community.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
It seems one of the compensations for the many hardships we suffer in this world that when the dark river has been crossed, the friends left on this side forget to a great extent the mistakes that have been made, and have only kindly, gracious things to say of one. This is as it should be, for human nature is at heart much better than we are often willing to give it credit for. Let us strew pansies for sweet thoughts over the mounds whose fullness leaves a void in many a saddened heart.
Our subject, who passed away from this life into the unknown but imagined brightness of the after world at his home, which is located on section 34, Pickaway Township, in 1888, was taken away while yet there was a golden yellow in the fall season, before the blasts of winter were chilling the homes and making life seem more desolate. At the time of his decease he had all but reached the three-score and ten generally allotted to man, being sixty-nine years and some months old. He was born in Maryland December 18, 1819. Although he was an American by birth and parentage, he was of Irish ancestry.
Our subject's father had died when his son was but two years old. He was the youngest of two sons and two daughters born to his parents. Carefully reared by his mother, he continued to live with her in his native State until he became of age, during which time he aided in the work of earning a livelihood. There he became of age and was soon after married to Miss Martha E. McMaster. Their marriage was celebrated May 15, 1851. The lady was a native of Maryland and born May 16, 1830. She was of American parents, although of Scotch-Irish ancestry.
After marriage our subject and his wife went to Ohio and there they lived for some years in Guernsey County, where a part of their children were born. In 1865 the family came to Shelby County, Ill., and our subject, who, by his industrious, thrifty ways, had accumulated for that time a comfortable amount, was enabled to purchase a farm of two hundred and eighty acres in Ridge Township, at which place he lived for some years. In 1882 Mr. Rawlings came to Pickaway Township and purchased one hundred and sixty acres on section 24, where he was living at the time of his death.
Our subject was a man with careful, industrious and prudent business faculties, in whom the acquisitive faculty was predominant. He was very successful in every undertaking and at the time of his death was the owner of six hundred and ninety two acres of fine land in this county. Most of this, in fact all but eighty-five acres, which is timber land, was well improved. Thrifty and far-sighted, the investments that he made on first coming to the county were proved to be judicious and profitable, nor was he alone in his efforts, for his wife was such a woman as is described in Proverbs.
He of whom we write had been reared in the Quaker belief and throughout life rather held to that belief, but here, where there were so few of his sect, be united in worship of the Almighty with the members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a regular attendant. Mr. Rawlings was a Democrat in his political inclinations, although in accordance with his early religious training he left political strife to those who had taste for such an exciting, unsatisfying career. Our subject's widow, who yet survives him, is an amiable and charming woman, who holds a prominent position in social life, by virtue of her high intellectual attainments and her suavity and gentleness of manner. She is now the owner of part of the homestead, including the fine brick residence in which she lives. At sixty years of age her vigor is unabated and the keenness of perception shows no diminution. She has a large circle of friends in this county, among whom she is regarded with tender and loving affection. She and her children are members of the Presbyterian Church.
Eight children have come to this beautiful home and have enjoyed the advantages of loving parental care. Two of these are deceased: Emma T., who died at the age of twenty-one years, and Mary T. passed away at four years of age. The living children are: Cecil J., who is an owner and operator of a farm in this township; he took to wife Amelia Robinson; Harry M., took to wife Catherine Weekly and resides on a farm of which they are the owners, in Ridge Township; William C. farms his own land in this township; his wife's maiden name was Ida Yencer; Robert F. owns and occupies one hundred and twenty acres of home stead and makes his home with his mother; Edward M. took to wife Effie Reed, of this township; they live upon the old home place in Ridge Township; Lizzie R. is at home and is the comfort and help of her mother.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John Reber, whose handsome brick residence built after modern architectural design attracts the eye of every visitor to Prairie Township, Shelby County, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, January 2, 1838. His parents, T. V. and Rachel (Allen) Reber were natives of the same county, the father being born in 1807 and now living in Wyandot County, that State, and the mother, who was born in 1809, having died in the county just named in October, 1890.
Of the family of T. V. and Rachel Reber, there were eight children, and our subject was the second in age. Like thousands of young men from Ohio he came to Illinois, arriving here October 5, 1867 and locating on the farm where he now resides. He has since that time efficiently carried on the business of farming and stock-raising. This State was visited by his father about the year 1850, and he then entered the land from the Government, which afterward came to this son by inheritance. Mr. Reber has a splendid farm of four hundred and eighty acres, and upon this he has recently erected a new home, a view of which appears on another page.
March 23, 11891, was the happy wedding day of John Reber and Mrs. Clara Thompson. Mrs. Reber is a native of Shelby County and a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Stamper, of Herrick, this county. She was first married to William Thompson, of Shelby County, who died in 1890. Mr. Reber always voted the Republican party until 1890, when he broke away from party lines and became independent in his political view and vote. He makes a principle of casting his ballot for the man and the measures which in his judgment will best subserve the good of the community and the prosperity of the commonwealth. He is not a professor of religion but cheerfully gives of his means to the support of the Gospel. He is looked upon by his neighbors as one of the valuable and solid members of the social and industrial community of Prairie Township. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The sons of the pioneers have indeed reason to feel proud of their honorable ancestry. The early settlers in Illinois were a class of men and women who came to the New West not alone for personal aggrandizement but mainly for the benefit of their posterity. They cheerfully endured hardships and wrought gladly with their hands that they might provide a future for those who are dependent upon them. Our subject was born in Shelbyville Township, Shelby County, August 8, 1839, where he now resides, his parents being Moses and Ruth (Fortner) Reed. The father was born in Tennessee, March 3, 1807, and there married a lady who was born in North Carolina, March 12, 1808, a daughter of Micajah Fortner. This young wedded couple came to Illinois and settled in Shelby County about the year 1825, when there were no houses between them and Vandalia and only two or three houses anywhere in their vicinity. Indians still abounded in Shelby County, deer and other game were plenty and wolves came about the dooryard.
Moses Reed entered land and settled on section 23, where he also purchased other land and dealt in real-estate more or less, having generally six hundred acres of land in possession at a time. He made his permanent home where he first settled and remained there until his death in November, 1884, at the age of seventy-seven years. His widow died August 13, 1890, at the very advanced age of eighty-three years. Their ten children are Lucinda, now Mrs. Jackson; Edward; Elizabeth, deceased; Eliza, now Mrs. Henry Hilton; Artimesia, now Mrs. Manning; Moses; Alfred, our subject; Elisha and Marion, deceased; and one who died in childhood. Having grown to manhood in Shelbyville Township, and undertaken as his work for life agricultural pursuits, our subject decided to establish a home for himself and in 1862 he married Rebecca, daughter of Jacob Kensil, who became the mother of five children and died in 1873. Two only of her children are now living, namely: Sarah, now Mrs. Bazel Haywood and Mary J., the wife of Lewis Manning. In 1877 Mr. Reed married Alzira Hoard, daughter of Andrew J. and Mary J. (Highland) Hoard. This lady was born in Union County, Ohio, October 14, 1856, and came with her parents to Illinois in 1868. They settled in Shelby County, and here this young girl grew up into a lovely young womanhood and received a training in the useful arts of housewifery, in which she became expert. Her beloved mother is still living and her worthy father died July 4, 1886, at the age of sixty-four years, only of the second marriage is now living, a daughter Zula; a little one died at the age of eighteen months some years ago. About three hundred acres of land now form the home farm of this successful and thorough-going farmer. He prefers to devote himself largely to stock-raising of which he makes a specialty, and in which he is very prosperous. His political views have led him to ally himself with the Democratic party, and he firmly believes that the principles endorsed by "Old Hickory" are the reliable ground for politically action now-a-days. The high esteem in which he is held by his neighbors has often led them to urge his acceptance of various local offices, but the only position which he has ever felt willing to accept was that of a member of the School Board in which he has been very useful and has aided materially in forwarding the educational interests of his township. Socially he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
James Q. Reighley
James Q. Reighley is a representative farmer and stock-raiser of Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, who is prominent in the public, political and social life of this part of the county. He was born in the town of Winchester, Adams County, Ohio, December 15, 1850, and is the eldest son of William and Rachel (Bailey) Reighley, of whom see sketch on another page of this volume. He was three years old when his parents came to establish a new home in Illinois. He was given superior advantages for an education, of which he laid the foundation in the graded schools of Paxton in Ford County. He subsequently attended the Illinois Industrial College at Champaign, and also pursued a liberal course of study at Westfield University.
Thus well equipped by a sound mental training for life's duties, our subject after leaving the latter institution taught one term of school, and then entered the employ of the Chicago, Danville and Vincennes Railway Company as civil engineer, and later engaged with the Chicago and Paducah Railway company in the same capacity. He also had experience as a civil engineer in the West, going to Colorado in 1875 in the service of the Kansas Pacific. In January, 1876, in common with many others he was attracted to the Black Hills by the discovery of gold in that region, and made the journey hither from Denver, a distance of four hundred miles, with teams. At that time Deadwood was a hamlet of a few log houses, and hostile Indians infested the locality. Our subject and some others started out with the intention of locating a mining camp, but their wagons were burned and their ponies and provisions were stolen by the Indians. Thus frustrated in his attempts to search for gold Mr. Reighley concluded to return to civilization, and made his way on foot to Cheyenne. He then resumed work with the Kansas Pacific for a few months, then entered the employ of a ranchman as foreman, and in the fall of 1876, took a train load of cattle to Chicago. From there he visited the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, thence went to New York, where embarked on a steamer for Galveston. His intention is going to Texas was to start a ranch in that State, but after his arrival there he was thrown from his horse and so severely injured that he was forced to abandon his design. As soon as he was able he returned to Chaco and for a few months was foreman in the packing house of Hutchinson and Kent. In 1878, our subject, who had already had experience in handling cattle, came to Moweaqua and was actively engaged in stock-raising the ensuing year. At the expiration of that time he invested in eighty acres of land finely located one mile east of the village mentioned. There being no buildings on the place, he rented a dwelling until 1886, when he erected his present neat and conveniently arranged residence. He has added to the original size of his farm by further purchase; and it now contains one hundred and sixty-five acres of well-improved prairie land. In December, 1878, Mr. Reighley was happily married to Miss Elizabeth Ann Knowles, a native of Erie County, Ohio. Their pleasant home circle is completed by the one child born to them, John Henry.
Our subject is influential in the councils of the Republican party in this section as one of its most thoughtful and intelligent supporters in his community, and he has served as delegate to various political conventions. He has always taken a deep interest in all that pertains to the welfare of his township, especially in the education of its youth, and he is a member of the district School Board. He has served two terms as Highway Commissioner, and has twice assessed the township. In his social relations, he is identified with Shelby Lodge, No. 274, I.O.O.F.; and Moweaqua Lodge, No. 1013, K. of H. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
This venerable and highly-esteemed citizen of Moweaqua owns and occupies a large and valuable farm, finely located, a part of it in the village and the remainder near-by. Our subject was born ten miles east of Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pa., November 22, 1810. His father, Matthew Reighley, was born on the Irish coast, at a point where it approaches nearest Scotland, and he was of Scotch blood. During some period of his life he emigrated to this country and was engaged at his occupation as a farmer in Mifflin County, when his death occurred in October, 1814. He married after coming to the United States, Susan Close, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Adam Close, becoming his wife. She survived her husband many years and finally died in Adams County, Ohio, in 1852. She was the mother of eight children.
He of whom this sketch is written was in his fourth year when his father died and he was reared by his mother on the old farm that was his birthplace, and he remained with her until he was twenty-one. He then rented land in his native county and farmed it until October, 1839, when he removed to Ohio, going there by canal rail to Johnstown, thence by canal to the Ohio River, on which he proceeded to Wheeling, where he took a stage for Adams County, Ohio. He bought a tract of improved land and gave his attention to its cultivation as long as he remained a resident of the Buckeye State, which was until 1852. In that year he came to Illinois, making the removal with a pair of horses and carriage. He located at Chena Grove, McLean County, where he bought a section of land, having entered it from the Government on a previous visit, said land including the present site of the village of Belle Flower.
Mr. Reighley lived in McLean County five years and then, renting his land, rook up his residence in Ford county, buying property near Paxton. Three years later he removed to Drummond's Grover, near Gibson City, and remained there until 1874, when he came to Shelby County and invested in four hundred and forty-five acres of land, located as previously mentioned, in and adjoining the village of Moweaqua, where he has ever since made his home. He has here a fine piece of property, substantially improved, and its possession places him among our most solid citizens.
Fifty-one years ago, March 25, 1840, our subject celebrated his wedding with Miss Rachel Bailey, who has been to him a loving and faithful wife during all these long years that they have shared life's joys and sorrows. Children have come to them, of whom these three have been spared to comfort their declining years: James Quincy, William Selkirk and John Wilson. Their only daughter, Susan Mary, was born July 12, 1844, grew to womanhood, married Wallace P Zook, and died in 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Reighley are sincere Christians, holding membership in the United Brethren church, and have endeavored to be true to their religious obligations, including their duties as parents, neighbors and friends.
Mrs. Reighley was born amid the pioneer scenes of Adams County, Ohio, July 18, 1820. Her father, Eben Bailey, was a native of Kentucky and was a son of one Joel Bailey, who was born and reared in England. He came to this country when a young man and was married on his arrival here to Miss Rachel Perkins, who was born in Ireland and was of English ancestry. The removed from Maryland to Virginia and thence to Kentucky, in the early years of its settlement. Mr. Bailey was opposed to slavery, so he crossed the Ohio River into the Northwestern Territory and settled on the present site of Cincinnati, where he bought a tract of timber land that is now included within the city limits. Later he disposed of that and removed to Adams County, of which he became a prominent pioneer. He bought a large tract of forest covered land, platted the village of Winchester and built the first house there. It was made of hewn logs and in it he opened the first store in the township. At that time his dwelling was one mile from there. He was a resident of that place until his death and his enterprise helped to advance its growth. His wife also died there.
Mrs. Reighley's father was reared on his father's farm in Ohio and always gave his attention to farming. In 1850 he became a resident of Fountain County, Ind., where he bought a farm, upon which he dwelt until his demise in 1859, at a ripe age. He was married in 1818 to Rhoda Prather Udell, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Thomas and Grace (Austin) Odell. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey reared a family of nine children. Mrs. Reighley's mother was an expert in the art of weaving and spinning and she taught her daughter those useful accomplishments and in her early married life Mrs. Reighley manufactured all the cloth used by her family with her own deft hands. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team]
How blessed and sweet is the rest that follows the labor of a long day spent in adjusting the work and management of one's duties, no matter in what calling. Even so is the rest in the evening of life that a man feels and enjoys after a career of which each day was a repetition of its predecessor in hard manual labor, and the worry of daily existence. This rest is now enjoyed by the gentleman who is the subject of this little biographical sketch in outline. An energetic, stirring man whose whole ambition and energies was to keep in the van of his affairs, and abreast with the time in advancement of all kinds, he has well earned the pleasant retirement from active duties that he now enjoys.
Our subject, who is now a retired farmer, is son of Tobias Renner, who was probably a native of Maryland. His mother was Cynthia Smith, who was born in New Jersey. The came to Shelby County, this State, from Belmont County, Ohio, in 1837, although after marriage they first settled in Pennsylvania, removing from there to Guernsey County, Ohio, whence they went to Belmont County. At their advent into this State and country, they settled in Richland Township, where they lived for some years. The father died about 1840. The mother survived her husband for several years, at last passing away in Richland Township. They were the parents of a large family of children, of whom our subject was the second in order of birth. He was probably born in Green County, Pa., his natal day being November 12, 1815.
Samuel Renner made his advent into Shelby County with his parents in the fall of 1837. They at once settled upon a farm, and the lad was brought up to that calling, and has always followed it. He was married in Richland Township, November 8, 1838, to Miss Martha Balch, a daughter of Amos and Martha (Leach) Balch. The former was a native of Tennessee. The mother died when Mrs. Renner was quite young. The family went from Kentucky to Indiana, where the mother's death took place. After that sad even Mr. Balch came to Shelby County, this State, in 1836, settling in Richland Township, where he lived for about four years, at the expiration of which time he removed to Bond County, and there died. Mrs. Renner is one of a family of eleven children, there having been seven sons and four daughters, and of these the lady who became the wife of our subject, was the youngest. She was born in Indiana, September 30, 1821.
After the union of our subject and wife, they settled in Richland Township, on a farm located on section 27, where they lived upwards of fifty years, until March, 1889, when they removed to Strasburg, where they are now making their home. Their town residence is a cozy place, where they can enjoy the afternoon of life with its soft mellow sunset in serenity and peace. Some of their children live near at hand, and in them and the lives of their families they live again their own youthful experience. Mr. and Mrs. Renner are the parents of twelve children. Those living are Martha, John, Joseph, Emeline, James and Elizabeth. Martha is the wife of Joseph Rouse, and is distinguished for her matronly bearing, being a gently and loving wife and helpmate; Emeline married James Turner; Elizabeth is the wife of Berry Barker. The eldest son, Stephen was a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, and died a victim of typhoid fever, at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., after having served for three months. The other deceased children passed away when young. In his political preference Mr. Renner is a Republican having been in his youth, a follower of the old line Whig party. Religiously he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which body they have done good service. Our subject and his wife have passed a long life in usefulness and devotion, not only to their own personal desires and aims, but for the elevation and help of their fellow-men. They have more than passed the Scripturally allotted portion of life and approach the time when wearied with the cares of existence, each will be glad to say: "Goodnight; now cometh gentle sleep, "And dreams that fall like gentle rain; "Good night! Oh holy, blessed and deep "The rest that follows pain. "How should we reach God's upper Light "If life's long day had no good-night." [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
James W. Rhodes
James W. Rhodes, a prominent farmer of Shelby County, residing on section 9, Tower Hill Township, owns and operates one of the finest estates in the community. By a proper rotation of crops the land has been brought to a high state of cultivation, and the large harvests bear evidence of the thrift of the manager. Good buildings have been erected, the principal one being the residence, a commodious structure with an air of refinement within its walls, which proves the presence of a cultured lady.
The father of our subject, Green Rhodes, was a native of Tennessee, who came at an early day to Shelby County, Ill., and was here united in marriage with Margaret Wakefield, a native of this county. At first the young couple resided in the vicinity of Shelbyville, whence they removed to Tennessee, and made it their home one year. However, they concluded that prospects in Illinois were more flattering than in Tennessee, and accordingly they returned hither and settled south of Williamsburg, where the father closed his eyes to the scenes of earth. His wife died in Pana, this State. Our subject was the only son among five children, and was born in Shelby County, Ill., August 21, 1840. He passed his childhood upon a farm, and when about ten years old accompanied his mother to Dallas County, Mo., where he remained perhaps seven years. At the expiration of that time the family returned to Shelby County, where he has since made his home, being identified with the growth of the county and a witness of its development. His chief business in life has been farming, in which he has met with more than ordinary success, as he possesses those qualities of energy and industry which are essential to any calling in life.
The first wife of Mr. Rhodes was born in Shelby County, Ill., September 4, 1845, and bore the maiden name of Martha E. Pugh. After their marriage, which was celebrated in Missouri, they settled on the farm where Mr. Rhodes now resides in Tower Hill Township. The wife and mother died March 9, 1885. She had become the mother of seven children, viz.: Merritt E., who married a Miss Wiese; Margaret, and a son, both of whom died in infancy; Frank W.; Effie L., who passed from earth December 30, 1889, at the age of seventeen; John J. and Ida B. Mrs. Rhodes was a consistent member of the Episcopal Church. Having considerable interest in the cause of education, Mr. Rhodes has served efficiently as School Director for several years. He has also taken an active part in political affairs and is a Prohibitionist. Any measure caluculated [sic] to assist the community finds in him a strong supporter, and he is recognized as one of the pillars in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he has been Trustee. By careful economy and good judgment he has been enabled to increase his real-estate holdings until he is now owner of four hundred and forty-five acres of splendid land.
On March 14, 1889, Mr. Rhodes was united in marriage in Shelbyville. Ill., with Miss Ollie Brown who was born in Hancock County, Ohio, August 18, 1866. Mrs. Rhodes is the daughter of Dr. Abaaham and Helen (Buckingham) Brown, the former dying in Tower Hill Township and the latter still surviving. Eight children came to Dr. and Mrs. Brown, of whom Mrs. Rhodes was next to the youngest. She is an estimable lady and enjoys the high regard of all who know her.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William M. Richards
WILLIAM M. RICHARDS, who owns the fine farm located on section 32, of Richland Township, is a son of P. F. Richards, a native of Pennsylvania. His mother was Elizabeth (Mechling) Richards and was born in Perry County, Ohio. After marriage the parents settled in Ohio but removed to Missouri, and in 1861, just previous to the breaking out of the Civil War, they came to Shelby County, this State, where the mother died in Prairie Township and the father passed away in Richland Township. They were the parents of thirteen children and of these our subject is the second in order of birth.
William M. Richards was born in Perry County, Ohio, October 27, 1840. When he was but two years of age his parents removed to Allen County, Ohio, and there they settled upon a farm. Here he passed the greater part of his boyhood life, remaining with his father until he was about twenty-five years of age. During this time he was engaged in agricultural labors on the home farm and in the intervals of that work was occupied by the application to school studies, and being apt at his books, he acquired a good practical knowledge of the branches that are most essential to a business man.
He of whom we write was married in Prairie Township, July 4, 1865. His wife's maiden name was Miss Mary J. Renner. She, however, been previously married and at the time of her marriage with our subject was Mrs. McMillen. She was born in prairie Township, November 6, 1843. After marriage they made their home in Prairie Township for two years and then purchased the farm whereon they now reside in Richland Township. His farm at the present time comprises four hundred and sixty acres and upon it he has made good improvements. He is a prosperous farmer wo is justly successful in his chosen career and calling. The latest improvements in machinery and farm implements are employed in the cultivation of the place. His stock is of the best class and his buildings are good and substantia. His dwell is located on a slight eminence that commands a charming view of the surrounding country. It is surrounded by fine shade and fruit trees. The interior arrangement is made with sole view to the comfort and convenience of the occupants.
Mr. Richards and his wife became the parents of eight children, whose names are as follows: Nancy M., Samuel C., Elizabeth F., John P., Simon A., Mary C. Franklin W. and Ann B. the eldest daughter is now the wife of Rev. John B. Webb and is a great assistance to her husband in his work. Samuel C. married Miss Elizabeth Duncan and has a pleasant home of his own. Elizabeth F. died when sixteen years of age, when life spread before her so promising a prospect.
Mrs. Mary J. Richards died in Richland Township December 27, 1890. Since girlhood she had been a member of the Baptist Church, and was an ardent worker in the spread of the Gospel. Mr. Richards is also a member of the Baptist Church. Our subject has always been engaged in farming and agricultural pursuits, and although he has reached the meridian of life is not so set in his opinions that he cannot progress with the times. Since the formation of the Prohibition party he has allied himself with it, believing in the purity of its principle and purpose. For many years he has held the office of Deacon in the Baptist Church. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George W. Richardson
George W. Richardson, of Shelbyville, has for many years been closely identified with the agricultural interest of Shelby County, and is regarded as one of its most honorable and reliable citizens. He is descended from good old Revolutionary and pioneer stock, and is a native of the State of Indiana, born in Warren County August 13, 1836. His father, James Richardson, was also an Indianian by birth, born in Parke County, of which his father, John Richardson, was a very early settler. The grandfather of our subject was a native of North Carolina and the son of a Revolutionary soldier who lost his life in battle while fighting for the freedom of his country. John Richardson passed his boyhood in North Carolina, and was there married to Mary Salers, also a native of that State. In 1800 he left his old home with his family to establish a new one in the forest primeval of the Northwestern Territory. He penetrated to the wilds of what is now Indiana, and was one of the first white men to settle in that territory, locating in what is now Parke County. When the land was surveyed and came into the market he purchased a tract heavily timbered, from which by hard labor he cleared a farm. He was a resident of Indiana until 1834, when he sold his property there and again became a pioneer, coming to this county and buying Government land in what is now Windsor Township. He improved a large farm, upon which he lived some years, and he then once more changed his residence to still another State, going to Missouri, where he remained a few years ere he returned to this county, where his earthly pilgrimage was at length brought to a close December 31, 1865, he having attained a ripe old age. His venerable wife survived him until 1875, when she died in Big Spring Township. The father of our subject was reared in Indiana, and in due time took unto himself a wife, marrying in Warren County, that State, Delilah Small, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Knight and Lydia Small. He bought a tract of land in that county and farmed it until 1839, when he, too, imbued with the same spirit that had characterized his ancestry, became a pioneer, coming to this State with his wife and two children, making the entire journey by land, bringing his household goods, and camping by the wayside at night. He settled in what is now Windsor Township, where he entered Government land, besides buying other land, which he has since improved into a fine farm, which is still his home. He and his family first lived in a log house that stood on the land when he bought it, but some years later he replaced that humble abode by a more commodious frame structure, and erected other suitable farm buildings. He is held in great respect by his fellow-citizens as one of the pioneers of the county who has materially contributed to its growth. Death has deprived him of the companionship of the wife of his early manhood. They reared two children - our subject and his brother John, the latter of whom occupies a part of his father's old homestead. George W. Richardson was but three years old when his parents brought him to Illinois, and it may be said that he grew with the growth of the county which has ever since been his home, as at that time it too was in its infancy. The country round about their new home was almost in its primitive condition. and the land was mostly in the hands of the Government, which has since disposed of it at $1.25 an acre, or at a smaller price. Our subject attended the first schools opened in the county, that were taught in log houses. The seats were made of slabs or logs split and one side hewed smooth, and wooden pins were inserted for legs, and there were no backs to the seats. The schoolrooms were lighted by an aperture made by the removal of a log, greased paper serving instead of glass. A slab laid on pegs driven into holes that had been bored into a log in the side of the building was the primitive arrangement for a writing desk for the older pupils. When the family first came to the county deer, wild turkeys and other game in abundance roamed where are now finely cultivated farms and busy towns. St. Louis, one hundred and twenty miles away, was the nearest market to the settlers of this region, nine days being consumed in making the round trip. The people lived mostly on the products of their farms and the women spun and wove the cloth in which their children were clothed. Our subject remained an inmate of the parental home until he married and established one of his own. After attaining manhood he worked a part of his father's farm a few years and then bought a farm for himself in the same township. In the busy years that followed he greatly increased its value by judicious cultivation and by the many fine improvements that he made, and under his thrifty care it became one of the choicest farms in the township of Windsor. In 1888 he took up his residence at Shelbyville, though he still owns and superintends his farm. That our subject has a happy home replete with comfort is partly due to the active co-operation of his estimable wife, from whom he has always received a cheerful assistance and helpful counsel. They were united in marriage in 1855. Mrs. Richardson was in her maiden days Mary E. Bland. She was born in Licking County, Ohio. and is a daughter of Joel and Harriet (Dittenhauer) Bland. Her marriage with our subject has been blessed with children. of whom these three are living: Ebenezer A., Palmyra and Stephen. The latter is a prosperous farmer in Windsor Township. Ebenezer, the eldest son, is one of the leading lawyers of the county. He received his early education in the district school and subsequently attended the Wesleyan University at Bloomington. He studied law with Judge Ames and H. J. Hamlin, was admitted to the bar in 1883, and has since practiced his profession at Shelbyville. Mr. Richardson is a man of solid worth, possessing those traits that command respect in the business world and win esteem among his neighbors and associates. He and his wife are sincere Christian people as is attested by their every day conduct in all the relations of life that they sustain towards each other, towards their children and all about them. They and two of their children are members in high standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In his political views our subject is a decided Democrat. He has held important public positions with credit to himself and to the benefit of the community. While a resident of Windsor Township he represented it as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, and he was also Justice of the Peace. He has likewise been an incumbent of that office since he came to Shelbyville, having been appointed to it in 1889, and he was re-elected to the same position in 1890. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Bayless A. Richhart
The Richhart family have for years been prominent in this country. The oldest progenitor known to our subject was his grandfather, Henry Richhart, who was born and reared in Pennsylvania, coming of Pennsylvania Dutch stock and parentage. He was a farmer by occupation, in Pennsylvania. He moved to Ohio and there died at the age of sixty-eight years. While a young man he married Susanna Lawyer, who was also of Dutch ancestry; she, like her husband, passed her life in her native State, and there passed away at the age of about forty years. The aged couple were sturdy, stanch, true-hearted representatives of the Quaker State. To them were born fourteen children, three of whom are yet living, namely: Henry, Mrs. Barbara Johnson and Catherine Brainer. Henry is a farmer and dairyman at Nickerson, Kan. Mrs. Brainer is now living in Morgan County, this State.
The father of our subject was William Richhart and was one of the large family above mentioned. He was born December 13, 1816, in Ross County, Ohio. There he was reared and early learned the science of farming. When he reached manhood he was married in Pickaway County, Ohio, to Miss Elenore Nichols, a native of the county wherein her marriage was celebrated. The lady was a daughter of Bayless Nichols, and was born December 31, 1784, in Virginia, and died in Ohio, May 3, 1842. Her father was twice married, his first wife being Melinda Rutledge. She died leaving five offspring. The second wife of Bayless Nichols, was Sarah Griffith. After their marriage they spent the remainder of their lives in Ohio, being old settlers there. Their parents came respectively from England and Virginia, the father of Bayless Nichols being a native of the British Isles. He came to America when a young man and was early married to Elizabeth Glover, their nuptials being celebrated, strange to say, during the strife of the Revolution, and although the groom was not long from the mother country, he did not demur that his bride's wedding outfit was homespun and the work of her own hands, as on principle, she would not pay any duty on foreign goods. They were married in Virginia, where their fifteen children were born. They moved to Ohio where they spent the remainder of their lives. They were Methodists in religious belief, and Whigs in political following.
After marriage, William Richhart, the father of our subject, began life with his bride in Ross County, Ohio, and some years after the birth of their first child, came to Illinois during the '40s, journeying hither with their household goods overland, by means of teams. They settled in a new part of Morgan County, near Arcadia, where they entered a farm which in later years was improved to a high degree. It was at this place that our subject opened his eyes to the light of this mundane sphere, his natal day being September 24, 1850. He was the second child and the first born to his parents in Illinois. There were five sons and four daughters in all. Only three of the sons are now living. They are our subject, John and William. The latter is a farmer in this county, and John is a farmer at Strawn, Coffey County, Kan. Both have taken to themselves wives who are good and noble women. The father died in Morgan County on his farm, March 18, 1856. He was a good man and had a large circle of friends where he lived, who mourned his loss. Politically he was an old-line Whig, and in his religious views, a Methodist. He was a quiet, unpretentious man, but genial and kindly in his disposition. His wife, who survived him, married Lewis Dean. One child was the outcome of this union. Mrs. Dean, who is now sixty-five years of age is yet active and ambitious. She lives in Moweaqua, and is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of that place. The original of our sketch was reared to manhood in Morgan County and when about twenty years of age moved to Logan County, Ill., and after two years spent there, he removed to Macon County in 1872 and six years thereafter came to this county. He was first married in Logan County, to Miss Maggie B. Stein, who was a native of Pennsylvania, and who, when very young, came with her parents to Illinois, settling first in Flat Branch Township, Shelby County, and after some years, the parents, Samuel and Elizabeth (Macklin) Stein, moved to Moweaqua and there died at an advanced age. Mrs. Richhart, the wife of our subject, died in Flat Branch Township, on the farm on which she was reared, October 8, 1883, being then only twenty-seven years of age. She was the mother of five children, one of whom died in infancy. Those living are Bertha A., Nellie E., Russell E. and Mabel.
Mr. Richhart was a second time married in Pickaway Township, to Miss Ida B. Stump. Their marriage was celebrated April 5, 1885. The lady is a native of Pickaway Township, where she was born January 31, 1864. She was brought up in the county in which she was married and is a daughter of Jacob and Sarah Stump, who are natives of Ohio, being married in Pickaway County, Ohio, and later coming to Illinois, where they settled in Pickaway Township. There they purchased and improved a tract of land and there Mr. Stump died in the spring of 1876, while yet in the prime of life. Mrs. Stump is yet living on the old homestead, having attained sixty-three years of age. She, as was her husband, is a very active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Richhart is the mother of two children whose names are Rollin F. and Bessie A. Mr. and Mrs. Richhart are members of the United Brethern Church. The gentleman has been honored by several positions in the township gift, having been Road Commissioner, Supervisor and Assessor, besides holding minor offices. He is a prominent Republican in his locality. There is a saying that "He who shoots at a midday sun, though he may not hit, shoots higher than he who aims at a bush," and this has ever been the mode of procedure of our subject. He can truly say that he is a self-made man, ever having worked to reach the mark which he had set high for himself. He has thus far overcome every difficulty that he has encountered in his career and has already won a flattering degree of success. He owns a beautiful home which is on three hundred and forty acres, located on section 1, of Flat Branch Township. Here he has a fine residence recently built on the site of one that he lost by fire.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The enterprising little village of Fancher counts among its inhabitants some first-class business men, and among them we are gratified to note the Postmaster and merchant whose name appears in connection with this sketch, and who is one of the really enterprising men of Shelby County. His birth took place in Butler County, Ohio, October 24, 1843. His parents were Samuel and Susan (Hill) Richmond. The father was born in New Jersey, and went to Ohio when he was sixteen years old, going on foot all the way from his native State to Butler County, Ohio. In that latter name county his mother was born, although she was of Southern parentage, her parents being natives of Baltimore, Md. The parents of our subject had eight children gathered about their fireside and our subject was next to the youngest of this number. After the death of the mother the father again married and had two children by his second union. It was in 1858 that Henry came to Illinois with his father, and located in Shelby County, where the latter died some five years ago. Farming occupied the young man for about seven years after attaining his majority, but later he engaged in the meat business, owning and operating a meat market at Windsor for five or six years.
About this time Mr. Richman moved on to a farm near Stewardson, in Prairie Township, and remained there about five years and in 1887 he made his final removal to Fancher and entered the mercantile business with William Hilsabeck. This partnership continued for about one year when our subject withdrew from the connection and opened a store in an adjoining building. Mr. Hilsabeck operated his store for about a year after which his stock was sold out and he removed from the place, leaving Mr. Richman in possession of the only store in that line of goods in the place.
This enterprising merchant carried a full line of general merchandise, consisting of dry-goods, groceries, provisions, clothing, boots and shoes, hats and caps, hardware, tinware, patent medicines, notions and millinery. He has a handsome storeroom and it is well stocked with a well selected line of goods and he is doing a very satisfactory business. When he began his capital did not exceed $400 and his stock is now worth at least $5,000.
The first marriage of Mr. Richman was his union with Miss Ella Fitzgerald, who died two years after marriage. She had one child which died in infancy. His second wife was, before her marriage to him, a widow, Mrs. Lizzie White, whose maiden name was Hilsabeck. She was born in this county, and has one daughter by her marriage with Mr. Richman, Gertie, now eleven years old. Mr. Richman is the Postmaster at Fancher and has held this position through most of the present administration. The military record of our subject is of interest to every one who loves his country, as he was a soldier during the Civil War, belonging to Company H, Fifty-fourth Illinois Infantry. This regiment was assigned to the Department of the Southwest under Gen. Banks. He participated in all the labors required of the Fifty-fourth, although his company escaped at the time the rest of the regiment were taken prisoners at Ashley Station, Ark. The Republican party is the political organization with which Mr. Richman affiliates and he takes a lively interest in political affairs, being public spirited and enterprising. He is a thorough business man, having the confidence and esteem of all with whom he is associated either in business or in social life. His efficient and interesting companion is an earnest worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Joel H. Rickel
A representative of the industrial interests of Chanute is engaged in painting and carriage building. In his life he exemplifies the true western spirit of enterprise and progress and he stands today among those who have justly won the American title of "self-made man." A native of Ohio, he was born in Wayne county, on the 8th of December, 1844, his parents being John S. and Jane (Fulks) Riskel [sic], both of whom were natives of Ohio, the father following the wheelwright trade throughout his life. About 1850 he removed to Kosciusco [sic] county, Indiana, settling on a farm which he made his home until his death, which occurred in 1856 when about thirty-five years of age. His wife passed away in 1854 at the age of twenty-eight. In the family were three children, J. H. being the eldest. Jennie, became the wife of Richard Peak, a farmer of Shelby county, Illinois, and Michael, a blacksmith residing in Deadwood, South Dakota. To the common school system of his native state, J. H. Rickel is indebted for the educational privileges he enjoyed in his youth. He is a young man of only sixteen years when, in 1861, he joined the Union army in response to President Lincoln's first call for seventy-five thousand men. He participated in the battles of Rich Mountain, Greenbriar, Cheat Mountain, Shiloh, Tullahoma, Murphysboro, Perryville, Chickamauga, Resaca and Corinth. As a member of Company G, 24th Ohio volunteer infantry he served until June 19, 1864, when he was honorably discharged on account of the expiration of his term. At Shiloh he was wounded by being shot in the right limb and he still carries the rebel lead. At Cheat Mountain he sustained injuries from which he has never recovered, caused by a tree falling across his stomach. He was also wounded at Murphysboro in the right foot and on each of these occasions he was disabled for field service for two months. On the 19th of September, 1863, he was wounded in the right side at Chickamauga, being struck by a piece of shell which disabled him for four months, during which time he was in Hospital No. 4 at Nashville. He then rejoined his regiment at Chatanooga [sic] and afterward went to Resaca. His term having expired he then returned to Columbus, Ohio, where he was honorably discharged June 19, 1864. Returning to Nashville, Tennessee, Mr. Rickel engaged in the restaurant business and met with success. He next removed to Vinton, Iowa, and was engaged in farming in Benton county. He purchased eighty acres of wild land which be improved and which he sold at a profit. His next venture was as a cabinet-maker at Florence, Illinois, having previously learned the trade. After a prosperous period of three years he was taken with malarial fever and hoping to benefit his health he removed to Kansas, establishing his home in Eskridge, where he engaged in the real estate and loan business, remaining at that place for ten years. He next went to Topeka, where his time and energies were devoted to the selling of carriages and buggies for three years. He has visited the Gulf coast, also one hundred seaport places and numerous islands on the face of the globe. He also travelled in Europe and Asia and to a large extent through the western hemisphere, spending four years in this way, during which time he gathered many valuable specimens of ocean life and acquired a comprehensive knowledge thereof. His fine collection comprising more than five hundred specimens is one of the best to be found in the entire country. He has recommendations from the Academy of Science in both Kansas and Texas and a letter of recommendation from a man who never gave such a thing to a layman - Sam Jones. Since locating in Chanute, Mr. Rickel has engaged in the painting and carriage building business and in this enterprise has secured a liberal patronage. In 1870 our subject was married to Miss Hanna F. Gorsage, and unto them were born four children; Henry E., a resident of Topeka; Bert G., who married Daisy Herron, by whom he had one child; Joel H., who died February 26, 1901, at the age of three months; Willard, of Eskridge, Kansas, and John H. of Topeka. In 1890 Mr. Rickel was again married, his second union being with Mary A. Hardy, a native of Iowa. Mr. Rickel belongs to the Select Knights and Ladies of America; the American Benevolent Association, to the Triple Tie and to the Knights and Ladies of Security and the Grand Army of the Republic. He has filled all of the chairs in the G. A. R. post; has been commander of three different posts and is now the adjutant of Neosho post, No. 129. Many offices has he filled in the other organizations, in all of which he is popular and a valued representative. His political support is given the Republican party. A most genial and companionable gentleman, he has gained that knowledge which only travel can bring and his mind is stored with many interesting anecdotes and incidents relating to his journeys. In his business affairs he has prospered and as the years have passed he has not only steadily advanced in prosperity but also in the high regard of those with whom he has been associated. [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; transcribed by G.T. Transcription Team]
Christian Frederick Rincker
A quarter of a century of honest, industrious, upright living in any community is worthy of record from the standpoint of the biographer who takes a broad view of this theme. It is also somewhat remarkable in Illinois to find a record of this kind as it is so young a State in comparison with the older part of our country, as to have comparatively few of such experiences. The effect upon a community of a residence of this length is potent for good or evil and has a cumulative force. This force in the case of our subject has been for good.
Mr. Rincker is a prosperous farmer residing on section 22, Prairie Township, and he has been in the county since 1865. He was born in Chicago, Ill., November 18, 1854, being a son of the Rev. Henry W. and Anna M. (Gans) Rincker, both of whom were natives of Germany, the father being born in Nassau, and the mother in Byron. They came to the United States about 1846 and were married in Cook County, this State and about the year 1859 they removed to Terre Haute, Ind., whence they came to Illinois again and settled upon section 23, Prairie Township, where the father purchased some six hundred acres of land which was at that time entirely unbroken.
Henry W. Rincker was twice married, the first time in Germany, and by this union there were two children born who grew to maturity, namely: Amelia, who married Fred Fathauer and died in Cook County, and Theopholis died in February, 1891. The parents of our subject had eight children, four of whom grew to be men and women. They were, our subject; Odelia, who married John Hemmann; Martin and Theodolinda, now the wife of Theodore Kircher. The father of this household died in November, 1889, and the mother is still surviving.
The father of our subject was a bell-maker by trade and followed this calling both in the old country and in Chicago. He also carried it on after coming to Shelby County. He was an expert in this fine art, and was called to St. Louis, Mo., to make over bells, a work which required great care and to which he brought an unfailing enthusiasm, a practical knowledge of the trade and a quick ear to detect false tones in the musical quality of the instrument. He made the bell at Strasburgh and the church bell at Sigel, both of which are still musically speaking the praise of their maker. He also cast the famous bell which was upon the Chicago court-house at the time of the fire, and he will long be remembered as its maker. He loved his trade devotedly and always regretted that none of his children joined him in its pursuit. His bell foundry in this county was located at Sigel.
The harmony of the life of this good man was akin to that between two bells pitched upon harmonious tones as he carried on two lines of thought and work, one being in the making of musical bells and the other in developing the harmony of Christian life among the people with whom he lived. He was a minister in the Lutheran Church and preached at Terre Haute and also established the first congregation in Prairie Township.
The subject of this sketch was reared upon the farm and attended the district school. He has been twice married, his first union being in 1877 with Miss Louise Luker who died in 1878, leaving one child who had been named Henry in honor of his grandfather. In 1881 Mr. Rincker was married to Ida Dietrich who was born in Illinois August 6, 1864. She became the mother of five children, namely: Matilda, Martin, Frederick, Ida and Paul. Mr. Rincker owns nearly four hundred acres of land upon which he has erected fine buildings and has made many improvements, as when he became its owner it was nearly all virgin prairie. The political preferences of our subject are for the Democratic party, and his intelligence and thorough understanding of educational matters have placed him upon the School Board. The Lutheran Church in which he was brought up receives his warm endorsement and support and he is one of its most earnest and active members.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Frederick W. Risser, M.D.
The healing art is one that has many disciples, but comparatively few capable followers. Each spring season sees hundreds of young men turned out from our medical colleges with the degree of M. D. A few of these are at once so fortunate as to step into a good practice. Others spend a short time in seeking for a location, and not being able to wait for the happy chance that shall give them an exercise of their healing ability, turn to some other profession or business. Still others patiently woo fortune in their chosen calling until that fickle lady smiles upon their efforts. Our subject has been one of the fortunate ones, for although yet a very young man, his ability and devotion to his calling have been recognized and he has charge of a good practice in the place which he has chosen for his home. When engaged in making mud pies and distilling queer concoctions when a boy, Dr. Risser showed small promise of being the wide-awake and able young physician that he now is. He was born in Troy, Madison County, this State, January 1, 1863. His father, Henry A. Risser, was by birth and parentage a German, but emigrated with his uncle to American when about seven years of age, his parents having both died in Germany prior to his coming to America. On reaching manhood he was married in Chillicothe, Ohio to Miss Cecelia Zanders, who was born in the Buckeye State. After marriage, they began their life together in St. Louis, Mo., where they remained about one year and then settled in Troy, Madison County, this State, of which they have since been residents. The father was engaged there as a merchant.
Our subject was brought up in the village of Troy where he remained until he had attained to manhood. He received his education in the Troy schools where he studied until sixteen years of age, after which time he was engaged for three years in teaching school, but during vacations and in the interims of his work he was pursuing his medical studies to which he had determined to devote himself. In the fall of 1882 Mr. Riser entered the St. Louis Medical College and pursued his course for a period of four years, during which he did excellent work. In 1886 he was graduated from the college and received his diploma. Looking about for a good place in which to locate, our subject was charmed with the village of Strasburg and its surrounding country and determined to here build himself up a profession, and in this place he has been ever since the commencement of his career as a professional man. He enjoys an extensive, he does not recognize any pain or suffering that it is not within the realms of science, at least, to alleviate. He of whom we write was married in Strasburg, October 10, 1888, to Miss Mary Doehring, daughter of Ernst F. and Mary (Wirth) Doehring, who are residents of Prairie Township. Mrs. Risser was born in Madison County, this State, September 18, 1865. Dr. and Mrs. Riser are the proud parents of one child who bears the sweet Southern name of Nita. She was born August 5, 1889. Our subject and his wife are both members of the Lutheran Church. They are popular young people in Strasburg, taking readily the social position to which their culture and natural advantages entitle them. A lithographic portrait of Dr. Risser is presented on another page of this volume. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Colmady P. Roberts
Colmady P. Roberts, a citizen well-known in Shelby County (where he has lived for many years) as an honorable and upright man having the confidence and esteem of all who knew him, is always named as one of the most enterprising and energetic business men of Lakewood, that pleasant village situated near what was once the shores of Lake Miantowana. He was born in Wayne County, Pa., October 16, 1844, his parents, John S. and Mary A. (Friggins) Roberts, being natives of Cornwall, England. The father was born in 1807 and the mother the year previous. Their marriage took place in England in 1830. After twelve years of married life in the old country John and Mary Roberts migrated to America and located in 1842 in Wayne County, Pa., where they remained for seven years. They removed to Lafayette County, Wis., in 1849, remaining there till 1856 when they came to Shelby County, where they spent the remainder of their days. The death of the father, which occurred in 1878, resulted from a sunstroke and the mother passed away in 1884. Colmady P. Roberts received his education in the public schools of Wisconsin and of Shelby County, supplemented by attendance at the academy in Shelbyville. He enlisted in the army under President Lincoln's last call for volunteers in 1865 for one year's service and after serving seven months received his discharge on account of the declaration of peace. He enlisted as Corporal in Company K, Fourteenth Illinois (new organization) and was discharged as Orderly-Sergeant of his company. He took part in the race after Johnston with Sherman's army and marched up through the Carolinas in Virginia, to Richmond and Washington and participated in the Grand Review. The regiment gave real service during its short term. It was near Ft. Kearney, Neb., when orders came to be mustered out. To Shelby County our subject returned after his discharge and engaged in the peaceful pursuits of teaching and farming, following these pursuits for a number of years. Having reached the mature age of twenty-five years this young man decided to agree practically with the scriptural doctrine that it is "not good for man to be alone," and chose for himself a wife in the person of Miss Elmira Carder, a native of this county, who was born here in August 1850. They were married November 11, 1869. Her parents, Joseph and Frances Carder, were early pioneers of Shelby County and Mrs. Roberts was the youngest in their family of five children, the others being James, Henry, Frances, and one sister who died in early life. Only two of this number now survive. Their mother died in 1851 and the father remarried and had six children by the second union, four of whom are living. The happy home of Mr. and Mrs. Roberts has been blessed by the birth of four children, three of whom still make their home under the parental roof. The oldest, Edwin A., was born June 30, 1871, and died July 4, 1891; Annie B., born in January 14, 1873, is next in age and Joseph S., born June 3, 1875, is now attending school at Danville, Ind., at an institution under the control of the State. Gracie R., the pet and delight of the family, was born April 20, 1885. In 1872 Mr. Roberts engaged in buying grain and produce at Lakewood and has continued handling grain and stock in connection with merchandising and farming up to the present date. He and his wife own about six hundred acres of farming land in the vicinity of Lakewood and also some property within the village. He carries a general stock of dry goods, groceries, ready-made clothing, boots and shoes, provisions, etc. His store is filled with a well-selected stock and he enjoys an excellent share of the trade of the town. This gentleman takes a great interest in religious work and especially in Sunday-school, being a member of the Separate Baptist Church for which he often preaches, being ever ready to supply vacancies and attend funeral services. His excellent wife is also an active worker in the same church. He is very useful in the community and is frequently called upon to settle estates and act as guardian for minor children, in both of which capacities he has shown himself eminently worthy of the confidence which was reposed in him. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace and is at the present time a Notary Public. His political views are expressed in the declarations of the Republican party, in the prosperity of which he takes great interest. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Thomas N. Robison
Thomas N. Robison is the proprietor of a drug house which was established March 14, 1877, and since that time he has carried on a very successful business. He was born in Shelby County, November 30, 1846, and is a son of Edwin A. and Elizabeth (Dixon) Robison, who settled on Sand Creek near Windsor, in 1832, at which date there were only four families in the vicinity.
The parents of our subject were natives of North Carolina and in early life removed to Tennessee, where they married and soon after started for Illinois to seek a home in the then wild West. David Robison, grandfather of our subject, accompanied his son hither and entered some Government land in Shelby County, on which he resided until his death occurred. The father of our subject settled on a farm and there passed his life, becoming the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of well-improved land. He died in 1881 at the advanced age of seventy-five years. Our subject's mother passed to the unknown land in 1870, at the age of sixty years. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were the parents of nine children, all of whom lived to be grown. Their names are David, Ellen, William A., Samuel, James, Sarah, Thomas N., Harriet, and Fredonia. David died in Shelby County, unmarried. Ellen married J. C. Stephenson and resides in Dakota. William A. resides in Shelby County. Samuel was a member of Company K, One Hundred Twenty-six Illinois infantry; he died at Memphis, Tenn., while in service. James resides in Clark County, Kan. Sarah, who is now Mrs. Carter, lives in Bay City, Mich. Harriet is the wife of Mr. Hartsel and lives in Shelby County. Fredonia married Jeff Bandy and resides in Edgar County, Ill.
Our subject was reared on the homestead and received his early education in the district schools in the vicinity, finishing at the State Normal University at Normal. After graduation he taught school for five years in Shelby County, and in 1877 established his present business, having become well-known during that time as an efficient compounder of medicines. His marriage took place October 17, 1883. His wife's maiden name was Bella Stewardson, a daughter of William Stewardson. She was born in Shelby County, March 7, 1855. Mr. Robison and his amiable and lovely wife have one daughter whose name is Lora, who is at once the pride and care of her fond parents. Mr. Robison affiliates with the Democratic element of the township, favoring the broad platform of that party and its free-trade principles. He has held several local offices under his party, having been both Township Collector and Township Clerk. He is one of the organizers of the Stewardson Homestead Loan Association, which was organized in 1883. Since 1885 he has been the Secretary of this Association and discharges his duties satisfactorily to all interested therein. He, with his family, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Hon. Edward Roessler
In this sketch we present to the attention of our readers a short record of the life history of a man who is well-known in Shelby County, not only on account of his honorable war records, but also as the former representative of this district in the Legislature of the State of Illinois. We also invite the attention of the reader to his portrait on the opposite page. His father, Christian Roessler, was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, and came to America in 1815, locating in Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio. He learned the trade of a wagon-maker in the Old Country and pursued that business at different places in Europe. A skilled and competent workman, he earned an excellent reputation for thoroughness and efficiency. Upon coming to Lancaster, Ohio, he engaged in business for himself, and his work was noted far and wide for its excellence and completeness. He continued thus employed in Lancaster until 1832, when he sold out and purchased a farm in Fairfield County, where he turned his attention to farming and made it his home until 1849. During the year just mentioned Christian Roessler sold his farm in Ohio and emigrated to Illinois, settling in what is now Rose Township, Shelby County. There he continued to live until his demise, which occurred in September, 1861. His marriage in Lancaster united him with Elizabeth Miller, who was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, in the year 1799. She lived until July, 1871, when she passed away in Rose Township. Both Christian Roessler and his wife were earnest in their religious life as members of the Lutheran Church. He ever took an active part in local affairs and was efficient in helping to build the old Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad when it passed through Shelby County, and was a stock holder in that company. He had a family of four sons and two daughters - Reuben, Edward; Regina, who is the wife of B. Christman; Andrew; Philip, and Elizabeth, who is the wife of Charles Pfeiffer. Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio, is the native town of our subject, who was born January 18, 1825. In that town his early years were passed, and he was about nine years old when his father removed to the farm, where the boy grew to manhood, alternating his attendance at the district school with the healthful pursuits of farm life. He continued to remain at home until he had reached his majority and then enlisted, in 1846, with his brother Reuben, in the United States Army for service in the Mexican War. Edward became a member of Company B, Fourth Ohio Infantry, and was in service all through the war. The most important engagement in which he took part was the battle of Monterey. He was mustered out of the service at Cincinnati, Ohio, and returned to Lancaster, the same State. The young man had determined to come West, and in the spring of 1849 he removed to Shelby County, Ill., with his father's family. He bought about two hundred and forty acres and his father some five hundred acres, all of it in Rose Township. During the season he set about improving his land and preparing to establish his home in the new country. During the latter part of the summer he returned to the old home in Fairfield County, Ohio, and was married August 5, 1849, to Anna Stumpf, who was born in Verden, Hanover, Germany, her birth occurring February 14, 1831. She was two years old when she came with her parents to Ohio, her father being Gearhart Stumpf, and her mother's maiden name being Catherina Luehrs. The mother died of cholera in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1848. and the father did not long tarry, but passed away after reaching Rose Township in 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Roessler are the parents of twelve children, namely: Reuben, who died in infancy; David, who married Charlotte Wetzel; Solomon, who married Susie Kellogg, and is a military engineer in the Regular Army; Charles, a farmer, who married Emma Wetzel. now deceased; John, who took to wife Anna Harbour and is a professor in Valparaiso Normal School; Anna, now the wife of George Wendling; Amelia, who married Edward Wagoner; Clara, who is Mrs. Adolph Reiss; Charlotta, the wife of William Zollinger; Minnie, who is engaged in the Hoopeston College, of Hoopeston, Ill., as a teacher of vocal and instrumental music, in which she is very proficient; George and Henry. On the breaking out of the Civil War Mr. Roessler took an active-part in forwarding enlistments, and himself raised an independent company, of which he was commissioned Captain. His company was assigned to the Fifty-fourth Illinois Infantry, and he afterward raised two companies, which were assigned to the same regiment. In consequence of his energy and zeal he filled the office of Colonel, although not regularly commissioned, and remained in that position until he resigned in November, 1862. In the fall of 1870 the subject of this sketch was elected to the Twenty-seventh General Assembly of the State of Illinois. He filled this responsible position with ability and satisfaction to his constituents, and has continued to take an interest in political matters, especially in local movements. He was elected the first Supervisor of Rose Township, after the organization of that township, and served in that capacity for about ten years, and for several years was Chairman of the Board. Both Mr. and Mrs. Roessler are prominent members of the Lutheran Church and are active workers in its schemes of benevolence. They are liberal contributors to all church purposes and helped generously in the project of constructing a new house of worship. Our subject's chief business in life has been the pursuit of agriculture and he is now the owner of two hundred and forty acres, upon which he has placed good improvements, including excellent and commodious buildings. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The readers of this volume will be interested to pursue still farther the history of the Roessler family, one of the most prominent and respected circles of Rose Township, Shelby County. The representative whose name we give here is one of the most thorough-going farmers and intelligent and representative citizens of his section of the county. His parents are spoken of more at length in the history of his brother, Edward Roessler. Six children gathered about the parental fireside and among these our subject was the youngest son and next to the youngest child. He was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, near Lancaster, July 7, 1837. Here he spent his boyhood days and came with his father to Shelby County in 1849, growing to maturity in Rose Township. He remained at home until he was married, and then settled upon the old home farm where he has since resided. His bride was Sarah E. Barringer, who was born in Montgomery County, Ill., in 1837. Their wedding took place in Rose Township, in October, 1860. This wife bore him two children, Stephen A. and Mary S., the daughter dying when fifteen years old, and the mother being called away in October, 1864.
The second marriage of our subject took place in Rose Township, February 22, 1870, his wife being Mary E. Gearhart, who was born in Pennsylvania. She became the mother of four children: Theodore J., Arthur H., Nellie M. and Emma F. Mrs. Mary E. Roessler died in September, 1878. His third wife was Florence M. Gearhart, who died in June, 1880. The lady who now presides so graciously over the household of Mr. Roessler, bore the maiden name of Mary M. Kull and was born in Shelby County. Five children have crowned this union, namely: Ralph E., Luther M., Charles A., lra P. and William O.
Agricultural pursuits have always claimed the attention of Mr. Roessler and he is now the owner of two hundred acres of rich and fertile soil which bears upon it excellent improvements, and comfortable and commodious buildings. His neighbors have placed him in several offices of responsibility and trust. He has been Collector for four terms, Assessor for one term and School Director for several years. He has taken quite an active part in political affairs, is in sympathy with the Labor Union movement and a member of the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. His religious training and associations have led him to unite himself with the Lutheran Church in which his wife is also an active member. He has contributed liberally both to the support and building of the church, and is a man of broad intelligence and one of the efficient promoters of all movements designed to forward the best interests of the community. His good wife bears a high reputation for housewifely skill and management and her hospitality and geniality make her a decided favorite in the social circles of Rose Township.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Oscar F. Rogers
Oscar F. Rogers, a farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 20, Oconee Township, Shelby County, was born in Hamilton Square, Mercer County, N. J., March 6, 1826. The same county was the birthplace of his father, Jacob Rogers, and his mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Wall, was born in that State and grew from early childhood in Mercer County. There were five brothers and six sisters, of whom Oscar was the eldest. Following him came Ferdinand, who resides at Hamilton Square, N. J., and is engaged in the manufacture of rubber goods; Ezekiel and Humphrey (twins), both living in Monmouth, N. J.; Amanda, now Mrs. Gordon, residing in Mercer County; Anna E., the widow of Charles Cole, residing in Windsor; Jacob, living in Mercer County; George, was a member of the First Louisiana Cavalry in the Confederate army, and died during the Civil War; Phoebe, was twice married, her present husband being Mr. Johnson, of Pemberton, N. J. Edith, wife of John Tyndall, residing at Windsor, N. J.; and Mary, who is unmarried and resides in New York City.
Oscar F. Rogers and Mary J. Allen were united in the holy bonds of matrimony December 27, 1849. She was born in Mercer County, December 14, 1832, and of her family there were three - Harris, Mrs. Rogers and Margaret. Her brother and sister make their homes at Princeville and Asbury Park, N. J. Mr. Rogers came to Oconee Township in the spring of 1857, and buying one hundred and twenty acres of land, engaged in farming, which has been his principal occupation through life, although he has also found opportunities for considerable dealings in real estate in connection with his farming for the last seventeen years. To Mr. and Mrs. Rogers seven children were born, three of whom are now living. Their eldest, Elvina, who was born in New Jersey, married Mr. Wesley T. Elliott and resides at Oconee, Ill., with her husband and nine children; Adelaide was born in New Jersey and died in that State when about two years old, as did also Harris. Allen married Addie Hamlin and resides on a farm in Oconee Township, where he was born, with his wife and one child. Mary passed away when she was a lovely girl of thirteen summers, and Frank died in childhood; Bert is unmarried and lives at home. The parents of this family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Oconee.
The Civil War called our subject to the defense of his country and enlisted in Company H, Fifty-third Illinois Infantry, and was assigned to duty in the Seventeenth Army Corps, serving under Gen. Sherman. This was one of those sad cases of brother being arrayed against brother, as our subject was in the Union Army and his brother George in the Confederate service. He passed through many hardships and dangers, but lived to return to his rejoicing household. He has connected himself prominently with the Grand Army of the Republic and belongs to Coplin Post, No. 168, at Oconee. He takes an active part in political affairs and thoroughly endorses the party which made so noble a record as the staunch supporter of the administration during the Civil War. His neighbors, who appreciate his many excellent qualities and believe heartily in his integrity and good judgment, have placed him in the offices of School Trustee and Tax Collector. He has two hundred acres of finely improved land within sight of the village of Oconee, and upon it he is content to pass the remainder of his days, surrounded by his affectionate children.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Joseph Roller is a typical farmer whose practical knowledge of agriculture and business-like methods in managing his affairs have placed him among the foremost men of his class in Penn Township, where he owns a large and well conducted farm that is considered one of the finest in the county.
Mr. Roller was born near Little York, York County, Pa., September 3, 1830. His father, whose given name was John, is also supposed to have been a native of the same county where he passed his early life, and where he was married. He was a distiller by trade in his young days, but removing to Centre County, Pa., in 1840, he bought a farm on Buffalo run and devoted his remaining years to agricultural pursuits, dying there is 1874 at the ripe age of seventy-one years. His wife, the mother of our subject, preceded him in death many years, her demise occurring on the old farm in 1852.
He of whom we write was reared to the life of a farmer, receiving a careful training in all that pertains to agriculture, so that by the time he attained manhood he was well versed in the calling that was to be his life work. He continued to live with his father until he was thirty-one years of age, affording him valuable aid in the management of his farm. He then rented land in Centre County a few years. Wisely thinking that on the fertile soil of the Prairie State he could make more headway in his calling, he left his native commonwealth in 1865 to avail himself of the superior advantages offered to skillful and wide-awake farmers in Shelby County. He made a judicious selection of two hundred and forty acres of wild prairie land in Penn Township which is now included in his pleasant farm. The price of it was $9 an acre and he went into debt for the greater part of the purchase money.
At the time of his settlement here this part of the county was but little developed and Mr. Roller had to do a great deal of pioneer work in bringing his farm to its present fine and highly improved condition. His labors have been well rewarded, however, as his homestead is a valuable piece of property, supplied with ample and well arranged buildings, and its carefully tilled fields and rich pastures yield a good income. He has also bought other land at different times and now his farm comprises four hundred and forty acres. Mr. Roller is well liked in this community as he is a just and fair man, kindly of heart and honest of purpose, and has shown himself in every respect to be a worthy addition to the citizenship of this place since he took up his residence here more than a quarter of a century ago. His wife also shares with him the regard in which he is held and both are among the most worthy members of the Presbyterian church. In politics he sides with the Democrats.
Mr. Roller has been three times married. His first wife, to whom he was united in 1853, was Matilda Ross, who was a native of Centre County, Pa., and a daughter of William and Mary Ross. She died in 1873 leaving these six children; John W., Laura J., Sally J., Joseph R. Ida and Robert H. Laura married Charles Lutz; Sally is the wife of M. W. Marshall; and Ida is the wife of Tom Gedes. Our subject's second marriage, which took place in 1876, was with Isabella Hunter, a native of Centre County, Pa., and a daughter of Robert Hunter. She departed this life May 18, 1885. In 1887 Mr. Roller was wedded to Miss Annie Dale, his present wife, a native of Pennsylvania, born in Centre County, and a daughter of Felix and Lucy Dale. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George Ruff, a prominent and noteworthy citizen of Rose Township, Shelby County, is a son of John M. Ruff, who was born in Germany in 1813, and Barbara (Weitner) Ruff, whose birth occurred in the same land in 1817. She was about fourteen years old and he had attained some eighteen years when they came to America. They were married and made their first home in Hocking County, Ohio, and emigrated to Illinois in January, 1884. They made their home in Prairie Township, where they still reside. George was the fourth in their family of twelve children and he resided in his native county, Hocking County, Ohio, till he reached his majority. His natal day was March 17, 1843, and he received his education in the common schools.
When our subject was twenty-one years old he came to Illinois and worked for four years in the counties of DeWitt and Logan and then came into Shelby County and employed himself upon farms and at carpentry until his marriage. This interesting event occurred in Shelby County, March 21, 1869. His bride was Miss Sophia Stumpf, daughter of Gearhart Stumpf. For further details in regard to the history of this capable and amiable lady, our readers are referred to the biography of Mr. Edward Roessler, as Mrs. Ruff and Mrs. Roessler are sisters. Mr. Stumpf died in Shelby County in 1853, having been bereaved of his wife in Fairfield County, Ohio, some four years earlier. Mrs. Ruff was the youngest child in her father's family and was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, June 4, 1847.
After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Ruff they decided to go further west and located in Anderson County, Kan., where Mr. Ruff worked at his trade, that of carpentry, for five years and then followed the same business for two years in Shelby County. He now decided to engage in farming and for eight years rented land in Rose Township, at the end of which time he purchased the farm of eighty acres, on section 3, where he has erected a good set of buildings. He divides his time between farming and carpentry and is thorough and successful in both lines of work.
This gentleman and his estimable wife are the parents of seven interesting and promising children. They were so unfortunate as to lose their eldest, Florence A., a bright and beautiful child of two and one-half years. Those who survive are as follows: Anna M., Cora I., Clarence A., Charlotta S., George W. and Harmon L.
The estimation in which Mr. Ruff is held by his fellow-citizens has been evinced by their confidence in placing him upon the School Board. He is deeply interested in educational matters and makes an efficient and active Director. He is well read in political matters and active in promoting the interests of the Democratic party, to which he belongs. In the Lutheran Church, where Mr. and Mrs. Ruff are active members, he has filled the offices of Deacon and Trustee.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The gentleman whose name heads this sketch, is the owner of a good farm located on section 33, Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, and a view of which is shown elsewhere in this volume. He came hither in 1877, and has since been a resident in this place, giving the township the benefit of the improvements that he has made, and of his own genial presence with that of his amiable family. Mr. Ruffner was born in Licking County, Ohio, October 4, 1839. He was only thirteen years of age when he went with his parents to Allen County, Ind., where he remained for fourteen years. Later he came to this State and located in St. Clair County, where he was the proprietor of a farm for a period of five years. From there he removed to Clinton County and five years later came to this county, where he has since lived.
Our subject has always been engaged in agricultural work, his father before him having been a farmer. His father was Benjamin Ruffner, a native of Ohio, and a son of Benjamin and Ann (Coffman) Ruffner, both natives of Virginia. After marriage they removed to Ohio and settled in Fairfield County, which was at that time in a state of wild unbroken beauty, with virgin forests in which were found game of every description belonging to the latitude. As can be imagined, the country was then sparsely settled, and the educational advantages were not what they now are. It was there that their son Benjamin, Jr., was born, the father of our subject. There also our subject's grandfather spent his last years, passing away from this life while yet in middle age. His wife survived him for some years and settled in Champaign County, where she died at the good old age of seventy-seven years.
Benjamin Ruffner, father of our subject, was one of fourteen children, of whom two are yet living. He was educated a farmer, and one can imagine the social breaks in the monotony of pioneer farm life such as corn husking, barbecues, spelling school and singing matches. From among the maidens of the county in which he lived he chose his wife, who was before marriage a Miss Mary Lamb, a native of Ohio, whose parents were from Virginia like those of our subject. Her father was William Lamb, and her mother Catherine (Cupp) Lamb. They lived and died in Fairfield County, where they were well known as among the earliest and most respected pioneer settlers. They died full of years and honor. They, like our subject's grandparents, were members of the old school Baptist Church. Mr. Lamb served as a soldier in the War of 1812. There were ten children in this family, all of whom are living except our subject's mother. Mr. and Mrs. Lamb each lived to be over eighty years old. After their marriage, our subject's parents settled in Fairfield County, Ohio, where they remained until after the birth of their first child. They then removed to Licking County, there devoting themselves to clearing up and improving a farm upon which they built a large brick house and laid out many valuable improvements. Later they removed their family, in February 1853, to Indiana, settling in Allen County, but afterward they returned to Ohio living for one year in Miami County. A spirit of unrest seemed to possess the family of Ruffners, for after the many changes they had made in residence, they returned to St. Clair County, this State, and a short time after located in Clinton County, where the father died at the age of sixty-six years. His wife passed away at the home of her sons in this township and county, eight years later, in 1874. She was at the time of her demise about seventy years of age. She and her husband were devoted members of the Baptist Church. The original of this sketch is the second in order of birth of eight children, six of whom are yet living, all having entered the marital relation with the exception of one. Our subject reached his majority in Allen County, Ind., and when he made his advent into Illinois, he was still a single man. His first marriage took place in Kentucky, where he was united to Miss Anna E. Coffman. She died in the prime of her life, after the birth of her first child, which also yielded its little life with that of its mother. She was only thirty-four years of age at the time of her death.
Mr. Ruffner again married, inviting to be mistress of his home Miss Mary J. Ramsey. Their marriage was celebrated September 27, 1888, in Lancaster County, Pa., of which place the lady was a native, being there born August 30, 1842. She is of Scotch and Dutch ancestry. Her mother, whose maiden name was Lucy Gochnau, is yet living in her native town. The father, Samuel Ramsey, died in Pennsylvania while in the meridian of life. He also was a farmer. Mrs. Ruffner is a noble woman, having the best of qualities. She is kind, hospitable and sympathetic, and interested in all that interests her husband, to whom she is a great help. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
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