Pioneer life in the Prairie State was not, perhaps, so full of hardships as in some of the more densely wooded sections of our country, but those who came to this State in the early days can recount many tales of deprivation which sound strangely to the ears of the younger generation. In the days when the subject of this sketch first lived in Illinois, there was no Justice of the Peace nearer than Shelbyville, and for four years after his coming here no property was assessed for taxation. Mr. Slater was born near the city of Indianopolis [sic], Ind., May 2, 1824. His parents were William and Jane (Wilson) Slater, the father being a native of Yorkshire, England, and the mother being born in Kentucky. They were married in Indiana and resided there until 1832, when they came to Lawrence County, Ill., and afterward to Montgomery County where they settled in 1844. The subject of this biographical sketch came to Shelby County in the year 1848 and for four years previous had lived just across the line and within sight of the village of Oconee. Farming was his occupation and he did much pioneer work in Montgomery and Shelby Counties. His first marriage which took place in Montgomery County. Ill., prior to his coming to Shelby County, united him with a young lady of great loveliness of character, Miss Ann Morrell. Her married life was brief but full of cares and responsibilities, as was that of all early pioneer women. She died in 1853 after having become the mother of five children, one of whom died in early childhood; Jennie died in 1889. The two who survive are Horatio and Sidney, both of whom are energetic young farmers of character and enterprise, the eldest living in Fayette County and the younger in Oconee Township. In 1863 our subject assumed a second matrimonial alliance with Avy J. (Turner) Ishmael. Seven children were born of this marriage, five of whom were gathered to the arms of the Heavenly Shepherd in early childhood, and the two who are living are Otis, who resides at home and Alta, now Mrs. Ed. Morgan who lives on a farm in this township. Mr. Slater retired from the farm about nine years ago, and engaged in the business of merchandising. He owned and operated a store in Oconee, and there carried a full line of groceries, provisions, queensware, tinware, notions. etc., and enjoyed a lucrative trade. He always took an active interest in political affairs and worked with the Democratic party, believing that the principles announced by the author of the Declaration of Independence are good enough for the guidance of the country in these modern days. He was Justice of the Peace for eighteen years, in Montgomery County. He was elected Supervisor from his township when he lived in Audubon, Montgomery County, and had served as School Director, having always taken a deep and abiding interest in the public school system. During his forty seven years' residence in this vicinity he witnessed the development of this county from a wilderness to its present state of high cultivation.
The Oconee Lodge No. 392 A. F. & A. M., is the social body with which Mr. Slater was formerly connected, but at the time of his death he was non-affiliated. He held no church membership but was interested in the progress of churches and schools and all institutions looking to the progress of Oconee. He was distinctively a pioneer of this region and a man who had the confidence and respect of all with whom he is acquainted. Mr. Slater died August 28, 1891, aged sixty-seven years eight months and six days.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Disbury J. Sloan
To have well filled the position of a good citizen in any town, is a record of which a man in either high or low life may feel proud. It is a worthy ambition to place before the young of any community that they should make their aim in this direction and should become enterprising, earnest, public-spirited members of society, always upholding the laws and regulations of the common wealth and promoting the good of the people among whom they live by every means in their power. A worthy life does this in any event, but it is also worth an effort and an aim. Such a member of the business and social circles of Oconee do we find in the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this paragraph and whose portrait is shown on the opposite page.
Mr. Sloan was born in Knox County, Ohio, April 7, 1829. His parents were Samuel and Katie (Taylor) Sloan, who were natives of Ohio. His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and died at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, when ninety-eight years old. Of the parental family Disbury was the first born. Two of his brothers died in infancy and William was killed by lightning while herding cattle on the prairie near Nokomis, Ill. Harriet married Jacob Straub and resided in Montgomery County where she died April 5, 1891; Martha became the wife of John Fritz and resided near Odin, Ill., until her death about twenty years ago, and Mary was the wife of Arthur Brown and died some fifteen years ago at Nokomis.
It was in the spring of 1856 that our subject located in Shelby County, and here he has ever since made his home. He engaged in farming, merchandising and stock-raising in which branches he has continued without interruption for forty-four years. He recently turned over his merchandising interests here to his son, though he still owns and operates a large store at Arthur, Ill., where he has $12,000 invested. The store is carried on under the firm name of Sloan & Jones, the junior partner being an adopted son of our subject. In 1876 Mr. Sloan took a trip to California to recuperate his health, and the following year he went to Wyoming where he embarked in the cattle business. In this he continued engaged in Wyoming and Oregon for four years, they returned to Oconee and resumed his old business, in which he has since been engaged.
The marriage of Mr. Sloan at Vandalia, Ill., in the spring of 1852 gave him a wife in the person of Miss Susan Casebeer. Eight children were born to this union and the two eldest (twins) died in infancy; Bosha is married and is carrying on the mercantile business in Oconee; Otis is in the same line of work at Herrick, Ill., and is also married; Alonzo was killed in a railroad disaster and was at the time of his death a merchant; Capitola married B. W. Kerr of Oconee and died in this place several years ago; Docia is engaged in teaching and makes her home with her father. The first marriage was uncongenial and Mr. Sloan procured a divorce from his wife. The second marriage of our subject was with Mrs. Ella Morrison, a daughter of L. L. Gale of Oconee, who was born in Michigan in 1855 and who has had no children. Public affairs deeply interest this gentleman and he has strong faith in the future of the Democratic party with which he is allied. He is regarded as a pre-eminently good and useful citizen of this town and county. He is a worthy member of the Oconee Lodge, No. 392 A. F. & A. M. of which he was a charter member, although he became a Mason at Pana, Ill. For many years he has been the Lodge Treasurer and still hold that honorable and responsible position. Although he gives liberally to the support of the Gospel, to the Sunday school and to all public enterprises he is not identified with any church. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Daniel Smith, who resides on section 19, Ridge Township, Shelby County, is a citizen of superior ability and intelligence. His father, Nathan Smith, and his grandfather, Daniel Sr., were born in Maryland. The father of our subject was a farmer by occupation and married, while living in Nicholas County, Ky., Mary Killam, who was born in Nicholas County, December 2, 1799. After marriage this young couple settled in Nicholas County and remained there until death in the early prime of life, August 15, 1830, the mother of five sons and one daughter, removed the following year to Shelby County, Ill., and passed away January 30, 1880.
The subject of this writing was the second in this family, being born September 21, 1821, in Nicholas County, Ky., where he spent the early years of his life. The father died before the boy had completed his ninth year and when he was ten years old he came with his mother and the family to Shelby County, and lived for some nine or ten years in Rose Township. Since that time he has made his home in Ridge Township. He received thorough training in the practical work of farming in his boyhood and undertook that as his life work.
Daniel Smith and Sarah A. Wagoner were united in the sacred bonds of matrimony in Rose Township, August 3, 1843. The bride is a daughter of Jacob and Drady (Sargent) Wagoner, both of whom were Virginians by birth and first settled in Kentucky, afterwards in Indiana and then pursued their pioneer life in Illinois, settling in Rose Township in 1833. The mother died in 1810 and the father passed away in Ridge Township, in 1857. They were the parents of eight children, five sons and three daughters, and Mrs. Smith, who was born in Washington County, Ind., July 1, 1823, was the sixth in order of age.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have passed their married life in Ridge Township and here their family of five children have been born. George W. is a resident of Shelbyville; Mary, who became the wife of Samuel Brownback, who died in Rural Township in 1872, leaving one child, George, who has been reared by his grandparents; Russell is a farmer in Rural Township; and John J. carries on a farm in Ridge Township. The remaining child is Olivia. Three little ones died in infancy. Mr. Smith has been Highway Commissioner and School Director for a number of years. His political convictions have led him to ally himself with the Democratic party and be cast his first vote for James K. Polk. His wife is an earnest and active member of the Christian Church. Hr. Smith bought his land from the Government and has a fine estate of four hundred and sixty-seven acres upon which he has erected a delightful home, commodious barns and other excellent outbuildings. These are situated upon the home farm which covers some one hundred and fifty acres. This intelligent gentleman and genial neighbor has made his mark in the community where he lives and is worthy of the generous estimate which is every where accorded him. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George A. Smith, M. D.
A successful and enterprising member of the medical profession, residing in Henton, in Ridge Township, is a son of the late John B. Smith, who was born in Butler County, Ohio. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Sarah Munson, was born in New Jersey. The father was a farmer by occupation and after his marriage with Miss Munson made his home in Franklin County. Ind., whence he came in 1860 and settled in Ridge Township, Shelby County, where he completed his mortal career August 13, 1890. He left his faithful wife to mourn his loss. Our subject is one of seven children of the parental home and is the third in order of age. He was born in Franklin County, Ind., October 30, 1855, and was reared to manhood upon his father's farm in Shelby County. His earlier education was taken in the common schools and at Shelbyville. He entered the St. Louis Medical College at St. Louis, Mo., in 1876, and graduated in the Class of 1879, receiving his diploma at that time. He began his professional work at Henton and has now built up an excellent and broad practice. His marriage, which occurred April 29, 1891, united him with Miss Ida M. Stanley, daughter of Leroy and Elizabeth (Ward) Stanley. Dr. Smith has taken an active part in all local movements and is an energetic and progressive citizen. His political views have led him to affiliate with the Democratic party, in the progress of which he feels a keen interest. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is also identified with the Modern Woodmen of America. His excellent judgment and genial nature commend him to his fellow-citizens. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Henderson G. Smith
Henderson G. Smith, one of the prominent citizens of Okaw Township, Shelby County, was born within its bounds, June 19, 1829, has a fine farm on section 30, where he has carried on successfully farming and stock-raising. He has nearly four hundred acres of land all in good condition and his residence which he built in 1887 is homelike, capacious and delightful.
Allen and Karen H. (Robertson) Smith, the father and mother of our subject were born in Virginia and married in Kentucky, and after six children were born to them they came to Illinois, making the journey by the way of prairie schooners, and camping out by the way. At the end of this primitive journey they settled in Okaw Township, in the fall of 1828 and entering land they erected a house of hewed logs. This substantial, although rudely-built house has been occupied from that day to this, but is now removed from the spot where it was first built. The land which he purchased was located just in the edge of the timber and he proceeded to improve it and place it in a condition for cultivation.
The following year, the father of our subject removed to the place which is now the family home and became the happy possessor of some three hundred acres of rich and fertile soil and proceeded to place upon it good improvements, so that it was soon in as prosperous a condition as any farm in those early days. There were few opportunities for culture and education. Mrs. Smith had to go to St. Louis to market, to Springfield to mill, and to Saline for salt. Venison could be had much nearer home as deer, bears, turkeys and other game abounded and came within easy shot of the house.
The mother of our subject became a widow in 1846, her husband then passing away at the age of fifty-two years, and she survived him until September, 1865. Of this large family of eleven children two died in infancy. One was killed by falling out wagon when a little child four years of age. Henry formerly a farmer and merchant, died in Farina, Ill.; William who has been a farmer and stock-dealer, makes his home in Los Angeles, Cal., Squair T. died in Texas when a young unmarried man. Thomas is a farmer in Washington; Eliza B. died unmarried, February 27, 1846; Wilburn who is a physician makes his home in Indian Territory and Bloomer A. is carrying on a farm in Clay County, Ill.
The early school days and indeed the entire education of our subject was very limited as the opportunities in his boyhood were poor and his help was greatly needed upon the farm; but he received the best of home training and a thorough grounding in the practical work of farming. In 1854 he was united in marriage with Mary L. Butts, a daughter of Joseph and Perlina B. (Corley) Butts and a native of Smith County, Tenn., where she first saw the light, April 4, 1838. Her father was a native of North Carolina and her mother a Tennesseean and they came to Illinois in 1841, settling successively in Wayne County, Jefferson County, and Clay County, in which latter place the parents died, and where their daughter was residing at the date of her marriage with Mr. Smith.
After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Smith made their first home on the farm which they still occupy and he has devoted much attention to stock-raising and his farm is thought to be especially well adapted to stock-raising. The eight children of Mr. and Mrs. Smith are: Wilburn, John H., Allen, William T., Perlina, Dexter, Mary L. and Elza C. Perlina is the wife of Wilham Hendrick and makes her home not far from her parents. Mr. Smith's political views are independent although he was a Republican during war but for the last twenty years he has desired to feel free from party ties. He has held numerous local offices and has served as Supervisor. His wife is a member of the Separate Baptist Church in which she finds a broad field for influence and labor and in whose communion she is highly prized. Mr. Smith has always been of a speculative turn and has made numerous business deals many of which have proved a profit to him.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Thomas Smith, of Moweaqua, Shelby County, worthily represents the farmers of this county who have aided in its agricultural development in years past, and are now living in honorable retirement in the enjoyment of well-earned competencies. Our subject is a native of Salem Township, Warren County, Ohio, born January 3, 1833. Peter Smith, his father, is thought to have been a native of that State. He was a son of Caleb Smith, who was a Virginian by birth and was an early pioneer of Ohio.
The father of our subject was a cooper by trade, and carried on that calling in addition to farming. He died in Warren County while yet in life's prime. His wife was Elizabeth Varner, a daughter of Jacob Varner. He of whom we write was but ten years old when his father died, and, though he was so young, as he was the eldest son, he had to help his mother support the family. She married again seven years later, and he then went to work on a farm by the month, remaining thus employed in his native State until 1853. Then, in the prime and vigor of a stalwart young manhood, he came to Illinois to seek fortune's favors on this productive soil, and by dint of hard pioneer labor has accumulated a comfortable property. In coming hither he traveled by what was then the most expeditious route, proceeding by rail to Terre Haute, Ind., thence by stage to his destination in this county, arriving in Flat Branch Township after a journey of three days and two nights.
The first four years that he lived here he made his home with William Snell, and subsequently rented a farm one year. After that be traded land in Flat Branch Township for a tract of wild land on section 30, Penn Township, and for a time lived in a log cabin that he bought and removed to the place. He then erected a frame house, and during the time that he resided there made many other improvements. In 1870 be exchanged that farm for eighty acres of wild land in Flat Branch Township, the land being fenced, a half of it broken, and an orchard was set out, but there were no buildings. Mr. Smith lived on that farm until 1890, developing it into an attractive and valuable piece of property, and he then removed to Moweaqua, where he has since lived retired. He is now building a neat and substantial residence on the south side of the Park, where he and his family propose to fit up a cozy and comfortable home.
Mr. Smith was married in 1858 to Miss Ruth E. Clark, and by her ready helpfulness and sage counsel he has been greatly aided in what he has accomplished. They have three children - Frank L., Edward and Nora. Mrs. Smith is a native of Ohio, a daughter of one of its pioneer families. Her father, William R. Clark, was also a native of the Buckeye State, born in Warren County, February 26, 1803. His father, who was also named William, was born in Virginia, and died a short time after the birth of his son, who was named in his honor. His wife, Rachel Ross, was born in Kentucky, and was a daughter of Jonathan Ross, who was a native of Maryland, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and afterward emigrated to Kentucky, of which he was a pioneer settler. He assisted in building the blockhouse on the Ohio River at Newport, opposite Cincinnati. He was in the latter city when it was a small hamlet of but four houses. He afterward settled in the wilds of Warren County, thirty miles east of Cincinnati, where he died in 1841, at the remarkably advanced age of one hundred and four years.
William R. Clark was reared in Warren County on the banks of the Miami River, four miles from Lebanon, the county seat. In the days of his boyhood but little attention was paid to education, and he did not often attend school. As soon as he was old enough he was obliged to work, and his grandfather, with whom he lived, being crippled, he was given full charge of the farm at an early age. December 29, 1824 he secured a helpmate in the person of Miss Nancy Burger, to whom he was then married. She was born in Virginia September 15, 1806. He was employed several years in teaming between the Miami River and Cincinnati. He afterward went to farming for himself on rented land. The Miami Valley was surpassingly rich and productive, and land being held very high there, Mr. Clark decided to come to Illinois, where he could secure land of his own at a reasonable price. He journeyed thither with teams, bringing with him his family, and camping and cooking by the wayside whenever necessary. He came to Flat Branch Township in 1854, first settled on the prairie north of the timber, and in the fall of the same year located on the homestead of eighty acres where his son now lives, which he had entered at the rate of $2.50 an acre. He built the first house on the prairie in Flat Branch Township, between the timber and the railway. It was not customary then to locate on the open prairies, and he had no idea that they would become so well settled as at present. He and his good wife lived to a ripe age, and reared a family of nine children, as follows: Rebecca, Rachel, Mary Ann, Matilda Eliza, James, William, John, Jasper and Emory. Mr. Clark was always a sturdy Democrat in politics, and from the time that he cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson in 1824 he supported every Democratic Presidential candidate until his death.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Rev. Barnett Smock
The name at the head of this sketch is that of a well-known minister of the Baptist Church of this county, having had the pastorate of five churches in this, Fayette, and Montgomery County. He has been an active church worker for about twenty years, during this time having been engaged in helping to organize new churches as well as in preaching the Gospel in the older ones. As an Evangelist, he has a great power for good and many are the additions to the various churches in which he has preached, attracted thither by his work. Each year he has performed the sacred ordinance of baptism receiving many into the churches. Our subject began his career as a preacher in this county and was ordained in 1875, Elders Kelley and Coffee officiating at his ordination. Recently he has spent some time in the field of mission work and is an earnest laborer in this direction. Aside from his church work, he of whom we write is a successful general farmer located on the pleasant tract of land in Pickaway Township, and having a well improved farm of two hundred and eight acres, besides forty acres in Rural Township, and eighty acres in Flat Branch Township. He has lived on his present farm for seven years, having moved hither from Rural Township. He came to Illinois from Indiana in 1856.
The original of our sketch was born in Vigo County, six miles south of Terre Haute, March 17, 1837. He was but a youth when his father moved across the line to Sullivan County, where he was reared and educated. He comes of good stock. His father was Abraham Smock, a native of Kentucky, and a son of Henry Smock, who was a native of Germany. After our subject's grandfather was grown, he was married in his native land to a German lady and soon after marriage he and his wife emigrated to the United States in the days when sailing vessels were used for transportation. They settled in Kentucky, near Lexington, in the early part of the present century. The children were most of them born in Kentucky. Henry Smock and wife with their family removed to Indiana making their home in Sullivan County. This change was made in the early part of the '30s. There the two secured a tract of land in the wilds of the State. The farm which they pre-empted was new and of course had no improvements. They were known in their day as large farmers, owning several hundred acres. Here the parents lived and died, being regarded by neighbors and acquaintances, as good people and successful pioneers. As before said, the country was wholly undeveloped and there was an abundance of wild game. They first behold the land just after the Indians began to seek broader hunting fields and before their deaths they beheld it a beautiful agricultural region, with wide spreading fields of waving grain and dotted with buildings that are the picture of comfort and serene content.
The grandparents died when old people, Henry Smock at the age of seventy, his wife being seventy-six at the time of her decease. They were both members of the New Light Church. Ten children encircled their hearthstone and made merry the days, and light the work about the old homestead. Abraham, the father of our subject, was one of the eldest of these. He grew from boyhood into manhood in Sullivan County, and was all his life a farmer. While a young man he was married in Vigo County, Ind., to Miss Mary Weeks. The lady was born in Kentucky and was a daughter of J. Lewis and Susan E. (Hampton) Weeks, both natives of Virginia and come of Scotch-Irish stock. They were married in Virginia, and later went to Kentucky where they lived near Louisville. After a time they removed to Vigo County, Ind., where they were very early settlers. There Lewis Weeks died in the old home which he had improved. At the time of his decease, he was about sixty-five years old. His wife, who survived him many years, later came to her son, Alfred Weeks', home in Vermilion County, Ill., where she died in June, 1890. She was born in 1790, and at the time of her death was within six months of being a centenarian. Her mother before her had died at the age of ninety-four years. Lewis Weeks and wife were all their lives members of the Baptist Church, as were all the generations before them for years. After a few years of married life, Abraham Smock with his family located on a farm in Sullivan County, where they both finished their lives, the former passing away in 1846. He was then in the prime of life, having been born in 1817. His wife lived for a good many years and died at the old homestead in Sullivan County, in December, 1875. She was born in 1816. During the latter part of her life she was a member of the Christian Church, but for many years she and her husband were members of the New Light Church. Our subject was carefully reared by his mother and step-father. He received a practical education in the district schools, but feels that his greatest advantage was gained by the light of the hickory fire, while bending over his books in the chimney corner. Naturally of an ardent, thoughtful nature, he was a lover of books and read carefully and thoughtfully.
When he of whom we write came to this State, he was yet a single man but could not long resist the charms of the maidens in the Prairie State and was married to Miss Delilah Casey in the township, near where he now lives; she is a second daughter of Judge John Casey who was for many years a prominent man in the county, of whom a fuller history may be found under the biographical sketch of Joseph Smock. Mrs. Smock was born on her father's homestead in this county and township June 29, 1838. Here she has spent her entire life and is known in the vicinity as a model mother, a kind, helpful and generous neighbor and a noble woman. As a pioneer of the State she has a large circle of acquaintances and stands high in their estimation and affection. She, like her husband, is a Baptist in her religious belief. Mr. Smock casts his vote and influence in favor of the Prohibition party. Our subject and his estimable wife are the parents of five children, two of whom are deceased. One passed away in infancy. The other was named William A. The living children are: Albert B.; Lydia A. and John C. Albert B. took to wife Minnie F. Smith, and now resides on a farm in this township. Lydia A., who is the light and life of the home, is a bright and intelligent young lady. John C. helps his brother run the farm. Mr. Smock's family is one notable for its intelligence and culture and the influence therefrom, is of the best. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Joseph J. Smock
Joseph J. Smock, resides on section 2, of Rural Township, Shelby County, his residence in the county, dating from 1862. He is a native of Sullivan County, Ind., where he was born, February 20. 1844. Joseph Smock is a son of Abram and Mary E. (Weeks) Smock, of whom a fuller history may be found under the sketch of the Rev. Barnett Smock, in another part of this volume. Our subject's early life was not dissimilar to that of the majority of lads who are raised on a farm. He early became acquainted with the mysteries of milking, feeding the stock, ploughing, hoeing corn, and kindred work that the farmer boy is apt to attempt to escape unless he has a vigilant eye placed over him. It is much pleasanter in a hot, June day, to go a-fishing than to cultivate corn.
The educational advantages enjoyed by our subject, were limited, although he attained a good foundation for a practical education in the district schools in the vicinity in which he lived. In 1862 he came to Shelby County, Ill., and for one year was engaged in work as a farm hand. He then rented land and tilled the same in order to get means to purchase. In 1866, January 25, he was united in marriage to Susanna Casey, a daughter of Judge John and Nancy (Denton) Casey. She was born in Shelby County, this State, December 17, 1846. Her father was a native of Kentucky, and when but a child of fourteen years of age, was brought by his parents Levi and Chloe Casey, to Illinois. The family settled in Ridge Township in the year 1835, and at that time entered a large tract of Government land, upon which they made many improvements.
Levi and Chloe Casey died at quite advanced ages. They were parents of eight children. Their son, John Casey, Mrs. Smock's father, was born February 16, 1813, in Warren County. Ky. The family removed to Illinois in 1816, and resided in Bond County until 1835. John Casey was married February 20, 1834 to Mahala Jackson, who died in July, 1835, leaving one child as a reminder of his gentle and affectionate wife. October l9, 1837, Mr. Casey again married, his bride being Nancy Denton. Their union was blessed by the birth of eleven children. Of these four daughters and one son survive him. In the early days Judge John Casey was a man of considerable prominence. He filled the position of Justice of the Peace from 1845 to 1860, and during this period he solemnized many marriages. In 1846, he became a volunteer, enlisting in the Mexican War, entering the army in Company B, Third Regiment. Captain Foreman in command. He served to the end of the war and was regarded as a brave soldier and a loyal citizen of the Republic of the United States. He made a record for being the fleetest runner and the best rifleman in the regiment.
Before Mr. Casey left home for service, he purchased a pair of shoes of General Thornton and these he wore during the whole time in which he was in service and on his return, the General presented him with a new pair in exchange for the old ones, which he kept as a souvenir and which are properly labeled as a treasured relic of that stormy period. Judge Casey was one of the Associate Judges under the old system. He was a member of the Twenty-seventh General Assembly, and served as a Supervisor for several terms. In 1874, he removed to Shelbyville, which he made his home until his death. He was that extremely rare thing in law, an honest judge, and prided himself that his word was as good at any time, as his bond. In his religious preference, he was a Baptist. Personally he was an immense man, weighing from three-hundred to three hundred and fifty pounds.
After marriage our subject, Mr. Smock, resided in Ridge Township for two years, there operating land which he rented. They then returned to Flat Branch Township, also renting their land for one year. Thence they went to Pickaway Township, where they rented land for three years. From there they came to Rural Township, making a stay of six years. Then they returned to Pickaway Township, where they remained for ten years, since which time they have lived in Rural Township, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, all of which is good and well improved land.
Mr. and Mrs. Smock have had their lives enriched by the advent into their family of five children. Two of these were lent them but for a short time. The three living are Alva B., Chloe Ellen and Eliza A. Politically our subject is a follower of the Democratic party, casting his vote and influence with it. Mrs. Smock is a member United Baptist Church. She is an intelligent, as well as amiable and cultured woman.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Frederick P. Snell
During the many years that he has been a resident of Shelby County Mr. Snell has been a useful factor in promoting its agricultural development. He is now living in retirement in a pleasant home at Moweaqua in the enjoyment of an ample competence that is the result of his early labors. He was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, August 19, 1825, a son of one of the early pioneer families of that part of the country. His father, Daniel Snell, was born in Maryland in 1788, and was a son of William Henry Snell, who was a native of Germany.
The grandfather of our subject came to America in Colonial times, and, as was the custom with poor emigrants of that day, he was sold after he landed on these shores to pay his passage. He was a cooper and followed that trade in Maryland until 1795, when he went to Kentucky with his family, making the trip down the Ohio River in flatboats which had to be guarded to keep the Indians away. He lived in Kentucky a few years and then removed to Warren County, Ohio, of which he was one of the early settlers. He bought a tract of timber land in Hamilton Township and in the years that followed devoted a portion of his time to clearing his land and the remainder to his trade, residing there until death rounded out his life. The maiden name of his wife was Christina Miller and she was also a native of Germany. She came to this country with her parents, Philip Jacob and Christina Miller, and she died on her husband's farm in Ohio.
The father of our subject learned the trade of a cooper and after marriage purchased a home in Hamilton County and lived there amid primitive pioneer scenes until 1828. In that year he sold his property in that county, and returning to the old homestead in Warren County, he bought the interests of the other heirs and dwelt there the remainder of his life. His wife also died on that farm. Her maiden name was Sarah Peshenpaugh. She was born in Pennsylvania and was a daughter of Frederick and Pamelia (Varner) Peshenpaugh, both natives of Pennsylvania and of German ancestry.
Our subject was but three years old when his parents returned to the old home in Warren County, and there as soon as old enough he was sent to the pioneer schools. That was in the day of subscription schools before the free school system was established and each family paid according to the number of scholars sent. Frederick assisted on the farm and remained an inmate of the parental household until he married and established a home He resided in Warren County until 1855, and then came to this State and county, attracted thither by the many fine advantages offered to young and energetic farmers to pursue their vocation successfully on this soil of surpassing fertility. He purchased eighty acres of unimproved land in what is now Flat Branch Township, bought a log cabin which he moved to the place, and that humble abode was his first home in Illinois. The ensuing years of persistent and well-directed toil brought him prosperity and from time to time he was enabled to buy other land and once had three hundred and eighty-five acres, of which three hundred and forty acres are still in his possession, and constitute a valuable and well-improved property. In 1882 Mr. Snell rented his farm and moved to Decatur where he purchased property. He lived there three years and then traded for realty in the city of Moweaqua where he has since resided.
In 1853 Mr. Snell took unto himself a wife in the person of Miss Eliza Clark and to her devotion to his interests he is much indebted for the prosperity that he enjoys. She was born in Warren County, Ohio, and is a daughter of William R. and Nancy Clark. Her marriage with our subject has been blessed with children, of whom they have six living: Mark, Frank, Charles, William, James E. and Cora. Mr. and Mrs. Snell joined the Presbyterian Church while residents of Flat Branch Township and have since remained true to that faith. the sincerity of their religion being evidenced by their daily conduct in all the relations of life that they hold towards others, and as neighbors and friends they are highly thought of in their community. In his political views Mr. Snell is a firm believer in the doctrines of the Democratic party and advocates them through good and evil report.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Michael Snyder, Jr.
Michael Snyder, Jr., a resident of Moweaqua, though not now actively engaged in agricultural pursuits, is identified with the great farming interests of this county as the proprietor of a well improved farm. located in Flat Branch Township, from the rental of which he derives a comfortable income. He is a native-born citizen of this State, the oldest son of Michael and Margaret (Kautz) Schneider, who were among the early pioneers of Sangamon County, and there in their primitive pioneer home he first saw the light of day October 23, 1834. When he was two years old, his parents removed to Christian County, and settled near the line between the county and this close to the present site of the village of Moweaqua, which, like the surrounding country at that time, was still wild land owned by the Government. He attended the first schools ever taught in this section, which was conducted in a log house. and provided with furniture of the most primitive sort, fashioned by hand, the seats being made by splitting logs, hewing one side smooth, and inserting wooden pins for legs, there being no desks or backs to the seats. A log was taken out the entire length of the building, and glass was inserted in the aperture thus made to admit the light. Holes were bored in the log underneath the window, pins were inserted, and aboard laid on them served as a desk for the larger scholars to write upon. In those early days of the settlement of the county, deer, wolves and wild turkeys were plentiful, and game often furnished an agreeable addition to the scanty fare of the pioneers.
Mr. Snyder was reared to habits of industry, and commenced very early to help on the farm, thus acquiring a thorough knowledge of agriculture that was of great use to him when he entered upon his independent career as a farmer. He lived with his parents until he married and established a home of his own on a farm that belonged to his father that was situated six miles east of Taylorville. Seven years later he removed from there to Assumption, where he was assistant in a lumber yard for two years. At the end of that time he came to Moweaqua, lived a while in the city, and then settled on his farm in Flat Branch Township. In the years that ensued, he busied himself in its improvement, and had brought it to a good condition when he rented it in 1881, and retired to Moweaqua. The farm is still in his possession, and contains two hundred and eighty acres of fertile land, the greater portion of which is well improved and is well supplied with necessary buildings and machinery.
Mr. Snyder was first married in 1857 to Miss Frances Malone. a native of Indiana, and a daughter of William Malone. She departed this life in 1867, after a happy wedded life of ten years, leaving one child. Albert. Mr. Snyder was again married in 1871, taking as his wife Miss Ellen Annetta Deffenbacher, a native of Decatur, Ill., and a daughter of Seibold and Mary J. Deffenbacher. Her pleasant union with our subject has brought them these four daughters: Margaret, lda J., Lucy E. and Evelina.
Politically, Mr. Snyder is a Republican. He has always taken an interest in educational matters and has been active in securing to the youth of his township good advantages as to schooling while serving as School Director and Trustee, and he has always shown himself willing to advance the welfare of the community in whatsoever direction he could.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William H. Snell
The gentleman of whom we write, although deceased, still lives in the esteem and affection of his family, friends and neighbors, having, although modest and retiring in his temperament, always held an unimpeachable reputation for integrity and honor, and being one whose adherence to principle gave an elevating influence to those with whom he came in contact. He passed away from this life bidding his friends a last goodnight, that he might enter into God's upper light, from his home on section 19, Flat Branch Township, Shelby County, October 7, 1890. He was one of the pioneers of State, having located here in 1840, at which time he settled on a tract of new, unbroken land. In 1842, he located on section 19, of Flat Branch Township, where he improved one hundred and sixty acres of land, converting it from its virgin wildness, until it became a garden spot, luxuriant with waving grain and dotted with mild-eyed kine. Here he spent the most active part of his life. He was born in Warren County, Ohio, October 19, 1816, where he remained until he became of age. A full history of his family may be found under the biographical sketch of Fred P. Snell.
Our subject was first married in his native county to Thisby J. Briggs, who was born and reared in New Jersey. She was of New England parentage and came to Ohio when a young woman. She was engaged in the work of teaching before her marriage with Mr. Snell. With her husband she came to Illinois in 1840 and bravely assisted him not only by her prudence and economy, but also in a material way, in getting a start in life. She died here while yet in the prime of life, leaving six little children to her husband to mourn her decease, three of whom have since died. The living children are Sally, Fred M. and Mary D. Sally became the wife of Joseph McGrath, and now resides on a farm in Flat Branch Township. Fred M. took to wife Mary Certin, and now lives near Day, Kan., where he is engaged in farming. Mary D. is the wife of Charles Mazy. They also are farmers in Flat Branch Township.
Our subject was a second time married, his nuptials taking place in Flat Branch Township, and the lady who consented to be the sharer of his joys and sorrows, was Miss Louisa J. Washham. She was born in the East, having come West while a young woman, and died in middle life on the old home place. She left a family of four children who are: Daniel B., Pugh E., Cornelia A. and Edward M. The eldest son took to wife Jane Wolf and lived on a farm in Kansas. The second son was united in marriage to Lois E. Worley and resides in Ridge Township, on a farm. Cornelia A. is the wife of Samuel Haverfield, and lives at Assumption, this State; her husband belongs to the army of noble men and women educators. Edward was united in marriage to Lulu Proctor, and lives in Assumption.
Our subject was a third time married. The ceremony took place in Buell Township, Shelby County, the lady being Mrs. A. Catherine Black, nee Summers. She was a native of Washington County, Md., where she was born August 1, 1832. She is a daughter of Adam and Nancy (Himes) Summers, natives of Tennessee and Maryland. Her parents were married in Washington County, Md., and there lived until middle age. They were old residents of the county when they died. They were of German stock, and Lutherans in religious preference.
Mrs. A. Catherine Snell was only a small child when her parents died. She had but one sister, Mrs. Delano, now Mrs. Eckton, of Washington County, Md. Jacob Himes and was eighteen years of age when she came with him to Illinois. Her first marriage took place in Shelby County, her husband being Josiah L. Black who was a native of Pennsylvania and came West when in middle life, passing from this life at Prairie Bird, this county. He left one child, Andrew D., who took to wife Minnie Spregg. They make their home with Mrs. Snell at Moweaqua. By her marriage with our subject, Mrs. Snell is the mother of eight children, six of these are deceased, those having passed away being Lillie B., Thomas, Myrtie M., Russell P., Ora O., and Emma, who died eighteen months after her marriage. The living children are Alice D. who is the wife of Hiram L. Goatley. Their home is in Moweaqua; William lives with his mother at the old homestead. Mr. Snell was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in which he had been a Steward for some time. His deceased wives and his widow were one with him in his religious preference. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Snell has made her home in Moweaqua. She is an amiable and womanly woman and although advanced in years, retains perfectly, all her faculties. Mr. Snell was a charter member of the order of Masons in Moweaqua. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Michael E. Snyder
Michael E. Snyder is a farmer and stock-raiser of Moweaqua Township, who is contributing his quota to the preservation of its prosperity as a rich agricultural centre [sic]. He was born April 1, 1839 in a pioneer home in Brown County, Ohio. Jacob Snyder was the name of his father, and he was born in one of the Rhine Provinces in Germany. His father, who bore the same name as our subject, was born in the same locality as his son, and resided there until 1824. In that year he came to the United States with five of his seven children, and he lived in Pennsylvania until 1827, when he became a pioneer of Ohio. He resided for a time at Cincinnati, but he finally bought a farm in Brown County, where he made his home until his mortal career was ended by death.
The father of our subject was reared in the land of his birth, and was there married to Elizabeth Shilp, who was a native of the same locality as her husband. In 1824 Mr. Snyder came to this country, bringing with him his wife and two children that had been born to them in their old home. For a time he was a resident of Pittsburg, but he subsequently removed to Cincinnati, which was then only a small place, and he bought farm land now in the heart of the city. A few years later he removed to Brown County and bought four hundred acres of fine land, located two and one-half miles from Carlyle, and three miles from Arnheim. There his years were busily and profitably passed until death released him from life. He and his good wife repose peacefully side by side in the pleasant Lutheran churchyard at Arnheim. They reared twelve children to lives of industry and to right living.
The early life of their son Michael, who forms the subject of this brief sketch, was passed in his native county, and his education was conducted in its public schools. In 1865 he left Ohio to take up his residence in Illinois, where he shrewdly conceived that a young man of sufficient enterprise and capability could do well in agricultural pursuits. His brother Daniel came with him, and together they bought a farm in McLean County, near the town of El Paso. In 1875 he disposed of his share in that place at a good price, and coming to Moweaqua Township, purchased eighty acres of land on section 32, which has since been his home. He has bought other land, and ow has one hundred and forty-eight acres, that is admirably tilled, and yields abundant harvests in repayment for his hard toil. On May 18, 1875 was the date of the marriage of our subject to Miss Maggie Nottbook, a native of Moweaqua Township, and a daughter of William and Wilhelmina Nottbook, of whom a biography appears elsewhere in this work. Mr. and Mrs. Snyder have been blessed with the following four children - Annetta, Willie N., Elizabeth and Minnie. Our subject and his wife are found among the most respected members of the Methodist episcopal Church, and their place in the community is among the people that are held in the highest consideration for kindly and upright lives. Our subject was formerly a Democrat, but he is now a stanch Prohibitionist in word and deed. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William H. Sparling, M.D
William H. Sparling, M.D., Moweaqua, is a fine representative of the best physicians of this section, whose learning ability and eminent success in their practice have contributed to raise the stand of their noble profession in Central Illinois. Our subject was born in County Clare, Ireland, January 15, 1849. His father, Joseph Sparling, was also a native of that Irish county, and was of German descent, his ancestors having left Germany on account of religious persecution and taken up their abode on the Emerald Isle during the reign of Queen Anne.
The father of our subject was reared and married in his native county, where his whole life was passed, his death occurring in 1850. He was engaged in the mercantile business up to that time, and by his removal while yet in life's prime the interests of his community suffered a serious loss. His wife, Hannah Reynard in her maiden days, was born in the same county as himself and was also of German lineage. She survived her husband many years and in 1851 came with her seven children to America. She first settled at London, Canada, whence she subsequently removed to Hamilton. In 1859 she crossed the border, and from that time to her death in 1877 was a resident of the United States, making her home in Detroit, Mich. The following is recorded of her children: Walter, Joseph and Charles are in the dry-good business in Detroit; John is a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, a member of the Detroit Conference; Anna married James Keiller, of Detroit; Bella married William F. Deike, of Chicago; William H. is the subject of this biography.
Dr. Sparling was but two years old when he came to America with his mother, brothers, and sisters, and therefore has no recollection of his native island. He was given fine educational advantages in the public schools of Canada and in the higher institutions of learning in this country. His first experience of school life was in the city schools of London and Hamilton. After the family removed to Detroit he became a student at the High School of that city, and was graduated from there in the Class of '67. He then spent a year of hard study in the Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill. At the expiration of that time he began to prepare himself for the medical profession, for which he had a decided taste, under the instruction of Prof. N. W. Webster, of the Detroit Medical College. He was graduated from the institution in the Class of '72. Having completed his medical education, the doctor decided to enter upon his chosen calling at Cerro Gordo, Piatt County, this State, and he was located there from 1872 to 1876, when he came to Moweaqua and the people of this city and the surrounding country having since had the benefit of his knowledge and skill. During his fifteen years' residence here he has devoted himself very closely to his profession, and today has a reputation second to that of none other of his vocation in this part of the State.
To the lady who presides so graciously over his home and looks carefully after his comfort and happiness, our subject was wedded in 1875. They have two children living, James L. and Mabel. Mrs. Sparling was formerly Miss Minnie Eva Lyons, and is a daughter of James and Annie Lyons. Her native place is Simcoe, Canada.
The Doctor is a member of the Illinois State Medical Society, and of the Central Illinois Medical Society, also of the American Medical Association. He is connected with the temperance order of Royal Templars. His parents were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, reared him in that faith, and he and his wife now belong to the church of that denomination in this city. In the course of his practice he has formed many strong and lasting friendships among the people to whose ailments he has administered and he is the well-beloved physician in many a household where his presence has brought healing, or has soothed the last hours of the dying. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Henry Spears, a successful farmer residing on section 24, Rose Township, Shelby County, was born in Washington County, Ohio, April 19, 1847. His father, Annis Spears, was a native of Maine and his mother, Hannah Ladd, was a native of Washington County. They came to Shelby County, Ill., in 1857, and settled north of Shelbyville for one year, and then came to Rose Township, where they made their permanent home. The father died January 14, 1885, and the mother passed away March 9, 1883. In their family of ten children our subject was the seventh.
He of whom we wrote came to Shelby County with his father when he was ten years old, and has thus been a resident of this county since 1857. August 29, 1872, was his wedding day, and was then united in Rose Township, with Miss Rebecca Warner, a daughter of Aaron and Hannah (Kerschner) Warner. They came from Pickaway County, Ohio, to this county in 1871, and are still residents of this county. Mrs. Spears first saw the light in Pickaway County, Ohio, December 31, 1851. She is now the mother of three children - Charles H., Estella, and Aetna. Mr. and Mrs. Spears are most earnest and efficient members of the Methodist Church in which this gentleman takes and active part. He has held the office of Collector for three terms, and in his political espouses the cause of the Republican party. He has erected good buildings upon his farm and is the owner of one hundred sixty acres of rich and arable soil. His enterprise and energy combined with pluck, push and perseverance have made him a successful farmer and he is universally esteemed.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Hon. Frank Spitler
This well-known member of the legal profession has made his home in Sullivan, Moultrie County, since March 1885, and is devoting himself to his practice in partnership with Isaac Hudson. This firm, which was established in August, 1888, has gained prominence throughout Moultrie and the adjoining counties and conduct its business successfully. Mr. Spitler has been associated with other lawyers since he became a member of the bar, being formerly in partnership with ex-Judge H. M. Miner, now in the West, and prior to that with A. C. Monser, now of California. Mr. Spitler was born in Marion County, Ill., January 28, 1853 and is the son of Judge T. A. and Gilly R. (Kelley) Spitler. The father was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and the mother in South Carolina, and they both arrived in Illinois in 1840. The following year they were united in the holy bonds of wedlock, in Marion County, where they followed the business of farming in Alma Township. Then the father is yet living at the advanced age of seventy years; he has always been an active worker and is still hale and hearty for one of his age. He was a stanch old-line Democrat and served his party faithfully and well on many occasions, during his younger years. For some years he was Supervisor of the township, discharging the duties of the office to the satisfaction of his constituents. He was also for a time Associate Judge of the county, and is now held in excellent repute on account of his fine character, general intelligence and useful life. He is a consistent member of the Baptist Church, as was also his wife. On December 31, 1888, the mother of our subject passed from the busy scenes of earth, and the New Year, which brought to all of earth's children their joys and sorrows, brought to her a realization of the "Great Beyond". She was at the time of her demise sixty-six years old and had become the mother of fifteen children, eight of whom survived her. A good woman, her life was devoted to her husband and children, and it was her great object to prepare her sons and daughters for responsible positions in life. Her eldest son Henry, was a soldier in the Civil War, serving as Sergeant in the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Infantry, and belonging to Company K. He died in the Hospital in Kentucky.
Our subject grew to manhood upon his father's farm, engaged in various pursuits which belong to the life of a farmer. He received a good common-school education, which he supplemented by a thorough course of study at a Baptist College. He utilized his knowledge as a teacher, following that profession for several years and earning the money to educate himself. He taught school at Benton, Ill., for three years and was afterward Principal of the schools at Odin, Ill., for two years. When he commenced to read law, he was a student under Judge Williams of Benton, Ill., and later read with Judge Pollock, of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County. In 1884 he was admitted to practice at the bar, and has since devoted his undivided attention to his profession. In 1888 the was nominated by the Democratic party, of which he is a stanch supporter, to the State Legislature, and represented the Thirty-third District in the Thirty-sixth Session. He was a member of various important committees, among them that of State Institutions. He served his constituency faithfully and advanced the interests of his community to the best of his ability. Mr. Spitler was married, March 20, 1888, in Sullivan, to Miss May McCaig, a native of Ohio, whence she accompanied her parents to Illinois and was reared to womanhood in Sullivan. She is a mother of one child, Clarke. In his religious views Mr. Spitler is a Baptist and adheres to every cause calculated to advance the interests of the city socially, morally and educationally. He gives liberally of his earnings to the church and all public-spirited enterprises. When it was decided to build a Baptist Church in Sullivan, Mr. Spitler came to the front and was an active worker in securing means and helping materially the completing of the structure, which is a credit to the people and the city. As a lawyer, he pleads his cases with force and shows his ability as a student; his daily applications, research and practice have given him a wide reputation as a successful counsel and reliable advocate, which with his personal qualities have attracted to him a large circle of friends and patrons.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Andrew J. Steidley
Andrew J. Steidley, a well-known resident of Moweaqua, Shelby County, is of Southern birth and ancestry, and is also a representative of one of the pioneer families of Illinois. He was born in Frederick County, Va., December 23, 1829, and is a son of Solomon Steidley, who was born in Frederick County, Md., August 21, 1789. His father was about fifteen years old when his parents removed to Frederick County, Va., where he was reared to agricultural pursuits, and there he was married October 25, 1811, to Rachel Barr, who was born in New Jersey, November 28, 1793. Her father, James Barr, was a Revolutionary soldier, and was with Washington at Valley Forge.
The parents of our subject left their Virginia home in October, 1834, to seek a new one in the wilds of Macoupin County, this State, the journey being made with teams, a part of the household goods being taken to furnish their pioneer abode. At length, after traveling five weeks, they came to what is now Barr Township, which at that time was literally in the wilderness, where deer, bears, and other wild animals roamed at will, and the surrounding country had but few white inhabitants. The nearest post-office for some time was fifteen miles distant from their dwelling. Postage stamps were not then in use, and it cost twenty-five cents for each letter. The father of our subject bought forty acres of land a mile south of the present site of Barr's Store. There was a log cabin on the place, and the land was fenced and partly improved. Alton was the nearest market, where the people purchased their sugar, salt and coffee, which were the principal supplies bought at the stores, as the settlers were mostly home-livers, subsisting on what they could produce on their farms, and on game. The women carded, spun and wove flax and wool for all the cloth used for garments or other purposes. Mr. Steidley was prospered in his new home, as he was a man of untiring diligence, and he bought other land until he owned four hundred and eighty acres at the time of his demise, all lying in Barr Township. His life was cut off by his death November 18, 1848, while yet in the midst of his usefulness, and his county was deprived of the services of one of its most industrious and worthy pioneers. His wife survived him until August 11, 1860, when she breathed her last in the old home. She reared these seven children: James B., Betsy A., Frederick, John S., Margaret H., Mary C. and Andrew J.
Our subject was in his fifth year when his parents brought him to Illinois. He attended the pioneer schools of Barr Township, which were taught on the subscription plan, in primitive log houses, that were rudely furnished with seats made by splitting small logs, hewing one side smooth, and using wooden pins for legs, the seats being without desks or backs. Mr. Steidley commenced to assist in the farm work as soon as large enough, and lived with his mother until his marriage, affording her great assistance in managing the farm. He taught one term of school before his marriage, later taught two terms in Barr Township, and then gave his attention to the mercantile business at Greenfield two years. He next went to farming near Fayette, Greene County, and was thus employed there a year and a half. After that Macon County was his destination, and he sojourned there the summer of 1857. Returning to Fayette, he remained there two years, and then went back to his old home, Barr Township, and the succeeding two years farmed there, except in the winter season, when he resumed his old vocation of teacher. In the fall of 1862, we find him once more in Fayette, where he had charge of a school two terms. In the spring of 1864 he came to Moweaqua to accept a position as clerk for H. F. Day, and was with him for four years. Smith & Keiser, dealers in lumber and agricultural implements, were his next employers in that capacity, and he staid with them two years. Since then he has been engaged in various branches of business.
In 1885 Mr. Steidley took a new departure, and entered upon the printers' trade in the office of his son in Maroa. He then commenced at the foundation of the editor's profession by learning to set type. He remained in the office at Maroa until 1888, when he came back to Moweaqua, and for fourteen months was a clerk in a drug store. At the expiration of that time he commenced setting type in the office of the Call-Mail with his son, and has continued thus engaged ever since. He is a man of versatile genius, of much culture, possessing an interesting fund of general knowledge, and wherever known is respected. Politically he is a sound Democrat. His social relations are with the Masonic fraternity.
Our subject was married in 1852 to Miss Nancy E. Jayne, who was a native of Greene County, Ill., born July 31, 1836. She was a most estimable lady, and her death, February 26, 1881, was a sad bereavement to her family and many friends. She left four children - Edgar C., Thomas J., Emily R. and Wilmer A. Mrs. Steidley was a daughter of Thomas and Emily (Renshaw) Jayne, natives respectively of Kentucky and Tennessee, and early settlers of Greene County, Ill. Her father was a prominent attorney, and at one time was in partnership with Senator John M. Palmer, at Carlinville, Ill. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Wilmer A. Steidley
Wilmer A. Steidley, the editor and proprietor of the Call-Mail, a weekly paper, published in Moweaqua, Shelby County, is a bright and ambitious young man, who has already had considerable experience in journalism, and gives to the public one of the best family papers issued in Central Illinois. He was born in Barr Township, Macoupin County August 10, 1861. He received a practical education in the public schools, and when a boy worked on the farm. At the age of seventeen he left school to enter the office of the Moweaqua Register, the first paper published in this city. He soon acquired the art preservative in that establishment, and remained there until the fall of 1880, when he went to Montezuma, Ind., and was employed in the office of the Era the ensuing three months. From there he went to Maroa, and was employed in setting type in the office of the Maroa News until 1881.
In that year Mr. Steidley entered upon his career as a journalist, coming to Moweaqua in the month of January, and started a paper called the Mail. In 1884 he sold that publication, and returning to Maroa, bought the News, the paper on which he had formerly set type. He conducted the News until July 1, 1888, and then sold it on good terms, and for nearly a year thereafter he lived at Colorado Springs, Col., where he was engaged as a clerk in a furniture store. In May, 1889, he returned to Moweaqua, and resumed his vocation as editor, purchasing the Call, and in July of the same year buying the Mail, and consolidating the two under the name of the Call-Mail. Thus united he has infused new life into their columns, and has made the union paper a strong, breezy, entertaining family newspaper, full of information on subjects in which the public is most interested, with its matter well arranged, and its editorials showing a progressive spirit, and giving good points in regard to political and other topics with which the people should be familiar.
November 1, 1881 is the date of the marriage of our subject with Miss S. E. Huff. Mrs. Steidley was born in DeWitt County, Ill., in February, 1862, and is a daughter of James and Nancy (Dine) Huff. Three children are living of this union - James J., Wilmer A. and Ida Clare. Their fourth child, named Marguerite, died in July, 1889, aged ten months.
Mr. Steidley is popular and well-known in social circles as a member of the following organizations: Shelby Lodge, No. 274, I. O. O. F., and Home Lodge, No. 452 of the Order of Tonti, he being President of the latter lodge. In his political affiliations, he is a Democrat. Religiously, both he and his wife are members 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]
J. N. Steward
The gentleman who is the subject of this sketch is engaged in the manufacture of tile and brick in Rural Township, Shelby County, but his residence is in Shelbyville, and few, if any men, have been for many years, more industrious than he, or more successful. His residence dates from 1858, at which time he left his native State, Ohio, and removed to Illinois. He was born September 26, 1833, and is a son of John and Sarah (Lacount) Steward, natives of Maryland. They came to Shelby County in 1860, and both passed away in Rural Township at the advanced age of seventy-five years. He of whom we have the pleasure of writing this sketch, was one of a family of six children born to his parents. Their names are as follows: James, Sarah, John, Frances, Mary and Russell B. James and Russell B. both reside in Sumner County, Kan.; Sarah, who is now Mrs. Smith resides in Iowa; Frances, who married a Mr. Finney, died at Assumption, Ill.; Mary, who is Mrs. Finney, resides in Washington. The educational advantages enjoyed by our subject, were limited, being only such as could be absorbed at a country school during the summer months, that period when the mind as well as the body, is relaxed and so little capable of vigorous action. However, he had perseverance enough to work for an additional three months' term at Westerville College, Ohio. Thereafter he gave his attention to farming and became the owner of two hundred and forty acres of land. While dealing in live stock, he met with heavy losses, and in fact, was so deeply involved, that some of his creditors offered to accept fifty cents on the dollar in settlement. But while he felt that he had youth and energy, he was too much of a man to accept this concession, and sturdily promising to pay all in full, if they would but give him more time, he started anew, laboring almost night and day. He, however, discharged all his debts and his credit was restored, and the confidence that this manly course aroused in his creditors and townsmen was of great value to him. Our subject is now the owner of eighty acres of land in Rural Township, on which, in 1881, he erected a tile and brick factory, and now turns out a half million brick annually, and of such good quality that it is steadily gaining ground in commerce. Mr. Steward married in 1855, to Miss Sophia D. Agler. The children whose names follow, were the fruit of this union: Marcellus A. died in childhood; Josephine died in 1858; Alice married John Middlesworth, and has since died; Flora is the wife of Henry Thomas, and resides in Assumption, Ill.; Harlow W.; Alma, who died in childhood; Wallace and Effa. Politically Mr. Steward is a follower of the Democratic party. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and socially belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
H. A. Stewardson
H. A. Stewardson, of the firm of Hamm & Stewardson, of Strasburg, Shelby County, is an enterprising and able young business man. The firm of which he is junior member deals in hardware, agricultural implements and furniture, stoves and tinware. Although not yet thirty years of age he is the owner of some fine land in this county, aside from the position that he holds in the firm, and in which he is building up a reputation for business tact and talent, and a keen foresight in financial matters that make him rank already with the best business men in the township. Mr. Stewardson comes from a good family who are noted among their acquaintances for their practical and common-sense views of the affairs of daily life. Mr. Stewardson's father was Thomas Stewardson, who is now a resident of Shelbyville Township. His mother in her maiden days was Sarah C. Brady. They were the parents of thirteen children, and of these our subject was the fourth in order of birth of the second set of children. He was born in Shelbyville Township November 25, 1862. (For a fuller history of his parents see sketch of Thomas Stewardson in another part of this volume.) Our subject grew to manhood in his native county. He received a good common-school education in the schools of the vicinity, and he passed his early life in a divided attention to school duties and assisting with the work of the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, remaining during that time under his father's roof. He then for a period of a year and a half engaged in farm labor for other farmers in the neighborhood. At the end of that time he came to Strasburg and was employed by J. N. Storm as clerk in his store for a period of about six years. On leaving Mr. Storm's employ our subject was for six months engaged in farming and August 1, 1890, he formed a partnership with Martin Hamm, to engage in the business of which they are now proprietors. He has ever since devoted himself to the interests of the firm, which carries a fine stock of implements, and which is doing a good business. He is besides the owner of forty acres of land in Richland Township, which is well cultivated and valuable land. The calling of agriculture, however, is not the one to which our subject feels himself best adapted, preferring to deal more intimately with men. Our subject left the rank and file of bachelors February 24, 1886, and was united in marriage to Elnora Davis, who was born in this county. Their wedding was solemnized in Windsor. The young couple have had three children, whose names are Ethel, Mamie and Myrtle. The second child, Mamie, is deceased. Politically he of whom we write affiliates with the Democratic party. He has been Justice of the Peace for about two years and is well qualified to fill any position in the gift of the township. When a man has made such a success of life at Mr. Stewardson's age, the world has reason to expect of him unqualified success in the future. Having already shown his ability, he will be given prominent positions both in public and private affairs. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Robert N. Stewardson
However composite our nation may be, the fact that we are an English speaking people, will ever remind us that England is our mother country and that aside from the consanguinity that naturally binds us to England and English people, we as a nation, owe more than perhaps we are willing to confess, to English laws and government for the form of our own Government, free and independent as it is. The sterling qualities invariably found in the agricultural classes of English people, meet a ready recognition in this country. Our subject is by parentage English, although he is a native of this country. His father was the late Robert Stewardson, who was born in Westmoreland County, England, and his mother was Miss Elizabeth L. Douthit. The parents of Elizabeth Douthit Stewardson were John and Margaret (Elliott) Douthit, who died in Shelbyville Township. They were the parents of two sons and five daughters, and of these Mrs. Elizabeth L. Stewardson was the sixth child in order of birth, and was born in Tennessee, July 20, 1825. She was married to Robert Stewardson in Shelbyville Township, December 5, 1848.
Robert Stewardson, Sr., died in Richland Township, this county, September 14, 1858. He was the father of three children, namely: William, Robert N. and Mary E. Two children died in infancy. The old gentleman took an active part in local affairs. He served as Deputy Sheriff of Shelby County for two years, in his religious connections he was a member of the Church of England. Our subject, Robert N. is the second son born to parents. He first saw the light of day in Richland Township, Shelby County, July 26, 1855.
Young Robert was reared to manhood on his father's farm in Richland Township, and there he early learned the work incident to a farmer's life. He was educated in the common schools of the district, and there his native quickness and perception enabled him to gain a good and practical knowledge of books and an insight into the sciences, that has been of great service to him in his career. He has always followed the calling of farming, although in July, 1885, he erected buildings for tile work. These he has built upon his farm and here he manufactures quite extensively in connection with his farm. He also owns and operates a sawmill.
The original of our sketch has in his farm, one hundred and fifteen acres of land and upon this tract, which is delightfully located, valuable improvements have been placed. He was married in Richland Township, April 8, 1875, his bride being Miss Susan J. Hawk, and by her he has had two children whose names are respectively, Walter C. and Myrtle. Myrtle died when two years old. Mrs. Susan J. Stewardson bade a last and long farewell to her husband in Richland Township, April 8, 1882. The sense of pain in thus being left by one to whom he was united by the nearest and dearest ties was infinite and keen.
After some years he married a daughter of Fred and Mary Kircher. She was born in Shelby County, January 3, 1858. One child, a daughter, whose name is Ray, is the fruit of this marriage. Politically our subject has joined his influence with the progressive young party whose most intimate mission is the purifying of society. He is a member of the Prohibition party. Mrs. Stewardson is united with the Lutheran Church, in which she is a good and efficient worker. Our subject is an energetic and progressive business man to whose activity and ambition the people of Richland Township owe much. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Thomas Stewardson, one of the early pioneers of Shelby County and a man who has made his record for industry, hard work, perseverance and integrity, has a pleasant home on section 24, Shelbyville Township, where his residence dates from the fall of 1849. He was born in the North of England, March 18, 1818, and is the son of William and Mary (Nicholson) Stewardson. The mother died when the subject of this sketch was but a small boy, leaving seven children, of whom Thomas was the eldest. Those who followed him were: Robert, who died in Shelby County; Samuel, went to the West Indies and there died; Isabella, married Mr. Brewster and died in Shelbyville; William; John, who resides in Texas, and Mary, who died in Indiana in 1844. The father of our subject came to the United States, and settling in Illinois, lived in Shelby County until his death. He took up the land for this son two years previous to our subject's coming here.
Thomas Stewardson was reared a farmer, and came to the United States, settling in Ohio in the year 1840, and there married three years later the lady whom he had chosen from all the world to be his companion through life. She was Elizabeth Parnell, a native of England and a daughter of John and Agnes Parnell. After marriage they resided in Ohio for some nine years with the exception of one season, which they spent in Northern Indiana. Elizabeth Stewardson became the mother of six children, but was called from them by death in 1856, leaving them to mourn a mother's loss. They are all now grown to manhood and are occupying positions of responsibility and honoring their parents by lives of usefulness and worth. They are as follows: John, who resides in Sac County, Iowa; Thomas, who lives in the State of Washington; James, Robert and William P., who live in Shelby County; and Samuel, who makes his home in South Dakota.
In December, 1856, our subject was married to Sarah Brady, a daughter of Thomas and Martha (Vaughn) Brady, and a native of Shelby County, where she was born October 20, 1839. Her parents were of Southern birth and came to Illinois in the pioneer days, taking up and improving land here. Their death occurred in Shelby County, and they left six children, as follows: William, deceased; Jane, the wife of Perry Reed, who resides in Butler County, Kan.; Samuel, deceased; Sarah, Mrs. Stewardson; Narcissa A., who married Hiram Brown and died in Shelby County; and James, who is also deceased. The first possession of Mr. Stewardson in Illinois was forty acres, and he now owns two hundred and sixty, all excellent and well improved land, bearing upon it good fences, excellent barns and a substantial home. He followed sheep-raising for a number of years very successfully and has the qualities which lead to success in that department of work, as he is prudent and attentive to the needs of his stock. He now pursues general farming. Mrs. Stewardson is a member of the Hard Shell Baptist Church and has brought up her seven children in the faith of the Christian religion. They are named: Martha Jane, wife of John Richardson; Edward; Douglas; Henry; Mary, now Mrs. Benjamin Field; Eliza, the wife of Mathew Bainbrig; and Albert. The political views of our subject have brought him into sympathy with the Democratic party, for whose success he is desirous, but he is not at all an office-seeker, although he has filled successfully the position of School Director. Elsewhere in this volume the reader will find a lithographic portrait of Mr. Stewardson. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William Stewardson, Sr.
The owner of one of the best farms in Richland Township, located on section 19, is he whose name is at the head of this sketch. He belongs to a good old English family, and inherits from them a stubborn obstinacy that will not acknowledge defeat but will build on the ruins of disappointment and loss the foundation of new hopes and new fortunes. Our subject's father was William Stewardson who was born in Westmoreland County, England. His mother was Mary (Nicholson) Stewardson, who was a native of the same country as her husband. The good lady died in her native land about 1838, her husband afterward married and came to America about 1842, settling in Stark County, Ohio, where he lived for two years and from there removed to Indiana, locating in Pulaski County. After a stay of one year there he removed to Shelby County, this State, settling in Shelbyville Township. There he spent his last days with his son, our subject, passing away at his residence in Richland Township, when over seventy-one years of age.
The name at the head of this sketch is that of one of a family of seven children, he being the fifth, his birthplace was in Westmoreland County, England, and his natal day was February 26, 1828. He came to America with his father in 1842, and in June 1845, he located in Shelby County. He spent most of his young manhood with his father until his marriage, which occurred in Shelbyville Township, November 26, 1851. His bride was a Miss Nancy M. Douthit, a native of Tennessee, who was there born November 25, 1829. She was only about one year old when her parents came to Shelby County.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewardson are the parents of seven living children whose names are: Mary, Sarah, Jane, Elizabeth (deceased), William N., John D., Anna M. and Ella. Mary is the wife of Andrew C. Ensminger. Sarah Isabelle is the wife of Thomas M. Robinson. Elizabeth died when about twenty-three years of age. The parents of Mrs. Stewardson were John and Margaret (Elliott) Douthit. They died in Shelbyville Township. For a few months after the marriage of our subject, the young couple lived in Shelbyville Township and then settled on the farm where he has ever since lived. He has always been engaged in the agricultural business, and has fine improvements upon his place. He was formerly the owner of a large tract of several thousand acres. He laid out the town of Stewardson about 1876 and it was named in his honor. During his days of larger prosperity he made a gift of twenty acres to the town, as the nucleus of the site upon which it is now located.
Although Mr. Stewardson has been fairly active in politics and is an ardent supporter of his party which is that of Democracy, he has never been an office-seeker. Home has ever been paramountly dear to him, as is evident in the fine condition in which every particular in which this place is kept. The house, which is comfortable and commodious, is pleasantly located so that it commands a charming prospect of the surrounding country. Nestled among fine trees, it is shaded in summer, and protected from the blasts of winter. At one time he of whom we write was the owner of thousands of head of sheep and a very wealthy man. Reverses, however, have come to him as to many, but he does not lose courage nor his hope in the future. The house of William Stewardson is known as Belle View owing to its beautiful surroundings. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, transcribed by Genealogy Trails Transcription Team]
J. G. Stewart
J. G. Stewart has ever been a living exponent of what energy, judgment and ambition can accomplish in the agricultural line in the Prairie State where the conditions are so favorable to the farmer as to take away from their work half the drudgery that it elsewhere finds. Mr. Stewart now lives in Moweaqua, having retired from agricultural pursuits in the fall of 1889, and is now living on a fine property in this place. Mr. Stewart's farm, whereon he spent a number of years, is located on section 25, Moweaqua Township, Shelby County. He came to it in 1866, beginning life with but little else than grit and perseverance, which served him far better than do large pecuniary resources many other men.
Although our subject has retired from the active business of farming he still owns his homestead of two hundred and eighty acres. There is no better land in the county, and Mr. Stewart has laid out large sums in improvements that have greatly added to its value. There is upon the place a good dwelling made cozy and beautiful by the care, interest and taste of womanly hands. The large fortune which he has accumulated has been amassed by hard work and his capable wife has been no small factor in his success. The domestic realm over which she has held sway has been governed in such a way as to not only spare our subject's means, but to add to his resources. Gain has not been her only object in life, however, for she has been a tender mother and a good and kind neighbor ever ready to lend a helpful hand in time of need.
Mr. Stewart's birthplace is what is now Blair County, Pa., near Alton. He was born September 27, 1840, and is the son of Alexander Stewart, a native of Pennsylvania, where our subject was reared. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His paternal grandfather was Alexander Stewart, like his father a native of Pennsylvania, where he ended his days. When in middle life he was married in Blair County to Mary Gray, whose parents were natives of Ireland who had settled in Pennsylvania. Mary Stewart lived and died in Pennsylvania, being about seventy years of age when her decease occurred, having survived her husband by a good many years. Our subject's grandparents were members of the Presbyterian Church.
Our subject's father was only nine years of age when his father died. He was reared by his mother in his native county, and there remained until he had attained manhood. He died in the city of Alton in 1889, having attained the age of nearly eighty-one years, and was much mourned by friends and acquaintances. He married Miss Kaziah Green, of Blair County, Pa., where she was born and reared, and where her death occurred in 1853, being then forty-eight years of age. She was of good family, her parents being old settlers in her native place. Both she and her husband were members of the Methodist Church.
The original of our sketch grew up in his native county, and in the fall of 1861, on the first call for three-year volunteers, he enlisted in the army, joining Company F, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, of which Capt. A. Wayne and Col. Powers were in command. The regiment proceeded South and assumed duty in the Tenth Army Corps. Much of the time they were engaged in hard fighting, and our subject was engaged at the battles at Ft. Pulaski, James Island, Ft. Wagner and Morris Island. He was afterward with his regiment at Drury's Bluff and Cold Harbor, and passed through many engagements. Mr. Stewart was fortunate enough to escape death and wounds and capture, and was never in the hospital. He was on duty in every engagement that his regiment partook in with the exception of one. Our subject enlisted in the service as a musician, but was mustered in as a private, and served in both capacities. He is justly proud of his military record, which is without a stain. But, although he had the opportunity, he never sought promotion. After his return from the war, our subject persuaded Miss Lizzie Freidley to share the duties of life with him. They were married in Moweaqua in the fall of 1868. The lady was born, reared and died in this city, her demise taking place in the summer of 1877. She was then only twenty-seven years of age, and a bright and beautiful woman. She left to her husband three children, all of whom are now deceased. One died in infancy. John A. and Jessie M. did not reach the age of maturity.
Mr. Stewart was a second time married to Miss Frena M. Brooks. She was born in Flat Branch Township and was quite young when her parents came to Moweaqua. Here she received her education and attained womanhood. Her father, Josiah Brooks, has been for many years deceased. He was one of the early settlers in this county. His wife is yet living and makes her home in Moweaqua. She is now in the afternoon of life and is peacefully enjoying the sunset. By his present marriage Mr. Stewart and wife have had four children, one of whom is deceased. The living children are: James F., Malcolm W. and Charles L., who are yet at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are generous supporters of the same. Mr. Stewart has held the local office of Highway Commissioner and he is at present Commander of J. V. Clemings Post, No. 363, G. A. R., of which he is a charter member. He is also a member of Lodge No. 1013, K. of Il., and of Shelby Lodge. No. 274, I. O. O. F.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John A. Stewart
The genial Supervisor of Penn Township, and who owns two hundred acres of fine land located on section 36, is he whose name is found above. He was born in Center County, Pa., in Shore Creek Valley, November 3, 1848. He is a son of John G. Stewart, who was born in the same State, and the father of John G., the grandfather of our subject, was born in Scotland, and came to America at an early day, and with his parents located in Pennsylvania, settling in Huntington. He was there engaged in the mercantile business and passed the remainder of his life in that place. Our subject's father learned a trade but did not follow it long, turning his attention to farming. He removed from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1867, and resided in Moweaqua until 1884, then went to Missouri and settled in DeKalb County, and there made his home until his death, which occured in 1888.
The mother of our subject was in her girlhood Miss Mary Ann Elder: She was born in Pennsylvania and was a daughter of Abram Elder. She still survives, making her home in DeKalb County, Mo. She is the mother of nine children. Our subject was reared and educated in his native State, and coming to Illinois when quite young, with his parents, again located on the farm and there remained until his marriage, after which he came to Penn Township and bought eighty acres of land on section 27.
Our subject did not occupy the farm that was his first purchase, but rented other land and worked it until 1887, when he bought the place he now occupies that is located on section 36. It is well improved and bears striking evidence of the energy and industry Mr. Stewart has brought to bear on his work. It has a good class of buildings with a pleasant and comfortable residence and the most advanced ideas as regards agriculture are employed in his care and cultivation of the place.
In January, 1876, our subject quit the bachelor ranks and merged his life with that of Miss Mary E. Thompson. She was born in Pennsylvania and is a daughter of Gardner and Eliza (Baird) Thompson. Five children have been vouchsafed to the care and guidance of our subject and his estimable wife. They are by name Maude A., Frank G., Harvey, Edith, and Mary Belle. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are members of the Presbyterian Church and are consistent and noble Christians. He of whom we write is a Republican in politics. He was elected a member of the Board of County Supervisors in the spring of 1891. Socially he belongs to the Prairie Home Lodge, No. 3574, of the knights of Honor.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Frank J. Stillwell
Frank J. Stillwell, one of the efficiently and progressive farmers of Rose Township, Shelby County, is a son of John W. and Sarah (Templeton) Stillwell. The former was born near Newport, Ky., and then came with his family to Shelby County in 1866, making their home in Shelbyville and operating a sawmill in Rose Township, which they carried on for several years. The wife passed away in Shelbyville in 1876 and the bereaved husband is now living a retired life. They had two children, Robert T. and Frank J.
Our subject was born near Newport, Ky., August 4, 1859, and came to Shelby County, this State with his parents. He received his education in the common schools and made good use of his advantages, gaining much from this thorough, though somewhat narrow, curriculum. His marriage at Shelbyville, April 5, 1883, united him with Miss Anna Wortman, who was born in Dry Point Township. When they married they settled in Rose Township, where Mr. Stillwell is engaged in farming, giving his attention to the cultivation of two hundred and seventy acres of excellent land, and also raising considerable good stock.
Mr. and Mrs. Stillwell are the parents of two children, Mary A. and J. Frank. The office of School Director has been efficiently filled by Mr. Stillwell. He is a Democrat in his political views. He is prominently identified with the Order of Woodmen of America, and with his wife is an active member of the Baptist Church.
The parents of Mrs. Stillwell are William and Margaret (Hickman) Wortman. Mr. Wortman was born in Shelby Township, Shelby County, October 22, 1831. His father, Isaac Wortman, was a native of Christian County, Ky., being born there August 26, 1865, and being the son of Michael Wortman, a Virginian by birth and one of the first settlers of Christian County. Ky. Michael Wortman secured a tract of timberland in that county and cleared a farm and spent his last years there. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth Wallace and she was also a Virginian. She came to Shelby County after the death of her husband.
The grandfather of Mrs. Stillwell was reared in Kentucky and resided there until 1828, when he came to Illinois accompanied by his wife, his mother and his brother with his wife. They brought all their household goods along with them in their wagons and camped and cooked by the way. They arrived in Shelby County in December 1828, and resided in what is now known as Windsor Township for one year and then removed to Shelby Township and entered a tract of Government land one mile east of the city. A few log houses were all that Shelbyville then boasted. Isaac Wortman erected a log house on his land and commenced at once to clear away the timber. After residing there for several years he sold his property and bought in Holland Township, where he resided until his death in 1868. The maiden name of his wife (who was the grandmother of Mrs. Stillwell) was Zelinda Hall. She was born in Fayette County, Ky., of Virginian parentage, her father and mother being Peter and Mary (Fisher) Hall, who became pioneers of Fayette County, Ky. Mrs. Hall died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Emily Willis, in Shelbyville in 1872, having been the mother of twelve children.
William Franklin Wortman resided with his parents until his marriage and then settled on an eighty-acre tract of land which he owned on section 1 of Dry Point Township. It was wild land at the time, forty acres of it being in timber and the remainder in brush. He built a log house and other land until at one time he possessed some two hundred and fifty acres all in one body, part of it being in Holland Township. He improved the land, planted an orchard and erected good farm buildings. He continued there until the fall of 1890 when he retired from active farming and built the home where he now resides in Shelbyville. He was married in 1856 to Margaret Hickman, who was born in Shelbyville, February 15, 1836.
Joseph Hickman, the father of Mrs. Stillwell, the grandfather of Mrs. Stillwell, married in Kentucky and came from that state to Illinois in 1830, thus becoming one of the early settlers of Shelbyville. He was one of the first teachers in the county and was a man of more than ordinary education. He resided there for a number of years and then bought a farm in Shelby Township, upon which he had made his home until his death. His wife (the grandmother of Mrs. Stillwell) bore the maiden name of Ziporah Frankford. She was born in Illinois, being a daughter of Elza and Margaret (Adams) Frankford, and died at the home of a son in Shelby Township about the year 1868. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wortman, namely: Mary, Hattie, Emma, Annie, Thomas, James and Mattie. The parents are earnest and active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Wortman is a Democrat in his political views.
Mr. Stillwell's personal qualities are such as to have won for him the respect and admiration of his fellow-citizens and he has the hearty good will of all. His home is comfortable and pleasant and his family share with him the good opinion of their neighbors.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John N. Storm
John N. Storm belongs to an energetic, enterprising family of whom the young men early started out in life for themselves. Our subject is a general merchant in the village of Strasburg, and being thoroughly acquainted in the surrounding country, he has the advantage in both buying and selling. He of whom we write is a son of Hiram J. Storm, who was born in Ash Grove Township, Shelby County, this State. His mother was Harriet Rankin, who was born in Big Spring Township. Our subject's parents after marriage settled in Ash Grove Township. The mother died while her boys were young, passing away in 1868. The father is still living and is employed as a farmer in Big Spring Township. They were the parents of seven children and of these our subject is the fourth in order of birth. He was born in Ash Grove Township, Shelby County, this State, January 13, 1858, and was reared chiefly in Big Spring Township, remaining with his father until he was eighteen years old, when he came to Strasburg and was engaged in wagon making and repairing, and was thus occupied for about two years. He then went into the saloon business but continued in this only a short time and then engaged in the general mercantile business. The original of our sketch carries a good and well-assorted stock of merchandise and enjoys a good trade. He has filled several local offices. He has been both village and township Constable, Justice of the Peace, Village Trustee and School Treasurer. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Storm's marriage look place in Richland Township. His wife's maiden name was Anna B. Martin. She was a daughter of Jacob Martin, who died in Richland Township. She was born in Indiana. They are the parents of five children, three of whom only are living. Their names are Merton R., Orville and Ivy. Two died when very young. Mr. Storm affiliates with the Democratic party. Our subject is a man who has a great deal of executive ability, and whose business dealings are on an extensive plane. He is engaged quite extensively in addition to his local business, in shipping eggs and poultry to the New York markets. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Leander A. Storm
Less than thirty years have passed over the head of our subject and yet he has made himself a place and recognized position in commercial life, which speaks well for the inherent qualities that he possesses. There is nothing petty about Mr. Storm's methods of dealing, and we predict that the future will bring him opportunities which he will seize. and which will carry him on the highway to prosperity. Making his headquarters in Strasburg, Shelby County, he is constantly making excursions into whatever part of the State promises a fine return in the staples in which he deals - hay and grain, and thus he obtains not only a perfect acquaintance with his own line of business, but a broad intelligence of the general aspect and condition of the agricultural class in this State. Leander Storm is a son of Harrison J. Storm. His mother was in her maiden days, Harriet Rankin. They were both natives of Shelby County and experienced the vicissitudes of pioneer life. For a further history of Mr. Storm Sr. see sketch of J. N. Storm in another part of this volume. Our subject was born in Ash Grove Township, Shelby County, this State May 15, 1863, and astrologers would doubtless tell us that his personal and business success and the peace which the country at large is at present enjoying, arise from one and the same cause, the conjunction of certain astral bodies at that momentous period in the history of the war. The original of our sketch was reared to manhood in Ash Grove and Big Spring Township. He received his education in the common schools. When eighteen years of age, he left home and went to California and was there employed in different ways. He remained, however, in that State only about ten months and then returned to Big Spring Township, where he stayed until the completion of his twentieth year. He then was united in marriage to Miss Annie Cox, after which he settled in Big Spring Township, and was engaged in farming until the fall of 1888 when he came to Strasburg, where he has since been a resident. Mr. Storm is now engaged in buying and shipping hay and has given his attention to this business since 1889. His marriage took place in Shelby Township. Two children have come to the young people, Raymond, who died in infancy, and a bright little one who is the joy and pride of her fond parents, and who hears the pretty child name, Flossie. In his political preference our subject is a Democrat. He is the owner of a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, that is very valuable land. He is an enterprising young business man who is sure to make his mark in the world. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The most imperishable monuments erected to commemorate the virtues of our deceased friends are not built of imperishable marble, but are found in the memories and affections of friends and fellow-men. Our subject, Jacob Stump, who passed away from this life to seek the light of upper day, April 8, 1876, was one whose monument though unpretentious, is as enduring as the memory of man, for his thoughts and acts and words were such as to make the world better and wiser and to bring humanity into nearer relation with the great Infinite. He was a genial, whole-souled man who was the confidant and friend of every person who needed a sympathetic ear in which to pour their joys or grievances. Our subject was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, October 20, 1820. He comes of Pennsylvania Dutch parentage, who were early settlers in Fairfield County, Ohio. His father and mother lived and died where our subject was born. They were both old people at the time of their decease, and had seen much experience in pioneer life. They were members of the German Reformed Church. Our subject grew to manhood and attained his majority in his native county. There he was educated and having an aptitude for study, he began his career as a teacher and was thus engaged until he was twenty-nine years old. In 1849, Mr. Stump was united in marriage in Pickaway County, Ohio, to Miss Sarah Brinker, a native also of that place, being there born March 13, 1827. She was the daughter of George and Mary (Shafer), natives of the State of Pennsylvania, and of Dutch ancestry with a mixture of Irish. After marriage in Pickaway County, George Brinker and wife began life as very poor people. They made a home far back in the depths of the woods of Pickaway County, Ohio, where they began their domestic life in the most primitive style. They were surrounded by wild game of all kinds, and before their little log cabin was built their cooking was done in the lea of two logs, which they rolled together in lieu of a fireplace. They were industrious and ingenious young people, and as their children increased and grew in stature and strength, they made a comfortable little home, where the parents lived and labored together for many years, surrounded by a family of children that were blessed with robust constitutions, and bright, clear, vigorous minds; and although they did not afford a great deal of style, they had plenty to live on and a comfortable abode. Here the parents lived until the time of their decease, being old people when taken away. For years their social life was closely connected with their church relations, being ardent members of the Methodist denomination. Mr. Brinker's home, humble as it was, was always large enough to entertain the traveling preacher, and they did not regard it as anything but a privilege to transform their house into a temporary sanctuary. The thought seems fitting that in the little house snuggled down among the great trees in God's own temple, that the handful of settlers should meet to hear the Gospel expounded. Mrs. Stump, the wife of our subject, was early acquainted with pioneer life, and was fitted to be the wife of a man who was determined to make a place for himself in the world. After the birth of three of their children, one of whom died, Mr. and Mrs. Stump set out, in 1854, for what was then considered the wild West. They took the overland route, coming hither with teams, thus bringing their household goods and two small children. The journey was a difficult one, for the mother had a baby who was less than a year old, and who was taken sick on the way, compelling them to make a stop of a week. Mothers of to-day [sic], who are frantic if a physician cannot respond to their call within ten minutes to attend upon their children who are slightly indisposed, can realize the anxiety of the mother whose situation rendered it so difficult to alleviate the suffering of her little one. After reaching this State, they settled in Pickaway Township, on a farm in section 19, which was then only slightly improved. It comprised one hundred and sixty acres, and here they began life anew, and here they have lived and labored together until the father and husband was taken away. He lived, however, to enjoy the result of his early labor.
Mrs. Stump still owns eighty acres, and here she makes her abiding place. It is a well improved farm, and does not suffer from lack of care. The lady has been a hard worker, and for many years did the work that our grandmothers discarded, that of spinning her own yarn and thread, and then weaving it into cloth and carpets. After living to see her children grown up about her, and taking honorable positions in life, she is still hale and active for one of her years. One of her greatest pleasures and comforts has been in church work, both she and her husband having been for many years members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Stump was a great Sunday-school worker. Politically, he affiliated with the Democratic party, and occupied several local offices, having been Justice of the Peace for a number of years.
Mrs. Stump is the mother of twelve children, four of whom are now deceased. Their names are respectively: Mary, George, Henry, and an unnamed infant. The living children are: Catherine, Salome, Wayne, Elizabeth, Charles, John, Ida B. and Carrie. Catherine is the wife of John Porter, and resides on a farm in Todd's Point Township. Salome is the wife of Frank Sloan, who owns a farm in this township. Wayne, who took to wife Sarah Davis, is a farmer in this township. Elizabeth, who married S. B. Cole, lives on and operates the home place. Charles took to wife Lucretia Hoy, and lives on a farm in Pickaway Township. John resides with his brother-in-law, John Porter, at this place. Ida B. is the wife of B. A. Richhart, of whom a biographical sketch may be found in another part of this volume. The youngest daughter, Carrie, is the comfort and support of her mother's declining years; she is a well educated and refined woman, holding a desirable position in the public schools of the county. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Daniel Swallow, a wealthy, retired farmer, residing at Shelbyville, Shelby County, has materially assisted in advancing the prosperity and high standing of this county as a great agricultural centre, and he still possesses valuable and extensive farming interests in this part of the State. A native of Hamilton County, Ohio, Mr. Swallow was born March 1, 1838, in the pioneer home of Jacob and Keturah (Crane) Swallow. His father was born in New Jersey, and when he was young his parents removed from there to Hamilton County, Ohio, and were among its early settlers, the grandfather of our subject, who was a farmer, dying there at a ripe age.
The father of our subject learned the trade of wagonmaker and followed it for some years in Hamilton County before he turned his attention to farming. In 1851, with his wife and three children, he came to Illinois to seek a new home, journeying hither with teams. He settled in what is now Rose Township, which he had previously visited, and had purchased at the time eight hundred acres of land at $5 an acre, only a small part of the land being improved, two log houses and an unfinished frame house constituting the only buildings on the place. He resided on his land until his death, which occurred in 1860 and was caused by injuries received by the falling of the grand stand at the fair ground, he dying a few days after. His wife, who was a native of Virginia, also died on the home farm, and both lie sleeping their last sleep side by side in the little private cemetery nearby.
He of whom this sketch is principally written was a lad of thirteen years when he came with his parents to Illinois, and he still has a vivid recollection of the primitive scenes of those days, for the country was still in the hands of the pioneers and much of its original wildness remained. Deer, wild turkeys and other game were plentiful and often furnished food for the settlers. There were no railways here and the people had to go to St. Louis, as the nearest market and depot for supplies. Our subject was of great assistance to his father in the management of his farm and after the latter's death he still continued to reside on the old homestead until 1881, when he came to Shelbyville and bought his present residence. He still owns the farm in Rose Township, which is advantageously located four miles from Shelbyville, and since it came into his possession he has been constantly adding to its value by the many fine improvements that he has placed upon it.
The marriage of Mr. Swallow with Miss Jeannia Lumph, a native of Okaw Township, was solemnized April 11, 1861. Mrs. Swallow's father, Jacob Lumph, was born, reared and educated in Germany. When about eighteen years of age he came to America and for a time lived in Ohio. From there he came to Illinois in the early settlement of Shelby County, and located among the pioneers of Okaw Township. He resided there a few years and then bought timber land one mile north of the court house at $5 an acre. He cleared his land, developed it into a good farm, and made it his home until death called him hence in 1860. His wife survived him many years, finally dying in Shelbyville, in March 1881, and her mortal remains were deposited by his in the Austin Cemetery, one and one-fourth miles north of Shelbyville. Her maiden name was Charlotte Frybarger. She came to this country with her parents at the age of ten years, from her native Germany, and was married here at the age of sixteen.
Mr. and Mrs. Swallow have three children: Mollie, who married who married William Whitecraft, and lives at Springfield; William and Roy. Our subject and his amiable wife are among our best people socially and religiously, and in them the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Shelbyville, has two of its most exemplary members, who are influential in promoting its growth materially and spiritually. Mr. Swallow has sound views in regard to politics, and is a true Republican.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Love has here dictated a few facts that are most salient in the life of him who was at one time the comfort and support, as well as the dear object of loving affection, to the companion with whom he lived for many years, and who, when he was taken away, was left bereaved. Although simple in his relations both in the family and in his business life, Mr. Swartz was a manly man and a gentleman in all his dealings. His death occurred at his home in Pickaway Township, September 28, 1883. He had lived here since l87l, and during his residence had secured a farm of eighty-two acres on section thirty-one, which he had improved and put in the best cultivation before his death.
Mr. Swartz was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, January 2, 1837. His parents were also natives of Ohio, who came West, settled and died in this county. Our subject lived in his native county until he arrived at manhood, and there early learned the duties incident to farmers' life, as the calling of his father was also that of an agriculturist. When the war broke out, he of whom we write enlisted in Company F, of the Forty-sixth Ohio Regiment. It was made up at Columbus, Ohio, and our subject's enlistment was made February 6, l86l. The regiment to which he belonged was assigned to Gen. Sherman's command, and under that veteran military genius saw full and active service. The history of Gen. Sherman's career is so familiar to our readers that we do not need to recount the desperate battles fought and won, nor the chances of war run by our subject, whose fate was the same as that of his commander. The original of our sketch served his full three years, and after being honorably discharged and receiving particular commendation for bravery, he re-enlisted as a veteran in his old regiment and served six months longer, receiving his final discharge July 8, 1865. He was engaged during his military career in twenty-one hard fought battles, and many more skirmishes. He served for some time as Sergeant of his company. After the war he received a medal from the State of Ohio, which honor was conferred for noble veteran service. He was never wounded nor taken prisoner, but was poisoned by drinking impure water; this was in the last days of his service, but he never really recovered from the sickness brought on.
After Mr. Swartz's return from the army he joined his wife and three children, having been married previous to his entering into service in Fairfield County, Ohio, his nuptials taking place February 18, 1856. His wife's maiden name was Rachael Friesner. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, February 20, 1838. Like her husband, she came of German ancestry, although her parents, Henry and Rebecca (Seitz) Friesner, were natives of Ohio and of Virginia, respectively. After marriage they made their home in Fairfield County, Ohio, and there Mr. Friesner died in 1854, being at the time forty-nine years of age. His wife came to Shelby County, and here died September 28, 1887, being at the time eighty years of age. She had been for many years previous to her death a member of the Baptist Church. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Swartz manages the estate which he left, and carries on more efficiently the work of the farm, assisted by her children, of whom she has six living. They are, William, Emma, Luella, Ida, Rebecca and Carrie. The son is at home and carries on the active work of the farm. Emma is the wife of L. Thomas, and resides on a farm in Missouri. Luella married Edgar Thomas, and takes charge of the domestic portion of his household in Eustace, Neb. lda is the wife of Wilson Friesner, and she and her husband live on the old homestead with her mother. Mr. Friesner is a painter by trade, and divides his attention by the exercise of his trade and farming. Rebecca is the wife of John Trolly and resides in Pickaway Township. Carries lives at home, and is the loving assistant and adviser of her mother in the domestic work of the farm. Mr. and Mrs. Swartz have ever been associated with the best people of their Township. Mr. Swartz was a Republican, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Orson Sweet, a general farmer and stock-raiser of Penn Township, Shelby County is ranked among the most thrifty and enterprising men of his class in this section of the county. He was born in Russell, Geauga County, Ohio, February 19, 1841. He comes of one of the pioneer families of that State, where his father, Daniel Sweet was also born, his birthplace being in Ashtabula County. He, in turn, was a son of Louis Sweet, who was born and reared, and married in the good old New England State of Connecticut. N the prime and vigor of manhood he had emigrated from that section of the country to Ohio and was one of the early settlers of that State. He resided for a time in Ashtabula County and then cast in his lot with the pioneers of Geauga County, locating in Russell Township, where he cleared a farm from the forest, upon which he lived until death terminated his earthly career. He served with credit in the War of 1812, and was a pensioner the last years of his life. The maiden name of his wife, grandmother of our subject, was Betsey Woodbury.
The father of our subject was but an infant when his parents took up their abode in the wilds of Geauga County, where he was reared to a sturdy manhood under pioneer influences. In his youth the country surrounding his early home was still mostly in its primitive condition and bears, wild turkeys and other kinds of game roamed through the forests which have since given way to rich farms and busy towns and cities. For many years there were no railways and the pioneers had to market their produce and obtain their supplies at Cleveland. Mr. Sweet early learned the trade of a carpenter and was prosperously engaged at that for several years. He still resides at Russell and is well known in that part of the country where the most of his life has been spent. The name of his wife was Philena Millard, and she was born in the town of Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. Her father, Brazil Millard, is thought to have been born in Vermont, and was a pioneer farmer of Ohio. He spent his last years with his son in Michigan. The mother of our subject died in August, 1890, leaving behind her a record of a life well-spent. But two of her eleven children are now living, our subject and his brother Edwin, the latter residing on the old homestead at Russell, Ohio.
Orson Sweet, of whom this biography is written, was reared to agricultural pursuits in his native county and made the best of his opportunities to obtain an education at the public schools. When thirteen years old, the mainly, resolute young land began to earn his own living by working on a farm by the month, receiving at first but $8 a month. This was a hard training for a boy, but he obtained a good insight into the best methods of carrying on farming while he worked out, which he continued doing until his marriage. He then bought forty-two acres of land in Chester Township, in his native county. There was a small frame house and barn on the place, and about thirty acres of the land were under cultivation.
In 1869 our subject sold his Ohio farm as he had decided that the Prairie State afforded a wideawake young farmer superior opportunities for carrying on agriculture, and coming to this county he bought the farm where he now resides on section 33, Penn Township, and a view of which is shown elsewhere in this volume. He had devoted his whole energies to the betterment of his farm and to the business of stock-raising, and already occupies an important place among the principal stock men of this vicinity. He makes a specialty of raising thoroughbred Short-horn cattle, Percheron and Hambletonian horses and Chester-white hogs. The marriage of our subject with Miss Ervilla Pelton took place in 1860. Mrs. Sweet is also a native of Russell, Ohio and is a daughter of G. S. and Lydia (Bailey) Pelton. To her and our subject has been born one daughter, Iona. She married Jacob L. Fryar, of Maysville, Mo., and is the mother of these six children - Herbert Orson, Arthur Lee, Mark Herman, Ada Blanche, Nellie Grace and Walter. Mr. and Mrs. Sweet are members in high standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church and regarded as among our best people socially. He is a member of the Farmers' Alliance, but in politics he is unswerving in his allegiance the Republican party. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John Swengel, the leading representative man of Ash Grove Township, Shelby County, resides on section 36, in a pleasant home where he is remarkably successful in agricultural pursuits. His father was the late George Swengel, who had his birth in Pickaway County, Ohio, and his mother was Sarah Hamilton who was born in Ireland. Their first home after marriage was near Seymour, Ind., and upon first leaving there they came to Cumberland County, Ill., in 1865, and there made their home until the death of his honored father, which occurred in January, 1888. His widow is still surviving and is active and bright for a lady of her age.
These respected parents had five children - Frank, John, Reuben, Kennedy and Edward. Our subject was the second in order of age, his birth taking place near Seymour, Ind., December 9, l856. He came to Illinois with his parents when about nine years old, and upon his father's farm he was reared to manhood, being given a thorough training in all that is pertaining to agriculture and learned in the true way, by doing, how to cultivate a farm and care for stock. His early education was such as could be procured in the district schools in Indiana and Cumberland County after coming here and he received great benefit from their thorough drill, although he would have been glad to take advantage of a college curriculum, for which his natural abilities befitted him.
This young man resided in his father's home until that great event in his life which took place at the residence of the bride's father in Cumberland County, Ill., October 30, 1878, when Flora D., daughter of Col. T. A. and Ann Apperson, became his bride. Mrs. Flora Swengel's father died at his home March 10, 1879. This daughter was born at the family home, January 18, 1859, and after her marriage with Mr. Swengel they established themselves on section 36, Ash Grove Township where the young man purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty-five acres, which he has since carried on. He has always followed farming and stock-raising and has made a success in both departments of the work, as his prudence and foresight have enabled him to govern his spirit of enterprise in such a manner as to secure the best results from his labors, which have been unceasing. He has a thorough knowledge of the characteristics and needs of the various grades of stock which he handles and takes a comprehensive view of the soil, climate and productions of the Prairie State. He is thus enabled each year to plan his work so as to obtain the best results for his labor.
Mr. Swengel's common-school education was supplemented by attendance upon the academy at Westfield, Ill., which so advanced him as to fit him to teach for two terms in Ash Grove Township. To him and his lovely and capable companion have been granted three children - Imogene, Oscar and George. Our subject was elected Supervisor in the spring of 1889, since which time he has continued to serve on the Board, as his excellent judgment, his broad views of men and matters, and his devotion to the best interests of the community have made him a model Supervisor.
The political convictions of our subject have always led him to work with and for the success of the Democratic party, in which he takes a lively interest and has also taken an active part in religious affairs and Sunday-school work, and is exceedingly helpful in all movements that tend to the elevation of the community. Both he and his wife are of value in their church connection, being members of the church of the United Brethren. The breeding of fine grades of animals is a specialty with Mr. Swengel and he is remarkably successful in raising Hereford cattle, Poland-China hogs, Shropshire sheep, bronze turkeys, and Plymouth Rock fowls, and in their welfare he takes a lively interest and provides for their comfort most generously. The record of such a home as Mr. Swengel's and of such a life as his must be influential for generations, not only upon those who come in immediate contact with him but also upon the whole community.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
This gentleman is at the head of a large family of which he may well be proud, as the younger members show every mark of growing up into as useful members of society as the parents and older children proved themselves. The father of this gentleman, George Syfert, was born in Pennsylvania, and passed away from earth in Fairfield County, Ohio. He had the useful trade of a shoemaker but devoted himself mostly to agriculture. His worthy wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Oberly, was a native of Pennsylvania, who also died in Fairfield County, Ohio. This place was also the native county of our subject, who was born November 13, 1823, being one of a family of ten children. After being reared to manhood young Syfert resided for a number of years in his native home and then removed to Allen County, the same State and lived there for thirteen years, before coming to Shelby County, Ill. Here he made his home in Ridge Township, in January, 1867 and has been a permanent resident. His marriage had taken place in Ohio, August 2, 1849, his bride being Catherine Fliesner, who was born in Fairfield County, September 12, 1831. This day was the beginning of a long life of domestic happiness and prosperity, and this union brought to the happy couple fifteen children; John W. married Emma Askins; Franklin P. took to wife Anna Shumaker; Eliza A. is the wife of Edward McDonald; William B. married Elizabeth Yantis; Andrew J. was married to Emma Stivison, Sarah A. is the wife of William Fritz of whom our reader will find a sketch in this book; Lodema E. is the wife of John Turner; Catherine R. became the wife of Newton Lupton; Lillie B. is unmarried; Lou C. married George Padgett and the remaining children are lda R., Edward M. and Oliver S. Two little ones, George H. and Emma J. died in infancy.
Agricultural pursuits have absorbed the time and attention of Mr. Syfert, and in them he has achieved success. He has erected good buildings upon his farm and is the owner of one hundred and fifty-six acres. He has served educational interests as a member of the School Board and is an earnest and conscientious member of the society known as the Church of God. In political matters, he is untrammeled by parties, and casts his vote for men and measures which are upheld by his own judgment. [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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