The Essex Family
In a paper by William R. Sandham read at the meeting of the Stark County Old Settlers Association in Toulin,
Ill., Sept. 25, 1918, he gives a history of the Isaac B. Essex family which is of decided local interest. Isaac
B. Essex came with his wife to the western part of what is now Stark County in 1828 and opened up a home in the
wilderness. They were of Virginia ancestry. In 1835 they sold this home and bought 700 acres of land in Rock Island
County where they moved.
Mrs. Essex died in 1859. The quotations following are where the local interest comes in, and an account of Mr. Essex's death appeared in the Gazette at the time:
Soon after the death of his wife, Mr. Essex visited a son near Helena, Arkansas. There he became acquainted with Mrs. Elizabeth J. Carver, to whom he was married after consulting his sons, January 3, 1860.
Mr. Essex and his second wife lived on the farm in Rock Island County until 1865. He then gave 500 acres of his land to the sons of his first marriage and rented the other 200 acres. Mrs. Essex wanted to move back to Arkansas. Mr. Essex did not want to live in what was once a slave state. They compromised and moved to Union County, almost in the extreme south part of Illinois. They bought a farm near Dongola, on which they lived until the death of Mr. Essex, caused by being injured by some cattle which were fighting and which he tried to separate Nov. 7, 1877. The body was taken to his old home in Rock Island County and buried by the side of his first wife. He willed the land in Union County to his second wife and the land in Rock Island County to their children.
Isaac B. Essex and his first wife had seven children, three of whom were born in what is now Stark County. He and his second wife had five children. All of the children of the second marriage are still living, Levi Essex and Mrs. Isabelle Dillow live in Union County, Illinois, Mrs. Ida Stelke and Mrs. Emma Blessing live in East St. Louis, Ill., and Mrs. Anna Smith lives in New Albany, Ind. Mrs. Elizabeth J. Essex, the second wife of Isaac B. Essex, aged 89 years, was living at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Isabelle Dillow, in Dongola, Illinois, when this sketch was written in September, 1918.
Isaac B. Essex was a man of considerable education and general information. He was always an advanced leader in promoting all good work in the communities where he lived. Mr. Essex was greatly interested in the improvements of all kinds of farm livestock, especially when he lived in Rock Island County.
A large part of the material used in preparation of this sketch was obtained from manuscript left by Isaac B. Essex, now in the possession of his daughter, Mrs. Emma Blessing, of East St. Louis, Ill. (Jonesboro Gazette, Jonesboro, Illinois, Friday, 25 Oct 1918 - Submitted by Darrel Dexter )
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