Bureau County Illinois Biographical

Martin R. Zearing

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896

Page 55-56

For more than half a century this gentleman has been identified with the history of Bureau county and his name is inseparably connected with the agricultural interests of this section of the state. His thoroughly American spirit and his great energy have enabled him to mount from a lowly position to one of affluence. One of his leading characteristics in business affairs is his fine sense of order and the habit of giving careful attention to details, without which success in any undertaking is never an assured fact. He is a man of intrinsic worth, esteemed in all the relations of life, and his career is one that well entitles him to representation on the pages of the history of his adopted county.

Mr. Zearing was born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1825, a son of Squire Martin Zearing and Sarah Shaffer. ………… Martin R. Zearing is the oldest surviving son in a family of twelve children. All grew to mature years, and four sons and three daughters are yet living. He was a lad of ten years when he came with his parents to Bureau county, and here amid the wild scenes of the frontier he was reared, early becoming familiar with the arduous task of developing a new farm. Much of the labor devolved upon him, as he was the eldest, and owing to this fact and to the poor condition of the schools in the neighborhood, he received but meager educational privileges.

March 12, 1855, in Bureau county, Mr. Zearing married Miss Louisa Rackley, and soon after located on a farm in Berlin township. He purchased eighty acres of prairie land, fenced it, erected substantial buildings thereon and transformed the land into productive fields. He also purchased another eighty acres, and was soon the owner of a valuable property. At another time he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of improved land, which he operated for a few years and then sold to his son-in-law. In 1883 he purchased his comfortable home in Princeton, and removed to the city, but continued the supervision of his farm until 1885, since which time he has rented it. The fitting reward of a well spent life is an honored retirement from labor, and this he is now enjoying.

In 1877 Mr. Zearing lost his first wife, who died, leaving a daughter, Susan L., now the wife of Charles Moore, a farmer of Berlin township, by whom she has two sons and two daughters. On the 3d of April, 1879, Mr. Zearing wedded Fannie E. Garten, daughter of Richard Branning, and widow of Azariah Garten. She was born, reared and educated in Springville, Indiana, and in Bureau county was first married. By that union she has five children, namely: Mary Ellen, wife of William King, of Arlington; William, of Canton, Ohio; Melcord, a farmer of Ohio Township, Bureau county; Emma A., wife of William Fishel, who resides on a farm two miles from Newton, in Jaspaer county, Illinois, and Laura Isabel, at home.

Mr. Zearing, his wife and daughter are active members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Princeton, and since the organization of the party in 1856, he has been a stalwart republican. Prior to that time he was a whig, but political preferment has had no attraction for him, as he has always given his attention to his business, in which he has met with a well merited success.

Honorable and persistent effort and well directed industry have been the stepping stones on which he has risen, and today he stands among the substantial citizens of Princeton.

Squire Martin Zearing

Taken From The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1896

Page 55

Squire Martin Zearing was born and reared in Pennsylvania, and there learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for a number of years in his native state and later in Illinois. In Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, he married Sarah Shaffer, who was born in that county and was a daughter of John Shaffer, one of the substantial farmers of Cumberland county.

In 1836 Mr. Zearing removed with his family to Illinois, and after a short time spent in Princeton, located near the present town of Dover, where he purchased a tract of wild prairie land of one hundred and sixty acres. In connection with his farming he followed carpentering for a few years, but subsequently gave his entire time to the development of his property. He was elected to the office of justice of the peace, and his faithful service in that capacity was the means of his continuing long in office. While in Pennsylvania he was justice of the peace for a long time. He held membership with the German Reformed church, but in Ilinois became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and afterward of the Baptist church. He was active in religious work and deeply interested in all that pertained to the moral welfare of the community.

His own life was in harmony with his professions and won him the confidence and good will of all. He died in July, 1855, and a few years later his wife was laid by his side in Dover cemetery, where a monument has been erected to their memory.