Heman Edgerly

York Township


Carroll County IL Biography



This name deserves a prominent place among those of men distinguished as pioneers of Carroll County. He emigrated to this region when the nearest grain-market was at the then unimportant town of Chicago, to which it was hauled laboriously by horse and ox teams. The provisions for family consumption were transported homeward in the same manner. Wheat usually sold at from forty-five to fifty cents per bushel at Savanna, but, by taking it to Chicago, the pioneer farmer would receive from 90 cents to $1; the added distance, however, made it questionable whether it was better to convey the produce to the latter town. The nearest post-office to the residents of York Township was at Savanna, on the Mississippi River, ten miles north. There were no carriers, no cars and the mail was consequently not distributed three times a day as at the present time – in fact, if a settler got a letter once in two or three months, he felt quite proudly.

To trace the interesting events in the career of our subject would make quite a readable volume. It may be well to glance at the parental history before proceeding further. Heman Edgerly was born May 15, 1812, in Lamoille County, Vt., and is the son of Aaron and Lyda (Fenton) Edgerly, who were also natives of the Green Mountain State. The paternal grandfather was Paul Edgerly, who, with two brothers, emigrated from England, probably during the Colonial days. Grandfather Edgerly settled near Sanborntown, N. H. The other two located elsewhere. The grandfather, it is believed, was married in the old Granite State, where his son Aaron was born, June 18, 1765. Later he emigrated to Vermont, and was married in Bradford, Orange County.

To the parents of our subject there were born fourteen children – Betsy, born Feb. 4, 1795, and who married Louis French; she died in her native State, Feb. 2, 1828; Sally was born Feb. 4, 1796, and died February 10 following; Moses was born Feb. 4, 1797, and died March 7 following; Laura was born April 5, 1799, and died Oct. 14, 1883; Bradford was born Feb. 25, 1800; the date of his death is not known; Lyman was born Feb. 13, 1803, and died in 1868; Sarah was born Oct. 2, 1805, and died Jan. 25, 1841; Diana was born Aug. 10, 1807, and died Sept. 8, 1808; Diana, 2d, was born June 5, 1808, and died Dec. 8, 1871; Henry was born Jan. 14, 1810, and died June 19, 1847; Heman was born May 15, 1812; Thomas was born July 4, 1814, and date of death is not known; Truman was born Aug. 25, 1816, and Fernando C., May 2, 1819.

The subject of this notice remained with his parents on the farm in Vermont until a youth of seventeen years, then went to Massachusetts and worked on a farm by the month, besides being otherwise employed for about ten years. He then returned to his old haunts in the Green Mountain State, remained there until 1840, and in that year set out for the Great West. He proceeded by canal and lake to Chicago, and thence overland to this county by wagon, arriving here in the fall of the year. The following spring he purchased eighty acres of land, where he now lives, and which was then in a wild and uncultivated state. Later he entered eighty acres of land adjoining, and put up a log house, in which he kept bachelor’s hall a part of the time until his marriage. This important and interesting event of his life was celebrated at the home of the bride, Miss Emma Wilson, in this county, June 21, 1846. This lady was the daughter of James and Hannah (Bachelor) Wilson; the father was a native of Vermont, and the mother a native of New Hampshire. Mr. Wilson died in Pennsylvania, whither they had removed, when his daughter Emma was but a child; and the record of his birth has not been preserved. The mother in 1840 came to this county, and spent her last years with her son, dying about 1848. The parental household consisted of seven children.

Mr. and Mrs. Edgerly have spent all the years of their married life upon the farm which they now occupy, and here their six children were born. The eldest of these, a daughter, Mary, is the wife of George W. Aylsworth, and lives in Los Angeles, Cal.; Frank, Asa W., Martha, Bessie and Eva are at home with their parents. Mrs. Edgerly is a very estimable lady, and a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Edgerly lays no claim to being a politician, but he has his own views about matters and things, and supports the principles of the Democratic party. He has held the offices of Road Supervisor, Constable, and School Director. His home farm embraces 160 acres of land, with a large stone dwelling, a frame barn, corn-cribs, sheds, etc., and the land has been brought to a high state of cultivation. He also has, in another part of York Township, 220 acres in timber and pasture.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 850

Back home