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Carroll County Biographies


This well known resident of Fair Haven Twp. comes of a family who have for many generations been settled in this country. His great-grandfather, Jesse Plumer was born Sept. 18, 1710, in Wales. It is absolutely known that his eldest brother, Francis, came to the Colonies in 1733, and it is supposed that Jesse and his brothers, Samuel and William, came at or about the same time, and they, so far as known, are the ancestors of all the Plumer family now living in the U.S. The great-grandfather was married to Sarah Merrill, who was born April 16, 1739 in Londonderry, N.H. From that place they removed about 1777-78 to Meredith Twp. Belknap Co. where she died Aug. 15, 1824; her husband following her ot the grave on Dec. 20 of the same year. Of their children the following is the record; Nathaniel was born May 29, 1764; Moses, Oct. 20, 1765; Mollie, Nov. 27, 1766; Jesse, Feb. 6, 1768; Joseph, Oct. 28, 1774; Parker, May 20, 1777; Stephen, March 14, 1779; Richard, June 10, 1781 and Sallie April 27, 1783. The latter became the wife of John FOlsom.

Joseph was known as "the Hermit of Meredith Hills," having an inborn fear of his fellow-beings, and for nearly 70 years lived in solitude. He commenced this strange career at the age of 21 by buying seven acres of land at the foot of the hills, and there he built his solitary cabin with his own hands. In 1826 a freshet overflowed his premises and he then bought a tract of 43 acres of land, three-quarters of a mile distand, and on higher ground, and there he died December 3, 1863. His epitaph reads: "Content with seeking happiness for himself alone, he lived in seclusion; he died alone. Peace to his ashes and rest to his soul." Notwithstanding his solitary l ife he contributed largely to the entertainment of thousands of visitors during the last 30-40 years of hislife. He was an intelligent man and could discourse on any subject, often entertaining theological students with discussions upon Bible themes. He left property to the value of $2,200, with money secreted in various places about the premises.

The third son of Jesse Plummer, who was also named Jesse, was the grandfather of our subject. He spent the most of his life in his native place, and was three times married. His first wife, Sallie, daughter of Caleb Pearson, departed this life March 18, 1830. His second wife Mollie Burley, widow of Josiah Burley, died Sept. 7, 1836 at age 69. His third wife was Mrs. Phoebe Sanborn, widow of John Sanborn and a daughter of Capt.Aaron Sanborn. Jesse, th grandfather died Oct. 23, 1839, aged 71 and 8 months. His children were; William, who married Nov. 11, 1824, to Betsy Eaton, and died March 2, 1854, age 57. The children of William were as follows; Fannie A., born March 24, 1828; Sophia Dec. 6, 1833, died Aug. 2, 1855; Ann Maria born Feb. 26, 1836, died March 4, 1857; William E., born Feb. 7, 1839, died May 17, 1871; Jonathan, born April 23, 1843, was a Union soldier during the rebellion, serving 3 years in a N.H. regiment. At the battle of Antietam he was badly wounded, but recovered. Aug. 16, 1868 he was married to Mrs. Ellen J. Peabody, and Sept. 19, 1877, he died from the result of injuries received by a shed falling upon him. The second son of Jesse was Benjamin F., the father of our subject, who was born Aug. 16, 1802. The third child was Nancy, born July 23, 1804, who became the wifeof Nathaniel Eastman. Hannah P., born Oct. 31, 1806, was married to John C. Gove; Mark, born Feb. 19, 1809, married Nancy Clark, and died in Campton N.H. Aug. 10, 1866. Of the children of Mark the following is the record; Sallie L., born Sept. 4, 1831, married Archibald Robie, May 12, 1853; John C., born Oct. 7, 1833, married Emma F. Bond, Dec. 2, 1858 and she dying Aug. 28, 1871, he was married again March 5, 1874 to Miss Alice J. O'Hara; George W., born Feb. 9, 1841, married Marcia Ham, Feb. 1, 1863, and she dying March 20, 1873, he was again married, Maria Moses becoming his wife May 7, 1875. The two younger children of Jesse Plumer were; Sophia, born Sept. 26, 1811, who died Nov. 14, 1833, and Jonathan P., who was born Nov. 6, 1815, and died Aug. 29, 1818. This completes the family of Jesse the second.

Benjamin F. Plumer, the father of our subject, was reared in his native State, and his education was mainly secured through his own efforts, the school of that being quite crude. He learned the profession of civil engineering and followed it for several years. For 16 consecutive winters he taught school in his native county, and for quite a time served as a subordinate or deputy to the county supterintendent of schools, whose duty is was to examine teachers and visit the schools of the county. For several years he also served Justice of the Peace. In his native county he was married Hannah R. Wilson, born in the same place, Oct. 15, 1807. Their union was blessed by the birth of 5 children; Harriet, died in 1855 at the age of 21; Benjamin our subject was next; then Daniel W., Ellen M., William Richard and D. Leonett, who is the wife of Gould Stephens and lives in Salem Twp. this county.

In the fall of 1857 Benjamin F. Plumer decided to remove west with his family and coming to Carroll County, located in this township. After first coming here he taught school for four winters, and worked on his farm in summer. He and his wife were both members of the Free-Will Baptist Church, in a belief in which faith he passed triumphantly from earth, on Feb. 12, 1864 in the secure hope of a life to come. The wife and mother now lives with her daughter, Mrs. Stephens.

Benjamin W. Plumer, the subject of this sketch, was born in Belknap Co. N.H. March 17, 1837 and was educated in the schools of his county. He came to this county with his father in 1857 and was here married Nov. 24, 1867 to Elvira Green, daughter of Thomas & Christiana (Nutter) Green. The father was a native of Pickaway Co Oio and the mother born in the state of Delaware. They were married in OH and came to this county in 1860, remaining here until 1872 when they removed to Polk Co. Neb. The father of Mrs. Plumer farme din the summer and taught school in the winter, until he removed to Nebraska, since which time he has devoted his attention to farming. When a young man, he had followed the profession of teaching, exclusively. Mr. and mrs. Plumer are the parents of 7 children, Elvira, now Mrs. T. Eden; Elmira married to Orlando Howe and lives in Lanark, IL; Lewis P; Christiana now Mrs. Elias Spencer; Rebecca, now Mrs. William Myers living in Polk Co NE and Sophronia now Mrs. Raymond Kinkaid, also living in Polk County. Our subject and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the management of whose affairs he takes a particularly active part, and has been a Class-Leader for many years. Since coming to this county he has thoroughly identified himself with its interests, taking a leading part in all enterprises for its advancement. He and his wife still live on the place where they began their married life, having a fine farm of 160 acres on section 2, Fair Haven Twp. adjoining the village of Chadwick. In the location of this town, he and his brother Daniel with Werner Zugschwerdt and a Mr. Spencer took a leading part. They, by subscription, raised a fund of $1,422 to make up the amount required to buy the land, as the company who proposed to lay out the town would not pay as much as was demanded by the owner of the land, Mrs. Snow. Our subject himself donated $125. To these gentlemen is due the credit of having the town located here, and they are the owners of the fine brick hotel in Chadwick of which our subject owns 1/4 interest. In every enterprise for the good of the county and township, he has taken a leading part. He has held many of the township offices; has been Supervisor for three years, Justice of the Peace, and held the school offices.

In addition to general farming, Mr. Plumer is largely interested in dealing in, and breeding, horses, and has a 1/4 interest in four Percheron stallions kept here; Superior, whose registered number in the Fr4ench Percheron Stud-Book is 2188, and in the American 5752; Virgile, French No. 15930, American No. 8755. The other two are Cap Sheaf and Magyar, imported horses, although not registered in France. Mr. Plumer has also two imported mares; Julia, American Register # 3427, and Edith # 3440. His interests are largely centered in this stock, and he is also considerably interested in Red-Polled cattle, of which he has some thoroughbred stock, and also a number of high-grade cattle of the same breed. Our subject stands high in the community, not only by reason of the active part he has taken in its affairs, but also because of his character as an upright man and a good citizen.

Portraits and Biographical Album for Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, IL (1889), p. 970

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