Carroll County Biographies

Thomas P. Searle

Thomas P. Searle, one of the best-known residents of Rock Creek Township, and numbered among its wealthy and prominent citizens, came to Illinois in the spring of 1861 with a capital of twenty-five cents. This he paid out at Forreston, in Ogle County, for his breakfast, and an hour or two later, perhaps, came across an old gentleman, with whom he engaged to work on his farm ten miles away. For his services he was to receive $12 per month. The next month his wages were raised to $20, and he staid (sic) at this place two years.

Our hero next engaged with a neighboring farmer at $21 per month, and by a course of the closest prudence and economy soon began to lay up a little money. His first purchase of land was in Keokuk County, Iowa, and for this he paid $1,100 for 160 acres, kept it four years, and then sold it for $1,600. He then purchased 100 acres, which he kept ten years, lived upon it, and effected many improvements, putting up a large barn at a cost of $1,000, a dwelling at a cost of $600, and then sold out for $6,500. He next purchased the farm which he now owns and occupies for the sum of $15,000, and has added to his real-estate until he is now the owner of 200 acres, which he has brought to a high state of cultivation. It is finely located on section 10, in Rock Creek Township, and is considered one of the most desirable estates in this part of the county.

Mr. Searle is a native of Cornwall County, England, and was born June 14, 1844. His parents, Joseph and Jane (Penrose) Searle, were also of English birth and parentage, and the offspring of unadulterated English stock. They crossed the Atlantic in 1851, and settled first in Sandwich, Canada, where they sojourned a period of eighteen years. Thence, in the year 1867, they came over into the States, crossed the Mississippi, and settled in Keokuk County, Iowa, where the father carried on farming, and where his death took place in November, 1880, at the age of seventy-six years. The mother is still living there and is now seventy-nine years old. They reared eight children, all of whom are living, and of whom our subject was the fourth in order of birth.

After laying the foundations for a future competence, Mr. Searle took unto himself a wife and helpmate, being married Nov. 20, 1872, in Mt. Carroll Township, this county, to Miss Mary A., daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Stittzel) Arnold. The parents of Mrs. Searle were natives of Maryland, and of German descent. They came to this county at an early day, settling in Mt. Carroll Township, where their daughter, Mary A., was born Nov 12, 1850. Their other children are all in this county, except one daughter, who is in Kansas.

To Mr. and Mrs. Searle there have been born three children Cora M., Charles H., and Etta G., who still remain under the home roof. Our subject and his estimable wife are consistent members of the German Baptist Church, and Mr. Searle, politically, is a straight Republican. They have worked hand-in-hand in the accumulation of their property, making many sacrifices for the future good of themselves and children, and have reason to look with satisfaction upon the result of their mutual toil. They have a competency secured for their old age, and the unfailing respect of many friends. They have witnessed many changes since coming to this county, and in building up one of its most desirable homesteads, and in the rearing of their intelligent children, have contributed their full quota toward its present enviable reputation as a community and a desirable place of residence.

Transcribed & Contributed by Carol Parrish from Portraits and Biographical Album for Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, IL (1889), p. 985-86

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