Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.
Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.
WILLIAM L. COHENOUR, one of the prominent and representative citizens of Pana, has the honor of being a native of Illinois, his birth having occurred near Griggsville, in Pike County, September 10, 1837. His parents, Jacob N. and Jane (Likeley) Cohenour, were both natives of Pennsylvania, and in the Keystone State were married. One child was there born unto them, and in 1836 they came with it to Illinois. The father was a carpenter and farmer, and spent his remaining days in Pike County, where his death occurred in 1868, at the age of fifty-seven years. His wife was called to her final rest in 1857.
The boyhood days of our subject were quietly passed upon his father's farm until eighteen years of age, when he turned his attention to commercial pursuits. He had been educated in the public schools and in the Pittsfield Academy, and at the age of eighteen he entered a store in Pittsfield, where he engaged in clerking for several years. He later engaged in teaching in Pike County, and was also employed as a teacher in Nodaway County, Mo., after which he returned to the State of his nativity and taught school in St. Clair County until 1863. On the 10th of December, 1863, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Cohenour and Miss Mary S. Moore, of St. Clair County. Unto them have been born the following children: Charles A., who read law in Algona, Iowa, was admitted to the Bar in June, 1892, and is now practicing in Sioux City, Iowa; Jacob A., a hardware merchant of Oconee, Ill.; William L., who is engaged in farming in Harper County, Kan.; Mertie J., Howard H., Cora J. and Mary Florence. The four last named are still under the parental roof.
Mr. Cohenour located in Bond County, Ill., in 1864, and in the spring of 1865 came to Christian County, settling four miles northwest of Pana, where he purchased of the Illinois Central Railroad Company one hundred and twenty acres of wild land, at $11 per acre. Since that time he has engaged in farming in Pana and Assumption Townships, having improved two hundred and forty acres of fine farming land in Assumption Township, besides the tract of one hundred and twenty acres above mentioned. He has also lived on two other farms.
He now owns and manages a quarter-section of land in Assumption Township, and has thirty acres where he now lives, adjoining the city of Pana. In addition, he has some land in Clark County, Kan., and some in Florida, which is adapted to orange-growing. He has carried on a general line of farming and has cultivated a fine orchard of about seventeen acres. At one time he resided in Pana for about four years, during which time he was engaged in the grocery trade.
Mr. Cohenour has been honored with a number of local offices, having served as Justice of the Peace and Supervisor of Assumption Township with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He was made a Mason in New Salem Lodge, of Pike County, when he was twenty-one years of age, is a member of both the blue lodge and chapter in Pana, and himself and wife belong to the Order of the Eastern Star. She is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Cohenour has been prominently connected with the business interests of Pana and was one of the incorporates of the First National Bank, which was established in May, 1889. At the first election held he was made its President, and has since continued to fill that position. He gives the bank his personal supervision, and under his able management it is now in a flourishing condition.
He was one of the promoters of, and is a stockholder in, the Pana Fair Association, and up to within a year was superintendent of the textile department. In connection with others he was prominent in the development of the coal interests, which have proven one of the leading industries of this locality. Our subject is a man of excellent business ability, sagacious and far-sighted, enterprising arid progressive, and to his efforts the upbuilding and prosperity of the community are due in no small degree. His labors have brought him success, and he is now the owner of a handsome competency as the result of his good management.
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