genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

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.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

JAMES L. HUFMAN, who carries on general farming and stock-raising on section 28, Pana Township, claims Missouri as the State of his nativity. He was born in the city of St. Louis, May 2, 1825. His father, Samuel Hufman, was a native of Jefferson County, Va., and in 1820 emigrated Westward to St. Louis. He married Matilda Jones, who was also born in the Old Dominion. Removing to New Orleans, he there spent his last days, and his wife died in St. Clair County, Ill., at the age of sixty-five. Their family numbered only two children, and the younger son died in early childhood.

The subject of this sketch, who is the only survivor of the family, spent the first twelve years of his life in his native city, and then accompanied his mother on her removal to St. Clair County, Ill. They located on a farm of raw prairie land, twenty-four miles from Belleville, where our subject worked by the month for $8. Saving his money, he was at length enabled to purchase some wild land for himself, and began farming in his own interest. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made upon the place, but his labors soon transformed the undeveloped tract into rich and fertile fields. For eighteen years he lived upon that place and successfully carried on agricultural pursuits.

Selling out in 1866, he then came to Christian County, and purchased the farm on which he now resides. It was also unimproved, and the arduous toil of developing a new farm he underwent again. There were no buildings, and he erected a small house, 14x18 feet, into which he at once moved. To this he has since added, until 19 he now has a fine two-story frame residence, valued at $3,000 In 1885, he erected a large barn, 108x68 feet, at a cost of $1,500. This is covered with an iron roof. The farm is six hundred acres in extent, and is a valuable and desirable tract. Mr. Hufman now rents the greater part of it while he lives retired. His wife also owns eighty acres in Pana Township.

Our subject was married January 22, 1850, to Catherine Beedle, who was born in St. Clair County, Ill. They became the parents of nine children, but only five are now living: Angeline, wife of James Woodsides, of Pana; Esther, Emma, Joseph and Alonzo, who are still at home. Those who have passed away are James, Matilda, Nancy and George.

Mr. Hufman exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, but has never been an aspirant for public office. He is truly a self-made man. All the education he acquired was obtained through his own efforts, he earning the money with which he paid his tuition. He got his start in life by working as a farm hand at $8 per month. From that humble beginning he has risen to a position among Christian County's most substantial citizens, and of his success he may justly be proud. The key of his success is work. He has labored with untiring zeal, and his industry, perseverance and determination have brought him a handsome competence.



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