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 and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

ELDER ALFRED LEWIS, who is now living a retired life, in Taylorville, is widely known throughout central Illinois, for the greater part of his life has here been passed, and he has been prominent in public affairs. He was born in St. Francis County, Mo. [ed., St. Francois County], March 26, 1823, and is a son of Samuel and Sarah (Fleury) Lewis. The father was born sixteen miles from Philadelphia, Pa., and the mother was a native of Virginia. Five times the father crossed the Alleghenies. For sixteen years he lived in Missouri, and in 1830 removed to Sangamon County, Ill., locating in Cotton Hill Township.

In 1846, accompanied by his wife, he removed to Delaware County, Iowa, where he spent his remaining days, dying in his one hundred and first year. His family was noted for longevity, his mother having passed the advanced age of one hundred and fourteen years.

His wife died at the age of sixty, but her mother survived until past the age of one hundred and six. In the family were eight sons and seven daughters, of whom five are now living. One son, Samuel, was burned in an hotel fire in Centerville, Iowa, in 1893. Alfred is now the only resident of Illinois. A. G. makes his home in Montana; and A. B. is a merchant in Murray, Iowa. Alvin resides at Nova Junction, Iowa; and Narcissa Harmon is located in Lyons, Kan.

Alfred Lewis was a lad of only seven summers when, with his parents, he went to Sangamon County. His boyhood was not an easy one, as he was reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life, and was early inured to the arduous labor of developing wild land. At the age of eighteen years his father gave him his time, and he began working as a farm hand for $7 per month.

With his first wages he purchased a watch. For two years he followed farm work for others, and then, forming a partnership, engaged in agricultural pursuits for himself for about three years. His next business venture from 1847 to 1849 was in selling "Thomas' History of the United States." For three years he canvassed for that work all over Illinois.

Previously he had been engaged in teaching classes in geography. He had also studied book-keeping for a day and a-half, and then took charge of the books of a store. Being very apt and quick, it did not take Mr. Lewis long to master any branch of study in which he became interested, and one of his teachers said that Mr. Lewis, while a student, had taught him how to teach arithmetic.

On the 14th of March, 1850, in Loami, Sangamon County, Ill., Mr. Lewis married Miss Eliza Jane Abel, daughter of Dr. J. R. and Julia Ann Abel, and a granddaughter of Adam Barger. She was born in Rick Creek Township, Sangamon County, October 28, 1832. In 1828, at the age of twenty-three, her father became a pioneer of that county. He engaged in the practice of medicine in Sangamon, Montgomery and Christian Counties, and died in Taylorville May 11, 1881, from the effects of an injury caused by a railroad train at Edinburgh.

He was then in his seventy-fifth year. His widow is now living with her son John, at the age of eighty-one. The grandfather, Rev. Jeremiah Abel, was a pioneer Methodist minister, and died in Macomb, Ill. The Doctor was widely known throughout the central part of the State, and was au influential and highly respected citizen.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis began their domestic life in Loami, Sangamon County. At that time he had a capital of about $1,000, and in connection with Dr. Abel he embarked in general merchandising, which he carried on for a year; he did not like that business, however, so operated a carding machine for a year. He then turned his attention to the development of land which he had entered in Sangamon County, and carried on farming from 1852 until 1872. He was a successful agriculturist and acquired a handsome property. In 1872 he came to Taylorville in order to afford his children better educational advantages. At that time he owned seven hundred acres of land in his home farm, and still retains possession of four hundred and twenty-five acres of it. He was extensively engaged in stock-raising, and some years cleared $1,500 from his sales in stock. He also owns four farms in Christian County, with an aggregate of five hundred and seventy-five acres, besides thirty acres within the corporation limits of Taylorville.

Indolence and idleness are utterly foreign to the nature of our subject, and, not content to lay aside all business cares, he now has an apiary of from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty stands and engages in bee culture. His sales of honey have amounted to from $200 to $1,000 per year.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were born nine children, but four died in childhood. Sarah Sophia is now the wife of James White, of Springfield. Maria Adeline is the wife of W. G. Brown, of Sangamon County. John S. married Minnie McDonald, and lives in Springfield. Louise Theresa became the wife of W. E. Barber, and died leaving one child, Clarence, aged three years. Cornelia E. is the wife of J. B. Colman, of Taylorville.

In connection with his extensive business interests, Mr. Lewis has found time to devote to the cause of the Master, and has been a local preacher of the Christian Church since 1860. He is a charitable and benevolent man, and the needy and distressed find in him a friend. He has a fine library, containing all of the standard authors, and is a well-read man. His life has been well and worthily spent, and in his declining years he can look back over the past with little regret for lost opportunities.



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