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, p233.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

MICHAEL OATS is numbered among the best farmers and citizens of Johnson Township, his well-equipped farm being situated on section 9. He was born in Hampshire County, W. Va., December 21, 1825. His father, George Oats, was born and reared in Maryland. The date of his birth was 1785, and when he had arrived at a suitable age he was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Slonaker, who was born in West Virginia in 1793. The death of the father occurred in 1841, and his mother died some seven years later. They were the parents of nine children, in order of birth as follows: George, Polly, Christopher, Jonathan, Mary Jane, Silas, Sylvia, Michael and Margaret. Only two of the family are now living.

The subject of this sketch was employed in the usual manner of farmer boys until he had reached his sixteenth year. He then started out to earn his own livelihood, and for one year worked upon a farm for $6 per month. For the two years succeeding he received $9 per month. As this occupation did not appear to be very remunerative, he resolved to learn a trade, and chose that of a carpenter. For about three years afterwards he worked at that occupation in Virginia. At this time he became convinced that he could better his fortune in the West, and in 1849 went as far Westward as Logan County, Ohio, where for three years he worked at his trade.

In the year 1852, Mr. Oats arrived in Christian County, having emigrated here in a covered wagon. He at once settled in Johnson Township, where he rented land and where he has been located ever since, engaged in farming and stock raising. His farm, which comprises some two hundred acres, is highly cultivated and well improved.

In November, 1864, Mr. Oats wedded Miss Harriet Shivers. Her father was born in Maryland, June 20, 1803, while her mother, who was also a native of the same State, was born in 1813. They were the parents of thirteen children, as follows: Thomas, a resident of Shelby County, Ill.; Jacob, who lives in Nebraska; Robert, whose home is in Ohio; Kate, wife of John W. Johnston, of Missouri; Sampson, who makes his home in Johnson Township; Washington C., who resides in El Dorado Springs, Mo.; Harriet, the wife of our subject; John W., now deceased; Matilda, deceased, who was the wife of J. B. Eaton; Delilah, wife of Dr. Lilie, of Raymond, Montgomery County, Ill.; Sallie, who is now Mrs. Eads, of Decatur; and Rebecca, the wife of William Black, of Edinburgh, Christian County. The parents came to this county in 1863, and here made their home until claimed by death. They lie buried in the Anderson Cemetery.

To Mr. and Mrs. Oats has been born a family of nine children. Catherine, John Wesley and Nancy May are deceased and are buried in Anderson Cemetery; Dora and Charles live with their parents; Arthur is deceased; George, Cleveland and Bertie Leland complete the family. For many years our subject has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has served as a School Director and School Trustee and has also filled the position of Road Commissioner. By his manly and straightforward course in life he has won the friendship and confidence of his fellow-citizens, and is considered a worthy man in every sense of the word.




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