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.
JOHN VIDLER, who is now living retired in Pana, is a native of England. He was born in Tichourst, Sussex County, on the 29th of July, 1826, and there his boyhood days were quietly passed. At the age of twenty he began learning the trade of brick-making, and in 1853, when twenty-seven years of age, emigrated to the United States. After crossing the Atlantic, he spent one summer in New York, and in the succeeding fall went to Pike County, Ill., locating in Griggsville. He made the journey from Chicago to La Salle by way of the Rock Island Railroad, and by boat to his destination.

Ere leaving England, Mr. Vidler was married, November 1, 1851, to Mary Ann Powell, of Sussex County, born September 29, 1816. For a year after arriving in Illinois, Mr. Vidler worked by the day, tending a brick mason, and then engaged in brick-making for himself, with a capital of only $300, his hard earned savings of the previous year. He remained in Griggsville until 1866, and during his residence there he made $4,000. In that year he came to Pana and opened a brickyard.

The summer of 1865 he had spent in England on a visit to friends and native land. He carried on brick-making in Pana until 1881. After a few years his was the only manufactory of the kind in Pana, and he built up a large trade. He also engaged in contracting for some time, and as the result of his perseverance, enterprise and industry, he accumulated a handsome competency, and is now enabled to live retired, enjoying the rest which he has so truly earned and richly deserves.

In 1856, Mr. Vidler purchased forty acres of land at $75 per acre, and has also erected some residences. However, the greater part of his time and attention was given to the manufacture of brick.

He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, and has taken quite an active part in political affairs. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church, and a most estimable lady. Mr. Vidler may truly be called a self-made man, for he started out empty-handed, and therefore the success which has come to him is the just reward of his own labors.

Thomas John Vidler, the only son of the gentleman mentioned above, is Cashier of the First National Bank of Pana. He was born in Griggsville, Ill., August 16, 1858, was educated in the public schools, and under the parental roof was reared to manhood. On the 19th of January, 1882, he was united in marriage with Miss Belle, daughter of Jerry and Kate (Walsh) Hogan, of Pana. Her father came to Pana at the time of the building of the Illinois Central Railroad, was section boss for some time, and is now employed in the machine shops of the company. Mr. and Mrs. Vidler now have three children, Fannie, May and Paul John, and they also lost one child, Ida, who died in infancy.

For a time Mr. Vidler served as Assistant County Treasurer, serving for three years in that capacity under William J. Jordan, of Pana, and for two years with A. G. Barnes, a banker of Taylorville. On the expiration of that period he returned to Pana, and opened an insurance office, which he conducted until earnestly solicited by the Directors of the First National Bank to become assistant Cashier and book-keeper of the concern. For two years he held that position, and in January, 1891. he was made cashier. He is a wide-awake and energetic young business man, full of life and activity, and the bank finds in him a trustworthy and efficient employee.


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