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, p226.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.
J.A. WHITECRAFT. This gentleman is well known as one of the most extensive landowners of Christian County and as a prominent citizen who is always to be found in the front ranks of improvement. His well equipped farm is situated on section 25, South Fork Township. He is a native of Bath(e) County, Ky., born January 11, 1819, and is a son of John Whitecraft. His grandfather, who was of Irish descent, was reared in Lancaster, Pa. Thence he removed to Tennessee, and later to Kentucky, where his death occurred.

The father of our subject was a native of Tennessee and was eight years of age when his parents settled in Kentucky. His early education was limited, and he was early inured to farm work. On arriving at suitable years he married Rachel Arnick, a native of Bath(e) County, Ky. On the loth of September, 1835, the family left Kentucky and started for the Prairie State, reaching Springfield at the end of thirty days. Central Illinois was still in a nearly wild condition, and wolves and deer yet roamed over the prairies. On the 6th of April of the following year, the father came to this county and made a settlement on the farm which is now owned by our subject. He bought a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, paid $4 per acre, and entered a large tract of land at $1.25 per acre. The prairie was without fences, and there was only a small house, containing a large fireplace, upon the farm by way of improvement. John Whitecraft became the owner of nearly eight hundred acres, all of which is in the family. He died in 1847, aged sixty-two years, seven months and twenty days, and was buried on the farm. His wife lived to reach four-score years and was killed in Springfield by a runaway team. They were both members of the Presbyterian Church, and in politics the father was a Whig. He was greatly opposed to secret societies.

Our subject is the eldest child born to his parents. Harvey died in this county, as did also Ahisah, the next younger; Jane, who is deceased, became the wife of a Mr. Williams, of Brush Creek; John lives retired from business and resides in Taylorville; Silas lives in Springfield; and George, who is also retired from active business, lives at Berry Station.

The early years of J. A. Whitecraft were passed in Kentucky, and at the time of the family's emigration to this State he was a youth of sixteen years. His education was obtained in the subscription schools of that early day, and he learned to be an expert with the rifle, cradle, axe and scythe. He continued to reside at home until his father's death, when he inherited a portion of the old homestead, a tract of three hundred acres. He has since greatly extended the boundaries of his farm and may well be proud of his broad estate, for he owns in one body fourteen hundred acres.

He is engaged in general farming and stock-raising and has met with unusual success.

Mr. Whitecraft is a good citizen and has been identified with the progress of this region for fifty-seven years. His first Presidential ballot was cast in 1840 for W. H. Harrison. He has seen thirteen elections since that day, and the last time voted for the grandson of the Tippecanoe hero. He was well acquainted with President Lincoln and had the pleasure of voting for him. His father was always an anti-slavery man and left the South on that account.



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