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Clay County

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     Elmer E. Easley was born at Dix, Illinois, September 19, 1871, where he grew to manhood and entering into business, first, at the age of 24, as an employee in a furniture and undertaking business, which he bought out five years later and conducted same until 1902, and during these eight years he was postmaster at Dix from 1906 to 1902. Having sold the business he went to Wayne City, where he bought a furniture and undertaking business which he conducted until 1911 when he sold out and moved to Virden, Illinois, where he lived four months before coming to Clay City in July, 1911. Mr. Easley dropped into Clay City incidentally early in July, 1911. He knew not a living soul in the town but after looking it over he was impressed with the appearance and walked directly to the C. R. Mills & Sons furniture and undertaking establishment, asked to buy their business, they priced it and it was sold. Mr. Easley took charge on the Fourth of July, moving his family here in September following.
From the day he first arrived here and to this time he has been a constant booster for the town. In 1913 he was elected president of the village board and served two terms after which he served as a member of the board and again elected president which position he is still holding. He was elected in 1926, coroner of Clay county to fill a vacancy. In 1928 he was re-elected coroner for a full term of four years. He was chosen on the school board about the year 1916 or '17 and has constantly and still serving this district as president of the board. Last year he completed the erection of one of the finest store rooms in Clay City to which he moved his stock of furniture and undertaking supplies from the I. O. O. F. building which he had occupied and now a more up to date store of this kind may be found in much larger cities only. His son Gale, a licensed embalmer, is associated with him in the store and undertaking.
Source:   Pictures and Biographical Sketches of the Business Men of Clay City, Illinois 1930 Obituaries by the Clay County Advocate Press

Glenn R. Easley
    Glenn R. Easley, member of the firm of Levitt & Easley, was born December 27, 1898, at Dix, Illinois, leaving
there when six years of age, with his parents when they moved to Wayne City, Illinois. In 1911 the family came to
Clay City, where his father, E. E. Easley, entered the furniture and undertaking business.
     Glenn, after finishing his school work, enlisted in assisting his father at the store. In 1925 he bought out the
ice business here and continued to help at the store at spare times. In 1928 he leased the Indian filling station on South
Illinois street, at the old Bothwell & Hopkins corner which he managed in conjunction with the ice business until October, 1929, when he quit the filling station and entered into the coal business with Mr. Levitt, retaining the ice business in connection.      No, he isn't married as naturally that assertion brings another question that many will ask: why?  We don't know-- he's old enough and don't seem to be a bit backward.      But, he's a booster for Clay City and a member of the Boosters Club and an-ice man.
Source:   Pictures and Biographical Sketches of the Business Men of Clay City, Illinois 1930 Obituaries by the Clay County Advocate Press

    Eli G. Edwards, farmer, P. O. Louisville, was born in Lawrence County, Ind., December 26, 1842. His father, William Edwards, of Lawrence County, Ind., is a native of Kentucky.  Our subject was brought up on his father's farm, and attended the common schools of his native county.     He was a soldier for Uncle Sam in the late war, in Company H, Sixty- seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and participated in the battles of Mumfordsville, Ky., Vicksburg, Arkansas Post, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Champion Hill and others. He received a gunshot wound in the arm and one in the neck at Champion Hill, Miss. for which he now draws a pension.     He came to this county in September.  1864. He was married March 7, 1865, to Emma, daughter of Alexander Wilson (deceased).  They had two children Melodia (deceased) and Lottie.
    Mr. Edwards held the office of Township Collector for Hoosier Township for one term. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

    John Egginton, farmer, P. O. Flora, is a native of Worcestershire, England, where he was born in the month of May, 1817. He is the oldest of three children born to Joseph and Eleanor Egginton, each of whom were natives of England. John Egginton grew to maturity in his native country, and was reared to the trade of iron refiner, which pursuit he followed for many years in England. In 1848, he was married to Jane Robson, daughter of James Robson and Mary A. Miller. She was born March 10, 1827, in England. In August, 1849, they emigrated to the United States, and for one year resided in Pittsburgh, Penn. , coming thence to Wayne County, Ill. There they settled in the Arrington Prairie, but after a residence of a few years, traded their farm for the one they now occupy in Clay County. He owns over 200 acres of land, devoting his attention to agriculture and fruit-growing, and has one of the finest apple orchards in Southern Illinois. The family consists of eight children, as follows: Ellen, the wife of James Henderson, born August 3, 1849; Christopher, the only son, was born July 29, 1852; Mary A., born July 28, 1854; Sarah J., born April 30, 1857; Margret I., born December 17, 1859; Clara, born July 17, 1862; Amanda, born August 17, 1864; and Alice Egginton, born October 17, 1871. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Egginton and son Christopher are members of the Xenia Lodge. A. F. & A. M. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

    James Ely, merchant, Flora, Ill., was born in West Springfield, Mass., March 16, 1833, and is a son of George and Maria (Cummings) Ely. His father was born in the town of Leverett, Mass., and descended from French parentage. His father, whose name was Nathaniel, came from France in the colonial days of Massachusetts, and was subsequently killed by Indians. George Ely married Maria Cummings in Massachusetts, where they resided until about 1845, when they removed to the State of New York, where they remained until the time of their death They had a family of seven children, of whom James is the oldest Ann M. is the wife of Wallace Grace, of Troy, Penn.; William, George, Harriet and Benjamin are residents of New York, and Abbie, the youngest, is deceased.
    James Ely was educated in the State of New York, and has devoted his life to mercantile pursuits. After a brief business career in Chicago and at Michigan City, he settled in 1859 at New Albany, Ind., where he engaged for several years in merchandising, coming from there to Flora, Ill., in 1881.
    He is a man of unquestioned integrity, and possessing as he does an experience embracing thirty years of mercantile life, he was the man needed to bring about a desirable reform in the business of Flora. He carries a complete stock of goods of a general character, and is deserving of the substantial patronage which he is receiving.
    He was married, in Indiana in 1861, to Victoria J. Sackett, who was born in 1841. Their only child is a son, Henry Ely, born in Indiana October 19, 1864.  Their family residence is on the north side of North avenue, and the business house on corner of Main street and North avenue.  
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

     Samuel Enyart, Circuit Clerk. Louisville, is a native of Licking County. Ohio, and was born March 14, 1888. His father, Jabez T. Enyart, deceased, was born in New Jersey in 1801, and was brought by his parents to Licking County in 1805. Our subject has spent his life on the farm, or until his election, which occurred in 1877. He came to Macoupin County,Ill.  in 1864, and to Clay County in 1870. Ho was re-elected to the office of Circuit Clerk in 1880. In 1860, he married Maria Vail, daughter of Moses Vail (deceased), a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mrs. Enyart was born in Butler County, Ohio. They have had six children, five of whom are living, viz.: Mary (Moore), Edward, Myrtle, Cora and Elizabeth. Mr. Enyart owns a farm of 226 acres of valuable land in Stanford Township, his old home, and still carries on farming, stock-raising and fruit-growing. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and holds the office of W. M. of his lodge. Mr. Enyart is a genial, energetic man, and one whose example is worthy of imitation.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 " 

  Crawford Erwin, farmer, P. O. Louisville.  The subject of this memoir is one of Hoosier Township's best and most prominent farmers. He is a native of Lawrence County, Ind., and was born, April 19, 1818. His father William Erwin (deceased), was a native of North Carolina, and brought his family to Clay County in October, 1832, where he died August 4,1837, and was the first person buried in the Erwin Cemetery. The land occupied by this cemetery was once selected by him for a building site, bat he afterward changed his mind in regard to it, and upon his death his friends buried him there.
    Mr. Erwin was brought up among the deer and other wild animals, and hence early learned the use of fire-arms. He has killed many a deer and other wild game.  At one time, upon returning home from taking his grandmother to his aunt's, he saw a herd of seven deer. He at once brought his gun to his shoulder (for they always carried guns then), and fired without getting off the horse.  The ball passed entirely through the deer he had shot at, and entered another one just in the rear, killing both of them. This was a wonderful feat for a boy.
    In 1837, Mr. Erwin married Eliza A. Craig, daughter of Adam Craig (deceased), an early settler of this county. They had seven children, of whom but three are living, viz., John, Lafayette and Elizabeth A.  Their eldest son, Capt. William Erwin, Captain of Company D, Eleventh Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry, during the war, was killed in front of Spanish Fort, Ala., while heroically leading his men on to victory.
    Mrs. Erwin died in February. 1855, and Mr. Erwin again married, July 3 of the same year ; this time to Mrs. Rachel Milligan. By her he has had five children, two of whom are living Angeline and Edward Everett.
    Mr. Erwin owns 347 acres of land and resides on Section 4. He is a member of the Methodist Protestant Church, and of the Masonic order. For ten years he held the office of Justice of the Peace, and also has held other offices of trust.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

    Crawford S. Erwin  No man in Clay county occupies a more enviable position in civic and business affairs than the subject of this sketch, who is the well known and popular ex-Circuit Clerk of the county, not alone on account of the success he has achieved, but also on account of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has ever followed both in public and private life. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of perception, forms his plans readily and executes them with alacrity so that. he stands today one of the leading representatives of a county widely known for its men of force and business acumen. Crawford S. Erwin was born in Hoosier township, Clay County, October 9, 1866, the son of David, the son of William Erwin, a native of Indiana, who was a cabinet maker by trade, having come from Indiana to Illinois in an early day and engaged in the cabinet making business, also in farming.  He was called to his rest August 7, 1866, six weeks before our subject was born. 
    William Erwin, the subject's grandfather, was one of the pioneers of Clay county, having come to America from Scotland, his native country, when a young man. He was the first person buried in the old Hoosier cemetery in Hoosier township. The mother of the subject was known in her maidenhood as Eliza A. Fitzgerald, whose people were originally from Scotland. She passed to her rest in Hoosier township in the spring of 1890. Five children were born to the subject's parents as follows: Mayberry P., living in Henrietta, Texas; David S., living in Clay county, Illinois ; Joseph, in Henrietta, Texas; W. G., who is also a resident of Clay county; Crawford S.. the subject. 
    Mr. Erwin spent his early life on the farm, attending the country schools during the winter months, and assisting with the work at home in the summer. He was left to be reared by a widowed mother, who was too poor to aid in her son's education, and thus our subject was compelled to begin his fight with the world early in life practically unaided and the admirable way he has succeeded in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, deserves the commendation of all. When he was nine years old, the family moved to Texas, where they remained four years. During this time the children were deprived of the advantages of a good school.
     Desiring to return to the Illinois home, the family made the trip overland in a wagon, a distance of twelve hundred miles, in the fall and winter of 1880, having reached Hoosier township shortly after Christmas, during the coldest weather that the country had known for years. Crawford S. at once entered school at Center* under the Rev. John F. Harmon, now stationed in East St. Louis. Three terms of school were attended here by our subject.  He was an excellent student, for he had now reached young manhood and he realized that if he succeeded in life, he would be compelled to prepare himself for some of the professions or commercial life, for he was physically unfit to follow the hard-working life of a farmer. He was enabled to gratify his ambition to become an educated man by working out on the farm during the summer months, and with the money he thus secured he entered the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, Indiana, in which institution he made a splendid record for scholarship.
    He decided to become a teacher and before he was eighteen years old had secured his first certificate and had taught his first school, which was a pronounced success.  His services were then in great demand for the ensuing ten years which he devoted to teaching in Clay county, becoming generally known as an able educator. Most of that time he taught in only two school districts, meanwhile devoting the summer months to farming.
    About this time Mr. Erwin secured the appointment of government mail weigher on the Vandalia line, which position he filled so satisfactorily that he was within two years thereafter re-appointed government mail weigher on the main line of the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad, operating between Cincinnati and St. Louis.  His official reports quickly enabled the company to see his ability in this line and he was placed part of his time in the office of the chief clerk to assist in the examination of the reports sent in by his fellow-officers.  Mr. Erwin was called home in 1894 to fill the position of Deputy County Clerk, the duties of which he discharged in such a creditable manner that he became candidate for the office of Circuit Court Clerk in 1896, and was elected, on the Republican ticket, and discharged his duties to the entire satisfaction of all concerned and was re-elected in 1900, and again in 1904, his term having expired December 7, 1908. It is the consensus of opinion that he has been the best Circuit Clerk the county has ever had. 
    The official and private life of Mr. Erwin has ever been an open book to all for it has been led along conservative lines, honest and without blemish, lacking the faintest shadow or suspicion of evil. His donations to charitable purposes and to his needy neighbors and fellow citizens since his residence in Louisville have amounted to several hundred dollars. He has always been ready to assist in aiding any worthy cause. It has been his custom for a number of years at Christmas time to gather together provisions, and quietly boxing them up himself and employing a teamster to deliver the same to the unfortunate and needy in his community. So unostentatious has this charity been bestowed that the donor is known to but few of his beneficiaries to this day.
    Mr. Erwin was united in marriage December 12, 1886, to Sarah Belle Conley, daughter of W. A. Conley, of Hoosier township.  She was born and reared in Clay County, and is a woman of beautiful personal attributes. The following children have been born of this union : May, whose age in 1908 is twenty years; Jennie is eighteen years old; Wilbur Esta is fifteen years old; Crawford Leslie is eleven; Leland is seven and Kenneth is four.
    Upon his retirement from office, Mr. Erwin entered the real estate and abstract business in December, 1908. He is thoroughly familiar with abstracting, having followed this while in office. He also owns a farm in Louisville township, and one in Bible Grove township, and also a half interest in a farm in Hoosier township, and another tract of land in Arkansas. He is also interested in stock raising and stock trading.  Mr. Erwin's land is well improved and ranks well with any in the county, and he always keeps a good grade of stock. He is interested in the concrete business, manufacturing concrete blocks and other forms of concrete work, the firm name being Clark & Erwin.
    Our subject is Public Administrator of Clay County.  In his fraternal relations he belongs to the Masonic Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias. He was secretary of the local Masonic lodge, at Louisville, No.196 for ten consecutive years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and has always been a loyal Republican, born and bred in the principles of that party,-but the most partisan Democrat was ever treated with the same courtesy by him as the most pronounced Republican. During his term in office Mr. Erwin has never been too busy to accommodate anyone seeking information on any subject whether pertaining to the matters of the office of Circuit Clerk or legal advice on any foreign subject, and no one ever went away from him wrongly advised, or feeling that what he had obtained had been grudgingly given. Hundreds of people in Clay county, having no regular attorney to attend to their legal business, and wishing an agreement, a contract, or an affidavit drawn up, have found our subject ever willing to assist as best he could.  Mr. and Mrs. Erwin have a beautiful home, where hospitality and good cheer are ever unstintingly dispersed to their many friends and admirers.  

Excerpt from: Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois, Pub. 1909

    John Erwin, hardware merchant  and dealer in farm machinery. Louisville, was born in Hoosier Township, Clay County, November 7, 1841, and is a son of Crawford Erwin, of Hoosier Township. Mr. Erwin spent all his life, up to 1876, on the farm. He received his education in the common schools and at McKendree College, Illinois.
    He served in the late war in Company D, Eleventh Missouri Volunteer Infantry; enlisted June 15, 1861, and was discharged in October, 1862, on account of disability, but after recruiting in health he again enlisted in 1864; this time in Company B, Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He participated in the battles of Fredericktown, Mo., New Madrid, Island No. 10, Point Pleasant, Fort Pillow, Farmington and Corinth during his first term of enlistment, and Snake Creek Gap, Resaca, New Hope Church, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Marietta, Jonesboro, East Point, Atlanta, Fort McAllister, Pocataligo, Duck Creek, Columbia, Camden and others during his last term. At Fort McAllister, Mr. Erwin was blown up some distance by an exploding torpedo, but not seriously injured. At the battle of Duck Creek, on the 4th day of February, 1865, his regiment charged the rebels through a swamp of mud and water waist deep.
    In 1870, Mr. Erwin moved to Louisville and engaged in his present business in January following, at which he has been very successful, keeping a full line of heavy and shelf hardware, farm implements, stoves, tinware, blacksmith coal, lime, hair, saddles, harness, chain and wood pumps, and is also agent for the Buckeye Reaper.
    He was married in 1867 to Amelia A., daughter of Henry Conley, deceased. They have had six children, viz.: Lewella. Vernon, Troy (deceased), Keturah, Mabel and an infant son. Mr. Erwin is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masonic fraternity and of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  
Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884 "

    J. T. Evans, merchant, Clay City, was born in Johnson County, Ind., Jan. 7, 1835.  He is a son of Joseph and Matilda (Driscoll) Evans. The father was a native of Brown County, Ohio. Edward Evans, the grandfather, was a native of Pennsylvania, and was a solider in the Revolution. Among the battles in that conflict in which he participated was the battle of Brandywine. His people were of Welsh decent. The father is still living in Johnson County, Ind., at the age of eighty-eight, on the same farm he entered fifty-four years ago, and he still has in his possession the letters patent for the land, bearing the signature of Andrew Jackson.  The mother was born in Mason County, Ky., her father being a native of Maryland, and of Scotch descent. Our subject was the sixth of seven children, and of this number three are now living, viz.: Mrs. Julia Ann Jolliffe, of Johnson County, Ind.; J. T., subject, and J. E., in Clay City Township.
    The common schools of his native county furnished Mr.  Evans his means of education. At the age of eighteen, he commenced teaching, but followed that profession only two years. He then commenced reading medicine with Drs.  Marshall & Ream, of Williamsburg, Ind.
    After studying with them two years, he came to Clay City, Ill., arriving herein April, 1859, and began the practice of medicine. Not liking the profession however, he gave it up after about two years. In December, 1860, he turned his attention to merchandising, and opened a general store. In this business, he has been engaged ever since, and now carries a stock of about $8,000. He also does a great deal in the grain and commission business, having built a large warehouse, and now handles on an average about 50,000 bushels of grain a year, besides considerable flax and grass seed.
     In the old town of Maysville, Clay County, Mr. Evans was married, November 17, 1859, to Miss Amanda E.  Bagwell, a daughter of Thomas J. and Cina E. (Whiteman) Bagwell. The father was a native of Kentucky, and came to the old town of Maysville in 1842, where he ran a hotel for many years. He died in 1877. The mother was a native of Tennessee, and is still living in Clay City, at the advanced age of seventy-two. Mrs.Evans was born in March, 1842, and is the mother of four children, three of whom are now living: Henry, born November 18, 1860; Ella, October 2, 1863, and now the wife of Charles D. Duff; and Charles, February 19, 1874.
    Subject is a member of the Clay City Christian Church.  He has been identified with that denomination since March, 1868, and is at present one of the Elders and Sunday School Superintendent of the church at this point.
    Mr. Evans is a member of the Clay City Lodge, No. 488, A. F. & A. M., and Gorin Commandery, No. 14, Knights Templar. Casting his first vote for John C. Fremont, Mr. Evans has ever since been a strong Republican.



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