Samuel E. Pain, Postmaster, Xenia,was born in Brookfield, Orange Co., Vt., October 1,1824, to Elijah and Cynthia (Esterbrook) Paine. The father was born in Orange County, Vt., and died there. The mother is a native of the same county, and is now a resident of Parsons, Kan., at the age of seventy-seven years. Our subject's early life was spent on the farm, and he was educated in the common schools. At the age of seventeen years, he went to New Bedford, Mass.,where for four years he clerked in a store, but then engaged in the mercantile business for himself. In November, 1849, he was married, in New Bedford, to Miss Mercy C.Kirby, a native of Dartmouth, Mass., and a daughter of Capt. Nicholas Kirby, a sailor. She is the mother of six children,five of whom are now living, viz. : Louisa B., wife of A. L. Evans, of Fla. ; Fannie M., wife of Joseph E. Tully,of Xenia; Carrie K., wife of Clyde Alexander, of Terryville, Dak. Terr. ; Albert B., an artist, and also a paid contributor for several Eastern papers Waverly, New York Weekly, Saturday Night, etc. which papers publish his poems; Frank L., at home, and Albert B., deceased. In 1854, Mr. Paine removed to Benton's Port, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business. He raised Company I. Nineteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in as Captain August 6, 1862. At the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., he received a gunshot wound in the thigh, which disabled him for service, and on account of this disability he was discharged in April, 1863. In 1865, he sold out his business in Iowa, and came to Xenia, III., and for about six years was engaged in farming, but again entered the mercantile life in Xenia, in which he continued for about three years, when he sold out and again gave his attention to farming. His farm, which is near town, contains 130 acres of land in cultivation. August, 1882, he was appointed to take charge of the post office at Xenia, which office he still holds. He is a member of the Xenia Lodges, A. F. & A. M., I. O. O. F. and G. A. R. In politics, he was a "Whig, till the Republican party was organized, and since has been Republican. He has held various offices in the village and township, and was the first Republican on the County Board of Supervisors elected from this township, which is strongly Democratic.
Excerpted from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Gen. Lewis B. Parsons In presenting to the people of Wayne and Clay Counties the name of Gen. L. B. Parsons, we feel our inability to do justice to him, and will content ourselves by standing aside and allowing some of his friends to speak for us friends of whom any man may feel a pardonable pride. Space will not permit us to insert the many letters of just commendation shown the writer, and we give in the brief space at our command sufficient to show the merits of his public service and administrative ability.
The following is from the Constitution and Union, May, 1880:
GEN. LEWIS B. PARSONS PRESENTED TO THE ILLINOIS DEMOCRACY AS A SUITABLE NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR.
THE RECORD OF A STERLING MAN.
[Eagle (Ill. Constitution and Union.]
The time has come when it is proper to speak out more strongly than heretofore in favor of Gen. Lewis B. Parsons, of Clay County, as the best man to lead the Democratic State ticket in the contest this year. There are many gentlemen of eminent qualifications for the place in various parts of the State, among whom, it is generally admitted, Gen. Parsons has a prominent position, and circumstances, we think, when fairly considered, especially point him out at the present time as the safest and best man to lead our ticket.
In Southern and Central Illinois, Gen. Parsons has. for many years, been so well known as to render any words in his favor unnecessary; but as he has ever declined to seek or hold political positions, he is not so well known in other sections. It seems, therefore, proper to say a few words, that we may in this most important campaign arrive at a wise conclusion in regard to the man most sure to lead to success, and who, if elected, will secure a good administration. Democrats through the State are divided by hopes of success and fear of defeat. If elected, Gen. Parsons will make a fearless, prudent and efficient officer. If defeated, no honest man will regret or be ashamed of having voted for him. The fact that Gen. Parsons has for months persistently refused to heed the solicitations of his friends to allow the use of his name as a candidate for Governor is well known; and any one visiting his farm and beautiful home, knowing his love for agricultural pursuits, and his dislike of tho turmoil of political strife, which has repeatedly led him to decline important positions, can well understand the cause. But it seems now generally understood that while Gen. Parsons will enter into no wrangling competition to secure the nomination, yet acting on the advice of men whose only aim is to secure the best interests of the State, he will accept should the Democratic Convention on the 10th of June so decide, and enter upon the campaign, which with him would mean a full and complete organization of the State, and a thoroughly business-like canvass, from the morning after the nomination to the evening after the election. Gen. Parsons is a native of New York, born in 1818.
His earlier years were mostly spent in his father's country store, in St. Lawrence County, the home of Mr. Silas Wright, of the purity and simplicity of whose private life he has ever been a great admirer. On his father's side, he comes from the old Massachusetts stock, which emigrated to that State from England nearly two and a half centuries ago; and on his mother's side from the equally well-known Hoar family of the same State. His father, a man of rare energy, business capacity and public spirit, was the founder of the nourishing college in Iowa bearing his name, and for the endowment of which he gave a large fund. Gen. Parsons' grandfathers, both on the paternal and maternal sides, served in the Revolutionary war, one as an officer of distinction through the whole of that struggle.
Gen. Parsons entered Yale College in 1836. His father having suffered severely by the financial revulsion in 1837, he was obliged to struggle for an education under great difficulties, his pecuniary embarrassment compelling him to spend much of his time the last two years out of college in teaching. Yet, by his energy and industry, he maintained his position and graduated with reputation in his class in 1840. In order to discharge debts incurred in college, and obtain funds to enable him to pursue his profession, he taught a classical school in Mississippi for two years, evincing those traits of energy, honesty and prudence, which not only then met with a just reward, but which have characterized him through his successful life.
Entering Harvard Law School, then presided over by Justice Story and Prof. Greemleaf, in 1842, he pursued his studies till the spring of 1844, when, turning his steps westward, he landed in St. Louis in March of that year, with funds only sufficient to pay a drayman to take his baggage to a hotol, a good library, for which he owed $600, a determined will, and an honest purpose to succeed ; but with no friend or acquaintance on whom to call for aid within hundreds of miles. Less than twenty years after, the same man had been the General Manager of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, one of the greatest commercial arteries leading to the same city, and had been for years engaged in directing the transportation of great armies, with all their supplies, animals and munitions, during a long war of the greatest magnitude, controlling by his single will, uuder the general order of the Secretary of War, all the vast means aud modes of transportation, not only of all the rivers and railroads of the West, but of the entire country. Such are the changes of our country and time!
LAWYER AND RAILROAD MANAGER.
Mr. Parsons soon after reaching St. Louis went to Alton and became the partner of Newton D. Strong, an eminent lawyer and a brother of Judge Strong, of the United States Supreme Court. The firm did a large and successful business till Mr. Strong left the State, when Mr. Parsons formed a partnership with Judge Henry W. Billings, afterward a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1869, a gentleman known and esteemed as widely as his early and sad death was lamented. In 1858, Mr. Parsons left Alton and became the legal adviser of the great banking house of Page & Bacon, then engaged in constructing the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, at the same time purchasing the land on which he has since made the large farm on which he now resides.
On the suspension of the banking house of Page & Bacon, Messrs. Aspinwall and associates took possession of the railroad, retaining Mr. Parsons as the General Western Manager. The work was completed far in advance of the contract time, eminently to the satisfaction of all parties. In the various positions of Attorney, Treasurer, General Manager, Director and President of this road for a quarter of a century, he has discharged his duties so as to secure the perfect confidence of all parties and the public in his integrity, energy and capacity, and though he has long since parted with all pecuniary interest in the road, he is still retained in the directory.
In 1860, Gen. Parsons resigned his official position with a view of rest and a European tour; but, like other sagacious men, perceiving the country was on the brink of a civil war, he resolved to stay at home and serve the nation. Soon after the commencement of the war, Gen. George B. McClellan, who, as Vice President of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, had known Gen. Parsons and his abilities, offered him a position under him in the East, which was at once accepted, and he proceeded thither. Early satisfied that the field and the West best suited his taste, Gen Parsons obtained an order to report to St. Louis, with a view to raising a regiment. On arriving there, Gen. Curtis, commanding the department, placed him on a commission with Captain, now Lieutenant General, Sheridan, to investigate the afairs connected with Gen. Fremont's administration, which soon led to the celebrated Holt- Davis commission of greater civil powers. In the meantime, Gen. Halleck having taken command, and finding nothing but disorder and confusion in the transportation service that it was conducted utterly regardless of system or economy was inefficient, and the souroe of endless complaints by the railroads who neither knew whose order to obey, nor how to obtain compensation due them, learning of Gen. Parsons' experience and abilities, obtained an order from the Secretary of War placing him on his staff as aid de camp, with rank of Colonel, and gave him entire charge of railroad and river transportation. To one like Col. Parsons, accustomed to organize and direct the efforts of large bodies of men and the movements of large quantities of material, the pending difficulties were of easy solution, and he accepted the situation with a cheerful confidence which was amply vindicated by the results, and which soon brought order and harmony out of chaos and confusion. Introducing a few simple welldefined rules, combining uniformity with responsibility, and efficiency with economy, a revolution was at once effected most satisfactory to the Government officers and the railroads performing service, so that they as well as all river navigation became part of a single, central system, acting not only with power and efficiency but with unsurpassed economy.
Such success gained the entire confidence of the Government, and Col. Parsons' authority soon became complete and co-extensive with the valley west of the Alleghanies, extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian wars, two thousand miles up the Yellowstone, as also the Upper Mississippi. In 1863, the Secretary of War ordered Col. Parsons to Washington, but revoked the order on his tendering his resignation rather than leave the West. In 1864, however, on an imperative order of the Secretary he took charge of the bureau of rail and river transportation for the entire country, and in a brief period he perfected a complete organization and introduced rules, regulations and forms which were made the basis of action for that important department.
While in that position he, in person, effected a movement pronounced by Secretary Stanton as well as by high English and French military authorities as without a parallel in the movement of armies, and on the result of which President Lincoln ordered his promotion to a full Brigadier, viz. , the transfer of the Twenty-third Army Corps of 20,000 men, with all its artillery and animals, from Clinton, Tenn., to the Potomac, in the brief space of eleven days, a distance of over 1,400 miles in mid-winter, over mountains and through rivers obstructed by snow and ice and by broken-down railroads, subject to guerrilla incursions, all without the loss of life or property.
It is a singular fact that though so successful in all respects, Col. Parsons twice tendered his resignation in order to raise a regiment for active field service, which was as it should have been, imperatively declined by the Secretary of War. Happening to be present at the first attack on Vicksburg, he tendered his services and acted as volunteer abundant
aid to Gen. Sherman, and subsequently acted in like capacity on Gen. McClernand's staff at the battle and capture of Arkansas Post, where, if not the first, he was among the first to enter the fortification, and for which he received special notice from the commanding officers. Soon after the surrender of Lee, Gen. Parsons tendered his resignation, his private business imperatively requiring his attention, but was detained by the Secretary of War for many months to aid in important service. The same firmness, energy and economy have distinguished Gen. Parsons equally in public and private life, and evinced his superior organizing and administrative abilities.
There is upon record abundent evidence from the highest such men as President Grant, Sherman and Schofield, Judges David Davis, Trumbull, E. B. Washburne, and a host of others of most meritorious service, all agreeing that Gen. Parsons' administration saved millions to the Government.
As early as September 13, 1863, that most able and excellent officer. Gen. Robert Allen, then Col. Parson's superior, in writing the Secretary of War, asking for Col. Parsons' promotions, among other things said: " Having had charge of that most important branch of the service steamboat and railroad transportation his duties have been arduous, have been highly responsible, and he has discharged them with signal success and ability. His administration of his branch of the department has been eminently satisfactory. No military movement in the West has failed or faltered for lack of transportation or supplies of any kind. The wants of armies in the field have been anticipated and met with alacrity and dispatch. If industry joined to capacity, and integrity to energy, all possessed and duly exercised in the same person, entitled him to the advancement, then I may safely claim promotion for Col. Parsons."
An equally strong statement was made by Gen. Grant in May, 1865, and the following is an extract from the New York Times, of July 20, of that year: " No officer of the United States Army could speak with a more correct knowledge than did Gen. Parsons of the number and efficiency of the armies of the Union, for no one perhaps had more experience than he in their organization, subsistence and handling. We venture to say that if Secretary Stanton were called on to name the officer that more than any other had distinguished himself in the task of wielding the vast machinery of the Union armies during all the stages of the conflict in response to the plans and requirements of our Generals, he would with little hesitation designate Gen. Lewis B. Parsons. It is to his matchless combination that must be attributed much of the efficiency and success that almost invariably marked every military movement in the West."
Soon after the war, Gen. Parsons spent two years abroad, visiting all parts of Europe and the Orient, seeking to regain his health, greatlv impaired by over four years of incessant labor, he having been absent from duty but twenty-one days while in service. During the war, while faithfully serving his country, he never wavered in his political faith. Beginning a Douglas War Democrat, he continued such, though some of his friends firmly believed this long delayed his just promotion. Continuing since the war an earnest but conservative Democrat, he has never been drawn into any temporary political experiments, but has believed that there lay at the foundation of true Democratic principles certain great truths which. in time, would assert supreme power, and in their practical application restore the Government to the simplicity, purity, economy and honesty of the better days of the Republic. Believing such a man at the present time most likely to lead us to victory, Gen. Parsons' friends in Southern Illinois, where he has so greatly aided in restoring our Democratic majorities, ask all sections of the State to assist in his nomination and election, relying not only on his abilities as a public, speaker, but on his organizing abilities and great energy of character.
Headquarters Army of U. S.
Washington, D. C, May 20, 1865
I have long contemplated writing you and expressing niy satisfaction with the manner in which you have dischargsd the very responsible and difficult duties of Superintendent of river and railroad transportation for the armies both in the West and East.
The position is second in importance to no other connected with the military service, and to have been appointed to it at the beginning of the war of the magnitude and duration of this one, and holding it to its close, providing transportation for whole armies, with all that appertains to them for thousands of miles, adjusting accounts involving millions of money, and doing justice to all, never delaying for a moment any military operations dependent on you, meriting and receiving the commeudatious of your superior officers, and the recognition of the Government for integrity of character, and for the able and efficient manner in which you have rilled it, evidences an honesty of purpose, knowledge of men, business intelligence and executive ability of the highest order, and of which any man might be justly proud.
Wishing you a speedy return to health and duty, I remain, yours truly.
U. S. Grant.
Brig. Gen. Lewis B. Parsons, A. Q. M.
The following is a copy of the order of President Lincoln to the Secretary of War, authorizing the speedy promotion of Gen. Parsons to the commission of Brigadier General
Washington, March 17, 1865
Hon. Sec't of War:
Dear Sir I have long thought Col. Lewis B. Parsons ought to be promoted, and intended it should have been sooner done. His long services and uniform testimon)' to the ability with which he has discharged his very responsible and extended duties render it but just and proper his services should be acknowledged, and more especially so since his great success in executing your order for the recent movement of troops from the West. You will therefore at once promote Col. Parsons to the rank of Brigadier General of Volunteers, if there is a vacancy which can be given to the Quartermaster's Department, and if not you will so promote him when the first vacancy occurs.
[Signed] A. Lincoln.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Joseph S. Peak, school teacher, Flora, was born in Butler County, Ohio, on March 16, 1837, and is a son of William E. and Cynthia (Flenner) Peak. The parents were also born in that county, but the father originally descended from English emigrants who settled in an early day in Maryland, and the mother came from Pennsylvania Dutch stock. Subject was the second of eleven children, of whom eight are now living Mrs. Angeline Chidester, of Flora; Mrs. Mary Floyd, of Dublin, Ind. ; T. DeWitt, of Portsmouth, Ohio; Mrs. Carrie Major, of Flora; Mrs. Callie Manker, of Clay City;
R. F., in Fort Scott, Kansas; Lou M., in Clay City, and Joseph S., our subject. In 1853, the parents came to Indiana and settled in Shelby County. There they remained some ten years, and then came to Flora, Ill. At this place the mother died in February, 1877, but the father is still living there at the hale old age of seventy-five.
The free schools of Ohio furnished our subject his means of education.He assisted on the home farm in Indiana until about eighteen, when he commenced teaching, and ever since he has made that the vocation of his life. He remained in Indiana until 1864, when he came to Clay County and settled in this township. Here he now owns sixty acres in Section 16, of Town 2 north, Range 7, which he farms in the summer. His schools have been taught mainly in this township, and he is regarded as one of the best teachers in the county. He has taught every year since he arrived in the county. Among the schools which he has taught have been two terms at Baylor Schoolhouse, four at Seminary School, two at Bothwell and is now teaching at the Center School.
He enlisted in Indiana on August 20, 1861, in Company B of the Thirty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and served nine months. Was honorably discharged on account of sickness. Mr. Peak was married in Shelby County, Ind., on November 7, 1857, to Miss Susan Lick, a daughter of John B. and Maria (East) Lick, natives of North Carolina. This union has resulted in seven children, six of whom are now living Addie, Charles A., Mary (now Deputy Postmistress at Clay City). William B., Edwin E. and Tillie L.
He has served in many township offices, among which might be mentioned that of Township Supervisor, Clerk and Treasurer. He has always been connected with the Republican party. He is a member of the United Brethren Church at Harmony Chapel. Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Joseph S. Peak--The state of Maryland contributed her proportion of emigrants to form the army of pioneers who crossed the Alleghanies in the earlier part of the nineteenth century to grapple with the western wilderness. Among the number was Joseph Peak, whose birth occurred about the time of the Revolutionary war, and who, after marrying Lucy Leach, started on the perilous trip to the "Dark and Bloody Ground," south of the Ohio river. He does not seem to have been pleased with the opportunities offered by Kentucky, as we find him soon crossing over to the more congenial soil of the Buckeye state. He settled in Butler county, then as now, one of the best sections of Ohio and made his living by farming until his death in 1835. He had eight children and among them William B. Peak, whose birth occurred on the Butler county homestead, September 25, 1812. He also followed the occupation of farming, but concluding late in life that the Illinois prairies offered better inducements, he removed to that state in August, 1864, and settled in Flora, where he engaged in business until his death, January 7, 1896. Aside from agricultural pursuits, he became a preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church and did much religious work during the active period of his life.
He married Cynthia Planner, a native of Butler county, Ohio, who made him a faithful companion until her death in 1874. This worthy couple had eleven children, all but one of whom lived to maturity and eight are still living. Of these. Mrs. Angelina Chidester is a resident of Flora, Mrs. Mary Floyd is a resident of Dublin, Indiana. Rev. T. De Witt Peak is a citizen of Litchfield, Illinois. Mrs. Caroline Major makes her home in Flora. Rev. R. F. Peak holds forth at Oakland, California. Mrs. S. C. Manker is the sixth in order of birth. Mrs. C. E. Beckett resides at Centralia, Illinois. Joseph S. Peak, the second in order of birth of the surviving children, was born in Butler county, Ohio, March 16, 1837.
He accompanied his parents to Clay county during the latter part of the Civil war, after obtaining a fair common school education, partly in his native county and partly n Shelby county, Indiana, where the family sojourned for a while.
For many years after reaching Illinois, he combined farming and school teaching as a means of livelihood. In August,
1861, he enlisted in Company D, Thirty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he served nine months, being discharged on account of sickness. He farmed and taught school in Indiana before he came to Illinois, where he spent his time on a farm until the winter of 1893, when he removed to Flora, Illinois. In 1884 he was elected Surveyor of Clay county on the Republican ticket, in which office he served acceptably for four years. In 1888 he obtained the nomination for the same office, but was defeated, at the polls. He tried again in 1894, and was triumphantly elected, but after serving his term, abandoned politics for the real estate and general notary business. In 1896 he was elected Justice of the Peace and has continued to exercise the duties of that office by repeated re-elections. He had served in this capacity
also while a resident of the country, previous to his removal to Flora.
Mr. Peak is a hale and vigorous man for his age and possessed of a cheerfufl disposition, fortified by many of the sterling virtues. He has resided in or near Flora for forty-five years and is known to every one in the county. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and for five years was secretary of the International Sunday School Association. He is commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
On October 7, 1857, Mr. Peak Married Susan E. Lick, who was born and reared near the town of Hope in Bartholomew county, Indiana. Their marriage relations have continued harmonious for over fifty-one years. Of their seven children, those living are Mrs. Addie Lewis, of Omaha, Nebraska ; Charles A. Peak, of the same city ; Mrs. Mary Chapman, also of Omaha ; W. B. Peak, Omaha ; E. E. Peak, of Detroit, Michigan; Miss Stella Peak, of Flora.
Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--Pub. 1909
John Peirce, retired, Xenia. In 1696, one Thomas Peirce came from England and settled in Portsmouth, N. H, where his descendants continued to reside for 140 years without straying away from the native State. The old mansion built by Thomas Peirce soon after his arrival yet remains and in an excellent state of preservation, and had remained in the family till 1863, when it passed into the hands of John R. Holbrook, a gentleman who was reared in the family. The Peirce family, from as far back as their history is known to the present date, has had a John and a Thomas in the family, and Thomas Peirce, the father of our subject, was born in Portsmouth, N. H., April 19, 1777, and was married, in 1802, to Abigail Moulton, born in Portsmouth January 29, 1773, and was a descendant of Joseph Moulton. The Moulton history in New Hampshire dates back to 1680. This union was blessed with the following children: Sarah, Nathaniel, Thomas, John and Abigail. Only the two youngest now survive, viz.: Our subject and his maiden sister Abigail, she being a resident of Portsmouth, N. H. Thomas Peirce died October 24, 1838, and his wife July 13, 1826. Our subject was born December 4, 1811, and in 1835 came West and settled in Iowa, and was clerk of the first election ever held in the Territory after it was struck off from Wisconsin. By trade, our subject is a printer, and had followed printing till coming West, when he began farming. June 21, 1837, he was married to Miss Jane C. Davenport, a descendant of the Davenports of Virginia. She was the mother of the three following-named children: Thomas O., born July 8, 1838; John A., born March 12, 1843; and Laura, born December 26, 1846, died October 23, 1875. These two sons and Mrs. Lewis G. Davis, of Portsmouth, N. H., a daughter of Nathaniel Pierce, are the only grandchildren of Thomas and Abigail (Moulton) Peirce now living. In 1837, Mr. Pierce moved to Clay County, Ill., and has continued to reside here since, and from December, 1846 to the present time, has lived on his present place. October 22, 1855, his wife died, at the age of thirty-seven years seven months nine days. January 1, 1857, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Barbara (Shelley) Bond, a native of Pennsylvania, and widow of Nichodemus Bond, of Clinton County. Ill . Mr. Peirce is a member of the Orphan's Hope Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 213, at Xenia. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, he is Republican. He is one of the oldest settlers in Xenia Township, and has done much to advance the interests of the township and village. The depot at Xenia was laid out on his land, and for about two and a half years he was station agent. He has an heirloom which has been handed down for several generations. It is a Bible which was printed in 1608, and brought to America in 1696 by Thomas Peirce. Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
John A. Peirce, machinist, Xenia, was born in Clay County. Ill. March 12,1843 and is the son of John Peirce, whose sketch appears. His early life was spent on the farm, and as soon as the civil war broke out he entered the service, first of the State, in May, 1S61, but June 13, 1861, was mustered into the Cnited States service. Company G. Twenty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Col. U. S. Grant. This was the first regiment to march from the State, and October 21, 1861. they were in their first engagement at Fredericktown, Mo. When Mr. Peirce first applied to be admitted into the rviee. the enrolling officer refused him because he was so short; but he made known his grievance to Col. S. S. Good, and the Colonel told him that he would soon grow up, and for him to take his place in the rear rank, and when his name was called in the muster-roll to answer up. This advice he followed, and so got into the service. In October, 1861, Mr. Peirce was taken into the Adjutant's office, as Orderly at headquarters. He served in this capacity till March 12,1865, when he was promoted to the office of Sergeant Mayor, and September 6, 1865, was mustered in by special order as Extra Lieutenant and Adjutant, which office he continued to hold till close of service. December 16, 1865, they were discharged at San Antonio, Tex. He had all the experience of the soldier in his marches and counter-marches, in tent life and on the field of battle. They were in the siege of Corinth, at Perryville, Ky., Stone River, on the Chickamauga campaign, etc.; and when the first three years of enlistment were out, he re-enlisted at Ooltewah, Tenn., for another three years, and then took a veteran's furlough for thirty days, after which he returned to the regiment at Big Shanty, and was on the Atlanta campaign, and in the fights at Franklin and Nashville, Tenn. After returning from the service, his occupation has been various, being engineer at the woolen mills for some time, then painting, and afterward into the tin business: but in 1878 he started into his present business of machinist, and is now prepared to do all kinds of work in repairing of all kinds of machinery, etc. January 12, 1868, he was married in Xenia to Miss Fidelia "Westmoreland, a native of this State. and daughter of John Westmoreland, now a resident of Texas. Mrs. Peirce is the mother of five daughters, three of whom are living, viz. : Nellie, Araminta J. and Mary. He is a member of Xenia Lodge, I. O. O.F. He and wife are members of Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, he is Republican.
Excerpted from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
T.O.Peirce, merchant, Xenia, was born in Clay County, Ill., July 8, 1838, and is a son of John Peirce. Our subject was reared on a farm, and educated in the schools of the county, first attending, in 1845, in an old log schoolhouse in the old part of Xenia. In 1860, he engaged in the furniture and lumber business in Xenia, in partnership with George Kenower. In 1802, he turned the business over to his partner, and enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. August 9, 1862, under command of Col. Martin. He enlisted as a private, but was elected the first Captain of his company. The history of the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois is well known, from the time it marched from camp at Salem in November, 1862; its marches in Kentucky, and up the Tennessee River, the garrison duty at Paducah, Ky. , etc., the joining of Gen. Logan's command March 15, 1864. It also participated in the Atlanta campaign, the chase of Hood afterward, and then the march to the sea, and the capture of Fort McAllister, etc. Up to this time, Capt. Peirce had remained with his company, but December 18. 1864, was appointed Acting Assistant Inspector General, in the place made vacant through the fall of Capt. J. H. Groce at the charge on Fort McAllister. Capt. Peirce served in this office till June1, 1865. when he was relieved from duty, with the personal thanks of his General. He then returned to his company, and was mustered out June 23, 1865. July l3, 1865, he was married at Shullsburgh, Wis., to MissMaria C. Songer. She was the daughter of John Songer, an early settler of Clay County, and her mother was a daughter of Dr. John Davenport. Mrs. Peirce. died February, 1867. Mr. Peirce was afterward married to MissEliza Cox, of Wayne County, Ill. She was left an orphan in early life, and was reared by Mr. H.H. Beecher, now of Springfield, Ill. This union has been blest with four children, only two of whom are now living, viz. : Nathaniel T. and Laurena. In the fall of 1865, he engaged in the mercantile business, first in groceries, but gradually changed into the hardware business, but also keeps a general stock of goods, including almost everything except ready-made clothing. Peirce has been very successful in business Starting with only about $1,500, he has steadily increased, till now he carries a stock of about $5,000, besides dealing in grain and agricultural implements, and has a farm near Xenia of 243 acres, large brick business house, residence, etc. He is a member of Xenia Lodge. L O. O. F.. and has served in all the chairs of the lodge, and has represented it in the Grand Lodge of the State. He is a stanch Republican.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Harvey F. Pixley--The able and popular president of the First National Bank of Flora, Illinois, is most consistently accorded recognition in a work of the province assigned to the one at hand, since it has to do with the representative citizens of Clay county, of which number he unquestionably is a worthy member and has long played well his part in the development of the interests of this locality. Harvey F. Pixley was born in Ingraham, Clay county, November 25, 1869, the son of Osman Pixley, who was a native of New York, having settled in Edwards county in 1852. The subject's father was a merchant and for many years was the president of the First National Bank of Flora. He was a prominent man in this community, and was Representative in the Legislature in 1871 and 1872, representing this district, having been elected on the Republican ticket. He was for many years a leading and influential citizen here. He was postmaster of Ingraham for the long period of forty years. He received a request from Postmaster General Wanamaker for his photo to be used at the Chicago World's Fair. He was the fourth oldest postmaster in point of service in the United States. After an active and useful life he was called to his rest April 7, 1903. Asa Pixley, the subject's grandfather, was a native of Vermont, but he removed to Western New York and finally settled near West Salem, Edwards county, Illinois, about 1830, being among the pioneers. He was born March 26. 1805, and died February 9. 1883. The Pixley family is of Puritan stock. The mother of the subject was Frances Wood, a native of near Allendale, Wabash county, this state, where she was born June 29, 1832. She was a woman of beautiful attributes, and she passed to her rest May 16, 1907. Nine children were born to the parents of our subject, Harvey F. being the seventh in order of birth. Four girls and one boy are deceased. Dewitt C. is living in Orange, California, a prominent business man of that place, is married and has five children: Arthur H.. who lives in Chicago, is a member of the Board of Trade and is associated with Ware & Leland. The subject's mother was a member of a large family, consisting of nine children. Her father was Spencer Wood, who was born near New Haven, Vermont, February 14, 1788, and died December 5. 1846. Her mother was Matilda Flower, who was born in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, March 19, 1791, and died March 12, 1855, the mother being the last surviving member of the family. Mr. Pixley's father's mother was Amanda Ingraham. The township of Pixley was named after Mr. Pixley's father, and the town of Ingraham was named after Mr. Pixley's grandmother, who was born February 22, 1806, and died September 26, 1844. Her parents are buried in Ingraham cemetery. Philo Ingraham, her father, was born June 28, 1768, and died April 21, 1842. Her mother was Arvilla Barney, born September 12. 1782, and died September 19, 1854. They are supposed to be the first white people buried in Clay county.
. Harvey F. Pixley, our subject, spent his life up to 1899 in Ingraham. After receiving a common school education there he attended Eureka College, in which institution he spent two years, making an excellent record. Then he began work in his father's store, having remained there for twelve years, assisting to build up an excellent trade. In August, 1899, he came to Flora and began work in the First National Bank, becoming its cashier January i, 1900, serving four years. He was then elected vice president of the institution, serving four years in this capacity, and was made president of the bank at the January, 1909, meeting of the board of directors. He has done much to increase the prestige of this bank and place it on a solid foundation so that it is today recognized as one of the soundest in Southern Illinois. Mr. Pixley is treasurer of the Breese-Trenton Mining Company, which operates three coal mines at Breese, Beckemeyer and Trenton. He is also treasurer of the Ebner Ice & Cold Storage Company, operating four plants, one at Vincennes, Seymour and Washington, Indiana, and one at Flora, Illinois. He is also a director and large stockholder in both the above named companies. Mr. Pixley also has an interest in the Flora Canning Company, and is also a stockholder and one of the organizers of the Flora Telephone Company ; also interested as a stockholder in two wholesale houses in St. Louis. He was one of the executors of the late Gen. Lewis B. Parsons, of Flora, having left an estate of one hundred thousand dollars with a will.
Mr. Pixley was married on October 22, 189., to Gallic Cisel, daughter of John Cisel, of Allendale, Wabash county, Illinois. She was born on the adjoining farm to where Mr. Pixley's mother was reared. To this union one son has been born, December 10, 1892. He is a bright lad and is attending the Western Military Academy at Upper Alton, Illinois. In his fraternal relations our subject is a member of the Blue Lodge, No. 204, Free and Accepted Masons, and Royal Arch Chapter No. 154. He is a member of the Order of Eastern Star, as is also Mrs. Pixley. They are members of the Christian church, the subject being a member of the official board. He was also a member of the building committee that erected the new church, a splendid edifice that would be a credit to a much larger city. Mr. Pixley is one of the trustees of the Carnegie library of which he is treasurer. He has been trustee of the same since it was built and he was a member of the building committee. He was at one time president of the school board. He is now a member and one of the directors of the Flora Mutual Building, Loan and Homestead Association. In politics he is a Republican. Something of the subject's ability as a financier may be gained from the statement that when he became associated with the First National Bank there was a surplus of only twelve thousand dollars; it is now twentyfive thousand. The undivided profits were less than one thousand dollars. They are now over sixteen thousand. The dividends are now five per cent., payable semi-annually. Mr. and Mrs. Pixley have one of the finest homes in the county, modern, and is presided over with rare dignity by Mrs. Pixley, who is a woman of refinement.
Mr. Pixley has always taken a great interest in the advancement and prosperity of Clay county and endorses every movement which he believes will prove a benefit to humanity. He is a sociable gentleman and is held in the highest regard by all who know him. His achievements represent the result of honest endeavor along lines where mature judgment has opened the way. He possesses a weight of character, a native sagacity, a discriminating judgment and a fidelity of purpose that command the respect, if not the approval, of all with whom he is associated. He takes first rank among the prominent men of this locality and is a leader in financial, business, educational, social and civic affairs. Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909
M.H. Presley. In representing to the readers of Clay County's history the man whose name heads this sketch, we feel incompetent to do him justice. We fully realize that it is due the present as well as the future generations, that a record of noble men be faithfully preserved; not for the purpose of eulogizing those of whom we write, but to give those for whom we write the benefits of their noble example. It is said that " an honest man is the noblest work of God." Tbis is more especially true because of the potent influence of their example, the emulation of which makes the world happier, and by making it happier makes it better.
M. H. Presley was born in North Carolina in October, 1828, but grew to manhood in Smith County, Tenn., where his parents removed when he was but a child. His father, whose name was Valentine Presley, was born in 1790 in North Carolina, but descends from German parentage on the father's side, and Scotch-Irish on the side of his mother, whose name was Susan Morton, who was born in 1791 in Virginia.
We are informed that the name Presley was originally Bressly, and the change was made as a matter of choice by Valentine, the father of M. H. Valentine Presley and Susan Morton were married about 1808. The result of this union was a large family of children, seven of whom were reared to man and womanhood. The oldest, Sanders M. Presley, became an influential minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and died in Tennessee at the age of thirty - three; Thursey J., is the wife of Andrew Winchester, of Tennessee; Huldah, deceased, wife of Joel "Winchester; P. W. and Andrew M. , now of De Kalb County, Tenn.; Susan D., deceased, wife of William Coggin, and M. H. Presley, the subject of this sketch. The parents of this family, with M. H., came to Clay County, Ill., in 1852, and settled on a farm in the northwest part of the county, where the father died the same year, and where the mother also died in 1858. December 15, 1853, M. H. Presley was married to Miss Sarah E., daughter of Alfred J. and Sarah J. Moore. She was born in Clay County, Ill., July 21, 1835. Their family comprises five children William, who was drowned in July, 1866, was born July 5, 1855; Selecta J., was born July 25, 1859; Frankie M., was born January 25, 1862, and is the wife of T. A. Wilson, of Flora; Alfred M. Presley, the youngest, was born January 18, 1867.
In politics, Mr. Presley is a Republican, and while he is not a politician, he wields an influence of no mean order in local politics, and positively refuses to accept office. He is an honored member of the Masonic fraternity and A. O. U. W. As a business man, he displays unusual wisdom, and by a life of energetic, honorable dealing, has become one of the ablest men of Clay County. He is a director and stockholder in tbe First National Bank of Flora.
Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Gilbert Pritchett, farmer. P. O. Xenia. was born in Montgomery County, Ky. October 9, 1819, and is the son of Lewis and Elizabeth (Grooms) Pritchett, natives of Virginia. When our subject was but a small boy, his parents moved to Illinois and first settled in St. Clair County, where his mother died. In later years, the father removed to Marion County and remained till death. Mr. Pritchett is one of a family of thirteen children, only five of whom reached maturity, and four of that number are all that now survive: Mrs. Anna Tate, Gilbert, John, and Mrs. Elizabeth Patten, of Chicago. Both the sisters are widow ladies. Before our subject had reached his majority, he had worked at $9 per month, and made money with which he entered eighty acres of Government land in Marion County. In the spring of 1843, -Mr. P. came to Clay County and settled in this township, and has since made this his home. Soon after coming here, he sold his land in Marion County and invested the money in land here. His occupation has always been that of farming, and has met with success in his chosen occupation. He now owns about 300 acres of land, all of which is near the village of Xenia. In connection with his farming, he also ran a carding machine for seven years at this place. January 11, 1844, he was united in marriage to Miss Maria W. Davenport, daughter of Dr. John Davenport, one of the earliest settlers of this county. The following children now living have blessed this union: Emily (wife of Willis Friend), John L.. Nellie B. and Charles. In politics, Mr. Pritchett is associated with the Democratic party, but takes no active part in political life. Mr. Pritchett came to this township when it was but thinly settled, when one could for miles ride through the prairie grass and see no sign of human habitation, but he has lived to see the county's development.
Excerpted from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
Ben Phillips (Representative, Democrat), Kinmundy; was born in Clay County, Illinois, in 1863. He spent his early years there and was, on March 22, 1884, united in marriage to Miss Florence Laucher of Louisville, Illinois. This union was blessed with two daughters, Nellie and Jennie. The former died in 1918, a victim of the influenza epidemic that swept over the State. Mr. Phillips removed to Kinmundy sixteen years ago, where he was successful in mercantile lines and prominent in civic affairs. He was appointed master-in-chancery of Marion County in 1919, and was elected to the Fifty-second General Assembly in November, 1920. He was stricken with heart failure March 22, 1921, while en route from his home to attend a session of the Legislature, dying in a few minutes. Memorial services for him were held by the House May 18. Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by his mother and a brother. [Source: "Illinois Blue Book"]
John J. Phillips, Deputy Sheriff of Clay County, Louisville, was born in Davie County, N. C. August 31, 1831, and is a son of James Phillips, of Oskaloosa Township, this county, and also a native of North Carolina. Our subject has spent most of his life on the farm, and received a common school education. He came to Marion County, Ill., in 1859, and to Clay County in 1861, not locating here permanently, however, until 1805; and from 1873 to 1876 he again resided in Marion County. He also owns a farm there of 200 acres. He also owns a farm of eighty-five acres in Clay County, situated in Oskaloosa Township. He was married, March 1, 1863, to Nancy Bouseman, a daughter of Andrew J. Bouseman, deceased. They have four children Benjamin, Amanda. Charley and James. Mr. Phillips was appointed Deputy Sheriff in 1878, which position he still holds. He is also Constable. He is a member in good standing of the Masonic fraternity. Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"
William B. Pierson, farmer, P. O. Iola, was born, April 7, 1842, in Orange County, Ind., and is a son of Benjamin Pierson (deceased), also a native of Orange County. Mr. Pierson came to this county in 1858, which has since been his home. He was brought up on the farm, and attended the common schools. Upon the breaking-out of the great rebellion, Mr. Pierson felt that his country needed his services, and he enlisted in Company B, Thirty-eighth Regiment Illinois Infantry, and while in the service participated in the battles of Fredericktown, Mo., Stone River, Liberty Gap, Perryville, Chickamauga and others. He was wounded and taken prisoner at Chickamauga, but was exchanged two weeks later. He came near dying from the effects of his wound, but partially recovered, and on the 25th day of February, 1804, was honorably discharged at Quincy, Ill., on which occasion Dr. M. Nicholson said his descriptive roll was the best among 10,000 that had been given at Quincy, which is a very great honor. He now draws a pension of 812 per month. Mr. Pierson was married, October 9, 1864, to Nancy A. Roberts, daughter of John Roberts (deceased), an early settler of Clay County. They have had eleven children, of whom seven are living, viz., Lou. John H, Mahulda J., David M. C, Mary A., Isaac E. and Charles F. Mr. Pierson is a member in good standing of the Odd Fellows society. He owns ninety acres of land in Sections 5 and 6. Excerpt from "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois, 1884"