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Clay County

Genealogy and History



T Surnames

James M. Tanner, Louisville, was born in Warrick County, Ind., June 8, 1839, and is a brother of Hon. John R. Tanner, of Louisville. He spent most of his life on the farm, and attended the common schools in the Hoosier State. He came to Clay County in September, 1866, which has since been his home. In 1881 he quit the farm and engaged in the saw mill business, and is well he did, for in thus doing he gave employment to many whose crops entirely failed that year, and thus kept them above want. He does a very extensive business, and is prospering finely. Mr. Tanner was married, December 25, 1860, to Mary J. Tanner, a daughter of John B. Tanner (of the same name but no relation). They had five children, but one of whom is living—Viola. Mrs. Tanner died in September, 1869, and he married Mrs. Matilda J. Missenhimmer, a daughter of Matthias Sappingfield (deceased), and the widow of David Missenhimmer; she had three children by Mr. Missenhimmer, but one of whom is living—Hiram K. Mr. and Mrs. Tanner have had five children; but two of these are living—Loretta M. and Lillie U. Mr. Tanner was a soldier in the late war in Company I, Thirteenth Regiment Illinois Cavalry, and participated in the battles of Helena, siege and taking of Vicksburg, and others. He is now a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and also of the Christian Church. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

J. Mack Tanner (Republican), Flora; farmer and orchardist; member of Committees on Agriculture, Executive Department, and Military Affairs. Was born in Butler County, Missouri, November 10, 1868. He is a graduate of Knox College, Galesburg, class of '91, with highest honors. Was teller and assistant cashier of the United States Sub-treasury at Chicago for two years; assistant cashier in the Cook County Treasurer's office, 1895-6; private secretary to Governor John R. Tanner, 1897-1901; secretary of State Board of Charities, 1901-1905. Colonel of the 4th Illinois Infantry, I. N. G., 1901-1905. President of the State Horticultural Society for two years; chairman Clay County Chapter Red Cross; chairman Clay County Committee of the Council of Defense; and sales director of the various Liberty loans for Clay County. [Source: "Illinois Blue Book"]

Hon. John R. Tanner, State Senator from this district, was born in Warrick County, Ind., April 4, 1844, and is a son of John Tanner (deceased), who was born on June 6, 1814. In 1862, our subject came to Clay County, locating at Flora. His education was acquired in the common schools of his native State, his experiences with the Hoosier schoolmaster having been more limited, however, than he desired.

Mr. Tanner followed the noble example of his father in selecting his occupation, and is an esteemed and popular farmer. His farm consists of about 400 acres of valuable land. In 1863, he enlisted as a private in the Ninety-eighth Regiment Illinois Volunteers; served until June, 1865, when he was transferred to the Sixty-first Illinois, being mustered out of service at Springfield in September of the same year. He is an Odd Fellow, and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In politics, he is a firm, prominent and active Republican. In 1870, he was elected to the office of Sheriff of Clay County, and at the expiration of his term of office was chosen Circuit Clerk. In 1876, he was appointed Master in Chancery, and in 1880 elected to the State Senate over Dr. Shirley, of Xenia, whom be defeated by a majority of nearly 400 votes, in a very close district. He was appointed a member of the State Central Committee of the Republican party in 1874, and has been retained in that capacity ever since. Mr. Tanner was married, December 25, 1806, to Miss Lauretta, daughter of Barton B. Ingraham of this county. Two children are the fruits of this union—Lucinda J. and James M. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

Tanner's Strange Story
From the Chicago Record.

   John R. Tanner, republican nominee for governor of Illinois, owes his position as a political leader and even his liberty to move among men without fear to the vigilance of a sheriff who tracked him to the backwoods of Missouri more than a quarter of a century ago, surprised and covered him with a pistol and arrested him for murder.  This strange story is worth repeating.  Twenty-nine years ago Tanner was a farmer in Clay County, Illinois, in a district not noted in those days as the abode of peaceable, law-abiding folk. He quarreled with Tom Erskine, a neighboring farmer, whose brother had married Tanner's sister, and the quarrel grew to a deadly feud, each expecting the other to begin active hostilities and each prepared to defend his own life.
   One day the two men met in the presence of several neighbors. Tanner had been working on the roads, after the fashion of farmers who pay their taxes by labor, and was returning to his home. He was in a wagon with several others, when he met Erskine, -who carried an ax. Angry words passed and Erskine threw the ax at Tanner.  Tanner drew a pistol and fired, and when the smoke blew away Erskine was lying dead in the road.  Tanner leaped, from the wagon and fled, and that night he disappeared from Clay County.
   The sheriff of Clay county was Walton H. Finch, a small, quiet man, who had served through the war as an officer of an Illinois regiment. Sheriff Finch determined to find Tanner and bring him to trial, and he began a still hunt for the fugitive. Tanner's family disappeared soon after his flight. After eight or nine months of quiet work the sheriff obtained his first clue from some papers filed for record in a county clerk's office in Kansas, and he finally became satisfied that Tanner was in Bates county, Missouri.  Procuring the necessary papers; Sheriff Finch went to Bates county, left the railroad at a small town and securing the assistance of a constable who knew the roads, drove at night out to a sparsely settled district, where Tanner was living in a log bouse at the edge of a heavy forest.  Stopping before reaching a point from which the rattle of wheels could be heard at the house, the sheriff and his guide left the vehicle and proceeded on foot. Before them was a cabin that barely peeped from the woods into the clearing and the back door opened upon a thicket that would hide instantly one who might need to fly from the house to the depths of the forest.  Another door faced the clearing.  There was no light in the cabin and all was quiet, indicating that the occupant had gone to bed.
   The sheriff sent the constable to guard the back door, and going: to the front door revolver In hand, he knocked lightly and stepped to one side. Soon the door was opened and a man in night attire peered out. Seeing no one in front of the door, he leaned outward to look along the front of the house. The sheriff s left arm slid quickly under the man's right arm and clasped it tightly, and the muzzle of a revolver was pressed against the man's chin.  "John Tanner, I want you," said the sheriff.  "All right, you've got me. I surrender. replied Tanner.
   The sheriff whistled for the constable and called to the inmates of the cabin to make a light in the house and then stepped inside.  Still holding his prisoner under cover of the pistol, the sheriff said to Mrs. Tanner, "If you have anything to shoot with I want it," and Mrs. Tanner took a revolver from under a pillow and handed it to him.  Tanner admitted that he had been taken by surprise and regretted his carelessness in going to the door unarmed.
   Yet that quiet arrest at midnight at the door of the lonely cabin in the Missouri backwoods was the best thing that ever happened to John R. Tanner and marked the turning point in his life the point where he ceased to be an outlaw and fugitive. Under compulsion he turned his face once more toward the world and soon he began to march forward to usefulness and honor.  Sheriff Finch returned to Illinois with his prisoner and Tanner was placed on trial for his life. There was no question about the fact of the killing, but the defense alleged and tried to prove that Tanner was justified in believing his life in peril and that he fired in self-defense. The jury believed the killing was unnecessary and found Tanner guilty of manslaughter. A new trial was granted and a second jury returned a verdict of acquittal.
   Tanner remained in Clay county and began life anew, and being a man of energy and brains, he took a leading part in public affairs and became in a few years one of the recognized leaders of the Republican party In Illinois. He and the sheriff remained on friendly terms In after years Tanner recognizing the service the officer rendered him in bringing him to trial. Walton H. Finch is now the proprietor of the Daily Republican of Ottawa, Kansas.
Source:  The Atlanta Constitution  Atlanta, Georgia   May 17, 1896

John W. Thomason---Mr. Thomason is known as a man of high attainments and practical ability as a lawyer, and as one who has achieved success in his profession because he has worked for it persistently and in channels of honest endeavor. His prestige at the bar of Clay county stands in evidence of his ability and likewise serves as a voucher for intrinsic worth of character. He has used his intellect to the best purpose, has directed his energies along legitimate courses, and his career has been based upon the wise assumption that nothing save industry, perseverance, sturdy integrity and fidelity to duty will lead to success.
John W. Thomason was born in Blair township. Clay county, July 5, 1874, the son of William B. Thomason, who was a native of Indiana. He came to Bible Grove township when a boy, where he settled on a farm and continued to* live in this county until his death, about 1878, when only about twenty-eight years old. Allan Thomason was the subject's grandfather, a native of North Carolina, who emigrated to Kentucky and then to Indiana, residing on a farm in Washington county. He was a soldier in the Mexican war. The subject's mother was known in her maidenhood as Caroline Kellums, whose people were natives of Indiana, she having been born in Greene county, that state. She was called to her rest in 1900, when living at lola, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. William B. Thomason were the parents of three children, only two of whom are living at this writing, Walter L. Thomason living at Madison, Illinois, and John W. Mr. Thomason spent his early life on the farm. His father was called to his reward When John W. was four years old, and the mother and son lived with the latter's maternal grandfather. The mother remarried when John W. was eight years old. His step-father was J. W. Fender, of lola, Illinois, by which union six children were born.
Mr. Thomason attended the district schools until he was eighteen years old, when he entered Orchard City College, at Flora, from which he graduated in 1894, having made a splendid record for scholarship. He taught school one year before graduating and a few terms afterward, with much success attending his efforts. He then went to Mercer county, this state, where he engaged in the grain and stock business with an uncle, having been associated with him for four years, making a success of this line of work in every particular. But a business life was too prosaic for him and he decided to enter the profession of law, and accordingly began study at Aledo, Mercer county, this state. He attended Kent College of Law one term, in Chicago, and was admitted to the bar in 1899, in Clay county, where he at once began practice and has continued ever since in a manner that has stamped him as one of the leading representatives of the bar in this part of the state. He first practiced alone.
In 1900 Mr. Thomason was elected State's Attorney on the Democratic ticket, for a term of four years, which office he filled with much credit and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He was a candidate for re-election, but was defeated by one vote only, the rest of the ticket being defeated by majorities ranging up to four hundred and seventy-three. This shows Mr. Thomason's great popularity in the county with his party. He then formed a partnership with H. R. Boyles, which continued until Mr. Boyles died in 1905. He practiced alone then until 1907, when he formed a partnership with H. D. McCollum, which now exists. The firm has a very large and complete library, which is kept well replenished with late decisions and the most standard works, in fact, it is one of the best in Clay county, and few firms do a more extensive business than this one. Mr. Thomason was united in marriage March 28, 1900, to Margaret L. Downing, daughter of John Downing, of Joy, Mercer county, this state. She is the worthy representative of an influential family of that locality. To this union two winsome daughters have been born; Corrinne and Helen. Mr. Thomason has a farm in Blair township, and he is interested in the stock business, always keeping some good breeds on hand. His farm is a valuable one and is kept well improved.
Our subject is chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee, and is very active in politics. He was appointed Master in Chancery in March, 1908. and is now ably serving in this capacity. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Masonic Order, and at this writing Master of the Louisville Lodge No. 196. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, being Chancellor Commander. He is also a member of the Woodmen and Ben Hur. It stands to Mr. Thomason's credit that he has attained prosperity and definite success through his own efforts, since he started out in life with no further reinforcement than that implied in a stout heart, willing hands and a determination to succeed through honest and earnest effort.
Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909

Odell Tolbert farmer, P. O. Louisville, was born in Orange County, Ind.June 15, 1843, and is a son of Thomas Tolbert (deceased), a native of Orange County also. Mr. Tolbert was brought up on the farm, and, being obliged to work almost constantly, enjoyed but meager educational advantages. He went barefoot, winter and summer, until he was twelve years old. He served in the late war in Company F, Seventeenth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and participated in the battles of Green River Bridge (where he was captured, but exchanged), Hoover's Gap, Chickamauga, Atlanta. Jonesboro, Mission Ridge, Dalton, Kenesaw Mountain, Nashville, Columbus Ga., Selma, Ala., Macon, Ga. and others. Mr. Tolbert came to this county in 1866, where he has since resided. He was married in 1867 to Sarah A., daughter of Isaac Corder (deceased). They have had six children, four living—Thomas, Otto, John and George. Our subject owns eighty acres of land, and is engaged in general farming. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and of the Christian Church. Excerpt from "History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois 1884"

Judge A.N. Tolliver--It is with a great degree of satisfaction to the biographer when he averts to the life of one who has made a success in any vocation requiring definiteness of purpose and determined action. Such a life whether it be one of prosaic endeavor or radical accomplishment, abounds in valuable lesson and incentive to those who have become discouraged in the fight for recognition or to the youth whose future is undetermined. For a number of years the subject of this sketch has directed his efforts toward the goal of success in Clay county, and by patient continuance has won.
A. N. Tolliver, the well known County Judge of Clay county, Illinois, is a native of the same, having been born October 12, 1870, the son of John H. Tolliver, who was a native of Lawrence county, Indiana, and who came to Clay county, Illinois, when a young man. He has spent most of his life engaged in farming, but he has been in the drug business at Ingraham, this state, for many years. Isom Tolliver, the judge's grandfather, was also a native of Indiana, who came to Clay county, Illinois, being among the first settlers here. He died in 1874. The judge's mother was Margaret Sanchner, whose people were from Tennessee. She passed to her rest in November, 1905. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. John H. Tolliver, as follows: A. N., the subject; Fred D., living in Hoosier township: Dora S., of Hoosier township;
Mrs. Minnie O'Dell, living in the same community; Myrtle; Mrs. Cora Erwin. of Hoosier township; Claud, deceased.
A. N. Tolliver spent his boyhood days on the parental farm in Hoosier township, where he developed a sturdy manhood. He attended the country schools during the winter months, applying himself in a most assiduous manner and becoming well educated. Deciding to take up the teacher's profession, he had no trouble in finding an opportunity and for a period of ten years taught in an able manner, becoming known as one of the popular educators of the county, but believing that the law was his proper calling, he began the study of the same while teaching, and he was admitted to the bar in Clay county in 1902, soon beginning practice. Successful from the first, he soon built up an excellent business, becoming active in political affairs, it was not long until the party leaders singled him out for public office. He was the choice of the Republican party for the nomination of County Judge, and he was triumphantly elected to this office in 1906, and is now serving in that capacity in a manner that stamps him as an able jurist, thoroughly versed in the law and fair and unbiased in his decisions. His term is for four years, and before it is half gone he has shown that his constituents made no mistake in selecting him for the place. He had held various minor township offices prior to his election to the judgeship, and his services were always characterized by a strict fidelity to duty. He was principal and superintendent of the Louisville schools from 1898 to 1901.
Judge Tolliver was united in marriage, June 15, 1892, with Elizabeth A. Bryan, daughter of Josiah Bryan, of Hoosier township, and to this union five children have been born as follows: Zola A., Flossie E., Lowell S., Elizabeth and Bryan. They are attending the local schools.
The judge devotes his entire time to the duties of his office and to the practice of his profession. His clients come from all over this locality and he handles some very important cases, always with satisfaction to his clients. In his fraternal relations, he belongs to the Masonic Order, the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen and the Tribe of Ben Hur. He has occupied the chairs in the Masonic fraternity, and is secretary of the Knights of Pythias. He is a member of the Baptist church.
Mrs. Tolliver was called to her rest December 10, 1905.
Judge Tolliver takes an abiding interest in the progress and improvement of the schools in Clay county and, in fact, all matters that pertain to the development of the community. He belongs to the class of substantial citizens whose lives do not show any meteoric effects, but who by their support of the moral, political and social status for the general good, promote the real welfare of their respective communities, and are therefore deserving of honorable mention on the pages of history.
Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909

Joseph E. Tully - The portly form of Joseph E. Tully is but a natural indication in one respect of his largeness. He is large in mind as well as body and his business interests are appreciated not alone in Xenia and Clay county, but also through all that section of the state of Illinois. His standing in the community is of the highest and as one of Xenia's leading citizens and as president of the Orchard City Bank, he has established for himself the reputation of a man of business talents of the highest order. He is a citizen in whom the most implicit confidence may be placed without fear of betrayal and one in whose composition the elements of honesty is not lacking-Joseph E. Tully was born in Marion county, Illinois, on the 31st of December, 1849; his father was also a native of Marion county, and a farmer, who moved to Clay county about the year 1855, where he lived until his death which happened about 1903. His grandfather was Mark Tully, who was well known in the life of Marion county at one time. The family originally came from Virginia, and Grandfather Tully was at one time a farmer, and later a hotel-keeper in Salem. Joseph E. Tully's father served with distinction in the Civil war, being a soldier in the Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry. His mother's own name was Sarah Ellston, who belonged to a family of English extraction. She was herself reared in Marion county, her death occurring about 1902. To his parents six children were born, five of whom are now living, viz: Joseph E., the subject of our sketch; Mrs. Ida Kribs; Miss Aggie Tully; Mrs. Rose Maxey, and Mrs. Lou Gaugher.
The Tully family came when the subject of our sketch was but six years old to Clay county, where they settled. Joseph received an education in the local common schools and showed aptitude and ability whenever he cared to study. When not quite fourteen years old, about the time of the Civil war, his youthful patriotism asserted itself and he joined the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteers and later affiliated with the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, his term of military service extending over a period of sixteen months. At the conclusion of the war he went into the grocery business in Xenia and later branched out extensively in the mercantile line. He has now been in business in Xenia for forty years and he is looked upon as one of the most important and influential figures in its business life as well as a substantial and prosperous citizen. In 1870, on the loth of October, his marriage with Fanny Paine, who was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, took place. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Tully's married life proved a very happy one, and three children have been born to them. The sons, James M. Tully and W. P. Tully, are now grown to manhood and are of great assistance to their father, both being associated with him in his constantly growing business. Their only daughter is now Mrs. Lois Holstlaw, of luka, Illinois.
In politics Joseph E. Tully is a consistent and loyal Republican. He has never aspired much to make a name in local political affairs, contenting himself to attend to the business interests which he has been so successful in guiding. However, he was honored with the postmastership of Xenia for the twelve years immediately following the Civil war and while that position was entrusted to him he fulfilled the duties of office to the entire satisfaction of the people of the community, whose willing servant while a public officeholder he ever proved himself to be.
His keen business insight and intuition in the industrial world was not allowed to go without recognition, and he has been installed as president of the Orchard City Bank, which is a stable and conservative institution and the business of which is carried out in harmony with the best methods of the banking world of today. Joseph Tully has given time and attention to the affairs of the institution and his advice and counsel have been responsible for tiding it over obstacles in the past. He is also the owner of an up-todate dairy, equipped with all the modem dairy appliances, which is a pleasure to inspect. He has also found time in his busy life to superintend extensive farming interests and his success along agricultural lines has admirably compared with his success in other endeavors.
Joseph Tully and his wife are of much importance in the social life of Clay county where their genial and winning qualities have made them much sought after. He is a member of the Baptist church and they have not been behind in helping onward the good work of religious progress in the township. He is active in fraternal and club life where his genial appearance is generally heralded by the good humor and cheerfulness which he seems to have a trick of imparting to all who come in contact with him. He is a popular and prominent member of the Masonic Fraternity and is one of the most widely known Grand Army of the Republic men in the vicinity.
Excerpt from: Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties Illinois--1909



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