Genealogy Trails - Finding Illinois Ancestors
History of Coles County, Illinois

By Charles Edward Wilson



Bios A - D


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BALCH, Captain James A. (deceased), was born October 20, 1833, in Coles County, Ill., the son of Alfred and Elizabeth (Gambell) Balch, residents of Tennessee and Kentucky, but who came among the very earliest settlers of Coles County, their arrival dating about 1820. During the progress of the Civil War Mr. Balch enlisted in Company E, Fifth Illinois Cavalry, and later was elected Captain of Company I, of the same regiment. In all he served more than four years.
On November 12, 1857, Mr. Balch was married to Patience Ann, daughter of Patrick and Elizabeth Nicholson, natives of Tennessee, who were also among the early settlers of Coles County. Mr. and Mrs. Balch were blessed with five children, all of whom are deceased, with the exception of one daughter. Sarah C. Mr. Balch's death occurred January 4, 1869. During his life he was a member of the Presbyterian Church, to which body his wife at present belongs.

BARNES, Rev. L. G., farmer, Ashmore Township, Coles County, Ill., was born in the locality in which he now resides February 24, 1868, the son of Milton W. and Mary J. (Goodnight) Barnes. The mother was a daughter of the Rev. Stephen W. Goodnight, a pioneer, and an itinerant of the last century, his death occurring in 1898, at the age of eighty years. Mr. Barnes, the father, was born in Ashmore Township, Coles County, in 1830, being the son of Enos Barnes, who came to Coles County about 1820, lived the life of a farmer, was the first Supervisor of Ashmore Township, and died July 5, 1900, his wife having preceded him by twenty years, her death occurring in 1880. They were the parents of eight children, the subject of this sketch being the twin brother of Doctor W. E. Barnes, of Clarkville, Ill.
Rev. L. G. Barnes worked on his father's farm and attended district school until 1888, when he was able to take a course at the University at Lincoln, Ill. He taught school between terms, and graduated in theology, being ordained to preach in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1897. His first regular charge was at St. Omer's Church near his home in Ashmore Township. In 1903 he decided to take up agricultural pursuits, and having an interest in the homestead estate of 163 ¼ acres, he went there to live.
On August 23, 1893, Mr. Barnes was united in marriage to Bessie B. Hallock, daughter of George R. and Virginia (Gower) Hallock, and of this union one daughter has been born, Mary Leak. In his political views Mr. Barnes is a Prohibitionist, and he is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

BASSETT, Martin H., well-known editor and publisher, Mattoon, Coles County, Ill., was born at Arcola, Ill., June 15, 1867, and there received his education. His parents, William H. and Helen M. (Gruelle) Bassett, are natives of Cynthiana, Ky., and his grandparents, Jonathan and Elizabeth (Discher) Bassett, natives of the same State. Jonathan Bassett, the great-grandfather, was a Virginian. On the mother's side his grandfather, John B. Gruelle, was a native of Kentucky and his grandmother, Prudence (Moore) Gruelle, was born in Macon, Ga., the great-grandfather, William Gruelle, being a native of Lyons, France.
William H. Bassett, father of the subject of this sketch, is editor and publisher of the Charleston, Ill., "Plaindealer-Herald." During the Civil War he enlisted at Mattoon as a private in the Seventy-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry and was promoted to be Captain of Company K in that regiment. He later served twenty years as County Judge of Douglas County, Ill.
Mr. Bassett learned the printer's trade in the office of the Arcola (Ill.) "Record.," becoming an apprentice therein at the age of eleven. He has since served as city editor of the Springfield (Ill.) "Evening Telegram," and from there he went to Chicago, where he served as police and court reporter on papers of that city. In 1895 he bought the "Arcola Record" in 1899 became connected with the "Mattoon Journal" and in August of that year in connection with Hon. Emery Andrews he bought that paper. On January 1 1905, they sold "The Journal." On September 16, 1891, Mr. Bassett was united in marriage with Mary C. Logan, who was born in Arcola, Ill., where she received her early mental training, afterwards pursuing a course of study in the Oxford (Ohio) Female Seminary. One child resulted from this union: William, who was born in Arcola, Ill., July 17, 1896. Mrs. Bassett is a daughter of Samuel B. Logan, Deputy Sheriff of Coles County, just before Doulgas county was created from it, and he was elected the first Sheriff of Doulgas County. He enlisted in Mattoon in the Union Army for service in the Civil War; was also a soldier in the Mexican War.
In politics Mr. Bassett is a Republican. In fraternal circles he is identified with the Royal Areanum and the A.F. & A.M.


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