Lee County Biography


Brittain J. Agler is a progressive and wide-awake farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 10, Wyoming Township, one-half mile north of the village of Paw Paw, who, besides his landed estate in this vicinity, has valuable farming interests in Nebraska, and is managing his property with excellent judgment and practical skill, carrying on his agricultural operations after the best modern methods. Mr. Agler was born in Lycoming County, Pa., April 15, 1848. His father, Jerome Agler, was a native of the same State, and was a son of Jeremiah Agler. who is also supposed to have been a Pennsylvanian by birth. He was a blacksmith and wagon-maker, and carried on business as such in Lycoming: County. He was a man of much enterprise, and manufactured all the lumber that he used, operating a sawmill and dry-house in connection with his other business. He spent his last years in that county, where he was well-known and greatly respected. He reared quite a large family.

Jerome Agler assisted his father in the shop and mill even when quite a young lad, and later was employed on a farm. He thus acquired a taste for agricultural pursuits and made farming his life work. He married in Lycoming County, and resided there until 1849, when he came to Illinois and identified himself with the pioneers of Lee County, which at that time was but sparsely settled and much of the land was still in the hands of the Government. He was accompanied hither by his wife and seven children, and the entire journey, which consumed eight weeks' time, was made by land. The father bought a tract of land in what is now Wyoming Township, where deer, wolves and other wild animals were roaming at will over the prairies, or through the timber on the banks of the streams. His first work was to build a small frame house, for which he hewed the frame and rived the shingles by hand. He resided on that land three years, and then sold it, with the intention of returning to the East, but he changed his mind, and for awhile rented land until he bought forty acres on section 23. He lived there for several years, and actively engaged in its improvement, but in 1875 he disposed of it, in order to take up his residence in Nebraska, where be purchased a tract of wild prairie in Wayne County. He devoted his time to the improvement of n farm, and at the time of his death, March 23, 1885, had his land under good tillage, had erected the necessary buildings and had everything in good order about his place. At his decease, the county was deprived of the services of a practical, hard-working pioneer who had done what he could to develop the country.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Sarah Brittain and she was a native of Lycoming County, Pa. She died February 1, 1880, at the home of a son in Lee County, while here on a visit. Her father, William Brittain, was a native of Pennsylvania, and was of English antecedents, his ancestors having been among the early Colony settlers of the Keystone Slate in the days of William Penn. He was both a shoemaker and a farmer, and carried on those callings in Lycoming County, where he spent his last years. There were nine children born to the parents of our subject, of whom all are living except Maggie, who died at the age of thirty-five years. The others are: Almira, William, Mary E., Joseph W., John E., Sylvester C, Brittain J. and Martha. Joseph and John did gallant service in the late war. The subject of these lines was but one year old when his parents brought him to Illinois, and he was reared and educated in Wyoming Township. When he was large enough to be of use, he was set to work on the farm, and thus early acquired the necessary experience to make a good farmer. He made his home with his parents until his marriage, but prior to that he began his independent career as a tiller of the soil on rented land, and about one year after he married he bought forty acres of land of his father. He soon sold that, however, to purchase two hundred and forty acres in Wayne County, Neb., intending to take up his. residence there, but the raid of the grasshoppers in that region changed his plans, and the ensuing four years he rented his father-in-law's farm in this county. At the expiration of that time ho bought a quarter of section 2, Wyoming Township, and lived there until 1885. He then rented the farm, and for six months visited Dakota and Nebraska. Returning to Paw Paw the following fall, he again located on his farm in the spring, which he occupied until 1889, when he bought the place on which he now resides on section 11, of the same township, within a convenient distance of the village of Paw Paw. He now owns two hundred and forty-five acres of choice farming land in Wyoming Township and a quarter of a section in Wayne county, Neb.

Mr. Agler was married September 21, 1873, to Miss Mary E. Pulver, in whom he has a wife who makes his interests her own, and looks well to the comfort of her household. She is a daughter of James F. and Sarah Pulver, and was born in the town of Florida, Montgomery County, N. Y., April 18, 1852. Her marriage with our subject has brought them two children: James J., born April 13, 1875, and Fred W., September 7, 1879. Our subject is endowed with an ambitious, energetic spirit, is an excellent manager, and in all his undertakings exercises a due amount of prudence and discrimination. In his politics, he is a Republican, sound and true. lie and his wife are greatly esteemed by their neighbors and all who know them, and Mrs. Agler is an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she is a member.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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