Lee County Biography

Abram V. Christiance
Melugin's Grove - Compton - Brooklyn Twp.

Abram V. Christiance, an old and respected resident of Malugin's Grove, was one of the first settlers of Lee County, and as a pioneer and has contributed to the development of this portion of Northern Illinois, we are please to represent him in this Biograhical Record. His birthplace is two and one-half miles east of Schenectady, the county seat of Schenectady county, N. Y., he was born December 11, 1808. His father, whose given name was Evert, was a native of the same county, a son of Cornelius Christiance, who was for several years engaged in the mercantile business in that part of the Empire State. In 1814 went to Ohio, and was employed in surveying Government and in that State for a time. He returned to New York, and died there.

The father of our subject was reared and married in his native State, and for some years before the there were railways or canals, he was engaged in teaming between Albany and Buffalo, driving a six­horse team. In tbe latter part of his life he came to Illinois and his closing years were spent with our subject. The maiden name of his wife was Eva Van Epps, and she was a native of the State of New York, a daughter of Abram Van Epps, who was also born in New York, the town of Medina, Orleans County, being his birthplace. He was a descendant of one of the, old Dutch families that were among the early settlers of New York. For some years he kept a tavern in Schenectady County, and so far as known, spent his entire life in his native State. The mother of our subject died in Schenectady County in 1818.

The subject of this life-record was a child of five years when he was left motherless. When he was six years old, his grandfather Christiance took him to Ohio, and be staid with him while he was engaged in surveying there. Returning to his native state with his grandfather, he grew to manhood amid the familiar scenes of his native county and in due time took unto himself a wife, and began life in earnest. He resided at Medina, Orleans County, for a time, and then decided to come Westward, and the summer of 1835 found him on his way to Illinois with a team. He arrived at Melugins Grove in August and saw the scene of his future home, a wilderness where deer and all sorts of wild game roamed at pleasure over the uncultivated prairies or through the timber, whence often at night the howls of the wolves disturbed the slumbers of the few settlers that had ventured within their domain, and Indians were still living in the very grove where he chose the location of his future abode. The land was all owned by the Government, and was not yet surveyed, and Lee County formed a part of Ogle County. There were no railways for a number of years, and the people had to go all the way to Chicago to dispose of their crops and obtain necessary family supplies.

During his fifty six years residence here, Mr. Christiance has witnessed a great change in the face of the country, has seen its gradual development to a finely improved, wealthy farming community, where are found all the evidences of an advanced civilization in its many and varied agricultura1, manufacturing and commercial interests. When he first came here, he made a claim to a tract of land in Malugins Grove, and at once erected his pioneer home, the typical log cabin of the olden days when Illinois was a frontier State. He split shakes to cover the roof, made a puncheon floor, and constructed a chimney of mud and sticks, upon a stone foundation. When the postoffice was established at Malugins Grove, it was placed in his charge, and he is down in the history of the county as one of the first Postmasters appointed within its limits.

Mr. Christiance was first married sixty-one years ago, in the year 1831 to Caroline Barhydt a native of Schenectady County, N. Y. She died in 1871, after a manied life of forty years. Our subject has five children living of that marriage. Cornelius, whose birthplace is at Mallagin's Grove, and who was probably the first white child born in the county; George, James, Sarah and Caroline. The second marriage of Mr. Christiance, which took place in 1876, was to Miss Rosaline A. Elkins, a native of Warsaw, Wyoming county, N. Y.,and a daughter of William S. Elkins, who was born in Vermont. His father, Charles A. Elkins, is supposed to have been a native of the Green Mountain State also, and he went from there to the wilds of Genesee,County, and settled in that part of it now known as Wyoming County, becoming a pioneer of the town of Perry, where he followed his occupation as a cooper until his demise. The father of Mrs. Christiance learned the trade of a pump-maker. and carried it on in Perry until 1854, when he came to Illinois to spend the remainder of his life in this State. He resided at Batavia, Kane County, a few years, and then removed to Mendota where he manufactured pumps until his earthly career was closed in death. The maiden name of his wife was Betsy J. Nevins. She was born in Vermont to John & Susan Nevins, and died at Perry NY.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record - Lee County 1892 Pg 502


Lee Co Bios

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