Lee County Biography

MATHIAS A. GIRTON


A prominent member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, with which he has been connected for some years, representing the interests of South Dixon Township, is also one of the progressive farmers and stock-raisers of this section, owning and successfully managing a well-appointed farm on section 26, of the afore-mentioned township, upon which he has a pleasant home.

Mr. Girton is a native of Columbia County, Pa., born February 11, 1846. His father. Marshal C. Girton, was also a native of that county, and was a son of William Girton, who was likewise of Pennsylvania birth. The parents of the latter were born in this country prior to the Revolution, and some members of the Girton family helped fight the battles in that great struggle for freedom. William Girton became a farmer as he grew up in Pennsylvania, and in early manhood he married a Pennsylvania lady. Several years afterward, when their children had grown to maturity and some of them had married, William Girton and wife came to Nachusa Township, Lee County, IL, and settled on a new farm, in 1847. They were thus early pioneers of that place, and there they lived to be very old, the grandfather being about ninety when he died. He was popular among his fellow-pioneers, and known as a hospitable, true-hearted man, and n public-spirited citizen. Both he and his wife were good Methodists in religion, and he was a Democrat in politics.

The early life of Marshal Girton was passed in his native county, and there he was married to Effle Flick, who was born in the same neighborhood as himself, and was a daughter of Stephen Flick. Her father, a native of Germany, was married in the Fatherland, and subsequently brought his wife to America. They died in Columbia County, Pa., when old people. They were Lutherans.

Marshal Girton, wife and five children, came to Illinois in 1850, and at once entered upon the pioneer task of improving a prairie farm in Nachusa Township. A comfortable home was the result of the united labors of husband and wife, and they lived therein peacefully and happily until death severed the tie that bound them, removing the former from the scenes of his toil in April, 1872, he being then but fifty-four years of age. He left behind him the record of a life unblemished, in which he had sought the good of others, and had faithfully fulfilled his obligations as a loyal citizen, as a true husband, tender father and kind neighbor, and he had many warm friends in this county. He was a conscientious Methodist in his church relations, and a good Democrat in regard to politics. His wife makes her home with her children in Nachusa Township. Seventy-two years is her age and she is still bright and active in mind and body. A sincere Christian, the Methodist Episcopal Church has for many years found in her a useful member.

Mathias Girton is the third of a family of eleven children, of whom nine are living. He was four years of age when his parents settled among the pioneers of Lee County, and he grew to man's estate in Nachusa Township. He was a good scholar in his youth and laid the foundation of a sound education in the local public schools, which he completed by a liberal course of study at Dixon College. He was thus well prepared for whatever position he might assume in afterlife. Reared on a farm and always taking a keen interest in all that pertains to agriculture, he naturally selected that for his vocation. Fourteen yean ago he bought the farm upon which be lives in South Dixon Township, and under his supervision it has become a fine piece of property and an attractive home. It comprises nearly a quarter of a section of land that is well drained, fenced into convenient fields, supplied with ample buildings, and the natural fertility of the soil is retained by a good system of cultivation, well calculated to increase its productiveness.

Mr. Girton was married at Nachusa to Miss Mary Hill, who, as a true wife should, has strengthened and encouraged him in his work, and ably presides over their home. Mrs. Girton was born in Luzerne County, Pa., in April, 1848, and is a daughter of Nathan Hill, whose biography appeal's on another page in this volume. She was reared in this township, and was educated in the public schools. To her and our subject have been born five children, whom they have named Judith Mabel, Ellis C, Mary Effle, Grace E. and Daisy E. Our subject possesses a clear, vigorous intellect, is progressive in his ideas, and has a full share of the business acumen so necessary to success in any walk in life. These attributes early attracted the attention of his fellow-citizens, who, recognizing the fact that they qualified him for public positions of trust, have for several years kept him in office. He has held most of the township offices, and is now filling his fifth term as its representative on the County Board of Supervisors, to the manifest satisfaction of all concerned without regard to party. He is a prominent local politician, and is a leader among the Democrats. He and his wife are popular in social circles, have many warm fiends, and their hospitality is proverbial.

Portrait & Biographical 1892

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