Lee County Biography

William Perry Hampton
Wyoming Township


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William P. Hampton, whose home is pleasantly situated on section 12, Wyoming Township, has been a resident of Lee County for thirty-six years, has assisted in its agricultural developments, and may well be classed among its pioneers. He was born May 6, 1823, his birthplace being about 50 miles from the city of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario, Canada. His father, James Hampton, was a native of Pennsylvania, and so was the grandfather for aught that is known to the contrary, he being a descendant of one of three brothers that came to America in Colonial times, one of them settling in New Jersey, one in Nova Scotia and the other in South Carolina. The grandfather of our subject went from Pennsylvania to Canada, and was a pioneer of the Province of Ontario, where he secrued a tract of timber and hewed a farm from the primeval forests, on which he resided until death called him home.

The father of our subject was quite young when his parents went to Canada, where he grew to man's estate, and married. In 1838 he emigrated from there to Missouri, making the removal with teams. After spending nearly a year in the sparsely settled wilds of the western part of that State, he retraced his way Eastward as far as Illinois, and settling near Quincey, gave his attention to farming. He enlisted in the army during the Mexican War, and accompanying his regiment to Santa Fe, died there while in the service.

The mainden name of the mother of our subject was Clarissa McCarty, and she was a native of Batavia, NY. Her father, William McCarty, was a Captain of the State Militia, and did honorable service in the War of 1812. He settled in Canada in an early day, and followed farming there until his demise, and many of his descendants are living there yet. After the father's death the mother of our subject married a second time, becoming the wife of Bailey Breese. She spent her last days with her daughter Mrs. Brownlow of Paw Paw, dying at the age of 89 years.

William Hampton was a stalwart lad of fifteen when he came to the States with his parents. He had to assist in the support of the family and when his father died became the sole support of his mother and the younger children. In 1848 he came to Illinois, and at first rented land in DeKalb County, but soon bought an 80 acre tract of wild prairie land at $1.25 per acre. In 1852 he caught the gold fever and started for california. He went first to Quincy on horseback and visited friends in that city a few days, and then joined the wagon-train which he was going to cross the plains at Burlington. Pushing on as rapidly as possible the party crossed the Missouri River at St. Joseph the 20th of May.

At that time there were no white settlers between that river and California, except, the Mormons at Salt Lake and soldiers and missionaries. Our subject arrived in California in September, and engaged in mining for a time, after which he opened a temperance hotel at Cold Springs, Eldorado County. A year later he abandoned that to resume mining at Diamond Spring, and remained there until 1855, when he decided to gather his gains together and come back to Illinois. He returned by the way of the Isthmus, and settled on his land in Paw Paw Twp. He was actively engaged in farming there until 1866, when he sold his farm in that locality and removed to his present residence on Section 12, Wyoming Twp.

While a resident of California, Mr. Hampton, was married to Miss Amanda J. Weddell, their marriage being solemnized May 16, 1853. Mrs. Hampton was born in Westmoreland COunty, PA June 24, 1823, and was a daughter of Jesse Weddell, who was born in the same place. His father was a native of Wales, coming to AMerica in Colonial times, he settled among the pioneers of what is now Westmoreland County, Pa. His son Jesse was reard and married in his native State and in 1831 removed from there with his family to Indiana, and was a pioneer of Goshen, where he died. The maiden name of his was was Nancy Davis. She was born in PA in 1800 and is now living with her son W.B. Weddell at Rollo, DeKalb County.

In 1853 Mrs. Hampton, her brother P.M. Weddell, and their friend Henry Zinn, started for California. They sailed from NY on the steamer "Northern Light" and on the west side of the Isthmus of Panama embarked on the steamer "Independence". All went well until off the island of St. Marguerette the steamer was wrecked, and then burned, and 400 passengers were lost, including Mrs. Hampton's brother and their friend Zinn. She was one of the last to leave the burning steamer, and being washed ashore on a desert island, was picked up insensible from the shock that she received. After three days on a whaling vessel came along and taking the survivors on board, carried them to their destination.

In California better fortunes awaited Mrs. Hampton, as there she met and married our subject, as before mentioned. She made him a true wife, and they lived happily together until her death August 31, 1889. They reared these three children: Clara A, Fanny R and Effie. Clara married Oscar Lambert and died March 5, 1889, leaving two children - WIllie and Vernon. Fanny who makes her home with her father, married Julian Hoge (Hogue), who died March 28, 1890 leaving these six children - Darlene, Emerson, Edward, Glenn, Perry and Clara. Effie married Frank Slocum and they have five children; Beatruce, Iva, Ethel, Glenn and Paul.

Mr. Hampton is a man worthy in every respect of the high esteem in which he is held by his neighbors and friends in general. His conduct in all the relations of life that he sustains toward others shows him to be a sincere Christian. He and his wife joined the Congregational Church many years but as there is no church of that denomination here he is now of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Socially he is a member of Corinthian Lodge, No. 205, A.F. & A.M.; and of Spartan Lodge No 272; I.O.O.F.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL Pg 459

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