Lee County Biography


Fletcher Hutton, deceased, is numbered among the honored pioneers of LeeCounty, and the history of this community would be incomplete if this record of his life was omitted. His father, William Hutton, was a native of Berwick, Columbia County, Pa., and was of English descent. He married Elizabeth Bowman, who was also a native of Columbia County. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hutton were born four sons and two daughters. He was a second time married his wife being Mrs. Sarah (Bowman) Bacon, who had two children by her first marriage. In 1889 they came to Illinois. They traveled overland with teams, camping out along the wayside at night and at length located at what is now Gap Grove in Palmyra Township. For several months after their arrival they lived in a log cabin, which was the home and shelter of four families. As may be surmised their quarters were not the most commodious but they managed to get along until other provisions could he made for a home. In 1840, William Hutton pre-empted a claim not far from Gap Grove and purchased the same from the Government when the land came into market. It continued to be his property until his death, but in the meantime he retired from farm labor. He was a man of great energy and enterprise and by his perseverance and industry acquired a handsome property so that, in 1855, he determined to live a retired life and removed to Sterling. He owned a fine residence in that place and continued to make it his home until his death, which occurred August 20, 1864, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife subsequently went to Iowa and died near State Center, in 1889, at the ripe old age of ninety years. They were both members of the Methodist Church and active workers in the Master's vineyard. Some one said of Mrs. Hutton that she could do as much work as two ministers. However that was, it is certain that she labored untiringly in the interests of her church and lived a consistent Christian life.

The childhood days of our subject were chiefly spent in Pennsylvania, he being nineteen years of age when the family came West. In the experiences and hardships of pioneer life he bore his share and aided in the arduous task of developing a farm. Throughout his life he followed agricultuial pursuits and so successful was he in his business dealings that he became the owner of over six hundred acres of tine land. In Lee County, he wedded Mrs. Sarah Hutton, who was born on the 21st of April, 1830, in the Province of Ontario. Canada, and was a daughter of William aud Elizabeth (Ferguson) Drynan, both of whom were natives of Scotland. Her father was highly educated in the schools of Edinburg and fitted himself for the medical profession, but after coming to America, located in the timbered regions of Canada, and devoted his energies to mechanical pursuits and farming. In the midst of the forest he developed a good home and there died in 1850, aged fifty-eight years. Three years afterwards, Mrs. Drynan gave her hand in marriage to Rev. W. G. Johnson,a Congregational minister,and the following year they located in Lyndon, where Mr. Johnson engaged in preaching until 1856. Subsequently He filled the pulpits of the churches at Gap Grove and Sterling, and in tho former place departed this life in 1857. Mrs. Johnson died December 22, 1890, at the age of seventy-six years. She too was a member of the Congregational Church and the father of Mrs. Hutton was a Presbyterian in religious belief.

Sarah Drynan, widow of our subject, was first married in Palmyra Township to Morris Hutton,on the 20th of November, 1857. They removed to Iowa, and when the war broke out the husband enlisted at Cedar Rapids in Company G, Twenty- fourth Iowa Infantry. He participated in eighteen Battles, was several times slightly wounded and once a rebel bullet smashed his canteen. This however, saved his life. At the battle of Winchester, October 19, 1864, he was captured and carried to Richmond, Va., and later sent to Belle Isle. He was afterwards sent to Andersonville prison where he he suffered terribly from ill treatment and when he was released and started homeward his health had been so undermined by ill-treatment and starvation, that he died at Benton Barracks, March 26, 1865. He was then in the prime of life. He was a brave soldier, ever found at his post and his life was given in the defense of his country. At his death he left two children-Ernest L., who graduated from Rush Medical College and is now a practicing physician of Kansas City, Mo., married Lillian C. Snow of Chicago; and Albert M. who wedded Lizzie Baker of Whiteside County, Ill., is a resident farmer of Gap Grove.

It was on the 10th of October, 1866, that the marriage of Fletcher Hutton and his brother's widow was celebrated. They resided upon the farm in Palmyra Township and unto thein were born six children— Ethel Adella, Wilbur P., Earl E., Leon D., Walter C. and Lulu M. The death of Mr. Hutton occurred at his home on the 20th of May, 1879, and was deeply mourned by all who knew him. He was a valued citizen of the community who took an active interest in all public affairs pertaining to the welfare of the county and was held in the highest regard for his sterling worth. Of the Methodist Church he was a consistent and faithful member as was the first husband of Mrs. Hutton, and both the brothers were stanch Republicans in politics. Upon the homestead left her by her husband, Mrs. Hutton still resides and in its management displays considerable executive and business ability. Her children also assist her in its care. The family is one that has a high social standing and well merits the position. The mother is a member of the Congregational Church and does all in her power to promote its welfare.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892


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