Lee County Biography


John Lawrence, who is numbered among the early settlers of Lee County of 1840, was a well-to-do farmer residing on section 27, Palmyra Township. His life was a busy and useful one and its record, we feel assured, will prove of interest to many of our readers. He was born in the town of Duretta, Madison County, N. Y., January 10, 1814, and was of English descent His grandfather, John Lawrence, lived and died in the Empire State, where were born unto him and his wife several children,among the number Lawrence, the father of our subject. He was born in Dutchess County, where in the usual manner of farmer lads lie was reared to manhood. There he also wedded Miss Mary De Loan, also a native of that county, and of High Dutch descent After their marriage they removed to Madison County, N. Y., where as farming people they resided for some years. Mr. Lawrence was accidently killed, while moving a house, at the age of fifty. His widow and her children subsequently came to the West and cast their lot with the early settlers of Lee County, III., where the mother died at the age of seventy years. She was a sincere Christian woman, who held membership with the Baptist Church and her teachings left their impress on her children. Only two of the family are yet living: our subject and his sister Rachel, who, now nearly eighty years of age, is living in Jordan Township, Whiteside County, where her husband, John Thompson, engaged in farming until his death.

We now take up the personal history of Mr. Lawrence, who spent his boyhood days upon his father's farm and in his youth learned the trade of a shoemaker, although he has never followed it for a livelihood. He came to Illinois a single man and here was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Rodgers, who was born in Dutchess County, N. Y., but spent the days of her maidenhood, until coming to Illinois, in the Province of Ontario, Canada. At the age of sixty she was called to her final rest, dying at her home in Palmyra Township at the age of seventy-three, in the faith of the Baptist Church, of which she was a member.

Mr. Lawrence was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary Mason, nee Parks, who was born in the Empire State, July 24. 1833, and when three years old was brought to Lee County by her parents,Hiram and Martha (Moon) Parks, both of whom were natives of Vermont and descended from early New England families. In Franklin County they were married and lived upon a farm until after the birth of two of their children, when they emigrated Westward, locating on Government land in Palmyra Township, this county. Mr. Parks there improved a good farm, which he made his home until his death in 1883, at the age of seventy-five years. In religious belief he was a Baptist and in political sentiment a Republican. Mrs. Parks is yet living, and although now eighty-three years of age, is still well preserved. She, too, is a member of the Baptist Church, and her home is with her daughter, Mrs. Lawrence. It was in 1851, that Mary Parks, in Palmyra Township, became the wife of Rodney Mason, a native of New York, who was brought by his parents to Illinois when a youth. He made farming his life work and continued that occupation until called to the home beyond at the age of forty-four years. He was a hard-working man, upright and honorable in all his dealings and left to his children an untarnished name. Blanche, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mason, is now the wife of A. D. Chapman; and Ellis, the son, who wedded May Reed,is now living in Northwestern Iowa.

Fifty years have passed away since John Lawrence came to this county, with the history of which he has since been prominently identified. He aided largely in its growth and development, watched with interest its progress and ever gave his support to those interests calculated to benefit the community or promote the general welfare. In politics he was a Republican. Having lived an upright life—a life above reproach—he certainly deserves a representation among the honored pioneers, leading business men and best citizens of his adopted county. He departed this life September 26, 1891, leaving many warm friends to mourn his loss.

Source: Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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