Lee County Biography

Wilson E. Mechem
Harmon Township & Dixon

Wilson E. Mechem, a retired farmer, residing in Dixon, was born in Belmont COunty OH August 22, 1822 and is of Irish descent. His father and grandfather, both of whom bore the name of John Mechem, were natives of the Keystone State. The latter married Sarah Evans, who was born and reared in PA and came of Welsh lineage. Upon a farm they began their domestic life and several years afterward removed to Ohio, settling in Belmont County at a very early day, ere the Indians had left for home further West. Upon the farm which Mr. Mechem there developed and improved, he and his wife spent their remaining days, his death occurring at about the age of one hundred years, while his wife had passed four-score years at the time of her death. The husband was a Hixite Quaker in religious belief and mRs. Mechem was a member of the Baptist Church. Their family numbered 13 children.

John Mechem, the father of our subject, was a lad of twelve summers when he accompanied his parents to Belmont County Ohio, where amid the wild scenes of frontier life he was reared to manhood. He there became acquainted with and wedded Abigail Moore, who was born in that county unto Jacob and Elizabeth (Picklehamer) Moore. Her parents were natives of PA and were of German descent. They resided in the Keystone State until some years after their marriage and spent the remainder of their lives as farmers in Belmont County Ohio, where Mr. Moore passed away at the age of 80 years, while his wife wsa called to the home beyond about 60 years of age. They were members of the Christian Church.

After their marriage John Mechem and his wife resided on farms in Belmont and Monroe Counties and subsequently spent 12 years int he West as residents of Iowa nd IL. Later, however, they returned to Belmont County where Mr. Mechem died at the age of 65. His estimable wife survived until 1890 and died in Dallas Co IA at the age of 86. He was first a Whig and afterward a Republican, and with his wife held membership in the Methodist Church.

The subject was the eldest of seven children with four still living. In the State of his nativity his boyhood and youth were passed in the usual manner and in 1850 he sought a home on the broad prairies of IL. The 1st of April 1850 saw him a resident of Putnam County, where he resided until the spring of 1853. During that time he wooed and won Rhoda Simpson, who was born in Hamilton OH, near Cincinnati Nov. 14, 1835. Her parents Edward and Maria (Ward) Simpson were natives of PA and IN respectively, their union being celebrated in the latter State, where they made their home for some ten years after their marriage. They then spent many years on a farm in Putnam Co. IL, but Mr. Simpson died in Dwight at the age of 90. Since her husbands death Mrs. Simpson has gone to Monroe City MO now living at the age of 86 years. She has live a noble life as a member of the Methodist Church with which denomination her husband was also connected.

It was in the spring of 1853 that Mr. Mecham removed with his family to Marshall Co. IL where he devoted his energies to agriculture until 1875. That year witnessed his arrival in Lee County and upon a farm in Harmon Twp. he continued to make his home for 15 years, when on the 20th of Nov. 1890 he came to Dixon. He is now retired, enjoying the rest which he has so truly earned. He still owns the Washington House of Dixon and has large real-estate holdings.

Nine children have been born of this union and with the exception of Eliza, who became the wife of ALonzo Conner and died at the age of 30 years, all are yet living. Henrietta is the wife of Frank Skilton, a farmer of Marshall county IL; Jefferson connected with a seed store of Chicago; Hettie married Vincent Smith and resides at Lee Center, this county; Drucilla is the wife of Lincoln Carbaugh of Lee Center; Mary, Carrie, Charles and Lena are at home. Mr. and Mrs. Mechem are faithful members of the Methodist Church in which he has served as Trustee and Steward, and has taken an active part in the work connected therewith. IN politics he is a Republican.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 699

Lee Co Bios

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