Lee County Biography


Ebenezer M. Pettenger is contributing to the general prosperity of Lee County by his work as a farmer in Willow Creek Township. A native of Passaic County N.J. he was born March 23, 1840. His father, Cortland Pettinger was also a native of N.J., his birthplace being in Somerset County. He passed his early life in his native county on a farm, but he was married in Passaic County, and carried on his occupation there until his untimely death in 1846. His wife survives him, and now makes her home in Morris County N.M. where she was born. Her maiden name was Sarah Thrope, and she is a daughter of Samuel Thorpe.

Our subject was reared in his native State, and lived with his other until he grew to manhood. In 1863 he determined to seek his fortunes in the middle Western States, and for a year and a half lived in Linn County Iowa. He then recrossed the Mississippi and coming to this county, has since been identified with the industrious, shrewd and business-like men who are carrying on the immense agricultural interests of Northern Illinois. For a while he was employed on a farm by the month, and then for 20 years he rented the farm in Willow Creek Twp. on which he now resides. This is provided with suitable buildings, its fields are neatly fenced and well tilled, and the place bears evidence of good care. Mr. Pettenger is an excellent farmer, is a good citizen, his neighbors know him to be reliable and trustworthy, and his family find in him a kind husband and a devoted father.

Mr. Pettenger was first married in 1867 to Miss Emma Barnhart, a native of Lee County, and a daughter of Henry Barnhart. Their married life was brief, as she died the following year. Our subject was again married, April 4, 1870, Miss Lucy Blair becoming his wife.

They have five children living; Lewis, Albert, Reuben, Morris and Levi. Death has crossed their threshold and removed their eldest, Wesley, who died in 1890, aged 20 years, and their youngest born, Winfield, who died in 1890, at the age of two years. The youth just entering manhood, and the little child that gladdened the hearts of parents and brothers for so brief a time, have but passed from their home to a broader and better life beyond, where they still live and love; Mrs. Pettenger is a native of this county, born at Malugin's Grove and a daughter of Robert Blair, a pioneer of this part of Illinois. Her father was born in Somerset, NJ and was a son of another Robert Blair, who was a native of Ireland. The father of the latter was also named Robert, who was born either in Scotland or in Ireland, and was of Scotch ancestry. He was one of five brothers that came to America in Colonial Times. Mrs. Pettenger's grandfather was a clerk in one of the Government departments at Washington D.C. Some years later he went to Ohio, and after a residence there of some years, he came to Illinois and for a time lived in Canton, Fulton County. From there he went to Galesburg and subsequently came to Lee County to spend his Declining years with his children.

Mrs. Pettenger's father was 12 year old when his parents moved to Ohio, and he there grew to manhood, and became a miller. He went from Ohio to Indiana, and was married at Ft. Wayne to Lucy Dunton, a native of Jefferson County NY and a daughter of Ephraim and Abigail (Ball) Dunton. In 1843 the Blairs came to Illinois, and after living at Galesburg two years came to Lee County in 1845, and was the second family to settle at Twin Grove, where the father entered a tract of Government land, upon which he built a log house for shelter. At that time the surrounding country was in a sparsely settled condition, and deer and other kinds of game were plentiful. There were no railways for some years and the settlers had to go to Chicago to market their grain and to obtain necessary household supplies.

Mr. Blair improved a farm and lived on it some years, and then removed to Malugin's Grove, where he erected and operated a gristmill for a time. After the death of his wife in 1856, he went to live with his daughter, Mrs. Robert Armstrong, and was an inmate of her home until his death in 1881.

Source: Portrait & Biographical History Lee County 1892


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