Lee County Biography


Asahel Prentice has been identified with the agricultural interest of this county for thirty years and more, as one of its practical, intelligent farmers, an the farm that he has developed from a tract of wild prairie in Wyoming Township conjures favorable in point of improvement and cultivation with the best in this locality. Mr. Prentice was born in the beautiful town of Chester, Hampden County, Mass., June 6, 1833. His father, Ephraim Prentice, was also a native of Massachusetts, and was brought up on a New England farm. After marriage he bought a farm in Chester, seven miles from the station, on the Boston and Albany Railway. He resided there until 1858, and then sold his place in order to come to Illinois to pass his remaining years with his children, and died in Wyoming Township, at a ripe age. The maiden name of his wife was Susan Bisbee and she was born either in Chester or Worthington. Mass. She died at tho home of a son in LaSalle County, this State. She was the mother of these children: Asahel, Edward, Martha, John, Mary and Henry. The subject of this brief life record was reared On a farm among his native hills, and under the influences of a good home and pleasant surroundings, grew to a stalwart manhood. He had the advantages of a good education, conducted partly in the district school and portly In the High School at East Hampton. Thus well equipped mentally, he began life by teaching school two terms. He preferred, however, the more active life of a farmer, and wisely thinking that the outlook was broader in the great Prairie Stale, he came hither in 1851, and the following summer taught the land included in his farm In Wyoming Township. It was then merely a tract of wild prairie, and only by the more painstaking toil, directed by skill and a good knowledge of agriculture, has he redeemed it from a state of nature. He has the land all under an excellent state of cultivation, has erected neat frame buildings and has adorned the place and added to its value by planting choice fruit and shade trees.

In becoming a citizen of Illinois, our subject has been benefited in more ways than one, as he has not only been prospered financially, but the comfort and happiness of his life has been increased by his good fortune in securing a true wife by his marriage in Wyoming Township, in 1867, to Miss Amanda Melvina Sproul, a native of Pennsylvania. They have five children living: Sarah, James, Mortimer, Joseph and William. Sorrow has visited them heavily in the death of two of their children—Susie, their fourth child, who died in her fourth year, and Ina May in her fifteenth year. The latter lost her life in the great cyclone of June 20, 1890, that created such havoc and desolation in this portion of Lee County, she being one of seven scholars, who with their teacher, Maggie McBride, perished on that fatal day, when the wind utterly demolished the little school house in which they were staying.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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