Lee County Biography

China Township

William L. Sheap, one of the young farmers of Lee County, residing on section 10, China Township, was born in Montour County, Pa., September 28, 1862. His parents were William R. and Harriet E. (Brink) Sheap, natives of Pennsylvania, the former being born in Montour County. The father grew to manhood in his native State, and then came to Lee county. He worked as a farm laborer for awhile, but when his father died he returned to Pennsylvania, bought the old homestead and carried on his occupation as a farmer prosperously, until death terminated his useful life, December 25, 1866. His worthy wife survived him until February 29, 1876, when she too passed away, having spent her last years in Carroll County, Ill. They had two children, one son and a daughter, the latter of whom died in childhood.

Our subject was but four years old when he was bereft of a father's care, and he then came to Illinois and lived with his grandfather, Isiah Brink in this county, spending a part of the time with his step-father, Joseph Turnbaugh, in Carroll County, until he grew to manhood. He was married in China Township January 1, 1884, to Miss Nellie I. Nichols. Two children have blessed their union; Hattie A. and Ethel V. Mrs. Sheap is a native of Lee County, born November 17, 1863, in China Township, coming of pioneer stock, and a daughter of the late Andrew J. Nichols, who as a well-known farmer of this vicinity for many years.

Andrew Nichols was born in Niagara County, N.Y. June 23, 1826. When he was eighteen years old he came to this county with his parents, John and Maritta (Leach) Nichols, who settled west of Franklin Grove Township, and there passed their remaining years. Andrew made his home with them until he married and established a home of his own in Chinga Township in 1852. He was exceedingly industrious, and worked to such good purpose that he transformed his land on section 10 into a rich and well tilled farm, comprising 117 acres, on which he erected ample buildings, and everything about the place gave evidence of careful and thrifty management. On the old homestead, where for nearly 36 years the most important part of his life had been well spent, he died June 21, 1888, leaving behind him a good record as a most excellent man, a good citizen and a kind husband, father and neighbor.

Mr. Nichols was married twice. His first marriage, which was solemnized in February 1852 in China Township, was with Miss Mary Ann Miller, who was probably born in New York. She died March 15, 1867. Mr. Nichols was afterward married to Nancy Wilson, who died in China Township, July 14, 1881. These five children were born of the wedde dlife of Andrew J. and Mary Ann Nichols; Ida E.; Frankie D., who died when three years old; Flora N., the wife of George Stultz; Nellie I., the wife of William L. Sheap, our subject; and Ruby A., the wife of Willis Riegle.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL


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