Lee County IL Biography


William Stout made his first purchase of land in this county thirty-seven years ago, when the prairies of this region were but little settled. Since then he has added many acres to his real estate, and to-day has a good sized farm, pleasantly located in Viola Township, upon which he has placed a good class of improvements, and ill fertile harvest fields arc under good tillage.

Our subject was born in Lincolnshire, England, July 13, 1820. His father, John Stout, is supposed to have been a native of the same shire, and there he died and was gathered to his fathers in the fullness of time. Mary Bacon was the maiden name of his wife, and so far as is known she too was born in Lincolnshire, and there her death occurred many years after that of her husband. She was a daughter of John Bacon, who was a life-long resident of England. The parents of our subject reared two children: William and Thomas. The mother was again married, and reared one son, Martin. The latter served in the British army in the Crimean War, and died in England some years afterward. Thomas came to America, and after spending some years in the South came to Lee County, and died here unmarried.

Our subject was nine years old when his father died, and he was very young when he commenced to earn his own living, lie lived with his mother until 1849, and then, wisely thinking that his chances for securing an independent competence would be much better in the United States than in his native land, he sailed for these shores in the month of October from Liverpool, in the ship " Patrick Henry." After a voyage of six weeks and two days, he landed in New York on the 6th of December. He went to Lancaster, Erie County, in the same State, and there was employed by the month, day or job until 1854, when he turned his face Westward, having resolved to seek a home on the fertile virgin soil of the great Prairie State. He came directly to Lee County, and bought forty acres of land on section 31, Viola Township, for which he paid #8 an acre, and which is now incorporated in his present farm. A few acres broken, a log house of 12x14, and a straw stable constituted the only improvements that had been attempted on the place at the time of purchase. Prior to that time, the pioneers had not looked with favor on the prairies as worthy of cultivation, and but little land of that kind had been taken up. Their value as rich farming lands has since been abundantly proven, and some of the finest farms in the county were once wild prairie, left to the dominion of the deer, wolves and other wild animals, which were still plentiful when our subject came here.

Mr. Stout commenced at once to make further improvements on his land, and now has it in a fine condition, with a neat set of frame buildings, the fields well fenced and under good cultivation, and the many fruit and shade trees that he has planted adding to the value and attractiveness of his place. He is an excellent farmer, understanding well how to conduct his agricultural operations with profit, and as a man of solid worth and a good neighbor, kind husband and father, he is held in high estimation b}' the entire community. Both he and his wife are faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Stout was first married in England in May, 1849, to Harriet Harrison, a native of the same shire as himself. She encouraged and assisted him in his early struggles in this country, and died in the home that she had helped him to establish, her death occurring in 1860. Three children were born of that marriage. In 1863 our subject was married to his present amiable wife, formerly Christiana Fuller, and their wedded life has been blessed to them by seven children. The living ones are as follows: Charles, George, Mary, Lucy, and Minnie. Those dead were both named William.

Mrs. Stout was born in the town of Hume, Allegany County, N. Y., May 30, 1830. Eleazer Fuller, her father, was a native either of Oneida or Herkimer County, that State, and was a son of Hubbard Fuller, who was of New England birth, and was descended from one of the early English Colonial families of that section. He was one of the pioneers of the Empire State. He settled first either in Oneida or Herkimer County, and later was one of the pioneers of Allegany County. He bought a farm in the town of Hume, and spent his last days there. Mrs. Stout's father learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, and was engaged in that calling in Hume, where he resided until 1846. In that year he migrated to Illinois with his wife and six children, coming by way of the lakes to Chicago, and thence by team to Big Rock, Kane County, of winch he became a pioneer, carrying on his trade in that vicinity. Northern Illinois was then but little settled, and deer and other wild game were abundant. Mr. Fuller resided at Big Rock five or six years, and then bought a home in Malugin's Grove, where he was engaged as a carpenter and mason for several years. His next move was to Adair County, Iowa, in 1865, and there his life was finished. The maiden name of Mrs. Stout's mother was Johanna Gear. It is thought that she was born in Allegany County, N. Y., where her death occurred when her daughter, of whom we write, was but an infant. Thus early deprived of her mother, Mrs. Stout was reared by her step-mother, who gave her good care. Her maiden name was Elmira Reed. She was also a native of Allegany County, N. Y., and she died in Adair County, Iowa.

Transcribed by Christine Walters - Portraits and Biographical Lee Co. 1892

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