Lee County Biography

Charles I. Will

Charles I. Will is a fine representative of the citizen-soldiers of the United States who fought in the ranks in the late war, and to whose valor and patriotism it is due that our glorious flag waves over a free and undivided country today. No less have they been very serviceable in the peaceful times that have followed and this county holds such as our subject among her best citizens. He is a practical farmer, and his farm, which is in fine order, comprises a quarter of sections 17 and 20, in South Dixon Township.

Mr. Will was born in Northampton Township, Somerset County, Pa., August 15, 1845, and obtained his education in the district schools. He was but a boy when the rebellion broke out, never­the-less he was ready to do battle for his country, and when only seventeen yesrs of age enlisted in August, 1862, in Company F, One Hundred and Forty—second Pennsylvania Infantry, which was commanded by Col. Commons, and Capt. F. A. Edmonds, and was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. This regiment did conspicuous service at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and also fought bravely at Gettysburg, Frankstown, in the battles of the Wildersaess, at Laurel Hill, Spottsylvania Court house, Weldon Railway, Hatchies Run, Chapin Farm, Second Hatchies Run, and so on down to Appomatox Court House. the last mentioned great event being the twenty-fourth engagement in which it bore an active part, and later it was present when Lee surrendered to Grant, and at the Grand Review of the Union troops at Washington at the close of the war it was one of the leading regiments of the army. At Gettysburg It had won renown ae one of the first infantry corps to open fire upon the enemy. Our subject bore an honorable part in all these battles, early displaying soldierly qualities, and contributing to the high reputation of his regiment and a fine body of well disciplined troops, who were always on hand when any fighting was to be done, were ever cool and conrageons in battle, and never feared to follow where others dared to lead. He bore the hardships and privatione of army life unflinchingly, and to this day carries a bullet in his neck, which be received while in the thickest of the second battle of Hatehies Rnn. It was thought that he was mortally wounded, but so great were his recuperative powers that he was enabled to return to his regiment at the end of six weeks, and continned in active service until honorably discharged at Harriabnrg, Pa., June 3, 1865. Thus before he was twenty years of aga he had experienced all the vicissitudes and horrors of war, and had shown himself worthy of the citizenship of this great Republic.

Returning to his father’s house from the battle. fields of the South, our subject served his sire for more than a year, coming Westward with the family in the fall of 1865, and since then has made his home in South Dixon Township. He attained his majority several months after his arrival, and during the quarter of a century that has elapsed since that date he has placed himself among our most thrifty and prosperous farmers. His farm, of which he became the proprietor in 1877, is a fine piece of property, comprising one hundred and sixty acres of land on sections 17 and 20, and is known as the old Mossholder homestead, Its improvements are of a good class, and among them is a comfortable residence and a good barn, lately built, 86x64 feet in dimensions. Mr. Will is deeply interested in all that concerns his adopted township, and heartily supports all schemes devised for its advancement, He is an active local politican, and throws the weight of his influence in favor of the Republican party.

Our subject is a son of Hiram Will, a well-known resident of this township, who is a native of Pennsylvania. He was there married to Miss Kezia Meece, and there their children were born and reared, and when the war broke out thry sent three of their sons to the front in defense of their country. In the fail of 1865 the family came to Illinois, and made settlement in South Dixon Township, where the father and mother are yet living aged respectively 72 and 68. Mr. Will is a well -to-do farmer and large landholder. In politics, he is an unswerving Republican. Religiously, both he and his good wife are members of the Evangelical Association.

Charles Will was married to Miss Mary E. Mossholder on the farm on which he now lives, this old homestead being the birthplace of his bride. Here she was born October 12, 1856, and it was always her home until she passed from life February 18, 1891. She was a true, womanly woman, whose many pleasant attributes endeared her to a large circle of friends who sorrowed with her bereaved family in the loss of one who, as daughter, sister, wife and mother, had ever bent tender and loyal in those various relationships. For her history see sketeh of her brother, William H. Mossholder. Three children were born of the union of our subject namely: Ida F., Martha H., and Ralph 0.

Source: Portrait & Biographical History Lee County 1892


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