Perry County, Illinois
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The Baxter Family of Perry County Illinois
By : Wilma Liles


The Baxter family goes back to a Thomas Baxter, born about 1790, in Northumberland, England. He married on 13 June, 1818, to Miss Sarah Forster. They had children: Robert (1818), John (17 June 1820), Thomas Jr. (26 October, 1822), Hannah (18 Nov 1826), and Jane (abt 1827). Thomas was a coal miner.

Their son Robert Sr. married on the 12 Dec 1841 to Ann Jopling, born 1821, also in Northumberland, England. It is Robert Sr. who brought his family to America in 1851, landing in Philadelphia, PA. Robert followed in his fathers footsteps by continuing to work in the coal mines. After arriving in Philly, he moved his family to the state of Kentucky. They lived there for about 10 years. Robert and Ann had the following children: Thomas b: 1843 in England, Robert Jr. b: 13, July in England, Mary A. born 1859 in Kentucky, and James b: 1860 in Kentucky.

An oral family story says that as Ann and Robert were boarding the ship in England, it had been over booked, and people were pushing and shoving to get on board. Ann was carrying the infant Robert Jr. in her arms and dropped the baby Robert into the water. A young Portuguese woman was fishing near by and jumped in the water to save the baby. This story was confirmed to me by Robert's daughter Ruth, many years later.

Robert Sr. moved his family to Perry County IL sometime around 1860 to 1870, where he worked in the coal mines.

Robert Jr. Married 10 Nov 1888, to the widow Isabell Huntley, daughter of John Huntley and Martha Jane Young. They had the following children: John Robert b: 9 Jan 1890 in IL, Albert b: 13 Aug 1893 in IL, Stanley b: 13, Feb, IL, Ruth b: 12 Oct 1896 IL, and Annie b: Sep 1892. All of the children were born in Perry County.

Robert Jr. and his wife Isabell owned and ran a boarding house. On the 4th of July, 1906, Robert Jr. decided he'd like some excitement. He placed a barrel of gun powder in the middle of the street, then lit a fuse, but nothing happened. He ran back to the barrel, giving it a sharp kick with his foot, causing the powder to blow up, and Roberts foot with it! Robert died of complications of this injury on 24 Sept 1906. His wife Isabell died in 1920. Robert and Isabel's children remained in Perry Co. until their deaths, with the exception of my grandfather, John Robert.

John Robert worked in the coal mines as well as trying his hand at farming. He married on 20 April 1913 to Miss Hester (Hattie) Ada Gladson. She was born 30 April 1894 in Du Quoin, the daughter of Joel Frank Gladson and Hester Ann Doggett.

John and Hattie's children were Louise Evalyn b: 24 Jan 1914, and died about age 2; Joseph Robert b: 3 May 1918, Lyle Lavern b: 17 May 1923, Earl Wayne b: 6 Sept 1825 and Irene Ruth b: 28 June 1928. All the children were born at or near Tamaroa. Joseph (Joe), would be the only one to remain in Illinois and work in the coal mines until his death.

John Robert and Hattie moved to the state of Washington during WW2 and worked in the bomb factory. All three of their sons were in the war. After the war, John and Hattie moved to California. John Robert worked at the Avon Oil Factory. He died 28 Dec 1966 in Pittsburg, CA. His wife Hattie died of cancer on 5 July 1966.

Their son, Earl Wayne is my father. During the war he would meet with his wife (my mother), through a buddy while stationed in Florida. The buddy of my father was my mother's cousin. She had sent him her graduation picture and he in turn showed it to my father. My father began writing to my mother, and when he finally got a leave, he went to meet her in person for the first time, in Southwest City, MO. About three months later they were married on 26 Feb 1947. Her name is Wilma Dorleine Murphy, daughter of Ralph Robert Murphy and Eulah Clara Maxwell.

Earl and Wilma had two children, Ralph Wayne and me, Wilma Jean. Earl worked for Pacific Gas and Electric until he retired in 1980. They now live in Missouri.

My brother and I remain in California. He married Linda Dale Parks and have one son Robert Wayne. I married Ronald Liles and have we have three daughters, Laura Renee, Denise Joanne, and Janis Nicole, along with six grandchildren, Ryan, Paige, Brook & Zachary(twins), Cabin and Bradley.


2006-2008 Wayne Hinton

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