Putnam County, Illinois History and Genealogy

Thomas Paxson

Thomas Paxson, elected three times to county offices on the democratic ticket in a strong republican county, is now filling the office of treasurer and his elections have come as a testimonial of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow townsmen - a confidence that is well placed, as is shown by his fidelity and capability in office - qualities which have led to his re-election. Hennepin and Putnam County number him as a representative citizen.

Mr. Paxson was born in Belmont County Ohio, February 25, 1854.  His father, Thomas Paxson, Sr., was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, December 14, 1801, and in early life learned and followed the shoemaker's trade, while later he worked in a paper mill at Wheeling, West Virginia.  Subsequently he removed to Ohio, where he carried on farming until his death.  He was married to Miss Sarah McCormick, who was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1814.  he was born and reared in the Quaker church, but in later years belonged to no denomination.  He wife, however, was a member of the Methodist church.  She was his second wife, his first wife having been a Miss Morgan, of Cincinnatti, Ohio.  They had two children, both of whom died in infancy, and following the death of the mother, Thomas Paxson, Sr., wedded Miss McCormick, by whom he had ten children, four of whom are now living: William, who resides with his brother Thomas; Amos, who is living with near Magnolia, Putnam county; and Parven, a resident of Kansas.

Thomas Paxson of this review lived with his parents through the period of his minority, spending his youth on the home farm and acquiring a common-school education.  When twenty-five years of age he left his parent's home and came to Illinois, working by the month as a farm hand in Marshall county.  he later removed to Magnolia, Putnam county, and secured a clerkship in a store, where he was employed for about one year, and then resumed farming. While thus engaged he was elected to the office of sheriff of the county, and entered upon the duties of the position December 1, 1890. He served for four years and then conducted a hotel in Hennepin until 1898, when he was again elected county sheriff.  Four years later he was chosen by popular suffrage to the position of county treasurer.  It is a law that no man shall serve for two consecutive terms in the office of either treasurer or sheriff, and thus Mr. Paxson could not be nominated without a lapse of time, but in 1906 he was nominated for the third term for sheriff, and his popularity and ability as an officer leave little doubt as to the outcome of the election.

He was reared in the faith of the democracy, and his mature judgment has sactioned its policy and platform, and his elections therefore are all the greater compliment from the fact that Putnam is regarded as a republican county.  He has also served as township clerk of Magnolia township, filling the office for two years before elected sheriff the first time.  He was collector of Hennepin township for three years while in the sheriff's office and one year in the hotel. Later he served for four years, so that his incumbency in that position covered altogether eight years.  No official is free from mistakes, but any that Mr. Paxson may have made have been errors of judgment rather than an indication of incapability of infidelity.  On the contrary, people of the opposition party endorse his work and give him support at the ballot box, and his official record is altogether creditable.

Mr. Paxson was married in 1884 to Miss Alice Horton, a native of Magnolia and a daughter of N. C. Horton, an early settler of Putnam county.  Mr. and Mrs. Paxson now have five children; Edwin G., Sallie, Thomas, Milton and Florence, all yet at home, the eldest being in his twenty-first year.  Mr. Paxson is a valued member of the Woodmen, Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges, and he has in the county a wide acquaintance and qualities which render him very popular in political circles and private life.  He regards a public office as a public trust - and no trust repose in him was ever betrayed in the slightest degree.

Taken From the Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties
By John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Page 442-443
Printed by the Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago, 1907

Daniel Peterson
Isaac Peterson

Daniel Peterson was born in Harrison County, Ohio, April 21, 1835, a son of Isaac and Mary (Bush) Peterson, natives of Ohio. In the Peterson family were ten children, four sons and six daughters, six of whom are now living, namely: Daniel, the direct subject of this review; Nancy Jane, the wife of B. F. Whittaker, of Nebraska; John I., of Putnam county, Illinois; William A., of Red Wing, Minnesota; Ruth, wife of A. S. Bickle, of North Chillicothe, Illinois; and Elizabeth D., unmarried. Isaac Peterson, the father, was a farmer. He left Ohio in the fall of 1835 and brought his family west to Illinois, selecting a location in Putnam county and buying at that time forty acres of land. To this tract he subsequently added until he had a fine farm of two hundred acres and some timber land, and on this farm he reared his family and passed the rest of his life. He died in January, 1875, at the age of sixty-eight years. His wife survived him five or six years and at the time of her death was about seventy-four. In her religious faith she was a Methodist.

Turning back another generation for a glimpse of the grandparents of Mr. Peterson, we find that his grandfather, Daniel Peterson, was of Holland-Dutch descent, was one of the early pioneers of Ohio, and from there in the spring of 1835 came to Illinois and settled in Putnam County, where he died at about the age of seventy-five years. He was a farmer, and his family comprised five children.
[Source: Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois, Volume 2, Lewis Publishing Company 1900, Biography of Daniel Peterson]

Amos T. Purviance

Thursday, January 21, 1904

Passes away Thursday at 12:20 p.m. Jan. 14, 1904

Amos T. Purviance was born near Smithfield, Jefferson county, Ohio, March 6, 1823. At the age of 16 yearrs, he entered the office of the Steubenville Herald. Soon after learning the printer s trade, in connection with a cousin who was an attorney, he purchased the paper which they published for about a year and on selling out he came west. Previously Mr. Purviance was married Aug. 7, 1843, in Jefferson county, Ohio, to Miss Mary Ong. They came to Putnam county in the spring of 1847 and located on a farm and for seven years, he devoted himself to farming. In September 1853, he moved to Hennepin, where he clerked in E.F. Pulsifer s dry goods store, and in 1854 was elected sheriff of Putnam County, in which office he served for two years, and the following year was a member of the dry goods firm of Grable, Cowles & Purviance. In 1857 he was first elected County Clerk and was repeatedly re-elected until he had filled the office for 41 consecutive years. Aug. 7, 1895, Mr. Purviance and his estimable wife celebrated their golden wedding. His whole life, socially and politically, was singularly pure and lofty.  He joined the I.O.O.F. lodge meeting, Oct. 14, 1853, and has been a stalwart supporter of that body up to time of his death. Funeral services were conducted at teh home Sunday afternoon at two o clock, conducted by Rev. W.L. Douglas, and followed by services the the cemetery by the I.O.O.F. lodge, which were very impressive. Truly, one of Putnam county s able men has left us. The family are very grateful to all who kindly assisted them in the care and burial of their beloved father. Those present from abroad were Robt. Pettibone of Chicago, Hon A.W. Hopkins of Granville, John Swaney, Amos Wilson, Abel and Perry Mills, Juges Mills and McNabb, John Sutherland and wife of Magnolia and a large number of brother Odd Fellows from Henry, Granville and Bureau.

Price Purviance
James Purviance

Price Purviance resides on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 33, Granville Township, where he has made his home continuously for sixty years. He was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, June 5, 1830, he parents being James and Margaret (Tipton) Purviance, the former born in Pennsylvania near Redstone, while the latter was a native of Maryland. The ancestry of the family is traced back to a remote period. They came of French lineage, being descended from a French county who was compelled to flee from France for trying to overthrow the government. He fled to Ireland and three of his descendants emigrated to America and settled on Long Island at a very early day, since which time representatives of the name have become widely scattered throughout the country.

James Purviance, the father, was reared as a member of the Friends or Quakers church, but on his marriage outside of the church lost his birthright, although he always adhered to that faith. In 1846 Price Purviance and his brother made a trip on horseback from Ohio to Putnam County, each riding a horse and leading one, while the father and other members of the family came down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and Illinois to Hall's Landing, whence they traveled by ream and wagons to the farm upon which our subject now resides. The father was in excellent financial circumstances for those days and purchased one thousand acres of land. This he afterward divided among his children, one hundred and sixty acres of the old homestead and seventy-three and forty-hundredths acres of timber land falling to Price Purviance, who has always remaining upon the home farm. After living for a number of years upon the farm the parents removed to Hennepin, where the father died at the age of seventy-five years. The mother, however died at the old home when living with our subject at the age of eighty-six years.

In the family were twelve children, one of whom died in infancy in Ohio. The others reached adult age and eight are still living, but Price Purviance and his sister Mrs. Eliza J. Forristall, who keeps house for him, are the only ones in this country. A brother Amos T. Purviance, was for forty-one years clerk of Putnam County. The sister Eliza became the wife of James Forristall and they lived for many in Bureau County, but later Mr. Forristall went to the west and became interested in mining at Leadville, Colorado, where he died about ten years ago. Since that time Mrs. Forristall has lived with her brother. She has three children, one of whom, a daughter, is at home with the mother.

The house in which Mr. Purviance lives is just as it was when built sixty years ago. The timber was gotten out and sawed near Washington, Tazewell County, Illinois and was hauled to the farm with ox teams. The ceilings of the rooms were made of pine lumber, which was hauled from Chicago by team, loads of wheat being taken to the market there, after which the lumber was hauled back. The weather boarding is of black walnut and the roof which now covers the structure is the third one which Mr. Purviance has assisted in laying. He has built a barn and corn crib which are very substantial in construction, iron bolts being used in joining the timbers. He also has upon his place a blacksmith shop where he does all kinds of iron work. The family, being in comfortable financial circumstances, did not have to endure many of the hardships that fell to the lot of other pioneers, yet he recalls many interesting experiences of early days. Deer were plentiful and wolves were very numerous, so much so that in one night they had three hundred lambs killed upon their farm, while at another time seventy sheep were killed. On the trip of Mr. Purviance and his brother westward through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois they saw not a single railroad and on all hands were evidences to indicate that this was a frontier region.
Page 209

Mr. Purviance gives his political allegiance to the Republican Party and for eighteen consecutive years was a school director. He attended the common schools at a time when little was taught save the three "R"s, but he has always been an advocate of good schools. He was quite proficient in penmanship in early life and once received a prize for his excellent work in that line. He was also very proficient in arithmetic but grammar was not taught. However, he has become a well-informed man, always reading broadly and thinking deeply and he has kept informed on questions of the day and the topics of current interest. He has in his home many valuable relics some of them being more than one hundred years old.

[Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties, By John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne, Printed by the Pioneer Publishing Company, Chicago, 1907, Page 204, 209]


Back to Putnam County Illinois History and Genealogy

Back to Illinois Genealogy Trails History and Genealogy

Back to Genealogy Trails