Randolph County Illinois
Note: Some of these may be abstracted, instead of complete transcriptions. We're adding the complete biographies slowly but surely!
The abstracted bios were transcribed by Jeana Gallagher unless otherwise noted
Inscribed with honor upon the rolls of the pioneers of Chanute is the name of Alexander Baird, whose history it is the purpose of this article to record. He came to the state of Kansas in the early years of its infancy and has watched its progress through childhood and youth and into vigorous middle life with that zealous and friendly interest characteristic of the sincere and permanent settlers of the early time. Born near the town of Dunlop, Ayrshire, Scotland, March 31, 1844, Mr. Baird is a son of Alexander Baird whose life work is briefly set out in the sketch of Andrew Baird in this volume. Our subject is the eldest of four children and came to America with his parents at the age of six years. He grew up near Sparta, Illinois, where the family home was established, and was there educated in the district school, walking three miles, to and fro, during the process of his mental development. Approaching manhood he set to learn the trade of a blacksmith in Sparta which he finished during the progress of the civil war and then entered the service of the government as a civilian blacksmith, being stationed at Nashville, Tennessee, and in that service one year. In the fall of 1865 he came west to the Missouri river and, after spending a short time in Leavenworth, crossed back into Platte county, Missouri, where, at Farley, he established himself at his trade and remained for a period of three years. In the month of March, 1869, he came south into the new state of Kansas and began his career as a citizen of Neosho county. He entered a tract of land three miles northeast of Chanute and undertook its cultivation and improvement. On his father's coming to the county a few years later he sold the latter his rights and, in July, 1870, identified himself with the new town of New Chicago, of which he was the first blacksmith. Central avenue was the principal street of the promising village and his shop was situated two blocks north of Main street on Central. After the municipal consolidation he changed his location to conform to the changed conditions of his town and maintained his shop on Main street for many years. His place of business was one of the popular and important resorts of its character in the growing city and he maintained himself a leader in his capacity until his retirement from the forge in 1898. Turning his attention to other matters he was engaged in their prosecution till his sudden and unwarned affliction on the 20th of September, 1899. While in the office of Attorney Cox, of Chanute, and in the act of explaining a matter of business his eyes suddenly became dim and almost by the time he could reach his residence on foot total blindness ensued and holds him a prisoner still.
Of recent years Mr. Baird has identified himself extensively with horticulture. Eighty acres of land have been planted to orchards of peaches, apples, cherries, and the like, and acres of small fruit occupy the open space between them. This venture is non-experimental in view of the successful raising of fruits of this character in Neosho county for some years past, and the demonstrated adaptability of its soil to such products.
Mr. Baird married in the fall of 1867, in Platte county, Missouri, Louise Kinnaman, who came with him to Neosho county and died in Chanute in May, 1878, leaving the following children, viz., Clara, wife of Wesley Woosley, of Neosho county, who has two children by a former husband, Matthew Keath; Rienza, our subject's second child, is married to Amy Northcott; Lavara, wife of Lee Smith, of Carrolton, Kentucky, and Leon, who married Oda Fowler, deceased.
June 8, 1879, Mr. Baird married Alice Cocomon, a daughter of Morris and Nancy (Campbell) Cocomon, the former of Irish birth and the latter of Scotch blood. The parents came to Neosho county from Sanalac [sic] county, Michigan, in 1872, and passed the remainder of their lives here, the father dying in 1882. Their children are Mrs. Baird, born May 25, 1860; Lawrence, of Oklahoma City; Kate, wife of J. D. Keath, of Chanute, Ella, now Mrs. Horace Conrad, of Chanute; Elmer, a soldier in the Philippines with the 5th United States cavalry; and Ethel. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Baird, as follows. Gerald C. and Golda L.
For many years prior to his affliction Mr. Baird enjoyed a close and personal relation to the affairs of his town. He served his ward on the city council year after year and, although a Democrat, he came within twenty-eight votes of being elected mayor of this, a Republican city. His public service has ever been sincere and unselfish and with the best interests of his municipality always in view. He carried business into the council chamber with him instead of politics and on this account the public confidence went out to him unrestrained. He is competent to advise as to the best methods to apply in public business because he has been a success in his private affairs. He can be trusted with the management of public interests because he is a man of character and is above suspicion or reproach. . [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by VB]
The pioneers of Neosho county are worthily represented in the person of Andrew Baird, of Chanute, the late farmer and early settler of Tioga township. He came to the county in 1868 and entered a tract of the public domain on the east side of the township which he patented and which is now the property of Judge Ayres. Subsequently he occupied a farm two miles east of Chanute where he owns two hundred and seventy-five acres, a tract admirably situated, substantially improved and of fertility and productiveness rarely surpassed. A portion of it is the old home and original place of settlement of Richard W. Jackson, one of the well-remembered pioneers of Neosho county, and one of whose daughters is the wife of Mr. Baird. Andrew Baird was born near the town of Dunlop, Ayrshire, Scotland, July 30, 1846, and is a son of Alexander Baird, who was for many years well known as a farmer and citizen of Tioga township, Neosho county. The latter was born in 1812, brought his family to the United States in 1848 and located in Randolph county, Illinois, where he resided till his advent to Kansas in 1870. He married Margaret Barr who remained his companion through life and died in 1893, being the mother of Alexander; Andrew, of this sketch; Jane, wife of George N. Chappell, of Neosho county; and John T., of the same county. Mr. Baird died in 1895. Our subject crossed the Atlantic ocean at two years of age and was reared and received his education in Randolph county, Illinois. On approaching his majority he began life as a farm laborer and, when he started for Kansas in 1868, had accumulated some three hundred dollars which served to give him a slight advantage in this new country. He engaged in the work of his early training - farming - and continued it with a good degree of success, together with all its proper accompaniments, till 1901, when he moved into Chanute and began a partial season of rest. October 1, 1872, occurred the marriage of Andrew Baird with Minerva Jackson, whose father came to Kansas in 1858 from Cass county, Indiana. He left Neosho county after some years and settled in Greenwood county, Kansas, where he died August 1, 1893, at the age of seventy-three years. He married Margaret Oliver who died in 1872 on the 16th of February at forty-four years of age. Their five children were Amanda J ., wife of George Irvin, of Neosho county; Eli, who died at the age of twenty-four; Mrs. Baird, born October 9, 1856; Andrew, who died at the age of fifteen years, and William T., deceased at twenty-eight. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Baird are Maggie, wife of August Peterson, of Chanute, whose only child is Lola; John W., of Neosho county, who is married to Myrtle Heller, and William A., residing on the family homestead. In politics Mr. Baird was brought up under Republican influence but his views conflicted with those of his worthy ancestor and he became a Democrat. He has followed out this line of political reasoning and activity and is a reliable exponent of his party's success. [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; tr. by VB]
David Jewett Baker
Baker, David Jewett, lawyer and United States Senator, was born at East Haddam, CT, Sept. 7th, 1792. His family removed to New York in 1800, where he worked on a farm during boyhood, but graduated from Hamilton College in 1816, and three years later was admitted to the bar. In 1819 he came to Illinois and began practice at Kaskaskia, where he attained prominence in his profession and was made Probate Judge of Randolph County. His opposition to the introduction of slavery into the state was so aggressive that his life was frequently threatened. In 1830 Governor Edwards appointed him United States Senator, to fill the unexpired term of Senator McLean, but he served only one month when he was succeeded by John M. Robinson, who was elected by the Legislature. He was United State's District Attorney from 1833 to 1841 (the State then constituting but one district), and thereafter resumed private practice. Died at Alton, Aug. 6, 1869 [unknown source, tr by J. Gallagher]
David Jewett Baker, Jr.
Baker, David Jewett Jr., a third son of David Jewett Baker Sr., was born at Kaskaskia, Nov. 28, 1834; graduated from Shurtleff college in 1854, and was admitted to the bar in 1856. In November of that year he removed to Cairo and began practice. He was Mayor of that city in 1864-65, and, in 1869, was elected to the bench of the 19th judicial circuit. The Legislature of 1873 (by Act of March 28) having divided the state into 26 circuits, he was elected Judge of the twenty-sixth, on June 2nd 1873. In August, 1878, he resigned to accept an appointment on the Supreme Bench as successor to Judge Breese, deceased, but at the close of this term on the Supreme bench (1879), was reelected Circuit Judge, and again in 1885. During this period he served for several years on the Appellate bench. In 1888 he retired from the circuit bench by resignation and was elected a Justice of the Supreme Court for a term of nine years. Again, in 1897, he was a candidate for reelection, but was defeated by Caroll C. Boggs. Soon after retiring from the supreme bench he removed to Chicago and engaged in general practice, in partnership with his son John W. Baker. He fell dead almost instantly in his office, March 13, 1899. In all, Judge Baker had spent some 30 years almost continuously on the bench, and had attained eminent distinction both as a lawyer and as a jurist. [unknown source, tr by J. Gallagher]
Edward L. Baker
Baker, Edward L., second son of David Jewett Baker, was born at Kaskaskia, IL, June 3rd, 1829; graduated at Shurtleff college in 1847; read law with his father two years, after which he entered Harvard Law School and was admitted to the bar at Springfield in 1855. Previous to this date Mr. Baker had become associated with William H. Bailhache, in the management of "The Alton Daily Telegraph," and, in July, 1855, they purchased "The Illinois State Journal," at Springfield, of which Mr. Baker assume the editorship, remaining until 1874. In 1869 he was appointed United State's Assessor for the eighth district, serving until the abolition of the office. In 1873 he received the appointment from President Grant of Counsul to Buenos Aires, South America, and, assuming the duties of the office in 1874, remained there for 23 years, proving himself one of the most capable and efficient officers in the consular service. On the evening of the 20th of June, 1897, when Mr. Baker was about to enter a railway station already in motion at the station in the city of Buenos Aires, he fell under the cars, receiving injuries which necessitated the amputation of his right arm, finally resulting in his death in the hospital at Buenos Aires, July 8 following. His remains were brought home at the government expense and interred in Oak Ridge Cemetery, at Springfield, where a monument has since been erected in his honor, bearing a tablet contributed by citizens of Buenos Aires and foreign representatives in that city expressive of their respect for his memory. [unknown source, tr by J. Gallagher]
Henry Southard Baker
Baker, Henry Southard, son of the preceding, was born at Kaskaskia, IL, Nov. 10th, 1824, received his preparatory education at Shurtleff college, Upper Alton, and, in 1843, entered Brown University, RI, graduating therefrom in 1847; was admitted to the bar in 1849, beginning practice at Alton, the home of his father, Honorable David J. Baker. In 1854 he waselected as an anti-Nebraska candidate to the lower branch of the 19th General Assembly, and, at the subsequent session of the General Assembly, was one of the five Anti-Nebraska members whose uncompromising Fidelity to honorable Lyman Trumbull resulted in the election of the latter to the United State's Senate for the first time-the others being his colleague, Dr. George T. Allen of the House, and honorable John M. Palmer, afterwards United State's Senator, Burton C. Cook and Norman B. Judd in the Senate. He served as one of the Secretaries of the Republican State Convention held at Bloomington in May, 1856, was a Republican Presidential Elector in 1864, and, in 1865, became Judge of the Alton City Court, serving until 1881. In 1876 he presided over the Republican State Convention, served as delegate to the Republican national convention of the same year and was an unsuccessful candidate for selected to deliver the address on occasion of the unveiling of the statue of lieutenant governor Pierre Menard, on the capital grounds at Springfield, in January, 1888. About 1888 he retired from practice, dying at Alton, March 5th, 1897 [unknown source, tr by J. Gallagher]
James D. Baker
Baker, James D was born 16 Mar 1854 in NYC. In 1868 his parents, Daniel and Mary E moved to St Clair Co, IL. James taught school until 1874. On 03 Aug 1879 he married Ida B Blanck. James was the warden of Southern Illinois Penitentiary (today Menard). (1894)
Thomas E. Baker
Baker, Thomas E was born in Cape Girardeau, MO on 09 Mar 1844. He was a cabinet maker, and came to RC in 1869. He married Mary E Rury in 1873. She was born in Germany and died in Aug 1891. Their children were: Theresa, Mattie J, James H, Mollie J, Samuel R and Jennie J. Thomas' second wife was Lydia Roston, they married on 21 Oct 1892. Thomas owned a hotel in Percy in 1885. His parents were James K and Sarah E (Legget) both born in Germany, where they married. They came to the US in 1843. James was a wagon maker. (1875)
An old French family, one of the first to take part in the settlement of Prairie du Rocher, is represented by Henry Barbeau, a substantial farmer living two miles southwest of Prairie du Rocher. Jean Baptiste Barbeau is the first of the family whose name appears in connection with the history of Prairie du Rocher. He was an emigrant from Canada, and was one of the founders of the town. He was the head of numerous descendants, who have always held respectable positions in the community. He had four sons, Andrew, Antoine, Baptiste and Henry.
Antoine Barbeau married Nancy Drury, a member of an American family. She was born and raised in the American Bottom, in Monroe County, below Harrisonville. He was a farmer, and lived at the foot of the bluff; below Barbeau Creek, about two miles and a half from Prairie du Rocher. Barbeau Creek received its name from members of the Barbeau family. Antoine Barbeau lived here till the time of his death, which happened in March, 1845. He took a leading part in the Indian warfare in the early history of the colony. He had in all twelve children, of whom eight were living at the time of his death. Only three now survive. These are Mary Louise, who is the wife of John N. Louvier, of Prairie du Rocher, Lucy, who married John Crane, and who is now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Henry, the fifth child, the subject of this biography, who was born on the thirty-first of March, 1828.
Henry Barbeau was born at the old homestead at the foot of the bluff, near Barbeau Creek. There were no public schools at that day, and he gained his education in the subscription schools held at various places. He went to school a little on the hill near the present residence of William Phegley, but most of the time in Prairie du Rocher. He staid at home and worked the farm. He was seventeen years old when his father died. The family left the old place in 1848, and moved a mile from Prairie du Rocher. His mother died in 1850, and the following year Mr. Barbeau began work for himself. In October of the same year, 1851, he was married to Josephine Tebo, also connected with one of the old French families, which had resided for many years in Randolph County. Mrs. Barbeau was born in July, 1834.
Immediately after his marriage Mr. Barbeau rented land and began farming. He lived on rented land for about four years, from 1851 to 1855. He had nothing when he began, but he managed the farm as best he could, used all the economy possible, and in 1855 had accumulated enough money to buy forty acres of land in Prairie du Rocher. The next year, 1856, he bought one hundred acres of land, which forms part of his present property. For this piece he paid five hundred dollars. The land was uncultivated, there were no improvements on the property, and no clearings had been made. Mr. Barbeau at once went to work to clear and improve it, and soon brought a good portion under cultivation. In 1857 he moved on the place, where he has since resided. He purchased sixty additional acres in 1864, and is now in possession of over three hundred acres in the neighborhood of Prairie du Rocher. Mr. Barbeau has always been a successful farmer, bringing to the work an amount of industry, intelligence and determination, which have succeeded in accomplishing their object. He was naturally possessed of a good constitution, had been sick but little, and has always been capable of performing a large amount of hard work.
Of the children which have resulted from the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Barbeau, eight are living. Their names in the order of their births are Mary, Lucy, Henry, Judith, Louise, Amy, William, and John. Mary, the oldest daughter, is now the wife of Baptiste Louvier, living above Prairie du Rocher. In his political faith Mr. Barbeau has been firmly attached to the Democratic party, following in this respect the example set by his fathers before him. Mr. Barbeau is still in the vigor of life, but has already accomplished what older men might well be proud of. The French population, which at one time comprised nearly the whole of the residents in the American Bottom in Randolph County, accumulated but little money or property, and hence the representatives in this generation of the old families such as those which bear the name of Barbeau, Blais, and Louvier, were compelled to begin their careers relying mainly on their own resources. Such was the case with Henry Barbeau, but already, by industry and intelligence, he has secured an honorable place among the well-to-do farmers of Randolph County. [Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John U. Beare
Beare, John U was a farmer, fruit grower and winemaker. He was born on 24 Mar 1823 in Berne, Switzerland. The family came from there to Toledo, OH and on to RC in 1837. 18 Apr 1849 he married Mrs Margaret (Nifong) Leavitt, she died 23 Sep 1872. Their children were: Margaret, William Nicholas and Joseph. John then married again on 14 May 1873 to Mrs Maria Sophia Eliza Kemfer, the widow of John. She died after 1894. John Beare died 27 May 1892. His brothers Joseph and John had a store in Chester (1894)
Dr. A.B. Beattie
Doctor Beattie, who for the last seventeen years has been successfully engaged in the practice of medicine at Red Bud, is a native of Randolph County. His ancestors were early settlers of the County. They came from South Carolina, where they had settled previous to the Revolutionary war. His father, John Beattie, was a young man when he came to Randolph County with his father's family, in the year 1808. He served in the war of 1812. In 1818, he married Elizabeth Mann, whose family had arrived in the County from Kentucky the same year. He settled on a farm on the Lively Prairie, south west of Sparta, where he lived comfortably until his death, which occurred at the ripe age of eighty-four.
Dr. Beattie was born on the farm on Lively Prairie, in the year 1834. He received a classical education. After leaving college, two years were spent in the field as surveyor and civil engineer. He graduated in medicine from the St. Louis Medical College in 1859. In the same year he located at Red Bud, and married Miss Ada Poston, a daughter of Doctor Poston, at that time a prominent physician of Randolph County, and afterward of St. Louis. In 1861, Doctor Beattie was commissioned as Surgeon of the Forty-ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, and saw good service in the field. On his return to Randolph County, he resumed his practice at Red Bud. Doctor Beattie has proved a popular and successful physician. He began his practice amid considerable competition, but of the five or six physicians who occupied the field on his first establishing himself at Red Bud, Doctor Beattie is now the only survivor.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Beattie, Jacob -- Mr. Beattie was born in Allegheny County, Pa., June 24th, 1818. In the fall of 1820 his father and family left Pittsburg in a small family emigrant boat, and started down the Ohio River for the then far west. They landed at Shawneetown, Jan. 1st, 1821, and came on immediately by wagon to this County, and made a settlement where Mr. Beattie now resides. Here Mr. Beattie's father, James H., lived till removed by death May 18th, 1846. He was born near Newburg, New York, left there with his father and family when in the twentieth year of his age, and settled with him in Allegheny Co., Pa. He was there married to Miss Hannah Burkheart, by whom he raised only one heir, viz., the subject of this sketch. Just before starting west he married his second wife, formerly Miss Margaret Black, who accompanied her husband through to Illinois, and after proving herself an excellent wife for many years, she died in this County in 1840. She left behind her three living children - two yet surviving, viz., Francis H. and Robert T., both of this County. Mr. Beattie, on coming to this section of the State, settled down on a tract of land previously secured by his father, opened a farm, and made about the first improvements in Township 4-5. He was a strict member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, a man who had a marked individuality of character, firm principles, and was an industrious, hard-working farmer. Mr. Beattie, our subject, was only two years old when the family reached Shawneetown, and has spent therefore the principal part of his life in Illinois, having continued a citizen of this County from the time he came into it. He has seen this country come up from almost a wilderness condition to its present high state of civilization and improvement, and has contributed his full share towards its cultivated transformation. During his early youth he had few educational advantages, worked hard on the farm, and being the eldest of the children, next to his father, the greatest amount of responsibility towards conducting the farm and supporting the family rested on his shoulders. February 9th, 1854, he was joined in marriage to Miss Elizabeth McMillan, a native of Scotland, and a lady of many merits, who has made her husband a faithful companion, and has been a kind mother to their six surviving children, born in the following order: Mary J., James H., John A., Jacob L., Wm. M., and Hannah E. The eldest, also, named Hannah E., died when about eight years of age. Mr. Beattie has accumulated a fine property, comprising a farm of two hundred and forty acres very finely improved, well drained, and a rich soil. Mr. Beattie became connected with the Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1843, and continued in its fellowship till about 1870, when he became identified with the United Presbyterian Church and he and his lady both at present hold membership in a congregation of this order at Sparta. Politically, Mr. Beattie is a Republican. Formerly he was a Democrat, and acted in connection with this party till after the election of James K. Polk to the Presidency of the United States. He then supported the Free Soil ticket up to the time of the organization of the Republican Party, and has since acted in support of its principles.
The Beattie family runs its history back to Ireland. Mr. Beattie's great-grandfather came over to this country some time before the Revolutionary War. He died in the State of New York, where Francis, Mr. Beattie's grandfather, was born, and who came out from Pennsylvania to Illinois on horseback in 1816, and purchased about a section of land, paid the entrance money on a quarter section more, then returned home to Pennsylvania in the same manner that he came. It was on this property that Mr. Beattie's father settled on coming to this County. The Beatties have formed an element of Protestantism as far back as the records and traditions of the family extend, and they have generally found membership in some of the branches of the Presbyterian denomination.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John Beattie, Sr.
John Beattie, (Beaty) Sr. B.1765 Belfast Ir. D.1824. Married Jane Cockran B.1765 D.1823. Emmigrated to Abbeville S.C at close of revolutionay war. Emmigrated to Illinois around 1808/09 settling around Preston . They had 9 children: Andrew (Peggy Boyd), Charles, n/m, Eleanor (Joseph Bratney), Sarah (Robert Thompson), Mary (William Mann), Hannah, n/m, Rachel (John Boyd), Anna, n/m John Jr. (Elizebeth Ann Mann). [Submitted by Kasskia]
John Beattie, Jr.
Beattie (Beaty), John Jr. born Abbeville Dist. S.C. dates unknown. Moved to Ill. Territory 1808/9. Served in War of 1812 as Illinois Ranger. Mrs Elizebeth Ann Mann 6/24/1818. They lived on farm just north of Charter Oak School. They had 8 children: John Mann (Agnes Faris), Polly, n/m, Robert T. (Martha Anderson), Jane E. (James McAnulty), Sarah Ann (William Meek), Dr.Andrew B. (Ada Poston), Elizebeth R. ( Newton Bratney), Charles (Mary Caldwell).[Submitted by Kasskia]
Emil Berger has been a resident of Red Bud for sixteen years. He was born at Sasbach, a village of Baden, Germany, on the thirteenth of January, of the year 1832. He was the son of Valentine Berger, and the name of his mother before marriage was Caroline Eisen. There were eight children in his father's family, of whom the oldest was Emil.
After attending school for some years at Sasbach, at the age of sixteen he went to the brewer's trade. In the year 1851, when nineteen years old, he emigrated to America with the idea of trying his fortunes beyond the Atlantic, he came to Philadelphia, and for six years was a resident of that city. During this time he was engaged in the brewery business; at first in the employment of other parties, and afterward carrying on the business for himself.
In the year 1857 he left Philadelphia, and came to St. Louis, and worked for three years as foreman in a brewery in that city. He left St. Louis in the year 1859, and took up his residence at Red Bud, in Randolph County. He here began the brewery business on his own account, which he has since carried on with success, giving it his personal supervision up to July, 1875, since which time he has rented out the establishment. Mr. Berger was married in the city of St. Louis, in 1857, to Christina Veick, who was born, like her husband, in Germany. He has had two children, Jacob and Matilda. Mr. Berger began his political career with a vote for James Buchanan for President, in 1856. He subsequently became a Republican, and still continues a member of that party.
Mr. Berger's life has been one of interest since coming to this country. Arriving in America before he had attained his majority, soon afterward he possessed a capital of some thousand dollars with which to engage in business. This was subsequently lost by unfortunate ventures, and Mr. Berger was compelled to begin life again. His present position he has reached by his own efforts and energy. He has been one of the leading and enterprising citizens of Red Bud. The brewery business has occupied his attention nearly all of his life, and in this he has been as successful as his thorough knowledge of the business deserves. Mr. Berger is known as a man of social and genial disposition, and is popular among a large circle of friends and acquaintances.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
The old town of Prairie du Rocher has undergone, perhaps, fewer changes than any other locality of Randolph County. Its foundation dates back to the early part of the previous century. Its growth has not been rapid. The French population, of which its inhabitants were at first entirely composed, has here retained its distinctive character more closely than elsewhere, and a considerable proportion of the present residents of the village are descendants from the families who were indentified with its history a century ago.
The Blais family is one of the oldest in the town. The first of the name to make his residence in Prairie du Rocher, was ____ Blais, a Frenchman, whose ancestors had emigrated from France to Canada, some time before the coming of ____ to the Illinois Country. He devoted himself to the quiet pursuit of farming, the common occupation of the inhabitants, and was a leading man of the village. He reached an extreme old age, and died in the year 1783. One of his sons was Antoine Blais, who married Teresse De Choche. Gabriel De Choche, the father of the lady in question, and the grandfather of the present Antoine Blais, was a native of France, and an old resident of Prairie du Rocher. Antoine and Teresse Blais had been both born and brought up in Prairie du Rocher. They had six children, of whom only four grew to maturity. Antoine, who received his father's name, was next to the oldest in birth, and is now the only surviving one of the family in his generation, all his brothers and sisters being dead.
Antoine Blais was born in the village of Prairie du Rocher, on the twenty-seventh of August, 1809. He was brought up in the village, and received his early education in the subscription schools held in the town. At the age of seventeen he left home, and went to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and there learned the trade of a blacksmith. Two years after he was in St. Louis, a place at that time of small size in comparison with its present proportions, and here he followed his trade. He went to St. Louis in 1828, and remained there four years, till 1832. At this latter date he returned to Prairie du Rocher, put up a shop, and engaged in the blacksmithing business. In July of the same year his marriage took place to Miss Lucy Conner, a daughter of Henry Conner, one of the early Sheriffs of Randolph County, United States Marshall under the administration of John Quincy Adams, a prominent Whig politician, and a leading man in public affairs. Mr. Blais' residence, for several years, in Prairie du Rocher was unmarked by any event of unusual importance. Fourteen years after his marriage, in 1846, his wife died.
In the year 1849, Mr. Blais formed one of a party, numbering also among its members Drs. Smith and McDonald, and several others from Prairie du Rocher and vicinity, which set out for California to swell the throng of enterprising and adventurous men which that year crowded to the Pacific Coast, incited by the hopes of fortune held out by the wonderful stories of the golden wealth of California. The party was six months in making the overland journey, beginning the trip in April and arriving in California the following October. An ox-team carried their outfit, and their progress was necessarily slow. Mr. Blais at once went to work mining gold upon his reaching the mines. He was most of the time on Yuba river, about twenty miles above Marysville. He continued in California till 1851, and at that time had succeeded in accumulating about five thousand dollars, meeting with better fortune than the average of California adventurers. In 1857 he sailed from San Francisco on his homeward journey. Crossing the Isthmus he reached New Orleans, where (with little doubt, through the rascality of the keeper of the hotel) he and his partner were robbed of the greater portion of their hard-earned money, while at dinner. Mr. Blais returned to Prairie du Rocher, and there engaged in the merchandizing business, buying out the store of a friend who was contemplating a visit to Europe. A few months after his return from California, Mr. Blais married his second wife, whose maiden name was Mary M. Phegley, the daughter of Abraham Phegley, a native of Kentucky.
Mr. Blais has since been engaged in the mercantile business at Prairie du Rocher. His partner was Mr. J. D. Sprigg, who was long known as one of the active business men of the place. In 1860, Mr. Sprigg retired from the business with the purpose of devoting his attention to agriculture. Mr. Blais purchased his interest in the concern, and from that time carried on the business alone till 1866, when a partnership was again formed between Mr. Blais and Mr. Sprigg, the latter having grown tired of the monotony of farming. Mr. Sprigg died in 1871, and Mr. P. W. Unger took his place in the firm, since which time the business has been carried on with little change. The store, the property of Mr. Blais, in which the business of the firm is carried on, is the largest and most commodious building for the purpose in Prairie du Rocher, and was built in 1870. Mr. Blais' second wife died on the thirty-first of December, 1866. He was married the third time, in 1867, to Mrs. Margery Conner, the widow of his brother-in-law by his first wife. With the exception of less than a decade, Mr. Blais' long life of sixty-six years has been spent in Prairie du Rocher, of which he is now one of the oldest residents. He is favorably known throughout the County as a business man of reliability and enterprise. He commenced his career without a dollar, and his accumulations have been the result of his individual efforts. He started out in his political life with a vote for Andrew Jackson, for President, in 1832. Afterward Mr. Blais became a member of the Whig party, voting for Harrison, Clay, and other popular Whig candidates. On the decline of the Whig organization, Mr. Blais united with the Democracy, and has since continued to act with the Democratic party.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
The ancestors of George Bollinger were among the early residents of Randolph County. His father came about the year 1828, but his mother's family emigrated to Illinois as early as the year 1803. His father, Daniel Bollinger, was a native of Tennessee, born in the neighborhood of Nashville, in the year 1810. He was a young man of eighteen when he came with his father's family to Randolph County, about the year 1828. The Bollingers were a numerous and well-known family in Tennessee. Part of the family settled in Missouri. The brothers of the grandfather of George Bollinger emigrated to this latter State. Bollinger County, in south-eastern Missouri, was so named in honor of the Bollinger family, many of whose descendants still live in that section of the State. On coming to Randolph County, the Bollingers settled a mile south of the present town of Ellis Grove. Daniel Bollinger was twice married, but by his first wife had no children. His second wife was Mary Leavitt, the daughter of Abijah Leavitt, one of the earliest American residents of Randolph County. Abijah Leavitt first came to Randolph County as a soldier in Colonel Pike's regiment, which occupied Fort Gage on the hill opposite Kaskaskia, where vestiges of the old fortifications may yet be traced. He obtained his discharge from the army, and made a farm some distance back from the Garrison, where his son now lives. He was a quiet and industrious citizen, who enjoyed the esteem of all his neighbors.
Daniel Bollinger had six children by his second marriage. The oldest was George, born on the sixth day of February, 1836, a mile south of Ellis Grove, on the place of his father's settlement on first coming to Randolph County. The boys of that day were in possession of educational advantages far inferior to the present. George was sent to the subscription schools, common in the neighborhood, and George at an early age was accustomed to assist in labor on the farm. He lived at home until the time he was married. This event happened in March, 1862, and his wife was Miss H. C. Hunt, a native of Randolph County, born and raised near the present village of Ellis Grove. Mr. Bollinger then engaged in farming on his own account, and has since continued in that occupation, at which he has been successful. In 1873 he opened a store at Ellis Grove, and has also been occupied in carrying on this business. He is one of the active business men of the neighborhood. While carrying on the mercantile business at Ellis Grove, he has kept up farming, and owns over three hundred and fifty acres of land, lying in the vicinity of Ellis Grove. Since March, 1874, he has also held the position of Postmaster, Florence being the name of the post-office, though the village is still familiarly known by its old name of Ellis Grove. He has four children, the fruits of his marriage. Henry Everitt, Mary, Ida, and Maud. Two besides are dead.
While Mr. Bollinger has occupied a somewhat independent position in politics, generally exercising his own judgment in selecting the candidates for office of whom to bestow his suffrage, he has still been a Republican, voting for Abraham Lincoln, for President, in 1860. Mr. Bollinger's active life has been spent entirely in Monroe County. Though he is yet a comparatively young man, he has witnessed a great improvement in the country with which he has been familiar since boyhood. Mr. Bollinger has taken a leading part in every local enterprise, and contributed his portion toward the general progress of the neighborhood. He is generous and liberal in his disposition, and favorably known in the community with which he has so long been identified.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Bond, Shadrach was born in 1773 in Frederick Co, MD. In 1794 he came to IL and lived with his uncle Shadrach Bond Sr at New Design in Monroe Co, IL. Later farming near Eagle Creek. He married in Nashville, TN to Achsah Bond. She was born in Baltimore, MD in 1775. They had seven children: Julia Rachel, Mary Achsah (d 1878), Mary Isabella, Thomas Shadrach (d 1849) and three other children. Shadrach's father was Nicodemus Bond Sr who was born in MD 26 Jul 1743 and died 13 Aug 1804. He was a planter and slave holder.
James J. Borders, Esq.
The true elements of success are about the same in any branch of business, and consist mainly of a well-directed determination wielded in connection with a careful and judicious economy. True a certain amount of judgment is always requisite; but this quality is possessed in a sufficient degree by almost all men to enable them to become at least independent livers. The real reason why very many men fail in attaining a competency in point of wealth is that they do not save their means. Any young man just starting out in life might easily save of his wages during the first year the sum of $50, which, if loaned at ten per cent., would amount of itself within twenty years to within a fraction of $400.00 interest compounded. Let the same young man in each of the following years, say up to the age of forty, add to the original capital only $25 per year, and these amounts compounded annually would roll up into a capital almost astonishing to the unthinking, an amount that would be ample to all the necessities of a modest and virtuous old age. In this we have only spoken of one form of investment. There are various other ways in this young and rapidly growing country of investing means, so that really a larger increase may be realized on investments than in putting money into a savings bank, or in loaning out and compounding its interest; and the great reason why so many of our young men struggle along in very moderate circumstances is that they do not save their money, but spend it in fast living; while those who have learned the true wisdom of this life, instead of squandering their funds, appropriate them to interest-bearing purposes. If our education is deficient in any one single thing to-day, more than in another, the particular defect is in a failure upon the part of parents and teachers to instil into the minds of the rising generation the principles and methods of domestic economy. Many confound economy with stinginess, and vainly suppose that in spending money lavishly, and with no well-defined laudable purpose in view, that they are acting genteelly and magnanimously. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this. The young man who has but little regard for his own means will soon become liberal and untrustworthy with that of others, and will soon descend from his vaunted liberal position, and become a veritable spendthrift, and when this point is once reached, profligacy and crime are generally not far distant. If one is not faithful to himself, it is not reasonable to suppose that he will long continue faithful in trust to others. It is most certainly one of the first duties of life to make a judicious disposal of the means which we are enabled to earn by either the exercise of the mind or of the muscles in their control of the objects of the physical world around us, and we can carry on a greater and a more extended liberality in cases where it is needed by a practice, in connection with it, of the most rigid economy. The sons of the old pioneer settlers of this State not only learned these lessons from the lips of their honored sires, but also from the very character of their surroundings. Of the modern luxuries of life, they were totally ignorant. Money was scarce, and what they could raise to sell no more than procured the most absolute necessaries, and parents and children well knew what it was to do without certain conveniences, and at times to be sadly cramped by want.
Such were the surroundings of Mr. Borders, during his youthful years, and under such circumstances he received his first practical lessons of life, which have in after years borne him the fruits of success and wealth. He was born July second, 1818, while Illinois was yet unadmitted into the Federal Union, and has spent the whole of his life in Randolph, his native County. In his boyhood his time was employed in working on the farm in spring and summer, and improving such chances after schooling as the sparsely settled condition of the country at that day permitted. His first teacher was Mr. John Armor, then engaged in teaching a term near Sparta, a town which he afterwards laid off under the name of Columbus. Mr. Armor was one of the first settlers of that part of the County, and materially assisted in giving to it its first impetus by way of settlement and improvements.
When Mr. Borders reached the age of manhood, he had a fine physical constitution, was strongly attached to his parents, and did not go off in a tangent, like many young men, to enjoy legal and new-found liberties, but stayed at home, assisted in the management of the estate, which by that time had become quite large, and aided in various ways to make easy the burdens of life for his parents, that they might enjoy in quiet the fruits of their many years of toil. To the subject of marriage he gave the attention of the mature faculties of an experienced mind, not marrying till near the age of thirty-five. The object of his choice, Miss Mary A. Richie, was an old acquaintance, raised within his own immediate neighborhood, and whom he had intimately known from her earliest girlhood. This marriage has been not only abundantly blessed with all those family amenities and filial reverences necessary to the happiness and usefulness of a household, but with a large degree of success in the accumulation of property. The nuptials were celebrated Feb. 22d, 1854, at the house of the bride's parents, William and Sarah Richie, old and highly respected citizens of this County.
On reaching manhood, Mr. Borders' father deeded him one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he immediately improved, and then purchased an additional eighty-acre tract. This body of land he afterwards sold for $1,000, which he invested in real estate elsewhere, including an eighty where he now lives, and which, on account of its fine location, he then determined some day to make the nucleus of his home. This site lies within a half a mile of the northern line of the County in Township 4-6, and was chosen for a homestead on account of its richness of soil, fine drainage and beautiful prospect. When the proprietor commenced the work of improvement here, there was not a dwelling-house of any kind within sight, and the wild prairie grass waved in rich abundance, as high in places as a man's head when traveling horseback. It is now all under fence and improved, and everywhere fine family mansions greet the eye where once rolled before the breeze a rich sea of wild verdure. This is certainly one of the best, as well as one of the most beautiful sections of the County and country that the writer has yet seen.
When Mr. Borders and his wife commenced housekeeping, they determined to adopt as a rule, "never to allow their expenditures to exceed their incomes;" and it was but a few years under the operations of this principle, till their joint industry was rewarded with a surplus which they invested in real estate; and since, under the same sound maxim of economy, their means have increased, and farm after farm have been added, until they now have not only enough to amply supply their own needs the balance of their days, but enough to make each of their children independent after their parents sleep in the embrace of death.
We notice that Mr. Borders is pursuing a course with his sons that is eminently judicious. He is learning them to work, thus not only making them self-supporting within themselves, should occasion require it, but also impressing early upon their minds the important truth, that manual labor is honorable, a lesson worthy the requisite amount of physical discipline required to learn it in the way of muscular exercise, to say nothing of the attainment of a healthy, firm, physical constitution. There is no denying the fact that a majority of the great men of the nation are those who have come up from the ranks of the common laborer. The reason is palpable: idleness in youth saps the very foundations of true manhood, not only by weakening the faculties, but by throwing around the sensitive, young and impressible, a cordon of influences which inevitably drag them down through the various grades of fashionable follies into the whirlpools of crimes and wickedness. It is an old saying, that "the idle head is the devil's workshop," and the adage though a little uncouth is strictly true. If parents would see their children occupy high, honorable and virtuous positions in after life, they must not neglect to take them through the preliminaries, and teach them not only the lessons, but the art, of some legitimate business involving a certain amount of manual labor.
The temptation, true, is great, when the parents have accumulated wealth, to screen their offspring from the hardships and toils through which they themselves have passed; but they should allow the weightier consideration of their children's after-welfare to prevail, remembering that "there is no excellence without great labor." Farmers' sons may seem a little uncouth in certain circles of society; there may for the time being be dust on his boots and hay seed on his hat; but there is a time in the future when their strong nerves, their superior mental strength, and their hardy bodily endurance will enable them in the race of life to easily pass by the luxurious and enervated voluptuary, and stand on the heights of science while others have not had the fortitude and strength to scale the hill of knowledge.
Mr. Borders has never sought political or official honors, confining himself to farming and the real estate business, and we believe, in fact, has never held but one office, viz., that of Justice of the Peace, which he accepted more to accommodate his neighbors than through any other consideration. He was elected to this office in 1857, and held it four consecutive terms, or sixteen years, and during this time never had but one appeal taken from his docket, and in this case the judgment was sustained in the court above. While acting as a magistrate, he used his utmost influence to keep his neighbors out of litigation among themselves, and many are the instances in which the contending parties through his mediation threw down their legal bludgeons, and settled their differences in the spirit of neighborly concession and compromise. His advice always was in accordance with the principle upon which he himself has always transacted business, viz., rather than contend with the contentious, either to concede or give away an inconsiderable amount.
In the spring of 1874, in company with Mr. John C. Boyle, he bought out the private bank of S. P. Smith, in Sparta. They have enlarged the business, built a new and commodious banking house within this city - the only one in it - and are now doing a large business. This is quite an item to this section of the country, not only being a secure place to leave deposits, but also it forms a commercial centre for the many large farmers in this part of Randolph County.
This sketch would hardly be complete, without mentioning in this connection, some reminiscences of Mr. Borders' father, Major Andrew, once one of the most prominent citizens of this County. He was born in South Carolina, March 12th, 1793. When quite young, his parents moved to Georgia, where he was raised to manhood, and where he was married to Miss Martha Clark. In 1816, he arrived, with his small family, within the Territory of Illinois, and made a settlement near where Sparta now stands, and on the place originally occupied, he continued to live, till the day of his death, Jan. 1st, 1864. He raised three sons and six daughters - six survivors; and all, with the exception of M. W., a citizen of Marissa, St. Clair County, are residents of this County. Their names are as follows: James J., Mrs. Sarah E. McIlwain, Mrs. Rachel Burns, Mrs. Martha Allen, and Mrs. Minerva Lott. They are all well-to-do in life, and are well known as honorable and upright citizens. Mr. Borders was, in his day, the most successful and influential farmer and trader of his County, and he had, as a result of his foresight and industry, accumulated a property up to the time of his death, which was at that time, valued at about $100,000. This was a grand achievement for that day, and especially remarkable, when it is taken into consideration, that when he arrived in Illinois and settled down upon a claim of raw wild land, he had, after paying the expenses of his trip hither, only remaining in money, one silver fifty-cent piece. He had some property in the way of household furniture and teams, but no money. He began on a claim which he entered as soon as the lands came into market, and made his first money here in farming. He took an early and deep interest in the settlement and development of the County, and advanced money on nearly all occasions to settlers, both with and without interest, according to the circumstances of the borrower, and, although he was liberal with his money, and easy in his terms, he never lost but little in this way. And though the titles of the lands of many of the first settlers of this section of the State, was in his hands for years after the money loaned was due, there never occurred a case in which any one was wronged out of a farthing. Indeed, the people came to regard their lands as safe to them with the titles in his name, as in their own, and it is but just to the memory of the noble dead, to add, that by his indulgence and kindly aid, more poor people were helped to secure homes for themselves and children, than through the instrumentality of any other one man of Randolph County, and, it is pleasant to record, that in those days, men considered a verbal promise as sacred as a written obligation, and that no one was countenanced who seized on an occasion to close out his neighbor, simply because he had the legal right to do it. Even at the time of his death, Mr. Borders held the titles of many people's lands in his own name, and we add, that his executor, the son, whose name stands at the head of this history, both on his own account, and in the spirit and at the request of his honored parent, gave time and chance, until every title was made good to its rightful owner.
Mr. Borders was a man of great force of character, strong physical mould, and capable of a great amount of bodily endurance. He was very sympathetic, and ever had an ear to listen to the story of the poor and the unfortunate. He dearly loved his wife and family, and was by them warmly loved in return. He was always true to his friends and the cause of the truth, and never flinched from a painful responsibility when it was really necessary. As a citizen, he was moral and upright, as a friend, sincere and frank, and as a companion, social and candid. He died honored and lamented by a large circle of friends and amid the affection of his children. His wife, a noble, energetic, Christian lady, preceded her husband to the grave some three years. She proved, through her whole life, an amiable, upright and faithful woman in every relation she assumed, and did her duty well, before going to her reward.
When Major Borders arrived in this County, he brought with him four slaves. He treated them with humanity and kindness, and, unlike some others, he did not sell them South. It must be remembered, that while Illinois was a Territory, slavery was tolerated, and at the adoption of its Constitution in 1818, former slaves were indentured, and their children were born in a State of freedom. Many took the advantage of selling their slaves South, and converted the proceeds of their sale into real estate. This the Major refused to do, but kept his former servants around him, that they might not only enjoy their freedom, but that he might give them the benefit of his own counsel and oversight, until they either left his supervision of their own accord, or died in the course of nature.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
David B. Boyd
Mr. Boyd was born in Newbury District, South Carolina, May 26th, 1819. He arrived in this County with his father and family in 1829. He commenced life a poor boy, and by his own industry, coupled with that of his excellent wife, he now owns and conducts a fine farm of something over 500 acres, and which is well improved, and contains one of the most commodious and handsome family mansions of the County, for a view of which we refer the reader to our lithograph illustrations. This farm is underlaid everywhere with a fine quality of coal, which is now being developed, and as the C. & St. L. R. R. passes through these premises, Mr. Boyd has the best facilities for shipment.
December 30th, 1847, the marriage ceremony was solemnized between Mr. Boyd and his present wife, formerly Miss Tabitha Brown, the daughter of David Brown, who settled in this community as early as 1826, and who is now living in the town of Rankin, Vermilion County, of this State. Mrs. Boyd was born February 20th, 1827, near her present home, and is the only one of the family left in the County. Her brothers, Dr. Isaac W. Brown, and John T., also two sisters, Catharine and Mary, reside in Vermilion County. James, the eldest, resides in Missouri, David in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Arthur is doing business in St. Louis. The three last mentioned were children by a second wife, formerly Miss Mary A. Taylor, and later the wife of Thomas Wier. The mother of the other children was formerly Miss Margaret Morrow, sister of William and James Morrow, of this County. The Boyd family is originally from Ireland. Both the father, Thomas and John, the grandfather of Mr. Boyd, were natives of the Emerald Isle. They came to this country a short time after its national independence, and settled in South Carolina. There Mr. Boyd's father married Miss Mary Hume, also from Ireland. They raised a family of seven children, three of whom, David, Elizabeth and Thomas, reside in this County. John died in Sparta, and William and Susan, the wife of William Moore, in Perry County. Mr. Boyd, after the death of the mother of these children, was again married in South Carolina to Miss Mary Wright, One daughter was the result of this union, viz.: Mary, the wife of Samuel McKee, residing eight miles south of Sparta. Mr. Boyd always voted with the Democratic party till the issue of union or disunion was forced on the country, when he became identified with the Republican party, with which he has since acted. Religiously, he and his family, as far back as recollections reach, have been Presbyterians.
Mr. Boyd's father died in Township 5-6, January 11th, 1848, also his second wife in 1867. The first companion died in South Carolina.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John S. Boyd
Mr. Boyd was born in this County, July 5th, 1842. He has lived in this County all his life, following the honest avocation of farming, in which he has been successful to an average degree, owning a good farm, well improved, a part of the old homestead of his father, lying in Township 4-5. Mr. Boyd has never married, but has devoted his time to the care of his aged mother. His father, Samuel, was born in Ireland, October 16tli, 1777. His father, William Boyd, left Ireland with his wife and two children, and came to the United States, a short time after their independence, landing; at the city of Charleston. He made a location afterwards in Lawrence District. Here Mr. Boyd's father was married to Miss Nancy Verner, by whom he had nine children, all born in that State. When war was declared against the British in 1812, he enlisted in the service of his government. He joined a cavalry regiment and served through the whole struggle, including the famous battle of New Orleans.
In 1825, he arrived with his family in this County. He settled in Township 4-5, and at once commenced improving a farm. Here his wife died in 1832. He afterwards married Miss Margaret Skelly, daughter of William Skelly by his wife, formerly Miss Jane Blackstock, both natives of South Carolina. By this wife he had six children. The two sons, William V. and John S., reside on parts of the old homestead. The daughters, Mrs. Sarah (Rufus) Edmiston, Mrs. Rachel (Robert S.) Aitken, and Mrs. Margaret L. (William H.) Edmiston, reside in Lyon County, Kansas.
There were nine children by the first wife, including a son, Samuel L., a well known old settler of this section of the County. The daughters were all raised up to womanhood, and were all married with the exception of Sarah. Margaret married Samuel Williams; Eliza, Isaac Brown; Agnes, William Monroe; Jane, Alexander Smith; Mary, John Stralian; Abigail, John Gibson; and Rebecca, Robert Mathews. They principally located in this County, and were highly respected citizens.
When Mr. Boyd came to this County, he at once secured a large body of land, after the improvement of which he traded considerably in live stock, and was regarded the largest farmer and trader of that time in his part of Randolph County. He did not much himself personally to develop the country, but was instrumental in encouraging others to locate around him in order to form a settlement, that schools and churches might be established and sustained. Though a prosperous business man, he never neglected the interests of religion, nor the social welfare of his neighbors. He was a member of the old Seceder Branch of the Presbyterian Church. He was a quiet man in temperament, but had great firmness of principles and a quick, penetrating judgment. He died February 24th, 1855, amid a large circle of friends, whom he had made by a long acquaintance and life of uniform rectitude and purity. The Boyd family is another old Scotch family, who left Scotland for the north of Ireland for conscience' sake, from whence they made their way to this country.
Mother Boyd, Mr. Boyd's second wife, was born June 14th, 1802, in South Carolina, Chester District, and has therefore now passed her seventy-seventh birthday. Her father died in that State in 1823. Her mother died in this County July 12th, 1849. She is yet spared to her family and friends, enjoys a good degree of health and promises to live yet many years.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Boyd, Robert was born 07 Nov 1843 in RC. During the Civil War he was in Co K 5th IL Cav. In 1866 he married Marion Bickett the d/o John. She died in 1880. Robert owned a farm in T4 R5. His children were: Mary J, Maggie B, John H, Samuel L and Robert E. Roberts father was Samuel L born in SC, his mother was Jane Gibson born in IL. This couple also had another son in the Civil War which died in action. Roberts paternal grandfather was Samuel L Boyd Sr. who was born in Ireland in 1777. He married in SC to a Nancy. They came to IL in 1825 and settled in Sec 17 T4R5. Samuel Sr and Nancy had one other son named John. On Roberts maternal side was grandfather Robert Gibson who came to Washington Co, IL early and married there. He had nine children: Mary, Robert, Nancy, James, Jane, Samuel, William and Margaret (1894)
In August, 1842, when about five years old, William Boyle came to Randolph County. He was the son of John Boyle and Martha McKinley, and was the youngest of a family of nine children. His father bought land in Township 4-7. He went to school only one day in the old country, and most of his education was received from his older brother, Thomas, who for many years taught school in the vicinity. In November, 1859, he was married to Matilda Kirkpatrick, who was born in Ireland in the same County as her husband, Antrim. Mr. Boyle's birth occurred on January sixteenth, 1837. He is now a substantial farmer north of Baldwin, owning over four hundred acres of land. His eight children are all living. He is attached in his religious belief to the United Presbyterian Church, and is a Republican in politics, as are nearly all the members of that denomination.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John B. Bratney
Preston has no business man longer or more intimately identified with her interests than John B. Bratney. His family was connected with the early settlement of the neighborhood, and Mr. Bratney, himself, has spent almost his entire life in the town of Preston, or the immediate vicinity. He is descended from a family in all probability of Irish descent, which crossed the Atlantic and made their home in America, previous to the time when the Revolution severed the relations between the thirteen colonies and the mother country. Mr. Bratney's grandfather, Robert Bratney, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and did good service in the work of securing the independence of the colonies. He afterward settled in Tennessee, and removed from that State to Illinois in the year 1820. One son accompanied him to Illinois, Joseph Bratney, the father of John B. Bratney. Joseph Bratney had been a soldier in the war of 1812, and served under General Jackson. On coming to Randolph County, the family located on Little Plum Creek, just above its mouth, and entered there a half section of land. The marriage of Joseph Bratney to Eleanor Beattie took place in the year 1822, or 1823. There were four children, Henrietta, who married Samuel Alexander Mann; John B. Bratney, Robert N., and James C.
The oldest son, John B. Bratney, was born on the twenty-fifth of February, of the year 1827, on the homestead farm originally entered by the family on their first arrival in Illinois. It was situated in Section 2, Township 5-7, about a mile north of the present town of Preston. John B. Bratney was only eight or nine years old when his mother died. His father subsequently remarried; but John B. went to live with an uncle, Charles Beattie, who resided about a mile east of Preston, on one of the oldest settled places in the Township. Here he spent his youth, and received his education. When the Mexican war broke out in the year 1846, Mr. Bratney offered his services. He was not, however, permitted to take part in the brilliant campaigns of the American army. The company in which he volunteered was not accepted, the quota having already been filled. In November, 1848, Mr. Bratney went to New Orleans for the purpose of engaging in business there. In July of the following year he returned to Randolph County. About two years after he was married to Mary Jane Crozier, whose family had been among the early residents of Randolph County. Mr. Bratney then went to farming for himself, on land originally belonging to his father, on which he had built a house the winter previous to his marriage. He moved here in May, but eleven months after the wedding ceremonies, his wife died. His sister kept house for him till the time of her own marriage, and then Mr. Bratney went to live with Dr. Poston, whose residence was about a mile and a half east of Preston, on the old Crozier farm. He lived with Dr. Poston up to the time of his second marriage. His second wife was Margaret Thompson, the daughter of Robert and Mary Thompson, pioneers of Randolph County. Mr. Bratney then again engaged actively in farming, in which occupation he continued till the year 1860. Mr. Bratney's mercantile operations were begun in the fall of 1857, when, in company with his brother, James C. Bratney, he put up a store in Preston, and begun there the merchandizing business, in which he has been engaged for nearly twenty years. The firm continued as at first for only about a year, when R. C. Mann bought out the interest of his brother, and became a partner in the concern. This partnership lasted, however, but for a short time, and Mr. Bratney has since conducted the business alone. He still occupies the old stand in Preston, and is one of the oldest, as he has been one of the most popular, merchants in Randolph County. His business operations have not been confined to Preston alone. In June, 1870, he established a store at Evansville. He bought a building, stocked it with goods, and commenced a business which ran on till the spring of 1875, when he sold out the stock of goods, and closed up the store. During this period Mr. Bratney also carried on the store at Preston, the place of his residence.
Mr. Bratney became a resident of Preston about 1860, and has since been one of the prominent and enterprising citizens of that place. He owns three hundred and seventy-six acres of land in the neighborhood. For two or three years after he began store-keeping, Mr. Bratney also carried on farming, but he has since rented his land. About the year 1864, Mr. Bratney was called upon to sustain a loss in the death of his second wife. October, 1868, was the date of his third marriage. The former name of his present wife was Mary W. Pollock, the daughter of James and Anne E. Pollock, born in the village of Preston. Her ancestors lived in Pennsylvania. The maiden name of her mother was Conway, and her marriage with Mr. Bratney occurred in St. Louis. Her father was one of the earliest residents of Preston, and there carried on the tanning business for many years.
Mr. Bratney is a man well known throughout Randolph County, and is justly held to be one of the representative men of the section. When about twenty-five, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and he held that office for eight consecutive years. On the organization of School Township 5-7, he was its first treasurer. He received the appointment of Postmaster in the year 1858, and has exercised that office subsequent to that date. As far as his politics are concerned, Mr. Bratney was brought up a Whig, and his first presidential ballot he cast for General Taylor, in 1848. He continued to vote the Whig ticket, as long as that party continued in active life. He afterward became a Republican. Mr. Bratney has been a useful and honored resident of the neighborhood with which, for his whole life, he has been associated. His career was begun with nothing to rely upon but his own industry and perseverance. Gifted with good business qualifications, he has made his way by his own efforts.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Robert Newton Bratney
Robert Newton Bratney is one of the oldest and best citizens of Township 5-7, of which he has been a resident since his birth, which the record places as having occurred in the year 1829. 1820 is the date of his family coming to Randolph County, and matters of interest relative to the early history of the Bratneys may be found in the biography of John B. Bratney, published elsewhere in this work.
Robert Newton Bratney, the second son and third child of Joseph Bratney and Eleanor Beattie, was born on the nineteenth of April of the year 1829. In 1831, his mother's death took place, and at the tender age of two years Robert was confided to the care of his uncle, Charles Beattie, who lived on the old Beattie farm, a mile east of Preston, a tract of land which in due course came into the possession of Mr. Bratney himself. This was his residence during his youth and early manhood. He was trained to useful labor on the farm; and received his education in an old log school-house, with fence rails for benches - rude promise enough of mental culture as far as external appearances were concerned, but offering some meagre opportunity of picking up the elements of an education.
He was married in December, 1853, to Margaret Hill, but his wife died the February succeeding the marriage. At the time of his union with Miss Hill, he moved to Preston, but after the death of his wife made his home again with Mr. Beattie, and for about three years followed teaming and trading. His second marriage took place about the year 1857, to Elizabeth N., the daughter of John Beattie. After his marriage he settled down on his father's old place, north of Preston, put up some buildings, and went to farming on his own account. He continued to reside here till 1864, when he moved on the farm made vacant by the death of his uncle, Charles Beattie, built the house in which he now lives, and began farming. His second wife, having died in April, 1864, two years afterward, in April, 1866, Mr. Bratney was married to Ada E. Burr, the daughter of Chauncey Burr, an old settler of Randolph County, who after a residence in Kaskaskia settled in the Heacock prairie, in the southern edge of St. Clair County. Mr. Bratney has had three children, all of whom are deceased. These children were by his second wife. The oldest was Ella M., a girl lovely in character and disposition, a favorite with every one who knew her, who died November the thirtieth, 1872, at the age of eleven years and two months.
Mr. Bratney now owns the Beattie farm, one of the oldest settled places of Township 5-7. It was settled by John Beattie in the year 1809. This farm contains the most noted spring of water anywhere in that section of the County, a circumstance which doubtless led to the selection of that particular piece of land by the original settler. In his politics Mr. Bratney has always been a Republican, and has always acted in accordance with what he thought best for the best interests of humanity and the country. All his life he has been connected with the United Presbyterians at Preston. He is benevolent in his disposition. He is one of the active supporters of the United Presbyterian church, and is a warm friend of the Sabbath-School cause, and other religious and charitable undertakings. His life has been quiet and unobtrusive, but wherever he is known he bears the character of a useful man and an excellent citizen.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John and William Brickey
On another page among our lithographic illustrations, may be seen a view of the "Red Bud Mills," the owners of which are John and William Brickey. The Messrs. Brickey have been old residents of the section of country about Red Bud. For the last sixteen years they have been proprietors of the Red Bud Mills, and few men in the County have a higher business reputation, or occupy a better standing in the community. Their grandfather was Jarrot Brickey, who was born in Virginia, and at an early day moved to Kentucky, among the first settlers of that region. On coming to Illinois he first located in the New Design settlement, in Monroe County. He afterward removed to a new settlement which had just been formed on the Horse Prairie. For a time this settlement promised to become permanent and lasting, but it was harassed by Indians, and nearly all the settlers left it. The settlement was almost entirely broken up before the year 1800, the only families which remained permanently being those of Robert McMahon, Henry Levens, and Jarrot Brickey. The latter is represented as being one of the sturdy, staunch pioneers, who braved the dangers of Indian massacres and midnight assassinations. He lived an industrious and respected citizen of Horse Prairie for nearly half a century, was a Ranger in the war of 1812, and during his life-time was prominent in all those scenes which marked the pioneer history of Randolph County. His son, Preston B. Brickey, the father of John and William Brickey, located half a mile north of Red Bud, near the line dividing Randolph from Monroe Counties.
Preston B. Brickey was in the volunteer service in the Illinois territory during the war of 1812, and was principally employed against the Indians. In the year 1816, he married Millie Ralls, the daughter of Rawleigh Ralls, who came from Virginia to Randolph County in the year 1809. By this marriage there were nine children, six sons and three daughters. All are now living with the exception of two of the sons. The schools in those days were not remarkable for their excellence. Only subscription schools were held, and the prices charged for tuition rendered it difficult for schools to be maintained for any considerable length of time, of which the children of poor parents could take advantage. John Brickey never went to school more than thirty days in any one year, and was forced to rely mainly on his own endeavors for his opportunities for intellectual advancement, as was also the case with his brother William.
John Brickey, the oldest son, was born on the twenty-second day of February, 1818, half a mile north of the present town of Red Bud. William Brickey was born nearly three years after, on the thirtieth of January, 1821, at the same place where John was born, or near there. Preston B. Brickey, their father, was a farmer, a pursuit which he carried on with success, owning, at the time of his death, which happened on the seventh of January, 1848, about a thousand acres of land. The boys were brought up as farmers, and as soon as they could be of any service were in the habit of assisting in labor on the farm. They were thus trained to habits of industry, independence, and self-reliance, qualities which were of service in after years. John Brickey lived at home till he was about twenty-one years of age, and then went to St. Clair County, and started a small store at a place called Smithton, now Georgetown. He remained there two or three years, employed in the mercantile business, and then for a couple of years more was employed in farming in the same vicinity. In the fall of 1847 he moved on a farm in Monroe County, east of Red Bud. His marriage had taken place some five years previous to this, in the year 1842, to Elizabeth McGuire, who had been raised in St. Clair County, and was living there at the time of her marriage. After fifteen years of wedded life, Mrs. Brickey died while her husband was still living on the farm in Monroe County. This was in the year 1857. The marriage had resulted in five children, two sons and three daughters. Four are now living, and their names are Margaret, Preston B., Susan, and Thomas. A couple of years after his wife's death, Mr. Brickey moved to Red Bud.
The same facts are true in regard to the early life of William Brickey as of his brother. He was brought up as a farmer, and followed that occupation till the year 1858. Till 1854 he was occupied in farming in Monroe County. In that year he moved to St. Clair County, and was a resident there for four years. He was first married in St. Clair County to Rebecca Smith, who was born and raised in that County. Since 1859 both the brothers have resided at Red Bud. They here purchased the flouring mill which had been erected by a company, the year previous. The two brothers, John and William, entered into a partnership, which has since been kept up. The Messrs. Brickey have carried on the milling business with success, and their mill is one of the old established places of business in Randolph County while its proprietors are known as enterprising, substantial, and liberal business men. They are widely known throughout a large section of country as men of strict honesty, integrity, and fair dealing. Both the brothers have been members of the Democratic party, and throughout their lives have been unswerving in their loyalty to the principles of that organization, which they have believed to be the only system of political faith by which a Republican government could be successfully and safely maintained. The Messrs. Brickey have been closely identified with the interests of Red Bud and the adjacent section of country. Both were born in the vicinity; their ancestors date back to the earliest settlement of the country on the part of the Americans, and they themselves have done much by their enterprise toward the development of the town, and the encouragement of the farming interests of the contiguous territory.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Brown, David came to RC in 1826 from Rankin, IL. His first wife was Margaret Morrow, his second was Mary A Taylor. David's children were Tabitha, Dr Isaac W, John, Catharine, Mary, James ( moved to MO), David (Cedar Rapids) and Arthur (St Louis) (1875)
Brown, Robert lived in T8 R5 Sec 8of RC. He was born 22 Aug 1838 in Co Down, Ireland. He came to the US in 1855 to PA. He married 28 Feb 1858 to Margaret L Kelly the d/o Thomas (d 29 May 1891) and Eliza (Anderson)(d 05 Jul 1872). The Kelly family came to RC in 1842. Margaret was born 08 Mar 1841 in Rocklando Co, NY. Robert and Margaret's children were: Eliza Ellen, Maggie, Elijah, Harvey, Robert (d by 1894), William, Henry, Mary Ann, John Walker, John C and Minnie. Robert's parents were William and Eliza (Carruthers) Brown (1894)
Gottlieb Buch is one of the thrifty and substantial farmers of the Horse Prairie in Randolph County. He has lived in that neighborhood for twenty-eight years, and may be numbered among the old settlers of the vicinity.
Mr. Buch is a German by birth, and his native place was within five miles of the town of Buckeburg, in the Kingdom of Hanover, now included in Prussia. He was the son of Henry Buch. Philipine Gottschalk was his mother's name before marriage. Henry Buch had three children. One died when young. Both the others, Gottlieb and Frederick, are now living in Randolph County. Gottlieb Buch was born on the fifth day of November, 1828, and was the oldest child of the family. The first eighteen years of his life he lived in Germany. From seven till between fourteen and fifteen, he attended school, and after leaving school worked on a farm.
In September, 1846, the Buch family left Germany for America. The vessel on which they embarked was seventeen weeks in making the voyage. The crew and passengers ran out of provisions and water, and endured considerable suffering. The Buchs landed in New Orleans in January, 1847, and at once made their way to St. Louis. After a stay here of a couple of weeks they came to Randolph County where some friends were living. The father bought one hundred acres of land which forms part of the farm on which Gottlieb now lives. This was in a wild state, and not under cultivation. Gottlieb lived at home one year, and helped work the farm. The summer of 1848 he went to St. Louis, and worked there in order to make some money, that being a scarce article, and wages low in Randolph County. He lived at home during the winter, and the next summer returned to St. Louis; but in this year, 1849, the cholera visited the city, and Mr. Buch came back to Randolph County, where he has since lived.
On the first day of January, 1842, he was married to Sophia Rehmer. She was born at the same town of Buckeburg, and was thirteen years old when she came to America, five years before she was married. Five children are living by this marriage; Caroline, Philipine, Frederick, Herman, and William. The oldest daughter, Caroline, is the wife of Henry Eggerding. Mr. Buch has always lived on the old homestead, which he now owns. His father died in 1865. Mr. Buch has made the competence which he now enjoys by honest labor and hard work. He has been a Republican in politics, but holds an independent position, and in casting his ballot looks rather at the character of the man than the party to which the candidate belongs. He has been one of the leading members of the Lutheran Church in the Prairie, and was a member of the building committee, which in 1868 superintended the erection of the present handsome edifice. Mr. Buch is one of the successful farmers of Union Precinct. He is one of the stockholders in the bank at Red Bud, which he assisted in organizing and starting. He has prospered by industry and attending to his own affairs, and is justly held to be one of the valuable members of the community.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Joshua G. Burch
Mr. Burch was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, November fifteenth, 1815, and has been a resident of Randolph County since the year 1840. His ancestors were Virginians. His grandfather, Walter Burch, emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky some time in 1770, and settled in Nelson, the adjoining County to where Boone had made his settlement. The Burch family was compelled to live in a fort for protection against the Indians. Walter Burch had thirteen children, of whom John H. became the father of Joshua G. Burch. John H. Burch was born in Virginia, and was a boy on coming to Kentucky. He had twelve children, of whom the oldest was Joshua. Mr. Burch worked at home till he was twenty-two. He was married, April eleventh, 1837, to Bridget Tewel, born and raised in Kentucky, but originally of Irish descent. In 1840, just after the presidential election of that year in which he voted for Van Buren for President, Mr. Burch started with his wife for Illinois, where the latter had relatives living in Randolph County. They first located in the neighborhood of Red Bud, where Mr. Burch entered a quarter section of land. After living here five years he removed to the American Bottom. He rented the land on which he now lives, on the Mississippi opposite Kaskaskia, and moved on it in the spring of 1846. The first year he put in seventy-five acres with corn, and as the result shipped eleven hundred sacks to New Orleans. For the first years he raised mostly corn. At that time no wheat of any consequence was raised in the American Bottom. Mr. Burch believed that wheat would be a paying crop, and accordingly, about 1851, sowed sixteen bushels from which he raised seven hundred bushels, and sold it for a dollar and a half a bushel, in gold, Mr. Burch having made that agreement with a miller on condition it was delivered by the fourth of July. Within a week's time afterward wheat went down to seventy-five cents. Mr. Burch also dealt to a considerable extent in stock. He is now one of the largest land-owners in the County. He has always been a member of the Democratic party, voting first for General Jackson for President. Mr. and Mrs. Burch have had seven children, all of whom were boys. William R., John H., Ignatius, James A., and Joshua, are the names of those living. Mr. Burch is one of the large and enterprising farmers of the County, and has done much toward the improvement of the American Bottom. [Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Lloyd Burgess, M.D.
Dr. Burgess is descended from an old Maryland family, who came over from England with the first colonists whom Lord Baltimore established near the beautiful Chesapeake. Joseph Burgess, the Doctor's great-grandfather, with seven of his sons, served their country as soldiers in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. One of these was Michael, the Doctor's grandfather, who, after the war, settled in what is now Howard County, where he married a Miss Elizabeth Warfield. Here was born and raised Thomas, the Doctor's father, who rose to considerable political prominence in that State. He represented the people a number of times in the State Legislature, besides filling a number of other offices of trust. He and two of his brothers, Capt. Roderick and Bazil, were soldiers during the war of 1812. He married a Miss Honor Dorsey, by whom he raised seven children, six living, viz., Mrs. Alcinda M. (Edward) Day and Mrs. Jane (Charles) Hipsley, of Md., Dr. Thomas and Joseph (a merchant) of Nashville, Washington County, Ills., Lloyd of Sparta, Randolph County, and Wm. W., Esq., engaged in the practice of law at Orange Court House, Va.
Mr. Burgess was born, raised and educated in Maryland, where also he studied medicine at the University of Maryland, located at Baltimore, a State Institution of national reputation. Immediately after graduating, he moved to Illinois, and practiced a short time with his brother Thomas at Nashville, and then came on to Randolph County, and located at Sparta, where he arrived in the fall of 1862. He has resided here ever since, building up a large and lucrative practice.
Sept. 6th, 1866, he married Miss Sallie C. McDonald, of the City of St. Louis, where her mother and a brother, Robert S., a prominent lawyer, still reside. Mrs. Burgess' ancestry is of Scotch-Irish descent, and figured prominently in the military history of that country.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
John K. Burke
Burke, John K. -- The Burkes come from Irish stock. John K. BURKE is one of the largest farmers and earliest settlers in the southeastern part of Randolph County. His grandfather's name was Thomas Burke, and he emigrated from Ireland to America some time antecedent to the Revolutionary war. He finally settled in North Carolina; not, however, until he had married in Pennsylvania Mary Irwin, a member of a large and influential family at that period of Pennsylvania history. Henry, William, and John B. Burke, were the three children that resulted from this marriage. The youngest of these, John B. Burke, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, on the tenth of January, of the year 1789. He was brought up in North Carolina, and there married Jane Cowan, who was also a native of the old North State, but was born in Rowan County. The date of her birth was August, 1795. Her family was of Scotch descent, and her father was a resident of North Carolina previous to the breaking out of the seven years' war which resulted in the independence of the colonies. He served in the Continental army throughout the entire war. The marriage of John B. Burke and Jane Cowan took place in the latter part of the year 1816, and about three years after, in August, 1819, they left North Carolina, and removed to Tennessee. One child, Thomas C, had at that time been born. The second child, John K. Burke, was born after the family had entered the limits of the State, but before they had settled down in any permanent location. His birthplace was a little town in the eastern part of the State, on the waters of the Tennessee river, now known as Danville. His father had stopped here for a short time to follow his trade of a blacksmith, and John K. Burke was born on the seventeenth of January, of the year 1820.
Shortly after, Mr. Burke's father settled in Sumner County, Tennessee, thirty miles east of Nashville, where he carried on his business of a blacksmith. In 1827 he removed to Illinois. Leaving Tennessee in February of that year, he arrived in Randolph County on the second day of the following month. Four children at that time constituted the family. John B. Burke entered eighty acres of land in Section twenty-two, Township 7-5, and undertook farming. He lived upon the land which he here improved, till the time of his death, which took place in September, 1869. Mr. Burke's mother had died previous to this in August, 1861, at the memorable time of the cholera visitation, of which disease she fell a victim. Mr. Burke Was in his seventh year when he came to Illinois. His education had been begun in Tennessee. His father was one of the early residents of the section of Randolph County, in which he settled, and the schools in the neighborhood were consequently not established on a very good basis, and supplied scanty educational advantages. Most of Mr. Burke's education was gained by application on his own account outside of his school studies. He was raised at home on the farm, and one lesson of value which he learned was the worth of downright hard work. At twenty-one, he was married. This event took place the twenty-fourth of June, 1841, and his wife was Elizabeth A. Gillespie, whose family was also among the early settlers of that part of Randolph County. The Gillespies have much the same family history as the Burkes. The family springs from an Irish source. They were old residents of Rowan County, North Carolina, the same locality with Mr. Burke's ancestors, emigrated from there to Sumner County, Tennessee, and thence to Randolph County, Illinois. Mrs. Burke's father's name was James Gillespie, and the maiden name of her mother, Mary Vance. By her grandmother, whose family name was Geene, she is connected with stock of the same character. James Gillespie was born, April the sixteenth, 1795. He went to Tennessee when twelve years old, and lived in Sumner County till November, 1825, when he came to Randolph County, and permanently located on Section two of Township 7-5, where he died forty years after, at the age of three score and ten. He was a prominent man in the community, and held a respected and influential position. Beside filling subordinate offices, his name appears on the records as judge for several terms of the County Court. He took a warm interest in public affairs, and was a strong Democrat in politics and a leading member of that party. He had been a soldier in the war of 1812, and was in several important engagements with the Tennessee troops under General Coffee.
Directly after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Burke came to the spot where their subsequent lives have been spent. This is in Section twenty-three, Township 7-5. Mr. Burke had here obtained possession of forty acres of land, entirely without improvements. He settled down on this, and began his active and successful career as a farmer. His industry was his only dependence. Part of his land was soon under cultivation. Mr. Burke has grown to be one of the largest and most successful farmers in his section of Randolph County. He owns six hundred and nineteen acres of land (part of which lies in Jackson County) in his own right, beside an interest in other extensive tracts. Three hundred acres of his farm is under cultivation, and is among the best land in the southern part of the County. Thirteen children, of whom ten are now living, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Burke. In the order of their births, their names are Mary J., Lucinda Carrie, Abner G., Elizabeth C, James S., Josephine C, Nellie E., M. Belle, John B., Ella C, Albert B., Effie A., and George M. The oldest daughter died in childhood. Carrie died at the age of twenty-three, a year after her marriage. She was the wife of James W. McQuiston. After her marriage she moved to Kansas, and died in Cherokee County of that State, in August, 1866. Belle died of typhoid fever, in December, 1874, in the twentieth year of her age. She was a girl of studious habits, and with a strong love for music and literature. Her death, in the bloom of early womanhood, was an event which caused not only sorrow and sadness to the immediate circle of friends and relatives, but to a large number of acquaintances. Two other daughters, Elizabeth and Josephine, are married, and live in Randolph County.
Mr. Burke has been joined in his political principles to the Democratic party. He was bred in that school, and as far as has been consistent with his notions of what was for the best good of the country, he has supported Democratic candidates. He, however, rather stands upon an independent platform. He is liberal and patriotic in his views, selecting the candidates for his suffrage according to their fitness, in his best judgment, for the office. Mr. Burke has been long and honorably connected with the march of improvement in his part of the County. His present position in society is due to his own efforts. He is a man of extended general information, and he illustrates the fact that the life of the farmer is not necessarily divorced, as has sometimes been asserted, from the higher avenues of intelligence and thought, and that, though he be a tiller of the soil, he may yet possess the sound accomplishments of an educated man. [Source: "An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys.", W.R. Brink & Co., pub 1875 - tr. by By K.T.]
Alexander Burnett (DECEASED)
At the time of the death of Alexander Burnett, in February, 1868, he was one of the foremost citizens of the northern part of Randolph County. He was born in the County Armagh, Ireland, February the first, 1813, and came to America with his father when thirteen years of age, settling in South Carolina. October, 1835, he was married to Martha J. Parsons, of English descent, born in Anson County, North Carolina. In 1839, Mr. Burnett came to Randolph County, and entered land in Township 4-7. He engaged in farming, and some three or four years afterward opened a store, which, in connection with farming, he carried on till the time of his death. The precinct in which he lived was known for several years as Burnett's precinct. He was a man of excellent business capacity, of popular manners, and honest and upright. The old homestead is still occupied by his family.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]
Burnett, Andrew lived in Baldwin. He was born in Ireland and came to the US at age 2. 02 Jun 1853 he married Rhoda Preston the d/o Daniel. Their children were: Daniel F, W J, Andrew W, Robert A, James P and CC. Andrew's father was also named Andrew. He was born in Tyrone Co Ireland and married there to Ann Wilson. Upon arriving in the US the family settled in Abbyville Dist SC for 16 years. Coming to RC in 1840. Other children of Andrew Sr and Ann were: James, William, Alexander, John, Francis, Andrew and Wilson. (1894)
Burns, Stewart was born 22 Jun 1793 in Co Antrum, Ireland. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. He dies in 1865. Stewart married Sarah Gillespie on 07 Mar 1820 in SC. They came to RC in 1830. Sarah was born 03 Aug 1802 in Chester CO, SC and died in 1890 in RC. They had 12 children. In 1894 the following were living: James G, David P, William G, Sarah M, Eliza F, Nancy L, Samuel, Joseph, John S and Archibald. (1894)
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