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Randolph County Illinois
Genealogy and History


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

Campbell, William H was born 12 Aug 1845 in RC. On 16 Feb 1874 he married Pauline Schuline, who was born in NY. Their children were: Mary C, Albert J, William H, Anna V and Agatha A. William's father was Samuel, born in SC and died in 1856 in RC. His mother was Nancy Glasgow, born in Sc and died in RC in 1876. Samuel had 5 sons and 3 daughters (1894)
Collier, William W was a saddle maker in Chester. He was born in Wayne Co, MO near Fredericktown on 12 Sep 1847. He opened a store in RC in 1870. He married on 31 Mar 1874 to Angelique Smith the d/o David and Frances. William's children were: Minnie C, Lelia S, Byron S, Mamie, John (d inf) and Elbert (d Inf). William's father was Miles H, who owned an estate and slaves in MO before he moved to Carlyle, IL. He died in Chester in 1882 while visiting his son. His mother was Mary S Short who did in St Louis. MO in 1886. Miles had 9 children. (1894)

Chambers, William G.
Mr. Chambers was born in Township 5-6, of this County, November 6th, 1830. When about seventeen he was wounded by the accidental discharge of a gun, from the effects of which it became necessary to amputate his left leg. Being rendered a cripple for life, he determined to devote his attention more exclusively to books. At the age of nineteen he was qualified to teach, a business which he followed from six to nine months per year, till he moved to Sparta in 1859. In 1861 he was appointed Postmaster under Mr. Lincoln's administration. He was removed at the beginning of that of Mr. Johnson, but was reappointed under the same President, and with this slight exception has held the office from 1861 to the present date, he has made the people a splendid Postmaster, being faithful, accurate and prompt.
1859, March 1st., he was joined in marriage to Miss Belle Tenant, the daughter of James Tenant, by his wife, formerly Miss Ellen McCormic, who arrived in this County from Tennessee in 1844.
William, Mr. Chambers' father, was born in South Carolina, August 20th, 1788. He was an old veteran of the war of 1812, and was twice married in South Carolina. His second wife, Mr. Chambers' mother, was Miss Jane Hopper. In 1822 he emigrated to this County, bringing his family with him, which consisted at that time of his wife and four daughters, two by each wife. Two of these are yet living, viz.: Mrs. Lucinda Wilson, of Perry County, and Mrs. Mary Osborne, own sister to Mr. Chambers, of Sparta. The family circle was further increased after settlement in this County by the birth of several children, and there are living of this number four sons and one daughter: Mrs. Phebe E. Lewis, David L., William G., Thomas A., and Joseph T., all residing in or within the immediate vicinity of Sparta. Three of these, Thomas, David and Joseph, were soldiers of the Union army during the late civil war, and each received honorary commissions for bravery and gallant bearing on the field of battle.
The father of these died in 1840, on the home place, first settled on coming to the County. While in South Carolina he worked at the tailor's trade, a business which he thoroughly mastered. Farming was his principal business after he came to Illinois. He was a splendid "axe-man," and excelled in the art of dressing timbers with the old "broad-axe," and, therefore, his services were indispensable in his community in the event of a house or bam raising. Though he did not become wealthy he attained the object sought, a competency. He was of a good nature, cheerful, kind and hopeful. His wife survived him a number of years, dying in 1860. She was a member of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and was a devoted Christian, wife and mother.
Mr. Chambers' grandfather, David Chambers, and his wife Mary, were both natives of Ireland, and arrived in this country during the old times of the colonies. They settled in South Carolina, where they reared up their family in respectability, and there died at a good old age.[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]

Charles, Benjamin Hynes, Jr., lawyer; born, Chester, ILL., Apr. 26, 1866; son of Benjamin Hynes and Achsah Susan (Holmes) Charles; graduated from Westminster College, Fulton, Mo., A.B., 1885; taught school, 1885-88; studied law, 1888-91, graduating from Law Department, Yale University, LL.B., 1891; married, Keokuk, Ia., June 30, 1903, Nancy McCandless Home; one son: Benjamin Hynes, ILL. Admitted to bar, 1892, and since engaged in practice; senior member of law firm of Charles & Lackey (W. G. Lackey), 1898-1900; second associate city counselor, 1903-05; first associate city counselor, 1905-10; since in private practice. Member American Bar Association, Missouri State Bar Assn., St. Louis Bar Association, Civic League. Democrat. Presbyterian. Club: City. Favorite recreation: fishing. Office: 604-605 Merchants-Laclede Bldg. Residence: 20 Parkland Pl. (Source: The Book of St. Louisans, Publ. 1912. Transcribed by Charlotte Slater)

Chestnutwood, Jonathan
The Hon. Jonathan Chestnutwood, the present representative in the State Legislature for the district comprising the Counties of Monroe, Randolph, and Perry, is now among the oldest residents of Evansville. He has been a prominent business man in the history of the town, and has taken an active part in its improvement, and growth. Throughout the County, he is known as a public man of sincerity and integrity. Mr. Chesnutwood is born of mingled English and Irish stock. His father, Samuel Chesnutwood, was of English ancestry, though born in America. The family settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and there Samuel Chesnutwood married Hannah Hughs, a lady of Irish parentage, but Pennsylvania birth. This marriage took place about the year 1796. The home of the family was in Pennsylvania till some time about the year 1814, when Samuel Chesnutwood removed with his family to Ohio, and settled near Canton, in Stark County. Previous to this, during the residence of the family in Pennsylvania, several children had been born. In Ohio, on the 25th of November, the year 1825, occurred the birth of Jonathan Chesnutwood, the subject of this biography.
Stark County had been a comparatively wild and unsettled part of Ohio at the time his father had first taken up his residence in it, but by 1825, when Jonathan was born, the youngest child of the family, it was tolerably well improved. There were eight brothers and sisters older than himself. The neighborhood schools furnished ordinary means for obtaining an early education. The quick perception and ready memory of the young student enabled him to make the most of these advantages, and toward the close of the year 1847, he went to Marietta, and was in attendance upon the sessions of the college at that place. He remained here three years, during which time his attention was devoted to the pursuit of classical and scientific studies. After leaving college, he visited Lawrence County, in Southern Ohio, and entered there in partnership with his brother. The firm here ran a furnace, and carried on a general merchandising trade. Mr. Chesnutwood had especial charge of the store, but also assisted in the management of the furnace. This partnership was closed up in the year 1852, and the latter part of the same year forms the date of Mr. Chestnutwood's first coming to Randolph County. The locality of Evansville had been recommended to him as a good place for selling goods. Mr. Chesnutwood accordingly settled at Evansville, then a place of insignificant proportions. He brought with him a large stock of goods which he intended to dispose of, and then probably return to Ohio. The town offered, however, so many advantages as a business point, that Mr. Chesnutwood concluded to remain. He carried on for some years an extensive mercantile business. His store was the only one in the place, and attracted customers from a large district of country, while his stock of goods may be said to have been the finest and most complete at that time anywhere in the County. It may be supposed that Mr. Chesnutwood made a good store keeper. He was social and popular in his manners, enterprising in his disposition, liberal in his dealings, and accurate and reliable in his business habits. He continued in the mercantile business till 1862, the period of the late civil war between North and South, when he disposed of his store and stock of goods to other parties. nIt was while he was engaged in the store that his marriage took place. The event was celebrated on the 10th of January, 1856, at Dresden, Navarro County, Texas, where the relatives of Mrs. Chesnutwood still principally reside. The bride was Amanda Hartzell, a native of Stark County, Ohio, and the sister of the Hon. William Hartzell, the present Member of Congress for the district in which Randolph County is embraced.
Mr. Chestnutwood's attention was directed toward the legal profession while a student at college in Ohio. He read law there for a period of about two years, but never applied for admission to
the bar by reason of his time being taken up with other business pursuits. While engaged in the real estate business, since closing up the store, Mr. Chesnutwood has at intervals continued his legal studies. From his first residence in the County he has taken an active part in political affairs. His first vote for President was cast for Taylor, a Whig candidate, but subsequent to this he has, on all occasions, supported the candidates of the Democratic party, with whose principles he has warmly sympathized, and towards whose success he has labored. In the fall of 1874, his name was presented as the Democratic candidate for the State Legislature, and he was elected to represent, with his colleague, the Hon. Joseph W. Rickert, of Monroe, the Counties of Randolph, Monroe, and Perry. In the Legislature, Mr. Chestnutwood performed his part with credit. He was always found in his place, and secured the passage of bills of local importance to Randolph County.
Mr. Chesnutwood is a citizen of public spirit and enterprise, and Evansville owes to him much of its progress in the way of improvements. He became a resident of the place when its importance was far less than at present, and in its development he has taken a leading part. But, while interested in local enterprises, Mr. Chesnutwood is a man whose attention has been claimed by a wider range of subjects. The honest administration of the affairs of the County has found in him a warm friend. He has not hesitated to oppose error. Naturally warm in his sympathies, and outspoken in his views, he has maintained a manly and decided position on questions of State and national politics, and whoever else might hesitate and debate, Jonathan Chesnutwood has always had his convictions of the right, and has always acted in accordance with them.[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]

Clendenin, C.C.
C.C. Clendenin, merchant at Lebanon, Mo., and son of Ephraim R. and Pauline (Conway) Clendenin, was born in Randolph Co., Ill., March 25, 1847. The parents were both natives of Randolph County, Ill., the father born in or near Rockwood and the mother at Old Kaskaskia. The maternal grandfather, Clement C. Conway, was born in Ireland, and immigrated to South Carolina at an early date. From there he moved to Kaskaskia, Ill. He was a hatter by trade, which occupation he followed the principal part of his life. He died on the Ohio River, in 1852, of cholera. The grandfather Clendenin died in Randolph County, Ill. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits for several years in Old Liberty, and was one of the first business men of that place. He resided on a farm the most of his time. The father of our subject lived and died in Randolph County, Ill. In his youth he learned the trade of ship carpenter, which he followed until 1862, when he enlisted in the late war, but the quota being full, he was appointed by Lincoln as enrolling officer for the Southern Illinois District, which position he was filling at the time of his death, which occurred September 20, 1864. The mother is still living, and resides in Walnut, Kas. They were the parents of seven children, four now living: Emma G., wife of James Miln, of Cairo; Colburn C., Charles M. and Adelle. Those deceased were named Sydney, Penelope and Clara. C.C. Clendenin was raised in Liberty (now Rockwood) Ill., where he received a common-school education. He worked on the farm until the death of his father, in 1864, when he served an apprenticeship at the trade of stone cutting, which he followed for twelve years, and worked in the meantime on some of the largest State buildings in Illinois. He assisted in building the Springfield State House, the Southern Illinois Insane Asylum, Normal University of Carbondale, and the penitentiary at Chester. He was contracting for about five years in Illinois. In 1879 he took the contract for all the stone work on St. John¬ís Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Chester, Ill., the finest church building in the county. In 1881 he took the contract for the stone work for the Shiloh Hill College building, in Randolph County, Ill., and the insane asylum on the Randolph County farm. In September, 1881, he came to Lebanon, Mo., and here engaged in the monumental and tombstone business with a partner. This he carried on for two years, then sold out, and was elected constable Lebanon Township, serving two years. In 1886 he engaged in his present business with L.J. Kaffenberger, and the firm is known as Kaffenberger & Co. Mr. Clendenin was married December 20, 1871, to Miss Maggie L. Gordon, of Jackson County, Ill. To them was born one child, Etta, whose birth occurred October 23, 1872. He is a member of the K.L., National Lodge of Combined Industries, and Sons of Veterans. He is a member of the city council, and president of the town board. Mr. Clendenin is a strong advocate of organized labor, and it was the labor element that elected him to the position of city alderman. He was a delegate to the national convention of the United Labor party that met at Cincinnati, Ohio, May 15, 1888, which nominated Streeter and Cunningham for President and Vice-President. [Source:  "History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps and Dent Counties, Missouri", Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889; Transcribed by K. Mohler]

Clendinen, William H.
William H. Clendinen, now one of the prominent business men of Rockwood, is connected with one of the old families of the County. James Clendinen, a Kentuckian and the grandfather of William H. Clendinen, came to Randolph County in the year 1808, and settled in Township 6-7, about half a mile west of Diamond Cross. John Clendinen, his great-grandfather, was a Revolutionary soldier. James Clendinen married Margaret Heard. Joseph Heard was the first one of this family to come to Illinois. He first settled on Garrison Hill, near Kaskaskia, in the year 1801.  In 1837, James Clendinen moved with his family to Township 8-5, and settled on Section 5. One of his sons was John H. Clendinen, who is still living, and is a well-known and widely respected citizen of that part of the County. John H. Clendinen married Mary E. Vickers, and by this union was born William H. Clendinen, the subject of this biography, on the 10th of January, 1836. He was brought up in the neighborhood of Rockwood, his father living two miles north of that place. His early education was acquired in the country schools of the vicinity. At sixteen, he visited Chester, and was there at school for a year. The succeeding two years, when seventeen and eighteen, he taught school not far from Chester. He was absent one year in Cincinnati, attending a commercial college of that city.
His mercantile life began in the year 1856, when he entered the store of Hermon C. Cole & Co., of Chester, as clerk, a position which he retained till he came to Rockwood. Mr. Clendinen has been in business at Rockwood since 1857. At that date he entered the store of J. P. Mann, in the capacity of a salesman. He kept this position only for a year, and in 1858, formed a partnership with Mr. S. T. Jones, and carried on the mercantile business for two years and a half. The interest of Mr. Jones was purchased in 1861, by Benjamin Richards, and the business of the concern has since been carried on under the firm name of "Richards and Clendinen." The store does the largest business in Rockwood, and its trade takes in a large section of country in Randolph and Jackson Counties.
Mr. Clendinen's marriage occurred November the 23d, 1858, to Emily C., the daughter of S. T. Jones, and the grand-daughter of Colonel Gabriel Jones, one of the early and prominent settlers of Randolph County. Colonel Jones came to Randolph County in the year 1817, and settled a mile west of Steelesville. He was a Kentuckian, from Adair County. He obtained his title of Colonel in the Black Hawk war. He represented the County in the General Assembly, was Mayor of the City of Chester, and otherwise filled stations of honor and responsibility. Mr. and Mrs. Clendinen have had four children. Three, Walter H., Roscoe T., and Daisy G., are living. Mr. Clendinen has been a Republican in politics. As a business man, he is enterprising, obliging, and popular.[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]

Cole, Hermon C.(DECEASED)
Success is the creature of energy and tact. Men may sometimes blunder into fame or fortune, but, unless they possess sterling qualities, the sequel to their lives is apt to prove that they were unworthily intrusted with great advantages. Opportunities come to every man, but only a few seize upon them, and rise with them to success. It is not because their opportunities are greater, but that they possess the qualities which in all ages have been recognized as masters of success, and by which they are enabled to take advantage of that "--tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads to fortune; Neglected, all the voyage of their lives Is bound in shallows and in miseries."
These truths, which have been happily expressed in the saying that "every man is the architect of his own fortune," are, perhaps, nowhere more decidedly manifest than in the business activity of new countries. It is there that energy, enterprise, and administrative ability come to the front. The field lies open to every one alike, and the highest success is reached by the man of greatest enterprise and strongest purpose. Such a man was the late Hermon Camp Cole. As a business man he was known prominently, not only through Southern Illinois, but elsewhere; and while by his enterprise he built up an extensive business, and acquired an ample fortune, he at the same time developed the resources of a large section of country, and was of material aid in promoting the interests of Randolph County.
He was a native of Ovid, Seneca County, New York, where he was born on the 9th of May, 1813. The family with which he was connected was of English and Welsh descent, and its first members came to America at a period early in the history of the colonies. The family had its home in New York State for several generations, and was well represented in the army of the patriots during the struggle of the thirteen colonies for their independence. Nathan Cole, the father of Hermon C. Cole, was born in Dutchess County, New York, March the 7th, of the year 1783, and afterward moved to Seneca County. His second wife, the mother of Hermon C. Cole, was Sarah Scott. She was born at Ridgefield, Connecticut, in the year 1790, and was four years old when her family moved to Orange County, where they located within twenty miles of New York City. Her father, Gideon Scott, in the year 1801, moved to Seneca County. This part of New York was then a wilderness. But few settlements had been made. There were no roads - only cow-paths led through the forest, with marked trees here and there along the route to point the way. Nathan Cole and Sarah Scott were married in the year 1807. They became the parents of seven sons. Hermon C. was the third. Six of these were born in New York, and one in St. Louis. These children were Abner B.; Burt S.; Hermon C.; Oliver; James Monroe; James Madison, and Nathan. The last named is now a prominent merchant of St. Louis, and was formerly Mayor of that city.
In the year 1821, Nathan Cole and his family left New York and came to St. Louis. This city was then a place of comparatively small importance. Nathan Cole engaged actively in business in St. Louis and East St. Louis (then known as Illinoistown), and was the first regular pork-packer in the Mississippi Valley. He died at Chester in 1840. Hermon C. Cole was eight years of age when the family took up its residence in St. Louis. His education he received principally in the city, but when eighteen or nineteen, he was a student for three months at Shurtleff College, at Alton. He began active business for himself as a merchant in a small way in East St. Louis. He was then about twenty years of age. He began without capital. In 1837, the whole family came to Chester. Here his father, Nathan Cole, erected a flouring mill, the first ever established in the town, while H. C. opened a store, and engaged in the merchandising business. Chester had only been founded a few years previously, and the building of the mill marked a new era in its prosperity. Additional improvements in the mill were made two years after, and the exportation of flour to the southern markets was begun.
About 1840, Hermon C. Cole became interested in the mill as a partner of Abner Cole. Having adopted the milling business, he prosecuted it with great energy and activity, and in the course of a few years the brands of the establishment became of the highest repute, not only in the West, but also through other sections of the United States. Wheat was little grown in Randolph County at the time of the establishment of the mill at Chester. Its cultivation, under the encouragement given by the Messrs. Cole, gradually increased, until it became the staple crop of the County. In June, 1844, Mr. Cole was married to Miss Emily Cox, of Stamford, Connecticut. After he became interested in the mill, he continued the mercantile business, which remained in his hands till the year 1867, when he disposed of it to William Schuchert. Mr. Cole subsequently became sole proprietor of the mill by purchase of the interest of his brother Abner. A few years since he took into co-partnership with him his two brothers, Charles B. and Zachary T. Cole, and extended his business by opening, in connection with the already large milling interests, the banking house of H. C. Cole & Co.
Mr. Cole's first wife died in October, 1859. February, 1862, he was married the second time to Mrs. Sarah J. Flannigan. He had in all eleven children, six by the first and five by the second wife. Their names are Charles B., Zachary T., Alice E., Henry C., Eunice E., Edward E.; and by the second marriage Cora V., Grace, Hermon, Newell, and Nathan. Mr. Cole ended his long and active life on the twentieth of October, 1874, at his residence in Upper Alton, Illinois. Typhoid Pneumonia was the immediate cause of his death.
The business of the firm is now carried on by the sons, Charles B. Cole, Zachary T. Cole, and Henry C. Cole. A general banking business has been carried on at the mill since 1872. In the fall of 1875, a more commodious bank was opened on the hill in Chester, where this branch of the business of the firm is now carried on.
Mr. Cole's record shows him to have been the best type of a business man. In promoting his own interest, he made the country more prosperous around him. The part he performed in the work of aiding the agricultural interests of Randolph and the surrounding counties, was most important. He was mainly instrumental in developing the growing capacity of a section of southern Illinois, now producing the finest quality of wheat raised anywhere in the United States. He sought excellence in everything, and his brands of flour were known and appreciated in all parts of the country. Few men in one county have been the means of doing so large a share of usefulness, and acquiring a reputation so extended. His name was a synonym for everything that was honest and sincere, and while the early years of his life had been greatly embarrassed by the reverses peculiar to those times, he lived to see all of his efforts crowned with the highest earthly success, and to realize that his life had not been spent in vain, in the great amount of good he had accomplished for others. Hermon C. Cole was of slight, yet handsome and manly, build, with a face which spoke most elequently [sic] the warmth of a true heart, and an eye which sparkled with kindness and good-will. His vivacity did not diminish with advancing years. His influence on society was always exerted for good. With an unstinted hand, he aided every work of charity and religion. He was loved, honored and trusted by all who knew him, and his calm and peaceful death was cheered with the hope of the humble and childlike Christian.[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]

Conner, W.S.
There are few citizens of American blood, native born in Randolph County, who date their birth back as far as does Mr. W. S. Conner, a resident of the southern part of Township five-eight. He was born within a quarter of a mile of his present residence, in the year 1815. He was the son of Henry Conner, who was born in Maryland and moved to Kentucky when ten years old, about the year 1795. The Conner family is of Irish extraction, the name was formerly spelled "O'Connor," in which form it will be easily recognized as belonging to a numerous family in Ireland. Henry Conner was about twenty-two when he came to Illinois from Kentucky in the year 1807. He located at Kaskaskia, then the central point and commercial emporium of the Illinois settlements, and for three years worked for Colonel Pierre Minard. While here he married Miss Elizabeth Barnet, a native of Madison County, Kentucky. Henry Conner then moved to Monroe County, and settled on a farm in the American Bottom, at a point four miles south of what is now known as Chalfin Bridge. He continued farming here till about the year 1812, when a fire swept away his buildings, whereupon he returned to Randolph County, and settled on the farm now owned and occupied by William Phegley. Here on the twenty-first of October, 1815, Wiliam [sic] S. Conner was born, the third of a family of seven children. Five of these, three sons and two daughters, reached maturity. All are now deceased with the exception of Mr. Conner, who is therefore the sole representative of the family in his generation.  Henry Conner was a man of prominence and influence in Randolph County, in his day. In 1814 he was elected Sheriff of the County, when the jurisdiction of that office extended from the boundaries of St. Clair County to the mouth of the Ohio. He filled the office of Sheriff for seven successive years. He was United States Marshall for the district in which Randolph County was included, under the administration of John Quincy Adams. He filled several other offices, and during his life-time took a leading part in public affairs. He was an active Whig in politics, and was popular with the members of that party. He died in March, 1832, at Kaskaskia, and his remains now repose in the old cemetery at that place.
William S. Conner lived in the County till the death of his father. He then went to St. Louis to embark in business for himself, but after a stay there of only a few months he struck out for the Illinois river country, whose settlement had then but recently been begun. The localities which he traversed (in 1833) were new and uncultivated, among which were Peoria and Tazewell counties, now among the richest and most populous districts of Illinois. This section was his home for four years. The lead mines of the Galena region next offered themselves as a field of enterprise. Here Mr. Conner spent twenty-one years in mining lead, principally in south-west Wisconsin and Iowa. He acquired an intimate and practical knowledge of the processes of mining, but met with varied vicissitudes of fortune. It was during his residence in Wisconsin that he married Nancy Stonier, a native of the State of Pennsylvania. In 1858 he returned to Randolph County, and settled within a quarter of a mile from the place of his birth, on land inherited from his father. Mr. and Mrs. Conner have had six children, of whom three are living, Harriet Louisa, Alice, and Lucy. The oldest daughter, Harriet Louisa, was married to Charles Phegley, and now lives in Pettis County, Missouri.[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]

Cox, John M.
Few men have lived a longer period in Randolph County than John M. Cox. He is one of the earliest and oldest settlers. His recollection carries him back nearly to the opening of the present century, and almost the entire part of his life he has spent in the immediate vicinity of his present residence, on the banks of the Okaw, in Township 4-7. He is a relic of the good old times when settlers were scarce in Randolph County, when deer roamed over the prairies, and when men were taken for what they were worth, and gained their places in society by their shrewdness, their skill in hunting, and their readiness in the use of the rifle.
John M. Cox is the son of Absalom Cox and Jane McBride. Both were born in South Carolina, but their parents were from Ireland. Their marriage was celebrated in South Carolina, and there the three oldest of a family of eight, children were born. John M. was born at Abbeville, South Carolina, January the eleventh, 1802. In the year 1804, when John M. was two years old, the Cox family emigrated to Illinois. They came in company with James and Archibald Thompson, William McBride, Robert McDonald, and several others. The Cox's settled at once, stopping only a few days in Kaskaskia, on an old claim on the banks of the Okaw, obtaining the right to settle there from General Edgar, of Kaskaskia. This was the spot where Cox's Ferry was afterward established. William McBride and Robert McDonald settled at the same time on the river, a short distance below. There was no settlement at the time farther up the river. In a few years Absalom Cox established a ferry across the Okaw, known to this day as Cox's Ferry, and in operation till recently. Absalom Cox became an important and influential member of the pioneer settlement. He was selected as Captain of a militia company, and served in the war with Great Britain in 1812-1815. He was a Ranger, and scoured the border country to protect it against the Indians. He died on the farm on which he first settled, in the year 1844.
The families in the Cox neighborhood early formed a school which John M. attended. Farming has been his occupation. Hunting was a favorite pursuit, and much of his early life was spent in the woods where game was then found in abundance. Mr. Cox was accounted a skillful marksman, and was known for the steadiness of his aim through all the country around. In the fall of 1827, he married Mary McBride, the daughter of John McBride. At that time he bought the place which he now owns, of his uncle, and settled down as a farmer, and here he has resided ever since. He owned a farm of about two hundred and fifty acres of land. His wife died in the year 1852. Of his nine children only two are now living. William resides on the old homestead, and Jane is the wife of John Nelson.
It is now over seventy years that Mr. Cox has lived in one locality in Randolph County. William is the only brother living, and nearly all of those who were active in public affairs in Mr. Cox's best days have passed away, and given place to another generation. The record of John M. Cox has been that of an honest and upright man. Not many persons are destined to spend so long a life continuously in one place, and in a history extending over so long a term of years, there are also few who have not made greater mistakes or created more bitter enemies. He was born and raised a Democrat, and though he has witnessed the rise and fall of other political organizations since 1824, when he first voted for President, he has constantly cast his ballot for Democrats, and adhered to the principles with which he began his political life.[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]

Craig, James
Mr. Craig was born in Scotland, Jan. 13th, 1804, was there raised to manhood, and in 1833, he landed in the United States of America. After stopping a short time in the State of New York, he came on to Randolph County. He worked one summer for William Hayes, in Flat Prairie, and in the fall of the same year, he entered the home place where he now lives, in Township 4-5. This he improved to some extent, then returned to Scotland, in 1839 and while there was joined in marriage to Miss Margaret Crawford. He returned to his home in this County, in the spring of 1840, where he has lived continuously ever since. This farm now embraces 280 acres, is a good soil, and is well improved.
Mr. Craig has raised a nice, respectable family, and there are three children now living, viz.: Robert J., William C. and Mrs. Elizabeth B. (Jonas) Covey, all of this section of the County.
Religiously, Mr. Craig is a Presbyterian, also his wife and family, and his ancestry, as far back as present information extends. His father, Robert, was also a native of Scotland. He married there, Mrs. Carswell, formerly a Miss Stevenson. She had one child, now Mrs. Watt, by her first husband. She has raised five children by her second husband, viz.: The eldest, John, died about the age of nineteen. Robert is known as a leading business gentleman, of the City of Glasgow. William and Mrs. Elizabeth (Robt.) Young, died in Perry County, Ills.[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]

Crawford, Bryce was born 1815 in Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1838 he came to the US and RC. He was a merchant. In 1875 he moved to Sparta. On 10 Jul 1840, he married Marion Barr, who was also born in Ayrshire, Scotland. She was the d/o Andrew and Jane. Marion died in Aug 1892. Their children were: William D, Jane, Nellie, Andrew, Mary, Margaret, Marion and Andrew (d as an infant). Bryce's father was William, born in 1767 in Aryshire, Scotland and died in 1842. He was a maltster. His mother was Helen Beverige also born in Aryshire. William had 14 children: Andrew, John, William, David, Robert, George, Henry, James, Ellen, Benjamin, Bryce, Jane, Margaret and Mary Ann. (1894)

Crawford, James
Mr. Crawford is a native of Scotland. His father was a poor man, but very industrious, and a devoted lover of literature. He took great care in surrounding his family with literary influences, and in training them up in the fear of their Creator. Mr. Crawford early evinced a marked love for books, and made history a special study. In the course of his reading he familiarized himself with the history of this country. He became, in consequence, attached to the principles and ideas of our popular institutions, and resolved, the first favorable opportunity, to visit the United States, in order to become familiar personally with the practical workings of our mode of government. When about twenty-five years of age he carried this resolution into effect. He landed at New York City, came down the Ohio River, and arrived in this County in 1838. He was accompanied in this journey by two brothers, Brice and Benjamin. After spending two years working by contract, railroad grading, he bought land in Township 4-5, and settled down to farm life. In June, 1840, he was joined in marriage to Miss Marion Garven, with whom he was well acquainted, and to whom he had plighted his faith in their native land. At his solicitation she came to this country, and they were married in this County. Her mother was formerly Miss Margaret Stephenson. She soon followed this daughter to her home in this County, and lived with her till removed to another mode of being, dying at a good old age.
Mr. Crawford has really been a citizen of this County since 1838. At that time there were very few settlers within his community, principally from the Southern States, and mostly settled along in the skirts of timber and close to the creeks. The prairies, then clothed with rich, wild verdure, and strange, beautiful flowers, long since passed away under the heavy tread of civilization, was very little occupied. He built his home in a charming skirt of the prairie, and began the work of cultivation and improvement. On his way to Illinois he was told by many that it was an extensive, marshy grave-yard, and that the deadly miasmas would soon shatter his health, and consign him to an early tomb. He found it instead almost an Eden of beauty, and has always enjoyed here good health till he underwent the exposures and hardships of soldier life during the late Civil War. He went out in the fall of 1861, as a Union soldier in Company F, Tenth Missouri Infantry - a regiment made up of a number of companies left over after the quota required from Illinois had been made up. He was elected First Lieutenant of his company, and went into active service. His health soon became so seriously impaired as to render his resignation absolutely necessary, after which he was honorably discharged, when he returned home to his family.
Mr. Crawford has made for his family a beautiful and attractive home, placed on the shelves of his library a fine assortment of valuable and instructive books, and has gathered around him all the refining and entertaining influences essential in rendering his home happy. His faithful wife is still living to cheer his declining days, and has always been, as she is yet, a ray of light to chase away the shadows that may threaten the family hearth. They are both members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he is an elder, and entertain liberal feelings towards Christians of other denominations. They have only one son, William J., a young man of fine intelligence, and a member of the same church as his parents. He married Alice Scout, formerly of Belleview, Eaton County, Michigan, and the daughter of Major Scout, an officer of the United States service during the war of 1812.
Mr. Crawford's father was named William. He married Miss Ellen Beverage, also a native of Scotland. He had by this wife fourteen children, ten sons and four daughters, all raised excepting one. They were well-educated, and all lovers of literature. He died in the old country, and his wife and surviving children all came to this country. She died in this County at the residence of her daughter Margaret, the wife of James Craig, a well-known old settler who lives near Sparta. There are now in this County besides Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Craig, Andrew, Brice, Benjamin, and Mrs. Jane Muir. Henry is in Kansas. George and Mrs. Mary A. Watson died in this County, and Robert in Kansas. These children were a valuable accession to the society of the County. They were and are patriotic, opposed to slavery, and lovers of Republican institutions. As an illustration of the general feeling of this family during the dark days of the late Rebellion, we mention the fact that Mr. Crawford, besides himself, had twelve nephews in the Union army. They all served their country honorably and faithfully, were all honorably discharged, and three only were wounded.[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]


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