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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

Conrad Dehmer
Dehmer, Conrad was born in Prussia. In 1852 he came to the US to St Louis, then on to Red Bud in 1859. He was unmarried as of 1894. Once settled he sent for his mother, who came to RC and kept house for him until she died at age 65. (1894)

Jacques Timothy Boucher DeMonbreum

DeMonbreum, Jacques Timothy Boucher was born in 1747 in Quebec, Canada. He and his wife, Therese Archange Gibault were very early settlers in Kaskaskia, and all five of his children were born there. He was a hunter and trapper and eventually became the first white settler in the area of Nashville, Davidson Co., Tenn. He died in Nashville in 1826. The DeMonbreun family remained in Tenn. until shortly after the Civil War, when my g-grandfather, William Rains DeMonbreun returned to Ill. (he was the g-grandson of Jacques DeMonbreun ). In 1878 he married Lyda Hammer in Pekin, Tazewell Co., Ill, and the family eventually settled in Alton, Madison Co. Ill. [Submitted by Sherron Logan]

Louis Derousse, Of Chester
The settlement of the Derousse family in Illinois was coincident with the founding of Kaskaskia. The year 1686, as near as can be ascertained, was the date of the emigration of the family from France and their coming to Illinois. In France the home of the family was in the village of St. Pierre, and from this circumstance the early members, of the family in Illinois were known as St. Pierre Derousse. From this first representative of the Derousses, who came to Illinois from France by way of Canada, is descended the most numerous French family in the State of Illinois, if not in the whole Mississippi Valley. It numbers about eighty voters in Randolph County alone. The Derousse family has borne an active part in the history of the American Bottom around Kaskaskia for nearly two hundred years, and have proved themselves of vigorous and hardy stock. They have multiplied and increased, while other French families, once prominent, have dwindled away and become nearly extinct.
Louis Derousse is the son of Pierre K. Derousse. The maiden name of his mother, whose family came from Canada, was Pelagie Richard. Mr. Derousse was born at Kaskaskia, August the twenty-eighth, 1816. At sixteen he was bound as an apprentice to the cabinet-making business, and worked at that till he was twenty-one. He was elected Constable. The position of Deputy Sheriff he filled for eighteen years under Sheriffs Campbell and Steele. He was married in November, 1842, to Elizabeth Unger, a member of a wealthy family of Kaskaskia, of Pennsylvania German descent. After he was married he was engaged extensively in the wood business at Kaskaskia Landing, on the Mississippi. In 1852 Mr. Derousse went to California, and there spent a year. His first wife having died in February, 1860, he was married in April, 1863, to Mary Mauger, who was born in New Jersey, but of French blood. By his first wife Mr. Derousse had nine children, of whom four are living. There have been four children by the second marriage.
In March, 1870, Mr. Derousse moved to Chester, of which place he is now a resident. He had previously, in the year 1865, removed to Belleville with the intention of making his home in that city, but he afterward disposed of the fine property he had purchased at that place and returned to Kaskaskia. Mr. Derousse has been engaged in numerous business enterprises, and owns a large amount of property at Chester and in the American Bottom. He is a prominent business man of the County, and a citizen widely known and respected.[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 E. Detrich
Hon. John E. Detrich was born of a parentage in only medium circumstances, had in his early years no very favored opportunities, but inherited a full amount of natural energy and will and power, and has pushed his way bravely upward in life. The date of his nativity was June 7th, 1820, and the place, Mifflinburg, Union County, Pennsylvania. In the spring o f 1839 he arrived in Sparta, then called Columbus, and assisted in the publication and management of the Columbus Herald, the first newspaper published in this place. The following year he became both editor and proprietor, changing the name of this sheet to the Sparta Democrat, the town having changed its name during the time. The paper was conducted in the interests of the Democratic party, during the campaign between Van Buren and Harrison, and through its influence principally, Randolph County changed its political complexion from Whiggery to Democracy.
Mr. Detrich embarked in the mercantile business in 1851, gave it his personal attention several years, and bad the business conducted up to 1865. In 1850 he was elected to the Lower House of the State Legislature, and took his seat the first Monday in January of 1851. In 1852 he was elected to the State Senate for the District, including the Counties of Randolph, Perry, Jackson and Washington. In 1858 he was returned to the Lower House, still continuing to be the standard bearer of the colors of the Democratic party. During the month of April, 1861, he volunteered into the United States service; was elected Captain of the company that he had been instrumental in raising, and went into active service immediately on the equipment of his regiment. His first engagement was the battle of Bellmont, Mo., which was also the first battle of General Grant during our late civil war. He was afterwards in quite a number of actions, among which was that of Island No. 10. He resigned in the spring of 1862, on account of declining health, and returned home to Sparta. In May of the same year he accepted of Abraham Lincoln the appointment of Commissioner of the Board of Enrollment for the then Twelfth Congressional District, with headquarters at Alton. He resigned this position in 1864, and in 1869 was made Collector of Internal Revenue, with office at Alton. In 1873 he also resigned this position and returned home, where he is at the present time with his family.
Mr. Detrich is not now, nor has he ever been, an office-seeker. He has merely accepted office and position as they have come to him by the force of circumstances and through the direct influence of friends. Had he been willing to enter into the political arena, armed and equipped with all the chicanery of the professional office-seeker, he might have continued in public station all his life, since his advent into the State Legislature. He acts, however, on the principle, that the office should seek the man, rather than that the man should seek the office. This course is commendable, and the people would not be far wrong should they decide to support no man for office who, unsolicited, demands it at their hands.
Mr. Detrich has at hand no accurate information concerning the history of his family, farther back than his own parents, owing to the fact that they died when he was quite young. After their demise he was taken to be raised by an uncle, a brother of his mother, John P. Gutelius. His father was of German and his mother of French descent, and they each represented families which were in this country very early - during the times when the States were British colonies, but what part they took in the great war of the nation is not now known, more than that they were patriotic and strongly attached to the principles of free government and our system of liberal institutions. [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]

Thomas Devine
Devine, Thomas was born in Birmingham, England on 12 Dec 1858. He came to the US in 1873. He first settled in Jackson Co with an Uncle John then moved on to RC. 30 Jun 1885 he married Vena Bruns the d/o William and Sophia (both were from Germany and they had 6 children). Thomas' father was James, who was born in Ireland then moved to England, his wife's name was Catherine. They had 6 children. (1894)

Alexander Dickey
Mr. Dickey was born in South Carolina in 1795. Not liking the system and influences of human slavery he determined that as soon as of proper age, he would seize the first convenient opportunity of making his way to the North Western Territory, at that time already attracting some emigration. Accordingly when about twenty-three years of age, in company with his brothers, Smith, John and James, and John, Arthur, James and Alexander Hair, with their sisters Margaret (whom he afterward married), Jane and Rachel, he turned his face towards the north-west and in 1818 safely landed within the limits of Randolph County. After his marriage to Miss Hair, he settled down to farm life in Township 4-5, entering a large body of land principally located in Sections 32, 33, 34. In 1836 he built a grist mill, operated by horse-power, the first mill of the kind ever erected in the County. The people came to this mill from distances of thirty and forty miles, and would wait for days for their "turn at the hopper." This was the most noted point within the eastern part of the County, and "Dickey's Mills" were as well known among the people of three or four counties, as are any of the great manufacturing establishments to the people of a single County at the present day. In 1845 an "Up and down" saw was attached and was supplanted in 1848 by a "circular" saw. The same year he erected a large brick dwelling-house, the largest of any within the County at that time, which largely added to the popularity of thfs [sic] already popular neighborhood. This now became a real business center and social focus where the traveler stopped in his journey, and where the neighbors, not on any particular business, met by common consent to have a "social chat" on the current topics and news of the day. From ten to fifteen people could be seen here on any day besides a number of farm hands. Here also was gathered sick people and invalids in order to receive medical treatment of a physician established at this place. To all Mr. Dickey extended a hearty welcome, and for all he made room around the family hearth. He never turned the needy away from his door unsupplied, nor the hungry unfed. The charity and hospitality of that day was proverbial, and Mr. Dickey gave away his means in this form by hundreds of dollars, nor did he think at the time that he more than did his duty towards his fellow-men. Notwithstanding that he was so liberal, still he prospered, and as he gave away his substance the Lord increased it, and when he died in 1860 he left behind him a fine estate of some 800 acres of good lands. Mr. Dickey was a safe business man, never making ventures, was very retired in his disposition, and preferred the quiet of his own family circle to the noise and bustle of public gatherings. Though undemonstrative he was always true to his friends and faithful to the cause of truth and right. He early professed faith in Christ, and was ever afterwards a zealous member of the "Seceder" branch of the Presbyterian Church, now known as the Reformed Presbyterians. In his early youth he had very few educational advantages, but though his book knowledge was limited, he had in common with many others of that period a knowledge of men and measures far beyond many of the present day who are valued on account of their literary attainments. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, and after coming to Illinois assisted in the protection of the frontier white settlements from the frequent Indian raids with which they were in continual danger at that day, though the Indians regarded him as a friend, and often partook of his hospitality. Fully appreciating the importance of an early education he did what he could to confer upon his family the best education available. By the help of his amiable and energetic wife he succeeded in rearing up a family who have largely inherited the virtues of their parents, and who are well known for their respectability and business-like qualities.

All those surviving live within the corporate limits of the city of Sparta, William and James are extensively engaged in the sale of agricultural implements and all kinds of farm-machinery, and do the heaviest trade of any house of the kind in Southern Illinois. Sarah married Mr. Thomas Sproul, and Rachel married Mr. James Sproul, partners in the dry goods firm of Sproul and Bro., the largest dry goods house of Sparta. Margaret is the wife of Mr. John McNight, well known in his community as a brick manufacturer.
Alexander died in Sparta some two years ago, and his family yet reside in the city. Eliza J., died a short time after reaching the age of maturity. The mother of these was a lady of extraordinary energy and personal merit. She survived her husband some six years, and was a consistent member of the same church.

The Christian name of Mr. Dickey's father is now forgotten. He was a native of South Carolina, and his ancestry were from Ireland. He was in the "Continental" army during the whole of the Revolutionary war, first serving out his own time and then that of his brother, who was killed in battle a short time after his enlistment. He never applied for a pension, declaring that he fought for the liberties of his country and posterity, and that having secured these, he considered himself amply paid for his personal toils and sacrifices. His pension, therefore, has never been drawn, and is yet due to his descendants upon the requisite proof necessary towards establishing identity, &c.[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 Dickey, Esq.
The Dickey family are originally from Ireland. Mr. Dickey's grandfather, Robert U., and three of his brothers, John, George and David, were old continental soldiers during the American Revolution. Robert spent the principal part of his life in Pennsylvania but died in the western part of Virginia about 1836. He raised seven children, four sons and three daughters. John, Mr. Dickey's father, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and there married Miss Jane Humphrey, the daughter of Robert Humphrey, another old Continental soldier. He became the father of four children, Martha, Jane, Ann and John. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, and lived and died in the Key Stone state. Mr. Dickey, his only son, was born in the same County as his father, March 24th, 1803. He was married while a citizen of his native state to Miss Jane Treusdall of Virginia, and the daughter of John Treusdall, another old soldier of the war of 1812. When about 35 years old Mr. Dickey moved to Logan County, Ohio, remained there some fifteen years, and then came on to Randolph County, Illinois. He followed farming till about two years ago, when he moved to Sparta in order to better accommodate himself with an office, having been about that time elected as one of the two precinct Justices of the Peace. His first presidential vote was cast for General Jackson at the time he ran for the second term. After this he supported the Whig ticket while that party had an existence. When the Republican party came into being he connected himself with its interests, and has been ever faithful to its principles and regular nominees. He has raised a family of five respectable children, viz.: Mrs. Sarah I. (Ja. S.), Elliott, James A., William, Joseph N., Milton W., and all living in this County, excepting James, who resides in Logan County, Ohio. As an officer Mr. Dickey is proving himself capable and punctual. He has had an experience which if written up in detail, would make a volume, and through his past long career in life he has preserved a name that is spotless and a conscience void of offence towards his fellow-men. [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]

Andrew Douglas
The name of Douglas belongs to one of the most ancient and powerful noble families of Scotland. According to one tradition, the family is descended from one Theobald, a Fleming, to whom Arnold, abbot of Kelso, made a grant of lands on the Douglas, or Blackwater, in Lanarkshire, about the middle of the twelfth century. Another story relates that their progenitor was an unknown chief who as a reward for success in battle, received lands in the same locality about the year 770. The best historians, however, trace the record back no farther than to William de Douglas, about 1175-1213. From him in direct descent comes the men who have made the name of Douglas illustrious. "The good Sir James" Douglas fought with Bruce at Bannockburn, where he commanded a portion of the Scottish army. After Bruce's death, he was intrusted with the duty of carrying the king's heart to the Holy Land, and on the way fell in a combat with the Saracens. Then follow a long list of illustrious names. The power of the family became so great in Scotland about the time of the fifteenth century that a proverb was current to the effect that, "No man may touch a Douglas, nor a Douglas's man; for if he do, he is sure to come by the waur."
There arose several divisions of the Douglas family, among which the Angus branch was celebrated. In its members certain privileges were vested one, the right in ancient times to cast the first vote in parliament, another to lead the vanguard in battle, and also to bear the crown in public solemnities. The right to bear the Scottish crown in its coat of arms was retained by the family to the present century. The history of the family has been written out at great length, and covers nearly the entire period of Scottish history. The family has held various titles, conferred at different periods for valor in the field of battle, or services in time of peace; and in lineage has been connected with the throne itself. The Douglases were popularly divided into two branches, the Black and the Red Douglases, both of whom figure conspicuously in Scottish history. Mr. Andrew Douglas, whose name appears at the head of this sketch, is descended from the latter branch, or the Red Douglases, who, in distinction from the others were a more peaceful and agricultural people. Few families can claim the same distinguished lineage, and trace their ancestry back to a period so remote as the Dougases'. Springing up at a wild and romantic period in early Scottish history, the line is descended through a succession of bold, powerful, and warlike chiefs who were connected with every hard-fought battle whose blood ever dyed the Scottish heather. In later days history bears out the assertion that its members have become eminent in science, law and statesmanship; while a large number who bear the name of Douglas have become among the most thrifty and industrious of the people of the United States.

Andrew Douglas, the subject of this biography, was born in Roxburgshire, Scotland, within five miles of the boundary line between Scotland and England. It was in this locality that the famous battle of Chevy-Chase was fought between Earl Douglas and Lord Percy, an account of which is handed down in an old English ballad. Percy, of Northumberland, had vowed to hunt for three days in the Scottish border, without asking leave of Earl Douglas, the rightful lord of the soil. Douglas did not fail to resent the insult, and the ballad goes on to relate the hunt of Percy, and the slaughter of the deer, till  Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come, His men in armor bright; Full twenty hundred Scottish spears All marching in their sight; Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed, Most like a baron bold, Rode foremost of his company, Whose armor shone like gold. The English archers bent their bows, Their hearts were good and true; At the first flight of arrows sent, Full fourscore Scots they slew. They closed full fast on every side, No slackness was there found; And many a gallant gentleman Lay gasping on the ground. This fight did last from break of day Till setting of the sun; For when they rang the evening bell, The battle scarce was done. Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, Went home but fifty-three; The rest were slain in Chevy-Chase, Under the greenwood tree.

Andrew Douglas was the son of James Douglas, and his wife Jeannette Lowrie. The Lowries (whose family name is familiar from the old Scotch song of Annie Laurie) were a Lowland family and a hardy and vigorous race of people. Mr. Douglas was born on the sixteenth of July, 1818. He obtained a common education in the schools of the neighborhood of his birthplace. He was sent to school from six to twelve years of age, but after that period was never in a school-house in his life for the purpose of receiving instruction. Six children, three boys and three girls, composed the family. His father was a farmer and miller. He remained at home, and was employed on the farm till twenty-five, and at that age he resolved to emigrate to America. The whole family accordingly left Scotland and touched the shores of America, at New York City, in the year 1843. They at once came to Randolph County, where an uncle, Lot Douglas, had moved twelve years previously. The family first located near the school-house in Mr. Douglas' present neighborhood, on rented land now belonging to James Adams. In July, 1848, Mr. Douglas was married to Eliza Craig, the daughter of John Craig, one of the old settlers of the township. Mrs. Douglas is also of Scotch descent. She was born at Paisley, Scotland, on the thirteenth of May, 1829, and came to America in the year 1840. Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Douglas moved on property, which he had bought in Section five, Township 7-6. In 1846, he had bought one hundred and twenty acres of land, and after that entered additional tracts lying in the neighborhood. When Mr. Douglas moved here in 1849, directly succeeding his marriage, the land was in a state of uncultivation. He cut down the first tree on the site of his present residence, and put up a log cabin which forms part of the house which he now inhabits.

Mr. Douglas' start was made with but little capital. He has been one of the enterprising and progressive farmers of the neighborhood, and his industry has assisted materially in the development of the section of country in which he lives. His homestead farm is composed of three hundred and sixty acres, and in all he owns about eight hundred acres of land in Randolph County. Economy and industry have been the elements of his success. A lithographic view of his residence and finely improved farm is shown on another page. He is a man of moral worth, and inherits some of that stability of character which pre-eminently marks the Scotch race. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have had nine children, of whom five are now living, whose names are John C., Eliza S., Andrew, Sarah, and May. On coming to America, Mr. Douglas attached himself to the Whig party. At the presidential election which occurred the year after his arrival, 1844, he voted for Henry Clay. Mr. Douglas was a member of the Whig party till the close of its career. On the commencement of the agitation of the slavery question, he arrayed himself promptly on the side of freedom, voting for Fremont in 1856, and forming one of the earliest members of the Republican organization in 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]

Archibald T. Douglass
John Douglass, of Abbeville, South Carolina, was the grandfather of Archibald T. Douglass, who resides at present a short distance south of Baldwin, in Randolph County. The Douglass family originated in Scotland. Samuel Douglass, who was born at Abbeville, South Carolina, in the year 1796, was the son of John Douglass, and the father of the subject of this biography. Samuel Douglass' father died when Samuel was a mere boy, and his mother afterward married George Wilson, the father of George and James Wilson, who also live south of Baldwin.  In the year 1806, a company of five families left Abbeville, with Illinois as their destination. Among these were the families of George Wilson and John Anderson. On reaching Illinois Territory they located on the public lands in the Irish settlement. Samuel Douglass was then a boy of ten or eleven years. On coming to Randolph County, he embraced every opportunity of attending school, but at that early period of the settlement of the country, educational advantages were exceedingly limited. He acquired a good education for the times, was an intelligent man, and held a good position in society. In 1817, he was married to Mary Thompson, the daughter of Archibald Thompson, an early and respected settler of the County.

Samuel Douglass was a farmer. During the latter part of the war of 1812-1815, he entered the military service, and was employed for some time among the Rangers. After his marriage he entered eighty acres of land in Section 23, Township 4-7, and two years afterward moved on this property. He lived here the quiet and useful life of a farmer till about 1851, when he moved to Evansville, and there died in the year 1856. In his life-time he was connected with the Presbyterian Church, and was a just man and a good citizen. For several years he served as Justice of the Peace, and for one term filled the office of County Commissioner. He had a family of eleven children, six daughters and five sons. Eight are now living.

The second of the children was Archibald T. Douglass, who was born April the nineteenth, 1820, five miles south of his present place of residence. When two years old his father moved to the place now owned by Mr. Douglass. In this neighborhood he was brought up. He attended the winter schools held in log school-houses, as he had opportunity, and acquired a good substantial education. In the year 1840, he married Eleanor G. McBride. Mr. Douglass then went to farming in the neighborhood of where he now lives, and has lived in this vicinity ever since, with the exception of two years when he resided at Liberty, in the southern part of the County. In the year 1852, he moved on the old homestead, formerly occupied by his father. Mr. Douglass has had seven children, of whom six are now living. These are Elizabeth J., the wife of Absalom Cox, William M., Mary, who married Charles Carr, Amanda, the wife of John Moore, Samuel F., and Margaret, the wife of Mr. Fergurson, of Baldwin. William M., the oldest son, is one of the enterprising and active citizens of Baldwin.

Mr. Douglass' father was a Whig, and Mr. Douglass first began his political life in connection with that party. He voted for Clay in 1844. He afterward became a Democrat, and remains a steadfast supporter of the principles of that organization. He has taken an active interest in public affairs. Mr. Douglass is now one of the oldest residents of the section of country in the neighborhood of Baldwin. The country was thinly populated on his first coming to this locality, and the various changes and improvements that have been made he has watched with interest, and in many of them has taken a leading part. [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]

Rederick Dreves
Dreves, Frederick was born in Mar 1841 in Prussia. His parents were Henry and Wilhelmina (Hamote). They had 4 children, The family came to the US in 1849. During the trip over Wilhelmina and a daughter died. When the family reached St Louis, Cholera took two more children, leaving Frederick and his father. Henry remarried in 1850 in St Louis. Frederick married in 1865 to Catherine Trede, she was born in Germany. Their children were: Henry, Dietlof, George, Hermann, William, Anna and Mena. (1894)


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