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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

James and Edmond Faherty
The Faherty family is among the oldest of Randolph County, and was one of the first to permanently settle in the Horse Prairie. The families now living in this region of country are few in number, who were settlers of the Prairie at the time of the coming of the Fahertys. The family is of Irish descent, and the first member to come to this country was Edmond Faherty, who was born in Ireland about the year 1775. His early life was spent in Ireland, and at the age of nineteen he emigrated to America. He landed at Baltimore, and for several years resided in the neighborhood of that city. He was married in Maryland, in the vicinity of Baltimore, about the year 1806 or 1807. His wife was Mary Tewell, a native of the State of Maryland. He lived in Maryland for some years after his marriage, and here the two oldest children, Patrick and Bridget, were born. Edmond Faherty afterward emigrated to Kentucky, and located in Nelson County, where he lived for several years. His father-in-law, Patrick Tewell, accompanied him. Here Bartholomew, John, Mary, and Michael Faherty, were born. Edmond Faherty had in all eight children. Only three are now living. These are James and Edmond, whose names appear at the head of this biography, and Mary, who is the wife of Nicholas Walsh, and lives in the State of Wisconsin.

Toward the close of the year 1818 Edmond Faherty left Nelson County, Kentucky, and set out for Illinois, in company with five other families. A flatboat was loaded with their household goods, and a few other necessary articles, and the families floated down the Ohio river to Cairo without any serious mishap to mark their journey. From this point Edmond Faherty, in company with another family, proceeded up the Mississippi. They pushed their little craft upward against the stream, and ascended as far as Cape Girardeau, where ice impeded their further progress. Mr. Faherty then hired a team and conveyed his family to Ste. Genevieve. On New Year's day of 1819 the Fahertys crossed the Mississippi to Randolph County. They spent the remainder of the winter with a friend in the American Bottom below Prairie du Rocher on Gov. Edwards' farm, and in March Mr. Faherty entered land in Section 21, of Township 4, Range 8. He put up a round log house as a rough accommodation for his family, and at once moved on the property and began to break the prairie. His location was on the southern edge of the Horse Prairie. The country was then in a wild and unsettled condition. Only a few improvements had been made by previous settlers. The nearest neighbor, William Nelson, was two miles away. An Indian trail, leading from Vincennes to Prairie du Rocher, was the only road made at that time over the Prairie, which was covered with grass, growing in places in the fall of the year to an extraordinary height. Edmond Faherty farmed here till his death, which occurred on the second day of February, of the year 1846. He was a worthy man, of many estimable traits of character, and during his life time was a good citizen and a valued member of the pioneer community. Mary Faherty, his widow, ended her days November the seventh, 1863.

James Faherty was born February the fifth of the year 1821, the first child of Edmond and Mary Faherty born after the coming of the family to Randolph County. Edmond Faherty, the youngest child of the family, was born July the eighth, 1823. The births of both occurred on the old homestead, two miles south of Red Bud, the place of the first settlement of the family on coming to the Horse Prairie. The neighborhood in which they were brought up was poorly supplied at that day with educational advantages, and the schooling which the Fahertys received was of necessity confined in its character. Both were brought up to work on the farm. After their father's death, which occurred in 1846, as stated above, the homestead fell into their possession, and they managed the farm in partnership. James was married on the seventh day of February, 1853, to Maria Hammond, the daughter of James Hammond. Miss Hammond was born in Ohio, and is of English descent. In 1847 the two brothers had bought two hundred acres of land in Section 21, adjoining their father's old estate, and after his marriage James moved on this property, where he resided three years. Edmond continued to live on the old homestead. In January, 1857, James moved to the American Bottom west of Kaskaskia, where he lived till 1869, and then moved back to the old homestead. He moved on the farm which he at present occupies in 1871, having built his residence the previous year. Mr. Faherty has been engaged in farming all his life, and is a worthy representative of the agricultural interests of Randolph County. He has six children who are living: Emily, Henry F., Jerome A., John V., George A., and Charles A. Emily, the oldest daughter, is the wife of Richard Grace, of Jacksonville, Illinois.

Edmond continued to live on the old homestead till the death of his mother in 1863, and some time after that event he became a resident of Red Bud. Previous to this, about the year 1855, in company with John McQuillan, he started a small stage line to run between Red Bud and Belleville, the first stage line that ever ran regularly out of Red Bud. He retained an interest in this till September, 1871. He has also been engaged in the livery business in connection with the stage line. Since 1872 he has also been interested in the carriage shops at Red Bud, and the firm is now known as Faherty & Long. The homestead farm is still in his possession. Mr. Faherty, in the fall of 1860, was nominated and elected by the Democratic party as a representative in the State Legislature. He was a member of that body during the trying time that followed the breaking out of the civil war, and discharged the duties of his responsible position in a patriotic and conscientious manner. Mr. Faherty has remained unmarried. He is genial in his disposition, and liberal and enterprising as a business man. Both of the brothers have been members of the Democratic party, and are citizens of public spirit and enterprise.[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]

Patrick Faherty
The youngest man who ever held the office of County Commissioner in Randolph County is Patrick Faherty, of Ruma. He is native born in Randolph County. His father was John Faherty, and his grandfather Edmond Faherty, who came to Randolph County in the year 1818. The family originally sprang from Ireland, emigrating thence to Maryland.
John Faherty was born in Kentucky, in the year 1814, and was four years old on coming to Randolph County, where his father settled in the southern edge of the Horse Prairie. At twenty-five in the year 1839, he married Mary Ann Flaherty, born in Nelson County, Kentucky. The oldest child by this marriage was Patrick Faherty, born January the thirty-first, 1840. He was raised, where he was born, in the southern border of the Horse Prairie, where his grandfather had settled on coming to the country. At the age of sixteen he went to St. Louis and for a year attended the College of the Christian Brothers in that city. He lived on the old homestead, engaged in farming, till 1868. His father had died when Mr. Faherty was ten years old.
He was married first in 1860 to Ann Roscow, and after the death of his first wife, to Ann O'Neill. He has lived in Ruma since 1868. In November, 1871, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and still holds that position. In 1874, his name was presented by the Democratic convention as a candidate for the office of County Commissioner. To this responsible position he was chosen, and at present is occupied with its duties.[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]

James Farnan, M.D.
Dr. Farnan's ancestry runs back in its history to Ireland. There his people were known and respected as one of the old families of the Emerald Isle. His grandfather, James Farnan, lived and died in the County of Westmeath, where his ancestors had lived and died before him. There also, John, the Doctor's father, was born, raised and married to Miss Annie Beatagh. There they resided, and had a family of seven children, four sons and three daughters, before they came to this country, where they arrived about 1838, and in this County, after which another daughter was added to the family circle. The Doctor's mother died in this County, and his father is still living, and is now a resident of Butte County, California, where also resides Joseph, his second son. The youngest, Mrs. Nellie Schuyler, lives in Colorado, and Mrs. Margaret Hineman has for the last twenty years made her home in St. Louis, where another sister, Mrs. Bridget M. Leavy, died a short time ago. Annie, the youngest but one, died in this County. Patrick died when quite young, and John is living in the city of New Orleans. One of Mr. Farnan's uncles, Dr. Joseph Farnan, preceded his brother to this country, arriving in this County about 1830. He had studied medicine in the old country, and when he settled here he soon built up a large practice, and was one of the most skilful and scientific physicians of Southern Illinois. After his settlement here he married Miss Mary A. Miller, by whom he raised quite a large family, some of whom yet reside in the County. He is still remembered by many of our old settlers as a gentleman whose many Christian qualities and professional merits entitled him to their warmest affection and veneration. He died here among his many friends and a very large circle of acquaintances in 1861.
Dr. Farnan, the subject of this sketch, is the only one left of his immediate family in the County. He was born in Ireland, Navan, County of Meath, January 18th, 1830, and was about eight years of age when his parents arrived here. When fourteen he left home, and spent about three years on the high seas, aboard of a man-of-war. He returned home in 1849 and went to California. He returned again to this County in the winter of 1851 and 1852, attended medical lectures at the St. Louis Medical College, and there graduated in his profession in the spring of 1853. He located in the city of Sparta, where he has since resided, employed in the duties of his practice. On the breaking out of the late civil war, he entered the United States service as captain of a company of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He was afterwards promoted to the office of Major of his regiment, served till the close of the war, having experienced a good deal of active and hard service, having been with General Grant at Vicksburg, and afterwards with McPherson, Logan and Sherman.
He has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Harriet McDill, daughter of David McDill, D. D., formerly of this county, and later of Butler County, Ohio. This marriage was celebrated on December 27th, 1853, and this lady died February 22d, 1872. His second and present wife was formerly Miss Henrietta Gass, daughter of John Gass, of St. Louis. There were five children, the fruits of the first marriage, viz.: Lydia (died), Harry, Annie, Frank and David.[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 W. Firth
Firth, John W was born in Yorkshire, England in 1842. He married Elizabeth Nelson on 25 Dec 1868, she is the d/o John D and Janet (Nelson) Nelson. John's children were: Charlotte J, William R, Thomas D, Jennie, Dianthy M, Luella, Cchristian and Obed. John's father was Thomas Firth who was born in 1800 inn Yorkshire, Eng. In 1820 he married Charlotte (Naylor). She was born in Yorkshire, England and died there in 1846. Thomas had 14 children, 7 died as infants. Older children were:Seth (d 1853), Benjamin (in NY), Obed (in NY), William (d England), Riley (in NY), Thomas (d in England) and John W. Thomas came to the US in 1847 to NYC where he lived until 1861 before coming to RC. At some point Thomas married Bettie Wilde. Thomas died 05 Jun 1881, Bettie died in 1874. (1894)

Archibald Fisher
The oldest settler in Florence precinct in the vicinity of Ellis Grove is Mr. Archibald Fisher, one of the few surviving pioneers of the American families who first made their homes in Randolph County.
Mr. Fisher's life dates almost back to the opening of the century. He was born on the twelfth day of August, 1801, in Knox County, East Tennessee. His grandfather's name was also Archibald Fisher. He was a Scotchman, who emigrated to America some time before the Revolutionary war. He first settled in South Carolina, and afterward removed to Tennessee, where he was among the early residents of that state. Archibald Fisher, the grandfather, was married four times, and had a numerous family of children, of whom one was William Fisher, who married in Tennessee, Ann White. This marriage occurred about the year 1800. The young couple lived in Tennessee till 1804, when they removed to Randolph County, Illinois. One child had been born in Tennessee. This was Archibald Fisher, who had received his grandfather's name.
On their arrival in Randolph County, the Fishers settled four or five miles northeast of Ellis Grove, on the farm formerly known as the Miller place, now occupied by John K. Wright. Archibald was then three years of age. The country was wild near their place of settlement. The nearest neighbors, the greater part of whom were French, were four and five miles away. The first school Archibald attended was in the year 1810. His father and neighbors feeling the necessity of making some provision for the education of their children, joined together and sent to the Ohio river for a man name Alcorn, who come to the neighborhood and opened a school. Here men and women grown came to this school from a distance of six or seven miles. The French inhabitants received their education from the parish priest, and the Americans were compelled to manage their school affairs by themselves. The families in this neighborhood had no trouble with the Indians, and the inhabitants were not put to the trouble of erecting a blockhouse.
Archibald Fisher was married on the seventeenth of February, 1830, to Nancy Bollinger, who had come to Randolph County a couple of years before from Tennessee, where she was born in the neighborhood of Nashville. Mr. Fisher learned the trade of a wagon-wright, and worked at that and farming. When he left his father's farm in 1832, it was to settle on the place where he still lives. Here his life has been spent for a period of time now approaching half a century, engaged in the quiet and peaceful vocation of a farmer, universally esteemed and respected by the community. His wife, his companion for more than forty years, died in 1870, after she had borne him ten children - Diana, Louisiana, Sarah, Martha Jane, William, Archibald, Jacob, James Luther, Elizabeth, and Nancy. The oldest daughter married and removed to Texas. William and Jacob are married and live on the homestead farm. Elizabeth is the wife of R. M. Spurgeon, and Nancy married Robert Greenville, who lives in the Kaskaskia Point.
Mr. Fisher, though seventy-four years of age, is still hale, active, and hearty, and wears quite a youthful appearance in consideration of his years. In addition to being one of the oldest settlers, he is also one of the oldest Democrats in the County, his attachment to the Democratic party having been long-lived. He voted the Democratic presidential ticket in 1828. For many years he was connected with the religious organizations of the neighborhood. He was first a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and was a member of the Methodist Church as long as an English congregation of that denomination existed in the vicinity of Ellis Grove.[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 Flemming
Among the several countries which have contributed from time to time to our population, Scotland stands conspicuous. From her shores we have received an industrious, moral, patriotic and stable element. That country stands prominent among the nations for its Christianity, morals, and the superior intelligence of its people. Its perennial grandeur, lofty mountains, beautiful plains, lovely lakes and picturesque scenery, constituted a fit amphitheatre for the severe struggles and moral achievements secured there after the dawn of the Religious Reformation of the 16th century, and stereotyped the great religious truths so thoroughly learned upon the minds of her impressible people. Immediately after securing religion, the Scots naturally and logically looked towards political freedom, which they secured only to such an extent, as to sharpen their desires for just such liberty, as is enjoyed by the people of this country, and it is but natural, that as soon as our system of government was perfected, that a Scotch immigration should at once set in, and that too of the best society of that country. All along, from the times of the old colonies up to the times of the present date, we have been receiving new accessions from that source, and to-day, our common country can boast of its Scotch citizenship as being one of its most law-abiding, patriotic elements. This State likely has shared as liberally as any other, in the distribution of the emigration from Scotland, and no County in the State, comes in for a larger share than Randolph; none within its limits have made, within the same time, a better impress, in the way of material, and social developments, as is witnessed by the many fine farms, residences and school-houses and churches which they have caused to be opened and erected within the last thirty years. The first immigrants arrived in this County, about 1830. Mr. Flemming, his father and family, came in 1840. The family, all told, at that time, embraced, the father, James, the mother, formerly Miss Elizabeth Patten, three sons and two daughters, viz.: William, Christina, who afterwards married Amos Tigert, James, John and Elizabeth, who subsequently became Mrs. Harvey Conat. Two of these, James and Christina, afterwards died in this County, after having each resided in it a number of years. The others are all citizens of it yet, and are well circumstanced, honorable and upright members of society.

Mr. Flemming's father, when he came to this County, bought a farm of some 200 acres, near the old town of Randolph, and in 1841, the farm on which his son John, our subject, now resides, and he owned both these at the time of his death, in 1857. He was a man of considerable wealth in the old country, and was, for a number of years, a large lime merchant, near Glasgow. He did an extensive business there, and did not come to the United States in order to better his condition financially, but simply on account of his strong attachment to republican principles, and his love of popular government. He was one of those independent thinkers, who accepted no man's conclusions, without an examination by himself of the premises from which they were professed to be drawn. He was as firm as the hills in his principles, and allowed nothing to come between his own conceptions of truth and the evidence in the case pending for judgment. He lived and died in the fellowship of the Presbyterian Church, also his wife, who departed this life in 1865. She was born in Mavis Bank, near Paisley, Ranfrewshire, Scotland. In early life she consecrated herself to the Saviour, and ever after, lived a model Christian, proved herself a noble mother and faithful wife, and many are the lessons of instruction and wisdom still remembered by her surviving children, that she early dropped into their young minds, to bring forth the fruit in after years, of gathering her entire family into the folds of the Church.

Mr. Flemming, the subject of this history, was born in Scotland, April 5th, 1830, and in the Shire of Ranfrew, near Glasgow. He was, therefore, only a little past the age of ten when he reached this country. He has made this County his home ever since he came into it, in 1840. He was married to Miss Mary Craig, daughter of John and Sarah (Curry) Craig, March 31st, 1859. After his marriage, they settled down on the farm where they still reside, the old homestead, formerly occupied by his father. This farm is now quite a fine estate, and includes something over 400 acres of very productive land, splendidly drained and supplied with abundant and never-ceasing springs. The family residence is one of the finest of the County, and stands on one of the most romantic and beautiful sites in this region of the State. It is located on a hill, where, according to tradition, there once stood an Indian village, and the many evidences still remaining, in the form of flint, arrow-heads, stone hatchets, and broken utensils of domestic design, fully attest the truth of the traditional story. For a page view of these premises, we refer the reader to our lithographic department, where a satisfactory representation has been generously placed by the proprietor.

Mrs. Flemming's people, the Craigs, are also from the same part of Scotland, from which came the Flemming family. Her parents also came over in 1840, and settled in this County. She was born in Scotland, and was about three years old when she arrived in this country. Her father was in good circumstances in Scotland, and came here because he preferred liberal government and free institutions. He followed farming in this County, up to the time of his death. Two of his sons, Robert and William, still reside in the County, and are well-known citizens; also five daughters, viz.; Mrs. Elizabeth (Andrew) Douglass, Mrs. Jane (William) McAdams, Mrs. Sarah (Arthur) McKinney, Mrs. Janette (Martin) Kirkwood, and Mrs. Flemming, all wealthy and well-known throughout the County. Robert Craig, one of Mrs. Flemming's uncles, when a young man, left Scotland, and settled in Russia. He built a large manufacturing business near St. Petersburgh, and became finally one of the wealthiest merchants 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]

David A. Foster
Foster, David A was born 13 Jan 1822. In 1844 in TN he married Rebecca M Gault the d/o Hugh and Nancy (Askins). Rebecca was born 17 Jan 1823 in Licoln Co, TN and died 23 Feb 1884. David had a farm in T4R5 Sec 31 Their children were: Robert, William S, John C, Samuel McClinton, Mary E, Susan E, Hattie F, Minerva (d age 19 in 1880) and Nancy (d by 1894). His father was Robert Foster (see below) (1894)

Robert Foster

Foster, Robert born 13 Feb 1785 in Abigail Dist, SC. Robert moved to IL in 1807 with his father, to the Irish settlement in RC. Robert was first married to Susan McClinton in 1809. She was born in 1793 SC and died 1829. Their children were: Samuel (b 15 Jan 1810), John (b 25 Sep 1811), James A (b 09 Mar 1814), Parmelia (b Jun 1816), Elizabeth Jane (b Oct 1818), Nancy (b 09 Feb 1826), an infant (all these children had died by 1894), William and David A (these two are above). His second marriage was to Sarah Kell. Robert died 02 Feb 1831 and is buried in the Kelly cemetery. Robert's father was named John, born in SC and coming to RC in 1807. His grandfather was Samuel born in Ireland and died in SC. (1875)

William Foster
Foster, William was born 04 Oct 1820. He married Amelia Rolls on 14 Mar 1844. She was the d/o Edward and Jennie (Hill). During the CW, William was in Co I 22 IL inf and later transferred to Co C of the 80th ILL. Their children were: Edward (b 1844), John R (b 17 Oct 1846) and James (B 27 Jun 1851), he is the brother to David and the son of Robert Foster (see below)(1894)

David Fulton
Mr. Fulton was born in the City of New York, Sept. 3d, 1811. When an infant, his parents, who were both natives of Ireland, moved to Ross County, Ohio, where his mother died when he was quite small. In 1834, in company with his father, John, he arrived in Perry County, Illinois. Jan. 17th, 1837, he married Miss Mary Wilson of this county, the daughter of Robert and Martha (Cameron) Wilson. In 1847, they settled down on the place where they still reside, a beautiful homestead near the town of Sparta. This farm embraces 300 acres of very fine land, has a handsome brick residence, a view of which is furnished among our illustrations. They have had a family of eight children, five living, viz.: John, Mrs. Martha (D. R.) McMaster, Mrs. Mary (Dr.) Ewing, Miss Nettie, and Albert. Mary and husband reside in Minnesota, and the others are at home, or settled near by the old homestead. Miss Bella, a beautiful daughter, died at the age of twelve, and two others in infancy. Their parents have taken a commendable pride in the education of these children - those who arrived at the proper age; and have thrown around them also, all those refining and sweet home influences, essential in the formation of a solid and virtuous character, and they now have the gratification of contemplating their entire living family as members with them of the United Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Fulton's parents were married in Ireland, where they had four children before starting for America.  They raised two sons and as many daughters. John for a number of years was captain of a steamer, plying the Ohio river. He afterwards settled down to the banking business in Ripley, Brown County, Ohio. The daughters died in this State before being married. The father of these died in Perry County, in 1846, and Mr. Fulton is left the only survivor of the family.

Mrs. Fulton's parents were both natives of the State of New York, and were married at the home of the bride, in Schenectady County, and in 1835 arrived in this County. They raised a family of nine children, six daughters and three sons, all of whom married and had families. John, Mrs. Fulton, Robert J., Margaret, the wife of William Alexander, Peter, Janette, the wife of A. R. McKelvey, Eleanor, the wife of John McKelvey, Martha, the wife of James McKelvey, and Sarah, the wife of Isaac Hayes. These all settled in this County, except Eleanor and Martha, who reside in Perry County. Robert and John died in Jackson County.
The Wilsons are also from Scotland. Mrs. Fulton's grandparents, John Wilson and Margaret, formerly a Miss Spear, were both natives of that country, and came to Saratoga County, New York, when they were small - in a very early day. In that section of the State her father grew up to manhood, and when our last war with Great Britain broke out, he tendered his services to his country and became a soldier of the war of 1812. [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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