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Randolph County Illinois
Genealogy and History



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Biographies
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Note: These are extractions, not complete transcriptions, except where noted.
If anyone would care to transcribe the originals to replace these extractions, we would be VERY grateful!


Alfred Gant

In Boone County, Kentucky, on the fourteenth of July, 1820, was born Alfred Gant, the son of Robert Gant, and his wife Maria, whose maiden name was Shaver. On the Gant side, the family is of English origin. Alfred Gant's grandfather, William Gant, was a native of England, and emigrated to American at a time, probably, previous to the Revolutionary War. He became one of the pioneer settlers of Kentucky, and located in Boon County when it was yet a wild and uncultivated region. Here Robert Gant was born, and on reaching years of maturity, married Maria Shaver. She was the daughter of John Shaver, a German, who came to America at a period previous to the struggle of the colonies for their independence, in which conflict he took part as a soldier in the patriot army.
Robert Gant's residence in Kentucky, was in Boone County within a short distance of the Ohio river, and seven miles below the City of Cincinnati. Here Alfred Gant was born in the year 1820, as had been stated above. In the year 1824, when Alfred was about four years old, his father left Kentucky to take up his residence in Illinois. The family was made up of fifteen children, of whom the oldest was Alfred, the subject of this biography. Robert Gant, the father, was without property. All his effects were put in a flat boat and floated down the Ohio to Shawneetown. Robert Gant walked from this point across the country to Randolph County, where lived a brother-in-law, Silas Crisler, from whom a team was obtained, and the family thus brought to Randolph County. On coming to Randolph County the family settled about a mile east of the present residence of Mr. Gant. Silas Crisler, whose name has been mentioned above, was a preacher of the Baptist denomination, and came to Randolph County from Boone County, Kentucky, about the year 1818. After living two or three years in this neighborhood, the Gant family moved to a point a short distance south of where Alfred Gant now lives. The schools in the neighborhood were poor, and the children did not possess many advantages in the way of obtaining instruction. Subscription schools held in log school houses, afforded the only education facilities. Mr. Gant's father, though poor himself, sent his children to school as much as possible, determined that whatever else they might lack, he would give them, as far as he was able, a good education. Alfred had to go the distance of three miles to school. He attended pretty regularly in the winter, and sometimes in the fall, till he was grown up.
Mr. Gant's father subsequently acquired land, and at the time of his death was in possession of about eleven hundred acres. Alfred was raised on the farm, and was early accustomed to hard work. He remained at home till the time of his marriage, which took place when he was nearly twenty-six years of age, on the nineteenth of March, of the year 1846. His wife was Martha Milligan, whose ancestors were early settlers of Randolph County. Her grandfather was Stacy McDonough, one of the conspicuous and leading pioneers of Illinois. He was a soldier in the Kentucky militia, and was in many expeditions against the Indians. He served under Colonel Clark in an expedition to the Wabash, in 1786, and in 1797 located in Illinois. He was in the disastrous defeat of General St. Clair, in 1791, and saved himself only as by a miracle from the carnage which ensued on that occasion. In 1793 he commanded a boat on the Ohio, and while passing down the stream was shot in the shoulder by some savages lurking in ambush on the shore, receiving a wound from which he never entirely recovered. During the war of 1812, he carried the mail from St. Louis, by way of Kaskaskia, to Shawneetown, and though the route was beset by dangers from hostile Indians, he made his trips with regularity. He was elected Captain of a ranging company, a position which he filled with ability and popularity.
After his marriage, Mr. Gant bought eighty acres of land for three hundred dollars, and began farming on his own account. He lived on this place a year and then exchanged it for the farm on which he now resides. It was in the year 1847 that Mr. Gant took up his residence on the present farm, on the Chester and Preston road, a mile north of Diamond Cross. Mr. Gant has since been engaged in farming, and has been one of the most thrifty and enterprising agriculturalists in the section in which he now lives. His attention has been devoted to general farming, and in carrying on the pursuit, he has not hesitated to avail himself of the latest inventions and improvements whereby labor has been made easy, and farm work facilitated. His plan has been to save the labor of man, wherever machinery might be substituted. He inherited habits of industry, enterprise, and economy, staid [sic] close at home, and attended to his affairs In consequence his circumstances bettered, year by year. His surplus funds he invested in land. It was his customer never to let land lie in timber, but he always cleared it and raised crops from it. There are not about one thousand acres of which he has the fee-simple, besides being the lessee for a term of fifty years of about one hundred and seventy-five acres of the Kaskaskia commons. The home farm is composed of four hundred and twenty acres. He owns four hundred and twenty-three acres in the American Bottom below the old town of Kaskaskia, and about two hundred acres in Pulaski County, Indiana.
Mr. Gant started out in life as a Whig. Afterward, on the dissolution of the Whig party, he became connected with the Republican organization, uniting with it early in the formation of that party. Mr. Gant, however, is a man of very liberal views, and except when questions of national importance have been at stake, has left himself free to vote for the best men for office irrespective of the political proclivities of the candidates. For a score of years Mr. Gant has also been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he has been a consistent and useful member.
Mr. and Mrs. Gant have had a large family of children, eleven in all, of whom ten, five sons and five daughters are now living. Their names in the order of their birth are Mary Ann, John, Darius, Sarah, Nancy, Maria, Arletta, James, Robert, and Alfred C. The oldest daughter is the wife of Andrew Warren, a farmer of Kaskaskia Point. John also lives in the Point below Kaskaskia and is employed in farming. Sarah, married John J. Harmon, of Diamond Cross; and the other children are at home.
The record of Mr. Gant furnishes abundant illustration of what may be accomplished by a life of industry, and points to the opportunities for advancement which are open to every citizen of this country. The family came from Kentucky to Illinois without means. Alfred Gant began his career without capital. Land was cheap, and that, at least, could be obtained. Industry and good management did the rest, and Mr. Gant has kept on until he now occupies a high position among the farming community of Randolph County. Mr. Gant is a man who has never been bound down by narrow, selfish, and contracted views. Liberality has formed one of the conspicuous elements of his character. He has aimed to do things on a broad and comprehensive basis, and, as a consequence, has reaped wider results than some who have hesitated to venture so far, or have been less prompt in taking progressive steps. For the advancement of the farming interests of his section, no one has done more. He exercises an old time hospitality, and the stranger is made welcome to his roof and board. On another page, among our lithographic illustrations, may be seen a view of his farm and residence. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]


Andrew Garner
Garner, Andrew lived in T6 R7. He was born in Germany on 12 Sep 1832 and died 10 Jan 1894. His family came to the US in 1851. In 1854 he married Catherine Denninger, who was born in Germany. She died on 01 Sep 1892. Their children were: Emma, Jane, Christian and Anna. In 1860 Andrew had a cooper shop. Andrew's parents were George and Magdallena (Hellmana). They had 3 children. (1894)

Daniel Gerlach
Gerlach, Daniel was born 09 Sep 1835 in Bavaria Germany. He came alone in 1853 to New Orleans. He travled up the River to Waterloo and then to RC in T5 R6. On 28 Oct 1856 he married Annie C Baum the d/o John and Julia (Gerlich) Baum. They had 8 children, one died before 1875. His parents were Daniel and M Catherine (Berg) Gerlach of Bavaria. (1875)

John D. Gerlach
Gerlach, John D was born about 4 miles west of Sparta, IL on 24 Apr 1858. This first marriage was to Catherine Paver the d/o John. His second marriage was on 09 Jan 1884 to Mary P Neville. In 1880 he was sherriff in RC, In 1889 he organized the Bank of Chester. His parents were Daniel (b German) who was also a sheriff in RC, and his mother was Catherine Baum born in Belleville, IL the d/o (1894)

Reuben J. Goddard
Goddard, Rueben J was born in RC. He graduated in 1864 from MIU in law. His father was William B who came to RC in 1818 as an infant. He married Eliza Hawthorne the d/o James. Some of their children were: Rueben (lawyer), James H (MD), Albert (Lawyer), Eveline L, and Sarah E (teacher in Sparta). Reuben's grandfather was William who settled in KY, He was a Ranger and was killed by the Indians near the IN town of Calwhia. (1894)

Francis Gollon
Gollon, Francis was a baker and worked on a river boat as a cook. He was bon 26 Jan 1839 in Prussia. He came to NYC at the age of 18. Francis was a soldier during the Civil War and afterwards he returned to Chester to a liquor business with his brother. On 11 Jan 1866 he married Rosa Dushinksy the d/o Joseph and Julia (Gollon), they were both from Prussia. They had 14 children: Frank, Edward, Louis, Clem, John, Bertha, Rosa, Georgiana, Leon and James Blaine (b 04 Nov 1884) also 4 that died. Francis' father and mother were both born and died in Prussia. Their names were Jacob and Barbara (Singer). (1894)

Abram G. Gordon
Among the younger and rising members of the Randolph County bar is Mr. Abram Gordon. He was admitted to the bar in May, 1871, and is now practicing law at Chester, a partner of Judge Hood.
Mr. Gordon was born in Randolph County. His family is of Scotch and Dutch descent, and Mr. Gordon was born in the neighborhood of Percy, on the sixth day of November, 1849. The vicinity where he was born furnished the means of his early schooling. When about eighteen he entered the scientific department of McKendree College, at Lebanon, Illinois. He remained three years in that institution, during the last two of which he pursued the study of law in connection with his other studies. He graduated at McKendree in June, 1871, receiving his degrees in both the scientific and law departments.
He at once returned to Randolph County. On his admission to the bar he opened an office at Steelesville, and there practiced his profession till the spring of 1874, when he moved to Chester, and has since been engaged in the practice of law at eh County-seat. In March, 1875, he began his present partnership with Judge Hood, and the new firm, "Hood and Gordon," have received a fair proportion of the law business of the County.
Clara J. Short, a native of Randolph County, became his wife in November, 1872, and there has been one child by this marriage. In his political faith, as it may be remarked of most of the public men of Randolph County, Mr. Gordon is a Democrat. He was selected as the first Prosecuting Attorney of Randolph County, after the creation of that office, the duties of which he discharged for a period of several months. Although a lawyer of comparatively few years standing, Mr. Gordon has already gained a promising place at the bar. His private character is above reproach, and his relations cordial with his friends and acquaintances. His habits of close application, his extended general knowledge, and previous scholastic training, have given him an intimate acquaintance with the law, while his natural talents fit his for a high professional rank. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

Dr. William A. Gordon
Among the physicians of Randolph County none are more deserving of mention in the list of biographies included in this work than Dr. Gordon, of Chester. He has now probably been in active practice for a longer term of years than any other physician of the County, and in reputation for professional skill and the success which has attended his labors, he stands in the first rank of his profession. He has been a resident of the County since the year 1843 and of Chester since 1848.
The family with which Dr. Gordon is connected by descent is of Scotch origin. His ancestors emigrated from Scotland to America at an early period, and settled in Pennsylvania. In this State his grandfather, William Gordon by name, was born and raised. The subsequent part of his life he lived in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania in the country adjacent to Lake Erie. Dr. Gordon's father, Alexander Gordon, was also born in Pennsylvania, and lived there till he was a young man, when he removed to Ross County, Ohio and there married Margery Boggs, like her husband, a native of the Keystone State. Alexander Gordon carried on in Ohio the business of farmer and merchant. By his first wife he had five children, three sons and two daughters. Three are now living. His wife died, and he was twice subsequently married.
Of the children mentioned above, William A., the subject of this biography, was the third in the order of his birth. He was born near Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio, on the twenty-second day of January, 1820. In this vicinity his early life was spent. The public schools in the neighborhood of his father's home, of a character of moderate excellence for that early day, furnished the means of obtaining his early education. He developed a ready mine, and manifested such an inclination for study that he was afterward sent to Granville College, in Licking County, Ohio, and the Ohio State University at Athens. In these institutions he pursued select courses of study. He left school at the age of twenty, and the two years following had charge of a set of books belonging to a mercantile establishment. His leisure hours he devoted to the study of medicine, to which his natural disposition inclined him, and which he had already determined to adopt as a profession. He read medicine under a regular physician of Ross County, and merely held his place in the store in order to enable him to obtain means for the prosecution of his studies.
In the year 1841 his father also came West, and located on the Platte purchase now the site of the city of St. Jo., Missouri. The next year, 1842, Dr. Gordon also removed to Missouri, and spent a year in the vicinity of where St. Jo. now is, then a wild and uncultivated tract of country. In April, 1843, he left the Platte purchase, finding the country unattractive and the climate uncongenial, and came to Randolph County, Illinois, where a brother-in-law, Dr. James C. Junk, was employed in the practice of medicine. Dr. Gordon at once entered his office, reviewed his previous medical studies, and made still farther preparation with a view of entering on the practice of medicine at an early day. He remained eighteen months with Dr. Junk, and then, in the year 1845, began his medical practice with Dr. John Ashby Jones, of Georgetown. His marriage occurred the same year, on the twenty-sixth of October, 1845. His wife was Miss Adeline S. Jones, the daughter of Dr. John Ashby Jones, with whom Dr. Gordon was engaged in the practice of medicine. Mrs. Gordon was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and came to Randolph County when eleven years of age.
Dr. Gordon continued at Georgetown till April, 1848, when he removed to Chester, and there regularly established himself as a physician. Since then he has been a resident of Chester, where he has built up a large medical practice, and acquired an extended reputation as a skillful physician. In 1853, in order to gain a thorough understanding of his art, he visited St. Louis, and attended the sessions of the St. Louis Medical College, a diploma from which institution he received in March 1854. On the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion in 1861 Dr. Gordon left Chester to fill the position of surgeon in the army. He was commissioned as Surgeon of the Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, his commission dating August twenty-seventh of that year.
The regiment entered into active service in August, 1861, and continued in the field till October, 1864. It participated in many severe engagements, at which Dr. Gordon was present and did good service in his capacity of regimental surgeon. The regiment formed part of McClernand's brigade. In November, 1861, was fought the battle of Belmont, in which the Thirtieth bore a leading part. The rebel position was carried and the victory seemed complete, when a heavy rebel force was thrown across the Mississippi from Columbus, while at the same time batteries opened on the Illinois troops from the opposite shore. A retreat became necessary, and the Union forces were compelled to fight their way back to the boats through superior numbers and with heavy loss. Dr. Gordon was taken prisoner, and for seven months was confined at the South, at Memphis and Tuscaloosa. In May, 1862, an exchange was effected with the Major of the Fifty-first Tennessee Regiment, and Dr. Gordon resumed his old post. We only mention a charge of disaffection toward the government brought against the Doctor in the following July in order to show how completely he was vindicated from it. The charge was founded on an untrustworthy statement made to General Halleck by a Colonel who had been Dr. Gordon's companion in prison. Dr. Gordon was home for five or six months. On a general petition of his regiment, and a recommendation from Governor Yates, he was restored back to his position by President Lincoln, without loss of pay or allowance, and in March, 1863, rejoined his regiment, the charge having been proved to be without foundation.
On the fourteenth of the following May Dr. Gordon's regiment took part in the battle of Jackson, Mississippi, and a day or two after distinguished itself at the engagement of Champion Hills. Dr. Gordon was present at the siege of Vicksburg, and took part in the battles of Atlanta and Jonesboro. Dr. Gordon returned to Chester in October, 1864, and at once resumed the active practice of his profession. His valuable, exp4erience obtained while in the army gave him increased qualifications for the discharge of his professional duties.
Dr. Gordon in his political principles, was originally attached to the old Whig party. His first vote for President was cast in 1844 for Henry Clay, the champion of "internal improvements and protection to home industry." He continued a Whig as long as that party was in existence. In 1860 he voted for Douglas for President, and has since been a member of the Democratic party. While taking an interest in political issues, Dr. Gordon has never ceased to be a patriot, and his devotion to the Union is sufficiently attested by his arduous labors in the field, receiving a compensation much less than could be obtained from his home practice. Dr. Gordon has had ten children of whom eight are now living. Nellie, the oldest daughter, is the wife of Dr. William R. McIenzie of Kaskaskia. The oldest of the family, Edward A Gordon, has chosen the profession of his father. He pursued his preparatory medical studies at home, and in 1872 graduated from the same medical school as his father, the St. Louis Medical University. He began practice in Yolo county, California, in the Sacramento valley, where he has met with marked success in establishing himself as a physician. Dr. Gordon is not of those who have entered on the practice of medicine for the mere sake of the gain to be derived from it. He is thoroughly imbued with a love of his profession, which with natural ability and thorough preparation for his work, has proved the secret of his success.
["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

Buch Gottlieb
Gottlieb, Buch was born 5 miles from Buckeburg, Kingdon of Hanover on 05 Nov 1828. On 01 Jan 1842 he married Sophia Rehmer in RC. She was from the same area as Buch coming to the US at age 13. Buch's father was Henry who left Hanover with his family in Sep 1846 landing in New Orleans in Jan 1847. They made their way up river to RC. Buch's mother was Philipine Gottschalk. Buch had two brothers, Frederick and one which died young in Hanover. (1875)

Henry Groppe
Groppe, Henry was born 18 Dec 1840 in Hanover, Germany. His parents were Adolph and Mary (Knemeyer). His father died in Germany and his mother came to the US in 1850 with the children. They arrived in RC in 1853. On 28 Sep 1864 Henry married Susannah (Wissel) Sinker. Their children were: Hermann, Lizzie, Katie, Lulu and Emma. (1894)

Benjamin Gross
Gross, Benjamin J. lived in New Palestine as a blacksmith. He was born 01 Apr 1854 in Rochester, NY. He married on 26 Dec 1881 to Justina Breacher the d/o Adam and Eliza. Benjamin's children were: the two oldest died as infants, John, Cconrad, Alfred, Hulda, Irene, Justina and Sigmund. His father was Conrad who came to the US from Germany, he died 24 Jun 1888. His mother was Catherine (Dihlmann) who died 19 Jun 1881. (1894)

James Gwin
Gwin, James was born 08 Jan 1822 in RC. On the 28 Dec 1848 he married Cynthia Ann Vowel, she died in 1872. Then James married Mrs Emily (Brown) Burke, they had 2 children. James father was William, who came to RC in 1816 from Sumner Co, TN to settle in Sec 2 T7 R5. His wife was Frances Canaday and they had 11 children. William died in 1843. The Gwin family came from Ireland to SC before 1775. The Canaday family was from NC. (1875)




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