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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

George W. Leavitt
Leavitt, George W was born 11 Dec 1813 in KS. His parents were Abijah and Elizabeth from ME. They came to RC in 1803. From age 13 to 26, George carried the mail to St Louis. In 1840 he married Sarah Nifold the d/o Daniel. George's first wife died in 1864. They had 6 children all had died by 1894. In 1865 George married a second time to Sarah Meyers. Their children were: Emily, Annie, Jessie and Carrie. (1894)

A.K. Leeper, M.D.
The Doctor was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, Nov. 26th, 1832, was raised and educated within his native County, and commenced the study of medicine at the old and renowned University of Pennsylvania in 1856, where he graduated in 1859. He commenced a practice in the City of Chester in the spring of the same year, remained there a year, then located at Pinckneyville, Perry Co., where he stopped six months. He next moved to Coulterville, the place of his present residence. In addition to a large practice, he conducts a farm of one hundred and thirty acres, lying within the corporate limits of this town, which is handsomely improved, a view of which is shown among our Illustrations. He was married in Sparta in 1861 to Miss Martha Roseborough, daughter of Wm. Roseborough, an old settler of this place, and a leading citizen of this section of the County. They have three children, viz., Mary E., Eloise and Willie R.
Mr. Leeper's ancestry date back in their history to the north of Ireland, and were very likely among the Protestant exiles who left Scotland for conscience' sake. It is not now definitely known at what precise time the Doctor's grandfather, James L., came to this country. Very probably, however, he arrived in America before the independence of the States from the British Crown. He was at least in Pennsylvania a short time after this event, and several of his sons served in the United States Army during the war of 1812.
Hugh, the Doctor's father, was born in Pennsylvania, was there married to Miss Esther Harper, by whom he raised eight sons and four daughters. Four of these sons graduated at Jefferson College, viz., Hugh, Joseph, William and John E., each of whom became ministers of the Presbyterian Church.
Samuel Harper, the Doctor's grandfather, through the maternal line, was also from the northern part of Ireland, and was also among the proscribed on account of religious faith who left Scotland. He came to Pennsylvania, and spent his last days in Beaver County. The descendants of both these family lines have continued faithful to the principles for which their ancestry were persecuted, and have found membership within some of the branches of the old, time-honored and orthodox Presbyterian Church.[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]

Isaac Lehnheu
Lehnheu, Isaac was born 09 Sep 1824 in Switzerland. On 24 May 1849 he married Sophia Heitman, the d/o Herman and Margaret (Wayland). Sophia was born 01 May 1826. Isaac first lived in Steeleville where he owned a store, later the family moved to Chester and opened a hardware store. Isaac's children were: Rudolph D, Louis F (druggist), Adelia, Herman H and Emma. Isaac's father was Christian, who came to the US in 1833 to NYC. He was a miller by trade back in Spielz, Switerland. He moved his family to Stark Co, OH then to RC in the Ellis Grove area. Christian died in 1860. Isaac's mother was Elizabeth C (Klopsten), who died in 1844. Their children were: Isaac, Susan, John, Christian, Martha, Jacob and Elizabeth. (1894)
Leeper, A K was born in Beaver Co, PA on 26 Nov 1832. He graduated from University of PA in 1859 as a MD. C 1860 he relocated to Coulterville, Il and married Martha Rosborough in 1861 in Sparta. Their children were: Mary E, Eloise and Willie R. AK's father was Hugh, born in PA and married to Esther Harper d/o Samuel. Their other sons: Hugh, Joseph, William and John E all graduated from Jefferson College as Presbyterian ministers. (1875)

Garrett Leming
Leming, Garrett was born 09 May 1805 in NJ. He came to RC in 1859. He married Huldah Maines. Their children were: Henry and Mary E (see Bio for Henry Holmes). Garrett's father was Ezekiel who was married to Catherine Sheppard and then to Rebecca Cole. Garrett's grandfather was Thomas who had 7 children. (1875) [Sub by Lois Wessel]

Timothy Liddy (DECEASED)
We have recorded among the biographies published in this work the names of a considerable number of Irish descent. Many of these have been descendants of the pioneers who came to the "Irish settlement" early in the present century, whose children have become among the most enterprising and substantial citizens of the County. In Timothy Liddy, an old resident of Randolph County, who died in March of the year 1872, we have, however, an immediate representative of the Emerald Isle, whose early life was spent in Ireland, and who came to America to build up his fortune and take part in the development of the country, whose present prosperity depends largely on the labor and enterprise of her citizens of foreign birth. Mr. Liddy was an old settler of the Horse Prairie, where he was known as one of the largest farmers and most substantial citizens.
Timothy Liddy was a native of Ireland, born at Limerick, on the twenty-fourth day of February, of the year 1809. The early part of his life was spent in Ireland. Here he received his education, and lived till in his twenty fourth year, when he emigrated to America. This was in the year 1832. On coming to America, he lived one year in the State of Maine, and the next year came to the City of St. Louis, which was his home for nine years. During this time he was employed in various occupations, and the last work he did in the city was as contractor on some of the streets. While he lived in St. Louis he came to Randolph County, and bought about one hundred and sixty acres of land on Horse Prairie, which was then a new and uncultivated tract of country. He intended at once taking up his residence on this land, but found the neighborhood at that time so unhealthy, and the chills and fever so prevalent in the new settlement, that he returned to St. Louis.
His marriage occurred in the year 1842 to Margaret McKenna at that time living in St. Louis. Miss McKenna was born near Dublin, Ireland, and came to America in the year 1834, when about twenty-four years of age. The same year of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Liddy moved to Randolph County, and located on the property referred to above. Only a small part was then under cultivation. Mr. Liddy was possessed of some means; but circumstances were poorly adapted for making money in those early times in Randolph County. Low prices could only be obtained for farm products, and good markets could only be found at a distance as Belleville and St. Louis. Mr. Liddy was industrious, energetic and persevering, and in consequence was successful. He gave his close attention to his farm, and as opportunity offered made investments in land with his sayings. At the time of his death he was among the largest landowners and wealthiest citizens in his part of the County. The farm on which he lived was composed of about eight hundred acres, and he had beside a one-third interest in a tract of over one thousand acres in Monroe County.
His health throughout life, till within a few years of his death, had generally been good. Gifted with a good constitution, he was naturally capable of enduring much exposure and hard work. He was seldom idle, and it is possible that more recreation and cessation from the habits of constant labor, to which he was accustomed by the native energy of his nature, would have been of service in keeping off the disease to which he at last fell a victim. His constitution was vigorous and unimpaired up to the year 1865, when he was stricken with paralysis, the disease chiefly affecting his left side. His mental faculties, however, remained in their full strength, and he possessed his memory and qualifications for the transaction of business in an unusual degree considering the ravages which disease had made on his physical powers. This continued till a year previous to his death, when he began to fail, retaining his mind, however, to the last. He departed this life on the sixth of March, 1872, respected and lamented in the community in which he had spent thirty years of his active career.
In his death his family lost an affectionate husband and kind father. Mrs. Liddy is still living. There were six children, James, Elizabeth, Maggie, Katie, John and Daniel. Elizabeth died when a few years of age, and the rest are all living on the old homestead, with the exception of James, the oldest son, who is married, and lives on an adjoining farm. None of the property has passed from the possession of members of the family, and the homestead farm is managed by the two younger sons. In the year 1871, the year previous to Mr. Liddy's death, the tasteful and comfortable residence now occupied by the family was built, a lithographic view of which appears elsewhere in this work.
In the death of Mr. Liddy the County lost a good citizen. His energetic industry had contributed much toward the development of the particular section in which he lived. As a business man he was prompt, always ready to meet his engagements and discharge his obligations. But it was in the character of a private citizen and of a husband and father, in the personal and social relations of life, that his admirable traits of mind appeared best to advantage. A leading element of his disposition was his benevolence. His charity extended toward all, and he never lost an opportunity of relieving the necessities of others. In all things he was conservative. A Democrat in politics, and taking such an interest in public affairs as was proper to a citizen of his standing in the community, he was yet no extremist, and was always willing to respect the views of others. He never acted from the impetuous impulse of the moment. His mind was reflective. Everything was given due consideration, and his actions were always regulated by principle. He never said or did an extreme thing. It may be supposed that a man so even-tempered in disposition would be happy in his family relations. Such was the case. Few men have more worthily occupied the position of head of a household. He was kind and indulgent, considerate and affectionate, provident and devoted; so that while his loss is deeply felt and truly mourned, the tears with which he was lamented were mingled with no unkind thoughts or harsh memories, but were purely those of gratitude and love.[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 H. Lindsey
The present County Judge of Randolph County is a Virginian by birth, and has lived permanently in the County since the year 1857. He was born in Wythe County, Virginia, February, 1833, the son of Jesse Lindsey and his wife Catherine, whose maiden name was Kelley. The Lindsey family is of Scotch origin, and his mother was of Irish descent.  Judge Lindsey's education was received in Virginia. Up to the age of twenty he had attended only the common schools, which were of a very ordinary character. In the year 1852 he made his first visit to Illinois, and remained two years in Randolph County at work on a farm near Ellis Grove. On returning to Virginia in 1854, he embraced an opportunity of attending for a year the Hillsville Academy, a school of excellent reputation in the adjoining County of Carroll. For the two remaining years of his stay in Virginia he was principally engaged in teaching school. On the twenty-sixth of November, 1856, he was married to Margaret A. Mitchell, the daughter of John B. Mitchell, Esq., a prominent resident of Hillsville. Judge Lindsey had made her acquaintance while a student in the academy at that place.
In August, 1857, Mr. Lindsey removed to Randolph County. He located at Ellis Grove, where he took charge of a school. He was principally engaged in teaching till 1872. He came to Chester in 1863, and two years afterward removed to Kaskaskia, where he continued six years in charge of the public school. In 1871 he again took up his residence in Chester, and taught school for one year.  In 1872 he was elected Justice of the Peace, and at the same time took up the study of law. In November of 1873, he was chosen County Judge, a position which he at present occupies. Judge Lindsey has two children, is a staunch Democrat in politics, and has administered the duties of his office in a highly creditable and satisfactory manner.[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]

Amos P. Lively
Mr. Lively was born in Township 5-6, of this County, March 2d, 1829, and has lived within the limits of this County all his life, employed in the honorable avocation of farming. He has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Melinda Cunningham, the daughter of Robert Cunningham, a gentleman who came to this County from Kentucky. His second and present wife was Ellen Beatty, daughter of Andrew Beatty, an old settler of Randolph County. Mr. Lively owns 120 acres of farm land in his Township, and also farms forty acres of leased land in the Kaskaskia River bottom; and though not wealthy, is an independent liver, is of a good family, and his ancestors are yet remembered, not only as early settlers, but as industrious, honorable citizens. His father, William, was a small lad when he came into this County with his parents, from South Carolina, in 1808. He married Miss Cynthia Ellett, of Perry County, and settled down to farm life in this County, where he brought up a large and respectable family of eleven children, five of whom are still living here, viz.: Amos, Henry, Reuben, Mrs. Lucinda (Robert) Mathews, and Mrs. Elizabeth A. (Phillip) Lively. Mathew and Mrs. Cynthia (Robert) Garvin reside in St. Clair County. Jasper resides in Crawford County, Missouri, and Mrs. Mary E. (James) Sturgess resides in southwestern Indiana, near the town of Princeton. James was taken prisoner during the late civil war, and died in Andersonville Rebel prison, and Newton departed this life in his native County.
Mr. Lively's grandfather, John Lively, was a native of South Carolina. He came with his family to this County, as already recorded, in 1808, and settled in Township 5-6, where he lived till his death. He was connected with the war of 1812, and when he came to this State he served among the Rangers for the protection of the white settlements against the Indians. He afterwards served in the Black Hawk of 1832 and 1833. He was also an old revolutionary soldier, was an excellent rifleman, and used to the smoke and perils of battle from early youth. On coming to this County he opened a small farm, and entered quite a large tract of land, embracing some three-quarter sections. He conducted his farm three years before protecting it with fences, as there was no domestic stock of any kind near enough to trespass on his growing crops. He supplied his table to a large extent with wild meats, and his hospitality was ever extended to the traveler; his charities were ever ready for the poor; and many are the instances in which the ball from his rifle brought a delicate morsel to the sufferer on a sick bed.  His residence was extensively known, and gave the name Lively to the prairie in which he lived, and though now all in farms is still known by this name.[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]

Lachlan Livingston
Livingston, Lachlan 1817-1856 was born on the Isle of Lismore, Argyll, Scotland. He came to RC in the 1840's and settled in Sparta. In 1845 he married Eliza Ann McMillan the d/o John and Eliza McMillan. Eliza Ann was born 1827 in Eden. Lachlan farmed and engaged in blacksmithing. He and Eliza had two children, Dorothy Lauretta (b 1847) and John Alexander (b 1855). Lachlan, Eliza Ann and Dorothy all died within a six year period, leaving John Alexander an orphan at the age of six. He was sent to live with his great uncle, Dr Robert McMillan, a wealthy surgeon in San Francisco. John later moved to Eureka, CA where he engaged in business. [Submitted by Rob Livingston]

John N. Louvier
The oldest resident in the town of Prairie du Rocher is John N. Louvier, who was born in the village, in the year 1802, and has since lived in the town or in the vicinity. His father was Antoine Louvier, a Frenchman, who came to the Illinois country when a boy. Antoine Louvier was born about the year 1767, and was ten or fifteen years old when he came to Randolph County. He married Louise Langlois. The Langlois family was one of the earliest and most influential in the community, the first of which to come to Prairie du Rocher was Etenne Langlois.
Antoine Louvier was a farmer, and lived a short distance to the south of Prairie du Rocher. Here on the old homestead four children were born and raised. The fourth of these was John N., the subject of this sketch. Only two of his brothers, Cyprian and Benjamin, are now living, both near the town of Prairie du Rocher. John N. Louvier was born in the year 1802, on the second day of March. There were but few schools at that day in Prairie du Rocher. The population then was almost entirely French. Subscription schools were held whenever any one could be obtained to teach. Mr. Louvier only went to school three months in his life. This was to a French school, and for his English education he was compelled to look out for himself. His father was a man of good circumstances, in fact what would be called a rich man in those early times, when little wealth was known in comparison with the present, and when the inhabitants could boast only of the commonest comforts of life. He owned a farm of three hundred acres, and the work was done almost entirely by negro slaves, while the father and sons acted the part of overseers.
Mr. Louvier was married on the fifth day of March, 1822, to Mary Louise Blais, a member of the Blais family, one of the oldest in Prairie du Rocher. Mr. Louvier was only three days from twenty
years old. It was a more common practice in those days to marry at an early age than at the present. Mr. Louvier rented land from his father and began farming. He lived on rented land for about five years. At the expiration of this time he had saved enough money to buy two hundred and fifty-three acres of land at the government price of a dollar and a quarter an acre. All this money he had earned by his own labor. When he was married his father gave him money enough to pay the expenses of his wedding day, and then left him to his own resources. The land which he bought lay on the Fort Chartres Reserve, and Mr. Louvier moved on the place and farmed successfully for forty-two years. His career as a farmer was one which may well be alluded to with pride. He began work at once with energy. He has probably been more successful as a corn raiser than any one else about Prairie du Rocher. The virgin alluvial soil near old Fort Chartres offered him a fine field, and some years he was accustomed to sell as much as fifteen thousand bushels of corn. Year by year he averaged five thousand bushels. He had one hundred and fifty acres under cultivation, and this was put in with corn every year. Part of the ruins of the old fort were embraced within his farm.
Mr. Louvier's wife died in the year 1867. On the ninth of February, 1869, he was married the second time to Mary Louise Barbeau, the daughter of Antoine Barbeau. Mr. Louvier has since made his Rome in Prairie du Rocher. By his first wife he had twelve children, of whom five are now living, four sons and one daughter. These are Eugene, Vietal, Gabriel, John, and Josephine. The daughter is now the wife of Antoine Horel. All the children are living in the neighborhood of Fort Chartres. During his long life Mr. Louvier has generally voted the Democratic ticket, though he has not been particularly interested in the schemes of politicians, and has occupied a somewhat independent position. Mr. Louvier bears well his more than three score and ten years. He was originally possessed of a stout and vigorous constitution, which years of hard labor and exposure have not affected as much as might be supposed. He is still hale and hearty, with the promise of many years before him. As has been before remarked, Mr. Louvier is the oldest native-born inhabitant of Prairie du Rocher, the person who, more than any one else, supplies the link which binds the old Prairie du Rocher of the beginning of the present century - a straggling village of meanly-built log huts, in whose streets was scarcely ever heard a word of English, with the Prairie du Rocher of to-day - a neat and pretty modern village, thriving with industry, and well worthy the beauty of the hills which surround it. Here Mr. Louvier's life has been spent, and here he has earned the reputation of being an honest, industrious, and good citizen.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]

John Riley Lyons [Autobiography]
"I will attempt to give a brief sketch of my career and narrate some of the many changes that have taken place during my life, which in some ways seems to be brief, even now. I was born in Winnsboro, S. C. on Sept.14, 1814, of Scotch Irish parents, who emigrated to America in 1805. Not finding conditions in South Carolina congenial, our family moved to Illinois in 1833. Illinois was at that time only 15 years old and very little of the land had been taken up by settlers. I settled in the southern part of St. Clair county in Marissa township and have livered there continuously in this locality for 81 years. My first dwelling was of logs and had no windows. As there were no cooking stoves then: the open fireplace was used for cooking and heating. St. Louis, Mo., at that time, was only a very small river town, and Chicago had very recently found a place on the map. When I was a boy no steamboat had ever been seen on the Mississippi or any of the Western rivers. No steamship had ever crossed the ocean. The first railroad had not been built, and there were no faster means of transportation than the old stage coach. The lazy canal boat was the luxurious mode of travel in that day. The telegraph was an unheard of thing, and postage stamps and envelopes had not come into use nor were matches, lead pencils not steel pens in existence. I did not own or ride in a buggy until middle life."The one hundred years of my life certainly comprise the greatest century of progress the world has ever seen. The changes in farm life during the past seventy-five years have been marvelous. Our first wheat crops were harvested by hand, men doing the cutting with scythe, and cradle. The first power harvesting machine was introduced during the 1850 period and was a very crude affair. A few years later the McCormick reaper made its appearance, followed later by the McCormick self raking machine. In the 1870 period a binder attachment was perfected and the wheat harvesting business was in a large measure revolutionized. Our first wheat crops were thrashed by horses treading out same. Later horse power separators were introduces, which could turn out two or three hundred bushels a day, while now with a progressive steam thrashing outfit one thousand bushels is often thrashed in half a day."In January, 1843, I was married to Miss Mary MCKEE, of Randolph county, who proved to be a most valuable helpmate in every phase of pioneer life. Six children were born, all of whom have since died except one son, William McKee LYONS, a prominent business man of Marissa, ILL. The oldest son gave his life for his county in 1863, during the war between the states."I have always lived the simple life, always very regular in my habits-ate three square meals a day, drank no intoxicating liquor and never worked hard enough to break down my constitution. I was never a robust man, and many of my friends of early days predicted that I would not live to be half a hundred years old. They have all long since passed away, I believe the Lord has a purpose in prolonging my life. [Sparta "The Plaindealer", 28 May 1915, Pg 1]


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