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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

Henry O'Harra
The oldest resident in Randolph County in the immediate vicinity of Red Bud is Mr. Henry O'Harra, who has lived in the County since the year 1818. The O'Harra family originally lived in Maryland, moved from there to Kentucky, and came to Illinois in the year 1817.
The grandfather of Mr. O'Harra, also Henry O'Harra by name, was an Irishman by birth. On emigrating to America, he settled in Frederick County, Maryland. He married in the State of Maryland a woman of English descent, by whom he had a family of six children. Of these, Henry, the father of the subject of this biography, was the youngest child. This Henry O'Harra lived the greater part of his life in Maryland. He married Margaret Brown, also a native of that State. There were ten children by this marriage, of whom the seventh was Henry O'Harra, whose name stands at the head of this sketch, and who is now an honored resident of Red Bud. All these children, with one exception, were born in Frederick County, Maryland.
In the year 1811, the O'Harra family moved from Maryland to Nelson County, Kentucky. Henry was then between four and five years old, his birth having occured [sic] in Frederick County, Maryland, on the eighteenth of July, of the year 1806. The family lived six years in Kentucky. Henry was sent to school, and received the greater part of his schooling while his father's family resided in Nelson County. In the year 1817, the family emigrated to Illinois, with the object in view of reaching a place where land could be obtained at a cheap rate, and a home made for the family. At that time a general emigration was taking place toward Illinois, and the year 1817 witnessed a large number of accessions to the American settlements in Randolph County, and elsewhere. It was the fall of the year that the family left Kentucky. The winter of 1817-1818 was passed in St. Clair County, not far from St. Louis. The family remained here while Mr. O'Harra's father was on the look-out for a place where land might be bought to advantage. During this winter he purchased the Walnut Ridge, a mile south of the present town of Ruma, a point at that time widely known throughout Illinois, and even in other States. The property contained a large number of fine springs of water, a fact which partly determined its selection on the part of Mr. O'Harra.
The family did not move immediately on the property. The next summer, that of 1818, they lived on rented land, in the American Bottom, below Prairie du Rocher, but, the succeeding fall the family moved to Walnut Ridge. Henry was about twelve years old on coming to Randolph County. He went to school in log cabins, under such instruction as could be obtained in the sparsely settled neighborhood. The O'Harra settlement became the nucleus around which others gathered, and the next year or two, witnessed considerable additions to the population of that vicinity. Mr. O'Harra was brought up on the farm, and, of course, after the manner of those early times, became familiar with hard work. He lived at home till the time of his marriage. This important incident transpired in October, 1829, and the bride was Lueretia Mudd, who was born in Kentucky, and whose family came to Randolph County about the year 1816. The Mudd family was also originally from Maryland.
After his marriage, Mr. O'Harra went to farming on his own account. He bought three hundred and fifty acres of land, seven miles south-east of where the town of Red Bud is now situated. He settled here in the spring of 1830, and lived the quiet and uneventful life of a farmer, without changing his residence, till the year 1868. He devoted himself closely to his business, and met with success. He bought additional land till his farm was finally composed of about six hundred acres of rich and productive land. After quitting the farm in 1868, he lived for a year near Ruma, and then settled with his family in Red Bud, where he has since continued to reside. In 1872, in connection with his son, he undertook the lumber business at Red Bud, which he is at present engaged in carrying on.
Mr. and Mrs. O'Harra have had eleven children. Five are now living, one son, Thomas B. O'Harra, and four daughters. The daughters are Margaret, the wife of Michael Tewel; Sarah, who married John Winstanley; Helena, the wife of James Faherty; and Amelia, the wife of Theodore Adleman. The O'Harra family have always been Democrats in politics. Mr. O'Harra has a record of which few in Randolph County can boast. He cast his first vote for President, for General Jackson, in 1828, and has never missed attending a presidential election since, and has always cast his ballot for the candidate of the Democratic party. [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 Ohlwine
Few better examples can be given of the prosperity which comes from honest industry and perseverance than is found in the life of David Ohlwine, a prominent citizen of Randolph County, living near Red Bud. Mr. Ohlwine came to Randolph County in the year 1839. He was then without means, and was in search of a locality where good land could be obtained on advantageous terms, and where he might build up a home for himself and family. He chose the neighborhood of where the town of Red Bud was afterward built, and ever since has been a resident of that locality, where he is now recognized as one of the foremost farmers and business men.
The Ohlwine family was originally of German origin. Mr. Ohlwine's grandfather was probably the first to cross the Atlantic, and make his home in America. Charles Ohlwine, the father of the subject of this biography, was born in the State of Maryland, and at an early age was left without father or mother. On the death of his parents he received a home in the family of a tanner, by whom he was raised. He learned the tanner's trade. He subsequently married Elizabeth Schrieter, the circumstances of whose early life were much like those of her husband. When quite young she was left an orphan. Soon after this marriage Charles Ohlwine and his wife moved to Ohio. They first settled in Warren County, and here Mr. Ohlwine carried on the occupation of a tanner.
From Warren, the family removed to Montgomery County, and it was here that David Ohlwine was born. His birth took place at Germantown, in Montgomery County, Ohio, on the fifteenth of December, of the year 1815. He was the seventh child in the order of his birth. When David was only a few years of age, his father moved to Green County, Ohio, and located within two miles of the village of Yellow Springs. His father here bought a piece of land, and while he farmed it, followed at the same time his occupation of a tanner. Mr. Ohlwine was chiefly raised in this locality. He attended the schools of the neighborhood. On growing up he learned his father's trade of a tanner, and also worked on the farm. He lived at home until he was twenty-four years of age, at work at farming and the tanning business.
On the fourteenth day of September, 1837, he was married to Charlotte Taylor. Mrs. Ohlwine was born and raised in Green County, Ohio. For two years succeeding his marriage, Mr. Ohlwine continued in Ohio. He was, however, anxious to find a place where good land could be obtained cheaper than in the locality where he was brought up, and accordingly in the year 1839, he made up his mind to remove to Illinois. One child had been born in Ohio, which died, however, soon after coming to Randolph County. On reaching Illinois, in 1839, Mr. Ohlwine had a capital of only about one hundred dollars. This amount he invested in land, intending to get along as well as he could in the way of improving it. He entered eighty acres about a mile south-east of the present town of Red Bud. There were, of course, no improvements on the property. The first year he worked for James Pollock, of Preston, at the tanning business, in order to obtain some money. The spring of 1841 he moved on his eighty acres, and went to work at making a farm out of it. He went in debt for a yoke of oxen and other necessary articles. He put up a log house, and the first year had five acres in with corn.
Mr. Ohlwine had been raised to habits of hard labor, and he brought his land under cultivation as fast as circumstances would allow. Those were days of hard times, and for some years Mr. Ohlwine had all he could do to support his family, and keep even with the world. Not much money could be obtained for farm products, and good markets could only be found at St. Louis and Belleville. He was, however, industrious and economical, and he slowly, but surely, gained a good footing, and some ten or twelve years after coming to the County, bought additional land. He still lives on the place of his first settlement in the County. His farm is now made up of two hundred and seventy acres of land, valuable on account of its richness and fertility, and its close proximity to the town of Red Bud. Eleven children have been the fruits of the marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Ohlwine. Six of these are now living. Their names in the order of their births are Clementine, Walter, George, James, Franklin, and Cora. Clementine, the oldest daughter, is now the wife of Reuben W. Kelsey.
In his political principles Mr. Ohlwine was formerly an Old Line Whig, and in the memorable "hard cider" campaign of 1840, voted for General William Henry Harrison for President. Since the dissolution of the Whig party Mr. Ohlwine has held a somewhat conservative and independent position in politics, but has generally voted for the candidates of the Democratic party. Mr. Ohlwine is the only representative of his family in this section of country. His brothers and sisters mostly made their home in Noble County, Indiana, and in that State his father died.
Mr. Ohlwine is widely known in Randolph County, and it is scarcely necessary to speak of the reputation he bears, and his standing in the community. He holds a place among the solid and substantial men of the County. Beside actively carrying on the farming business, he is interested in the bank established at Red Bud in the spring of 1875, under the name of "Ohlwine, Schreiber & Co.," and was selected President of the banking organization. As a business man he is cautious and careful, but never puts his hand to anything without carrying it through. Energy and perseverance are marked elements of his character, and for honest and straight-forward dealing no one has a better name. Without money on coming to the County, he has made his way by his own efforts, and while he is one of the oldest, he is, at the same time, one of the most highly respected citizens of the County in the vicinity of Red Bud.[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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