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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

Reuben L. Patterson
Mr. Patterson is one of the few remaining old pioneer natives of this County. He was born April 26th, 1814, in the town of Preston. When he was a small boy of some five or six summers his father moved into the limits of Township 5-6. Here father and mother both died in 1829 and near where the city of Sparta now stands.  When in his fifteenth year Mr. Patterson commenced a course of study at Monroe, Butler County, Ohio, he was there some three years and spent one session during the time at the college at Oxford. Though he did not remain long enough in school to graduate, yet by earnest study he made himself a good English scholar and attained considerable progress in Latin and Greek. He returned home and commenced the study of medicine under Dr. Betts of Kaskaskia, where he remained a year. He then read a year under Dr. Farnan of Sparta. The following year he returned to Kaskaskia and practiced a year with Dr. Hotckiss. He was then united in marriage to Miss Alethe McNulty and located near where Marissa now stands. He practiced one season in this community, when he determined to abandon the profession and give his attention to farming. He accordingly bought a small farm within the same settlement, on which he lived some four years, then sold and bought in Hill Prairie. He was there several years and then again sold and bought a farm about two miles south of Plum Creek (in his Township) where he remained till he removed to his present farm in 1870. He has had a family of ten children. Five sons and one daughter are all that are now living, viz.: James H., Lewis M., John C., Samuel W., Reuben L., and Miss Alethe J., all married except the daughter, and all residents of this County but John, who resides in Missouri.
James, Mr. Patterson's father, was born in South Carolina. He came to this County about the year 1800, and was one of its early rangers against the Indians. He was also a soldier in the war of 1812. He was married first in South Carolina to a Miss Boggs. This companion accompanied him to this County, where she died. His second wife was Miss Bethiah Lacy, of this County, of a prominent and well-known family. Her father, Col. Lacy, was one of the old settlers of the County, and one of her brothers, John, early represented this District in the State Legislature.
The Patterson family are descended from Ireland. Mr. Patterson's grandfather came from that country in time to serve his country as a continental soldier, thus assisting to lay the foundation of that liberty which his numerous and respectable posterity have since enjoyed.[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]

Paul Paulter
The popular proprietor of Paulter's Hotel at Evansville is one of the oldest German residents of that neighborhood. He was born at the village of Premmelbach, in the canton of Soulz, Alsace, on the eighteenth of March of the year 1834. His birth-place, Alsace, then belonged to France, but is now a part of Germany. Joseph Paulter was the name of his father, and Margaret Weckerle the name of his mother. He was the fifth of a family of eight children, besides having some half-brothers and sisters.
In Alsace, Mr. Paulter acquired the greater part of his education. He went to school but little after coming to America, though he crossed the Atlantic at the early age of thirteen. His father was a farmer and land-owner in Alsace. The Paulters emigrated to America in 1847, landing in New York in November of that year. The family at once took up their residence in Erie County, in the western part of the State of New York. Mr. Paulter's father here engaged in farming, and also in running a saw-mill. As has been stated, Mr. Paulter went to school in New York State but little. He was only two months in attendance on an English school, and his proficiency, as far as a knowledge of English is concerned, has been picked up by himself while attending to other duties.
The year 1851, dates the coming of Mr. Paulter to Randolph County. An older sister, Margaret, had married Nicholas Gross, and removed to Randolph County, and located in the neighborhood of Evansville. Mr. Paulter, with a younger brother, accompanied them. He was now seventeen years of age. He worked on a farm for Mr. Gross till he was twenty-one. In the year 1855, he bought fifty acres of land, one-eighth of Survey 442, Claim 1395. He moved on this and began farming on his own account. He returned to New York in December, 1857, on a visit to his sisters, and while there he married Rosine Daniel, a native of Erie County, New York, but of German descent, like her husband. Her ancestors had had their home in the French province of Lothringen. In the succeeding April, Mr. Paulter brought back with him to Illinois his wife, moved on his farm, and continued the pursuit of agriculture. His father had come on to Randolph County in the year 1856, and lived there till the time of his death in January, 1873. Mr. Paulter bought additional land, was thrifty in his management and every change in his circumstances was for the better.
Mr. Paulter left the farm in Randolph County in the year 1863, and moved back to Erie County, New York. He remained here, however, only eighteen months, and during this time was engaged in the manufacture of liquor. In the year 1865 he again returned to Randolph County. This time he located at Evansville. He opened a hotel in 1866, of which he has since been proprietor. He is a man of progressive tendencies, and in 1874 he erected a fine brick structure to serve as a hotel, an illustration of which appears in another part of this work. Paulter's Hotel is one of the best managed in the County, and a favorite stopping-place for the traveling public. Ample feel stables are attached to the establishment, and here may be found the best accommodations "for man and beast." The hospitable landlord leaves nothing undone for the comfort of his guests.
The children of Mr. Paulter are equally divided into boys and girls, and all are living, hearty and vigorous as their parents. Cornelius David, Mary Margaret, Rosa Linda, Joseph Franz, Clara Catherine, Martha Christina, John Edward, and Albert Joseph, are their names. He has been a Democrat, voted for Douglas in 1860, and for the general ticket of the Democratic party at elections subsequent to that date. Mr. Paulter is one of the substantial men of Evansville, and is a person who stands high in the general good opinion of the community.[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]

Capt. Jonathon Penrod  (DECEASED)
The best years of Captain Penrod's life were spent on the Mississippi river, and his career was one of activity and adventure. For a long period he was connected with steamboating on the Mississippi. He began his river life on a flat-boat, before the advent of steam as applied to water communication, and worked his way steadily from post to post till he finally became pilot of some of the finest boats that ever plowed the waters of the Mississippi. In the old days of steamboating, before railroads had reduced this means of  communication to its present minor importance, Captain Penrod was widely known on the river, and filled trustworthy and responsible positions. His steamboat life ended some years ago. For the last five years of his life his home had been on Ralls' Ridge, southeast of Red Bud, where he died, in the month of August, 1875.  The family from which Captain Penrod was descended was connected with the Penn family which settled Pennsylvania. His father's name was Samuel Penrod, and the maiden name of his mother was Jane Kimmel. Captain Penrod was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on the seventh of June of the year 1810. He was the eighth of a family of eleven children. When a few months old, the family removed to what is now Union County, Illinois, near the town of Jonesboro. After residing three or four years at that place, his father moved down to the Mississippi river, opened a farm, and laid off the towns of Hamburg and Bainbridge on opposite sides of the river. When about six or eight years old his parents died, and Jonathan (for such was Captain Penrod's Christian name) was sent to Kaskaskia, and received a home in the family of Henry Will of that place. Here Captain Penrod went to school. The six months' schooling with which he was favored at this time constituted the first educational advantages he had ever enjoyed. Shortly after, his father's cousin, David Wright, went to New Mexico, and young Penrod, then a boy of about a dozen years of age, accompanied him. He was in New Mexico about a year. Wright carried on an active trade with the Indians, and Captain Penrod was made useful, as he himself was accustomed to relate in after years, in speaking of his life in New Mexico, in "whipping the bugs out of the deer-skins." Following the Red river on his return home, Wright disposed of his peltry in New Orleans, and then Penrod and himself came back to Kaskaskia. Not long after, when about fifteen, he began his career of boating, a pursuit which he followed for thirty-five years.
At the time he began his river life, he was residing with Governor Bond, whose mansion to the west of Kaskaskia is still one of the features of the American Bottom which has survived, with least change, the ravages of time. On his first flat-boat trip he started from Governor Bond's house. While following flat-boating, he sometimes remained at New Orleans during the winter, and at other times returned to Kaskaskia. He thus acquired that knowledge of the river of so much service to him in his after years. He began steamboating as a deck-hand. He was then a young man of twenty-two or twenty-three. His first trip was made on the old Liberator, a boat well known in the early days of steamboating on the Mississippi. Captain Penrod served four years in such a capacity, and then followed his promotion as pilot. He learned the business, and acquired that intimate knowledge of the river essential to a successful pilot while on the deck.
Captain Penrod for many years followed the river as Captain and pilot, sometimes filling one position, and sometimes the other. He ran the Mississippi from St. Louis to New Orleans; the Ohio as far up as Louisville and Cincinnati; and up the Missouri to Council Bluffs. During this time he had many thrilling adventures, and his experience partook of the interesting character common to the river in those days. He was pilot of the Robert Burns, when she burnt about fifty miles above New Orleans. No lives were lost, for Captain Penrod at once seized the wheel and landed the boat, at the same time saving the life of the Captain. When the Ben. Shererd, from Nashville, was burned in 1837, in the reach above Fort Adams, fifteen miles from the mouth of Red river, Captain Penrod was on the old St. Louis in Black Hawk Bend, about five miles above, from which the flames of the burning boat could be distinctly seen. This was one of the most terrible catastrophes that ever occurred on the Mississippi, and over one hundred lives were lost. In the year 1858 Captain Penrod made the trip up from New Orleans as pilot of the Pennsylvania. Through a vague apprehension of danger, he refused to make the return trip, but resolved to remain in St. Louis and there await his family. The event proved the wisdom of his course. A short time after the Pennsylvania was burned and sunk at Ship Island, and the person whom Captain Penrod had procured to fill his place as pilot of the boat, lost his life, together with over a hundred of the passengers. During the late war, he served ten months as pilot on the ram Vindicator and other government boats, and was at Vicksburg at the time of its surrender. In the old days when steamboating was at its prime, Captain Penrod was widely known on the river. He was pilot of some of the finest boats that ever ran the Mississippi. He sank two boats in his time, and was on another when it burned to the water's edge.
In the beginning of the year 1833, Captain Penrod was married to Mary A. Anderson, of Baltimore. Mrs. Penrod died in September, 1869. After the year 1858, Captain Penrod lived principally in St. Louis. From 1870 the Captain lived with his niece, the widow of James Ralls (deceased), on Ralls' Ridge, in Randolph County. He died suddenly on Wednesday, the twenty-fifth of August, 1875. He was a man of many admirable traits of character, and his death was lamented by friends and relatives.[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]

William Phegley
William Phegley was born in Spencer County, Kentucky, April the twenty-fifth, 1818. His grandfather, Simon Phegley, emigrated from Pennsylvania to Kentucky at an early date, and Abraham Phegley, the father of William Phegley, was born in the latter state about the year 1796, and there also married Susan Smith. In 1833 Abraham Phegley, moved with his family to Randolph County, and located in Township 5, Range 8, about four miles west of Evansville. There were six children by the marriage mentioned above, and William was the oldest. He was about fifteen on coming to Illinois. His father died in January, 1848. Mr. Phegley was married in 1844, to Hannah Mudd, the daughter of James and Amelia Mudd. Mrs. Phegley was born in Randolph County, April 28, 1825. In March, 1845, Mr. Phegley moved on the place which he now owns and occupies. The first one hundred and forty eight acres of land he bought for three hundred dollars. He now owns about five hundred acres of land and is one of the best farmers in his section of 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]

John B. Pillers
Pillers (Pillars), John B (27 Jul 1786-11 Jan 1852) came to Randolph County in about 1795 with his family (see James Francis Pillars). He married Margaret Gaston on 25 Nov 1809. They raised 6 daughters and 1 son to maturity: Ann (12/25/1810-3/24/1888) married Abraham Harmon; Sarah (11/12/1812-7/20/1900) married James Thompson Jr, then Samuel B. Crozier, then Samuel Alexander Mann; Catherine (6/12/1814, abt 1840) married Calvin Elsey; Jane (6/10/1816-2/10/1892) married John Douglas; Margaret (4/28/1825-2/15/1869) married John H. McCarty; Mary (b. 3/6/1827) married first Jonathan Pettit, then Dr. John Glen; and Peter Wylie B. (7/21/1832-4/5/1886) married Jane Wilson. Two sons, James H. (b. 12/24/1817) and John W. (4/21/1820) died in infancy. John Pillers was the first settler in Blair. He purchased 320 acres from the government on 4/21/1815 for $2 an acre; although shortly thereafter he sold a portion of this land. He remained on this land until his death. John Pillers served in the Illinois Territorial militia and the Randolph County militia, where he eventually became a major. (1875) [Submitted by Carolyn Pillers Dobler]

John Pinkerton
The Pinkerton family, of which the subject of this sketch is a descendant, is of Irish extraction. Mr. Pinkerton's grandfather, James Pinkerton, was brought up and educated for a sea-captain, and served in this capacity a number of years. On the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, he left the sea, and joined the Continental forces, and served as a staff officer with General Sumpter throughout the ensuing struggle, and was a participant in nearly all the southern campaigns as conducted by Sumpter and Marion; and many were the thrilling adventures through which he passed. He was very finely educated, and at the close of the war he devoted his time to teaching, and taught both in South Carolina and Tennessee, and finally died in the latter State at the good old age of eighty-two. He belonged to the O. S. Presbyterian Church, and through all the vicissitudes through which he passed, both on sea and land, ever preserved a uniform, consistent, Christian deportment. He raised a family of some seven children.
John, Mr. Pinkerton's father, was a native of South Carolina, and he there married Miss Sarah Gilmore. After the birth of six children, he emigrated to Middle Tennessee, and settled in Lincoln County, seventy-five miles south of the City of Nashville. While there the family circle was further increased by the birth of five children. He made a visit to Randolph County in 1844. This was the year of the great rainfall in the Mississippi Valley, and not being favorably impressed with the appearance of the country, he returned south, and spent several years in the State of Mississippi, where some of his children had settled. He finally went to Texas, where he died the year after he landed in that State, at the home of his youngest daughter, Mrs. Sarah Aker. His wife preceded him to the grave by a number of years, dying in Tennessee in 1831. He never married a second time, but spent the remainder of his days among his children. He and his wife both lived and died in the fellowship of the Presbyterian Church. He was a gentleman widely known for his many manly and patriotic qualities, and was honored as one of the soldiers of the war of 1812.
Mr. Pinkerton, our subject, was born in South Carolina, Feb. 21st, 1811, and was between four and five years old when the family went to Tennessee. He was married in that State to Miss Dovey Hughey, by whom he had four children prior to accompanying his father to this County in 1844. Liking the appearance of the country, he determined to remain, and has ever since been a citizen of Randolph County. In 1845 he had the misfortune to lose his wife, the companion of his youth, who died before becoming the mother of any additional children. She was a consistent Christian, a member of the Presbyterian Church, a fond mother, a loving and faithful wife, who for many years brightened the home of her husband, and participated in his early toils and cares. In 1846 Mr. Pinkerton married his second wife, Mrs. Mary McKane, and the daughter of James McMillan, one of the early settlers of this County. This excellent lady died in the fall of 1873, and Mr. Pinkerton is again left companionless, after having buried two excellent Christian wives. He has the comfort, however, of living amidst a number of dutiful and loving children, the support and comfort of his old age. The youngest, James M., is married, and lives with him on the home farm. Another son, Wm. H., by the first wife, is married and settled in Perry County. Luther, also, of the first wife's children, settled in Johnson County, Kansas. Isaac, the eldest, went to California in 1852, and has spent his life since in the West, and is now a resident of Wyoming Territory. Another daughter, Minerva, the wife of Alexander McMillan, resides with her husband in Coulterville. Miss Sarah is at home with her father.
On coming to this State, Mr. Pinkerton bought seventy-four acres of raw land, where he now lives. This he improved, and has since increased by purchase, till it now embraces one hundred and eighty acres - a part lying in Washington County. This is a choice farm - good improvements and splendid drainage. He now proposes to sell this property in order to retire from active life. This is a good chance for some enterprising farmer, as it is one of the most finely located homesteads of the County, and the soil is very rich.
Mr. Pinkerton is also a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has had the satisfaction of seeing nearly all his children acknowledge the Lord and submit themselves to the obligations of a holy life. The son residing in Perry County served his country during the late Civil War with the rebellious South. One of Mr. Pinkerton's brothers, Samuel, was in the United States' service during the Mexican War, and the father of his last wife, James McMillan, was 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]

Dr. J.T. Pollock
Dr. Pollock, one of the old established and popular physicians of Randolph County, began practice in the year 1855. He is a native of the County, having been born at Sparta, in September, 1829. His family, both on his father's and mother's side, were old residents of the County. His father's name was Robert Pollock, who was from Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and came to St. Louis about the year 1818. He subsequently located in the town of Sparta, and there followed the occupations of tanner and butcher, he married Hannah Thompson, the daughter of John Thompson, and a member of a family among the earliest to settle in Randolph County, coming to the Irish Settlement in the year 1804.  Dr. Pollock's history begins with that of Sparta, which, in the early part of its history, was known as Columbus. The town had just been founded, and at the time of Dr. Pollock's birth its future was largely a matter of conjecture. His father died when the subject of this biography was two or three months old. His mother subsequently married William McDill. The Doctor was brought up in the town of Sparta, and there received his early education. Although Sparta was at that time a small and unpretentious village, its schools were of an excellent character, and surpassed those of some of the other older settled places. In this respect the town has well maintained its reputation. Dr. Pollock consequently enjoyed the advantages of good instruction. Having completed his education at the schools of the town, he began the study of medicine, in the winter of 1848-49, with old Dr. Joseph Farnan, who had located at Sparta in 1830 and was a leading physician of that section of the country for many years. He read medicine with Dr. Farnan for two or three years, and then in the fall of 1851 went to St. Louis, with the purpose of attending lectures at the St. Louis Medical School. He attended the full courses of lectures, and thoroughly prepared himself for the successful practice of his profession. He afterward received a diploma from this institution. In 1853 he sustained a misfortune, which for the time impeded his progress, and prevented him from entering on his medical practice. He lost his eyesight, and for two or three years was unable to do anything by reason of this affliction. For two years, from 1853 to 1855, he was in St. Louis under treatment for his eyes. The efforts of the physicians in charge of the case proved successful; his vision was restored in its natural strength and clearness, and in 1855 Dr. Pollock began the practice of medicine at Sparta, in connection with Dr. Farnan, his old preceptor.
Of Dr. Pollock's career as a physician, it is only necessary to say that it has been one of uniform success. He largely combines the qualities requisite for the skillful and popular practitioner of medicine. He remained in Sparta till 1857, when he took up his residence at Chester, where he has since been engaged with the active duties of the medical profession. The year after coming to Chester, 1858, he was married to M. F. Warren, a resident of Chester at the time of the marriage, and a native of Illinois, much of whose previous life before coming to Chester had been spent in the South. This union was broken in January, 1873, by the death of Mrs. Pollock. There were three children by the marriage, of whom two are now living. Dr. Pollock possesses decided convictions on most of the questions at issue before the people, and has been a Democrat in politics. His attention has, however, been strictly confined to the duties of his profession, in which he has proved himself capable and successful.[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]

William M. Pollock

Mr. Pollock's father was one of the early settlers of Preston. The family, which was of Irish descent, had its home in Pennsylvania, where James Pollock, the father of William W. Pollock, was born near Newcastle, October the nineteenth, 1796. In the year 1818, he settled in St. Louis, and there followed his trade of a tanner, and there also married Ann E. Conway, who was born on the twenty-second of September, 1803. The marriage occurred on the nineteenth of December, 1822.  Mr. Pollock first came to Randolph County about the year 1821. He bought of John Rankin, in 1824, the tract of land now occupied by the town of Preston, originally entered by James Patterson in 1814. He established a tan-yard, which he managed for several years. He died October, 1867. James Pollock had twelve children. William Wallace Pollock was the third son, and was born on the tenth of July of the year 1832. He learned his father's business of a tanner, and worked at that till he was twenty-one. When he reached his majority, he undertook the management of his father's farm.
In the year 1864, on the twenty-seventh of October, he was married to Mary J. Burns, a native of the Union District of South Carolina, who came to Randolph County, about the year 1850, when sixteen years of age. After this marriage Mr. Pollock moved on the farm where he now resides, just outside of Preston. Mr. Pollock has here been a farmer, and a substantial citizen of the community. One child, Effie Etta, has resulted from their marriage. Mr. Pollock's farm is a valuable tract of two hundred acres adjoining the town of Preston. Mr. Pollock was one of the early members of the Republican party in Randolph County, and voted for Fremont in 1856. For a number of years he has been connected with the United Presbyterian church at Preston.
His father, James Pollock, owned the whole tract of land on which Preston now stands, and laid off the town. He was a man of great industry and energy, foremost in every public enterprise. In his religious belief he was a Covenanter in his early years, and during the latter part of his life he was a member of the United Presbyterian church at Preston.[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]

Robert H. Preston
Was born in September, 1810, near Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey. His ancestors had settled in this neighborhood before the Revolutionary war, and his grandfather, Joseph Preston, was a Captain of the Jersey troops in that struggle. His father was William Preston, and Sarah Hutchinson was the early name of his mother. From the time he was fourteen till twenty-nine he worked in a woolen factory which his father carried on. August, 1839, he married Elizabeth Fleming, and the same year he left New Jersey to make his home in the West. The place of his first settlement was half a mile northwest of Baldwin, but some years after he moved to a neighboring farm, and there lived till 1874, when he became a citizen of Baldwin. For about twenty years Mr. Preston has filled the office of Justice of the Peace. He is known as a man 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]


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