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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!


Andrew Schoeppel

Andrew Schoeppel came to Randolph County in the year 1839, when five years old. He is a native of Germany. His birth-place was the town of Baireith, in Bavaria, Germany. His father's name was John George Schoeppel. Andrew was born on the fourteenth of January, 1835. There were five children in the family, who grew up, and Andrew was the second of these. In the fall of 1839 his father left Germany with his family to make his home in America. They landed in New Orleans. It was the intention to go to Jefferson City, Missouri, and settle somewhere in that locality, but in ascending the Mississippi the boat was frozen up in the river opposite Kaskaskia. This incident occasioned them to land at Kaskaskia, and once in the town, the family determined to remain in that section of the country.
Mr. Schoeppel's father was a tailor by trade. After working a couple of months at Kaskaskia he moved out in the country back of the bluff and settled at a point nearly a mile north of where Ellis Grove now is. Here he united with his occupation of tailor that of a farmer, and living a peaceful and industrious life, died in 1858. John, Andrew, Martin, and Frederick Schoeppel are his sons, all living in the neighborhood of Ellis Grove. A daughter, Elizabeth, is now the wife of William Albright.
The Schoeppel family, on their first arrival in Illinois, were in very moderate circumstances. It cost something in those days of subscription schools to send children to school, and Mr. Schoeppel's father was too poor to send his boys to school to much extent. Andrew went to a German school a month and a halpf, and five months to an English school. This comprehended all his education under the instruction of a teacher, but he studied at home and acquired knowledge fitting him for the transaction of all ordinary business.
In the year 1858, at the time of his father's death, Andrew bought a farm joining the one on which he now lives. He resided there tilt e time of the war, 1863, when he was drafted into military service. He then sold his farm and bought a smaller one a mile north of Ellis Grove. After being on it a year he bought the one he now owns. Mr. Schoeppel is now in the possession of one hundred and seventy-five acres of land, lying near his present residence. He has been successful as a farmer and trader. He has embraced every opportunity of bettering his circumstances, and in the main has prospered. For twenty-one years he has run a threshing machine and been busy at that.
Mr. Schoeppel has been three times married. His first marriage occurred when he was twenty-four. His wife was Wilhlemina Begeman, and she died about ten months after the celebration of the nuptials. His second wife was Catherine Kistner, whom he married in June, 1862, about two years after the death of his first wife. She died on the twenty-fifth of May, 1866. He married his present wife, Elizabeth Ruppert, in 1868. Mr. Schoeppel has three children living, Martin Douglas, Henry, and Louise. The boys are by the second wife and the last by the third.
Mr. Schoeppel has been a Democrat in politics. For many years he has been a member of the German Methodist Church, and has been one of the estimable members of the community. [Source: "An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - Tr. by Stephanie Thornton]



William Schuchert

William Schuchert, of Chester, is one of the enterprising business men of Randolph County. He first took up residence in Chester, in the year 1848, and has been in business for himself as a merchant since 1867. In company with a large number of worthy citizens of Randolph County, Mr. Schuchert is of German descent. His native place is Otterndorf, a town of some eight thousand inhabitants, in the Kingdom of Hanover. Here he was born on the twenty-eights of September, 1832.
His education was obtained in the public schools of his native town, which he attended from the ages of six to fifteen. His father's family was composed of only two children, William and John F., both of whom are now citizens of Chester. His mother died at the age of fourteen. When William had reached his sixteenth year he emigrated to America in company with his father. The younger brother, John F., remained behind in the old country. The father and son landed at New Orleans on the first day of January, 1848. William remained in the city of New Orleans till the next July. His father, meanwhile had come to Chester, and William arrived at the same place in the summer of 1848, then about sixteen years of age.
Mr. Schuchert remained in Chester for about four months, and during this time he as an apprentice at the blacksmith's trade. In the spring of 1849, Mr. Schuchert took up his residence in the city of St. Louis. He continued here but a short time. In June of the same year, he returned to Germany for the purpose of bringing over his brother, John F. The money to make this trip, Mr. Schuchert had saved himself out of wages of ten dollars a month. He returned from Germany in November, 1849, found his way to Chester, and there entered as store clerk in the store of John O'Neil.
Mr. Schuchert held that position till the spring of 1852, and then went to California, where the gold mining excitement was then at its height. During the six years of his stay in California, he was employed as a clerk in a hotel at Marysville, on the Yuba river. The year 1858 marked his return to Illinois. He engaged his services as clerk in the store of the late H. C. Cole, who was then carrying on a merchandising business in connection with his mill. He continued with Mr. Cole nine years, till 1867, and then bought out Mr. Cole's interest in the store, and took charge of it himself. From that time he has been engaged in the mercantile business, and has carried it on with considerable success, and is widely known as one of the most enterprising, liberal, and public-spirited merchants of Randolph County. He still retains the old stand at Cole's Mills, where he has built up a large trade.
Mr. Schuchert's marriage was celebrated in April, 1860. His wife was formerly Miss L. F. Castllaw, who was born in Tennessee, but was living in Randolph County at the time of the marriage. Mr. Schuchert is a Republican in his political principles, and has voted generally for the candidates of that party since 1860. In all respects he is a worthy member of the community, and by close attention to his affairs, and careful management, he has won his present standing as a business man. His life exemplifies the results of industry and enterprise. He landed in the country without capital, a boy in his sixteenth year, and aided only by his own habits of thrift, economy, and enterprise, has gained the place he now occupies among the substantial and influential citizens of the community. [Source: "An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys." (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

Henry Schulze
Schulze, Henry was born in Germany on 17 Nov 1838. His family came to the US in 1849. His parents were Charles (d 1879) and Dorothes (Welge). In 1861 Henry married Caroline Opperman, she was born in Germany and died in 1871. They had 6 children. Henry's second marriage was to Mary Brammer, who died in 1876 leaving one child, Mary. Henry's third marriage was to Lousia Hornbustle of St Louis, they had one child, William. (1894)

Dr. W.J. Seely
Seely, Dr W J was born in Westchester Co, NY on 17 Dec 1832. He married on Dec 1864 to Elvie Robbins who was born in Washington Co, OH. They family came to Rc in 1866. They had 2 children. (1894)

Edward Seymour
Connecticut, "The Land of Steady Habits," was the birth-place of Edward Seymour, one of the old residents of Randolph County. He was born at Farmington, in Hartford County, on the twenty-ninth of March, 1801. The family was one which for a long time had been resident in Connecticut. His father's name was Luther Seymour and his mother's name Rebecca, her maiden name having been Curtis. His father's family consisted of five children, of whom Mr. Seymour was the second.
Mr. Seymour's father was a carpenter and jointer. His education he received in Connecticut, his opportunities consisting of the ordinary common school instruction afforded by the Connecticut common school system. In the year 1815 his father died, before Edward had reached his fifteenth year. He was then apprenticed to the trade of a house joiner. For five years he was an apprentice to this business, which he learned thoroughly, but never followed to any great extent. Connecticut has long been celebrated for the manufacture of clocks, wooden and otherwise, which the citizens of that State seem to have been able to turn out with greater facility and excellence than the residents of any other section. Then, as now, one of the leading establishments of the kind was the widely known Seth Thomas works, of Plymouth. Here Mr. Seymour found employment when he became twenty-one. He remained about eight years, including one year in which he worked at Terry's establishment, and became thoroughly conversant with that business.
About the year 1830 Mr. Seymour began business for himself, undertaking the manufacture of clocks, with the different processes of whose construction he had become thoroughly familiar. He located his works at Unionville, Connecticut, a small settlement at that time, but now grown to be a manufacturing point of considerable importance. About the same time he was married to Miss Harriet A. Johnson, of Bristol. He carried on the clock business with success till the year 1838, when a disastrous fire swept away the works, and caused great financial loss to the partners.
It was then that Mr. Seymour determined to remove West. An older brother, Elisha Seymour, had come to Randolph County about the year 1822, and settled on the place where Edward Seymour now lives. A tannery was formerly established at this place, with whose management Elisha Seymour was connected. For some years after his removal to Illinois Edward Seymour was engaged in settling up the affairs of the clock business, and attending to other interests. He lived in Randolph County till  the year 1849.
At this time the news of the discovery of gold in California reached Illinois. The fabulous reports of fortunes to be gained in the new El Dorado drew away large numbers of daring and adventurous men to the Pacific slope. Among these were Edward and Elisha Seymour. They left Randolph County in April, 1849, and taking the overland route across the Plains and through the Rocky Mountains, did not reach California till the next December. Mr. Seymour went to work at mining gold as soon as he arrived at the mines. He was principally engaged in this occupation during his stay in California, carrying it on with varying success, sometimes reaping a rich reward for his labor and sometimes falling far behind his expenses. The brothers kept in each other's company till May, 1841, when by a sad accident the older brother, Elisha, was drowned in the Salmon river near its mouth. He had volunteered to ferry over a Spaniard during a dangerous stage of the river, and in doing this, though a skillful oarsman and an expert swimmer, he met his death.
In a few months Mr. Seymour turned his face homeward. In the winter of 1851-1852 he made the journey, sailing from San Francisco, crossing the Isthmus of Panama, and landing in New York. For some time after his return he was sick at his old home in Connecticut, and on his recovery came on to Randolph County to settle up his brother's estate. His brother, Elisha, it may be mentioned, had married Sarah McDonough, the daughter of Stacey McDonough, one of the early pioneers of Illinois and Randolph County.
Mr. Seymour has since been a resident of Randolph County, and has been engaged in farming. He lives on the old place formerly occupied by his brother. As a farmer he has been successful, and he now has the ownership of three hundred acres of land in Randolph, and that much more in Washington County. Mrs. Seymour departed this life in September, 1872, after a married life of forty-three years. This union was blessed with two children, George D. and Henry E., both of whom are now living in the County. In his early life Mr. Seymour's political principles attached him to the Whig party. On the decay and final dissolution of that organization, and the rise of the Republican party, he became a Republican, and as such has since continued to act. His life has been quiet, but one honorable to himself, and the benefit to the community. . [Source: "An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - Tr. by Stephanie Thornton]


John R. Shannon
The lives of few citizens of Randolph County have been so eventful as that of Mr. John R. Shannon, of Chester, and few families can trace back their ancestry to an earlier date in the settlement of the County.
The Shannon family is of Irish origin, and of Presbyterian antecedents, and occupied a good position in the County Antrim, in the north of Ireland. Here John Shannon, the grandfather of the subject of this biography, was a substantial farmer. The family early manifested its patriotism and a dislike of oppressive authority. When the unfortunate rebellion of 1798 broke out, John Shannon joined the forces under Robert Emmet, and held the position of Captain in the insurgent army. On the failure of that disastrous movement, Captain Shannon, along with others who had actively participated in the cause of the rebels, stood in danger of his life. An armed force was sent to seize him at his home. He was successful, however, in maintaining his concealment, and that night made his way to the sea-coast, where he embarked on a vessel bound for Charleston, South Carolina. A year afterward his wife and two sons joined him in America.
Captain Shannon settled down in the Abbeville district of South Carolina as a planter. He lived on a plantation adjoining that of the ancestors of John C. Caloun and remained in South Carolina till the time of his death. He raised a family of five children, of who the father of John R. Shannon, Robert G. Shannon, was the third, born in the Abbeville district, South Carolina, in the year 1800.
About the year 1818, some months previous to the admission of the State into the Union, quite a large colony emigrated from South Carolina to Illinois. Among these colonists was Robert G. Shannon, then in his eighteenth year, whose former life had been spent in South Carolina, where his family occupied a very respectable position in society. Soon after coming to Randolph County his mother's family, with whom he had come in company, returned to the South, this time to Mississippi and Alabama, while Robert remained behind and engaged in teaching school. This occupation he followed for two or three winters in Randolph County, after which he engaged in the New Orleans trade, making several trips down the Mississippi in a keel-boat, a pursuit for which he was fitted by a like experience in South Carolina, on the Savanna River. On coming of age he re-visited South Carolina and that part of Alabama where his mother had made her home. He here secured some property to which he had fallen heir from his father, and likewise traded to some extent on the Tombigbee River.
In the year 1822 Mr. Shannon's father returned to Illinois, and the year following was married to Mary Anderson, the oldest daughter of Colonel David Anderson, who in his life-time was a prominent man in Randolph County. Colonel Anderson had come to Illinois from the Abbeville district, of South Carolina, toward the close of the year 1804. This colony, which arrived at the Irish Settlement, at the mouth of Plum Creek, on Christmas day, numbered thirty-one members, and comprised the families of David Anderson, James Anderson, John McClinton, and Adam Hill. David Anderson, who afterwards obtained the title of Colonel, settled on the Kaskaskia River, about a mile above the mouth of Plum Creek, and become a leading and popular man in the community from the time of his arrival. He was a strong, athletic man, of benevolence and kindness of disposition, a warm friend of religious enterprises. He was known as a man of integrity and ability, and was often called upon to fill responsible public positions. For several years, under the territorial government, he was one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, whose jurisdiction was something of the same nature as that of our present County Court. As Colonel of the militia he was a favorite. He was of the same Irish stock as the paternal branch of Mr. Shannon's ancestors, and the family had lived in the same district of the country in the north of Ireland. The Andersons had emigrated to South Carolina at a period previous to the Revolutionary war, in which struggle some of the members of the family took part on the side of the colonists.
Directly after his marriage, Robert G. Shannon moved to a point a mile south of where the town of Sparta now stands, and engaged there in the business of a merchant. In the year 1827 he moved to the site of Sparta, having purchased a couple of acres of land now occupying the centre of the town. The town was originally laid out by John Armour, the proprietor, and the place received the name of Columbus. Mr. Shannon continued a citizen of the town till his death, which took place in the year 1849. The first post-office established here bore the name Shannon's Store, and Mr. Shannon was for a long time Postmaster. For many years he was the only merchant doing business in that section of the country, and it was no uncommon thing for him to have customers from points seventy-five to one hundred miles distant, in the region now embraced in Washington, Perry, St. Clair, Franklin and Jackson Counties.
Robert G. Shannon had nine children, of whom John R. Shannon was the oldest son and second child. He was born on the twenty-eighth of December, 1826, on his father's first location a mile south of the present town of Sparta. The next year the family moved to Sparta, and the next youngest sister, Nancy Amanda, who afterward married Dr. C. W. Dunning, now of Cairo, was the first child born in the village. Of the nine children, John R. Shannon is the only one now living.
His early education, Mr. Shannon received in Sparta, as the little village subsequently came to be called. In 1845, when in his nineteenth year, he entered Shurtleff College, at Alton, and for three years attended its sessions. He left that institution in 1848, and the year following occurred his father's death. Mr. Shannon took charge of his father's business at Sparta, and for three years carried on the store. In the fall of 1849 he was united in marriage to Lorette M. Hamlin, of Salem, Illinois. His wife, by whom he had one child, since deceased, died in the year 1841.
The next year, 1852, Mr. Shannon quite the mercantile business at Sparta and in the fall set out for California, which at that time as attracting large numbers of emigrants. By reason of a detention of several weeks on the Isthmus of Panama, he was seized with the Panama fever, and was unable to enter upon any active employment for six months after his arrival in California. As soon as strong enough he engaged in mining for gold, and as a miner and occasionally as clerk, he passed three years. From the last three years and a half of his stay on the Pacific slope, he was a farmer in Butte County, in the valley of Feather River, a tributary to the Sacramento. He took quite an active interest in politics, and in the year 1855 was a candidate for Assessor and Treasurer of Sierra County, of which he was then a resident. The Know-Nothing excitement, however, which that year swept everything before it, defeated him. An interesting episode was his connection with Walker's famous Nicaragua expedition. He enlisted in Walker's forces, and took part in raising a company of men, but the vigilance of the authorities succeeded in preventing the departure of the filibusters, and Mr. Shannon and his comrades were thus saved the disasters of the unfortunate campaign.
The year 1859 found Mr. Shannon back at his old home in Randolph County. He served as Assistant United States Marshall in 1860, and in this capacity took the census of Randolph County. The succeeding year he performed the duties of Deputy Sheriff. In the spring of 1862, he established, at Chester, the Picket Guard, a Democratic weekly newspaper. Mr. Shannon had previously had considerable experience in the editorial profession. He had filled the position of editor of the Register, a paper published at Sparta in 1849, and had also managed the publication of the Prairie Democrat, a campaign paper published at the same place in 1852. He continued at the head of the Picket Guard till the year 1865, when he severed his connection with the paper, and went back to Sparta, where for a year he was proprietor of the Shannon House. In November, 1866, he was elected Sheriff of Randolph County, having previously been clerk in the office under Sheriff McBride.
In the year 1868, Mr. Shannon received an honor, which bears testimony alike to his standing and worth as a citizen, and his popularity in the party on whose principles he has found his political faith. He received the nomination at the hands of the Democratic State Convention, as State Auditor. With the whole Democratic State ticket, he was defeated. The opposing candidate was General Lippincott with who Mr. Shannon had been personally acquainted in the days of his California experience. In the fall of 1869, he was elected County Clerk, an office which he filled for four years.
Mr. Shannon's second marriage was celebrated in May, 1862. His second wife was formerly Miss Alice Jones, a native of Wayne County, Illinois. Three children blessed this union.
Mr. Shannon's life has been one of activity and adventure, and a hundred noteworthy incidents in his career might be mentioned to which our limited space will hardly allow us to refer. In addition to being a strong, vigorous, and perspicuous writer, he possesses no mean abilities as a popular speaker. A fearless determination marks his character in his private relations, he is social and genial, with a constant willingness to oblige and accommodate. His reputation for integrity, and for being a man of his word has never failed him. Such qualities always attach friends to any man, and form a sufficient reason for Mr. Shannon's popularity in Randolph County. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

James D. Simpson
Simpson, James D. was born in 1821 in Grayson County, KY, the son of James M. Simpson and Monica McAtee, natives of KY and MD respectively. IN 1828 the Simpson family moved to Sangamon County, IL and then later in 1838 to RC. In 1847 James D. Simpson married Eliza Mudd, the d/o James Mudd, an early settler of RC. The Simpsons had nine children. (1875)

Charles L. Spencer
The editor of the Valley Clarion, Mr. Charles L. Spencer, was born in Angelica, Allegany County, New York, on the eighteenth day of April, 1839. George Spencer, also a native of New York State, was his father. The Spencers in America are a branch of an old English family. Mr. Spencer's grandfather emigrated from England to America, in the year 1795, and settled in Washington County, New York.
Charles L. Spencer was the oldest of a family of six children. He began the life of a printer at an early age. When only eleven years old, he entered the office of the Allegany County Advocate, where he worked some time. He left home at the age of fifteen, and began a nomadic life, in the course of which he worked on newspapers in the large cities of several States, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Part of the time was also spent in Canada. For four or five years he was stationed at Cincinnati, and during his stay here, worked for a leading publishing house, and on the Cincinnati Enquirer.
From Cincinnati he went to Memphis, in the year 1858, and filled the position of foreman of the Memphis Bulletin till the spring of 1861, when the breaking out of the civil war between the North and South threw both sections into a state of feverish excitement. Mr. Spencer took his place with the Confederate army, and acted as newspaper correspondent for Memphis papers. He was ostensibly connected with the Lynchburg (Virginia) Artillery. He was present at the first battle of Bull Run, on the twenty-first of July 1861, and sent reports of the battle to various newspapers with which he was connected. He was in Virginia about a year, and in this time took part in the various campaigns, and was a witness of all the principal battles. From the theatre of war in Virginia, he went to Pensacola, and was present at the evacuation of Bragg in summer of 1862. From here he made his way back to Memphis, and arrived in the city five days before its capture by the Union forces. At Memphis he resumed his position as foreman of the Bulletin. From Memphis Mr. Spencer went to Washington, D.C., and was stationed in that city nearly a year, employed on Forney's Chronicle. He was in Washington at the time of its investment by Jubal Early's forces. A few months were then spent in the oil regions of Western Pennsylvania. He was there at the time of the assassination of President Lincoln in the spring of 1865.
Mr. Spencer afterward spent six months in visiting his family and his early friends, from whom he had been separated several years. He was subsequently at Washington; in the year 1866 was employed at Philadelphia on the Public Ledger; and from Philadelphia returned again to Memphis, and in that city filled the position of foreman of the Memphis Post. In November, of the year 1869, he came to Chester and took charge of the Valley Clarion. With Mr. Spencer's record as editor and proprietor of the Clarion, the people of Randolph County are already well acquainted. He is a newspaper man of experience and ability, and under his management the paper has prospered, and acquired a high standing and wide influence in the County. Mr. Spencer, himself, is a man of decided convictions, liberal in his general views, and Democratic in his political faith. His wife was formerly Celeste L. Rice, a native of Allegany County, New York. [Source: "An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys." (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

Albert N. Sprague
Sprague, Albert N was born 01 Mar 1841 in Brooklyn, NY. In 1834 his parents moved to Perry Co, IL. Albert married Nancy Brown d/o Joseph in 1862. Albert was a lawyer. Albert's father was Averill who was born in ME and died in 1864. His first wife was Mary A Brittain who died in 1852. His second wife was Sarah Thomas who died in Perry Co, IL in 1862. Albert's grandfather was born in ME and his great grandfather, Jethro was born in MA before relocating in ME. This family was among the pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock from the Mayflower in 1620. (1875)

Anthony Steele
Steele, Anthony was born 20 Sep 1815 in Sec 16 near present day Steeleville. He later owned a farm in T5 R5 and was the constable. He married Catherine McMurdoc the d/o James in 1843. She died in 1845 leavinf one son. Next he married Nancy Thompson the d/o Samuel G. Their children were: Mary A, Emily J, Abner, Carrie, Idella, Martha (d infant) and Elizabeth (d infant). In 1858 he became sheriff. His father was Archibald Steele born in TN near Knoxville, he died in 1859 in RC. He married Elizabeth Flack the d/o John. She died in 1873. When Steeleville was called Georgetown, Archibald helped to build a fort there. His children were: Jefferson (d bef 1875), Antony, Riland, Merritt, Jasper, Lindsey, Lucinda, Minerva, Harriett, 3 who died young, Elizabeth, Mehala and Delila. Anthony's grandfather was Capt John Steele, who was directly under George Washington during the Rev War. After the war John moved to TN before coming to RC in 1798. His sons were: George, Archibald, James, John and Thomas, all were in the War od 1812 and Rangers in IL. This Steele family came from North Ireland having previously come from Scotland. (1875)

John Stoehr
Stoehr, John was born in 1825 in Friedenstadt. Wurtemburg, Germany, the third of three children born to John Stoehr, a farmer, and Barbara Langle. In 1833 the family came to America, settling in Dark County, OH. When he was eight years old, John's father died leaving the family with no support. John took employment in a brick yard to help support the family. He learned the trade of carpentry and in 1841 began working in that trade in St. Louis. In 1843 Mr. Stoehr came to Monroe County and began farming. In 1844 he married Magdalen Rahn, also from Germany. They had one child. In subsequent years, Mr. Stoehr continued to engage in farming, but also started a Brewery in Red Bud which he later sold. He also was elected Police Magistrate. (1875)

Savinien St. Vrain
The name of Savinien St. Vrain has been long and honorably known in Randolph County. Though a native of the city of St. Louis, the greater part of Mr. St. Vrains's life has been spent in the section. His first public office, that of Treasurer and Assessor, he held in the year 1843, and from that time he had been prominently before the people, filling at various times the offices of Treasurer, Sheriff, and Circuit Clerk.
His father, Jacques D. St. Vrain, was a member of French nobility, and was compelled to flee from his native country at the time of the French Revolution. The family name was originally spelled Delusiere. Mr. St. Vrain's father was known as Jacques D. St. Vrain, while and older brother was called Charles Dehault Delassus Delusiere, the Delassus who figures so conspicuously in the early history of the Missouri country, and who for several years occupied the position of Lieutenant Governor of Upper Louisiana, under the Spanish government. Jacques, a young man at the time of leaving France, settled in the neighborhood of St. Louis, on coming to America. He subsequently married Felicite Dubreil, of American birth, though her ancestors were of French extraction. There were eight children by this marriage, six sons and two daughters. The only one of these now living is Savinien St. Vrain, whose name heads this biography. Ceran St. Vrain, one of the older children, removed to New Mexico, where he became a Colonel, distinguished himself in military service, rose to be a trader of wide reputation, and died a few years ago after having amassed a considerable fortune.
Savinien St. Vrain was the sixth child, born in the city of St. Louis, on the thirteenth day of September 1806. His early life was sent in the city and neighborhood. His education he received in St. Louis. He attended the Catholic College, the first one ever founded in the city, whose site was near the old Cathedral. His father died when Savinien was about the age of ten, and his mother moved with her family to a farm some miles north of St. Louis. At this period, Mr. St. Vrain came to St. Louis for the purpose of attending school. He was in the city three years, and all this time was an inmate of the house of his uncle Charles Delassus, who had been the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Louisiana.
It is interesting to recall the circumstances of those early days. The St. Louis of Mr. St. Vrain's earliest recollection was but a small village. Fourth street was then unknown, and the town composed of scattering houses strung along the river for about a mile. Mr. St. Vrain was bout eighteen years old when he completed his education at St. Louis, and he soon after came to Kaskaskia, in Randolph County, where he filled the position of clerk in the store of an older brother who had moved to Kaskaskia some years before. Mr. St. Vrain remained in Kaskaskia for some years, and then went to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, where he was also clerk in a mercantile establishment. His next place of residence was Fredericktown, Madison County, Missouri, where he managed a store for Mr. Pratt. In the year 1829 he went from Fredericktown to the City of St. Louis, and for some time was employed in the service of Minard & Sire, a leading firm of that place. In the latter part of 1829 he found his way back to Kaskaskia.
His first marriage occurred on the twenty-second of February, 1830, go Miss Virginia Minard, the daughter of Hypolite Minard, who bore a conspicuous part in the early history of Randolph County. Directly after his marriage, Mr. St. Vrain undertook the management of a saw mill, and was thus occupied some ten or twelve years. Up to this time he had paid but little attention to politics, though he was a member of the Whig party, and had voted for Henry Clay in 1836, the first time he was candidate for the Presidency. During his residence in Kaskaskia, he had, however, made many friends, and was popular wherever known. It was mainly through their persuasions that he was induced to offer himself as a candidate for the office of Treasurer of Randolph County. This was in 1842. Mr. St. Vrain was elected to the position, and in 1843 entered on its duties. The work of assessing the county was all done by Mr. St. Vrain himself. Now fifteen to twenty persons are occupied in performing the same duties. At the expiration of his two years' term as Treasurer and Assessor, Mr. St. Vrain remained in private life till 1850, when he was elected Sheriff to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John P Thompson. Mr. St. Vrain had proved himself so popular and efficient in the discharge of the duties belonging to that position, that in 1852 he was elected Sheriff of the county. Under the old constitution, a Sheriff was ineligible to a second term immediately succeeding one in which he had been in office, and accordingly at the conclusion of his term, Mr. St. Vrain surrendered the office and devoted his attention to farming. In 1856, he was, however, again elected Sheriff.
For the last fourteen years, Mr. St. Vrain has filled the office of Circuit Clerk. He was first elected to this position in 1860, and has since continued to hold it.
Mr. St. Vrain's first wife, Virginia Minard, departed this life in the year 1853. Four years after, in 1857, his second marriage occurred. The maiden name of the lady was Virginia Guthrie, a native of Kentucky, but who was a resident of Randolph County at the time of the celebration of the marriage. By the first wife there were nine children, of whom three are now living, John T., William and Julia. The latter is the wife of Lille Perry, of St. Louis. One of the sons, Edmond St. Vrain, died in 1873. He had been elected Assessor and Treasurer of Randolph County, and was widely and popularly known throughout the County at the time of his death. By the second wife Mr. St. Vrain has been the father of eight children, of whom Minnie, Savinien, and Estelle are living.
We have stated that Mr. St. Vrain, in his early life, was connected with the Whig party. He retained his connection with that organization for a number of years, and then, like a large proportion of the old Whigs, he found his way into the Democratic party. Mr. St. Vrain has since continued a Democrat, and holds the entire confidence of that party at Randolph County. For his first office of Assessor and Treasurer, he ran as an independent candidate, but to the various offices to which he has since been elected, he has been the regular nominee of the Democratic conventions.
The length of time for which Mr. St. Vrain has occupied public positions, speaks plainly enough of his fidelity as a public officer and of his popularity with the people. He has attended closely to the duties of his position, and during his services of over fourteen years, has seldom been absent a week at a time from the Clerk's office. He came to Randolph County when a young man not yet having attained his majority, and during his whole life since, much of which has been spent in positions of public trust, his actions have been open to public scrutiny and criticism, and the result has been that he has received commendation on all sides for the qualities which mark his private and social relations, as well as those which have been noteworthy in his public career. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]




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