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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!


John Wehrheim
Wehrheim, John was born 06 Jan 1814 near Frankfort -on-the-Main in Germany. He was a nailsmith. He married Elizabeth Radish on 11 Oct 1841. She had been born in Germany on 24 Oct 1826, coming to the US in 1827. In RC John first settled 2 miles west of Red Bud. In `1854 he moved to Evansville. Where he died on 23 Nov 1872. His children were: Catherine, Henry, Valentine, Mary, George, Louis, John, Willie and Elizabeth. John's father was a Cooper who came to the US in 1834 via New Orleans. He settled in Prairie du Long. (1875)

Louis Wehrheim
Wehrheim, Louis was born 08 Sep 1852 in Evansville. AT the age of 21 he and his brother George opened a store in Evansville (1852). On 04 Jun 1874 he married Elizabeth Beare the d/o Christain and Martha (Lenherr) of Ellis Grove, IL. Their children were: Tillie, Anna and Charles, who died at age 2. Louis' father was John who married Elizabeth Retty in Monroe Co, IL John was a Cooper. He and his wife were both from Germany and they had 7 children. Their son George was born near Red Bud. In 1874 he married Augusta Dickman, In 1877 they moved to Red Bud. Their children were: William, Annie, Arthur, Lydia, Cora, Clara, John and Albert. (1894)

Valentine G. Wehrheim
Wehrheim, Valentine G was born 16 Jul 1826 in St Clair Co, IL. During the Mexican War he was wounded in the chest, in Co I 2nd IL Reg. After the war he owned a store in Evansville. Jun 1848 he married Eliza Thompson the d/o Robert. They had 6 children. In 1856 Valentine became blind. His father was John W who married Mary Gromert. Their children were: John, Philip, Christian, Jacob, Conrad and Valentine. (1894)

Dora Sophia Weidner
Weidner, Dora Sophia was born 31 Jan 1945 in Germany and came to the States when she was four years old. Her father settled in the Baldwin area. She married John Jacob Mueller of Turkey Hill in 1866. They had 4 children Emma, 1868; Jacob, 1870; Frederick, 1871; and Henry, 1873. John died 4 months before Henry was born. Dora then married John Frederick Dietz 5-11-1874. Frederick had 6 children, Dora 4 and together they had 7 more. Frederick moved the family to Franklin Co.,IL, and then east of DeSoto, Jackson Co.,IL, where they still live today. [Submitted by Regina Breeden Bailey]

Capt. C.C. Williams
Captain Williams is a native of Missouri. He is descended from an old Virginia family. His grandfather, Callaway Williams, was one of the early emigrants from Virginia to Kentucky. Of his five children, the youngest son was Caleb Callaway Williams, who is said to have been the second white child born in Kentucky after it became a state. His birth occurred in Boone's Old Fort, where the family were living at the time. Caleb Callaway Williams subsequently married Elizabeth Woodland, a native of the state of Massachusetts. There were twelve children by this marriage, six boys and six girls. The youngest of all was C. C. Williams, the subject of this biography, born about three miles east of the present city of Warrenton, Missouri, on the sixteenth of January, 1826.
His parents had moved to Missouri, about the year 1817, and located in the city of St. Louis. After living in St. Louis and St. Louis county for about two years, the family took up their residence in what is now Warren County, Missouri, where, as has been stated, Captain Williams was born. When eighteen he left home, and for two years was employed in a glass factory in St. Louis. In 1846 he went on the river, which in different capacities he has followed ever since. His first employment was a diver on a wrecking boat. He was connected with the wrecking boat for eleven years, during which time James B. Eads, the builder of the St. Louis Bridge, and projector of the jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi, was part owner, and captain of the boat. In a few years Mr. Williams became manager, and one-sixth proprietor. In 1857 he severed his connection with the boat, and came to Chester where he bought the ferry. Previous to this date he had been married to Malinda, the daughter of Judge Harvy Nevill of Chester. This marriage was celebrated May the second, 1854. In 1862, he volunteered in the 80th Illinois Regiment, and held a commission as Captain of Company D. The spring of 1863, he resigned, and came back to Chester. From 1865 to 1871, he was again on the river in charge of the wrecking boat, owned by the Salvor Wrecking Company. He now is proprietor of the ferry at Chester, which he carries on to the great convenience and satisfaction of the public. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]


George Wilson
Wilson, George was born 1782 in SC and died 1861 in RC. His father was named John and he was born in Ireland. In 1800 he married Susannah (Anderson) Douglas. He came to IL in 1805. In 1812 he built a Fort Wilson to protect the settlers against Indian attacks. He and Susannah had 9 children. Two his sons were George and James. George was born on 11 Dec 1814 in the old fort. In Apr 1841 he married Mary Wilson they had 11 children: those living in 1875 were: Susan, Robert F, George F, William H, Samuel F and Martha Jane. Son, James was also born in the old fort on 31 Aug 1820. 06 Aug 1840 he married Janey S McBride. They lived in Sec 14 of T4 R7. Their children living in 1875 were: William M, Andrew W, Warren M, Susan, Elizabeth, Thomas J and Stephen A D. (also see the bio for Archibald Douglass) (1875)

Julius Murry Wilson
Wilson, Julius Murry was born 18 Feb 1847 in RC. He was a doctor in Evansville. His father was Alexander Murry Wilson born in NY. Alexander came to RC in 1838 and married Susan Young in 1842. They had a farm in T6 R6. Alexander was in the Black Hawk and Civil Wars. Julius' grandfather was also named Alexander Murry. He was born in NY and served in the War of 1812. Julius' great grandfather was named Murry, he came to NY from England and served in the Rev War. (1875)

Beverly Wiltshire
In referring to those who have gained honorable positions among the residents of this part of Illinois, it has frequently been our lot to allude to those who claim their lineage from the proud old State of Virginia. To men of this class the West owes much of her development and growth. The State which furnished the immortal Washington, and so many of the men prominent in the early history of the Republic that she acquired the title of being "Mother of the Presidents," also gave some of her vigorous blood to the settlement of the great Western country. Her sons poured into Kentucky after the Revolution, and after a stay there of some years broke the barrier of the Ohio and scattered over the Illinois country, and even pushed beyond the Mississippi, so that a great number of the substantial citizens of Southern Illinois date their ancestry originally back to the Old Dominion.
This is the case with Beverly Wiltshire, one of the popular men of Randolph County, who for the last ten years has been connected with the Sheriff's office, for six years as Deputy and for the last four as Sheriff. He is now serving his second term in that office.
The family with which Mr. Wiltshire is connected had its origin in England from which country, Mr. Wiltshire's grandfather emigrated to Virginia at a period subsequent to the Revolutionary war. He had a family consisting of several children, of whom Benjamin Wiltshire, the father of Beverly Wiltshire, was about the third child in the order of his birth. The home of the family was in Jefferson County, Virginia, and here Benjamin Wiltshire was born, and here he married Margaret Feaman. The Feaman family were of Pennsylvania German descent, and moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia where occurred the marriage referred to above, at Shepardstown, Jefferson County, in the year 1826.
Margaret Feaman was a sister of Captain Jacob Feaman, who several years previously had emigrated to Illinois and settled in Randolph County, where he was widely and popularly known. It was principally by reason of his connection with Captain Feaman as a brother-in-law that Benjamin Wiltshire and his family afterward came to Randolph County. Benjamin Wiltshire was a blacksmith by trade. In the year 1839 he made up his mind to remove West, and that year visited Illinois to see the country, and to search out a location for his family. The next year, 1840, he brought out his family. Beverly was at this time a boy of ten years of age. The journey was made partly by water and partly by land, and in the latter part of the summer of 1840 the family arrived in Randolph County and settled at the old village of Kaskaskia, where Benjamin Wiltshire took up his trade of a blacksmith.
Beverly Wiltshire was the second child of a family numbering four sons and two daughters. The daughters are dead, but the sons are now living in Randolph County. Beverly was born in Shepardstown, Jefferson County, Virginia, on the twelfth of February, 1830, and was consequently past the age of ten years when his father's family left Virginia for Illinois. The county in which he was born was one of the northernmost of Virginia, lying on the Potomac river, and embracing Harper's Ferry. Here in his early years Beverly Wiltshire attended school, and learned to read and write. He went but little to school after his arrival in Illinois. The family remained something less than four years at Kaskaskia. They left the place just previous to the high water of 1844, and moved to Preston, where Mr. Wiltshire's father died in the year 1849.
When seventeen, Mr. Wiltshire became apprenticed to the cooper's trade at Sparta. He subsequently followed the occupation of a cooper for about eighteen years. He worked as a journeyman, and as foreman and boss at different places in Randolph County and elsewhere during this period. On the eight day of October, 1862, he was united in marriage to Mary Cox, the daughter of Thomas Cox. Miss Cox was born and raised in Randolph County. Her grandfather Absalom Cox, was one of the early American settlers of the Illinois country. He was one of a party of emigrants who arrived in Randolph County from Abbeville, South Carolina, in the year 1804. In later years he was elected Captain of a militia company. He was an important member of the community, and lived a useful life. He died on the farm on which he settled. He established a ferry across the Kaskaskia river, which still bears the name of Cox's Ferry, and in the neighborhood of which many of his descendants still reside.
Mr. Wiltshire was living in Red Bud, when, in the fall of 1866, he received the appointment of Deputy Sheriff under John R. Shannon, then recently elected Sheriff of Randolph County. Mr. Wiltshire's services in this capacity were acceptable to the people of the County, and he held the position for six years under Mr. Shannon, M. S. McCormack and John T. McBride, successive Sheriffs of Randolph County. Mr. Wiltshire had proved himself so popular, that in the year 1872 his name was presented as a candidate for Sheriff, to which office he was chosen at the November election, beating both a Republican and an Independent Democratic candidate. In 1874 he was again a candidate for the office, and was again chosen above his competitors. Each time he ran as the regular nominee of the Democratic convention. He is now occupying the second term of his office, the duties of which he has discharged in a highly creditable manner. He has always been a Democrat in politics, and has regularly cast his vote for the candidates of that party, to the success of which he has contributed his part in Randolph County.
Mr. Wiltshire is a man of considerable influence throughout the County, the secret of which, perhaps, lies in his social qualities and in his reputation as a man entitled to the confidence of the community. He is a self-made man in the emphatic sense of that word. The educational advantages which he enjoyed were not of a very liberal character. He left Virginia at an age so young that his education was merely begun, and after coming to Illinois his opportunities were so few that he was compelled to rely mainly on hts [sic] own efforts for the book knowledge he acquired. His bread was afterward earned by daily labor. Many a man has risen from occupations as ordinary as that of Mr. Wiltshire's to high positions in the nation. From the shoemaker's bench, the carpenter's shop, the blacksmith's anvil, the tailor's table, men have gone up to the Senate, and even to the Presidential chair. The higher positions in society are constantly filled up from those who began in the lower walks of life. Mr. Wiltshire began at the lowest round of the ladder. He was without the influence of money, family, or influential friends. All these he has acquired by his own industry and exertions, and has succeeded in raising himself to a position largely in advance of that occupied in his younger days.
Sheriff Wiltshire is a man of social and genial disposition, free and open in his manners, and this element of his character contributes not a little to his popularity. He is on good terms with everyone, has no enemies, is well known as a man reliable for his honesty and integrity of character, and hence on all sides is recognized as one of the rising men of the county. He is still comparatively young, and an active future lies before him. ["An illustrated historical atlas map of Randolph County, Ills. : carefully compiled from personal examinations and surveys". (1875) - tr. By Stephanie Thornton]

John J. Woodside
Woodside, John J was born in Livingston Co, KY on 11 Aug 1816. He came to RC in 1829 and settled with his parents 2 miles SW of Coulterville. He married Mary A Burns the daughter of Samuel on 03 Apr 1839. John's father Samuel was born in Chester Dist in SC and died 14 Nov 1868 at the age of 84y 7m 14 days. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. Samuel married Sarah J Baugher in KY. They had seven children: John J, Robert H, Samuel, James, Martha and William H. John's grandfather, Samuel, was from Ireland. He came to the US before 1776. On the trip over he lost his wife and two children. He married in the US and had seven children by his second wife. He was a Rev War soldier, and died in Livingston Co, KY. His children were: Mary, Martha, Nancy, Sarah, Elizabeth, Robert, David (died in KY), Samuel and James. (1894)

John K. Wright
The agricultural interests of Township 5-7 are largely represented by John K. Wright, a resident of the County since 1843. Mr. Wright settled in the locality where he now lives when that section of country was comparatively undeveloped. He has taken a leading part in the improvements of the neighborhood, and from a young man beginning life without capital of any kind, and fighting his way by hard knocks, he has become a well-to-do farmer, and an enterprising citizen.
Mr. Wright was born in the State of Virginia. His ancestry is partly Irish and partly German. One of his great-grandfathers was born in Germany, and another in Ireland. His parents inhabited a region of country in the south-west part of Virginia, now embraced in Wythe and Grayson Counties. His father was Stephen Wright, who was born in Virginia, and there married Margaret Kelley. There were twelve children in the family, and John K. was the oldest, with the exception of one child who died before his birth.
John K. Wright was born on the twenty-second of July, 1824. He lived in Virginia until he was ten or eleven years old. That part of the State was rugged and mountainous, the land was all taken up, and difficult to be obtained by a man of small means, and in addition, was poorly adapted to farming. That part of the Old Dominion has furnished a considerable number of emigrants to Illinois who have settled in various parts of the State, and become large farmers, and valuable citizens. Stephen Wright also made up his mind to move with his family to a new country where more promising advantages might be found. At this time John K. had gone to school some little in Virginia, but had acquired no knowledge of any importance. The family came first to Preble County, Ohio, and lived there till the year 1843. It was in this locality that the principal part of Mr. Wright's education was received. The family was poor, John K. was the oldest son, and he was consequently obliged to stay at home and help his father on the farm, and thus missed a good part of his education. The family were not able to buy land in Ohio, and lived there on a rented farm.
September, 1843, the Wrights left Ohio for Illinois. After about six weeks' journey, they landed in Randolph County on the fifteenth of October of that year, and halted at a spot three miles south of where Mr. Wright now lives. Some six or seven years previous, Stephen Wright had entered land in Township 5-7, and the family moved on that. John K. Wright was a young man in his twentieth year when he came to Randolph County. Whatever else might be lacking, he had been brought up to hard work and industrious habits. He was without money or cash capital of any kind, but he was naturally endowed with energy, and possessed a physical constitution capable of undergoing any amount of labor. He embraced every means of bettering his condition. He rented land, raised wheat, tramped it out on the floor, invested his money (whenever he could get hold of any) in stock, and thus made his start in the world. October the twelfth, 1848, he was married to Lucinda Boyd, who was born in Randolph County.
At the time he was married, Mr. Wright owned no land, but the same year his savings amounted to enough to buy and enter one hundred and twenty acres, which forms part of the property which he now owns. In 1849 he moved on the place where he now lives, on the Chester and Preston road, in the lower part of Township 5-7. After he had once made a beginning, Mr. Wright purchased additional land, and put himself in better shape to carry on farming. He gave his attention to outside business, followed trading and teaming, and was willing to turn his had to anything by which he could manage to better his circumstances. His efforts have been successful, and Mr. Wright is now one of the most extensive farmers in the part of the County. He owns five hundred and eighty acres of land in Randolph County, all embraced in the township in which he lives, --5-7, and two hundred acres beside in Perry County. He is a careful and thrifty agriculturist. His buildings are in good condition, his land well fenced, and his farms a picture of neatness and good order. On another page of this book appears a lithographic illustration of his homestead farm, in Sections twenty-six and twenty-seven, Township 5-70.
Mr. Wright has reached his present place by his own hard-earned labor. He has been a man of stout and vigorous constitution, his health through life has been good, and for hard work no one in the County could surpass John K. Wright. Of the eleven children of Mr. and Mrs. Wright eight are now living. Elizabeth V., the oldest daughter is the wife of Newton Hawthorn. Then follow Margaret Ann, William K., George Washington, James Andrew Jackson, John W., Joseph Luther, and Ida Clementine. Mr. Wright was a Democrat all his life. On the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, he manifested his Union principles by warmly supporting the government in its efforts to put down treason. Since then he has generally supported the candidates of the Republican party, but maintains an independent position in regard to his views. ["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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