Randolph County Illinois
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
John Wehrheim (Deceased)
As a business man, it can never be said that John Wehrheim lacked energy and enterprise. His life was one of activity. His business transactions reached proportions of more than ordinary magnitude, and his record is valuable in showing how much may be accomplished by a shrewd, earnest, and careful hard-working man. His life closed November the twenty-third, 1872, on his farm two miles south of Evansville. His sons are now among the most active and respected business men of that neighborhood.
John Wehrheim was the son of John and Mary Wehrheim, and was born on the sixth day of January, of the year 1814, at a small village in Germany, near Frankfort-on-the-Main. The family name of his mother was Gromert. Six children, all boys, composed the family. These were Philip, John, Christian, Jacob, Conrad, and Valentine. The early part of John Wehrheim's life was spent in Germany. His father was a farmer and cooper, and a man in common life. After going to school till about the age of fifteen, John Wehrheim undertook to learn the trade of a nailsmith. He followed this occupation as long as he lived in Germany.
Following the tide of emigration which at that period was beginning to flow steadily across the Atlantic from Germany to America, his father's family, in the year 1834, left their native land to seek a home for themselves across the ocean. They left Germany in February, 1834, and landed the following June at New Orleans, but without stopping there, proceeded at once to St. Louis, and afterward settled in Monroe County, on Prairie du Long, near Freedom. Nearly all the members of the family were here engaged for the time in the coopering business. John learned the trade with his brother Philip, and was working at it at the time he was married. This event transpired on the eleventh day of October, 1841, and his wife was Elizabeth Radish. She was born in Germany on the twenty-fourth of October, 1826, and was less than a year old when she came with her parents to America. It may be remarked, as an instance of the dangers and discomforts to which emigrants in those days were subject on their passage across the ocean, that the vessel, in which her family embarked, was ninety-one days in making the voyage. The Radish family first settled in Pennsylvania, lived there six years, and on coming West, located in St. Clair County, seven miles east of Belleville, where they lived another six years. One of Mrs. Wehrheim's sisters married and moved to Belleville when only a few houses composed that place. Mrs. Wehrheim's family subsequently became residents of Prairie du Long, and she was about fifteen at the time of her marriage with Mr. Wehrheim. For the first two years of their married life, they lived on Prairie du Round, where Mr. Wehrheim carried on the coopering business, and in connection with it, farming. When Mr. Wehrheim first came to Randolph County, he settled two miles west of Red Bud, on the place now owned by his brother, Judge Philip Wehrheim. During his residence here he carried on the cooper's trade extensively, employing at times from six to eight men. He sold his farm near Red Bud to his brother Philip, and in 1854 removed to Evansville.
Mr. Wehrheim here began an extended and prosperous business career, and till the time of his death was a conspicuous and foremost man of the neighborhood. In partnership with Mr. Evans, the original proprietor of the town, he built the flouring-mills, which have since formed one of the institutions of the place, and probably have contributed more to its prosperity than any other branch of industry. At the same time he still continued to carry on the cooper's trade. For several years Mr. Wehrheim run the mill, for the first in connection with Mr. Evans, and afterward on his own account, he having bought out Mr. Evans' interest. He once sold the mill, but it afterward came back into his possession. While Mr. Wehrheim was owner, in the spring of 1864, the mill was destroyed by fire. Its destruction entailed a considerable loss. It was filled to overflowing, at the time, with wheat, and the insurance of nine thousand dollars was not sufficient to cover the loss of the building. Mr. Wehrheim re-built the mill, but about 1866 disposed of the property to Philip Sauer and his sons, who have since remained the proprietors, and prosperously conducted the business.
About the year 1857, Mr. Wehrheim had moved on the farm south of Evansville, which was his place of residence from that time to his death, and which is now occupied by his family. While living here he still continued his business at Evansville. He also carried on a store at that place, and was otherwise conspicuously concerned in the business interests of the town. His store at Evansville, like the mill, was burned. This he also re-built, and retained in it an interest till his death. After selling the mill, Mr. Wehrheim engaged almost wholly in farming. His home farm contained in the neighborhood of six hundred acres, and he owned several tracts beside, making in all nearly nine hundred. Mr. Wehrheim was possessed of a strong, vigorous, and robust constitution, which stood well the constant strain on his physical and mental powers, brought on by his heavy cares and his laborious life as a business man. Some three years before his death his health, however, became impaired, and his death finally resulted on the twenty-third day of November, of the year 1872.
Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wehrheim. The oldest, Catherine, and the youngest, Henry, are deceased. The others are Valentine, Mary, George, Louis, John, Willie, and Elizabeth. The oldest son, Valentine, married Mina Struckmann, of St. Louis, and now manages the homestead farm, and is known as a young man of excellent qualities. Mary is the wife of Stephen Thummel. George married Augusta Dittmann, and is a thriving merchant of Evansville. Louis married Elizabeth Beare, and John, Sophia Shape. The other children are at home, Willie farming for himself.
Of Mr. Wehrheim it maybe said that he was a man of independence of character, radical in his views, forming his opinions with little reference to the influence of others, and once having taken a stand on any important question, he was fearless in keeping it, and regardless of all opposition. He was temperate in his habits, and benevolent and kind in his disposition. As to his politics, he was a strong and active Republican, an advanced thinker on the questions of the day, and an earnest advocate of his political convictions. In seasons when political excitement ran high, he was outspoken and earnest in maintaining his position, from which he could be moved neither by the persuasions of friends, or the threats of enemies. But it was as a persevering and energetic business man that Mr. Wehrheim was deserving of the highest credit. He began life with as small expectations as any man. After he was married, he made flour barrels and hauled them to Belleville, only obtaining twenty cents apiece for the barrels. But he was economical in his habits, watched his opportunities, expanded his business whenever he could do so to advantage, was accustomed to drive his business, and not suffer that to drive him, and the consequence was that he accumulated a handsome competence. More than one man in Randolph County got his first start at business in the employment of John Wehrheim. He frequently employed thirty men at a time, and ran two flat-boats on the river, which were busy taking off flour and bringing in wheat. Mrs. Wehrheim did her part in assisting her husband, and their portraits appear together on another page of this work. There will also be found a view of the farm.[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]
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)
Judge Philip Wehrheim has been a resident of Randolph County since the year 1849, and for fifteen years previous to that date had lived in the adjoining Counties of Monroe and St. Clair. Mr. Wehrheim was born in Germany, near Frankfort on the Main, on the twenty-second day of May, 1806. His father, John Wehrheim by name, was a farmer, and the name of his mother before marriage was Maria Gromet. The children in the family were six in number, all boys. Philip was the oldest. The names of the younger brothers were John, Christian, Jacob, Conrad, and Valentine. After leaving school Philip learned the cooper's trade which he followed as long as he lived in Germany. He was married in Germany in the year 1827, and his wife was Ursula Metzger.
In the year 1834, the whole family emigrated to America, his father and mother, and all his brothers. Leaving Germany in February, 1834, the family landed at New Orleans in the following June. From there they made their way to St. Louis, and after a few weeks' stay in that city, settled on Prairie du Long, in Monroe County, Illinois, where John Wehrheim, the father, bought a small farm.
Mr. Wehrheim followed the cooper's trade for some years after coming to Monroe County. In the year 1837, he bought about one hundred acres of land in St. Clair County, and moved on this property, following at the same time the occupations of cooper and farmer. It was during his residence here, in the year 1846, that his wife died. Mr. Wehrheim was again married in 1847 to Thilita Q. Blu, who was born in the state of Ohio, but who was living in St. Clair County at the time of the marriage. Mr. Wehrheim had twelve children by his first wife, and has had twelve by the second. Twelve, three by the first, and nine by the second, wife, are now living, and their names in the order of their ages are Philip, Catherine, Mary, Sarah, Eliza, Louis, Amelia, William, Emil, Leander, Josephine, and Sophia.
In the year 1849, Mr. Wehrheim sold his farm in St. Clair County, and bought two hundred and ninety acres of land in Randolph County, about two miles southwest of Red Bud. Here he has been employed in farming ever since, and has an excellent farm of three hundred and ten acres. Since coming to Randolph County his attention has been directed wholly to farming. During the first part of his life, in the old days of the Whig and Democratic parties, Mr. Wehrheim was a Democrat. On the rise of the Republican party, however, his anti-slavery convictions and his sense of the danger to be apprehended from the growth of the slave power, led him to unite with the Republicans. He was one of the earliest members of that organization in this section, voting the Republican ticket, when only six votes were cast for it in Red Bud precinct. He cast his ballot for Fremont in 1856, and afterward for Lincoln, Grant and other Republican nominees. In the year 1865, Mr. Wehrheim was elected Associate Judge of Randolph County. He ran for the office as a candidate of the Republicans, and his popularity is sufficiently attested and the high regard in which he was held by those who knew him most thoroughly, by the fact that he was elected though the County was strongly Democratic. He was re-elected to the same position in 1869, and again in 1873. At this time the constitution of the Board was changed by a new law, and the Judges drew lots to determine the length of their respective terms. By this arrangement Judge Wehrheim's term expired in one year, but during his nine years' service he won a popular reputation as a public officer of ability and integrity.[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]
Valentine G. Wehrheim
If the men who have fought the battles of their country, and received honorable wounds in her service, deserve public recognition, a place in this work belongs to Valentine G. Wehrheim, of Preston, an older soldier in the Mexican War.
Elsewhere will be found the biographies of John and Philip Wehrheim, to which the reader is referred for matters in connection with the early family history. Valentine G. Wehrheim was born on the sixteenth of July, of the year 1826, in the County of St. Clair. John W. and Mary Wehrheim were the names of his parents. His mother's maiden name was Gromert. Their residence in St. Clair County was near the line dividing St. Clair and Monroe, and Valentine went to school in the latter County. His father dying when he was thirteen, Mr. Wehrheim went to live with his brother John, who was then carrying on the coopering business in Prairie de Round in Monroe County. Every opportunity was embraced for obtaining an education. At the age of seventeen he went to St. Louis, and attended an academy in that city for nine months. After leaving school, he was clerk in a furniture store in St. Louis, a position which he held for about two years.
He was living in St. Louis at the time of the breaking out of the war with Mexico. On the twenty-fourth of May, 1846, he volunteered in Company I, of the Second Illinois Regiment. The men left for Mexico about the first of June. On arriving at the seat of war, the first engagement of any importance in which he participated was the battle of Buena Vista, which was fought on the twenty-second and twenty-third days of February, 1847. Mr. Wehrheim took part in this engagement, one of the hardest of the war. He was in the battle all day of the twenty-second, and fought the following day till between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, when he was struck by a musket-ball fired by the Mexicans. The ball struck him in the chest, penetrated the body, and passed out near the spine. He was carried to the hospital, and there lay for five months. The battle of Buena Vista was one of the severest of the Mexican campaigns. Mr. Wehrheim's regiment consisted of eight hundred men on going into the battle, and it came out with eighty killed and a large number wounded.
The whole regiment was sent home after Mr. Wehrheim was five months in the hospital. On returning to Illinois, he kept store at Evansville for five years. He then taught school at Evansville and near Preston for about two years. In 1854 he first began to suffer from the effects of the wound received at Buena Vista. His sight and hearing became affected. He became totally blind in the year 1856. He visited St. Louis, and for several years was under the treatment of eminent physicians; but their skill was found to be without avail. In 1860 he took up his residence in Preston. He began drawing a pension in July, 1848, which was increased in 1860 by a special act of Congress, and again subsequently. In June, 1848, he was married to Eliza, the daughter of Robert Thompson, by whom he has had six children, of whom five are now living. Although the United States government has been liberal in making provision for his wants, the amount which he receives is but small compensation for the injuries he suffered in the wars of his country, and in the defence of her liberties.[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]
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]
Captain 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 as 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.[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]
George And James Wilson
The father of George and James Wilson, George Wilson by name, was born in South Carolina about the year 1782. His father, John Wilson, was an Irishman by birth, and emigrated, at a period previous to the Revolutionary war, to South Carolina, and settled in the old Abbeville District, a locality largely taken up by Irish settlers. George Wilson, about the year 1800, married Susannah Anderson, a lady also of Irish descent, and born in South Carolina. In the year 1805, or 1806, the Wilson family left South Carolina to make their home in Illinois, where David Anderson, an uncle to the Wilsons, had arrived a year or two previous. The journey from South Carolina was made in a wagon which carried the family and household goods. On reaching the Irish settlement in Randolph County, they located for a time on the public lands. At the time of the breaking out of the war of 1812, George Wilson, with the neighbors, constructed a fort, which stood about a mile from the east bank of the Okaw, not far from the line between Townships 4-7 and 5-7. George Wilson was a Ranger in the war of 1812-1815, and was employed in active service against the Indians. At the conclusion of the war, Mr. Wilson located in the old fort, and improved a farm in the neighborhood. The farm was embraced in an old French claim, and was in such a shape that a clear title to the property could not be easily obtained, and so about the year 1828, Mr. Wilson moved on land in Section 23, Township 4-7, which he had entered some years previously. He resided here till the time of his death, which took place in the year 1857. His wife survived him four years, and died in 1861. George Wilson was a lifelong farmer. He was an earnest Democrat in politics, voting first for President in 1804, and never failing to attend an important election afterward. He had a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters. All of the sons, and two of the daughters are still living.
The sixth child was George Wilson, born in the old fort referred to above, on the 11th of December of the year 1814. He probably never went to school more than five or six months in his life. He was fourteen years of age when the family moved up on Heacock, now Hill prairie. He was married April, 1841, to a distant relative, Mary Wilson. Five of the eleven children resulting from this union died when young, and six are now living. Their names are Susan, the wife of Thomas McBride, Robert F., George R., William H., Samuel D., and Martha Jane. For two years Mr. Wilson filled the position of Treasurer of Randolph County.
James Wilson, the eighth child of George and Susannah Wilson, was born August the thirty-first, 1820, also in the old fort east of the Okaw. His advantages for obtaining an education were similar to those of his brother, and he was principally raised on the farm in Township 4-7, where he has lived since he was eight years old. August the 6th, 1840, he was married to Janey S. McBride. Immediately after, he built a house and settled on Section 14, Township 4-7, the site where now stands the town of Baldwin. Here James Wilson has the honor of making the first improvement. William M., Andrew W., Warren M., Susan, Elizabeth, Thomas J., and Stephen A. D., are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson now living. For twenty-two or twenty-three years, Mr. Wilson lived where Baldwin is now built, and in the spring of 1863, he moved back to the old homestead where he now lives.
Both the brothers are Democratic in politics, Presbyterian in their religious belief, substantial farmers, and worthy members of society.[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. Julius Murry Wilson
The great-grandfather of Dr. Wilson, of Evansville, one of the rising physicians of Randolph County, was Murray Wilson, an Englishman by birth, who came to America, settled in New York, and took part in the Revolutionary war. His grandfather, Alexander Murray Wilson, was born in New York, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. He was of a mechanical turn of mind, and to him belongs the credit of making the first invention to cut grass, or grain, by machinery.
Mr. Wilson's father, also Alexander Murray Wilson, by name, was born in the State of New York. He came to the western country in the year 1838, and first settled in the Lively Prairie. In 1842 he married Susan Young. She was from Pennsylvania, and the daughter of John Young, who came to Illinois among the early settlers, and served in the Black Hawk war. After his marriage, Mr. Wilson bought land south of the Lively Prairie, where he now lives. He was in the Federal army from 1861 to 1865, from the beginning to the close of the Rebellion. He entered the service as a Lieutenant, and by promotion reached the rank of Major. The third of a family of twelve children was Julius Murray Wilson, whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He was born on the eighteenth day of February, of the year 1847.
Dr. Wilson was brought up on his father's farm in Township 6-6. A district school, of an average character in point of excellence, furnished the opportunities for his early education. When about twenty, he left home, and went to Champaign University, at Champaign, Illinois, with the intention of remaining there about two years, and completing a thorough course of education. After a stay, however, of about six weeks, he was taken sick and compelled to return to Randolph County. Previous to this, it may be mentioned, he had been engaged in teaching school, first at Appleton, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, and afterward in Randolph County. After returning from Champaign University, Mr. Wilson engaged in business with Aaron Allen, of Sparta, and for about a year was employed in selling dry goods.
The science of Medicine had early presented its attractions to Dr. Wilson's mind, and after leaving Allen he came to the determination to fit himself for a physician. In the year 1870, he accordingly went to Bond County, and there read medicine under a physician with whom he had previously been acquainted. He remained here about a year, closely occupied with the prosecution of his medical studies. The fall of 1871, he had proposed going to St. Louis, and there attending a course of lectures at the medical schools of that city. He, however, accepted a situation as teacher of a school, and passed the winter of 1871-72 in Madison County, where, while holding his position as teacher, he, at the same time, enjoyed excellent advantages in the way of continuing his work at medicine. In 1872 he went to Cincinnati, attended lectures at the Ohio Medical College of that city, in 1873 stood his examination, and in due course graduated from the institution, and received his diploma.
Soon after, Dr. Wilson located at Evansville, where he has since been occupied with his duties as a physician. Though the Doctor has been established at Evansville for only a comparatively short period, he has, nevertheless, met with unusual success in his practice, and ranks among the rising physicians of the County. Energy and perseverance are elements of his character. He unites with these, good judgment, a thorough understanding of his profession, and popular and agreeable manners - qualities which in a fair field will always carry the day.[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]
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 eighth 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 his 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 every one, 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.[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 J. Woodside
Mr. Woodside is a native of Kentucky. He was born in Livingston County, in that part afterwards set off in the formation of Crittenden County, August 11th, 1816. In the spring of 1829 his father and family came to this County and settled the following year about two miles southwest of where Coulterville now stands. There, Mr. Woodside's father, Samuel, spent his last days. He was born in Chester District, South Carolina, and died November 14th, 1868, at the age of 84 years, 7 months, 14 days. He was a soldier in the United States' service during the war of 1812, and was a young and single man when he came to Kentucky. He there married Miss Sarah Baugher, a lady of German descent. He raised seven children - six living, viz.: John J., Robert H., Samuel and James, of this county, and Mrs. Martha (Newton), Franklin County and William W., of Perry County. Sarah J., the wife of James C. Wilson, died in this County a number of years ago.
Mr. Woodside's grandfather, Samuel, was a native of Ireland. Before the separation of the colonies from the dominion of Great Britain he left his native country and set sail for America. On the ocean he lost his wife and two children. He married again in this country, and had seven children at the breaking out of the revolutionary war. He joined the Continental forces, and fought through the war under the command of General Sumpter. After the establishing of peace he moved to Kentucky, and was one of the first settlers of Livingston County, where he finally died. He raised five sons and as many daughters, viz.: Mrs. Mary Herron, Mrs. Martha Stephenson, Nancy, Mrs. Sarah Young and Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton. The sons were Robert, David, John, Samuel and James. These all came to this State and settled in Randolph and adjoining Counties, and all died here but David, who returned to Kentucky and there died.
Mr. Woodside was thirteen years old when he came to this country. He lived on the farm with his parents till grown. He married Miss Mary A. Burns, daughter of Samuel Burns, an early settler of the County. This marriage was celebrated April 3d, 1839. After his marriage he settled where he now lives, a mile due south of Coulterville. This farm comprises 160 acres of splendid land. He owns eighty acres in Perry County, two forties of timber land in Randolph and some fifty or sixty choice lots in Coulterville; also a nice property in Olathe, Kansas, and an eighty acres in Clay County of that State. He has made his property by his own industry, and is now numbered among the solid business men of the County.[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 K. Wright
The agricultural interests of Township 5-7 are largely represented by John K. Wright, a resident of the County since the year 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 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 county 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 till 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 also to outside business, followed trading and teaming, and was willing to turn his hand 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 his 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 5-7.
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.[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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