JACOB F. MICHAEL, one of the honored veterans of the late war, and a leading farmer of Bonpas Township, Richland County, residing on section 14, is a native of the Buckeye State. The place of his birth was near Loudonville, Wayne County, and the date on which he first opened his eyes to the light of day was July 27, 1835. His parents were William and Sarah (Army) Michael, both of whom were natives of Berks County, Pa. The family is of German origin, and was founded in America by the great-grandfather of our subject. The grandparents were Peter and Elizabeth Michael. William Michael emigrated to Ohio about 1827, and there resided until 1840, when he emigrated with his family to Lawrence County, Ill., settling near Sumner. He was a wheelwright by trade, but in this State followed agricultural pin-suits. The latter years of his life were spent at the home of our subject in Claremont Township, where he died March 19, 1871, on his seventy-seventh birthday. His wife died December 18, 1873. She was born December 4, 1795, and was a daughter of Conrad and Elizabeth Army. The parents of our subject were interred in Bryant Cemetery, of Lawrence County.
James Michael, whose name heads this record, spent the days of his boyhood and youth with his father in Lawrence County, in the usual manner of farmer lads. When he was about thirteen years of age, his father opened a country store, and Jacob engaged in clerking in the same until about nineteen years of age. He received such educational advantages as the common schools of those days afforded. After leaving the store he was married and began life as a farmer. It was on the 27th of April, 1854, that he married Catherine Bowman, a native of Wayne County, Ohio, and a daughter of John and Catherine Bowman, of Lawrence County, Ill.
Mr. Michael secured forty acres of land in Lawrence County, to which he afterwards added an eighty-acre tract. In connection with the cultivation and improvement of his farm, he also followed carpentering at intervals, but he laid aside all business cares on the 28th of June, 1862, to enter the service of his country. He became a member of Company K, Seventieth Illinois Infantry, and was stationed at Camp Butler and Alton until receiving his discharge, October 3, 1862.
Returning to his home, Mr. Michael resumed farming. In 1864, he sold his land in Lawrence County, and came to Richland County, purchasing a farm of eighty acres in Claremont Township. To its development he devoted his energies until 1881, when he bought his present farm of five hundred and seventy-four acres, the greater part of which is under cultivation. He has made many improvements upon the place, has enlarged his pleasant residence, has planted shade and ornamental trees, and the well-kept grounds around his home add much to the beauty and attractiveness of the place.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael have had u family of ten children, as follows: Sarah E.; Rose Anna, wife of A. Gaddy; William W., a farmer of Bon pas Township; Elizabeth J., wife of S. Perrott; Mary E., who died in infancy; David S., who died in childhood; Martin M., deceased; Milton M., twin brother of Martin; Henry L., who aids in the operation of the home farm; and Harrison L. a school teacher of Richland County.
In his political affiliations, Mr. Michael is a Re. publican, having voted with that party since casting his first Presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln. For several years he has served as Justice of the Peace, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity. Socially, he is connected with John Watts Post, G. A. R., of Sunnier. His wife is a member of the Free Methodist Church. Mr. Michael is one of the most intelligent and respected citizens of Richland County. Fair and honorable in his dealings, pleasant and affable in manner, he has the confidence and good-will of all with whom business or pleasure has brought him in contact. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.507 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
ROBERT R. ROBARDS, a contractor in the line of plastering and brick work, carries on business in Noble and enjoys a good trade, which is well deserved. As he has a wide acquaintance in this community, we feel assured that this record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. Mr. Robards was born in Mercer County, Ky., August 18, 1864, and his parents, John P. and Sophrona J. (Dedman) Robards, were also natives of the same State. Of German origin is the Robards family, but the grandfather, Lewis Robards, was born in Virginia. He reared a family of sixteen children, twelve sons and four daughters, and died in Kentucky at an advanced age. The maternal grandfather of our subject, John P. Dedman, was also a native of Virginia, and was of English lineage. In an early day he went to Kentucky, where he reared his family of six sons and four daughters. He was a member of the Baptist Church. His death occurred February 1, 1871, at the age of seventy-eight, and his wife was called to her final rest in the fall of 1881, when eighty-eight years of age.
John Robards was a plasterer and followed that trade in Kentucky until 1871. when he came to Richland County, locating in German Township, six miles south of Olney. There he lived twelve years, but his sons operated the farm while he did plastering. In 1883, he came to Noble, and in this village passed away, January 2.5, 1887, at the age of fifty-two. For many years he was a member of the Christian Church, as is his wife, who is still living in Noble. Mr. Robards was also a prominent member of the Independent Order of Mutual Aid, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Of the five sons and six daughters in the Robards family, eight are now living, namely: John P., Robert L., Mary Ann, Charles M., Susan O., Farra L., Mattie J. and Thomas E.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, who lived upon a farm from the age of seven years until he had attained to man's estate. When a boy he learned the plasterer's trade, which he followed in connection with agricultural pursuits until 1891. In that year he came to Noble and for a few months engaged in general merchandising. He then sold out and has since been a contractor. He takes contracts on an extensive scale, doing work in all the surrounding counties.
On the 19th of April, 1890, Mr. Robards married Elizabeth O'Donnell, daughter of Thomas and Annie (Ball) O'Donnell, of Olney, whose parents were natives of Ireland. Her father is a retired farmer and owns several hundred acres of land in Noble Township. Our subject and his wife have a pleasant home in Noble and are numbered among the most highly respected people of the community.
Besides his own residence our subject owns another house and lot in Noble. In politics, he is a Democrat, and has twice served as Tax Collector of his township. Socially, he is a member of Noble Lodge No. 482, 1. O. O. F., and the Encampment, and belongs to Camp No. 1281, N. W. A. With the Christian Church he holds membership, and his wife is a member of the Catholic Church. In the line of his trade, Mr. Robards has met with excellent success. He has worked up an excellent business, and by his fair and honorable dealing has gained the confidence and respect of his many patrons.
[Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.513 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
LEVI W. MITCHELL, who now resides in Noble, is numbered among the early settlers of Richland County, where he has made his home since 1856. He has been prominent in official life and is recognized as one of the leading and influential citizens of this community. He now serves as Police Magistrate.
Born in Jackson County, Ind., on the 25th of November, 1845, Mr. Mitchell is a son of Abram D. and Burilla (Dodds) Mitchell. The paternal grandfather, Levi Mitchell, Sr., was a native of Virginia, and was a farmer by occupation. He was also a minister of the Baptist Church. His death occurred in Indiana, when past the age of eighty years. Abram Mitchell was also a Virginian by birth. When a young man he went with his parents to Jackson County, Ind., where he lived for many years. He there met and married .Miss Dodds, a native of Ohio. Her father, Andrew Dodds, was horn in North Carolina and at an early age emigrated to the Buckeye State. He afterward removed to Indiana, where his death occurred about 1868.
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell began their domestic life upon a farm in the Hoosier State. It was in 1856 that he brought his family to Illinois and purchased three hundred acres of land two and a-half miles east of Noble, known as the old Jeffers Farm, where he lived eight years, in the meantime adding about two hundred acres of land to his possessions. In 1863, he removed to Noble, where he engaged in general merchandising until 1868. Selling out in that year, he made a location near Nashville, Tenn., and engaged in the manufacture of brick and tile. He there died from the effects of a sunstroke in 1875, at the age of sixty years. He held several offices of trust and honor in Noble Township, served as Justice of the Peace for many years, and was one of the County Commissioners. After his death Mrs. Mitchell became the wife of James W. Nottingham, and they make their home in Noble. In the Mitchell family were four children: Andrew J., Zeporah, Levi W. and Samuel D. Zeporah became the wife of Jesse Toliver, by whom she had two children. Her death occurred in 1862; the other members of the family are still living.
The subject of this sketch spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farmer lads and acquired a good education in the district schools of his native State and in the High School of Clear Spring, Ind. Later he engaged in teaching, being thus employed in Richland and Clay Counties. He was very successful in that line of work, which he continued for some years. At length he turned his attention to the tinsmith business, which he carried on in Noble for about five years. He next devoted his energies to his duties as United States Pension Claim Agent, and for twenty years his time and attention have been given to that work.
Mr. Mitchell has been twice married. On the 24th of November, 1880, he wedded Lydia Rogers, daughter of Henry and Amanda Rogers, formerly of Mt. Carmel, Ill. Their union was blessed with two children: Nellie V. and Lulu M. The mother died in May, 1884, in the faith of the Methodist Church, of which she was a consistent member. On the 20th of October, 1886, Mr. Mitchell was again married, his second union being with Mary J., daughter of Barnett and Abigail (Gordon) Jenkins, of Clay County. She is a member of the Baptist Church.
Frequently has Mr. Mitchell been called to serve in public positions of honor and trust. He was for eight years Justice of the Peace, and is now Police Magistrate, which office he has held for eight years. He was four' times Tax Collector, served four terms as Village Treasurer, and was Village Clerk for twelve years. Since attaining his majority he has always held some public office, and his prompt and faithful discharge of duty has led to his frequent re-elections. His straightforward course has won him the commendation of all concerned, and in the community where he makes his home he is esteemed as one of its best citizens) [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.523 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JAMES L. SHIELDS, who resides on section 13, Noble Township, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Rich laud County, where for more than half a century he has made his home. Fifty-four years have passed since he located here, during which time he has aided materially in the growth and upbuilding of the county, and watched with interest its progress and development. It is the early settlers who laid the foundation for the county, and to them is due a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.
Mr. Shields was born in what is now Carroll County, Ky., August 28, 1824, and is of Irish descent, his father, George Shields, having emigrated from the Emerald Isle to America when a boy. In Kentucky he married Nancy Coghill, and there spent the remainder of his life. He was a hatter by trade, and always followed that pursuit. With the Catholic Church he held membership. The children of the family were all born in Kentucky, where the eldest, Lodosky, died; Mary J. died in this county; John was drowned after coming to Richland County; George departed this life in Kentucky; and James is the only one now living, for William J., the youngest, also died after coming to Illinois.
In 1839, the family started for this State, making the journey by team. The mother and her children settled upon the farm which is now the home of our subject, entering forty acres of land from the Government in 1837. In the edge of the timber a log cabin was erected, four acres of land were cleared and a crop was planted. The mother died in 1858, at the age of sixty-three years. James remained on the home farm and aided in the arduous task of developing the wild prairie. His educational privileges were very limited, he having attended school for about six months in Kentucky and ten months in this State. Reading, experience and observation, however, have made him a well-informed man. There were no near neighbors to the Shields family, and the work of developing the county seemed hardly begun. Mr. Shields has always borne his part in that achievement, and the community recognizes in him a valued citizen. His labors in his own interest have been in the line of farming and stock-raising, and he now owns two hundred and fifteen acres of good land.
Mr. Shields was married March 12, 1846, in Richland County, to Miss Hester Ann Herring, a native of Daviess County, Ky., and a daughter of Henderson Herring, who came with his family to Illinois in a very early day. The union of our subject and his wife has been blessed with the following children: Lodosky, wife of Aaron Casad, of Noble Township; John, who is editor of a paper in Oberlin, Kan.; Lucretia, a widow living at home; Delia, wife of Henry Franklin Steffy, of Noble Township; George, a carpenter of Vincennes, Ind.; Stephen L., a progressive farmer of Richland County; and Livona, wife of Albert Alvord, of Noble Township. The children were all born and reared in this county, and received good educational advantages, fitting them for the practical and responsible duties of life.
Mr. Shields is a member of the Baptist Church. He cast his first vote for Lewis Cass in 1848, and has since been a Democrat. He takes an active interest in political affairs, and is an influential member of the party in this community. He has filled the office of Assessor, and for eight years served as Justice of the Peace, proving a faithful and capable officer. His business career may well serve to encourage others who, like himself, have to start out in the world empty handed. Very early in life he learned to swing the cradle, axe and scythe, and he frequently worked for thirty-seven and a-half cents per day, but, deterred by no obstacles in his path, he made his way over the difficulties, and by his own labors has worked his way upward to a position of affluence. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.532 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
PETER D. PFLAUM, who owns and operates two hundred acres of rich land on section 28, Noble Township, Richland County, was born in Germany, July 15, 1852, and is a son of Valentine and Elizabeth (Hartman) Pflaum. Peter was the only child born to them in the Old Country. The father was a German farmer, but in 1854 he severed all business connections in his native land, and with his wife and little son crossed the board ocean. Locating near Pomeroy, Meigs County, Ohio, he there engaged in agricultural pursuits, living on one farm for many years. In 1873, he came to Illinois, and located on the farm which is now the home of our subject. Four years ago he removed to Olney, where he is still living. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and in political faith he is a Republican. His life has been a busy one and prosperous. He steadily increased his possessions until he owned about eight hundred acres of land, which he has since divided among his children, giving to each a farm.
The members of the Pflaum family are Peter, of this sketch; John, who follows farming in Noble Township; George, who also owns a good farm in Noble Township; Valentine, an agriculturist of Denver Township; Elizabeth, the wife of John Schnepper, of Noble Township; Adam, at home; Mary, the wife of Cass Bassett, of Olney Township; and Henry, at home.
The youth of our subject was spent upon the home farm in Ohio. His educational privileges were limited to those afforded by the common schools, for, being the eldest son, his labors were needed in the field. He early learned to swing the cradle and scythe, and use the axe, and to his father he gave the benefit of his services until twenty-four years of age, when he came to Illinois.
In Noble Township, in 1882, Mr. Pflaum was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Schnepper, a native of Indiana, who with her parents went to Clay County, Ill., when a child. They have a family of four children: Lillie, who was born August 18, 1883; Nettie, May 6, 1885; Lydia, September 15, 1887; and Mamie, February 17, 1890. Her birth occurred in Richland County, but the others were born in Oregon. In 1876 Mr. Pflaum went West, locating in Oregon. He lived upon a farm, and in connection with farm work handled wood and lumber, and engaged in teaming. Success attended his efforts, and he acquired a considerable capital. In 1881, he returned to Illinois, but after his marriage again went to Oregon, where he remained until the fall of 1889. Since that time he has lived upon the old homestead, where he owns two hundred acres of rich land. His farm is one of the best in the township, being supplied with all modern improvements and equipments. Mr. Pflaum is a member of the Presbyterian Church. He cast his first vote for Hancock, and usually supports the Democratic party, but is not strictly partisan. He has never been an office-seeker, yet for three years he served as Road Supervisor in Oregon. He prefers to devote his time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.535 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
CHRISTIAN DONAT, who follows farming on section 30, Decker Township, Richland County, is a native of the Keystone State. The place of his birth is in Montgomery County, and the date is November 21, 1823. His grandfather also bore the name of Christian Donat. He was a Frenchman by birth, and, coming to this country with La Fayette, he aided the Colonies in their struggle for independence. His home was Gen. Washington's headquarters for some time, and his wife prepared the Commander's meals all one winter. After the war, Mr. Donat bought land in Montgomery County, Pa., where he followed farming until his death, which occurred at the age of ninety years. He reared a family of five sons and five daughters.
One of the sons, Christian Donat, Sr., became the father of our subject. He was born in Pennsylvania, and married Elizabeth Rittenhouse, also a native of that State. Her father, Abraham Rittenhouse, lived in Rittenhausen, Pa., where a colony of Hollanders had settled. Four children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Donat. John, Anna and Charles are all living in Montgomery County, Pa., our subject having been the only one to emigrate Westward. The father of the family there died at the age of forty-three. His wife, who survived him some years, passed away at the age of sixty-three. They were both members of the Episcopal Church, and he was a very prominent
The subject of this sketch lost his father when he was only nine years of age. As soon as old enough he took charge of the farm for his mother, and he operated it until eighteen years of age, when he joined the citizen soldiery preparing for the Mexican War." With Gen. Scott's army he went from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. On his return, Mr. Donat embarked in business in Philadelphia as a dealer in produce, and carried on that business from 1849 until 1865. In the Mexican War he was brevetted Captain. In 1862, he began recruiting regiments for the late war, and assisted in raising about ten regiments, but did not go to the field himself. Continuing in business in Philadelphia until 1865, he went to West Virginia. The oil excitement was then at its height, and in the oil regions of that State he bought considerable land. His speculation, however, proved a failure, he losing several thousand dollars.
While there, Mr. Donat recovered his health, which had been greatly impaired, and found another fortune in his wife. On the 24th of June, 1873, he wedded Annie Hickel, daughter of George W. and Melvina (Oldham) Hickel, natives of Virginia. Four children grace their union: Clora, Don Cameron, Daisy and Robert Brown.
From 1873 until 1878 Mr. Donat lived in Virginia, spending his time in the oil business. In the latter year he came with his family to Richland County, Ill., and purchased a farm two and a-half miles southwest of Noble, containing three hundred acres. This he has greatly improved. He now has an orchard of twenty acres, and the once swampy region has been transformed into rich and fertile fields. The place is well fenced, there are a fine house, good barns and other outbuildings and all the conveniences and accessories of a model farm. In fact, it is one of the finest farms in Decker Township.
Since the organization of the Republican party our subject has been one of its stalwart advocates. Himself and wife and daughter Clora hold membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church. The family is one of prominence in the community, and widely and favorably known. The home is the abode of hospitality and the members rank high in social circles. Mr. Donat deserves great credit for his success in life, which has all been acquired through his own efforts. Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.536 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN KLINGENSMITH, a retired farmer living in Noble, has the honor of being a native of Richland County, his birth having here occurred October 14, 1841. His parents were Jeremiah and Catherine (Bates) Klingensmith, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. They had a family of three sons and five daughters, but only two are now living, John and Maro. The latter lives on a farm two miles southwest of Noble. The father of this family removed to Ohio in an early day and was there married. In 1840, he emigrated to Clay County, Ill., but after a short time entered forty acres of land in Richland County, upon which he lived forty-seven years. In 1887, he took up his residence in Noble, where he died July 25, 1889, respected by all who knew him. His wife, a member of the Christian Church, passed away in the spring of 1877, and he afterwards married Mrs. Margaret Westfall, widow of Stephen Westfall, who still survives him. Mr. Klingensmith was a soldier in the late war. After serving for three years in the Fortieth Illinois Infantry, he re-enlisted as a member of the Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He participated in many of the most important battles, including the engagements of Bull Run and Gettysburg, and was wounded in the hand at the battle of Shiloh. The Klingensmith family was founded in America by the paternal grandfather of our subject. He was a native of Germany, who, having emigrated to this country, lived for many years in Pennsylvania. The maternal grandfather, David Bates, was born in the Buckeye State. In 1840, he floated down the Ohio River on a flatboat to Shawneetown, and followed farming in Illinois throughout the remainder of his life, dying in 1864, at the age of eighty-four. He was a soldier in the War of 1812.
Under the parental roof our subject remained until sixteen years of age, when he began earning his own livelihood by working as a farm hand in the neighborhood. Each Saturday night he would return home, spending Sunday with the family. After attaining to man's estate, he was married, in September, 1861, to Miss Lydia Stith, daughter of William and Mary (Wood) Stith, of Clay County. Six children were born unto them. Sarah J. is the wife of Charles L. Carlin, who is engaged in painting and paper-hanging in Edinburg, Ill. Orintha is now deceased. Thomas H. wedded Mrs. Ida Norton, widow of Samuel Norton, and resides on a farm a mile and a-half from Edinburgh. The lady had one daughter by her former marriage, Stella Maud. Mary is still at home, and Jeremiah and Laura, the two youngest members of the family, are now deceased. For his second wife our subject chose Miss Mary Alice Swengo, daughter of Truman and Elizabeth Swengo.
During the late war, Mr. Klingensmith manifested his loyalty to the Government by joining the boys in blue of Company H, Ninety-eighth Illinois Infantry, August 8, 1862. He served for two years and three months and participated in the battle of Hoover's Gap and took part in the Wheeler raid and a number of minor engagements. He is now a member of Noble Post No. 292, G. A. R., which he joined on its organization. In politics, he is a supporter of Republican principles. Throughout his business career, Mr. Klingensmith followed farming, but in November, 1882, he bought property in Noble, and removed to the village. This, however, he has since sold, and he expects immediately to return to his farm, which is pleasantly located within a-half mile of Noble. He formerly owned one hundred and thirty acres, but before his removal sold all except forty acres. Of this, twenty-five acres are comprised in an orchard. Our subject has led a busy and useful life, and as the result of his well-directed efforts and good management he has acquired a competence, which now enables him to live retired. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.536 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
THOMAS O'DONNELL, a retired farmer now residing in Olney, claims Ireland as the land of his birth, which occurred in County Clare about 1829. He is a son of Roger and Ellen (Gallagher) O'Donnell, both of whom were natives of the Green Isle of Erin, where, as farming people, they spent their entire lives. They were members of the Catholic Church.
Mr. O'Donnell, whose name heads this record, acquired a good education in the subscription schools. At length he ran away from home and sailed for America, wishing to try his fortune in the New World. This was in 1847. He took passage on an old sailing-vessel at Galloway, which had one hundred and fifty passengers on board, and after twenty-nine days spent upon the bosom of the Atlantic, anchor was dropped in the harbor of Boston. Our subject worked in the cotton factories of Massachusetts for five years, and afterward was employed on public works and railroads through the Bay State and Pennsylvania. At length he went to St. Louis, and for two years worked for the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad Company. In that time, by sawing wood at fifty cents a cord, he managed to save up $1, 200. In 1855, he came to Richland County and purchased one hundred acres of land on section 24, Noble Township, a part of his old homestead. Upon it was a log cabin, 16x18 feet, but the place was largely covered with brush and timber.
As a companion and helpmate on life's journey, Mr. O'Donnell chose Miss Annie Ball, a native of Ireland, who came to the United States during her girlhood. They were married in Olney in 1854, and by their union were born four sons and three daughters, as follows: Edward, who married Miss Emma Boyd, and follows farming in Noble Township; William, who wedded Emma Gallagher, and is also engaged in agricultural pursuits in the same township; Ella, wife of Stephen Shields; Lizzie, the wife of Robert Robards; Charles, who married Miss Maud Fryberger, and operates the old homestead; Annie, who lives with her parents; and John, who aids his brother Charles in farming. The children were all born on the old homestead, and . received good educational privileges. Miss Annie is now successfully engaged in teaching in the public schools. The father has given to each of his children one hundred acres of land, and has thus started them out in life well.
The farm which he developed on coming to this county Mr. O'Donnell made his home until 1892, when he came to Olney, where he has since lived a retired life. Prosperity has crowned his well directed efforts, and before dividing Ids property with his sons, he was the owner of six hundred and twenty acres of valuable land. He deserves great credit for his success in life, as it has been achieved entirely through his own efforts. He has always refused to accept public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests. He cast his first Presidential vote for Buchanan, and has since been a stanch advocate of the Democracy. He and his wife are members of the Catholic Church in Olney, and are highly respected people, whose friends in the community are many. He is now enjoying a well-earned rest after years of labor and has acquired a handsome competency. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.538 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
ANDREW J. KEEFER, of Olney, the present efficient County Clerk of Richland County, was born near the city which is still his home, March 23, 1863, and is a son of David and Elizabeth (Berlin) Keefer. His parents were natives of the Keystone State, and were of Pennsylvania-Dutch descent. Both had been twice married. The father of our subject first married Miss Louisa Schroeder, daughter of Frederick and Louisa Schroeder, and by that union were born two sons and eight daughters, six yet living, namely: Lou, Laura, Kate, Lizzie, Leah and Emma. Sanford, John and Ann, the three eldest children, and Caroline, the seventh child, are all now deceased. The mother died about 1858, and in 1860 Mr. Keefer was joined in wedlock with Mrs. Elizabeth Phelps, widow of John Phelps. Two children grace this union: David M., and Andrew J., of this sketch. Mrs. Keefer had three children by her former marriage, namely: Mary, now deceased; Jennie and Hannah.
In his boyhood the father of our subject learned the shoemaker's trade, which he followed for a number of years in Pennsylvania. In an early day he left the Keystone State and took up his residence in Cadiz, Ohio, near Cincinnati, where he remained for a few years. He afterward lived in Indiana, and then came to Illinois, locating near Olney. He ran the first dray in this city, for when he came here Olney was but a village. Mr. Keefer is now in his eighty-third .year, and his wife is sixty-six years of age. In his earlier life, he was long a member of the Lutheran Church, but of late years he has been identified with the Swedenborgian Church. His wife holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Andrew J. Keefer, whose name heads this record, spent his boyhood on his father's farm near Olney and acquired the greater part of his education in the district schools of the neighborhood, but later he supplemented the knowledge there gained by study in the Olney High School, from which he was graduated in the spring of 1885. He began teaching school in 1880, and followed that vocation until the spring of 1892, with the exception of two years spent in the mail service. This was from 1887 until 1889. He began teaching when only seventeen years of age, and in that profession he met with excellent success, proving a very able instructor.
On the 15th of July, 1888, Mr. Keefer was united in marriage with Miss Minnie Hubbard, adopted daughter of S. M. and Samira Hadley, of Mooresville, Ind. Two children graced their union, daughters: Bessie B. and Florence B. The young couple have a wide acquaintance in Olney and are held in high esteem in the social circles in which they move.
In the fall of 1892, Mr. Keefer was elected County Clerk of Richland County to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Von Gunten, Jr. He is proving himself an able and capable officer, discharging his duties with the same fidelity that marked his career as a teacher. Socially, he is a member of the Independent Order of Mutual Aid, and since his Twelfth year he has held membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church. His entire life has been passed in this community and his fellow-citizens recognize in him an honorable, upright man. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.540 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PARK, one of. the honored pioneers of Richland County, now living a retired life in Parkersburgh, is a native of Connecticut. He was born in New London, on the 25th of May, 1810, and was the youngest son and tenth child in a family whose parents were Joseph and Abigail (Eggleston) Park. The former was a sailor and with two of his sons lost his life at sea. The Park family traces its ancestry back to Joseph Park, who with his brother Thomas came to America at an early day, emigrating from his native land, Scotland. Thomas settled in Red Hook, N. J. Joseph received a grant of land on the Mystic River, where some of his descendants are still living. Joseph and Thomas Park were brothers of Mungo Park, the noted African explorer. Benedict Eggleston, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was of English descent, and followed farming near North Stonington, Conn.
We now take up the personal history of our subject, whose sketch will prove of interest to many of our readers, for he is both widely and favorably known in this community. His childhood days were spent under the parental roof, and his education was acquired during three months' attendance at the common schools each winter until fifteen years of age, when he became an apprentice to a stone mason. He served a term of about six years, and on attaining his majority he began business for himself in that line, continuing to work steadily at the trade until his removal Westward, and at intervals since. He has also worked at the carpenter's trade much of the time. On the 25th of January, 1835, Mr. Park married Almira Howell, daughter of Nathan and Phoebe (Wells) Howell, of Groton, Conn. The Howell family is of Irish origin, and like the Park family is noted for longevity. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Park were born four children, but Roswell and Nathan, the first and third, are now deceased. Phoebe J. is the wife of H. Higgins; and John 0. M. completes the family.
In 1836, Mr. Park determined to try his fortune in the West, and acting on this resolution he came to Richland, then Lawrence, County, where he purchased a squatter's claim on Sugar Creek Prairie, for which he gave $50. The next spring he was joined by his family, and they began life in the West in true pioneer style, experiencing many of the hardships and difficulties of frontier life. There were but three families living on the prairie at that time. The nearest gristmill was twenty-four miles distant, and the nearest store was fourteen miles away. Wolves and other wild animals were very numerous, and deer and other game furnished the table with an abundance of meat. Mr. Park at once began the development of his farm, and soon the raw tract was transformed into rich and fertile fields. He planted an orchard and sent to Connecticut for scions with which to graft the same, paying a postage on them of $7. In later years this orchard proved a profitable investment. Mr. Park carried on farming successfully until 1880, when he left the old home, where he had so long resided and, renting to his son, removed to the village of Parkersburgh, where he is still living.
Mr. Park cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson, but is now a supporter of the Republican party. He served for twelve years as Justice of the Peace and has held other local offices. Before coming West he was a member of the Connecticut militia and during his service was promoted to the rank of Captain. He is now living a retired life, resting in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil, and himself and wife are numbered among the most highly respected citizens of Parkersburgh. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.540 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
HENRY STADGE is one of the enterprising and substantial farmers of Richland County. He now resides on section 26, Claremont Township, where he owns and operates a good farm, comprising one hundred and twenty-five acres of arable land. He came to this county in 1860, and in 1866 located near his present home, and five years later upon the place where he has since lived. The greater part of his laud is now under a high state of cultivation, and it is supplied with good improvements, such as are found upon a model farm of the nineteenth century. The buildings and everything upon the place stand as monuments to his thrift and industry, for when he came into possession of the same it was unimproved land.
Mr. Stadge is of German birth. He was born in Prussia, November 29, 1826, and is a son of Conrad Stadge, a native of the same country, who in 1853 emigrated with his family to America, locating in Ohio, from where he afterward came to Illinois. In the Fatherland our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth and acquired a good education in his native tongue, but in the English language he is wholly self-educated. When a young man of twenty-two years he determined to seek a home across the water, and in 1848, bidding good-bye to friends and family, he took passage on a sailing-vessel at Rotterdam, which, after a voyage of forty-three days, during which time they experienced some hard storms, dropped anchor in the harbor of New York on the 12th of May. Mr. Stadge at once made his way to Muskingum County, Ohio, where he secured work as a farm hand, being thus employed for five years. He then joined his parents who had emigrated to this country, and in 1854 accompanied the family to Clark County, Ill., where he rented land and engaged in farming for six years. On the expiration of that period he came to Richland County, as before stated, landing in Olney. He then operated a rented farm for six years, and later bought a tract of eighty acres, but slightly improved.
In 1851, in Muskingum County, Ohio, Mr. Stadge married Elizabeth Bonestead, a native of Germany, who went to the Buckeye State when a young lady of seventeen years. Her death occurred January 21, 1873. By that union were born eleven children, and with two exceptions all grew to mature years, were married and have become heads of families, with the exception of Frank. Mr. Stadge was again married, December 16, 1873, his second marriage being with Mrs. Mary Fields, a widow. By her former union she had two daughters, who are now married. Five children have been born of the present marriage: Simon, who is studying engineering and aids in operating the home farm; Clara L.; Amelia A.; Effie, who died in infancy; and Lillie May.
In 1856, Mr. Stadge supported John C. Fremont, the first Presidential candidate of the Republican party, and has since been a warm advocate of the measures and principles of that organization. He has held several local offices and for a number of years served on the School Board, Himself and wife are faithful members of the German Evangelical Church of Olney, and are highly-respected citizens of the community. Mr. Stadge may truly be called a self-made man, for he came to the United States empty-banded and has since had to make his own way in the world. He has won prosperity through well-directed efforts and untiring industry. He need never have occasion to regret the resolution that brought him to this country, for he has here gained a comfortable competency and secured a pleasant home. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.542 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
THOMAS J. DECKER is numbered among the early settlers of Richland County, and is a representative of one of its pioneer families. He now resides on section 33, Decker Township, and in this locality was born in October, 1850. The township was named for his uncle, Thomas J. Decker, for whom our subject was named also. His father, John C. Decker, was born in Gibson County, Ind., and came from an old Virginian family. He remained at home until about twenty-one years of age, when he left the parental roof and came to Illinois, joining his brother Thomas. In this county he married Lucinda Brown, a native of Tennessee. From the Government he entered land and developed a farm. He possessed good business ability and acquired a handsome property. In politics he was a Democrat and in religious belief he was a Baptist. His death occurred October 11, 1863, at the age of forty-six. His wife died only three days later, at the age of forty-three years.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Decker were born the following children: Mrs. Mary Ellen Ring, now deceased; Phoebe Clarinda, who died at the age of forty-five years; Thomas, of this sketch; Joseph F., a farmer of Madison Township, Richland County; John N., who is engaged in the butchering business in Noble; Rohesa J., wife of Joseph Johnson, who lives near New Orleans, La.; and William H., also of Louisiana.
The subject of this sketch was reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life, and distinctly remembers the county when he could ride for miles in any direction without a settlement to impede his progress. His parents dying when he was thirteen years of age, and thus left an orphan, he went to live with his brother-in-law, Henry Ring, with whom he remained until the age of eighteen. He then started out in life for himself and the only capital and property which he possessed was a black mare worth $50. He began farming on shares with his brother-in-law, and at length, as the result of his labors, he acquired some capital, with which he purchased eighty-seven and a-half acres of land, heavily timbered with oak trees. There was a small clearing, however, upon which was a frame house, 16x20 feet, a log stable, and a garden for vegetables. In the years which have since passed, a great transformation has taken place upon his land. He now has a good home and well-developed farm, and his rich and fertile fields yield to him a golden tribute in return for the care and labor he bestows upon them. In connection with general farming he has also traded in stock, operated a thresher and a sawmill.
In September, 1872, Mr. Decker married Pernina Dilley, who died in 1875. They had two children, but both are now deceased. He later married Mrs. Alice Luce, a sister of his first wife, and she died leaving a son, Rolla B., now sixteen years of age. In 1879 Mr. Decker was united in marriage with Miss Sarah J. Fowler, of Lawrence County, Ill. They have two children, F. F., born December 6, 1882, and Thomas Thurman, December 18, 1888. The parents are both members of the Baptist Church, and Mr. Decker holds membership with the Masonic Lodge and the Modern Woodmen of Noble. In 1872 he voted for Horace Greeley, and has since supported the Democratic party. He held the office of Township Clerk three terms and was twice Commissioner, but has never been an office-seeker. In his youth Mr. Decker had very limited privileges, either in the line of education or otherwise, but he has steadily worked his way upward, gaining a comfortable competency and at the same time winning the respect and esteem of all with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.544 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN SCRUGHAM, Principal of the public schools of Noble, was born near his present home in Richland County, January 4, 1864, and is the eldest of five children whose parents were George W. and Nancy (Shoemacker) Scrugham. The family is of German origin, but the grandfather, Elisha Scrugham, was a native of Kentucky, and served in the Mexican War, during which he was wounded. He held membership with the Christian Church, and died when past the age of sixty years. The Shoemacker family was also of German descent. The maternal grandfather of our subject, Washington Shoemacker, was a native of Indiana, and died near Edinburg, that State, at the early age of thirty-seven. In religious belief he was a Methodist.
Throughout his life, George Scrugham has followed farming. After attaining his majority, he located in Clay County, in 1861, and two years later came to Richland County. In 1865, however, he returned to the former county and bought a farm in Clay City Township, where he has since made his home. He owns one hundred and seventy-three acres of good land, which he has transformed from a tract of raw prairie into rich and fertile fields. The place is also supplied with a comfortable residence, good barns and other outbuildings, well-kept fences and all the accessories of a model farm. The children of the family are John, Edward, Thomas, Ida and Henry. All are yet living.
Prof. Scrugham was reared upon his father's farm in Clay County, and acquired his early education in the district schools. At the age of sixteen, he entered the Northern Indiana Normal School, of Valparaiso, and a few months later became a student in the Southern Normal, of Mitchell, Ind., from which he was graduated in 1882, having completed the teachers' course. The succeeding four years of his life were passed as a teacher in the district schools of Clay County. In the autumn of 1886, he again entered the Southern Normal School, completed the scientific course, and received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1887. He was then employed as teacher in the grammar department of the schools of Clay City in 1887 and 1888.
On the 22d of June of that latter year, Prof. Scrugham was united in marriage with Ora V. Spencer, daughter of Benjamin R. and Emma (Davis) Spencer, of Clay City. Their union has been blessed with one daughter, Bertha. The parents are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the young couple are widely and favorably known in this community, ranking high in social circles.
In the fall of 1888, Mr. Scrugham was elected principal of the Bible Grove school, where he remained a year. In 1889, he was chosen principal of the Louisville schools, and held that position two .years. In 1891, he was called to serve as principal of the public schools of Noble, and this position he still occupies. Prof. Scrugham possesses special aptitude for the work in which he is now engaged. He is a thorough student himself and a close observer of human nature, and his management and control of the schools have been attended with very gratifying results. Socially, he is a member of Noble Camp No. 1281, M. W. A., and in politics is a Republican.
[Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.545 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN SCHNEPPER, who is successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits on section 29, Noble Township, Richland County, was born June 12, 1857, in Warrick County, Ind. His father, Gottfried Schnepper, was born in Germany, and is now seventy years of age. He served in the German army, and in 1840 crossed the ocean to the United States, locating first near Boonville, Warrick County, Ind. He married before leaving Germany, and his wife died in 1860. The following y ear the father of our subject removed to Clay County, Ill., and in the midst of the forest he cleared and improved a farm, making an excellent home, which is still his place of residence. After the death of his first wife, he was again married, his second union being with Mary Rubart. The children of the first family were Fred, who was born in Germany and is now living in Clay County; Gottfried, deceased; John, of this sketch; Lizzie, wife of Peter Pflaum, and one sister, who died the day after their arrival in America. Mr. Schnepper is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and in his political belief is a Democrat. He came to this country in order to seek a fortune in the New World, and although he has not become a millionaire, he has become the owner of a good property and has a pleasant home, in which he now lives, surrounded by all the comforts of life.
The subject of this sketch received very limited educational privileges. His services were needed at home, and from an early age he might be found aiding in clearing and opening up the farm. His mother died when he was only three years old. He gave his father the benefit of his services until seventeen years of age, when he started out in life for himself, and whatever success he has achieved has been due entirely to his own efforts. For some time he worked in the neighborhood as a farm hand, but about 1890 he purchased eighty acres of land on section 20, Noble Township. Only ten acres had been cleared and there were no buildings on it except a log cabin. He got his start in life in California, whither he went in 1871. He spent three and a-half years in Colusa County, working on ranches, and thus secured the nucleus of his present possessions. He now owns one hundred and forty-four acres of good land and with the exception of twenty-eight acres the entire amount is under a high state of cultivation.
A marriage ceremony performed in Noble Township in 1882, united the destinies of Mr. Schnepper and Miss Lizzie Pflaum, who was born in Ohio, and when a child of five years came to Illinois. They have become the parents of five children: William, born April 21, 1883; Maine, who is eight years of age; August, a lad of six years; Harry and Lizzie May. They also lost one child, Walter, who died at the age of two years.
Mr. Schnepper cast his first vote for Grover Cleveland, and in his social relations is an Odd Fellow. For his success in life he deserves great credit. Starting out with empty hands, he has labored long and earnestly and his life has been a busy and useful one. The prosperity, however, which rewards faithful effort has come to him and he is now ranked among the substantial and well to-do citizens of his adopted county. His success is well merited, for his career has been one of fair and honorable dealings. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.548 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JAMES M. GALLAGHER is a well-known citizen of Richland County, residing on section 1, Decker Township. He is engaged in farming and in merchandising and is Postmaster at Gallagher. He was born on the old homestead, December 10, 1859, and was reared a farm. During his boyhood he aided in its cultivation through the summer months, while in the winter season he attended the public schools. He can remember when the county was comparatively new and sparsely settled.
Our subject remained under the parental roof until twenty-four years of age, when he left home and was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary C. Garner, who was born in Kentucky, and is a daughter of William C. and Elizabeth Garner. Three children have graced their union, a son and two daughters, Frank, Delia and Fannie. Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher are well-known citizens of this community and are held in high regard by a large circle of friends and acquaint
In 1887, our subject embarked in merchandising on quite a limited scale, but he has constantly increased his stock, and is doing a good business, having gained a liberal patronage by his upright and honorable dealing and his earnest desire to please his customers. He also has charge of the postoffice, and owns an eighty-acre farm, on which is a seven-acre orchard of apples and peaches. In politics, he is independent, holding himself free to support the men whom he thinks best qualified to fill the office, yet on subjects of State and National importance generally votes the Democratic ticket. He is an intelligent and enterprising young man, possessed of good business ability, and his life will no doubt be a successful one.
[Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.548 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
DR. ABRAHAM GILLASPIE, who resides on section 26, Germantown Township, is numbered among the pioneer physicians of Rich land County, having here made his home since 1861. He has a wide acquaintance throughout this community, and his many friends, we feel assured, will receive with pleasure this record of his life work. He was born near Flemingsburg, Ky., November 28, 1816, and is therefore nearly seventy-seven years of age. His father, Isaiah Gillaspie, was a native of York County, Pa. The family is of Irish origin and was probably founded in Pennsylvania during Colonial days. Isaiah accompanied his father, William Gillaspie, to Mason County. Ky. The latter was a soldier of the Revolution, serving under Washington for four and a-half years. He married Polly McSwarn, a native of Pennsylvania, and settled in Mason County, Ky., in 1794, the year that Gen. Wayne made his treaty with the Indians. They lived for a time in a block house, and near there she died and was interred in Lishbrook Cemetery, near Washington, Mason County. He reached the advanced age of ninety-three years.
After attaining to mature years, the father of our subject married Phoebe Worthington, a native of Fleming County, Ky., and a daughter of Jacob and Nellie (Power) Worthington. From the time of his marriage until 1839 he made his home in Kentucky, and then removed to Putnam County, Ind., becoming one of its pioneers. The blood of a Revolutionary hero ran in his veins, and when the country again became engaged in war with Great Britain, in 1812, he manifested his patriotism by entering the service. He spent the last years of his life in Boone County, near Lebanon, dying in 1869 as the result of a fourth stroke of paralysis. His wife survived him until 1871. They had a family of three sons and three daughters, all of whom are living at this writing and are heads of families.
The Doctor spent his youth in the State of his nativity. His educational privileges in his younger years were very limited. In 1836 he began the study of medicine under Dr. Dudley and finished under Dr. John B. Clark, a regular graduate under Prof. Dudley. He entered upon practice in Russellville, Ind., and later was for sixteen months associated in partnership with his former preceptor. In 1854 he went to Lawrence County, Ind., and in July of that year he brought a part of his goods to Richland County. In the fall he brought the remainder of his effects and his family, and took up his residence upon the farm which he had purchased, and upon which he has since made his home. For thirty-two years he has been engaged in active practice, and his skill and ability have won him a liberal patronage.
The Doctor was married in Mt. Carmel, Wabash County, Ill., to Miss Fidelia Jane Gordon, who died of consumption in 1855. In Lawrence County he later wedded Ellen Rogers, a native of Senecaville, Ohio. Her death occurred February 27, 1882. The children born of that union are Isaiah Jerome, who died April 14, 1882, at the age of twenty-five years; Mary Phoebe, wife of L. Wigmot, of Adair County, Iowa; Flora Evarette Bella, who married Sylvester Carr, and after
his death, which occurred January 26, 1882, became the wife of James Pryer, of Jasper County, in March, 1888; Nelson Clark Morton, who is married and lives on the home farm; Ida Ann, at home: William, who is living in Iowa; Elbert, at home; and two children who died in early life.
Dr. Gillaspie is widely known among our readers. His life has been well and worthily passed, and his upright and honorable career has gained for him high esteem and warm regard wherever he has gone. In politics he was originally an old-line Whig, but since its organization has supported every candidate of the Republican party for the office of President and of the Governor of the State. In his religious belief he is a Methodist, having been a member of the church since 1840. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.549 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
WILLIAM HENRY GILLESPIE is now living a retired life, but still occupies his fine farm of one hundred and seventy acres on section 29, Claremont Township. He is numbered among the honored pioneers of Richland County, where since the winter of 1836 he has made his home. He has watched its development, has seen its wild lands transformed into beautiful homes and rich farms, has seen towns and villages spring up, and all modern innovations known to civilization introduced. As one of the early settlers of the community we present him to our readers.
Mr. Gillespie was born in Vermilion County, Ill., June 7, 1836, and is a son of George W. Gillespie, a native of Kentucky. The grandfather, James Gillespie, was a native of the same State, and was a Revolutionary soldier. The former was reared in Kentucky, and there married one of its daughters, Sarah Peebles. After following farming for a few years, he removed with his family to western Indiana, and in 1836 came to Richland County, locating in what is now German Township. He first purchased forty acres of land, and after building a log cabin, fenced, cleared and improved the farm. He was quite successful in his undertakings, and became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of good land. The last years of his life were spent on the old homestead, where his death occurred in the spring of 1865. His first wife having died, he was a second time married. The Gillespie family numbered nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom six are yet living. Mrs. Telitha Stultes resides in Kansas; Mrs. Susan Stultes is living in German Township, Richland County; Mary is the wife of George Holmes, of Douglas County, Mo.; Lewis is located in Olney; and David A. is a farmer of Claremont Township.
Our subject was a babe of six months when brought by his parents to Illinois. His boyhood was passed in the usual manner of farmer lads, and his education has been mostly acquired through his reading and business experience since attaining his majority, yet he is a well-informed man. He has been twice married. In January, 1858, he wedded Miss Mary Ann Bird, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Thomas Bird, who in an early day came from the Buckeye State to Claremont Township, Richland County, and opened up a farm, on which he reared his family. His death here occurred in 1862.
After his marriage Mr. Gillespie bought forty acres of land, but has since made other purchases, and in January, 1867, removed to his present farm. There were only a few acres broken, and a little cabin constituted the improvements, but after three years Mr. Gillespie built a substantial residence and good barns, set out a fine orchard, and has made other excellent improvements, which add greatly to the value and attractive appearance of the place. He has also made additional purchases from time to time, and the home farm now comprises one hundred and seventy acres of land, the greater part of which is highly cultivated. He also owns elsewhere a tract of eighty acres.
On the 14th of August, 1862, Mr. Gillespie joined Company H, One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He was taken sick with the measles soon after entering the army, but on his recovery rejoined his regiment and participated in the battle of Mansfield, La., where the whole regiment was captured and taken to Camp Ford, near Tyler, Tex., where Mr. Gillespie was held a prisoner for thirteen months and nineteen days, or until May r , 1865. They were very harshly treated and nearly starved, and owing to those facts our subject was ill during the greater part of his imprisonment. When released he went to New Orleans, then to St. Louis, and on to Springfield, Ill., where he received his discharge in June, 1865, immediately returning to his wife and family. Since casting his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, he has been a stalwart Republican.
Mr. Gillespie and his wife are members of the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he holds office. They have a family of three children: Rebecca M., wife of Christian Miller; Martha E., wife of William P. Hillis; and Samuel O., a young man of sterling character, who operates the home farm. All reside in this county. With the fidelity with which he served his country in the dark days of the late war, Mr. Gillespie discharges his duties of citizenship and also every trust reposed in him, and therefore he is highly esteemed throughout the community. He began life for himself a poor man, but his labor and enterprise have accomplished for him what an inherited fortune has not always done for others. By his well-directed efforts and the assistance of his estimable wife he has accumulated two valuable farms and a good home, together with a nice property in the city of Olney, and is to-day accounted one of the wealthy and substantial citizens of Claremont Township. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.554 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
JOHN M. RIFNER, a prominent farmer reI siding on section 34, Decker Township, Richland County, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, November 26, 1826, and is a son of Peter P. Rifner, who went to the Buckeye State in 1811, from Hunterdon County, N. J. The following year he became a soldier of the War of 1812, and served under Gen. William Henry Harrison against the Indians. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a soldier of the Revolution. When he entered the service the family was broken up and Peter was bound out at the early age of five years. He was twenty-two when he went to Ohio, his birth having occurred May 27, 1784. In the midst of the forest he developed a farm, upon which he spent the remainder of his life. He died June 6, 1864. Mr. Rifner was a successful business man and became quite
well-to-do. In politics he was a Whig, and he nominated Gen. Harrison for the first office the Tippecanoe hero ever held. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Rockafeller, was born in Hunterdon County, N. J., November 8, 1789, and died in Harrison, Ohio, August 19, 1872, at the age of eighty-three years.
The Rifner family numbered seven sons and five daughters. Mary A., born November 7, 1807, died August 14, 1839; William A., born June 25, 1809, died in Henry County, Ind., in 1892; Sarah A., born April 5, 1811, died July 4, 1836; Samuel R., born February 10, 1813, also died in Henry County; Martha R., born February 11, 1815, died in Ohio in 1818; Eliza, born April 30, 1817, died July 12, 1818; Peter P., born October 1, 1819, died in Henry County, Ind., January 20, 1830: Henry, born March 3, 1822, died sixty-nine years ago; E. A., born August 8, 1824, is a farmer of Harrison, Ohio; J. M. is our subject; Angeline, born December 5, 1828, is the wife of R. T. Calvin, of Pulaski County, Ill.; and James M. is a merchant of Hume, Ind. His birth occurred August 17, 1831.
The only educational privileges our subject obtained were those afforded by the subscription schools, which he attended about three months during the year. The remainder of the time was spent in farm work. He early learned to handle the plow and scythe and could cradle four and onefourth acres of wheat per day. At the age of twentytwo he left home and wedded Mary Jane Pierson, daughter of Robert and Susan Pierson. Their union was celebrated on the 19th of May, 1850, and on the 26th of July following, the young wife died. Mr. Rifner was again married, March 18, 1852, his second union being with Martha A., daughter of William and Nancy Hollowell. Her father was born in New York, June 14, 1805, and died in Franklin County, Ind., in August, 1885. Her mother was born in Kentucky, January 26, 1808, and is still living, now eighty-five years old. Their children were as follows: Ephraim, born June 1, 1831; Martha A., born in Franklin County, Ind., December 25, 1833; Louden T., born July 27, 1837; Hannah Jane, February 17, 1840; Mary Eleanor, February 14, 1842; Leander, November 12, 1843; Margaret Ann, August 21, 1848; and Charles O., November 10, 1851.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Rifner are Sylvester Emerson, who was born January 23, 1854, in Franklin County, Ind., and died April 4, 1887. He was married January 31, 1885, to Fannie Bowers. Mary Jane, born April 28, 1856, became the wife of W. M. Taylor, October 22, 1876, and died October 17, 1881, leaving two children, Lulu Edith and William M; Rose Ella, born September 23, 1861, became the wife of William M. Taylor, February 15, 1883; Ida Alice, born March 22, 1863, was married March 30, 1893, to George C. Stokes, a farmer of Franklin County. Ind.; Jesse, born June 21, 1866, died on the 16th of September following.
For some years after his marriage Mr. Rifner followed farming in the county of his nativity arid then removed to Henry County, Ind., where he made his home until 1872. That year witnessed his arrival in Richland County. He purchased eighty acres of unimproved land, to which he has since added ten acres, and he now has a highly improved farm, which is well cultivated and has upon it a good orchard. Mr. Rifner and his wife are members of the United Brethren Church, to the support of which he contributes liberally. He has always given freely of his means to any worthy enterprise calculated to prove of public benefit. He has never been an officer-seeker but has served as School Director. He cast his first vote for the Whig candidate in 1848, and since voting for Lincoln in 1860 has been identified with the Republican party. The success which Mr. Rifner has attained in his business life is one of which he may justly be proud, for in the legitimate channels of business and through his enterprise and good management he has gained his comfortable competence. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.556 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
ALVIN ECKLEY, an honored veteran of the late war, who is engaged in farming on section 14, Madison Township, was born in this locality, January 25, 1841, and therefore has the honor of being a native of Richland County. His parents were Dr. Daniel and Jerusha (Hayes) Eckley, honored pioneers of this community. Peter Eckley, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a Scotch-Irishman. He came to America with his brother George about 1750. They settled in Berks County, Pa., and as scouts took part in Gen. Braddock's expedition against Ft. Du Quesne, in the French and Indian War. George Eckley was there killed, but Peter survived and served as a scout during the Revolution. After the Colonies had achieved their independence, he removed to Westmoreland County, Pa., where the remainder of his life was passed. Ephraim Eckley, the grandfather of our subject, emigrated Westward about 1800, and became one of the pioneer settlers of Jefferson County, Ohio. Later he went to Ashland County, Ohio, and in 1848 came to Richland County, Ill., where his days were ended.
Dr. Eckley was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, and in 1839 he came with his family to this county. He at once entered upon the practice of the medical profession, which he followed continuously until 1873. Since that time he has lived a retired life, and has now reached the advanced age of eighty-five years. His wife died in Minerva, Ohio, in 1876. The Doctor was one of the pioneer settlers of Richland County, and has been an eye-witness of its entire growth and upbuilding. He gained quite a reputation during his business career, and had a large and lucrative practice.
Alvin Eckley, whose name heads this record, spent the days of his boyhood and youth with his parents, aiding in the cultivation of the farm, and attending the subscription schools of the neighborhood. After attaining his majority, he supplemented his primary education by a course in the Christian College, of Merom, Ind. When the war broke out, prompted by patriotic impulses, he responded to the country's call for troops, and enlisted July 20, 1861. He was assigned to Company E, Eleventh Missouri Infantry, and took part in the engagement at New Madrid, the siege of Island No. 10, the advance on Corinth and the siege of that city, Iuka and the second battle of Corinth. There, on the 3d of October, 1862, he was wounded in the right leg, and lay in the hospital until discharged on the 1st of January, 1863. When he had sufficiently recovered, Mr. Eckley rejoined his regiment in December, 1863, and with it remained until the following spring.
After his return from the war, Mr. Eckley engaged in farming for about a year, and then secured a position as salesman in a general mercantile store of Parkersburg, where he was employed for nine years. On the expiration of that period, he resumed farming, which he has followed almost continuously since. He now owns and operates eighty acres of good land on section 14, Madison Township.
On the 10th of May, 1874, Mr. Eckley was united in marriage with Mrs. Hannah R. Morrison, daughter of John Heap, one of the pioneer settler of Richland County. They have but one living child, Daniel J., having lost two children in infancy. Our subject and his wife are well known in the community where they have so long made their home, and in social circles they hold an enviable position. Mr. Eckley exercises his right of franchise in support of the Republican party, and by his fellow-townsmen has been called upon to fill several public offices, the duties of which he has discharged with promptness and fidelity. He has filled various local offices. Socially, he is a member of Ed Kitchell Post No. 662, G. A. R. The community recognizes in him a public-spirited and valued citizen.
[Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.558 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
REV. HARVEY MULLINS, one of the leading and influential citizens of Parkersburgh, was born on the 9th of May, 1817, in Danville, Ky., and is descended from Revolu
tionary stock. His great-grandfather was a native of the Emerald Isle, and emigrated from Ireland to America in about 1750, settling in Culpeper Court House, Va. His son, James Mullins, was one of the valiant soldiers of the Revolution, serving throughout the struggle for independence. The father of our subject, Stephen Mullins, married Lucy Sanderfer, a lady of Welsh descent. When Harvey was fourteen years of age they removed to Alabama, but, not being in sympathy with the institution of slavery, Stephen Mullins took his family to Paris, Ill., in 1836. There he spent the remainder of his life.
Harvey Mullins, when seventeen years of age, entered the Alabama Medical College, of Tuscaloosa, and after coming to this State he continued his studies in private, and at intervals engaged in the practice of his profession. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Sarah, daughter of Abner and Sarah Leach, of Paris, Ill. Their union was celebrated September 12, 1839, and unto them were born eleven children, of whom seven died in infancy. Henrietta became the wife of D. N. Webster, and is now deceased. Harvey, Jr., is Secretary and Treasurer of the Acme Mill Company, of Indianapolis; Will S. is a leading physician of Henderson, Ky.; and Sue A. is the wife of A. M. Parker, of Warrensburg, Ill.
About 1855, Mr. Mullins began dealing in general merchandise at Paris, and there carried on business in that line until 1870. The year 1879 witnessed his arrival in Parkersburgh, where he opened a drug store. In this business he is still engaged, and he is also doing more or less office practice. About 1850, he was ordained a minister of the Christian Church. Since his conversion, in 1841, he has been preaching, and since his ordination he has been engaged in evangelistic work. He has preached throughout southeastern Illinois, and has done much faithful service in the cause. For many years he has been an ardent temperance worker, and for some time was Grand Worthy Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars. He has lectured in nearly every county in the State in the interest of the temperance cause. In 1840, Mr. Mullins took the stump for William Henry Harrison, and has spoken in the interest of almost every Presidential candidate of the Whig and Republican parties since that time. Much of his life has been devoted to public work. In this way he has become widely known, and wherever he has gone he has made warm friends, who hold him in high regard for his upright life and the many excellencies of his character. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.567 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
CHARLES LEGG, M. D., who resides on section 36, German Township, is one of the early settlers and pioneer physicians of Richland County, where he has made his home for more than a quarter of a century. He is widely known throughout this part of the State, and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of his life. The Doctor is a native of Ohio. He was born in Hamilton County, twelve miles north of Cincinnati, January 22, 1825. His father, William C. Legg, was born in Maryland, and went to Ohio when a lad of ten years with the grandfather of our subject, who was born in Maryland, was of Scotch descent, and became one of the honored pioneer settlers of Ohio. In the Buckeye State he opened up a farm and reared his family. William C. Legg served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He married Lydia Myers, a native of Maryland. Her father, John Myers, was a native of Germany, who, having emigrated to America, settled near Cincinnati, where he improved a farm. He afterwards sold that land and removed to Shelby County, Ohio, where his death occurred in the spring of 1866. Having survived him for a number of years, his wife passed away in 1875. They were buried in Fletcher Cemetery, where a neat and substantial monument marks their resting-place.
The Doctor is the fourth in order of birth in a family of six sons and one daughter, and with the exception of one brother all are yet living. Charles Legg grew to manhood in his native county and remained with his father until a young man of nineteen years. Having acquired his literary education in the public schools, he engaged in teaching for about six years in the county of his birth. During that time he began the study of medicine and in the early morning and late at night when not occupied with the duties of the school room, he would pore over medical books. Later he took a course of lectures in the Ohio Medical College, after which he entered upon practice in Liberty, Ohio. Subsequently he opened an office and engaged in the practice of his profession in Fletcher, where he remained for nine and a-half years.
The fall of 1865 witnessed the arrival of Dr Legg in Illinois, and in November, 1866, he located upon a farm of two hundred and forty acres, which he afterwards gave his son. In the fall of 1875, he took up his residence upon the home farm of forty-one acres, an improved place, to which he has since added by additional purchase. He now owns three hundred and eighty acres in Richland County, and a forty-acre tract in Jasper County. In the practice of his profession he met with good success, receiving calls from a radius of many miles around.
In Hamilton County, Ohio, May 31, 1846, the Doctor married Hannah Patterson, a daughter of Alexander Patterson, and a native of that county. Two sons were born of their union, C. W. and W. A., both of whom are married and have families, and are substantial farmers of this county. They also lost two children in infancy.
The Doctor was in early life a Jackson Democrat, but on the organization of the Republican party in 1856 he became identified with it and has voted for each nominee for Governor of his State and President since that time. He keeps well informed on the issues of the day and takes quite an active interest in local politics, having served as a member of the Central Committee for over twenty years. He has also served as delegate to the county, congressional and State conventions, but has never been an aspirant for office. The career of the Doctor has been a prosperous one, and success has crowned his efforts, so that although he began life empty-handed, he is now the possessor of a handsome competence. He is a man of sterling worth and strict integrity, and his straightforward and honorable course has won him the confidence and high regard of the community in which he has so long made his home. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.572 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]
SAMUEL A. HEDRICK, who is engaged in farming on section 28, Decker Township, has the honor of being a native of Richland County, his birth having occurred in the township which is still his home, November 25, 1862. His parents were Edwin and Mary A. (Adamson) Hedrick, both natives of Kentucky. Their family numbered seven children, three sons and four daughters, and all are 3 et living. They are Elvira, Francis M., Samuel A., Eva M., Mary M., Emma E. and Edwin, Jr. The father of this family has been n farmer and stock-dealer throughout his entire life, although when a young man he taught school for a limited time in Kentucky. In that State he was married, and with his wife he came to Illinois. He purchased his first tract of land with the money which he had earned through teaching, and upon the farm of which he then became owner he has since made his home. He first bought a half-interest in forty acres, about six miles southeast of Noble. He now owns over one thousand acres of land, of which nine hundred acres are in Richland County, while the remainder is in Wayne County. His farms he has improved with good houses, barns, fences, etc. He is numbered among the pioneers of the county and has witnessed its development from a wild and unimproved region. Mr. Hedrick is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, to which his wife also belongs, and he has served as one of its deacons for a number of years. He was Supervisor of Decker Township for a few terms and also held the office of Road Commissioner.
The paternal grandfather of our subject, Samuel Hedrick, was a native of Hardin County, Ky., and wrote all the public documents in the county seat of that county for a number of years, serving as County Recorder. He was of German descent, and was a Presbyterian in religious belief. He came to Illinois about 1850, settled on a farm seven miles southeast of Noble, and for some years carried on a country store. He died about 1857. The maternal grandfather of our subject was a Kentucky farmer and never left his native State.
Samuel Hedrick, whose name heads this record, was reared on a farm in Richland County, and remained at home until his marriage. He received his early education in the country schools and then took a two-years course in Champaign University, at Champaign, Ill. Returning home, he then engaged with his father in the stock business, and this led him to visit all the States from Texas to Illinois. He has made two trips to the Rocky Mountains and has traveled extensively in the West.
On the 8th of March, 1893, Mr. Hedrick was united in marriage with Miss Nellie E. Stewart, daughter of Enoch J. and Emma L. (Greenwood) Stewart, the former a native of Richland County, Ill., and the latter of Richland County, Ohio. Mr. Stewart is numbered among the pioneer settlers of this community. He was a soldier of Company E, Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry, and served about three years. After the war he spent two years in the West, and on returning to Richland County, engaged in general merchandising in Claremont, where he made his home until 1889. He then embarked in the same business in Noble, and carried on operations until his death, which occurred. January 23, 1891. He was a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and of the Methodist Church. His wife, who still survives him, holds the same religious faith.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Hedrick removed to "Walnut Grove Farm, " where our subject had just completed a beautiful little residence, and in their comfortable home they are now pleasantly situated. The farm comprises one hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, and Mr. Hedrick also owns another tract of one hundred and twenty acres, an improved farm in the southern part of this county. He deals extensively in stock and often has as many as one hundred and fifty head of cattle and as many horses on hand. He is a man of good business ability and his enterprise and industry are bringing him a good income. In politics he is a Democrat, and socially is a member of Noble Lodge, No. 362, A. F. & A. M.; and Richland Chapter, No. 38, R. A. M. His wife, a most estimable lady, holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church. [Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.575 - Submitted by Judy Edwards]