|Edward T. Milby
From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties,
Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois;
page 554-5; Note: a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971,
is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Edward T. Milby was born in Sussex county, Delaware, August 4, 1835.
His father, Nathaniel J. Milby, emigrated with his wife and four children
to Illinois in 1840, settling in Rushville township. The journey was
made by canals and rivers and proven a tiresome one. The father bought
a tract of land and hastened to make it ready for settlement. Two acres
of the land had been cleared and a plain log cabin had been built.
This was all. But deft and willing fingers soon made things assume
a fairly comfortable shape, and western life was fairly under way.
This log cabin, by the way, was the first permanent house of its kind in
Illinois. Mr. Milby, Sr., occupied the farm to the day of his death.
The maiden name of the mother of the subject of this sketch was Mary Wilson,
born in Sussex county, Delaware. She died on the Schuyler county home
In those days nearly every one lived in log cabins of one room.
The housewife spun and wove the cloth used for the clothes for both sexes.
She also had many other duties to which the wives of farmers now are strangers.
Edward attended school attired in homespun that his mother had made
for him with her own hands. Notwithstanding his school duties he assisted
on the farm and continued to do so until his marriage, when he began for
himself on rented land in Huntsville. He continued to pay rent for
land for about ten years, when he bought two and half acres in Buena Vista
township. He lived in the latter place but two months as he went to
his father’s farm, where he stayed for seven years and then bought eighty
acres in section 23. After ten years’ residence there he sold out and
bought the place he now resides. On his farm of 223 acres he does general
farming and stock-raising.
Mr. Milby has been married thrice. The first time he was twenty-three
years of age when he married, and the lady who honored him with her hand
was Lydia Hillis, of Rushville, the daughter of John and Jane Ferres Hillis.
She died in 1865 and Mr. Milby remained single until 1872, when he again
entered the married state. The second lady was Lizzie J. Davidson,
of Kentucky, and she died in 1879. Mary A. Bauer, of Highland county,
Ohio, the daughter of Valentine Bauer, was the lady to whom he was married
January 21, 1886.
Mr. Milby has had six children, all of which save one, are living.
Three of the children are the issue of the first marriage: Frank, Clement
and Lizzie, and the other three are the issue of the second marriage, Herne,
died when three years old, but the other two Walter and Ida, are living.
Mr. Milby is an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South,
while the present Mrs. Milby is a member of the same church in the North.
In politics Mr. Milby is a disciple is a disciple of “Old Hickory”, he being a Democrat.
From: “Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Illustrated 1908", edited by Newton
Bateman, LL. D. and Paul Selby, A. M., Volume II, Schuyler County”, edited
by Howard F. Dyson, pages 886-7, Note: a Reprinted by Stevens Publishing
Company, Astoria, Illinois 61501, 1970, is sold by the Schulyer County Historical
Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Milby, Edward T. - In the mind of Edward T. Milby the fast fading
pioneer history of Schuyler County, Ill., remains a vivid and enduring memory.
His life is of the home-spun kind, a record of hard work performed with cheerfulness
and intelligence, of obstacles surmounted with vigor and determination, and
of sacrifices made with true Christian courage and fortitude. Incidents
of early times recalled by him are tree felling, stump pulling with oxen,
log cabin rearing, plowing, cultivating and harvesting with the crudest of
agricultural implements, spinning, weaving, tallow dip making, flint fire
lightening, husking bees, barn raisings, apple parings and church “socials”
and donations. In all of these Mr. Milby took an active interest, although
certain of them fell to the lot of the women members of his own and his father’s
household. In his present leisure to recall the comparative
quiet of a time long since elapsed, and to contrast it with the nerve-racking,
competition-torn age in which his declining years are being spent.
Mr. Milby is one of the wealthy retired farmers of Rushville, Ill.,
and all that he has is the result of his own untiring exertions. He
was born in the State of Delaware, August 4, 1835, and is a son of Nathaniel
and Eliza J. (Wilson) Milby, also natives of Delaware. The father developed
the pioneering inclination and sold his Delaware property in 1839, and in
the winter of 1840, with his wife and four children, undertook the
journey to Illinois which consumed the greater part of the season.
Edward T. Milby remembers well this arduous journey, although he was but
five years old, and especially that part made on the canal, through which
they were drawn on a boat by a single horse. During this portion of
the trip the older members of the family walked for a considerable distance
along the tow path, probably out of consideration for the poor, overworked
horse, whose lot certainly was not an enviable one. The journey was
continued in a covered wagon, and the arrival on Frederick, Schuyler County,
was not calculated to inspire enthusiasm for the country to which the wayfarers
had so laboriously and hopefully tended. The day was bitterly cold,
the snow penetrated the chinks of the wagon, and the wind swirled across
the prairies, striking a dreary chill to the heart of even the most courageous.
Finding no desirable resting place, the little party soon after pushed on
to Rushville, making the small village their home until the following spring.
The father then located on a rented farm, and in the fall of 1841, bought
eighty acres of land east of Rushville, in the township of the name.
The timber on this land was dense and varied, and arduous tasks confronted
the settlers. To the small log cabin which they found on the land,
the father added, as such addition became necessary, until finally he had
what was called a double log cabin. In this humble abode were born
the rest of the children, in all eleven, eight of whom attained maturity.
Three of these still survive, namely: Edward T.; Zadoc L.; and Dora,
wife of David Wray, a farmer of Johnson County, Iowa. Zadoc now owns
and occupies the old homestead.
Three years after the close of the Civil War (in 1868) the log house
was torn down and a modern, six-room, two-story, frame dwelling was erected.
This was made possible largely through the efforts of Edward T. and Zodac,
who so faithfully had worked at grubbing trees and hazel bushes, using oxen
for the task, and hitching a chain around the stump or bush at which the
strong animals tugged until accomplishing the task. The mother, in
the meantime, rocked the cradle with one foot, while with the other she ran
the spinning wheel; and later she made her cloth into jeans for her sons
and into dresses for her daughters. Her toil seemed never ending, and
her working day extended from raising to the setting of the sun. The
father lived to see eighty acres of his land cleared and under the plow,
and he was in fairly prosperous circumstances at the time of his death, July
28, 1873. The wife who had shared his hard labors did not survive him,
her death occurring on October 12, next following. They had occupied
the same farm continuously for thirty-two years, and were among the honored
and influential people of the township.
Among the first children to leave the old Milby homestead was Edward
T., who, with a practical education acquired under great difficulties, and
an amount of farm experience which fitted him for conducting almost any agricultural
enterprise, was married, in November, 1860, to Lizzie Hillis, and thereupon
settled on a rented farm in Huntsville Township. In 1865 he purchased
a small piece of land in Buena Vista Township, and there his wife died the
following November, leaving him with the care of three children, of whom
Frank is deceased; Clement is a farmer in Schuyler County; and Lizzie is
the wife of Frank Haughduffer, of Los Angeles, California. In 1873
Mr. Milby was united in marriage to Lizzie J. Davidson, and form this union
resulted two children: Walter, a farmer of Oakland Township; and Ida, wife
of George Rogers, of Flagstaff, Arizona. Mrs. Milby died in 1878, and
on January 21, 1886, Mr. Milby married Mary Bower, a native of Cincinnati,
Ohio, and an early resident of Schuyler County.
Mr. Milby added frequently to his land until he owned a large tract,
308 acres of which still remains on his possession. He was industrious
and progressive, lived always within his income. And was exceedingly conservative
in adopting new and untried methods of farming. In 1903 he left the
farm and located in Rushville, where lived also many of his friends of the
strenuous pioneer days. Politically, he had always been on the side
of the Democratic party, but has steadfastly refused the honors of local
office. The Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he has worshipped
since early manhood, has profited continuously by his generosity and zeal,
and in all the walks of life, its teachings have been his guide.
Note: Zodac and Zadoc are the same person. It was spelled both ways in the article. 28th page 1861 Militia Roll
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