J. M. Hambaugh
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 601-604, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Honorable J. M. Hambaugh - The subject of this brief sketch is one of the men of whom the State of Illinois is proud. His career in the last Legislature, as a Representative from the Thirty-sixth Senatorial District, has made a national reputation for him as a champion of the rights and privileges of apiarists.
  This gentleman was born in Versailles township, Brown county, Illinois, July 16, 1846, hence he is over forty-five years of age. His father, Stephen D. Hambaugh, emigrated from Kentucky, and pre-empted the farm now occupied as a homestead by his son, in the year 1828, being one of the very first settlers of this section of the country. Stephen was the son of Henry, a native of Louisiana, born in 1771, who married Rebecca Morris. Henry was the son of John, a native of Germany, married to a lady of Detroit, Michigan, having come to this country when quite a young man. He and his wife died in Louisiana, leaving quite a family. Stephen was one of ten children, of whom he was the third. He was reared to farm life, receiving a fair schooling, and married Elmina Stone, daughter of John and Abigail (Crook) Stone, natives of New Hampshire and Vermont, respectively. The mother of our subject was born in 1814, and was taken to Kentucky by her parents when only five years old, and is the last surviving member of her father's large family of ten children, who were reared to maturity and became the heads of families. The grandfather of our subject came to Illinois in 1824, with his wife and three children, leaving one son behind. He had no property, but settled first at Edwardsville, Illinois, in the fall of 1824, and in the spring of 1828 he came to the present home of our subject. Here he moved his family into a small log cabin, which his brother had built. The brother had preceded him and built this cabin on eighty acres of land. They made the journey to their new home in a "prairie schooner," drawn by four horses. The company that made the trip was composed of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hambaugh and their children,--John P., Stephen D., Philip G., and Francis, the only living daughter, who became the wife of Governor Ford, of this State. S. D. Hambaugh, father of J. M. Hambaugh, died November 4, 1877. J. P. Hambaugh, brother of S. D. Hambaugh, a bachelor who had always made his home in the family of S. D., died September 3, 1886, leaving his nephew, J. M. Hambaugh, executor of his estate, and in his will bequeathed $1,000 to be expended on a monument to the Hambaugh family, and an iron fence around the cemetery; and Mr. Hambaugh had a most unique model of the old pioneer log cabin erected on the bluff in Hambaugh cemetery near the old home, which has been visited by thousands of people and admired by all who have seen it.
  At the time the Hambaugh family made their advent into Illinois there was not a railroad in the State, and but few in the United States. The father of our subject was united in marriage to Miss Elmina Stone on the eve of the great snow-storm, December 28, 1830, so historical and memorable in the minds of old settlers, the snow falling to a depth of four feet on a level, and remaining on the ground until the 1st of April.
  Nestling among the trees of the forest, where scarcely a ray of sunshine could penetrate, Mr. Hambaugh had built his hut, which was in keeping with its rude surroundings, and it was to this rude structure that Mr. Hambaugh introduced his bride, to share his lot in the miseries and pleasures coincident with a truly pioneer life. They were the advance guards of the on-coming tide of civilization. With nerves of steel they endured privations and sufferings and made possible the deeds of to-day.
  It was during the first winter of his pioneer experience that Mr. Hambaugh obtained a few colonies of bees from hollow trees, by felling them, and sawing above and below the colony, covering one end with boards and mounting them upon platforms prepared for that purpose, then transporting them to his cabin on a sled. In this way the first bees were obtained, from which he increased their numbers year by year, until they reached as many as fifty or sixty colonies. The hive used was very primitive, and the method of taking the honey was with the brimstone match; but, strange as this may seem, wax and honey was quite a financial factor with the early pioneers, and many a hearthstone has been made happy by the timely exchange of this product for linsey, jeans and other necessities for home comforts; and one settler states that he paid for eighty acres of land with the money obtained from honey and wax.
  Mr. and Mrs. Hambaugh had seven children born to them, four of whom are still living, Joseph M. being the youngest; and it has fallen to his lot to remain on the old homestead to look after the fences and the bees. Having inherited a passionate fondness for this wonderful little insect, like his father, he declares that the old homestead will never be deprived of their merry hum; but it was not until 1881 that he began to study modern methods, and prepare for a new era in bee culture. Up to that time he had never seen the inside of a bee-book. He had been taught to produce honey in small boxes, and believed it to be ne plus ultra of all other methods, when a little circumstance led him to an investigation, which was a ray of light cast upon a new field of labor, grand and beautiful beyond discription. It was in the fall of 1881 that, chancing to step into the grocery house of J. A. Givens, in Mount Sterling, he discovered a huge pyramid of beautiful white clover honey put up in two and three pound packages, and upon inquiry he found that they had been produced by a citizen of his own county, by the name of Dunbar. He sought out Mr. Dunbar and found out that to be a successful honey-producer one must study the art. About this time he read A. I. Root's advertisement in an agricultural paper and sent for a catalogue of his bee supplies, and he was soon in possession of Cook's Manual of the Apiary, Dzierzon's Rational Beekeeping and many other works of note; and it was after a careful persual of these works that he ventured on modern improved methods. Did not space forbid we might follow Mr. Hambaugh through all his evolutions, but suffice to say that he prefers the Dadant hive for extracting purposes; and, as his success as a honey-producer is well known throughout the county, his opinion is valuable.
  He was married October 26, 1869, to Miss Josephine Shamp, of Edina, Knox county, Missouri, daughter of H. S. Shamp, who gladdened his home but the short space of two and a half years, when she crossed the dark valley, leaving to him an infant but six hours old. This sorrowful experience in Mr. Hambaugh's life came near turning his brain, and he says that only those who pass through a similar experience can ever understand the intensity of the heartache and laceration of the soul such a disaster occasions. Mr. Hambaugh was married for the second time, February 29, 1879, to Miss Frances Cullinan, of Mount Sterling, daughter of William and Ann (Brown) Cullinan. She is the mother of five children, all living, but one infant. The living ones are: Elmina, aged twelve; Anna M., aged nine years; William James, aged six years; Stephen D., aged two years.
  Mr. Hambaugh has borne his share of the minor township offices, and was elected to the Legislature, November, 1890. He has pursued mixed farming and stock-raising, in addition to honey production, and has always been prominent in bee societies all over the State, and is a member of the North American Beekeepers' Association, the Beekeepers' Union, and is President of the Illinois State Beekeepers' Association.
  Our subject is a devout Catholic in religion. In politics he has maintained the principles of the Democratic party, is strictly temperate, and an ardent advocate of the abolishment of the American saloon.




Back to bios

© 1999- 2009 Sara Hemp
Copyright © 1999-2009 to Genealogy Trails' Schuyler County, Illinois host & each Contributor
All rights reserved