From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois
1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; page
597-598 a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold
by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Hon. Jesse Darnell, deceased, a resident of Rushville township, and
one of the oldest settlers of the county, is worthy of representation in
this history. He was was born eight miles from Wooster, Wayne county,
Ohio, October 4, 1811, a son of Henry Darnell, a native of West Virginia.
The father was a volunteer in the Colonial army, participated in the battle
of Yorktown, and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. About
the year 1800, with his own and nine other families, emigrated to the Northwest
Territory, being among the earliest settlers of Ohio. He first located
in the Scioto valley, but as it was sickly there, he went to Wayne county;
here he secured a tract of land which was part timber and part prairie.
For several years there were no other settlers in that section. Indians
were numerous and often hostile. The colony built a block-house with
a stockade around it, and it was within these walls that our subject was
born. The father improved a fine farm there, on which he resided until
his death in 1847. His wife's maiden name was Elizabeth Lee, also a
native of Virginia; she died in 1818.
Jesse Darnell, whose name heads this notice, was reared in his native
State, where his educational opportunities were limited to the subscription
schools, which were taught in private houses. There were no railroads
or canal: consequently no market towns. The people lived upon the products
of their own land and wild game, which was plentiful. The mother carded,
spun and wove all the cloth used by the family.
At the age of fifteen years our subject went from the home which had
sheltered his childhood, out into the world to begin life for himself.
He remained in Ohio until 1833, and then came to Illinois via the Ohio and
Mississippi rivers, landing at Oquawka, where he remained about a year, after
which he came to Schuyler county. There were few settlers in the county,
and agriculture was carried on in a most primitive fashion. He settled
at Frederick and engaged quite extensively in the manufacture of fanning-mills,
which he continued for seven or eight years, and then turned his attention
to farming. He lived in Frederick township until 1886, at which time
he removed to a farm he had purchased several years before; this is a tract
of 160 acres, the greater portion of which is well improved; he also owned
another farm of 200 acres in Frederick township.
Mr. Darnell was married in April, 1841, to Louisa Utter, a native
of Illinois and a daughter of Lyman and Martha Utter, natives of the State
of New York and pioneers of Schuyler county, and located on a farm east of
Pleasant View. His wife died in 1847, but he never married again.
Two sons and one daughter survive him: John Monroe, James K. Polk and Mrs.
H. A. Nelson, the latter living in Santa Barara county, California.
His son James is a resident of Breckinridge, Colorado, having located in
that State twenty-two years ago.
Mr. Darnell was a sincere Democrat, and had been from early youth.
The principles laid down by Jefferson were thoroughly instilled into his
very being, and he was always found allied with the cause he believed to
be right. In 1848 he represented this county in the Legislature, and
for eight years he was Supervisor from Frederick township, filling the position
of chairman of the board for several years. He was a prominent member
of Rushville Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M., to which he had belonged for
nearly half a century. He was a man of sterling integrity, esteemed
and respected by all who knew him.