Robert B. McMaster
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 230-231, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Robert B. McMaster was born in Highland county, Ohio, February 3, 1827, a son of David McMaster, who was born in county Down, Ireland. The paternal grandfather, John McMaster, was a native of Ireland, of Scotch ancestry. He emigrated to America in 1807, and settled in Rockbridge county, Virginia, where he lived until 1818. He removed to Ohio in that year, and located in Highland county. He bought a tract of heavily timbered land, built a log cabin in the midst of the forest, and resided there until his death. He married Jennie McKee, of County Down, Ireland; she died on the farm in Highland county, the mother of four children: James, David, Arthur and Robert. David McMaster, the father of our subject, was a lad of twelve years when his parents crossed the sea to America. He was married in Virginia, and lived there until 1816, when he removed to Kentucky; at the end of one year he went to Highland county, Ohio, where he was among the pioneers; he bought a tract of timber land, erected the characteristic log cabin with a mud-and-stick chimney, and began the task of clearing a farm. Cincinnati was the nearest market-town, sixty miles distant, wild game was abundant, and the mother carded, spun and wove the cloth with which her children were dressed. In 1836 Mr. McMaster sold this farm and came to Illinois, accompanied by his wife and six children; they made the journey in a four-horse wagon, camping on the way. He first located in Fulton county, and in 1838 came to Schuyler county, and rented until he bought land in Rushville township, where he resided until his death in 1866. His wife's maiden name was Elizabeth Wardlaw, a native of Rockbridge county, Virginia, and a daughter of William and Mary Wardlaw, natives of Scotland. They reared a family of six children: Mary C., William W., John M., Robert B., Jane C. and Sarah A.
  A lad of nine years, Robert B. McMaster came to Illinois, and well remembers many incidents of the journey and the trials and privations to which they were subject on the frontier. He attended the pioneer schools, and received a training which fitted him for the ordinary duties of life. He remained with his parents until 1850 and in March of that year started for the Golden State. He took the overland route, and accomplished that perilous journey without accident or disaster. He arrived in California in July, and at once engaged in mining; he continued this industry until 1852, when he returned to Illinois. He bought land included in the tract he now owns on section twenty-two, Rushville township, and has been one of the most progressive and prosperous farmers of the county. He was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1884, when he purchased property in and adjoining Rushville, and erected a handsome residence which he now occupies.
  Mr. McMaster was married in 1853, to Rachel Quinn, and they had a family of three children: Curtis died at the age of twenty-eight years; Jennie died in infancy; Mary married Marshall Finch, and has two sons, Robert and Wade T. Mrs. McMaster was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, November 14, 1836, a daughter of Thomas Quinn, a native of Virginia. He married Nancy Kennedy, a native of Hardin county, Kentucky, and a daughter of Peter and Rachel (Colvon) Kennedy. In 1837 they moved to Illinois with their family of eight children, and settled in Schuyler county; the father died in 1844, but the mother survived until 1886, in her eighty-fifth year.




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