From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler
and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 189-190, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Peter W. Rickard, an intelligent and progressive farmer of Cass
county, Illinois, residing in township 19, range 9, was born in Windham
county, Connecticut, August 26, 1823.
His parents were Peter and Mary (Healy) Rickard, both natives of
Massachusetts, the mother's birth having taken place in Dudley, of that
State. The father died one month previous to the birth of the subject
of this sketch. Grandfather Rickard was a brave and efficient soldier
in the Revolutionary war, and died in the service. The Rickard family
is of French ancestry and took a prominent part in early Colonial
times. Our subject's mother was a daughter of Stephen and Rhoda (Marcy)
Healy, also natives of Massachusetts, both of whom were related to old
and respected families of that State. They died in the Bay State
between the ages of seventy and eighty years. Both her father and
grandfather were distinguished soldiers in the Revolutionary war,
although the fame of her grandfather, Major Nathan Healy, rather
outshone that of her father, the elder gentleman receiving a liberal
pension from the Government for his able services in that memorable
struggle. The Healys were originally from England, and, as far as
known, were successful farmers. On the maternal side, Mr. Rickard's
mother was an own cousin of William L. Marcy, at one time Governor of
New York. Their revered parents had eight children of whom our present
subject is the sole survivor; some of these were tradesmen and
successful merchants. The mother died in Windham county, Connecticut,
aged about sixty-nine years, universally lamented for her kindly ways
and Christian character.
The subject of this sketch lived with his mother until he was
eight years of age, when he went to live with a brother-in-law, with
whom he remained until he was fourteen. He, then, found employment by
the day or month, and at the same time diligently prosecuted his
studies in the free school, which he continued to attend until he
attained the age of twenty-one.
He then started for the West, Illinois being the objective
point, then on the extreme frontier. In these days of rapid transit, it
is interesting to note, by way of contract, the time consumed by the
journey. He went by cars and boat to New York city, and thence, via the
Erie canal and Cumberland stage route, to Philadelphia and Wheeling,
which took four weeks' time. He thence proceeded by the rivers to
Beardstown, Illinois being twenty days enroute, arriving at the latter
place in the fall of 1844. He taught a subscription school for several
terms, after which he taught a free school, continuing thus for many
years, teaching in the winter and farming during the summer. He first
purchased 120 acres in his present township, on which he settled soon
after marriage. He afterward kept a general store for a year in
Chandlerville, when, in 1857, he sold his first farm and bought 240
acres, on which he now resides. He lived on the old farm while the
present one was being prepared for occupancy. Besides this valuable and
extensive property, he owns a fine tract of forty acres, in this
vicinity, all of which is devoted to mixed farming, in which he is very
successful, being numbered among the most prosperous farmers of the
Mr. Rickard was first married June 22, 1846, to Miss Elizabeth
Pease, an intelligent lady, and a native of Ohio. Her parents were
Abion Pease and wife, natives of Connecticut, prominent and early
settlers of Illinois, who died at an advanced age. By this marriage,
Mr. Rickard had one son, Henry A., who was born February 12, 1848; he
married Julia Hardin, and has two children. Mr. Rickard's union was
destined to be of short duration, his wife dying on the old farm, in
the twenty-seventh year of her age.
November 5, 1854, Mr. Rickard was again married, his second wife
being Miss Mary Harbison, an estimable lady, a native of this county
and a sister of Moses Harbison, a prominent resident of this locality.
(See sketch in this book). By this marriage there was one child, now
deceased. This union was also suddenly dissolved by the hand of death,
before whose power all must bow. This gentle and beloved lady expired
October 6, 1856, leaving many friends to mourn her untimely taking away.
April 21, 1856, Mr. Rickard was married to Miss Mary C. Taylor,
well and favorably known in this community, where she was born March
21, 1840. Her parents, Henry B. and Mary P. (Hawthorn) Taylor, are
honored pioneers of Illinois. Mrs. Rickard was a pupil of her husband
when he taught school here in the early day. She is well informed and
intellectual, being well adapted to be a companion to a person of her
husband's superior ability and training.
By this marriage there have been nine children, five now living;
all born on this farm. Those surviving are: Charles E., born July 28,
1860; John T., born June 29, 1862; Francis M., born October 8, 1867;
Mary, born March 4, 1871; James A., born December 25, 1879.
Mr. Rickard was formerly an old-line Whig, and cast his first
vote for William H. Harrison, at a time when there was no tickets, each
person writing the name of the candidate of his choice. He has taken an
active interest in the politics of his township, and has held the
position of superintendent and other local offices, discharging his
duties in his several capacities with ability and integrity.
Mr. and Mrs. Rickard and all the family are earnest and useful
members of the Congregational Church, of which Mr. Rickard is a Deacon
and Trustee. The entire family are prominent in temperance work and all
matters tending to the material and moral advancement of the community.
Although caring less for pedigree than our English cousins
across the water, yet we tacitly admit that tendencies and early
training have much to do with shaping a man's career through life.
While Mr. Rickard has worked out his own prosperity and salvation, yet
he has, no doubt, often drawn inspiration from the contemplation of the
virtues of his illustrious ancestors, whose example he has insensibly
been led to emulate.