Alexander Slack

Portrait and Biographical Album of Fulton County, Illinois: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county: together with portraits and biographies of all the presidents of the United States, and governors of the state; Biographical Pub. Co., Chicago, IL; 1890; page 342-343; Transcribed by Margaret Rose Whitehurst
  Alexander Slack is one of the most intelligent and practical members of the farming community, that is building up and carrying on the extensive agricultural interests of Farmington Township.  He is a son of John Slack, a native of Derbyshire, England, where he carried on business as a shuttle-maker for many years.  He died in the land of his birth when sixty-six years old.  His wife was Ann Gardshide and she was also a native of Derbyshire.  She was his second wife and the mother of eight children, of whom the following seven grew to maturity:  Alexander, Deborah, Moses, Josiah, Nathaniel G., Robert, Francis and Margaret.  Aaron, who died in infancy, and Moses were twins; Deborah is now Mrs. Hilton and resides in Abilene, Kan.; Moses lives in California: Josiah, a graduate of Rush Medical College, Chicago, practiced medicine at Cuba for several years after the late war in which he was Captain of a company in the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry.  Nathaniel was also a doctor and practiced in Rushville, Ill. Some twenty-five years.  He died there in August, 1887; Robert enlisted in the One Hundred and Third Illinois Infantry, and gave up his life for the country of his adoption; Frances married Joab Shinn, and died in 1878; Margaret is the wife of Wallace Shryock.
  Alexander Slack was born in a small village by the name of Mellor in Derbyshire, England, April 21, 1822.  He began to work in the cotton mills at the early age of eight years.  This deprived him of his schooling, and as he was a bright boy, his old schoolmaster, Mr. Blackshaw, who took a liking to him, expressed regrets at the idea of his having to leave school at so tender an age, but his father’s limited circumstances forced him to withdraw the child that he might help in supporting the family.  At the age of twenty-two, our subject married February 14, 1844, Miss Esther Cross, a native of Manchester.  Her father, Thomas Cross, was at one time a soldier in the English army, and took part in the battle of Waterloo.  His eyes were injured and he was a pensioner from the Royal Treasury.  In later life he became a twister in the factory.  The maiden name of his wife was Esther Jackson.  They were the parents of the following twelve children:  John, George, Charlotte, James, Mary Ann, Ann, Mary, Esther, Thomas, Elizabeth, Alice and Sarah.
  Mr. and Mrs. Slack have had two children:  John who died in England at the age of one year; and William H.  The latter is a resident of Farmington Township.  He married Nettie Leeper and they have four children – Stella May, Albert Lee, Lora Alexander and Arthur Ray.
  Our subject and his estimable wife came to America in 1846, landing in New York, October 12.  Their destination was Woonsocket, R. I.  There Mr. and Mrs. Slack engaged as weavers in a cotton-mill, and were thus employed three years.  He did not like the confinement necessitated by his work, and wishing to become more independent and have more freedom of action, he came to Illinois in 1849 by the way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes.
  After he arrive in this State he embarked on La Salle Canal and journeyed on that until he arrived at the Illinois River, and on that stream continued on his way to Copperas Creek landing.  When he came to his destination he had $450 in his pocket, with which he purchased forty acres of land in Farmington Township.  He has done well at his calling and now owns a well-improved farm of eighty acres on which he has a substantial home where he and his family enjoy the comforts of life.  He possesses a keen intellect, is broad and progressive in his views.  He is a close observer and a careful reader, and is thoroughly in sympathy with movements of a political, social and religious order.  In regard to the latter point he is a free thinker, having been brought around to this state of mind by long and careful study.  He became a voter in 1856, and voted for John C. Fremont for President.  He is at present identified with the Democratic party and is an advocate of tariff reform.

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