From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 325-326, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
John S. Stutsman, an honored pioneer of Schuyler county, has
been closely identified with its history for many years, and it is
fitting that a sketch of his life should appear in these pages. He was
born in Dubois county, Indiana, April 10, 1827, a son of Alexander D.
and Rhoda (Seybold) Stutsman. Alexander D. Stutsman was a native of
Kentucky, a son of Jacob and Mary (Berkey) Stutsman, natives of
Pennsylvania; his father died in Dubois county, Indiana, at the age of
eighty years; the mother died in the same place, aged seventy years.
The Stutsman family is of German origin, the great-grandfather of our
subject having emigrated from the fatherland to America. Both Mr. and
Mrs. John S. Stutsman had ancestors that served in the wars of the
Revolution and 1812. Rhoda Seybold, the mother of John S. Stutsman, was
born in Georgia and was one of a family of seven children; she became
the mother of a family of eleven, eight of whom are living. The father
died on the old homestead, now occupied by his son, at the age of
seventy-eight years. He was one of the early pioneers of the State,
emigrating to Schuyler county in 1834, and bravely bore the privations
of life on the frontier that the way might be paved for the coming of
an advanced civilization. He was accompanied by his wife and five
children, and made the journey with a four-horse wagon; he purchased a
farm of 148 acres, partially improved; for twelve years the family
lived in a log cabin that had been built before their coming; this was
in time replaced by one of black-walnut logs, which was the home of the
parents until death. The mother lived to be eighty years old. John S.
remained under the parental roof until he was twenty-three years of
age; he attended the district school, and although his opportunities
were meager he laid the foundation of a thorough education, and has
since come to be recognized as an authority on all historical subjects.
Many were the evenings he read to his mother by the light of the
flickering candle, as she sewed upon clothing, either for her own or
the neighbor's boys.
Mr. Stutsman was united in marriage, March 21, 1850, to Miss
Sarah Howell, who was born in Monroe county, Indiana, January 24, 1831.
Her parents, Jonathan and Nancy (Gilham) Howell, emigrated to Indiana
in 1822, and thence to Brown county, Illinois, in 1838, where they
passed the remainder of their lives; the father died at the age of
sixty-nine, and the mother at the age of eighty years. They reared a
family of ten children, five of whom survive. They had three sons in
the Union army in the late war, two of whom died in the service of
Mrs. Howell's parents were natives of North Carolina, as were
also Mr. Howells. Mr. and Mrs. Stutsman have had born to them a family
of ten children, six of whom are deceased; those living are named as
follows: Nancy J. is married and the mother of seven children; Mary E.
is at home; Robert W. is married and has two children; John E. is on
the old homestead; Mary has taught school very successfully for several
years. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South,
and are actively engaged in the good work of this society.
After his marriage Mr. Stutsman lived near his present residence
for three years, and then purchased the property he still owns; he
first occupied a log cabin, which he replaced in time with a
substantial brick structure. His first tract consisted of forty acres
of wild land, to which he added as his means would permit, until he now
has 195 acres. He does a general farming business, and is more than
ordinarily successful and prosperous. It is entirely through his own
efforts that he has accumulated his property, as he had no capital
excepting that with which nature had endowed him.
Politically, he affiliates with the Democratic party, which he
has represented in various positions of trust and honor. He was County
Treasurer four years form 1886 to 1890, has been Supervisor seven
years, and Township School Treasurer twenty-seven years, holding the
latter position at present; he has for many years been a member of the
School Board. He is one of the most widely known men in the county, and
none is held in higher esteem.