From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 327-329, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Nathan Sutton, one of the most prominent citizens of his county
was born in Sussex county, New Jersey, January 22, 1819, son of
Benjamin and Elizabeth (Robe) Sutton, the former of the same place as
his son, where he kept a store for many years, but sold out in 1823 and
went to Washtenaw county, Michigan, where he took up land to the amount
of 160 acres and improved it. He then sold it to his father, also
Nathan, who was born in the same county and State as his son and
grandson. This gentleman died Michigan when about seventy-five years of
age. His wife, subject's grandmother, was Sarah Sutton and she died on
the farm when about seventy-six. The entire family were farmers by
occupation. Mr. Nathan Sutton, Sr., was a teamster in the war of 1812.
Benjamin Sutton arrived in Illinois July 29, 1833, and settled near the
present home of subject, where he entered and bought land to such an
extent that he had 2,200 acres at his death, being one of the largest
land-owners in central Illinois. He died in October, 1837, aged about
forty-five and his wife, who was born in the same place as her husband,
died on the old farm, aged about forty-seven.
The Sutton family were of English descent, the Robes of German
ancestry. Our subject was one of nine children, five of whom are yet
living, and his father was one of six children. His mother's people
never came West, but died in New Jersey, when very old: they were
farmers. The Sutton family figured largely in the politics of Michigan,
several of them serving as Justices of the Peace, one was a member of
the State Legislature, while another served as Mayor of Ann Arbor,
Michigan. The prominence of Benjamin Sutton was not confined to
Michigan by any means, as he was one of the most prominent men of his
county, in Illinois. He erected the first gristmill in the locality and
in order that the children of the section should have the benefit of
the subscription schools he paid one half of the teacher's fees for
five months. This family did not come West in the moneyless condition
that so many were in, as they had nearly $7,000 in cash besides
personal effects which had been brought across the country in wagons,
the only means of transportation in those days. Mr. Sutton, Sr., was a
Deacon in the Baptist Church and for a time Clerk, and a member of the
order of A.F.&A.M.
Our subject remained upon the home farm until his marriage, when
he rented for a year and then bought seventy-five acres of wild land,
on which he built a log house 16 x 18 feet, in which he and his wife
lived until he built his present house, in 1856. Mr. Sutton kept adding
to his farm until he now has 500 acres of fine land and has given each
of his children a fine farm.
A son of Nathan Sutton enlisted in the late war, and while in
service he was captured and sent to Andersonville, where he remained
five months. His health was so impared by confinement that he was
obliged to be in the St. Louis hospital, but with these exceptions he
served throughout the entire war. One of his brothers was in the same
company for one year, responding to the last call for men.
Mr. Sutton was married August 4, 1842 to Miss Elizabeth A.
Lemar, born in Mason county, Kentucky, July 9, 1822, daughter of
Richard and Elizabeth H. (Merrell) Lemar. The former was a native of
New Jersey, who came from Kentucky, which had been his home for some
years, to Illinois, in 1840, and after marrying a second time settled
in Petersburg, Illinois, where he bought eighty acres of land, five
miles from present home of subject. His first wife died when her
daughter, Mrs. Sutton, was thirteen months old. The family was of
French descent. The mother of Mrs. Sutton was a daughter of Andrew and
Elizabeth (Hyde) Merrell and the Hyde family were the legal heirs of a
large estate in England, but which they have never been able to obtain,
although they have sufficient proof to establish their claim to it.
Mrs. Sutton one of five children, two yet living and also two half
sisters are still living. Mr. and Mrs. Sutton have had eight children,
as follows: William Sylvester, born April 21, 1844, married Mary E.
Severs, three children; Alonzo, born September 9, 1846, married Miss
Martha Dick (see sketch of Levi Dick); John H., born August 21, 1848,
married Hannah Ogden, deceased; married second time Mary I. Garder, two
children; David L., born July 28, 1850; Winfield S., born August 19,
1852, married Levina Samuels by whom he had six children, and after her
death he married Lucretia Lynn by whom he had four children; Clara J.,
born October 14, 1854, married Joshua Conyers, and has five living
children, one deceased; Benjamin R., born March 24, 1857, married
Jennie Morgan, has three children, Stella, Ernest and Ella, the oldest
one having died in infancy and another, also an infant, is deceased;
and Ella E., born September 8, 1858, married James Odgen, two children.
Mr. Sutton is an ardent Republican, having been an old-line
Whig, casting his first vote for General William H. Harrison. Mr. and
Mrs. Sutton, with their family are members of the Baptist Church, in
which Mr. Sutton has been a Deacon for many years. This is a brief
sketch of one of the most prominent families in the county, and we
regret that space forbids a more extended notice of such a well known
and influential family.
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