William M. Wyatt

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 408-410, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  William M. Wyatt, a prosperous retired farmer and esteemed pioneer of Cass county, Illinois, was born in Fayette county, Kentucky, February 22, 1828.
  His parents were James and Sarah (Stevenson) Wyatt, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, and who came to Morgan county, Illinois, in 1830, and located on a farm, on what is known as Golden Prairie. The paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, a Virginian by birth, had previously emigrated to Morgan county, in 1828. James Wyatt and wife were the parents of four children, three sons and one daughter, only two of whom are now living. John, the eldest son, died in Cass county about ten years ago; he was married and left three sons and one daughter, one now in Kansas, two in Cass county and one in Braden, Illinois, the sons being farmers by occupation; our subject was the second child; Elizabeth, the third, married Hugh Sheridan, and died in Lincoln, Logan county, Illinois, leaving a family of one son and two daughters; Walter, the eldest of the children, died in youth.
  The subject of this sketch was but two years of age when his parents removed from Kentucky to Morgan county, Illinois, and he vividly remembers the experiences of those early pioneer days, which were calculated to test man's endurance and cultivate his powers of invention. The habitation of the family was the primitive log cabin, cooking being done over an open fire-place, while all baking was done in a kettle-shaped oven, on the lid of which coals were placed. Wheat bread was unknown for many years, and finally became a treat for Sunday morning. When wheat was first raised, it was cut with a reap hook and disengaged from the straw by the treading horses, afterward being separated from the chaff by being thrown to the wind. It was first bolted by machines which were run by hand, the first mill erected, being fifteen miles distant, which was run by wind power, operated by an ox. Corn was plowed with a wooden-moldboard plow, drawn by an ox with an ox harness. The whole neighborhood would turn out to assist in raising log buildings, and it never occurred to any one to expect pay for the most valuable services, money being unknown.
  Surrounded by these peaceful, rural scenes, and in the pursuance of these primitive duties and pastimes, passed the youth and early manhood of the subject of this sketch. April 26, 1851, he and an estimable young lady of his neighborhood were united in marriage, commencing life with few earthly possessions but with unbounded faith in each other and in the future. The year preceding this momentous event, Mr. Wyatt had raised a small crop of what on a portion of his father's land, and hauling a load of this to Beardstown, he procured a marriage license and other necessaries. He was married on Sunday, and on Monday they and their friends had dinner at his father's house. Tuesday, having but one horse, he mounted and taking his wife up behind him moved with all their belongings to his brother's house, where they boarded until their cabin was ready for occupancy. The two brothers plowed the little farm of forty acres, for which Mr. Wyatt had gone in debt, and, together, erected the cabin. Mr. Wyatt's young wife dropped the corn on eighty acres of land, dropping a row every third round of the plow. By 1855, the little home was paid for, while they had a snug little sum of $900 ahead.
  In 1850, Mr. O. B. Nance, our subject's father-in-law, had removed to Texas, where he pre-empted a large tract of land, and being desirous of having his daughter near him he offered to bestow a quarter section of land on Mr. Wyatt, if he would remove to that State, but, not liking the country there, returned to their little Illinois home, where he commenced working his farm with renewed energy. He erected a new fence around it by working up the fallen timber on his father's land, making 100 rails a day and bringing a load home in the evening. At night, he would cut corn until ten o'clock, and this experience was repeated day after day for a long time. Heretofore, he had not increased his possessions in land, but as his means accumulated, he bought another forty acres, and in time became the owner of 260 acres of as choice agricultural land as is to be found in the county, which he still retains. About eight years ago, he retired from active work on the farm, and located in Ashland, investing his surplus means in stock in the Ashland Bank, and he and his worthy wife are enjoying in comfort the means which their early industry accumulated.
  They have had four children, three now living: John Harding, the eldest, died aged sixteen years; Fannie married Mr. Thompson, a retired farmer of Virginia, Illinois; Alice married Mr. Struble, a prominent farmer and merchant of Newmansville, the same State; James J., who received an excellent education in Jacksonville, Illinois, has been connected with the Ashland Bank, as a stockholder and official, for eleven years, from which he receives a good salary. He married Miss Bertha Lohman, a highly esteemed resident of Ashland, and they have one child.
  The entire family are earnest and useful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
  Mr. Wyatt is a man of strong and conscientious convictions, as is evidenced in his political views. He was formerly a Republican, but five years ago joined the Prohibition party, for which he works with his usual energy.
  Few men more fully deserves their prosperity and happiness than Mr. Wyatt, who has acquired all by the exercise of intelligent and persistent effort.

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