Biographies of
Schuyler County, Illinois

A native of Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois, was born December 10, 1854, a son of Thomas M. and Sarah A Easley. He was married December 26 1878, to Alice M. Spencer, daughter of J.M. and Laura A Spencer. They have two children: Foster R, born November 28, 1880; Hattie May, November 03, 1882. Foster R. Married Lola Workman, and is now in business at Brashear. Hattie is now Mrs. W.H. Young of Gibbs, Missouri. Mr. Easley came to Adair County in 1855 and remained for two years. He then went to Macon County {Mo} for four years; lived in Kirksville again for two years; then came to Gibbs in 1901, where he has since resided. He engaged in the hardware and furniture business; but at present is in insurance and notary work. He is a republican, a member of the Christian church, and belongs to the Masonic order.
[Source: "The History Of Adair County Missouri" by E.M. Violette (1911) - DR - Sub by FoFG]

JOHN T RATLIFF is a native of Adair County, Missouri, born September 25, 1876. His father, D.C. Ratliff, was born at Plymouth, Schuyler County, Illinois, in 1835; lived several years at Burlington Iowa, later living four years in California, coming to Adair County in 1865; he bought a 200-acre homestead, where he lived thirty-eight years. Here John T Ratliff was born. His mother was born at Charleston, Coles County, Illinois, and came to Adair County in 1856. Mr. Ratliff has the distinction of owning and occupying the home site of the old homestead where he was born, which is well-equipped and one of the most productive farms in Clay township. It is situated eight miles northeast of Kirksville. He is greatly interested in modern methods of farming and pure-bred live stock, making a specialty of sheep and hogs. He attended the Kirksville Normal two years in 1895 and 1896; afterwards traveled one and one-half years for a Chicago business house; later, during the Spanish-American War, he served three years, two years in the Philippines, participating in the Luzon campaign, and later in General Smith's memorable campaign on the Island of Samoa, receiving personal mention by General Smith for service rendered at that time. Mr. Ratliff is a Republican in politics, and has belonged to the I.O.O.F. lodge eleven years. He was united in marriage September 23, 1903, to Mamie E Corner, youngest daughter of Albert and Mary J Corner. They have four children: Roscoe R, born September 07, 1904; Kenneth L, February 23, 1906; John T, Jr, March 03, 1908; Norman L, February 23, 1910.
[Source: "A History of Adair County Missouri" by E.M. Violette (1911) - DR - Sub by FoFG]

Thomas Mason, son of Isaac Mason and Partheanea Hall was born February 25, 1792 in Davidson, Tennessee, died December 31, 1837 in Schuyler County, Illinois. He married Eleanor Thurston Guthrie who was born January 5, 1801 in Davidson, Tennessee, and died February 22, 1878 in New Lancaster, Miami County, Kansas. Their son William Edward Mason was born June 12, 1840 in Illinois and died January 31, 1922 at the Old Soldiers' Home in Quincy, Illinois. [From the Research of, and Contributed by, Pat Mason Harris.]

William Edward Mason, son of Thomas Mason and Eleanor Thurston Guthrie was born June 12, 1840 in Illinois, died January 31, 1922 at the Old Soldiers' Home in Quincy, Illinois. He married Ann Eliza Root who was born July 25, 1842 in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania and died January 10, 1908 in Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois. Their son George Henry Mason was born in 1870. [From the Research of, and Contributed by, Pat Mason Harris.]

George Henry Mason, son of William Edward Mason and Ann Eliza Root, was born in 1870 in Bainbridge Township, Schuyler County, Illinois, he died November 28, 1835. He married Elizabeth Catherine Welty who was born January 17, 1872 in Camden, Schuyler County, Illinois and died at Buena Vista, Schuyler County, Illinois. Their son Roy Halstead Mason was born September 19, 1908 in Schuyler County. [From the Research of, and Contributed by, Pat Mason Harris.]

Roy Halstead Mason, son of George Henry Mason and Elizabeth Catherine Welty, was born September 19, 1908 in Schuyler County, Illinois, he died August 5, 2003 in Flora, Clay County, Illinois. Roy married Mary Margaret Mullen who was born May 20, 1920 and died March 13, 1965 in Oklahoma. [From the Research of, and Contributed by, Pat Mason Harris.]

William Roswell Brines, known as Roswell, was considered one of the earliest pioneers of Schuyler County, Illinois, and became a 19th century tanner, farmer, and stockraiser. Described as a "remarkable man" by a newspaper report Roswell served in an Indian War with Abraham Lincoln and sought gold in the California Gold rush. Roswell was born 13 May 1806 in Greene County, New York one of 12 children to Edward Brine(s) Jr (1767-1820) and Patience Cook (1771-1855) who were tenant farmers on land in what is today Prattsville, NY. As a toddler he traveled with his family to Allegany County, New York where he spent his childhood. His family lived in Caneadea, an Indian word meaning, “where the sun rests on the hills.” The area had hills, valleys and woodlands with the Genesee River running through it. When he was a young lad in Allegany County he learned a trade as an apprentice for five years learning how to tan animal hides, a process for transforming game animal skin into durable leather for use in the household.
When he was eleven his family moved yet again taking flatboats down the Ohio River, on a dangerous 600 miles adventure to the frontier of Illinois Territory. His parents settled in what is today Wabash County, Illinois. When he turned 21, he left home to seek his fortune further west in the newly formed Schuyler County, Illinois. Schuyler County was created in 1825 from Pike and Fulton counties. He allegedly arrived with his brothers Asahel and Russel Brines on 26 Dec 1826 at a time when there was allegedly only "one log hut" and wild animals and occasional Indians roaming the countryside. The Illinois River was frozen over at the time the men arrived to enter the territory. History records the three Brines brothers worked all day cutting the ice so they might float and cross the 2,000 foot span in a flat boat. It worked and the three stayed as land owners in Schuyler County for several more years before going their own ways.
Roswell was said to be in the Chadsey Settlement until he could get a foothold locating in T. 2 north, R. 1 east, according to a history book. Roswell put his tanning skills to use and made a business of it on the frontier near Pleasant View.
Roswell married Delilah Norton on 14 Aug 1828 in Schuyler Co., Illinois. They were pioneers as their union was recorded as only the 14th such ceremony in the history of Schuyler County, IL. Delilah was the daughter of John and Jemina Norton. In 1832 Roswell served in the Black Hawk War in Captain William C. Rall's Company. He did not see battle against the Black Hawk Indians, as far as history records, but rather buried the dead with Capt. Abraham Lincoln's Illinois unit. A local publication alleges Roswell and the future president "knew each other intimately in those pioneering days," it read in partFor service to his country in that emergency he received 120 acres of bounty land. The first 40 acres - was in Marshall County, Iowa. The rest was in Harrison County, Iowa - Boyer Township. It appears Roswell immediately signed his land warrants over to other individuals and chose to stay in Schuyler County for the rest of his life.
Roswell and his family were one of few who were brought into close contact with a cholera epidemic of 1834 and escaped its contagion. It had caused so much death in Schuyler County that year there was not enough living to bury the dead.
Later Roswell became caught up in the Gold rush fever sweeping the nation after the 1849 discovery in California. Roswell joined his brother Jefferson, son Henry and nephew James Madison Brines on a trip across the continent to California to seek their fortune. He panned for gold on the Folsom River near Sacramento, California with scores of other fortune seekers from around the country. Family lore has it that he found gold, returned home, and purchased land with it. That land remains in the family possession. There is no evidence the others found anything. It is unclear what relationship he had with them before or after the gold rush. Roswell may have also owned land in Cass County, Illinois. Roswell spent the rest of his days as a farmer in Schuyler County. In just 25 years in 1850 his 320 acres farm was worth $2,000. According to records, he had 4 horses, a mule 5 milking cows, 2 oxen, 6 cattle, 30 sheep, 22 swine for a livestock value of $430. He managed to grow 350 bushels of wheat, 1,000 bushels of Indian Corn and 250 bushels of oats and make 150 lbs of butter that year. He had help on the farm. According to their family bible records Roswell and Delilah were the parents of 12 children; Martha Brines-Curry, Elizabeth Brines-Strong, Henry E., James R., Andrew J., George Washington, Louisa "Lou", Jeminah, Harriett, Civilla Ann, John Thomas and Ermine Prentice Brines-Reeves.

By 1880 the farm was worth $15,600 and $800 worth of livestock including 15 horses, 6 mules, 5 milking cows, 20 swine, 25 head of cattle and 56 chickens in the barnyard. He produced $1,180 of farm product including 500 lbs of butter, 600 dozen eggs and 20 bushels of buckwheat, 500 bushels of Rye and 500 bushels of beans, 196 lbs of broom corn. He also produced 50 lbs of maple sugar and 10 gallons of molasses. A newspaper report from 1896 indicates Roswell had about 1,000 acres of land throughout Schuyler and Cass Counties.
He was a member of the Christian Church in Pleasant View for three decades and at one time took in orphan children from the Jordan family.
He had retired from active farming about 15 years before his death. Just a week before he died Roswell helped dedicate a new edifice of the church, which he was a trustee and charged with keeping the house. His obituary mentioned "paralysis laid him low" which might indicate Roswell suffered a stroke.
At the age of 90, Roswell died 9 Jul 1896 at his home in Pleasant View, Schuyler Co., Illinois two and 1/2 miles from Frederick Township. His wife died just ten days later. Roswell tried to obtain his military pension, but he did not received it before his death. (His name was spelled Bryant on the War records, possibly a typo). It was granted to his wife Deliliah July 17, 1896, however, she died 3 days after it was granted.
They are buried together at Messerer Cemetery in Schuyler Co., Illinois. Reportedly Roswell left his estate to his son John and three area spinsters. The rest of his surviving children and grandchildren received one dollar each.
[From the research of, and contributed by, Jonathan Brines. The sources used to compile this bio include: US Census Records, 1850 & 1880 Federal Non-Population farm schedules, Alton Daily Telegraph August 1, 1889, Early Day Settlers 1918 by Howard F. Dyson, Obit in the Rushville Times newspaper July 16, 1896, The Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882 By W.R. Brink & Co p64, p281-282 p379, Illinois Marriages 1790-1860/Schuyler County Marriage Record 1828,, US General Land Office Records 1796-1907 and additional research provided by Linda Conrad Brines. "Golden Anniversary" Rushville Times Feb 6, 1911, "William Roswell Brines" Beardstown Star 1896 article on, Federal Land Grant information 09-20-1854 & 05-10-1859,]

Elijah W. Wheeler
The well known farmer of Neosho county, Big Creek township, whose name heads this article, was born in Brown county, Illinois, September 13, 1839, and is a son of Charles T. Wheeler, a Kentucky gentleman, who married Elizabeth Morris, a native of North Carolina. The parents were married in Illinois and lived in that state till 1876 when the father migrated to Kansas and settled in Neosho county where he died in ___ at seventy-five years of age. The mother died in 1850 at about middle life.
Our subject is the oldest of eight children, five of whom yet live. He was reared in Schuyler and McDonough counties, Illinois, and remained with his parents till he was of age. He married Mary A. James in 1862 and was a tenant there on a farm till 1869 when he came to Kansas. He settled on a piece of the disputed land in Neosho county and helped fight the famous suit with the railroad company for eight years before he obtained a patent for his home. He came to the state with wagon and team and a little money and began building his home right out on the wild and grassy prairie and the erection of his pioneer shanty absorbed nearly all his cash. To help sustain life during the period of pestilence and drouth he worked for fifty cents a day and took his pay in corn at "seventy-cents a bushel" and, on one occasion, worked three days for one grist of corn. While these conditions were discouraging, he did not give up, but kept moving and came out of the fire of disaster an intrepid warrior and a courageous man. Today his well improved farm yields to him abundantly and the scant raiment and cornbread and sorghum have given way to abundant and fashionable attire, and to a table groaning under the weight of a variety of healthful food to satiate the conscience of the inner man. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler's children are eight in number, as follows. Perry E., who died at twenty-six years; John W.; Sidney C.; Charles E, who died at twenty-four; Sion R: Lizzie J.; Alice T., and Sarah I. The parents are members of the Savonburg Council, Knights and Ladies of Security, and the father is a Democrat and has served his township six years as a peace officer. As a farmer he has done his best with the resources at his command and as a citizen he has fulfilled the letter of the law and his character is unscarred by slander and his reputation unscathed by neighborly gossip. [Source: History of Neosho and Wilson Counties, Kansas, Pub. by L. Wallace Duncan, Fort Scott, Kansas, Monitor Printing Co., 1902; transcribed by V. B.]


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