George Baker is successfully pursuing agriculture on the fertile soil of Penn Township, where he has a farm that in point of productiveness, cultivation and improvement ranks with the best in its vicinity. June 10, 1851 is the date of the birth of our subject in Harrison County, Ind. Conrad Baker, his father, a well-known resident of that county, is a native of Germany. His parents spent their entire lives in that country and he and his brother Theobald were the only members of the family that ever came to America. The latter settled in Floyd County, Ind.
Conrad Baker learned the trade of a shoemaker in his youth and when a young man left his native land to try his fortune in the United States of America. After his arrival he made his way to Indiana and settled in Harrison County. For a time he made shoes in Bradford and then engaged in the mercantile business, which he continued to carry on with good profit for some years. He now lives retired in the same village in the enjoyment of a competence ample for all his wants. He was married after coming to this country to Sarah Ingram, a native of Harrison County. He was bereaved of her companionship by her death in 1879. Her father, who was a pioneer of Harrison County, served in the War of 1812 and fought bravely in the famous Battle of Tippecanoe. Two children were born to the parents of our subject, Lewis, the other son, being now a resident of Bradford, his native town. After the death of their mother their father married again and has nine children by his second union.
Our subject passed his boyhood in the home of his birth and was educated in the local public schools. He was active, capable and self-reliant as a lad and began to make himself useful when quite young. At the age of nineteen he left the parental abode to start in life for himself and for one year worked on a farm by the month in his native county. He then left Indiana and for a year and a half lived in LaBelle County, Kan., where he was employed as a farm hand. Shrewdly foreseeing that on the alluvial soil of this county he would have better opportunities to become independent in the exercise of his chosen calling, for he had decided to try farming for himself, he came to this section of the State and in 1873 rented land. He was thrifty, industrious and economical and in 1888 he had money enough and to spare to invest in a good farm and he bought the one that he now occupies. He is the fortunate proprietor of a quarter section of prairie in Penn Township, which is under admirable tillage and is supplied with all the necessary buildings, besides being well equipped with modern machinery. During these years of toil Mr. Baker has by no means been without the assistance of a capable wife, to whose cheerful co-operation he is much indebted for the comforts of a cozy home. This helpmate he secured in the person of Laura A. Martin, to whom he was united in marriage in 1873. Two children have been born to them, whom they have named Cora E. and Clarence. Mr. Baker is an intelligent member of the Farmer's Mutual Benefit Association and in politics he holds himself independent, supporting at the polls which ever party he deems best. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Joseph M. Bales
"The true ruler and conqueror he, the true king of his race, who nerveth his arm for life's combat, and looks the strong world in the face."
We have many men who live simple and unpretentious lives, who are made of the same fiber as that of which heroes and conquerors are. It is not the action that dignifies the man, but the man should dignify the action. He of whom we write, who well knows what pioneer life is, having had experience in more than one place, although he has not commanded armies nor wielded a pen to touch the hearts of men; - like Moses of old, who struck the rock that the water might gush forth, he put his hand to the plow, that the earth might yield a richness of harvest that should provide nourishment for prince or peasant.
Joseph M. Bales is the owner of and resident on the fine farm located on section 18, of Okaw Township, Shelby County. He has resided in Illinois since 1854, and in Shelby County since the spring of 1877. He was born in East Tennessee, February 20, 1829, and is a son of Daniel and Mary (Trobough) Bales, both natives of Tennessee. At an early day Mr. Bales' parents came to Illinois and settled in Macon County, later moving to Coles County, and three years later the parents came to live with our subject at his present home. There his mother died March 3, 1888. His father is still living.
Mr. Bales was one of eight children, there being five sons and three daughters, whose names are respectively: James, Joseph M. our subject, William M., Cephas A., John, Catherine, Margaret and Jane. The eldest son was killed in a railroad wreck at Bunker Hill while engaged in shipping cattle to St. Louis. William M. is a resident in Missouri, being there engaged as a speculator. Cephas lives in Colorado, John is in Kansas. Catherine, now Mrs. Smith, resides in Iowa, Margaret is now Mrs. Kingsolver, and Jane is Mrs. Stumbaugh.
Our subject was reared and educated in Tennessee, where he was married to Margaret Bible. She, also, was a native of Tennessee, being of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. After the birth of their first child, they started to Illinois with a two horse wagon, and arriving in the State settled near Macon, Macon County, where they purchased eighty acres of land in the raw state, paying for it $14 per acre. Upon the place Mr. Bales erected a shanty, and here they set up their household gods and goods. They remained upon this land for eighteen years and then sold it for $50 per acre. They then purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Penn Township. The land was improved and they paid $35 per acre, soon selling it for $38 per acre. He then settled upon the place where he now resides, owning at the present time two hundred and sixty-seven acres of fine land upon which there is no encumbrance. He also owns property in Shelbyville, which has advanced greatly in value since his purchase and promises still better to be a good investment. Thus can be seen what energy, industry and economy can accomplish for a man. Mr. Bales commenced with hardly more than a pair of strong hands and a willingness to work, one Claybank horse with black mane and tail being his stock in trade, but during the years that have passed, in hard labor it is true, he has amassed more than a comfortable competency.
Our subject and his estimable lady are the parents of six children whose names are James, Daniel, Cephas, Mary Jane, who is the wife of James Wilson; Ellen, who is the wife of Charles Davis, and Fannie, who is still at home. Mr. Bales formerly cast his vote and influence with the Democratic party, but of late he has given his allegiance occasionally to the Farmers' Alliance and favors any measures that benefit the class to which he belongs. In his religious preferences, he, with his family, is Presbyterian. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Thomas Banks, of the firm of N. F. Keim & Co., general merchants at Findlay, has long been variously identified with the interests of Shelby County, and is connected both with its mercantile and agricultural affairs, Vaughn Township, York County, Province of Ontario, Canada, is the place of his birth. His father, who bore the same name as himself, was a native of Yorkshire, England. He learned the trade of a stonemason and that of an oatmeal miller. On coming to America he settled in Vaughn Township, Canada, and devoting himself to his trade as a miller, he ground the first oatmeal that was ever exported from Canada to England. He continued his residence in York County many years, and then, after spending a few months in the United States, returned to Canada, and passed his last years in Elgin County. The maiden name of his third wife, mother of our subject, was Janette Jeffrey. She was born in Scotland, and died at Richmond Hill, York County, Canada.
The subject of this sketch was reared in his Canadian birthplace, and in his youth served a three years' apprenticeship to Thomas Harris, a well-known carpenter and builder. After acquiring a thorough knowledge of his trade in all its branches, he went to Elgin County and did journey work there until 1859. In that year he crossed the border and came to the "States," and for some twelve months was engaged as a carpenter in Indiana. In 1860 he started on his return to his old home, and on his way came to Illinois to collect a small bill due him by a person living in Todd's Point Township, this county. This proved to be the turning point in his life, for he became favorably impressed with the country and resolved to settle here permanently, perhaps influenced to this decision by the matrimonial alliance that he contracted soon after with the daughter of one of the pioneer families of the county. He found work at his trade as a carpenter and builder, and was thus employed until 1863, when he rented a tract of land and gave his attention to farming. He was successful in his operations and soon purchased eighty acres of land on section 34, in that part of Okaw Township now included in Todd's Point Township, to which he subsequently added eighty acres adjoining, and he also bought fifteen acres of timber land on section 35. He has his farm well improved, under admirable tillage, and provided with two sets of conveniently arranged frame buildings. In 1889 Mr. Banks formed a partnership with his son-in-law, N. F. Keim, to engage in the mercantile business at Findlay. They have a well appointed store, carry a fine assortment of general stock, and have already built up a thriving trade.
Mr. Banks was first married in 1861 to Mrs. Cassandra (Waller) Beck, daughter of Eli and Mary (Stanaford) Waller, and widow of Nathaniel Beck. She was a native of this county. She departed this life in June, 1883. Four children were born of her marriage with our subject, all of whom are living: Priscilla, who married Xavier Wernett, and has two children - Joseph and Henry; Ella married Warner H. Mauzey, and has two children - Eva and Adda; Cynthia married N. F. Keim, and has one child - Irus; Effie May, the youngest daughter, is at home with her parents. Mr. Banks was married a second time in 1890 to Mrs. Tabitha Robertson. She is a member of the Christian Church, and shares with her husband the respect and esteem of the entire community. Mr. Banks is well known in this part of the county, and is looked up to as a man of solid worth, whose dealings are always fair and above board, and whose word is as good as a bond.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Shelby County has an excellent reputation throughout the State for good farms and excellent stock, and those who are carrying on the industries connected with farming and stock-raising, have in almost every case achieved a creditable and satisfactory success. Among the independent farmers in Dry Point Township, we find on section 15, the home of James Barton, a native of the county, born June 7, 1853, in Okaw Township. David and Mary (Craig) Barton, the parents of our subject, were natives of Bedford, Va., the father being born in 1818 and the mother in 1813. The former passed away from life on the farm where our subject now resides in 1886, and the mother makes her home with her son James. Their family consists of four stalwart sons and three beautiful daughters. William, the eldest, married Mary J. Dihel and resides on an adjoining farm; Rhoda has been twice married, as after the death of her first husband, John T. Jones, she married C. R. Barton, and resides in this township; Elizabeth died in 1865 at the age of nineteen years, and Charles passed away at the same age in 1867; David married for his first wife Mary A. Reynolds, who died in 1882, and his second marriage was with Mary L. Flanders, and he now resides in this township; the next child in order of age is our subject, and the youngest is Mary E. who married Y. L. Dihel and died in this township in 1881. Our subject received his education in the common schools of the country districts and in the graded schools at Shelbyville. He early undertook the profession of a teacher, which work he began in 1876 and continued for twelve years. In 1890 he gave up his place at the teacher's desk and devoted himself entirely to agricultural pursuits. The happy union by marriage of James Barton and Mary V. Finks, occurred May 2, 1878. This lady is a native of this township, of Southern parentage and was here brought up to young womanhood. She was born October 12, 1859, and is a daughter of C. L. and Alpha Finks, natives of Virginia, who became residents of Shelby County, this State, in the early days of the history of its settlement. Mrs. Barton is the second child in a family of six, her brothers and sisters being James H., who died in this township in 1890; C. W. who married and resided on a farm here; J. M., who married, but died in 1890 of typhoid fever; Silas W. who is married and living in the same township, and Annie, wife of H. L. Austin who also resides in Dry Point Township. Mr. Barton was elected Supervisor of Dry Point Township in 1888 and has twice succeeded himself in that honorable position, being now on his fourth year in that office, which he has filled to the satisfaction of his constituents. For two years he served as Township Tax Collector and is now serving his eleventh successive year in performing the duties of School Trustee of the township. His beautiful farm of one hundred and sixty acres is in a fine state of cultivation and its chief product is hay. The household of our subject has been blessed by the birth of two daughters and three sons: Lizzie, born March 9, 1879, John D., March 22, 1882; Thaddeus W., February 15, 1884; Allie Ella, February 16, 1886, and Chester Roswell, February 5, 1888. These affectionate and judicious parents have the great happiness of still keeping all their little ones about them and seeing them preserved in life and health. They are both earnest and conscientious members of the Separate Baptist Church. The subject of this life sketch has been a life-long Republican and is pleased to boast that he has never cast any other ballot than that which is endorsed by the Republican party. He is well-known as one of the most public-spirited and enterprising citizens of the township and takes an active part not only in political affairs, but also in all movements which are intended to promote the social and financial prosperity of the community. His brother William fought in the Union army during the Civil War. Mr. Barton has been a member of the Masonic order but at present is not affiliated. Both he and his estimable wife are very active in church and Sunday-school work, taking great interest in the advancement of the cause of religion through that worthy ally of the church, the Sunday-school. One peculiar feature of the Barton family is that every male member of the family for two generations has married a woman whose first name was Mary, and even those who have twice married have observed this rule. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Elder William A. Bates
The divine command "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," has for more than eighteen hundred years been accepted by a few who felt that they would accept the humble position of teacher to the people, for their dear Lord's sake. Every religion has its fanatics, but the purpose of none is so pure and unalloyed as that of the preacher to the simple agricultural classes of America. They are one with the people and no false notions of superiority can give them prestige over their flock. They can preach the life of the Divine man in all its simplicity, because they themselves, in a degree, live the same life. Our subject resides on section l3, of Ridge Township. Shelby County. He was born in Grant County, Ind., his natal day being December 4, 1851. He is a son of David and Elizabeth (Bradshaw) Bates, both natives of Indiana. Both paternal and maternal grandparents were pioneer settlers of his native State. The parents of our subject died in Indiana, and of a family of eight children, only three attained their majority. They are, Rebecca, John Wisley and our subject. Rebecca married C. F. Lay, and resides in Miami County, Kan. John died in 1890 in Miami County, Kan. Our subject was only five years of age when his father passed away from this life, and one year later he lost his mother, and only those who have been orphans can appreciate the bereavement of the lad. Our subject had a guardian appointed with whom he lived for a time, after a previous residence with his relatives on the home farm. He attended the district schools and derived all the advantages to be had there. At the age of seventeen the original of our sketch came to Shelby County and purchased eighty acres of land. In 1874, he was married to Arminta Bare, a daughter of Michael and Margaret (Dillinger) Bare. The lady was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., August 11, 1847. In 1848 the family removed to Ohio and in 1872 came to Shelby County, where she and our subject met and married. After marriage, he of whom we write, with his wife, went to Kansas, where they resided for a time in Miami, and then went across the line into Missouri. While West, he purchased forty acres of land and operated land which he rented. In October, 1882, the family returned to Shelby County and our subject has since rented the land which he now occupies, operating two hundred and forty acres. Politically, Mr. Bates is a Prohibitionist, not only living, but teaching and preaching a total abstinence from all stimulants. Five little ones have come as buds of promise to cheer the home of our subject and wife. Of these, four are now living. They are Maggie, Cora, Bertha and John. Mr. Bates has been an earnest Christian and has officiated as minister over several congregations. He preached one year at Antioch, two years at Wilber Creek, two years at Union, and two years at Zion, at which place he is now preaching. He united with the Church of Christ when twenty one years of age, and had no special preparation for the pulpit, gleaning his theological training as best he could from books and conversations with learned, good men. During the time of his ministry with the churches above mentioned, he at the same time pursued his calling as a farmer, although he has given a portion of his time to his ministerial duties. He is a member of the church of Antioch, and occasionally preaches at that place.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jacob F. Bauer
Jacob F. Bauer, represents the lumber trade at Stewardson, having carried on this business here since 1885, his residence in Shelby County dating from 1865. He is well known as a successful, substantial and honored citizen. In connection with the lumber business Mr. Bauer deals largely in farm machinery, builders' hardware and paints. Our subject was born in Rocking County, Ohio, April 3, 1836. He is a son of Jacob F. and Julia (Reel) Bauer, natives of Baden and Hessing, Germany, respectively.
The paternal grandparents of our subject came to the United States at an early day and settled in Baltimore, where the grandmother died, and later, the grandfather removed to Zanesville, Ohio, where he died. The father of our subject had one brother, John G. Bauer, who still resides in Virginia. The maternal grandparents also emigrated to the United States at an early day, first living in Baltimore, and then in Zanesville, Ohio. Mr. Bauer's mother had three brothers and one sister, whose names are Anthony H., John H., and Henry William H. The two former died at Columbus, Ohio. Henry passed away at Lima, Ohio, and William resides in Lancaster, Ohio. The sister, Christine E. Reel, married and lives in Ohio.
Our subject's parents met and married in Zanesville where the families were early settlers. The young couple later located in Hocking County, on a farm, and there they lived, rearing a family of eleven children, nine of whom lived to reach years of maturity. Of these our subject is the eldest. The names of the children are as follows: Christena E., Anthony Henry, Julia, Christian, Solomon, David, William and John, besides our subject.
Mr. Bauer's early life was spent upon a farm where he acquired a physical vigor from outdoor duties that has been a great advantage to him throughout his career. His school days were limited and the education that he has acquired is a practical one, attained mostly in intercourse with his fellow-men, and by the exigencies of the positions in which he found himself placed. While a young man he learned the trade of a carpenter. In 1865 he removed to Illinois and purchased forty acres of land in Prairie Township and began work at his trade. This first purchase was the nucleus of the fine farm of which he finally became proprietor, comprising two hundred and twenty acres of land, most of which was originally wild prairie land. He however expended much time and money in placing fine improvements on the place and made it his home until 1885, when he traded one hundred and twenty acres of land for his present business.
Before coming to this State, Mr. Bauer had taken upon himself the duties and obligations of married life. His marriage was celebrated in January, 1859, in Hocking County, Ohio, his wife's maiden name being Catherine Ulmer. She, like her husband, was a native of Hocking County, Ohio, her birth having occurred February 25, 1839. She passed away from this life in 1873, leaving her husband and five children to mourn her. The children's names are as follows: Elizabeth, Julia, Caroline, Andrew and Mary. Elizabeth is the wife of Charles Friese; Julia presides over the domestic realm of the household of Ferdinand Kull; Caroline is the wife of George Kircher.
In 1874 Mr. Bauer persuaded Mrs. Wilhelmina Frede nee Kull, to take up the reins of domestic government in his household. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and by her first marriage was the mother of five children. Mr. Bauer and his present wife are the parents of five children, only two of whom are living: they are Tobias and Martha. The family are members in good standing of the Lutheran Church. In his political preference, he of whom we write is a staunch Democrat. He has been a member of the Board of Supervisors of his township for three terms, and has also held the positions of School Director and Trustee. Our subject owns a beautiful home at Stewardson, and nine acres of land. His residence is commodious and comfortable and contains all the late improvements in interior arrangement that are so necessary to modern living. Pecuniarily he is well fixed, and stands high in the esteem of his fellow-townsmen because of his practical business views and his honorable and upright dealings.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The German-American citizen who has done so large a share of leveling forests, breaking the soil and subduing wild prairies to a state of cultivation are among the most valuable and sturdy citizens of our country. They have proved themselves one of the essential elements in the building up of our country and to them we give the honor due to a class of men of integrity, industry and thrift. Our subject whose birth was across seas, resides within the limits of the village of Stewardson and his residence in Shelby County dates from 1868. He was born in Germany, December 15, 1827, being a son of Frederick and Elizabeth Baumgarten, the family came to this country in 1847, when this son was not yet of age and they settled in Sullivan County, Ohio, where the parents died, the mother at the age of seventy-six years and the father after he had reached the venerable age of eighty-five. Of the eight children of this worthy couple, Louise, the eldest, died in Germany, when about twenty years old. Following her came Lewis, our subject; Edward who resides in Shelby County, Ohio; Rosa, now Mrs. Henry Roegner who makes her home in Miami County, Ohio; Thessa who married Conrad Uppermann and died in Pickaway, Ohio; Caroline afterward married Conrad Uppermann; Johanna became the wife of Frederick Hummel and resides in Decatur, Ala. and Frederick resides in Shelby County, Ohio. He of whom we write came to the United States with his father's family, and in 1856, he was united in marriage with Cony Brehm who was born December 23, 1838 in Baden, Germany, her parents being John A. and Margaret Brehm who brought their family to the United States in 1846 and settled in Shelby County. Ohio. There the father died at the age of seventy-two years and there the mother is still living, having reached the age of seventy-nine years during the month of July, 1891. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Brehm all grew to maturity and were as follows: Frederick who died in Shelby County, Ohio; Catherine became the wife of Fred Madernsides and lives in Hall County, Neb.; Cony, the wife of our subject; Margaret, married Lewis Neth and lives in Pickaway, Ohio; Barbara is the wife of Andrew Madernsidcs and lives in this county; Elizabeth married Antonia Augast and died in Shelby County. Ohio; Mary married Charles Buarnd, and died in Toledo, Ohio; and Rachel is the wife of Martin Hiegel and makes her home in Saline County, Neb. After marriage our subject resided for some years in Ohio and purchased eighty acres of timber land which he proceeded to clear and had about one half of it free from trees when he sold out and came to Illinois, where he purchased two hundred and sixty acres of land in Prairie Township, this county, very little of which was improved. There he made his residence and upon it erected excellent buildings and put it in first-class condition. In June 1881 he removed to Stewardson and settled where he now resides, having forty acres of fine land there, besides his original farm. His Stewardson land is very finely improved and in a handsome condition. In the mutations which have been the fate of political parties of late years, it has been the lot of many men to be tossed about from one party to another so much, perhaps, that they have been fickle in their political belief and attachment but on account of the changes which have really taken place in the standards of political parties. In this way, our subject who was once a devoted adherent of the Republican party is now as warmly attached to the Democratic. In religious belief the family are earnest and consistent members of the Lutheran Church. Of the ten children who blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Baumgarten three only have passed away. The living are: Rachel (Mrs. John Bauer), John, Frances (Mrs. Andrew Bauer), Fred, Edith, Edward and Lewis. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Rev. Albert R. Beckett
There is perhaps no more public-spirited man nor one more wide-awake to matters of general interest in the township of Oconee, Shelby County, than the gentleman whose name initiates this sketch, who is carrying on the work of a farmer and stock-raiser, along with arduous pastoral labors. He was born in McMinn County, Tenn., October 27, 1824. His father, Josiah Beckett, was a Virginian, and his mother, Barbara Souders, a Marylander. They have three sons and six daughters of whom our subject is the youngest. They are: Annie, Thomas, Sabina, Elizabeth, Elza, Mary, Nancy, Susannah, and Albert R., our subject. Only four are now living. Eliza resides in Clinton County, Ky., as does also Susannah and Nancy in Missouri. The parents of our subject removed from Tennessee to Kentucky while he was still young and there he attended school at Danville. He studied law for some time but decided not to enter practice. After eight years spent in Danville, he was married in Clinton County, Ky., in 1845, to Miss Louisa Shelley, who was born in that State in 1825, of Virginia parents who had removed to Kentucky in a very early day. Albert R. Beckett remained in Kentucky until 1862 when he was obliged to flee to save his life. He had been robbed of everything he had by the so called Confederacy. He was frequently shot at and on one occasion he and his two sons were attacked while at work in the field. They heroically defended themselves, being well armed, but were finally obliged to retreat, leaving everything. They gathered the little family into a wagon and set out with an ox-team for the North. He had but seventy-five cents in money when he left the South. The ground traveled over by the party lay between the two opposing armies, hence no obstructions were presented to their flight. The family reached Charleston, Coles County, Ill., and remained there for about four years. Mr. Beckett bought forty acres of land which he finally sold and started to go to Ft. Smith. Ark., but while on the way he was attacked by guerrillas and wounded. He at once decided to return to Illinois and now made his permanent home in Oconee Township, where he still resides. To Mr. and Mrs. Beckett were born eleven children nine of whom are now living: Elza who married Maria Titus, is a farmer and resides in Oconee Township; Albert R. married and resides in Missouri on a farm; John with his wife lives in this township; G. A. C. is married and lives near his parents; William C. lives with his wife in this township; Samuel is married and lives with his parents; Barbara Jane is married and lives in Oconee Township; Eliza Ellen is unmarried and is taking care of her afflicted mother. Arcadia died in childhood. In addition to these children there were born a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, whom the father named Abe and Lincoln, giving the girl also the more feminine appelation [sic] of Clarinda. Abe died in infancy. His sister, Miss Clarinda Lincoln Beckett, married E. F. Barker, an attorney at Danville, Ind., who is also a noted orator espousing the Prohibition cause. About thirty-three years ago Mr. Beckett experienced religion and soon after felt it his duty to preach the Gospel. He studied theological works and finally began to preach for the Baptist Church in Clinton County, Ky., and afterward in Coles County, Ill. He subsequently became imbued with the idea that our portion of punishment and tribulation was quite complete in this life and he espoused the belief of the Universalist and was ordained by the Universalist Convention of the State of Illinois some eleven years ago. Mrs. Beckett has been a helpless invalid for the last eleven years. She believes that it is largely due to the nervous shock which she experienced during her husband's hazardous experiences in the late war. Mr. Beckett owns two hundred and forty acres of valuable land which he has in fine condition as he superintends it all personally. He takes an interest in public affairs generally, and is enterprising and public spirited. He is a Prohibitionist in sentiment and espouses the cause of the laboring men of the country, demanding that they have representation in Congress and elsewhere.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Among the prominent farmers of Shelby County, noted for its rich agricultural products, is the subject of this sketch, who is known and respected by all as an honest, upright and liberal citizen. He resides on section 2, Rural Township, his residence in the county dating from December, 1886. He was born in Branthroughton, Lincolnshire, England, March 15, 1825, being a son of Thomas and Ann Beckett, who reared a family of seven boys and one girl. Our subject being the only one who came to the United States, and remained here. One brother, Thomas, came to this country but remained only a short time. Frank Beckett, a brother of our subject has two children in the United States, Arthur and Annie Mary, both of whom reside with our subject. May 17, 1849, he was married to Mary Ann Beckett at Skelling Thorp, England. She was born in Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, June 9, 1829. After the birth of two children they in 1854, concluded they would try their fortune in the United States, first locating at Utica, N. Y., where our subject worked for some time in a soap and candle factory, later engaging in the express business.
In the spring of 1859, Mr. Beckett migrated to Illinois, locating at Springfield, where he engaged in the dairy business becoming sole owner of the principal dairy of that city. From Springfield, he came to Shelby County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land, then all raw prairie which he paid for at the time but from the recording deeds having been misstated he was obliged to pay for one-half of it the second time. He still resides on the land first purchased, having added new land, however, from time to time, and is at present the owner of three hundred and sixty-four acres of well-cultivated land. He has been very successful in his business adding to his other agricultural pursuits the business of raising swine, in which he has been largely engaged.
Mr. and Mrs. Beckett have been blessed by the birth of seven children who are named as follows: John was born in Lincolnshire, England, March 7, 1850; Thomas was also born in England, December 1852, but (unreadable) in Utica after their removal there, September 5, 1859; Mary Ann, now the wife of Samuel Wilson, was born in Utica, N. Y., April 26, 1857; Fanny C., was born near Springfield, June 19, 1859, and is now the wife of William H. Thomas; Frank Grant was born at Springfield, January 29, 1862; Abraham Lincoln was born near Springfield, March 1, 1865 and died May 5, 1888; Ada Matilda was born in Shelby County, September 5, 1867, and is now the wife of William Hartmann.
Mr. Beckett has always been very patriotic having been a strong Union man during the stormy times of war. He is also an ardent advocate of temperance but never paid much attention to politics in fact seldom voting. While our subject is a strong supporter of the cause of Christ, he is at present not a member of any church. His early training was in the Methodist Church and he still adheres to that faith. His family are members of the Church of God whose house of worship is located on land denoted by him. He also paid two-thirds of the expenses necessary to building a church. Mr. Beckett is a man who is well-known and highly respected in the community in which he resides. He is the architect of his own fortune having but a few dollars in his pocket when he emigrated to America, but by industry and good management he has succeeded in accumulating a competence.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John W. Beery
John W. Beery, a prominent and successful farmer residing on section Ridge Township, Shelby County, and a man who is ever active in political and church circles, is the son of Josiah Beery, a native of Rockingham County, Va., where his mother, Ann Jacobs was also born. They had thirteen children, and our subject was among the older members of the family, being born September 9, 1844, in Rockingham County, where he was reared upon a farm. At the time of the breaking out of the war, this young man was conscripted when only sixteen years old, into the rebel army. He served in the ranks but a few days, and then was detailed to work in a shoe shop, where he served between three and four years. When Gen. Hunter made his famous raid up the Shenandoah Valley, all the detailed men were called out and given guns. The enemy was routed and our subject took leave of his brethren in arms against the Union without the consent of his commanding officer, and coming to Fairfield County, obtained employment at farm labor.
Here Mr. Beery remained until his marriage September 2, 1869, to Miss Rebecca Swartz, a daughter of Henry and Sarah (Beery) Swartz, both of whom were natives of Fairfield County, Ohio. The mother died in that county, and the father in Pickaway Township, Shelby County, Ill., where he had settled in December, 1870. The wife of our subject was one of the younger members in a large family of twelve children, and was born in Fairfield County, July 22, 1847. The young married couple continued to reside in Fairfield County until the fall of 1872, when they removed to Shelby County and made their home in Pickaway Township for ten years, after which they removed to Ridge Township, and settled on section where Mr. Beery owns a farm of eighty acres upon which he has placed good improvements.
The children who have come to bless the home of our subject are: Thomas C., Mary A., Laura C., Elmer C., Docie E., Lulu E., John O. and Onie B. Elmer, John and Onie have passed to the better world. The father of these children is an intelligent and public-spirited man, who has always taken an active part in public affairs, and is an ardent and progressive Republican. He has been School Director for five years, and in this capacity has done much to forward the educational interests of the Township. In the spring of 1890 he was elected Highway Commissioner, which office he has filled to the satisfaction of his constituents and the benefit of the roads. He has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits, and has made them a success. The Evangelical Association is the religious body with which he and his good wife are connected, and in its work they are ever ready to take part, and to do good. He has been in this connection Class-Leader, Trustee, Sunday-school Superintendent and exhorter. Mr. Beery is a member of the Modern Woodmen, and is also identified with the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois. . . ." Published by Biographical Publishing Co., 1891, tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
At the name miller, one's mind instantly and involuntarily sees picture after picture of the changes that have been wrought in the methods of producing the farinaceous product of which the staff of life is made. One first sees two veiled women sitting on either side of stone disks and grinding the handful of corn or wheat into powder; later, it was accomplished on a larger scale, and beasts of burden turned the stones, and in the boyhood days of the early pioneers in this State, they saw quaint little mills whose wheels were turned by a thin stream of water that, cast from the wheel, made merry bubbles and diamonds of light. This has all given way to the new process and now-a days when we go to mill, one sees only a bewildering maze of belts and bands and machinery, that turns out the snowy white billows of flour at an amazingly rapid rate. This is known as the Roller Process of making flour and it is one of these last mentioned places of which our subject is proprietor.
Previous to coming to Strasburgh, the original of our sketch was engaged in business in Effingham County, this State, where he remained until his mill was destroyed by fire November 1, 1886. He did not, however, make the change until April, 1887, when on coming here, he erected the fine mill of which he is the sole owner and proprietor. These mills have a capacity of turning out eighty barrels of flour daily, and being so accessible to the farmers in the vicinity, Mr. Bernhard does a large and thriving business. Our subject has a charming residence in Strasburgh located on the principal residence street. It is gracefully presided over by his wife, who is a cultivated and talented woman. She was previous to marriage with him of whom we write Mrs. Louisa Erd, nee Hartman. She is a native of Pennsylvania. Our subject had previously been married, his first wife having died in Shumway, this State, July 2, 1883.
Henry Bernhard was born in Ittlingen, Baden, Germany, April 9, 1835, and is a son of Henry and Margaret (Ziegler) Bernhard, both natives of Baden, Germany, the former having been there born September 4, 1802. The mother passed away in her native country in 1837. Some years after our subject came to America his father also emigrated to this country in 1879, and thereafter made his home with his son until his death which took place in Shumway, this State, January 3, 1889. He of whom we write received his early education in the schools of his native village and early received training of a practical nature, which is indispensable to German teaching. He early learned the trade of milling, in his native home. In 1853, when there was such an exodus from the European countries to the United States, our subject came hither with the intention of making his fortune, confident that so strong a pair of hands, guided by so willing and intelligent an understanding, would not be out of place in this great land where there are so many opportunities for one who is quick and intelligent. For nine months after first coming to this country he was engaged in milling in New Jersey. At the expiration of that time, he came to St. Clair County, Ill., where he remained until 1864, when he removed to Banner Township, Effingham County.
On settling in St. Clair County our subject felt the need of a home and companion, and solicited the hand of Catherine Sinn in marriage. His suit was successful and their nuptials were celebrated October 27, 1858. The lady was born in Germany at her husband's birthplace, her natal day being December 2, 1838. She was the daughter of Michael and Rosetta Sinn. Four children were the result of that union. Two of these, Lizzie and Louisa are still living. As before stated his wife died in 1883, and after the many years that they had lived together, life seemed to him for awhile intolerably desolate.
Always a public-spirited man, Mr. Bernhard has ever been quick to see advantages that would redound to the benefit of the public, and to exert himself in making these realities. In 1872 he took an active part in securing the establishment of a post-office. The station was then called Tolerance, and our subject was appointed Postmaster in which capacity he served until 1879, when the name was changed to Shumway. In 1878 he erected the Tolerance Flouring Mills in the town of Shumway, Effingham County, at a cost of $11,000.
Prior to entering the milling business he of whom we write was engaged in merchandise for a period of eight years in which business he was very successful. The fact that he is truly the architect of his own fortunes must be very encouraging to many young men who, like himself, have but small capital with which to operate, and whose wits and ability are their best stock in trade. Mr. Bernhard has become a wealthy and influential man and this he has accomplished by his own unaided efforts. He has held a number of local offices in his township, having been Supervisor, Clerk and School Director. Politically, he is a Democrat. Religiously, he is a Freethinker.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Josiah Berry, is the senior member of the firm of Berry & Clark, the best-known dealers in lumber, house trimmings and general builders' supplies, Moweaqua, Shelby County. The firm was established under its present title in September, 1889, having succeeded Gregory Bros., who established the business some years before. A sketch will be found in another part of this RECORD, of the history of our subject's partner, Mr. Clark. The firm have already attained a foothold in the community and vicinity, that speaks well for their business principles in dealing. Mr. Berry was formerly engaged as a farmer in Moweaqua Township, having been for many years very successful in his calling. He came here in 1873 and purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land, which he still owns. He expended a large amount of capital in putting this farm under perfect cultivation, and it is so pleasant and attractive a place that we almost wonder at Mr. Berry's relinquishing it. He came to Shelby County in 1868, spending his first five years here on a farm in Penn Township.
Mr. Berry was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, November 1, 1839. He was there reared and received the ordinary common-school education, and there remained until he had reached his majority. At the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, like all true men, his patriotism was fired, and he ready to do or die for his country. He enlisted in Company B, of the Seventeenth Ohio Regiment, in the month of August, 1861, Col. J. M. Connell and Capt. J. W. Stinchcomb, the latter being followed by Capt. Weakly, now of Shelbyville, Ill., commanding officers. After the organization of the regiment, they advanced to the field of disturbance and were assigned to the Fourteenth Army Corps of the Cumberland Army under Gen. Thomas. The regiment was brought into contact with the enemy at Wildcat, Ky., and again met them at Mills Spring, Corinth, Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and were with Sherman in his celebrated march from Atlanta to the sea. Our subject was veteranized by re-enlistment in December, 1863, and he continued in service until the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged at Louisville, Ky., and mustered out at Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, having served nearly four years. he was always on duty and saw a great deal of active service and hard fighting. He had the good fortune to escape wounds and capture, never having seen the inside of a hospital. Mr. Berry served as Sergeant of his company for some time.
On his return home to Ohio he of whom we write was engaged as a farmer until he came to Illinois in 1868, since which time he has been one of the leading men of the township where he has resided, being much looked up to because of his energy and progressive ideas. Our subject was married in his native county to Miss Lucretia A. Ruffner, whose birthplace and early home was in Fairfield County, Ohio. She was tenderly reared and had many advantages in an educational way, denied many of her sex. She is the mother of two children, Ruffner A. Berry, who is a clerk with Moffit & Co., ice dealers in Decatur; and Nellie, who lives at home. Mr. and Mrs. Berry are the leaders of the best class of social life in Moweaqua. Their pleasant home is the meeting place for the culture, intelligence and refinement of the town. Mrs. Berry is a lovely woman, who presides over her home with the dignity and grace that come only from a naturally delicate and finely balanced nature. Politically Mr. Berry is a Republican, taking much interest in local politics. He is a member of the J. V. Clemings Post, G. A. R. He is also a member of No. 1013 Chapter, K. of H., of Moweaqua, being Dictator in the latter lodge. He has filled all the offices of the Grand Army Post to which he belongs but that of Commander. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Marion Berry, a resident of section 11, Rose Township, Shelby County, is a son of Elijah Berry who was born in Fairfield County, Ohio. His mother, Elmira Culp, was born and died in that county. The father still survives and is carrying on his farm there. They had four children who lived to years of maturity, and of these our subject is the only son.
He of whom we write was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, May 7, 1849. He was reared upon his father's farm, and after coming age he remained with his father until the ensuing fall, when he was married October 20, 1870 to Miss Missouri Zollinger who was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, May 23, 1853. She was a daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Shaffer) Zollinger, both of whom died in Perry County, Ohio. When Mr. Berry married he settled in Fairfield County, Ohio and for two years engaged in farming. After this he came to Illinois and lived in Macoupin County for five years, and then returned to Ohio and resided in Perry County till the spring of 1884, when he came to Shelby County Ill., and settled in Rose Township, where he owns two hundred acres on sections 10 and 11. He has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits and has been successful in carrying them on.
Mr. and Mrs. Berry are the parents of eight children, namely Vinnie E., Lousianna, Ernest A., William E., Daisy B., Susie, Walter and Mildred. The residents of Rose Township have united in making Mr. Berry School Director, but otherwise he has chosen to remain free from official duties. His political sympathies are with the Republican party and he is liberal in his religious views. His pleasant home is the scene of frequent social gatherings at which the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Berry is exercised for the happiness of their guests. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Skelton Birkett, Sr
Skelton Birkett, Sr., stands among the influential citizens of Shelby County, and to him and men of his indomitable will, wide experience, unsurpassed business acumen and far-reaching public spirit, it is indebted for its high standing among its sister counties in this great Commonwealth of Illinois. Our subject is a leading farmer and stockman of this section, his extensive agricultural interests centering in Todd's Point Township, where he has an attrrative [sic] home and eleven hundred acres of land, all lying in a body, in a high state of cultivation, its soil of marvelous fertility and its valuable and well-appointed improvements rendering it a model farm.
Mr. Birkett was born August 13, 1820, near Kiswick, Cumberland County, in The Vale of St. John's Parish of Crosthwait, England, on a farm which was also the birthplace of his grandfather, Daniel Birkett, who spent his entire life, as did his father before him, upon that estate, which he owned, besides owning two other farms. His son John, the father of our subject, also passed his whole life on that pleasant English farm, while his brothers, Clement and John, and his sister Rebecca came to America. The former settled in Missouri where he lived the remainder of his days; John was a farmer and died in Shelby County; Rebecca died in Moultrie County, this State. The father of our subject was a farmer and stock-raiser and lived to the good old age of seventy-seven years, his death occurring in November, 1873. His wife whose maiden name was Mary Skelton, died June 3, 1847, when she was forty-seven years of age. She was the mother of ten children, seven sons and three daughters, and five of them are yet living. He of whom we write was the fourth child born to his parents, and he passed his early days in the home of his birth, where he received a careful training in all that goes to make a good man and a useful citizen. He was given the advantage of an education in the local schools, and when not in school was acquiring practical experience in agriculture on his father's farm that was of use to him in after years in the prosecution of his chosen calling on American soil. Christmas Day, 1839, was a memorable day for him, as he then left behind him his old home with its many pleasant associations and went out to the island of St. Croix, where he had two uncles, Clement and John Skelton, who owned estates there, to see what life held for him in the West Indies, and there he was engaged as a planter on a sugar plantation for eight years and three months. Failing health warned him that he must seek another climate, and he decided upon the United States of America. He embarked on a vessel bound for New York, arrived safely, and two weeks later boarded a steamer for Philadelphia, on his way to this State. From the Quaker City he went by rail to Chambersburg, and then by stage to Pittsburg, Pa., from there by the same conveyance to Massillon, Ohio, whence he went by canal to Cleveland, from that city by Lake Erie to Toledo, and thence by way of Lovington to Terre Haute, Ind., whence he came to this county, traveling by canal and stage to Shelbyville. The date of the arrival of our subject in this county was August 31, 1848, and though not one of its earliest settlers he may be denominated one of its pioneers as he has done as much as any other man to develop its great agricultural resources, and has been a potent factor in the advancement of its interests in various directions, generously using a part of the wealth that he has acquired within its borders to further all worthy enterprises to promote its growth and benefit the public. In the busy years that followed his settlement here, he has not been too much occupied in attending to his private affairs to be able to do his duty as a citizen, and he has devoted some of his valuable time to aid in the management of civic interests, bringing to his official duties in the various responsible positions that he has filled the same aptitude for business, promptness, and unerring judgment and untiring zeal that have characterized him throughout his career. His personal standing is of the highest, and whether in public or in private life he has always borne himself as an honorable, upright gentleman, all worthy of the implicit confidence which his conduct has inspired in his fellow-citizens. Among other important offices to which they have called him is that of Supervisor, and he has represented Todd's Point Township on the County Board of Supervisors ten years. He was a member of that honorable body when the present court house was in process of erection at the county seat, and as one of the building committee he carefully superintended every detail of work, and used his influence to have it built in a style of architecture combining strength, utility and beauty, and at a reasonable cost. Politically, Mr. Birkett has been identified with the three leading parties that have held sway since he came to this country. At first, he advocated the old-line Whig policy and subsequently became a Republican, but in 1876 he joined the Democrats, as he considered that the Republican party had outlived its usefulness and had begun to abuse its great power, so that a change was necessary in the interests of a pure government. Mr. Birkett's financial standing is the result entirely of his own efforts, as he started out in the world empty handed, with the exception of £25 of English money was which given him by his father, and which he returned to him the following year. He had a better capital, however, with which to build his fortunes in his fine physique, clear brain, and the solid traits of character that have made him successful in life. After his arrival in this county he worked on a farm in Todd's Point Township, and the following year entered a section of land in the same township on sections 17, 18 and 20, and in the ensuing March he entered upon its improvement, breaking the wild prairie and fencing one hundred and sixty acres of it. He began to stock is farm by the purchase of one hundred head of cattle and seven hundred sheep, and thus entered upon his prosperous career of stock and sheep raising and wool business. He has made his home upon that section of land that he has developed from the wilderness into one of the choicest farms of the county, upon which he has placed every needed improvement, including roomy barns for his stock, a commodious dwelling, etc. He has purchased more land since his first investment, and now has eleven hundred acres all in one tract. He at one time had thirty two hundred acres of land in this State and in Kansas, two thousand of which he gave to his sons. Mr. Birkett has been eminently happy in his domestic relations, and shows to the best advantage in his home, not only as a husband and father, but in the character of the most courteous and genial of hosts, dispensing a generous hospitality to friend or stranger who may happen beneath his sheltering roof, cordially assisted by his estimable wife, who is always thoughtful and considerate for the comfort of all about her. Our subject was first married February 13, 1850, to Miss Mary Bland, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Henry Bland. She was a resident of this county at the time of her marriage, and had gathered many friends about her, who were attracted by her fine womanly character and great worth, and at her death February 9, 1865, sorrowed with her family in their great bereavement. By that marriage there were seven children, of whom the following is recorded: Henry, a resident of Springfield, married Grace Adams, and they have one child; John, who was a resident of Kansas at the time of his death in his twenty-second year, by drowning while in bathing in the river; Skelton a farmer, residing in Greenwood County, Kan., married Grace Gleason; Harriet died at the age of two years; George is a farmer of Greenwood County, Kan. Mary married George Becker, a merchant of Wichita, Kan.; Elizabeth is the wife of Dr. A. U. Williams, of Hot Springs, Ark.
January 17, 1867 our subject was married to Miss Elizabeth, daughter of John Lenover, an old resident of Shelby County, and in her he has a devoted wife. Two children have blessed their union, of whom but one is living, Arthur. Mr. Birkett was reared in the Church of England, and has remained true to the faith of his fathers. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is identified with its every good work, charitable or religious. The former Mrs. Birkett was also a member of that church.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William R. Bivins
William R. Bivins, a representative of one of the earnest pioneer families of Shelby County, was for many years identified with its leading interests as an agriculturist and as a merchant. He is now living in honorable retirement from active business in one of the many attractive homes of Shelbyville, where he deservedly enjoys the confidence and esteem accorded to a life spent in well-doing. He was born in 1826. His father, Leonard Bivins, was a native of North Carolina, and was a son of Fielder Bivins, who is supposed to have spent his entire life in that State.
The father of our subject passed his early life in the State of his nativity, and was there married, taking Nancy Murdough as his wife. She was born in the north of Ireland June 15, 1795, and was of Scotch ancestry. Shortly after marriage the parents of our subject removed to Tennessee, of which they thus became pioneers, and there the father followed his trade as a carpenter in Rutherford County. In 1829 he made another move, and he came to Illinois with a four-horse team, accompanied by his wife and four children, bringing household goods, and camping by the way-side at noon and night fall. He located on the present site of Shelbyville, which was then but a small hamlet with only a few pioneer dwellings, and the only communication with the outside world was by stage. The mail was received once each week, and Joseph Oliver who was the Postmaster for some time, used to carry the letters in the crown of his hat. The surrounding country was very sparsely settled and deer, wild turkeys, wolves, and other wild animals still remained in their old haunts.
Mr. Bivins bought two or three lots on the east side of the street north of the Court House and built a comfortable home. He carried on a good business in the village and in the surrounding country as a contractor and builder until his premature death in 1849 deprived the county of a good citizen and a pioneer who had been very useful in promoting its growth. His widow survived him many years and finally died at a venerable age in December 1872.
Our subject may be said to have grown up with this county where the most of his life has been passed, as he was only three years old when he was brought here by his parents, and this section was then also in its infancy. His education was obtained in the pioneer schools of Shelbyville. The first that he attended was taught in a log school house with furniture of home manufacture, the seats being made by splitting logs and hewing one side smooth, inserting wooden pins for legs, and they were without backs. At the age of fifteen William, who was an active enterprising lad, began to carry the mail. Starting forth on his journeys early Monday morning he would go to Decatur and thence to Bloomington, arriving there Tuesday night, starting on his return home Wednesday morning. Arriving at Shelbyville Thursday night early the next morning he would start in another direction for Vandalia returning thence Saturday night, these journeys being made on horseback. He was thus employed nearly two years, and then learning the trade of a carpenter under his father's instructions, he carried on business with him until his marriage in 1848. The discovery of gold in California led him to seek that El Dorado with a party of friends, starting on that long journey with an ox-team in 1849. At that time there was scarcely a white settler between the Missouri River and California, except at Salt Lake; buffalo were seen in great numbers, often large herds of deer and antelopes were encountered, and the howlings of the coyotes, or prairie wolves, often disturbed the slumbers of the little party. They finally arrived at Sacramento safely in October. Our subject went to the mines and was engaged in digging gold until 1850. In October of that year he gathered together his gains and started for home, coming by the way of the Isthmus and Havana to New Orleans, thence up the Mississippi River to St. Louis and from there by stage through Springfield to Shelbyville. After his return Mr. Bivins invested some money in a fertile tract of land one mile northwest of the city, which he improved into a farm, making it his home until 1872, and at the same time working at his trade as a builder. In the year mentioned be rented his farm, and coming to Shelbyville, engaged in the grocery business in company with C. J. Kurtz, continuing in that line until 1880. He then had to give up active business on account of failing health, and has since lived retired in his pleasant home in the west part of the city, in the enjoyment of an income ample for all his wants.
Mr. Bivins has been twice married. His first wife to whom he was wedded in 1848, was Sarah F. Warren, a native of Windsor Township and a daughter of the Hon. Peter and Elizabeth Warren early pioneers of that place. Mrs. Bivins departed this life March 7, 1860, leaving behind her a worthy record as a wife and mother. There are three children living of that marriage: Josephine, who married W. R. Austin and has four children; Franklin P., a physician who is represented in this volume; and Ella, who married the Rev. W. R. Howard, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Sarah Alice the second daughter of our subject by his first marriage married C. Kurtz, and died in August 1890, leaving three sons. William C. a son of our subject by his first wife, died at the age of fourteen years. Mr. Bivins was married a second time January 29, 1869, to Martha J. Brokaw, in whom he has found a good wife. Mrs. Bivins is a native of Hamilton County, Ohio, born near Glendale and she is a daughter of Henry and Cordelia Brokaw. Her union with our subject has been blessed to them by the birth of two children, Charles H. and Harry L.
Mr. Bivins is a man of exemplary habits and of a sincere character who is zealous in promoting the religious and moral interests of the community where he is held in high estimation by all who are familiar with his daily life and conduct. For many years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church which he served long and faithfully as class-leader and Steward. In 1886 he served his connection with that denomination in order to join the Free Methodist Church which was organized here largely through his instrumentality, he contributing liberally towards the erection of its house of worship. In his political sentiments Mr. Bivins was a Democrat until 1884, but since that time he has been identified with the Prohibitionists. He has borne an honorable part in the management of public affairs and has served as Assessor and Collector.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Eugene Bland is a fine representative of the native-born sons of Shelby County, and also of the citizen-soldiers that she sent to the front during the great Civil War to defend the stars and stripes. The farm that he owns, and occupies on section 23, Todd's Point Township, was the scene of his birth November 2, 1841. He is now one of the most extensive farmers in this section of Illinois, and a leading stock dealer, a business that he has carried on with more than ordinary success for several years.
The father of our subject, Capt. Henry Bland, was a well-known pioneer of this county and a wealthy citizen, who materially aided in its upbuilding. He was born in one of the early pioneer homes of Muskingum County, Ohio, and when only a boy of a few years he asserted his independence, and left the shelter of the parental roof to make his own way in the world. He was very ambitious and enterprising, full of push and energy, and in a few years he had risen to the command of a steamer plying on the Mississippi River. When St. Louis was but a small village, he bought a tract of land there, which he afterward exchanged for a boat load of honey that he sold in New Orleans. For a time he was overseer on a plantation in Mississippi, but the Southern climate disagreed with his family and he concluded to locate in the North, and so came to this State and county. He was one of the early settlers of Todd's Point Township, where he bought a tract of land on section 23. He devoted himself to its improvement, and made it his home until death closed his busy career, and deprived the county of one of its most valued citizens. He had met with more than ordinary success from the financial point of view, and in the course of years had become a large real estate holder, owning extensive tracts of land in Shelby and Moultrie Counties. In early manhood he had married Elizabeth Dittenhauer, a native of Ohio. She survived him until 1875, when she too passed away, dying on the old homestead.
Our subject was reared in the home of his birth, receiving a careful training in all that goes to make a good citizen and a capable business man, and with the exception of the time that he devoted to his country's service in the army, he was with his parents until their death. He can remember when this section of the country was still in the hands of the pioneers, and presented a far different appearance from what it does today where many cultivated farms and thriving towns have taken the place of a sparsely settled, and but little developed wilderness. In his boyhood, deer, wild turkeys and other kinds of game were plentiful; there were no railways here, and the farmers had to go to St. Louis for the principal market. Our subject's education was conducted in the pioneer schools of other days, and the building in which he gained his knowledge of the "three Rs," was a log house, heated by a fireplace, and furnished with benches made of split logs, one side hewn smooth, and there were no desks or backs to the seats.
The breaking out of the war found our subject at work on his father's farm, but at the first call for troops he abandoned agricultural pursuits to offer his services to his country, though he had not then attained his majority. He enlisted with the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry for three months and in 1862 he re-enlisted as a member of the One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Illinois Infantry. He served a few months, and was then discharged on account of disability. Notwithstanding all that he had suffered on Southern battlefields and on the long and trying marches, his loyal spirit was undaunted, and as soon as he was able to endure the hardships of a soldier's life once more, he had his name placed on the roll of the Seventh Illinois Calvary, with which he remained until after the war was closed. He saw service in the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia, and in many a hard struggle with the enemy showed that he possessed all the requisites of a good soldier, and his military record does credit to the citizenship of his native Illinois. He was honorably discharged with his regiment at Nashville after peace was declared.
After his return from the seat of war Mr. Bland resumed farming, and also gave his attention to buying and shipping stock, in which line he has built up a large business, and is today one of the most extensive dealers in this part of the State. He now owns and occupies the old homestead, and this, with other land that he has bought at different times, makes him the possessor of upwards of eight hundred acres of valuable real-estate.
Mr. Bland was married in 1867 to Miss Nancy E. Wright, a native of Todd's Point Township, and a daughter of William and Martha Wright, well-known pioneers of this county. Mrs. Bland is a member of the Christian Church. She possesses in a high degree those fine womanly traits of character that mark her as a true wife and devoted mother, who is willing to sacrifice self-interests to procure the peace and well-being of her household. Her marriage with our subject was brought then these eight children: Mattie, Ella, Ada, William, Belle, Arthur, Eugene and Ray.
Our subject's success in life was assured at the outset, not only from the fact that he came from a well-to-do family and did not have so many disadvantages to content against in his chosen career as many who have set their faces in the same direction, but he had fine natural endowments to aid him in achieving whatsoever he desired. As a gentleman of character, business acumen, and public-spirit that is manifested in his readiness to do all in his power to help forward any and all feasible plans for the good of the community at large, his name stands high in his country. In his political belief, he is a Republican sound and true. The reader will be pleased to notice in this connection, the lithographic portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Bland.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Adam D. Bowman
Adam D. Bowman, one of the well-known residents of section 4, Rose Township, Shelby County, is a man who has a fine record as a soldier in the Civil War, and an excellent reputation as a farmer. His father was Daniel Bowman, who was born in Pittsburg, Pa., and his mother, Sarah Ruch, had her nativity in Westmoreland County the same State. There they were married and from her home emigrated to Perry County, Ohio, where they entered land and made their home until early in the '60s when they came to Shelby County, Ill., and settled in Rose Township. Here they spent the remainder of their days, the father dying in the fall of 1868 and the mother surviving him two years only.
Mr. Bowman enlisted August 19, 1862 in Company K, Seventy-ninth Illinois Regiment. He was mustered into the United States service at Arcola and served throughout the period of war and was mustered out at Nashville Tenn. He took part in the battles of Stone River, Chickamauga, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and in other prominent engagements. At Stone River he was so unfortunate as to be taken prisoner of war but was held only twenty-eight days, after which he was paroled and was soon exchanged and permitted to rejoin his regiment. After the close of the war he returned to Illinois and has since been a resident of Shelby County. The marriage of our subject took place in Rose Township, July 17, 1872, his bride being Miss Mary C. Palmer, daughter of John and Rachel (Morrison) Palmer. The lady was born in Bucyrus, Ashland County, Ohio, May 12, 1851, and she has become the mother of two children - Oscar O. and Frank P.; the latter died in infancy. Mr. Bowman has always followed agricultural pursuits except during the time which he spent in the brave defense of his country. He owns eighty acres of excellent land, upon which he has made good improvements. His political views have led him to affiliate with the Republican party and his religious convictions have made him a member of the Lutheran Church in which he is an active worker. Mrs. Bowman died in 1876. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jesse A. Bowman
Jesse A. Bowman, D. D. S., of Shelbyville, though a young man has already won a high reputation for his complete knowledge of dental surgery and stands at the head of his profession in Shelby County. He is a native of Illinois, born near Rockport, in Pike County, December 27, 1863. His father, Joseph McEwen, was a well-known farmer of that county and for some years previous to his death, in 1868, resided near Rockport. His wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Moxley, survived him until 1870, her death occurring at Shelbyville. Six of their children were reared to maturity - William P., John, Mary, Jacob, Jesse and Thomas. After the death of his mother our subject was adopted by Dr. Joseph and Susan Bowman, of Shelbyville, and was carefully reared by them as if he were their own. He was given fine educational advantages, and was graduated from the High School in the Class of 1881 with a good record for scholarship. He then adopted for a while the vocation of teacher in order to secure money to prepare himself for the dental profession. He taught his first term in Ridge Township, and when he had sufficient money to defray his expenses at college in 1883 he entered the Indiana Dental College at Indianapolis, from which he was graduated in the Class of 1884, with a thorough equipment for his chosen calling. After leaving college he formed a partnership with his father and was with him until Dr. Bowman's death in 1888, since which time he has been alone. He has pleasant rooms for the exercise of his profession and is well supplied with all the modern appliances that have placed the practice of dentistry to-day among the arts or sciences. His skill, combined with his courtesy and geniality renders him popular with everybody and has gained him a large patronage.
The marriage of Dr. Bowman with Miss Anna Rice was solemnized in 1886. They have a charming home and their household is completed by the presence of the three children born unto them - Fred Homer, Carl Randolph and George A. The Doctor is well-known in social circles for his musical talent as he has a fine voice that has been carefully cultivated and he is one of the leading spirits of the famous Shelbyville Palmer Glee Club. This is composed of five members and is admitted to be the finest glee club in the State. It was a prominent feature in Gen. Palmer's campaigns in 1888 and 1891, being greeted with enthusiasm by the music-loving populace wherever it sang and it was called to Chicago during the mayoralty campaign there in the spring of 1891, and received many plaudits from the people and encomiums from the press. Our subject and his wife are among the leading members of the Lutheran Church. He has been Superintendent of the Sunday-school, Secretary of the congregation and for eight years has acted as chorister. Accompanying this biographical notice is a lithographic portrait of Dr. Bowman.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Samuel Bowman, the son of an eminent Mennonite minister and a man of great usefulness and ability, resides on section 21, Ridge Township. Shelby County, where his good farm and excellent buildings testify to his skill and thoroughness as a farmer. His father, the Rev. Jacob Bowman, was born in Franklin County, Pa., and his mother, Mollie Lehman was a native of the same county. There they were married and made their home in Franklin County, Ohio, where they lived for many years and where this venerable and highly honored clergyman departed from earth, May 18, 1884. His faithful companion survives him and has reached a very advanced age.
The subject of this sketch is one of the younger members of his father's family, his birth taking place in Franklin County, Ohio, May 4, 1846. His boyhood days were spent there and his schooling received in the common schools of the Buckeye State. Besides preaching, his father carried on a farm and the grew up to a sturdy manhood with the excellent drill which is given to a farmer's boy.
In his native county, the young man found a wife in the person of Miss Susan Motts, a daughter of Daniel and Harriet (Warner) Motts, both born in Berks County, Pa. The day which united these two useful and happy lives was September 7, 1871. The first home of Mr. and Mrs. Motts was in Franklin County, Pa., but they had removed to Franklin, Ohio, previous to their daughter's marriage. Mr. Motts' death occurred November 7, 1876, and his wife followed him to the other world, September 20, 1879. This highly honored couple had a family of ten children, of whom Mrs. Bowman was the ninth in age. Her native home was Franklin County, Pa., where she was born July 22, 1849. Her domestic qualities have fitted her admirably for her work as a wife and mother, and she has been a true helpmate to her husband since the day of their marriage.
The early wedded life of Mr. and Mrs. Bowman was spent in Franklin County, Ohio, where they remained for four years, but in January, 1876 they came to Shelby County, Ill., and made their home on section 21, Ridge Township, where they have built up a prosperous and delightful home. Agriculture has been Mr. Bowman's life work and he is the owner of two hundred acres of excellent and productive soil. Upon the homestead he has a substantial set of buildings, including a commodious residence, a view of which is shown on another page.
Four children have blessed the home of Mr. Bowman, namely: Benjamin F., Ida M., John C., and Howard A. To these children have been offered good educational advantages and they are making progress in preparing for the responsible duties of life. The political views of Mr. Bowman are in accordance with the declaration of the Republican party, in the progress of which he takes a keen interest. Both he and his excellent wife have taken an active part in religious work, and are members of the Evangelical Association, where he has filled the office of Steward and Trustee. He is thus carrying out in a little different line, the good Christian work in which his father was active for thirty-four years. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
George W. Boys
A member of a family highly respected and honored in the community in which he resides our subject is one of the pioneers in the central part of the State. He was there growing to manhood while Lincoln was maturing and preparing for the career which has made his name immortal. Mr. Boys resides on section 26, of Ridge Township, Shelby County. He is a son of Alexander and Virginia Boys, of whom notice may be found under the sketch of James Boys, in another part of this volume. Our subject's father was born in the beginning of the present century and when the War of 18l2 occurred, he was old enough to remember something regarding it. He of whom we write first saw the light of day in Vermilion County, this State, January 23, 1834. When only two years of age his family removed from that county and located in Shelby County. Here he grew to manhood and assisted in the improvement of the farm, making his home under the paternal roof until he attained his majority. When twenty one years of age, he attended school for one winter, and the next year he was married to Elizabeth Hardy, daughter of Thomas and Nellie Hardy. Their marriage was celebrated February 26, 1856. The lady was born in Fairfield County, Ohio. For the further history of her family see sketch of William Hardy in another part of this Record. After marriage, Mr. Boys rented a tract of land which he operated for two years. He then purchased eighty acres in Todd's Point Township, there residing for several years, engaged in plowing, planting and reaping, and the general improvement of his place. They then removed to Ridge Township, and purchased a larger tract comprising one hundred and sixty acres, which was the nucleus of his present farm, which was at the time of purchase but a little improved. He is now the possessor of three hundred acres of finely cultivated and highly productive land, upon which he has expended large amounts in improvements. Although Mr. Boys follows general agriculture as his calling, be particularly favors the branch of stock raising and has many fine animals that are noted throughout the county for the purity of their breeding. For some years he devoted himself to wheat raising.
Mr. Boys and his amiable and charming wife have been the parents of eight children, six of whom are living. They are Ollie, Luella. Emma, Sarah, Cora and Hope. Of these, Emma is the wife of Lawson Killam. Sarah is the wife of Cyrus Killam. Politically, our subject favors the Democratic party and although he is much interested in local politics, desiring that the best man should receive the favors to be awarded, he has never been prevailed upon to accept office. Religiously, Mr. Boys is a believer in Christianity, but has never connected himself with any church, finding good in all. His daughter Ollie, however, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which she is an efficient worker. Our subject has felt that in being entrusted with the care of children, an almost sacred obligation is upon him to enrich their intelligence to the greatest possible extent, and he has never spared any means to give his children the best educational advantages. Two daughters, after finishing at the home school, attended the Wesleyan College, at Bloomington, and two others finished at St. Mary's, near Terre Haute, Ind. Their course in the Shelbyville schools prior to their college life, was thorough and practical. His children are cultivated and refined women, who are adornments and desirable additions to the social and intellectual life of the community in which they live. Miss Cora is a teacher of music, in which art she is proficient, having a wide local reputation for the beauty and sympathy of her piano forte performances.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The name at the head of our sketch is that of a highly respected and honored man who has watched the growth of this State for many years, having settled here on section 26, of Ridge Township, Shelby County, in 1836. He was born in Durbin County, Ind., June 26, 1827, and is a son of Alexander and Virginia (Bradley) Boys, natives respectively of Ohio and Virginia. They began life together as pioneers in Ohio, thence removed to Indiana, casting their lot with other pioneers in the Hoosier State, and in 1833 they removed to Illinois, locating in Vermillion County.
After three years spent by our subject's parents in improving a farm in Vermilion County, they came to Shelby County and entered some land in Okaw Township, again casting their lot with pioneer settlers. The father passed his remaining years in Shelby County and died in January, 188l, his wife having passed away two days previous to his own demise. The old people were interred at the same time and in one grave, and thus they were together in death, as they had been for so many years in life. Our subject's father was the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land, much of which he cultivated, and which, at the time of his death, was well improved. Both he and his wife were for many years ardent members of the Methodist Church.
The original of our sketch is one of thirteen children, ten of whom lived to maturity; of these, our subject is the eldest. The others are: Mary, John W., Sarah, George W., Lyda, Elizabeth, William, Bonaparte and Charlie. Of these, Mary became the wife of Henry J. Bowen and resides in Shelbyville; John W. died in Okaw Township, a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1855; Sarah married James Hillsbach and resides in Stewardson; George W. lives in Ridge Township. Lyda married Henry Houghbough. Elizabeth became the wife of E. Hager. After becoming a widow she married Thomas Blackstone. William died of typhoid fever when a young man. Bonaparte, like his brother John, and in the same year, was a victim of cholera, as was also his younger brother Charlie.
Mr. Boys was reared on his father's farm and early learned the duties incident to a farmer's life. He received the educational advantages to be had in the district schools, having attended the first school taught in Okaw Township. The teacher was Peter Parker, a man who was highly respected by all as much for his manliness as for his superiority in an intellectual way. When a young man the monotony of farm life was broken for our subject by trips made to markets and null. For the former he went to St. Louis and Alton and carried his corn to Springfield to be ground.
October 15, 1849, Mr. Boys was united in marriage with Sarah Hardy, a daughter of Thomas Hardy, of whom a sketch may be found under that of William Hardy, in another part of this volume. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and October 7, 1827, was her natal day. After marriage Mr. Boys purchased land which is now within the limits of Shelbyville. Two years later he settled where he now resides, having purchased there eighty acres, and adding to it forty acres of timber land. He is now the, owner of over eight hundred acres of land, five hundred acres of which is in one body and included in the farm whereon he resides. All of Mr. Boys' land he has accumulated by his own efforts. At the time of his marriage he had only a horse and a cow with which to set up housekeeping. His wife was the proud owner of a bed, and with $10 they commenced the serious business of life together. Doubtless they were as happy, however, when with youth and vigor they started out together with love and confidence in each other's ability, as when years after, they could count their dollars by the thousands. Our subject has now retired from active agricultural pursuits, renting his land and living the delightful life of a retired country gentleman. He and his wife are the parents of nine children, three of whom died young. One, Alexander, died November 25, 1834, at the age of thirty years, leaving a widow and four children. The five children still living are: John W., Mary J., James M., Thomas H. and Charles F. Mary J. is the wife of Robert Weekly.
The breadth of platform of the Democratic party is that which appeals most directly to Mr. Boys' political intelligence, and with it he has cast his influence and vote for many years. He has held the office of Road Commissioner and School Director, and although frequently having been urged to accept office, he felt that loyalty to his party did not necessitate the relinquishing of his private business for the duties of public office. He has, however, ever been held in high esteem by his fellow-townsmen. His ability in a business way has been seconded by a native good sense and practical view of affairs that rarely allows of a mistake in judgment or action on his part. Mr. and Mrs. Boys are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and our subject was one of the largest contributors toward the erection of a church near his home. Although having reached the age when many people lose their sympathy with youth and joyousness, and life seems but a threadbare garment to be worn but a short time, our subject and his amiable wife have mellowed until the kindly geniality of their natures lends a charm that is fascinating to each day of the serenity of their lives.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William J. Brehmer
The pleasant home belonging to the intelligent young man whose name appears at the head of this sketch, is presided over by a lady of true culture and refinement who makes it one of the bright spots in Prairie Township, Shelby County, and the best place on earth to her hard working husband and interesting children. Mr. Brehmer was born in Prussia, Germany, June 10, 1858, being a son of Charles and Caroline (Kasang) Brehmer, who came to America in 1861 and made Chicago their first stopping place. They remained in the vicinity of that city for about two years and then removed to this county, where the parents now own two hundred and ten acres of land, all of which they have changed from a raw prairie to a well cultivated farm, and upon which they have placed excellent farm buildings. Our subject is the eldest of the five surviving children of his parents, his brothers and sisters being Lizzie, (Mrs. Theodore Werth); Fred, Emma and Anna. Farm training consumed most of the early years of our subject and he had but a scant opportunity for acquiring an education, although he did for a short time attend the district schools but the family necessities often demanded his help upon the farm, and the father did not appreciate as the son does the necessities of an American citizen in this line. He resided at home until 1881, when he was happily joined in marriage with Matilda, daughter of Charles and Margaret Kull, who was born in this county, October 9, 1861.
The father of Mrs. Brehmer resides on section 14, Prairie Township, to which he removed from Hocking County, Ohio, in 1856. He was born February 16, 1834, and is a son of Frederick and Hannah Kull of whom our reader will learn more in the biography of Mr. J. F. Kull upon another page of this book. He worked as a farm hand in Hocking County, and after attaining his majority worked for one season in Miami County, Ind., but returned to Ohio until 1856, when he came to Illinois. His marriage in December, 1857, with Margaret, daughter of Adam and Catherine Lowery brought him ten children, of whom Mrs. Brehmer is the third in order of age. For a number of years he rented land but now owns sixty acres where he resides in Prairie Township, all of which he has changed from virgin soil to a well cultivated farm, and upon which he has placed good buildings. He is independent in his political ideas but tends to the Democratic vote rather than the Republican, and in his religious life he is in accord and membership with the Lutheran Church.
Six children blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Brehmer and the following named are living: Clara, Amelia, Nellie and Anna. Forty acres of fine land and a comfortable farm residence forms the estate of our subject, and by his industry and frugality he has been able to place all of these in an excellent condition. His political views have caused him to affiliate with the Democratic party and his position as School Director has given him an opportunity to work efficiently to the end that his children, and the children of his neighbors may have the best opportunities for education. He earnestly believes that such a training as may be acquired in the public schools is the best preparation for the duties and responsibilities of mature years. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the religious body with which he find [sic] himself in accord and here he makes his religious home and is a helper in every good word and work.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Our subject comes of a German family whose characteristics have been modified in some directions and made more intense in others, by a residence in the southern States. His grandparents were natives of Virginia, although of German ancestry. His grandfather Bridgman, whose given name our subject does not know, died when in middle life. After his death, his wife removed to Tennessee with her family of children and later to Illinois, where she died at about eighty years of age in Morgan County. She had a family of seven or eight children, of which Martin Bridgman, the father of our subject, was one of the younger, his birth State being Virginia.
Our subject's father was quite young when his father died and at an early day, with his mother, went from Virginia to Granger County, Tenn., and there he grew to manhood, occupying himself as a farmer. He was there married to a Tennessee lady whose maiden name was Anna Dyer. She was born and reared in the place where her marriage occurred and was one of an old and highly respected family. After the birth of all the children but one, Martin Bridgman, wife and family, came to Morgan County, this State, in 1851 and afterwards secured a farm devoting themselves to improving it. Our subject's parents are both yet living. His father was eighty-one years old February 18, 1891. His mother will be seventy-eight years old November 10, 1891. On that day the old people will have lived together for sixty-two years; a reminder that in some cases, at least, marriage is not a failure.
Our subject is one of ten children, one of whom died in infancy. Of the remaining children there are five sons and four daughters yet living. All of these have married and have families of their own. Henry Bridgman was born in Granger County, Tenn., September 10, 1837. He was fourteen years of age when his parents removed to Morgan County, this State. They came over the prairies with teams and it was after a long journey, varied by many adventures, that they found a home near Jacksonville. Here they located and there our subject became of age.
In March 8, 1866, he of whom we write united himself in marriage to Lavina Angel. She was born in Morgan County, near Arenzville, October 24, 1845, and is a daughter of John and Susan (Smith) Angel, natives of Indiana and Tennessee. When young people, they came with their parents from their respective States to Morgan County, Ill. This was in the early part of the '30s. There John Angel was reared having been only four years of age when his father and mother, George and Elizabeth (Turnam) Angel settled here, securing a tract of land upon which they lived and died, being well known pioneer settlers. After marriage, John Angel and his wife began life on an almost new farm, which they improved and made their home for many years. They have now retired from the active proprietorship of the farm and live in Jacksonville. They are advanced in life, being respectively sixty-eight and sixty-four years of age. They are prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Angel is a man of firm financial standing. He is the owner of more than six hundred acres of land in this township, and of large property in Morgan County and in Jacksonville.
Mrs. Bridgman is the eldest of fourteen children, three of whom died while quite young. Eleven still living, and of these eight are married. After the marriage of our subject and his estimable wife, they adopted agriculture as their calling. They own and improved the greater part of three farms. In the spring of 1880, they sold their places and came to Shelby County, purchasing the farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 13, Flat Branch Township, which they at present occupy. Here they have ever since lived. The whole of this large farm bears the best of improvements and on it is a fine brick, two-story residence, that is a picture of comfort and tasteful arrangement. There are also other buildings upon the place in the best condition. Mr. Bridgman has, besides, forty acres of timber land, in section 14, of this township. The original of our sketch and his capable and amiable wife, have welcomed eight children to their home and hearts. One of these Henry C., is deceased. The living children are John M., R. Guthrie, Ada B., Charles W., William R., L. Edgar, and Nellie L. John took to wife Addie Ponties and resides on a farm in Pickaway Township. The next son resides at home. The other children are all still inmates of the home nest. They are bright and intelligent young men and women, and are a credit to their parents.
He of whom we write, and his wife are members of the United Brethren Church at Locust Grove, in this county. Mr. Bridgman is a rabid Republican, having fought for the principles that party strive to maintain. In August, 1862, he laid aside his private interests and affairs and enlisted in the War of the Rebellion, joining Company One Hundred and Fifteen of the Indiana Cavalry, Col. John H. Moore and Capt. Newman being in command. The regiment was with the army of the Cumberland and fought in the battles of Resaca, Chickamauga and Franklin. In the second named battle, Mr. Bridgman was shot by an enemy in the right wrist and was then place in the field hospital at Nashville, after which he came home for a furlough, but later returned to the field of battle and served with his regiment about one year longer. During his war experience he did good service and was finally discharged at Springfield, Ill., after serving two years and ten months. He first enlisted as a private, and was then a Corporal. He had the good fortune to escape being captured. His war experience is an interesting topic as told by Mr. Bridgman, and a comparison of notes with an old comrade is only less than an engagement itself. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John C. Brown
A traveler throughout Shelby County would be forcibly impressed by some features of the estate owned and occupied by the subject of this biographical sketch. In approaching it his eyes would be attracted by the appearance of order and thorough cultivation seen on every hand, as well as by the extent of the acreage and the efforts that have been made to add to its original beauty. Perhaps the most conspicuous object to the stranger would be the residence, a view of which is presented on another page of this volume. It is a commodious dwelling with the appearance of great comfort and home likeness. In connection with this notice we are pleased to present to our readers a portrait of Mr. Brown, who is well known as an enterprising agriculturist and a reliable citizen.
The fine tract of land which Mr. Brown operates is on sections 21, 22, 27 and 28, Ridge Township, and is not only in an excellent state of cultivation but is adorned with a splendid set of buildings. Before relating the principal events in the life of Mr. Brown it may be well to mention briefly the main facts in the history of those from whom he is descended. His father was a native of Wurtemburg, Germany, where he was born in 1805, and given the name of Christian F. He married Elizabeth Schearer, a native of Bavaria, who was born in 1814. After marriage they made their home in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where they resided until 1864. At that time they removed to Clay County, Ind., where the father of our subject died in 1876. The mother still survives. Their family comprised nine children, John being the second in order of age.
The natal day of our subject was April 10, 1837, and his birth occurred in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. There he grew to manhood and learned the trade of a blacksmith, taking his apprenticeship at New Philadelphia, Ohio. After serving for fifteen months he engaged as a journeyman, following his trade near his native county until the fall of 1864, when he removed to Clay County, Ind., and undertook the same work there. In February 1865, he removed to Wilton Junction, Iowa, and there carried on his trade until June 1865, when he returned to Clay County, Ind. In the spring of 1866 he removed to Shelby County and pursued his trade at what is now Henton, in Ridge Township. Here he worked until November 1875, at which time he undertook agricultural pursuits, in which he is still engaged. He has erected a handsome set of buildings and has cleared a valuable farm of one hundred and eighty acres. He is known as one of the best wheat raisers in Shelby County, having raised as much as sixty-four bushels per acre. He also has been instrumental in introducing into the community the best varieties of wheat produced in the United States.
John C. Brown and Georgiana Yost were married in Shelby County March 20, 1869. This lady is a daughter of George and Catherine (Harbaugh) Yost. Her father died in Nauvoo, Ill. Mrs. Brown was born in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, May 20, 1845, and is the mother of five children: Edwin O.; Serepta, the wife of W. E. Coffman; Elizabeth, John C., Jr., and Grover C. It is unnecessary to name the politics of Mr. Brown to one who knows the name of his youngest son. He is a man who is active in all public matters, especially in political movements, and has filled a number of offices of responsibility. He was elected Supervisor of Ridge Township in the spring of 1890 for a term of two years. For ten years he has filled the office of Township Clerk and for twelve years has been School Director, serving as Clerk of the board during all that time. He is prominently identified with the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association and has been Secretary for three terms of Pleasant Valley Lodge No. 1735. He has done efficient service as Road Overseer for two terms. In all of these positions Mr. Brown has reflected credit upon himself and been active in promoting the welfare of the community.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
John W. W. Brown
John W. W. Brown is a brick manufacturer in the town of Windsor, where he does a thriving and prosperous business. Mr. Brown was born in Licking County, Ohio, June 5, 1832. He spent the early years of his life on a farm, engaged in its duties until eighteen years of age. His father was a New England man. Luke Eddy Brown was born in Berkshire County, Mass. The maiden name of our subject's mother was Ann Gleason. She was a native of Chenango County, N. Y. They came to Ohio soon after their marriage, and settled in Licking County, where they remained until 1850, when they emigrated to Illinois, and settled in McLean County, this State. There they made their home for several years, and then removed to Missouri. The father was killed during the war by bush whackers, and the mother died in Nodaway County, Mo. Eight children were the result of the union of our subject's parents, and of these he of whom we write, was the second in order of birth. Mr. Brown came to Illinois with his parents in 1850, remaining at home until he was of age. During this time he was engaged in farming and in teaching. Three years were taken up by this latter employment. He continued to reside in McLean County for several years, and then went to Macon County, where he followed farming and carpentry and brick making for a living. In January, 1880, he came to Shelby County and settled in Windsor Township, where he was proprietor of a farm for four years. At the end of that time he began the manufacture of tile, but in the spring of 1891 his factory was destroyed by fire, and since then he has been engaged in the manufacture of brick.Mr. Brown was married in McLean County, Ill., August 9, 1857, to Miss Mary Willhoite. She is a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Ritchie) Willhoite. The former was born in Owen County, Ky., of which the mother was also a native. They came from Kentucky to McLean County, and there died. A family of nine children came to grace the household. Of these Mrs. Brown was the fourth in order of birth. She was born in Owen County, Ky., March 22, 1839.
Four children have clustered about the hearthstone of our subject, but they have grown to manhood and womanhood, and some have families of their own. Their names are Franklin A., Mary H., Josephine A. and Willis B. Franklin married Miss Nettie Voris, who is the deputy Postmistress of Windsor; Josephine A. is the wife of William Hudson.
The original of our sketch has held the position of Councilman in the town. He is a Republican in his political belief, and takes quite an active interest in local affairs. Both he and his wife are active members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which he has filled the office of Elder and Superintendent of the Sunday School, which last position he has filled for thirty-three years. Socially, Mr. Brown is a member of the Odd Fellows, and also of the Knights of Pythias. Full of vitality and energy that never recognizes defeat, our subject has overcome many difficulties in his business life, and has attained a recognized and honorable position among the influential men of the county. His home life is very pleasant. His residence is all that a loving wife, who is gifted with tact, culture and refinement, can make it.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Samuel H. Brownbeck
All our relations in life are more or less of a social nature and these are circles within circles. The domestic life is the inner circle, or hub of the wheel from which radiate outward the many lines or spokes that bind it to the outer circle, or the social verge. These spokes are of various natures arising from relationship, affinity or consanguinity. Each circle within the life of our subject has been well rounded. His home life, while simple, is full of affection and tender consideration. His residence which is located on section 2, of Rural Township, is the dwelling place of peace and harmony. He has resided in Shelby County since 1868.
Mr. Brownback was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, January 21, 1843. He is a son of William and Sarah (Shutt) Brownback, natives of Pennsylvania, where they were married and began the journey of life together. About 1835 they removed to Ohio and settled in Pickaway County. There they passed the remaining years of their lives, the father passing away from this life at the age of fifty years, the mother surviving him for a number of years, being sixty-three years of age at the time of her decease. They were the parents of six children, four of whom lived to be grown. Their names are as follows: Joseph, Melinda, Eliza, Sarah, Emeline and Samuel. Joseph died while young; Melinda married Abner Settles and died in Pickaway County, leaving an interesting family of children; Eliza married John Breutigan. She died in Pickaway County; Sarah died while yet a young woman, being only twenty years of age. Emeline also died early in life: our subject is the youngest of his family and now the only one surviving. He was reared on a farm and attended, in boyhood, the common schools, which were very good, and he feels that he owes much to the masters under whom he studied when a lad. He remained in his native State until he arrived at manhood and in 1867, he was an attendant upon the last sad rites paid to the memory of the last member of his family. Feeling that all bonds that held him to his native State had been severed, in 1868 he sold out and emigrated to this State, settling in Shelby County, where he purchased a farm upon which he at present resides.
When Mr. Brownback purchased his farm it was but very little improved and he began at once the work of putting it in such order as should realize his ideal of a modern farm. He gave his attention chiefly to stock-raising, in which he was very successful. On first coming to the county he purchased one hundred and sixty acres, but from time to time has added to this until his farm now aggregates two hundred and twenty acres. It is located on sections 2 and 11, and boasts many fine improvements. Well located in the bottom lands, it is plentifully watered and drained.
Our subject has been twice married. In 1870, he was united to Mary V. Smith. a daughter of Daniel and Sarah Smith, of whom a sketch may be found in another part of this volume. Mrs. Brownback died in 1872, leaving one son who now resides with his grandfather, Daniel Smith. In 1874, our subject married Elizabeth A. Cochoran, a daughter of Robert Cochoran. She was born in Tennessee in 1848. Our subject by his present wife is the father of one daughter, by name Mary E. She is a bright, intelligent young girl. The original of our sketch is a Democrat in his political preference and has served in several capacities in public office under his party showing the confidence and estimation of his ability that his fellow-townsmen have in him. He has served as School Trustee for nine years and two years as Supervisor of the township. Mr. and Mrs. Brownback are, in their religious views, members of the Christian Church. They are kindly, intelligent people, in whom their fellow-townsmen repose the greatest confidence and affection.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jonathan D. Bruce
The family to which our subject belongs boasts a name that is famous in Scottish history. A lineal descendant of the Scottish Kings, the branch of the family to which our subject belongs emigrated to America early in the eighteenth century and became possessors of large tracts of land in Virginia. Their relations there were with the people whose names are so intimately and prominently connected with the Colonial period of American history; the Reeds, Birds, Pendletons, Lees and Bruces were co-workers in Colonial times. Like the majority of Virginia families the scions of their family spread out like the rootlets of a tree through the Southern and Central States, that to which our family belongs settling in Tennessee.
Benjamin W. Bruce, the father of our subject, was born in Bedford County, Tenn., December 25, 1800. Our subject's mother was in her maiden days Miss Elizabeth Tull, another good old name which figures in Colonial history. She was born in Bedford County, Tenn., November, 23, 1805. They removed to Shelby County, soon, if not immediately after they were married, settling here in 1828, in Windsor Township on Sand Creek, and were among the earliest pioneers in that portion of the country. Mr. Bruce, Sr., was a farmer by occupation. The social bond at that early day was kept firm by their church relations. Both he and his wife were communicants of the Christian Church and were ardent workers in the same. Their last days were spent in Windsor Township, the father passing away in the spring of 1861. His wife survived him by a number of years, her decease occurring January 20, 1875.
One almost wonders that among the manifold duties incident to pioneer only baking and brewing and making of garments for the members of the family, but also the carding and spinning and making into cloth, of wool and cotton, that our subject's mother had time to rear nine children and give to each of them the training which, as a conscientious and Christian woman, she felt she owed them. This, however, she did and of the brood of little ones that gathered in the old-fashioned kitchen about the fireplace, our subject was the fourth child in order of birth. He was born in Windsor Township, this county, April 11, 1833.
He of whom we write was reared on the home farm in Windsor Township and remained with his father, assisting with the care and cultivation of the farm until he was married, which auspicious event took place August 19, 1852. He was united to Miss Elenor B. Herod, who was a native of this county. She has borne him eight children. Their names are: Clinton D., Samantha A., George F., Addie M., Estella B., Maude H., Charles O. and Clarence C. Samantha A. is now the wife of George Garvin; Addie is the wife of James Moberly; Estella B. died when little more than an infant; Maude H. is the wife of John W. Moberly.
Mrs. Elenor Bruce died in Windsor Township, January 8, 1875. The first home of our subject after his marriage was located on Sand Creek; there they remained for one year and then removed to Windsor, of which he was the first inhabitant, there building the first house. His settlement in Windsor was made in 1856. He was also proprietor of the first hotel in the village. It was known as the Windsor Hotel, and this he conducted for about three years, after which he was engaged in the mercantile business with John H. Whitstone. They continued in partnership for about three years at the expiration of which time Mr. Bruce sold out his interest and with the proceeds purchased a farm in Moultrie County, which, however he soon disposed of. During his residence in Windsor, our subject was engaged in farming, uniting with this the stock and grain business, in which he was a large dealer for several years. He afterward operated a large grain store in company with Charles Voris. Later including H. F. Smyser and Levi Wilkinson in the partnership they continued to carry on the grain and mercantile business until about 1872. They also opened a bank, in which they did a good business in connection with their store. Since leaving the partnership above referred to he of whom we write has engaged exclusively in farming and dealing in stock. He is the owner of about four hundred acres of good land located on section 36, just outside the city of Windsor. Upon this farm he has a charming residence which he has erected on the point nearest the village. His farm boasts of the best of improvements and is a conspicuous feature in the agricultural district of the vicinity. Mr. Bruce has been an important factor in the building up of the town of Windsor, and the inhabitants owe him much for many conveniences that make them so closely allied to larger cities.
Our subject was a second time married in Windsor to Miss Mary A. McAmant. Their nuptials were celebrated May 9, 1876. The lady was born in Ohio. She has presented her husband with two children - Robert B. and Elenore E. The latter died when ten and a half years old. In his political preferences Mr. Bruce is a Democrat, in that following the traditions of his family. He has taken an active part in religious affairs, having been a member of the Christian Church since 1857 and has filled the office of Deacon for about twenty-five years. The body with which he is united owes much to his generosity and executive ability.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jacob Brunner, a thorough-going and honorable German-American citizen and practical and successful farmer, resides on section 22, Ridge Township, Shelby County. His father, George Brunner, was a native of Baden, Germany, and his mother, Christine Klem, was also born in the German's Fatherland. They emigrated to America during the summer of 1836, and made their first home in West Virginia, settling in Marshall County. They remained here industriously pursuing the vocation of farming for some nine years, but removed to Belmont County, Ohio, about the year 1845. They were not, however, thoroughly satisfied here and returning across the river to West Virginia, made their home in Ohio County, but finally returned to Hocking County, Ohio, where the father died about the year 1855.
Our subject is the eldest in a family of ten children born to his worthy parents, being born in Baden, Germany, October 20, 1832 and was some six years old when he came to make his home in the New World. He remained under the parental roof until his marriage, although he worked out to quite an extent at farm labor. The lady whom he took for his bride is a sister of Mrs. John W. Beery, and our reader will find further particulars in regard to her ancestry in the biographical sketch of Mr. Beery, elsewhere to be found in this volume. This lady's name was Miss Elizabeth Swartz, and she became Mrs. Brunner, in March, 1858 at her native home in Fairfield County, Ohio, where she was born, July 22, 1833. Here they first made their home and returned to it again after living for awhile in Allen County, that State.
In August, 1886, Mr. Brunner brought his family to Shelby County, and settled on section 22 Ridge Township, where he now owns eighty-eight and one-half acres of excellent and arable land, and where he has made a genuine success of farming, being man who is thoroughly devoted to his family and his work and who deserves and receives the esteem of all who know him. His integrity is unquestioned and his character bears inspection by the most critical and faultfinding. Ten interesting children have come to brighten this home, namely; John M, Rebecca C., Barbara E., Ida E., Lottie, Christine A., Mary E., Lucy W., William S., and Minnie C., all of whom are living except Rebecca, who died when about four years old. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
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