John B. Illick
John B. Illick, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser, making his home on section 33, Oconee Township, Shelby County, was born in Seneca County, N. Y., in 1834. He is the son of John and Maria (Young) Illick, both of whom were born in Pennsylvania. In their family were five sons and two daughters, the two youngest passed away at an early age.
William Henry Illick, the eldest son of John and Maria, is married and living in Oswego, Ind., where he is carrying on a farm; Franklin M. is married and living at Rosemond, Ill., upon a farm; Samuel A. died at Taylorville, this State, in 1882; Edward V. enlisted in a Cavalry Regiment in Indiana, and being in the campaign at Pittsburg Landing, was taken sick and died during a visit home at the age of twenty-six years; Susan M., the wife of Thomas Fritchman, a farmer, resides near Wellington, in Sumner County. Kan.; Lydia A. was twice married, her present husband being Robert Batty. residing at Stonington, Ill.
The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in New York and removed with his parents to Indiana in 1857. After burying his parents in that State, he came to Christian County, Ill.,. and was married at Taylorville, to Miss Elizabeth Melton, daughter of John and Caroline Melton, who were natives of North Carolina, and came to Illinois prior to their marriage. Mrs. Illick was born in Madison County, this State, in 1844, and had five brothers and four sisters, namely: James C. and Henry T. (twins); Andrew J.; Martin V.; Amaziah; Martha A.; Mary L.; Sarah A. and Hannah M. (twins). All but Mrs. Illick and Hannah M. have passed to the other world. Andrew J. enlisted in Company H, Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry and died in the hospital at Springfield, Mo.; Hannah M. married Franklin Illick, the brother of our subject, and resides on a farm near Rosemond. He of whom we write came to his present farm six years ago. He and his good wife have had no children of their own, but they have reared a son of Mrs. Illick's sister, a boy whom they took at the age of three months, and he is now a fine and intelligent lad of sixteen years, who stands in the same relation to his foster parents that a real son would occupy. Mr. Illick is a Democrat in his political views. He has a pleasant home and is comfortably situated. The father of Mrs. Illick died in Madison County, Ill., in 1852, and her mother who is now eighty-two years of age resides with her daughter. Her parents were members of the Baptist Church.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William H. Jackson
William H. Jackson is a well-to-do and widely known farmer and stock-breeder, living on section 35, of Pickaway Township, where he owns a fine farm of four hundred acres, almost all of which is in a high state of cultivation and having extensive and costly improvements. The buildings are of a high order, being well built and commodious. The residence is comfortable and commodious, and all of the improvements have been made by our subject himself, the farm being for the most part virgin prairie which had never been cut by a plow.
Mr. Jackson purchased his present place of residence in 1863 and has since lived here. He first came to the county in 1844 but after a stay of two years he enlisted in the Mexican War, joining the Third Illinois Volunteer Regiment, Company B, of which Captain Freeman and Col. Foreman were in command. They were at once sent to the front and were engaged in the battle of Carmago, and in other skirmishes. After serving for one year our subject returned to Illinois and in 1847 located his land warrant which had been granted by the Government for services rendered. The warrant covered one hundred and sixty acres of land which he located in Ridge Township. He is still the owner of this tract and it was there that he lived until 1863, when he came to this township.
The original of our sketch is noted throughout the township for his thrift and industry and as a successful breeder of stock. His home is a model in point of neatness and improvements in agricultural implements and conveniences. It resembles some of the finest breeding farms of the Blue Grass region of Kentucky. He is the owner of two hundred and eighty acres in Ridge Township, which is all improved.
He of whom we write came to this State in 1840. He lived in Fayette County till 1844. He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, February 16, 1833, and is the son of Thomas and the grandson of John Jackson, who were both natives of Pennsylvania and came of Irish ancestry. His grandfather was a farmer in Pennsylvania where he lived and died, being at the time of his decease very old. He had married a Pennsylvania lady who also died there. Our subject's father, Thomas Jackson, spent his early life under his father's roof, there learning the duties and secrets of farm life. He was married to W. Elizabeth Manley. She was also a native of Pennsylvania. After the birth of part of their children Thomas Jackson and his wife removed to Ohio, and some years later came by way of the overland route to this state, making his first settlement in Fayette County. There he and his wife located upon and improved a new farm where they spent the remainder of their days. They were both quite advanced in years at the time of their respective deaths, the father being fifty-three years of age and the mother seventy. Mrs. Jackson was a Methodist in her religious preference. Her husband was politically an old Jacksonian Democrat, with all that that term implies, of chivalry and independence.
Our subject is one of ten sons and two daughters. Of these only four of the sons and one daughter are now living, all of these being married and having families of their own. Our subject was only a boy when his parents came to this State, and here he attained his majority. His first wife was a Miss Margaret Waters. She was born in Champaign County, this State, and there reared. She died after about three years of marital life, being then in the meridian of her womanhood. She left two children. One, John T., is now deceased, and one William, is in the West, being there married to a Western lady.
Mr. Jackson was a second time married in this county to Miss Mary A. Burk. She was born in Pennsylvania, and was young when, with her parents, Robert and Esther Burk, she came to Shelby County. The family settled at a very early day on Robinson Creek and there the father and mother lived for some time. They later moved to Rural Township, this county, where they purchased land and there spent the remainder of their lives, being old people at the time of their decease. They were well and honorably known among the old settlers of the county. Both parents were members of the Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Margaret J. Jackson was one of a large family, only a few of whom are yet living. Mrs. Jackson is one of the prominent matrons of the township, being a leader in social life. She is a true wife and mother. Nine children have come to brighten and gladden our subject's home and fireside. All of these are living and are as follows: Robert, Samuel, M. Jane, Louisa, Esther, Mary A., Elizabeth, Andrew and Charles. Robert is a farmer in Bethany Township this county, and is the devoted husband of the lady whose maiden name was Sally Marshall. Samuel took to wife Miss K. De Vaughn. They live on a farm in Ridge Township. Jane is the wife of George Hall, a farmer in this township. Louisa is the wife of Samuel De Vaughn, and lives in Rural Township. Esther married Morris Robinson, and lives in Windsor Township. Mary A. is the wife of James Hadden and lives in Todd's Point Township. Elizabeth was untied to Wilber Workman, a farmer in Okaw Township. Anderson and Charles are at home.
Mrs. Jackson is a member of the Presbyterian Church, while our subject is a member of the Christian Church. He of whom we write is a Democrat in politics and has held several local offices in the gift of his party. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William W. James
One of the staunch, substantial men, both in character and social standing, is he whose name is at the head of this sketch. He resides on section 3 of Ridge Township. His residence in the county dates from the fall of l83l, at which time he was brought to the State by his parents. He was born in Nichols County, Ky., December 22, 1829, and was a son of Alexander C. and Mary Ann (Robinson) James, natives respectively of Maryland and Delaware. They met and married, however, in Kentucky, and in 1831, when our subject was but two years of age the family came to Illinois, their journey hither being made in a wagon, and with a camp outfit. Of course our subject can remember nothing of the journey, but it takes but small imagination to picture the delights and adventures of an overland journey through the beautiful States of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, into Illinois.
After coming hither, our subject's parents settled at once in Ridge Township, where they rented a small place for a space of three years. In 1835, they entered a tract of land on section 3, and also purchased a claim which was but very little improved, but which boasted a log cabin and fences about seventeen acres being fenced. For this they paid $40. In those days it was necessary to drive hogs to St. Louis in order to find market for them. This was one hundred miles distant from their home. The wheat, also, had to be hauled thither and then sold for twenty-five cents a bushel. We cannot but wonder how the pioneers managed to support their families with the necessities of life, and lay aside as nearly all of them did, money enough to invest in land, when their products brought so little return. Our subject's family were obliged to go to Springfield in order to have their corn and wheat ground into flour, and other commodities were equally difficult to get. But Mr. James was industrious and economical and in time became the owner of four hundred acres of good land. He erected good buildings upon his place and improved it well. In 1870, he died at the age of seventy years. Nelson James, a brother of our subject, came to this county in 1836, but later went to Missouri. Our subject's father was a Democrat in his political preferences. His wife is still living and resides with the original of our sketch. She was born March 30, 1805. For many years she has been a member of the Baptist Church.
There was but one child in the family of Alexander James, that being our subject. He still resides on the homestead, and has been a witness of the changes which Shelby County has undergone for many years. His early education was obtained under difficulties, having to go four miles in order to attend school, which was held in a log cabin. There were no windows in the building, and an ingenious device was resorted to supply the deficiency. A log was left out in the side of the building and the space was covered with greased paper, which admitted an opaque light that would send the school reformers of today to an insane asylum. A split sapling with pegs put in the end, furnished the seats for the pupils, and the building was heated by a huge fireplace that scorched the little faces, while their backs were freezing. His school life began when he was eight years of age at which time he could read and spell words of one syllable. He attended the first school taught in the township, the teacher being James Rhoads.
The original of our sketch is as old a settler as any in the township, although two others. William and Daniel Smith, came here the same fall in which his parents located. At that time the larder was easily supplied with various kinds of game, there being plenty of deer, wild turkeys, bears, and also wild cats and panthers, against which the early settlers were obliged to be on their guard. The Indians had been driven farther West and the country was a good place for a poor man, because of the abundance of game, and the early crops were extraordinarily good. There was but little sickness excepting ague, which the early settlers accepted as one of the conditions of their pioneer existence.
Mr. James was married January 22, 1852, to Cordelia Small, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Small. She was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, and during her life was a tender, loving wife and true mother. She died August, 1862, leaving five children to mourn with their father, her loss. The children are John A., Mary E., Tarcy J., William D. and Cordelia. Mary is now the wife of C. W. Steward; Tarcy was united to John W. Yantis, and died in 1881, leaving two children; William D. died at the age of twenty-three years; Cordelia became the wife of John W. Yantis.
In 1864, our subject married for a second time taking to wife Leah Killam, a daughter of Isaac Killam. She was a native of Shelby County. Two children are the fruit of this union. They are Isaac L. and Laura, who is the wife of Julius Christman. Mr. James is the owner of five hundred and forty acres of well improved land. He has made stock-raising a specialty and has bred some of the purest blooded stock in the county. He now rents the greater part of his land, retaining only enough to keep him pleasantly employed. Politically Mr. James favors the Democratic party. He has never been ambitious to accept office, feeling that his private affairs would not admit of a divided attention. Mrs. James, who is an estimable lady, is a member of the Christian Church. Her band is not connected with any church, although he is a believer in Christianity, and a liberal supporter of the churches in his vicinity.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The citizens of Shelby County, who came here during the early history of this section and established themselves in what were then little villages and hamlets, have been active factors in the development and progress of the county. Mr. Jamison having been a resident of Oconee for more than twenty-five years, has made his mark upon the social and business interests of the place, and as an influential citizen we are pleased to present his portrait and biography to our readers.
Mr. Jamison, who is a dealer in hay, coal, lumber and live-stock at Oconee, was born in Monmouth County, N.J., February 17, 1814. His father, Joseph, a son of Jacob and Rebecca Jamison, was born October 2, 1781 in the same county. His mother was also a native there, and was born February 14, 1787, both she and her husband born near the historic battlefield of Monmouth. The children who gathered about this worthy couple were five sons and six daughters, as follows: Jacob J., born May 28, 1803; Abram B., November 18, 1804; Rebecca, November 30, 1806; Hannah, September 27, 1808; Joseph, December 7, 1810; Isaac, April 25, 1812; Lydia Ann, April 1, 1814; Mary, November 15, 1815; Sarah, March 23, 1818; Elizabeth, February 23, 1821; and the subject of our sketch, who was the youngest of the family. Of this large household, only Isaac, Mary, Sarah, Elizabeth and Alfred remain in this earthly life.
Mr. Jamison received his education in the public schools of New Jersey, and when about sixteen years of age, he left the parental roof and went into the world for himself, first going to New York City, where he obtained a situation in a dry-goods store as a clerk. He continued in that position about five years, and then having accumulated a little money, returned to his native State and went into business, in which he had a one-fourth interest, establishing a general store at Cedar Creek. Here he continued for about two years, and then in 1849, having a serious attack of the "gold fever," he went to California by the way of the Strait of Magellan, and remained in the "Sunset State" for some time, occupying four years in the whole trip. Having been reasonably successful in his western venture, the young man returned to New York City, and engaged in the pork-packing business, which he carried on for fifteen years, but in the spring of 1865 he closed out his concern there and came to Shelby County, locating at Oconee, where he has ever since resided. His marriage to Miss Gertrude Ellen Hegeman took place in New York City, April 5, 1853. This lady was born April 13, 1837, upon Long Island, N.Y.
On arriving in Illinois, Mr. Jamison invested his means in real estate and milling, and had the misfortune to lose two mills by fire, but has continued in the real-estate business ever since coming West, in which he has been very successful. On locating here he purchased fifteen hundred acres of timber land, which he cleared up and worked the timber into lumber. He has been active in business all his lifetime, and still continues with unabated power to actively control his own affairs, although he is nearing the limits of three-score years and ten. To Mr. and Mrs. Jamison have been born the following children: Alonzo, born June 10, 1854; Alfred M., July 1, 1855; Emma Laur, May 28, 1858; Sarah Elizabeth, February 5, 1860; Brackett Badger, January 18, 1862; Harry Alonzo, January 9, 1864; Hattie H., March 22, 1865; Francis Richmond, October 12, 1867; Robert Hegeman, March 3, 1869; Grace Gertrude, June 2, 1871; Joseph Stokes, September 5, 1873; and Archibald Shelton, February 21, 1879. The six oldest are natives of New York City, and the younger members of the family were born in Oconee.
The gentleman, whose life history we are here briefly sketching has been a life-long Democrat, and has always a lively interest in national, State and local politics. He is well read and broad in his views and keeps himself thoroughly informed in regard to public affairs. He is a member of Oconee Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and carries insurance in the Masonic Benevolent Society of Chicago. He was first made a Mason by Naval Lodge, No. 69, in the State of New York, in 1855, and was demitted from that to Oconee Lodge in 1873. Religiously the family may be considered as extremely liberal and strongly opposed to contention over the orthodox creed. The value of their lives and their work in this community can hardly be estimated, as they have ever been active in promoting the best interests of the neighborhood, and have been liberal in their means in forwarding all movements looking to the material and social progress of Oconee. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jackson L. Jenkins
On the opposite page is presented a portrait of this gentleman, who is a prominent farmer of Rural Township, residing on section 14, and his residence in Shelby County dates from April, 1856. He was born in Delaware County, Ohio, June 30, 1825. His parents were Jonathan W. and Rebecca (Rosecranz) Jenkins, natives of Pennsylvania. His father, Jonathan Jenkins, went to Ohio in 1816. He there married, and in 1835 removed with his wife to Ogle County, and settled upon a farm, being one of the early pioneers in that part of the State. Rebecca Jenkins was the mother of ten children, eight of whom lived to be grown, and of these our subject is the eldest. The father of our subject married a second time Mrs. Mulkins becoming his wife. He still resides at Oregon, this State, and has attained a good old age, his natal day having been January 27, 1802. Our subject was but a boy when the family removed to Ogle county, and at that date there were at least ten Indians to every white man. Here our subject grew to manhood, and had a personal acquaintance with every man in Ogle County. He carried the first mail that was sent between Dixon and Oregon, and the first mail bag that he ever saw was one that he got at Dixon. He later extended his mail route from Oregon to Buffalo Grove. At that time the mail was carried on horseback. He also carried the first mail pouches that were conveyed by wagons between Oregon and Rockford. He was thus employed about four years.
Our subject's father resided in town, but as he owned a farm near the village, young Jenkins tilled the soil. In 1836 his father built the first cabin in Oregon, having passed the winter of 1835-36 at Dixon. In 1856 our subject came to Shelby County, having previously purchased eighty acres of land, for which he paid $100. This he improved and sold, and since then his residence has been in Rural Township. The lumber for the first house which he built in Ogle County, our subject hauled from Chicago, a distance of one hundred miles, but when the dwelling was erected, its magnificence outshone anything in the county. He now owns two hundred and sixty acres of land in Rural Township. Mr. Jenkins has been twice married. July 7, 1850, he was united to Harriet L. Van Loon, who was a native of Delaware County, Ohio. She removed with her parents, Mathias and Elizabeth Van Loon to Ogle County, at an early age. She died in Shelby County in 1861, being only thirty-four years old at the time of her death. She left four children - Rebecca, John, William and George R. The eldest daughter is now the wife of V. J. Sevier and resides in Missouri. John and George make their homes in Rural Township, while William resides in Ridge Township.
In 1863 our subject married Mrs. Sarah A. Travers nee Downs. She was a daughter of Daniel and Mary E. Downs, and married Alex Travers in 1856. He died in 1862, leaving four children, all of whom passed away under twelve years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins have had eight children, seven of whom are living. They are Alice, who is the wife of Arthur Engle; Frank; Emma, who married William Mose; Chester, Effa, Edith and Lloyd. Our subject and his wife are members in good standing of the Christian Church. Although in his political inclination Mr. Jenkins was formerly a Democrat, of late he has transferred his allegiance to the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. He is a man who is greatly interested in all progressive movements, the subject of education being one which is nearest and most important to him, for in it he realizes the influence that is strongest for good in our country. He has held the position of School Director for thirty years, and has been a Road Commissioner for fifteen years.
Of a kindly and genial temperament, Mr. Jenkins is beloved by all his fellow-townsmen, and having seen so many changes through which the country has passed since the days when he carried the mail over the prairie on horseback, he is a fertile source of information to those who are interested in the history and advancement of their State. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
Jacob N. Jones
Jacob N. Jones, who is the head of the firm of Jones and Sons, merchants in Windsor, Shelby County, this State, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, March 27, 1828. He was reared on a farm where he remained until seventeen years of age, at which time he left home and started out to make a fortune for himself. When he was but three years of age his father removed to Clermont County, Ohio, and there they lived until our subject left the home roof. With the sanguineness of youth he felt that the world lay before him to conquer as he would, and he was eager to try his strength with its difficulties and hardships.
On leaving home, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and learned to make counter scales. He served a short apprenticeship to this business, and then worked at it for about two years, and for some time after he was engaged in daguerreotyping, and in 1854, came to Stark County, this State, and at once launched into farming on his own account. This he continued for ten years being successful in his chosen calling. In the latter part of 1863, however, he removed to Moultrie County, this State, and purchased a farm which he was engaged in improving for a period of less than one year. He then removed to Windsor and was employed as clerk in a store. From that time he launched into mercantile business for himself, and since then he has been in partnership with different persons. In 1881 he founded his present partnership, by admitting his son, Wilbur H. into the business, and in 1890, his son Jacob was added to the firm. They carry on an extensive business both in the town and in the neighboring agricultural region.
Mr. Jones was married in Clermont County, Ohio, to Mary Myser, who was also a native of the county in which she was married. Their marriage was celebrated June 4, 1857, and Mrs. Jones died October 1, 1887. They were the parents of five children whose names are as follows: Wilbur H., Susan B., Willie, Jacob and Frank. The young men are all ambitious and energetic, and their entrance into their father's business has been to the advantage both of themselves and the firm.
Our subject is a Democrat in his political preference. Religiously he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has filled the office of Trustee for some time. Mr. Jones is the owner of considerable property in various parts of the county. He owns one hundred and seventy-two acres of land in Windsor Township, and valuable property in the village of Windsor. Our subject's father was John C. Jones, who was born in Jefferson County, Ohio. His mother's maiden name was Isabella Williams. a native of Washington County, Pa., and was born near Brownsville. She died in Stark County, Ill., when about sixty-three years of age. Her husband passed away in Windsor, Ill., at the advanced age of eighty-five years. They were the parents of twelve children, seven sons and five daughters. Of these our subject was the second in order of birth.
The young men who have been taken into partnership with their father, have made homes for themselves. Wilbur H. has placed over his domestic life, Miss Mollie Moberly. They were married October 19, 1881, and have a pleasant home in the village. Jacob married Miss Caddie Russel, and makes a model husband. Our subject is a thorough business man, and his credit has never been impaired by carelessness or misjudgment. He has a good store with a carefully and well selected stock of goods. Their residence is a comfortable and commodious place, not too good for the enjoyment of everything in and around it, by the members of the family.[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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