James C. Noon
James C. Noon, a resident of Pickaway Township, has won an honorable place among the intelligent agriculturists of this county during the quarter of a century or more that he has been identified with them. He has filled offices of trust, and in various ways has shown himself to be a desirable citizen. He was born in Derbyshire, England, June 3, 1840, a son of Jeremiah Noon, who was born in the same place as himself. So also was the father of the latter, George Noon, so far as known, and there it is thought spent his entire life as a farmer.
The father of our subject was the only member of his father's family that ever came to America. He passed his early life in his native shire, and was there married to Amy Burroughs, a native of that part of England, and a daughter of Joseph Burroughs. She died in this county in 1883, at a venerable age. She was the mother of seven children that grew to maturity. At the age of eighteen years Mr. Noon entered the English army as a member of the Second Regiment of Life Guards, and was one of the famous body guards of Queen Victoria at the time of her coronation. He served seven years, and was then honorably discharged, and in 1844 came with his family to the United States. They set sail from Liverpool on the vessel "Rockaway," and twenty-five days later landed at New York. They went direct to Wisconsin, and were among the pioneer settlers of Waukesha County.
After his arrival in that county the father of our subject bought eighty acres of land known as oak-openings, and he and his wife and children began life in their new home in a log house, which he afterwards replaced with a more commodious frame residence. He was busily engaged in his farming interests when the Rebellion broke out. Some of the old spirit that had made him a good soldier in her Majesty's service when he lived in old England awoke within him, and the patriotic love that he bore his adopted country caused him to enlist in 1862 in defense of the Union, and he became a member of the Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Infantry. His experience in the English army gave value to his services, and he was mustered in as First Lieutenant of Company F, and in 1863 won deserved promotion to the captaincy of his company, which he commanded until his death August 20, of the same year, while at home on a furlough, and thus passed away a hero who gave up his life for the Government under which he had come to live nearly two decades before.
He of whom this brief life-record is written was but a boy of four years when his parents brought him to the United States, so he has but little recollection of any other home. He commenced when very young to assist his father on the farm, and whenever opportunity offered attended school. The first one that he went to was taught in a log house, the furniture being of the most primitive kind, the benches being made of split logs. He remained with his parents until 1861, when he paid his first visit to Shelby County. He worked on a farm here one year, and then returning to Wisconsin, took charge of the home farm, which was under his management until 1865. In that year he came back to Shelby County, having been favorably impressed with the opportunities it afforded in the richness of its soil, genial climate, etc., to young men of energy and capability to conduct farming profitably, and here he has given his time to agricultural pursuits ever since.
In 1862 it was Mr. Noon's good fortune to secure a true helpmate by his marriage with Miss Hannah Fear, a native of Somersetshire, England, and a daughter of William and Hannah (Fowler) Fear, who were also of English birth, and were pioneers of Waukesha County, Wis. Mr. and Mrs. Noon have six children living, namely: Edith, Ethel, Hulda, Lotta, Amy and Ruth. Jeremiah, their second child and only son, died when four years old.
A man whose habits and character are above well posted on current topics, Mr. Noon's fellow citizens have shown their appreciation of these traits by calling him to responsible public positions, and thus at one time he represented Pickaway Township on the County Board of Supervisors, while an incumbent of that important office.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
William Notbrook, deceased, was one of the pioneers of Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, and his name is honored as one of its upbuilders, who faithfully performed his share in the cultivation of its fertile soil, and helped to make this a beautiful and will-improved farming country. He was of foreign birth, born in the village of Beilfield, Province of Westphalia, Prussia, May 10, 1824. He was left an orphan at a very early age. He attended school quite steadily in his youth, and then began life as a shepherd.
When he gained his majority, Mr. Notbrook entered the Prussian army, in accordance with the laws of the land, and after serving three years, was honorably discharged. He then came to American, as he thought that the prospects were better for advancement in this country than in the fatherland. He set sail from Bremerhaven in April, and after a six weeks' voyage landed at New York. He secured a good situation as a clerk in a wholesale commission produce house, and was thus employed in the great metropolis until 1855.
In that year he came to Illinois with his wife, and with his limited means, he having only such money as he had gradually saved from his earnings, he bought forty acres of land in Moweaqua Township. There was a log cabin on the place, and in that humble welling he and his wife began life in their new home. Ten years later he sold that land at an advanced price, it having increased in value under his skillful labors, and he then bought the eighty acres in the same township, which is now occupied by his family. He removed the log cabin to his new purchase, and it remained the abode of the family ten years longer, when he replaced it by the residence in which his family are living. It is a commodious frame structure, of modern style, is nicely furnished, and is a most pleasant home. Here he dwelt in peace and contentment, working busily through seed time and harvest year after year, bringing his farm to a fine condition, both as to tillage and the substantial improvements that he paced upon it, until death stayed his hand April 8, 1881, and he rested from his labors in that dreamless sleep that knows no waking. He was an earnest and consistent Christian, and for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he joined soon after coming to America, as did his wife also. While a resident of New York City, Mr. Notbrook entered into marriage with Miss Wilhelmina Wagemann, a daughter of one of his father's old neighbors in the old country, the ceremony that made them one being performed in 1853. Mrs. Notbrook was born in the same place as her husband, and grew up with him. She came to America in the same vessel that he did. Her parents were Wilhelm and charlotte Wagamann, who were also natives of the Prussian village that was her birthplace. Two of her brothers came to this country. William is now a resident of Moultrie County. Henry, who is deceased, spent his last years at Moweaqua, where he located after his arrival in America. Mrs. Notbrook is a very estimable woman, possessing those qualities of head and heart that command respect and regard, and she is an exemplary member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She has two children living. Maggie the elder, is the wife of Michael E. Snyder; Wilhelmina lives with her mother, and is her stay and comfort. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
The history of our subject is that of many farmers who have struggled to make themselves and families a home and social position in their chosen communities, hiding the little romances or tragedies that come to them as to others under a serene and impassive exterior. Not many of our farmers had the time or inclination to make verses to the field daisy, or the field mice, as did Burns, but there have been whole volumes of poetry unwritten, surging under the rough exterior of many a ploughman or many a harvester. They are songs unsung.
He of whom we write is a farmer residing on section 26, and also owning land in sections 22 and 25, of Ridge Township, Shelby County. He was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, January 15, 1847, being a son of Samuel and Mary (Martin) Oman. The family were early settlers in the county and State in which our subject was born, and Samuel Oman still resides on the place where he was born seventy-five years ago. Mrs. Oman died when our subject was but seven years of age. She left to her bereaved husband, six children, and one child had been called away before its mother. The six living children are William, Emanuel, Catherine, Isabel, Adam and John.
The father of Mr. Oman married a second time, his wife being Sarah Pontius. Three children were the fruit of this marriage. Their names are Josephus, Elizabeth and Elmer. Our subject was reared on the home farm and attended the country schools, where he learned the three R's, and such other branches as were considered essential at that time. He continued to reside in Ohio until 1869, when he came to Illinois, settling first in Pickaway Township where he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and on which he resided for eight years. He then came to Ridge Township and subsequently settled where he at present resides. He is now the owner of two hundred and forty-one acres of land which is well tilled and very productive. The original of our sketch has been twice married. His first wife was Mary A. Reed, a daughter of William and Martha Reed. She was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, January 20, 1849, and came to Illinois where she died, December 16, 1869, leaving one child, whose name is William E. Their marriage was celebrated February 16, 1869.
In 1872, our subject was again married, his choice being Miss Viola Small, a daughter of Jacob Small. They are the parents of four children whose names are: Harley C., Clarence E., Cora B. and Luther J., all of whom are bright and intelligent and active members of society. Our subject has joined the army of Prohibitionists, believing that the issue of prohibition is more important than the tariff or any consideration that other parties may be concerned with. He has served in the capacity of Constable, and has also been a School Trustee for some time. Both our subject and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They are held in the high estimation of their neighbors, being conscientious, Christian people and kindly and intelligent neighbors.[Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
One of the best improved farms in Flat Branch Township, section 18, Shelby County, is that upon which the gentleman whose name is at the head of this sketch resides, having retired from the active management of agricultural business. Mr. Osborn has one hundred and eighty acres in the farm on which he resides, all of which is well improved land; he also owns forty acres near the homestead. He purchased this land and settled on it in March, 1865, it then being all unbroken prairie. Since then he has made it a comfortable home place and has been successful in his undertakings as a general farmer. He came to his present location from Macoupin County, where he had lived near Gillespie for some years. He formerly lived in Jersey and Greene Counties, having improved some property in both places. Our subject came to this State when a boy, with his parents. They early settled in Sangamon county, and the young man went with them to Green County, where he grew to manhood and was married. He was born in Athens County, Ohio, August 15, 1822, and is the son of Moses and the grandson of Josiah Osborn, the latter being a native of Long Island, and of Welsh parents and ancestors. He was one of eleven sons, all born on Long Island. He served as a soldier through the Revolutionary War and followed the calling of a farmer. He lived to be an old man, his death probably occurring in Connecticut. His son Moses Osborn and our subject's father, was one of a large family and was born in Connecticut, where he grew up and learned the trade of a smith. He later became in itinerant preacher, and was thus engaged during part of the War of 1812, and also though he was not an active participant in that struggle he saw many of its results. He was married New York to Miss Judith Francis, a native of the Island of Guernsey, who came of French parentage. She was fifteen years of age when her father and mother moved to American and settled in New York, where they lived for some years and later came to Ohio there passing away after attaining a good old age. The decease occurred in Athens County.
After marriage Moses Osborn and wife settled in Athens County, Ohio, in an early day and there began pioneer life. They lived there for some years, making many improvements upon the farm that they had secured. After the birth of five children, all of whom were sons, in 1826 the left Ohio to come to this State. They came by way of the overland route with teams, living a camp life while on the road. After a number of days of tedious journeying, they reached and located near Springfield. They, however stayed here but a comparatively short time when they proceeded to Greene County, where they secured a farm to which they bent their energies to improve. There both Moses Osborn and wife spent the remainder of their lives, and there died, being at the time of their decease, about eighty-three years old. They were among the first and most influential old settlers in that county, and were prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at a time when church membership meant more than it does now. Much of Mr. Osborn's life had been spent in active church work.
The original of our sketch is one of the youngest of five sons and one daughter. He remained with his parents until he became of age. He was married in Greene County, February 25, 1850, to Miss Sarah E. Pruitt, who was born in Greene County, this State, March 11, 1835. She is a daughter of James R. and Mahala (Ambrose) Pruitt, natives of Illinois and Virginia, respectively. Mr. Pruitt was one of the very first white children born in the southern part of the State. James R. Pruitt was the son of William Pruitt, who was in this State in the very early part of the present century, or before that time, and was engaged in the struggle with the Indians, prior to the War of 1812. He carried a bullet to his grave received in a battle with the Indians. Mrs. Mahala Pruitt's father was also an early setter in Illinois and was engaged in the War of 1812, having been crippled in battle. His name was William Ambrose.
James R. Pruitt and wife were married in Illinois and lived in Madison County for some time, later removing to Greene County, where they secured and improved a new farm. They were very early pioneer settlers and were obliged to begin life in a most primitive way. The bridal costumes for both bride and groom were of homespun, and they had only wooden dishes to begin housekeeping with and a wooden bed, built of boards in a corner of the room in which they lived. They drove ox-teams to church, but made as much sunshine as possible out of the circumstances with which they were compelled to conform. They spent their last days in Greene County and there died, Mr. Pruitt at sixty-two years of age, and his wife at eighty-three. Mrs. Pruitt was a member of the Baptist Church.
Mrs. Osborn and her brother William, are all of the family at present living. The lady was reared to womanhood in her native county. She is the mother of eight children, two of whom are deceased, Amanda and Oscar F. The living children ae James A., Richard F., Mary B., Janet A. Lewis W. and Luther A. The eldest living son is the husband of Alice Cotar and lives in this township on a farm. Richard took to wife Lou Minnie Cotar, now deceased. He lives in Christian County, and has married a second time, his present wife having been a Miss Mary Winters. Mary B. is the wife of I. F. Haverfield, and lives in Vermillion County, Ill. Janet A. is the wife of William Manly, a farmer in this township. Lewis W. is a farmer in Christian County. He married Maggie English Luther is also a farmer in Christian County and took to wife Fanny Zeitz. Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are members of the Evangelical Association. Our subject is an Independent in politics, not wedded to party, but voting for the man whom he believes to be best qualified to fill the position. Mr. and Mrs. Osborn are both intelligent and educated people. They have reared a family of sons and daughters who have proved to be of exceptional mental caliber and with high ideas of principle. [Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, Illinois..."; Chicago Biographical Publishing Co., 1891; tr. by G.T. Transcription Team]
A fine representative of the foreign element that has been so potent in developing the varied resources of this county. Mr. Otta has won an important place among its most intelligent farmers and stock-raisers. He has extensive agricultural interests in Moweaqua and Penn Townships, his home being in the former place. He was born in Brunswick, Germany, February 13, 1844, to Henry and Elizabeth Otta, who were likewise natives of Brunswick. The father of our subject spent his entire life in his native land, dying there in 18448, leaving a widow and six children. Henry, the eldest son, still resides in Brunswick; William was a soldier in the Fourth Kansas Cavalry during the war between the North and South, and gave up his life for his adopted country; Fred died in Illinois; Minnie and Lena are the names of the two daughters of the family. Our subject was the youngest child of his parents. He was but four years old when his father died, and his mother cared for him until he became self-supporting. She lived for several years after coming to the United States with her children, and died at the home of a daughter in Madison County, in 1876. August attended school steadily until he was fourteen and obtained an excellent education in the schools of his native land. He was afterward employed on a farm by the year until 1861, when he came to this country with his mother and other members of the family, setting sail from Bremer Haven on the vessel "North America" in September, and landing in New York after a voyage of seven weeks and two days. After his arrival in this country Mr. Otta came directly to Illinois and staid for a time in Madison County, where he was employed on a farm at $50 a year. In 1863 he went to Macoupin County, and was engaged there as a farm laborer by the month until 1867, when he came to Shelby County and entered upon his career as an independent farmer. He first bought eighty acres of land on section 24, of Moweaqua Township, on which stood a small log house. He soon erected a more commodious log house which the family occupied some years, and then erected the substantial and conveniently arranged frame house in which they now live. A view of this residence may be found on another page. In his farming operations he has met with more than ordinary success and has added to his original purchase from time to time until he has five hundred and eighty-five acres of well-improved land, lying in Moweaqua and Penn Townships. In the acquirement of his property Mr. Otta has received valuable assistance from his wife, to whom he was wedded in the fall of 1866. Mrs. Otta, who was formerly Miss Augusta Durfrer, was born in Poland, and came to American with her parents when she was a child of four years. To her and our subject have been born ten children - Henry, William, Annie, Lizzie, Caroline, Emma, Minnie, Clara, Bessie and Hattie.
Mr. Otta has a clear intellect, cool judgment and sound sense, and these traits, not less than a good capacity for work and ready business tact. Have gained him the honorable place that he occupies today among his fellow-farmers and makes him a good example of our self-made men. He is well-informed, has a good general knowledge of politics, and in that regard holds himself independent of all parties, preferring to use his own judgment in voting for men and measures. Religiously he was reared in the Lutheran Church, and still holds to that faith. [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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