Cobden Biographies

Union County Illinois Genealogy Trails


FERRILL, George W.


Source:  "History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties", Illinois,
Perrin, Chicago, 1883

Transcribed by Andy Anderson


B. F. BIGGS, farmer, P. O. Cobden, was born in Cobden Precinct January 28,
1839, to D. W. and Thisbe (Anderson) Biggs.  D. W. was born in North
Carolina November 21, 1805, and when five years of age he moved to Tennessee
with his parents.  He remained in Tennessee till 1825; then moved to this
county and settled near his present home, and has resided here since.  A
short time before coming to this State, he was married in Tennessee to
Thisbe Anderson.  She was born in Tennessee in 1809 and died here October,
1856.  By this wife he had seven children, our subject being the youngest -
Mary (now dead), William J. (supposed to be dead), Nancy, J. J., Sarah,
Mahala and B. F.  He was married to his second wife in 1857, Mrs. Catherine
Burkey.  She was a native of Pennsylvania.  His occupation has always been
that of farmer.

Our subject was educated in the district schools of the county, and his
occupation has also been that of farmer and fruit-raiser.  November 1, 1860,
he was married to Elizabeth Parmly.  She died September 15, 1861, leaving a
child which died in infancy.  August 11, 1862, he enlisted in Company E,
81st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged May 27, 1865, on
account of disability.

He remained with the regiment till May, 1864, rejoicing in its successes or
suffering in its disasters.  He was then so crippled by disease that he
could no longer stay with the regiment, so was placed in the hospital at
Memphis, where he remained till receiving his discharge.  Most of the time
he was clerking in the hospital office.  Before leaving his company he was
one of the sergeants.  He has been receiving a pension of $64 per year since
his discharge.

February 16, 1866, he was married to his second wife, Eliza J. Fegans.  She
was a native of Kentucky.  Her parents moved to this State when she was
young, and settled in Clark County, where her father died.  In 1859 her
mother moved to this county and died here.  Mrs. Biggs died in February,
1877.  By her he has three children - Letta E., Beatrice L. and Charles W.

After his marriage in 1866 he settled on his present farm, and has been
engaged in general farming and fruit raising since.  May, 1877, he was
married to his third wife, Nancy A. Davis.  She was born in this county to
James K. and Harriet Davis.  He died in Johnson County in 1877.  She is
still living.  Two children have been the result of this union - Benjamin F.
and Elmer J.

Mr. Biggs is Republican in politics, and was once nominated by his party as
county clerk, but was defeated by the Democratic candidate, and has since
taken no active part in political life. 


GEORGE W. FERRILL, farmer and fruit raiser, P. O. Cobden.  The ancestry of
our subject can be traced back only to John F. Ferrill, who was born in
North Carolina about Christmas, 1767, and died in October, 1849.  He was an
orphan child, and during the Revolutionary War lost sight of his relatives,
so knew nothing of his ancestry.  About 1804 he moved to Tennessee, and died
at the old homestead in Stewart County.

His son Thomas, the father of our subject, was born in North Carolina June
12, 1795, and was married in Tennessee to Elizabeth Anderson, who was born
in that State September 28, 1803.
In December, 1819, they moved to this county and settled on the farm now
owned by Cornelius Anderson.  In the spring of 1838 they moved to Toledo, in
this precinct, where he kept the post office for a number of years, and
where he died August 6, 1849.  After his death, his widow was appointed
postmistress, and our subject attended to the business for her.  His
occupation was that of farmer, but he served as constable for some time,
also as deputy sheriff, and was one of the commissioners of the county for
many years.

Mrs. Ferrill still lives on the old homestead at Toledo.  They were the
parents of eleven children, nine of whom are still living.  Our subject is
the oldest of the family.  His early life was spent in helping to improve
the farm.  His opportunities for an education were of the most limited kind,
the schoolhouses being of the rudest sort.  However, he continued to apply
himself till he became an excellent penman, and till he could teach school,
which occupation he followed for some time.  From 1846 till 1869 he was
elder of the Toledo Christian Church, but in 1869 his health broke down and
he quit the ministry.  His support, however, he has always obtained from the

In 1842 he settled on a farm in Section 18, and remained there till January,
1857, when he came to his present home, and has resided here since.  For
three years, from July 1877 till October 1880, he superintended the Grange
mill at Cobden.

March 6, 1842, he was married in this county to Matilda Zimmerman.  She was
born in the county May 6, 1824, to Jacob and Catherine (Rhoades) Zimmerman.
They were both natives of Kentucky, he born September 12, 1802; she
September 6, 1792.  He died February 12, 1859, and she some years afterward.
He was one of the oldest settlers in the county, living here almost all his
life, and for one term was a member of the Illinois State Legislature.  Of
the family of seven girls and two boys, only two are now living.

Mr. and Mrs. Ferrill have six children, four sons and two daughters -
Lucetta (Griffith), Marinda (Griffith), John J., Thomas J., Otis J. and
Albert W.  The two daughters married brothers.  In politics, Mr. Ferrill is

V. M. FOLEY, farmer, P. O. Cobden, was born in Warren County, Ky., August
23, 1843, to Leroy M. and Caroline (Ellis) Foley.  He was born in Warren
County, Ky., May 12, 1822.  She was born and raised in Virginia.  They are
now [1883] living in this county [Union].

When our subject was small, his parents moved to Cape Girardeau County, Mo.,
and resided there till September 1861.  Then, on account of the war
troubles, he had to leave, receiving such notice from some of the
Confederates.  So he moved to this county with what he could haul in a wagon
with two horses.  His occupation has always been that of farming.  They are
the parents of two children, our subject and his sister, Eliza Castleberry,
of Jackson County.  Three sons, however, died when young.
Our subject never had the opportunities of attending the free schools, and
attended but poor subscription schools.  Before leaving Missouri, there were
great inducements offered him to join the Southern army, most of his
associates entering that army, and perhaps he might have done so, not
knowing the cause of the war or what secession was, but his father was too
strong a Union man and influenced him in the right direction.

August 11, 1862, he enlisted from this county in Company E, Eighty-first
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Capt. J. P. Reese, Col. Dollins.  He served
till mustered out August 5, 1865.  He was in many of the leading
engagements, such as Jackson, Miss., Vicksburg, where Col. Dollins was
killed, on the Red River expedition, at Spanish Fort, etc.; also at Guntown,
Miss., where about one-half the regiment was lost; also at Nashville, where
Hood and Thomas were engaged.

Mr. Foley is now a pensioner of the Government for injury sustained at
Guntown, Miss.  By forced marches, he was over-heated, and, after going into
the engagement the heat overcame him and he had to be carried from the
field, but not until he had fired about forty rounds of cartridges.

After returning from the army he settled on his present farm and has
remained there ever since.  September 17, 1865, he was married to Emily
Anderson.  She was born in this county to Cornelius and Elizabeth Anderson.
The mother died during the war; the father is still living in the county and
is one of the old settlers, coming from Tennessee.

Mr. and Mrs. Foley have seven children - Ollie, Ella, Oran, Frank, Charles,
Leroy and Harvey.  For eight years after coming from the service, he
followed house carpentering; then commenced farming, and has been engaged in
general farming and fruit-raising since.  He has 120 acres of land, about
seventy being improved.  He and his wife are members of the Christian
Church.  In politics he is Republican, and is serving a term as Justice of
the Peace.  Mr. Foley has always done all he could for the advancement of
morals and against the liquor traffic in his vicinity.

Hubbell Township, 9 & 11 Jun 1860, p 25/147

Caroline       38 VA
Virgil M.      16 KY
Eliza J.        5 --

Eliza J. Foley married Martin Alexander Castleberry 16 Jan 1874 Jonesboro

According to his military pension record, Virgil Foley was born at Bowling
Green KY.  He was 5'8 1/2" tall, light complected, had blue eyes and black
hair.  He was married three times:
1/Emily D. Anderson [d 1 or 4 Dec 1884 at Cobden],
2/her half sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Lucy (Anderson) Gregory [d 16 Oct 1904]
3/Mrs. Lucy E. (Bickers) Blackman, widow of Calvin Blackman.  Virgil m Lucy
5 Jul 1905 at Marion, Williamson Co IL.

Virgil died 13 Oct 1923 at Creal Springs, Williamson Co IL, and was buried
at Limestone Baptist Church Cemetery, Cobden IL.  Death certificate lists
his occupation as minister.
"Mrs. Allen Shepard" of Makanda is shown as informant on the certificate.
Possibly this is a miscopying of "Mrs. Ollie" Sheppard.

Pension record lists his children and birth dates.  He stated in 1915 that
all his children were by his first wife.

1.  Olive J., b 28 Oct 1866
2.  Ella F., b 2 Feb 1868
3.  Oran, b 5 Oct 1869
4.  Frank, b 22 Aug 1871
5.  Charles, b 29 Mar 1875
6&7.  Harry & Leroy, twins, b 9 Jan 1878

Virgil's widow, Lucy (Bickers) Foley, died 28 Dec 1925. 

Last widow's pension payment was sent to Creal Springs IL.



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