COON FAMILY HISTORY
Written and Contributed by Barbara Zora
Sheldon Coon, the farmer from New York who came to Carroll County in the 1840’s, was born May 10, 1810, to parents who were born in Rhode Island. The first records available show that Sheldon married Mary Jane Hacker, an English immigrant from Whiteside County, on January 29, 1848. By 1850, Sheldon, Mary Jane, and their sons George, age 2, and Ralph, eight months, were living and farming land in Freedom Township. Sheldon, age 40, listed his assets at $500.
By 1860, Sheldon's land and home were valued at $3200. His personal belongings were valued at $500. In 1860, the Coon's family had grown to five children: George, age 12, Ralph, age 10, Mary, age 8, Amelia, age 6, and Robert, age 4. A Mr. James Barker, an English immigrant, who listed his occupation as carpet weaver, was boarding with the Coons on their farm.
By the 1870 Census Report, Sheldon and Mary Jane were listed as living in Cherry Grove Township. Sheldon listed his real estate as being valued at $4500, and his personal estate at $1100. All five children were still living at home and they ranged in ages from 13-21. According to the 1878 Carroll County Directory for Cherry Grove Township, Sheldon Coon was farming section 3 of the township, located northwest of Shannon.
According to the 1880 Census for Carroll County, Sheldon, age 70, was still farming his land in Cherry Grove Township. His son, Robert, was living at home and helping his father on the farm. According to Sheldon's last will and testament, dated March 18, 1880, Sheldon stipulated that one third of his land and one third of his furniture and household goods and personal estate be left to his widow, Mary Jane, so long as she remained his widow. His farm, 116 acres in Cherry Grove Township, was valued at $7000. The other two thirds of his estate was to be divided equally between his five children: George W.S. Coon, Ralph Coon, Robert Coon, Mary Moll, and Amelia Rodgers. He named his son, Ralph, who lived in Carroll County, executor of his estate. According to the codicil attached to his will dated July 27, 1881, Sheldon had bought another piece of property, a home on lot seven on block ten in Shannon valued at $500. In 1881, Sheldon was living in the village of Shannon. His personal property was valued at $146.10, ranging from a cupboard valued at $1.00 to eight jars of fruit valued at $.25 per jar. The Coons owned sheep and a horse, also. Sheldon Coon died in Carroll County, July 22, 1884. Carroll County history noted that after Sheldon's death, his family rented out their farm to George Fox Sr. for a period of time. The farmer from New York left his wife comfortable for her remaining years, Sheldon Coon was buried in the Brethren Dunkard Cemetery in Shannon.
Headstone of Sheldon Coon
"A faithful friend, a companion dear
A loving father lieth here
Sad is the loss that we sustain
But hope in heaven to meet again."
MARY JANE HACKER COON
Mary Jane Hacker was born August 17, 1814, in Heelscott in the county of Cornwall, England to William and Betty Jenn Hacker. She was the first of three children born to the couple. She was christened on September 11, 1814, in Poundstock. After her mother's death in 1819, Mary Jane's father remarried. With her family, Mary Jane immigrated to North America in about 1830. They landed at Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and lived there for about four years. Mary Jane and her family then moved on to Wayne County, Pennsylvania for a short period of time before spending several years in Ulster County, New York located in the Catskill Mountains. Then in 1844, the Hackers journeyed to Illinois to Whiteside County, where her father took up farming on the Whiteside/Carroll County lines.
At the age of 33, on January 29, 1848, Mary Jane Hacker married Sheldon Coon whom a local historian called “Fisher Coon,” in Carroll County. Mary Jane and Sheldon had five children: George was born in 1848, Ralph was born in 1850. Mary was born in 1852. Amelia was born in 1854. Robert was born in 1856. Mary Jane Coon died July 4, 1896, at the age of eighty-one in Carroll County. She was buried in the Brethren Dunkard Cemetery in Shannon.
GEORGE W.S. COON
George Coon was the first child born to Sheldon and Mary Jane Coon on August 25, 1848, in Carroll County, Illinois. According to the 1860 Census, George, age 12, was going to school and was also working on the farm. At that time, boys earned a "common school education" which meant that they attended school through the eighth grade, learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. Their education was from hard work and common sense. In 1866, George enlisted in the Rebellion with Company A of the 15th U.S. Regular Infantry, enlisting as a private. He was soon commissioned as a Corporal and then promoted to Orderly Sergeant. He spent time in Texas and Alabama. He remained in his country's service until November 12, 1869. He returned home to Illinois, but soon moved to Monroe, Wisconsin where he became a farmer. George married Mary E. Heath, who was originally from Illinois. In the spring of 1871, they moved to Nebraska and took up a soldier's claim of 160 acres in Section 20 of Township 10 and Range 3 west of York, Nebraska. He then bought another 80 acres. Like other Nebraska settlers, the Coons' first home was a sod house. Five years later, they built a good frame structure. By 1882, George had 174 acres under plow, 50 fenced for pasture and the balance was meadow. He had a beautiful grove of his own planting, and over a mile of willow hedge around his farm. George and Mary had two sons: Sheldon born June 29, 1884, and George E. born July 1892 in Nebraska.
Ralph Coon Headstone
Ralph Coon was the second son born to Sheldon and Mary Jane Coon in Freedom Township in Carroll County, Illinois in 1850. According to the 1860 Census, Ralph was listed as attending school. In 1870, at age 20, the Census Report shows Ralph as living at home with his parents and helping on the farm. Later the next year, on November 17, 1871, Ralph married Melissa Chitty of Carroll County. In the 1880 Census, Ralph and Melissa were living in Cherry Grove Township and Ralph's occupation was listed as being a farmer. They were living on land, not too far from his parents' farm. They had six children: William born in 1872, Mary born in 1876, Lillian born in 1878, Joseph born in December 1881, Flora born in January 1883, and Hattie Mabel born in March 1888. By the 1900 Census Report, Ralph and his family had moved to a home on Ridge Street in Shannon, Illinois. Ralph and Melissa owned their own home. The 1920 and 1930 Census Reports for Shannon show that Ralph and Melissa were still living and retired. In 1930, the value of their home was $3500. Ralph died July 14,1931, in Shannon, Illinois. He was buried in the Brethren Dunkard Cemetery in Shannon.
MARY J. COON MOLL
Mary J. Coon was the third child, and first daughter, born to Sheldon and Mary Jane Coon. Named after her mother, the censuses for 1860 and 1870, showed that Mary was attending school. In 1870, Mary was eighteen, so she apparently attended school through high school. Mary married John G. Moll on September 14, 1870, in Carroll County. According to the 1880 Census, Mary and John were living on a farm in Cherry Grove Township, in Carroll County. Mary and John had two children: David Sheldon born September 4, 1871, and George C. born June 29, 1878. Mary died in 1890 in Shannon and was buried in the Brethren Dunkard Cemetery in Shannon.
AMELIA COON RODGERS
Amelia Coon was born December 13, 1854, on a farm in Carroll County, to Sheldon and Mary Jane Hacker Coon. She was the fourth of five children born to the couple. At the age of twenty one, Amelia married a farmer, William Rodgers, of Cherry Grove Township on December 22, 1875, in Spring Valley. The young couple bought some land, built a home and started farming the land. They also raised turkeys. While Amelia was responsible for taking care of the home, she also worked along side her husband in the fields. Amelia and William had four children: Mary Luella born in 1877, William Lester born in 1880, Hattie Belle born in 1886, and John Sheldon born in 1893. Amelia and William lived by the way of the Lord. After her husband's death in June of 1902, Amelia packed up her two youngest children and moved into the town of Shannon, leaving her oldest son, William, to run their 400 acre farm. Death ravaged the Rodgers' family once again a year later. On July 9, 1903, Amelia's son, William, age 23, died from pneumonia. According to family history, in 1905, Amelia came down with diphtheria, a disease that had flooded the countryside. Amelia Coon died on August 18, 1905, at the age of fifty. Her certificate of death though stated that she died suddenly of apoplexy (a stroke). Her children, Mary Truckenmiller, and Hattie and John Rodgers, who were still living at home, survived her.
According to Amelia Rodgers' Last Will and Testament dated August 18, 1905, Amelia's real and personal estate consisted of household goods, live stock, four hundred acres of land, and three lots in the village of Shannon. Her personal estate was valued at $1100. At that time, she owned sixteen head of cattle, two small calves, one bull, fourteen cows, fifteen calves, seven steers, eleven Huffians (hens), twenty-one sows, fifty-five shoats (young hogs), and ten sheep. Amelia Rodgers was buried in the Shannon Cemetery near her husband and son.
Robert Coon was born in Cherry Grove Township, Carroll County, Illinois in 1857 to Sheldon and Mary Jane Coon. He was their youngest child. Robert married Martha Holmes (1864-1920) of Carroll County, in 1881, in Carroll County, Illinois. They had one son, Herbert C. born in December 21, 1884, and a daughter Elsie. In the 1900 Census, Robert, Martha and Herbert were living in Shannon Township. Robert owned his own home and he listed his occupation as landlord. By 1920, Robert and Martha had moved to the nearby town of Freeport. Their son, Herbert, and his family lived next door. Martha died January 5, 1920. Robert died in Freeport on June 23, 1934.
21st Birthday Celebration of Herbert C. Coon on December 27, 1905
Several Coon family members were there to celebrate Herbert's birthday
In the first row, 2nd from right, is Herbert C. Coon, son of Robert Coon.
In row 2, first one on left is Elsie Mallory, future wife of Herbert Coon.
In row 3, first one on left is Mabel Coon, daughter of Ralph Coon,
Back row, 3rd from right, is Hattie Rodgers, daughter of Amelia Coon Rodgers.
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