PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF
MORGAN AND SCOTT COUNTIES, ILLINOIS.
Chicago, Chapman Brothers
Morgan County IL
(reprinted by the Jacksonville Area Genealogical and Historical Society, 1984)
CHARLES S. RANNELLS is a native of Morgan County, and was born Dec. 5, 1857. He was graduated from Illinois College, at Jacksonville, in the year 1879. His father, Samuel M. Rannells, was born in Bourbon County, Ky., Aug. 1, 1812, where he lived until he was sixteen years of age, when he emigrated to Morgan County, in 1828. He came here in company with his father, William Rannells. The ancestry of this family, on the paternal side, is traced to Scotland, while that of the mother is Swedish. On coming to Morgan County, William Rannells, the grandfather of Charles S., located on the home now owned and occupied by the latter.
Samuel M. Rannells, the father of Charles S., married Mary R. Springer, of Georgetown, Ky. She came to Morgan County in 1832, in company with the family of her brother_in_law. In her father's family were five children: Reuben R. and Charles G., of Cincinnati, Ohio (both died, leaving no children); Catharine, Caroline A., and Mary R. Samuel M. Rannells had eight brothers and sisters, four of whom are living.
To our subject's parents were born five children. Caroline M. married John C. Duer, of Jacksonville. He is deceased. Three children are living with the widow, whose names are Martha R., James M. and Anna C. Catherine, Ann, Mary, and Martha died in infancy.
Charles S., of whom this sketch is written, married Cornelia May Stevenson, daughter of Septimus Stevenson, on the 19th of May, 1880. He commenced his career in comfortable circumstances, and is now the owner of a magnificent homestead of 1,500 acres of land, and, in company with his sister, owns 1,000 acres more, all of which is well improved. He is engaged in general farming, and is an extensive feeder of cattle, of which he has on hand, at all times, a large herd. He is also engaged in breeding the Norman grade of draft horses, and also roadsters. He raises enough grain to supply the wants of his farm.
Mr. Rannells is a Republican in politics, and, in company with his
family, worships at the Presbyterian Church. He is one of the leading and
wealthy citizens of Morgan County, whose reputation is of the very best.
JOHN S. RANSDALL. Among the men who looked upon Central Illinois in its pioneer days, the subject of this notice deserves more than a passing mention. He is one of those whom nature endowed with more than ordinary capacities, especially in those moral qualities which go to make up a reliable, kindly and substantial character. It needs but a glance at Mr. Ransdell to read his character - that of a gentleman to the manner born - who has a natural aversion to everything mean or contemptible, and whose life has been in all respects one worthy of imitation. The reputation which he bears among his neighbors is "like apples of gold set in pictures of silver," and they who have known him best have the highest appreciation of his true character.
Mr. Ransdell was one time the owner of nearly 200 acres of land in Woodson Precinct, composed of timber and prairie, but later he parted with a portion of his real estate, and has now a snug farm of 160 acres, where he is spending his declining years, surrounded by all the comforts of life. He does but little active labor, renting out the most of his land. He occupies a neat and comfortable residence, which is flanked by all the other necessary buildings required for the successful prosecution of agricultural pursuits. In the home of his building up he has spent many peaceful years, and it is to be hoped that the future will add still further to his honor and contentment.
A native of Fayette County, Ky., and the second in a family of nine children, our subject was born Feb. 20, 1812. He lived in the Blue Grass State until a young man of twenty-two years, and then the whole family set out for Illinois, locating in the southeastern part of this county, where they all remained with the exception of our subject, who soon afterward returned to his native state. In the latter he sojourned for a period of eight years, engaged as a carpenter. He then rejoined his father's family in Apple Creek, this county, remained there about a year, then settled upon the land comprising his present farm. While carrying on its improvement and cultivation, he also continued working as a carpenter.
Mr. Ransdell was married at Georgetown, Scott Co., Ky., Feb. 15, 1841, to Miss Tabitha Grimsley. This lady was born in Fairfax County, Va., Nov. 18, 1819, and by her union with our subject became the mother of four children, all daughters: Sarah E., Mattie A., Mary A., and Laura V. The latter died Nov. 24, 1859. The others are located respectively in Jacksonville, Terre Haute, Ind., and Woodson precinct. Sarah E. is the wife of D. C. Green, of Township 14; Mattie A., Mrs. William R. Rout, is a resident of Jacksonville; Mary A., Mrs. Wills, is in Terre Haute, Ind. William Grimsley, the father of Mrs. Ransdell, was also a native of Fairfax County, Va., and married Miss Rebecca Ogden, a native of the same county, where they spent their entire lives.
Mr. and Mrs. Ransdell are both members in good standing of the Christian
Church. Our subject, politically cast his first Presidential vote for Clay,
and is one of the most reliable members of the Republican party. He and
his wife are widely and favorably known in this county, and number their
friends by the score, and their hospitable home is the frequent resort
of its best people.
JOHN RANSON. In the coming years when perhaps the grandchildren of the pioneers of Morgan County will be gathered together in social intercourse to talk of the old times, it will be gratifying to them to be able to peruse the records which are now being snatched from oblivion, and there will appear to them a certain charm in beholding the names of their sires in vivid black and white, as connected with the incidents of the early settlement of this county. The Ranson family from its known prominence and importance cannot properly be left out of this category, and the subject of this notice - one of its most worthy members - deserves more than a passing mention as a man who has redeemed a portion of the primitive soil, and built up one of the most desirable homesteads in his precinct. He is recognized as a thorough and skillful farmer, and has added in no small degree to the extent and value of the taxable property therein contained.
The offspring of a good family, our subject is the son of James Ranson, a native of Sheffield, England, who emigrated to America a single man, and later was married to Miss Sarah Richardson, a sister of Vincent Richardson, of this county. After their marriage the young people settled not far from the home of the Richardsons, and the father of our subject since that time has been a resident of this county, and continuously engaged in agricultural pursuits. The wife and mother died at the old homestead in Jacksonville, June 18, 1881. The parental household included seven sons and four daughters, of whom John, our subject, was the second born. He first opened his eyes to the light at the old homestead, near Lynnville, Jan. 27, 1836, and was there reared to man's estate. He remained a member of his father's household until taking up his abode in township 14, in 1862.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War our subject, then a man of twenty-five years, and full of his plans for the future, laid aside his personal interests, and enlisted as a Union soldier, Sept. 2, 1861, in Company K, 27th Illinois Infantry. After serving four months, mostly in the army of the Mississippi, he was obliged to accept his honorable discharge on account of disability. After his return home he gave his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits, in which he has since been engaged. Four years later he was married, May 23, 1865, at the home of the bride, four miles west of Jacksonville, to Miss Ann E. Killam. Mrs. Ranson was born near Liberty Church, on the 1st of October, 1843 and is the daughter of William and Mary (Hall) Killam, who were natives of England, and are now deceased.
In the spring of 1862, prior to his marriage Mr. Ranson settled in township 14, and is now the owner of 44o broad acres, nearly the whole of which has been brought to a high state of cultivation. In addition to general agriculture he is quite largely engaged as a stock-dealer, and from this industry has reaped quite a little fortune. His farm buildings are commodious and substantial, and he avails himself of the latest improved machinery in the cultivation of the soil. It has taken years of labor, and involved an outlay of thousands of dollars to bring his homestead to its present condition, and it is scarcely excelled by any in Morgan County in point of actual value.
Only three of the five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Ranson are now
living, viz: James W., Samuel E., and Charles L. The eldest is twenty-two
years of age, and the youngest fifteen, and they all remain under the home
roof. Mr. Ranson, politically votes the straight Republican ticket, and,
socially, is identified with the G. A. R.
MARTIN E. RATIGAN, late a prominent resident of Scott county, well-to-do, and a man of more than ordinary intelligence, constructed a good homestead fro 140 acres of land on section 26, township 15, range 13, that is now occupied by his widow, Mrs. Annie M. Ratigan, who was left a competence and is surrounded by all the comforts of life. She is a very intelligent lady and looked up to in her community.
Mr. Ratigan was born in Fermoyle, Lanesboro County Longbord, Ireland, Nov. 3, 1827, and was a son of John Ratigan, a native of Ireland and a farmer by occupation. Our subject was reared in his native country and when approaching manhood occupied himself as a farmer until coming to America, in 1851. He located first at Exeter, this County, and engaged in coal mining, prospecting for himself and shipping to different points, and accumulated a fortune. In 1863 he purchased eighty acres of land where in connection with mining he carried on farming and later added to his landed estate by the purchase of another eighty acres adjoining and which constitutes the present homestead. Much labor and time was involved in bring the land to a state of cultivation, but it responded generously to the hand of the husbandman and is now very fertile, being watered by Mauvaisterre Creek. Mr. Ratigan planted an abundance of fruit trees and a fine sketch of native timber adds to the value of the property. The commodious residence was erected by him, while the barn and other buildings are amply adapted to all the requirements of the modern agriculturist. Mr. Ratigan departed this life Oct. 29, 1887. Politically, he was a Greenbacker, and he exerted considerable influence in the councils of his party in this section.
Mrs. Ratigan since the death of her husband has managed the farm with rare good judgment and maintained its old-time reputation; she is the mother of eight children, the eldest of whom, Minnie, died at the age of two and half years. The survivors are Harry, George, Lucy, John F., William C., Daniel F., and Martha E., and they are all at home with their mother. Mrs. Ratigan has been a member of the I. O. G. T., and is a member of the Catholic Church at Bluffs. She has decided ideas concerning politics and is in favor of Democracy.
The parents of Mrs. Ratigan were Michael and Kate (Beecham) Deegan, natives of County Queens, Ireland. Her paternal grandfather, Richard Deegan, was a well-to-do farmer and sportsman, keeping his horses and hounds, and frequently hunting in the forest. He was a Lieutenant in the English army for six years and the family in those days had their coat-of-arms. The father of Mrs. Ratigan engaged in merchandising in County Queens during his younger years. After emigrating to America he established himself in the hardware trade at Rome, N. Y., but later came to Illinois and engaged in Hotel keeping near Exeter, Scott County. He died in Peoria. He was a Democrat, politically, and a member of the Catholic Church.
The mother of Mrs. Ratigan was also a native of County Queens, Ireland. She died in Rome, N. Y.; she was the daughter of Captain Henry B. Beecham, who, like his compeer, Grandfather Deegan, loved his horses and hounds and was a sportsman. To the parents of Mrs. Ratigan there born six children. Her sister, Eliza, Mrs. Sims, lives in Peoria, this State; Katie, Mrs. McLaughlin, is a resident of Pekin; Mary, Mrs. Eaves, lives in Milton, Pike County; Gretta, Mrs. Berkenmeyer, lives near Naples; Annie, Mrs. R., was the next youngest born.
Mrs. Ratigan was born near Drummond, in County Queens, Ireland, May
4, 1844, and was a mere child when she was brought by her parents to America.
They made the voyage on a sailing vessel, embarking at Liverpool and landing
in New York City. She grew to womanhood in Scott County, receiving a common
school education and was married in Peoria, March 4, 1862 to Mr. Ratigan.
ROBERT S. RAWLINGS. In the subject of this biography we have one of the youngest farmers of this county, he having not yet attained the twenty-fifth year of his age. He is more than usually fortunate, being already the owner of a fine farm of 220 acres, with a good set of buildings, and the improved machinery necessary for prosecuting agriculture in a profitable manner. This farm was given him by his father, James Rawlings, one of the wealthy men of Morgan County, and the son seems well calculated to take care of his property, and augment its beauty and value. He is of a pleasant and genial disposition, and a favorite among all his associates. He has one of the pleasantest homes in this region, and his household affairs are presided over by a most intelligent and agreeable lady, possessed of refined and cultivated tastes, and one who apparently has a full understanding of the manner in which to make home the most attractive spot on earth. Both friend and stranger are sensible of this fact whenever being privileged with a glance at the interior of this well regulated domicile.
Our subject, a native of this county, was born in township 13, Aug. 13, 1864, and was reared at his father's homestead, becoming familiar at an early age with agricultural pursuits, and receiving his education in the district school. He continued with his parents until his marriage, which took place March 11, 1884, at the home of the bride in Franklin. Mrs. Rawlings was formerly Miss Lavinia Wilson, daughter of George and Sarah (Mortimer) Wilson, who were also natives of England, and who emigrated to America about 1882. They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom Mrs. Rawlings was the eldest. She, like her parents, was born in Yorkshire, England, Sept. 28, 1864, and was a maiden of seventeen years when they came to America. She remained with them until her marriage, receiving careful home training and a common school education. Of her union with our subject there have been born two children - Amy A. and Gertrude.
The parents of our subject were James and Frances (Hembrough) Rawlings,
natives of Yorkshire, England, and whose family consisted of eight children,
of whom Robert was the sixth in order of birth. They crossed the Atlantic
about 1839, and settled at once in township 13, this county, where the
father engaged in agricultural pursuits, and where they still live. The
family is widely and favorable known, and represents the best element of
the community. Our subject, politically, like his honored father, votes
the straight Republican ticket, and without question will in due time rank
among the leading men of this community, contributing his full quota to
its moral and financial welfare.
EDWARD RAWLINGS. There is a goodly proportion of English-born citizens in this county, and they unquestionably comprise a portion of its best element. Among them may be properly mentioned Mr. Rawlings - a man who, amid the adverse circumstances surrounding his youth, triumphed over many difficulties and hardships, and now occupies an enviable position in life, socially and financially. He is the owner of 130 acres of improved land, in township 14, range 9, comprising one of the finest farms in this part of the county, and after many years of toil, during which he accumulated a competency, has wisely retired from active labor, and is enjoying the fruits of his industry.
Mr. Rawlings was born in Yorkshire, England, May 31, 1830, and came with his parents and their family to America in the fall of 1840, when a little over ten years of age. He remembers that they shipped from Liverpool to New York City, and were on the ocean six weeks. From the metropolis they proceeded to Albany, then to Buffalo, and from there by lake to Cleveland, Ohio. From that point they journeyed on to Cincinnati, thence to Cairo, Ill., thence to St. Louis, Mo., and from there up the Mississippi, finally arriving at Naples, Ill., whence they proceeded to Jacksonville, in this county. It is hardly necessary to say that this later town presented a wide contrast to its present condition.
The father of our subject, upon his arrival in this county purchased 560 acres of land, where he put up a house and commenced the cultivation of the soil. He lived there until his death.
William Rawlings, the father of our subject, was likewise a native of Yorkshire, England, and was born about 1780. The wife and mother, Mrs. Mary (Wilson) Rawlings, was born and reared not far from the childhood home of her husband, and passed away some twelve years after his demise. Of their ten children the record is as follows: William was born Aug. 22, 1821, and died nine days later; James was born Aug 12, 1822; Henry was born March 6, 1825, and died Sept. 26, 1873; William W. was born Sept. 22, 1827, and died Nov. 12 1857; Edward was born May 31, 1830; Charles, April 8, 1833; Lydia, Dec. 5, 1811; Mary, Feb. 10, 1814, and died Nov. 18, 1869; Rachel was born Sept 2, 1816; Anna, May 23, 1819, and died in April,, 1884. Charles married Miss Delaney, of this county, and died in Arkansas in 1880; his widow resides in Chapin, this State. Lydia married Vincent Richardson, of Yorkshire, England, and is now deceased; her husband and family live west of Jacksonville. Mary married Peter Richardson, of Yorkshire and both are deceased; Rachel married Richard Ambrough, of England, and who is farming in this county; they have one child - Sarah.
Our subject was first married Nov. 5, 1852, in this county, to Miss Sarah Ann Smith, a native of Yorkshire, and who died Sept. 26, 1881, without children. On the 10th of May, 1882, he contracted a second matrimonial alliance, with Miss Sarah Jane Simms, and to them were born four children, one of whom, Richard, died when seven months old. The survivors are Sarah A., Edward and William W. Mr. Rawlings commenced in life by working on a farm by the year, and after a few years purchased a team of horses and operated on land rented of his father - 160 acres - for which he paid $100 per year, and after the death of the mother he inherited this land from the estate. He then purchased forty acres of land, and the year following an additional forty acres. In a few more years he bought 110 acres, and thus kept adding to his real estate. He brought the whole to a good state of cultivation, and erected comfortable buildings. In addition to general agriculture he raises cattle, keeping usually about sixty head; has a goodly number of horses, and also sheep and swine. He is in all respects a forcible illustration of the results of energy and perseverance, and is one of those men who form the bone and sinew of the farming community.
Politically, Mr. Rawlings is a sound Republican. Both he and his
wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. R. has held
the various offices and to which he has contributed a cheerful and liberal
support. He has made many warm friends during his long residence in this
county, and is looked upon as one of the old landmarks - one whose name
will be held in remembrance long after he has been gathered to his fathers.
FRANKLIN RAYBON. In the subject of this biography we have a man who commenced life in this county with a capital of thirty_seven and a half cents, and who is now the owner of a well_regulated farm, embracing 125 acres of valuable land, upon which he has erected good buildings and otherwise added to the taxable property of his township. He was one of the earliest pioneers of this section, to which he came when there were but few evidences of civilization and people mostly dwelt in log cabins on the prairie, tilling their wild land under many difficulties and enduring all the hardships of life on the frontier. He and his wife also settled in a log cabin and farmed on fifty acres of land, which they rented on shares. Our subject did the work mostly himself, with the assistance of his wife, who dropped corn and did other light work.
The first purchase of Mr. Raybon was eighty acres on section 14, township 16, range 12, which he cleared, and from which he constructed a good farm. This they occupied until the years of 1876, when they removed to their present place. This has only been brought to a state of cultivation by downright hard work and good management, there being but few improvements when he took possession. The first year of his residence in this county Mr. Raybon worked for $100 and his board, and did not lose a single day by sickness or otherwise. He has, like other men, had his difficulties to contend with, but believing that "all things come to those who wait," labored with patience and hope, and finally met with his reward.
Mr. Raybon was born in Roane County, Tenn., Nov. 16, 1833, and came to this county with his brother John when a youth of fifteen years. He had only received a limited education, and for three years thereafter worked by the month. In January, 1850, before reaching the seventeenth year of his age, he was married to Miss Emaline Long, who was a few months older than her husband, and who was born March 26, 1832, and was, like him, a native of Tennessee. Her parents were Henry and Nancy (Gadberry) Long, likewise natives of Tennessee, and who came to this county when their daughter was an infant of five months. They settled on the raw prairie, in township 16, range 12, where the father put up a log cabin, cleared his land, and built up a comfortable homestead.
The four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Raybon are: Susan E., the wife of Alexander B. Condiff, of this county; Lewis A., a resident of Pleasant Hill, Mo.; Lucinda E., the wife of E. H. Williams, of this county; and Henry S., also living here.
Mr. and Mrs. Raybon, after their marriage, settled in a log cabin on section 25, township 16, range 12, the place which we have already mentioned, and lived in a manner corresponding to their means and surroundings. They have labored together with one purpose in view _ that of providing for themselves and their children, and rearing the latter in a manner which should make of them good and worthy members of society.
To the parents of Mrs. Raybon there were born ten children, eight of them are living. The eldest daughter, Mary, is the widow of Humphrey May; Annie married Alexander Johnson, and lives in Virginia; Jane is the wife of Washington Filey, of Kansas; Mrs. Raybon is next in order of birth; Christina, Mrs. L. W. Wallack, lives in Altamont, this State; Nancy is a resident of Concord; Melinda, the wife of W.B. Rigler, resides in Chandlerville; Tabitha Q., Mrs. E.P. Taylor, makes her home in this precinct. The parents were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Our subject, politically, votes the straight Democratic ticket, and
has served as School Director in his district. His father, Jesse Raybon,
was a native of North Carolina, and married Miss Susan Funk, who is supposed
to have been born in Tennessee and traced her ancestry to Germany.
JAMES W. REEDER is the son of one of the earliest settlers of Scott County, who bore an honorable part in its early development, and whose name is still held in reverence as that of a sturdy, enterprising pioneer, who led a useful, active life, guided by upright principles. The son of whom we write is a worthy descendant of such a sire, and is an invaluable citizen of Winchester Precinct, where the most of his life has been passed as boy and man, and with whose agricultural interests he has been identified many years as a prosperous, practical tiller of the soil, and a successful stock_raiser. He owns 253 acres of land of exceeding fertility, well adapted to general husbandry, all lying in a body, amply supplied with good buildings and well stocked with standard Short_horn cattle and Norman horses of high grade.
Mr. Reeder's parents, Amos and Nancy (Pratt) Reeder, were of Southern birth, natives respectively, of South Carolina and Virginia. An incident connected with the migration of his mother's family from the old home in Virginia to the wilds of Kentucky, when she was but five years old, well illustrates the dangers that the hardy, courageous pioneers of those days had to undergo in passing from one part of the country to another. The family were drifting down the Ohio River to their destination in an old_fashioned horse boat, and in passing the place where Louisville now stands an island divided the river into two channels, one straight and narrow, the other wider but more roundabout. The boat took the former course, and when it had fairly got into it the Indians on the shore began firing at it, and among those killed was Mrs. Reeder's mother, who was lying ill at the time. The parents of our subject were married in Kentucky, and continued to live there several years thereafter. But at last, impelled by the pioneer spirit of their ancestors, they resolved like them to seek a newer country, and in 1819 came to Illinois, which but a few months before had been admitted into the Union as the twenty_first State. They first took up their abode in Madison County, but four and one_half years later, in 1824, came to Scott County, and cast in their lot with the few pioneers that had preceded them to this part of the State. Mr. Reeder bought a tract of land, a part of which is now included in his son's homestead, paid for the improvements that had been made on it and entered it from the Government. Years of toil and hardship followed before he could get his land under cultivation and complete the necessary improvements. In this then sparsely settled region he and his family were obliged to forego many of the comforts of civilization that now seem indispensable, and they experienced many trials incidental to Pioneer life. Settlements were few and scattering, markets were far distant and they had to go way to St. Louis, Mo., to mill. Mr. Reeder's had labors did not go unrewarded, and in course of time he had developed a good farm from the wilderness. Jan. 8, 1831, his household was bereft of the patient, devoted wife and mother, and in 1848 he too passed to the life beyond. Seven children had blessed their wedded life, four sons and three daughters, all of whom have gone the way of all mortality, except our subject. The two older sons, John M. and Abisha, took an active part in the Black Hawk War.
James W., of this biographical review, was born June 30, 1816, in Christian County, Ky., and was about three years of age when he came with his parents to the Prairie State. He received his education in the primitive pioneer schools, which were of a very poor order, which he attended three months each year, when between the ages of eight and eighteen. He continued to live on the old homestead after he attained his majority, his father hiring him by the year to assist in its management, and ultimately giving him an eighty acre tract of land, of which only ten acres were fit for cultivation. Our subject commenced the improvement of his land, and also worked a part of his father's place on shares, continuing thus until February, 1849. In that month he married and established a home of his own, Miss Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Reuben Howard, of Scott County, becoming his wife. But four years was granted to them to walk the path of life together in happiness and peace, and then the young wife and mother folded her hands in death, and passed to the great beyond, leaving a precious memory of a sweet, pure womanhood that is still fondly cherished in the heart of him who knew best all her worth and goodness.
"Somewhere, yet, in the hilltops
Of the country that hath no pain,
She will watch in her beautiful doorway
To bid him welcome again."
Two children blessed the marriage of our subject, one who died in infancy, and Giles. The latter was born Oct. 19, 1849, and was reared to a stalwart, self_reliant manhood on his father's homestead, and is now numbered among the most intelligent and progressive citizens of his native precinct. He possesses in a full degree those sterling qualities of head and heart that command the confidence and win the respect of all with whom he associates. His reading is extensive, he being a lover of good books, and is well informed on all subjects of general interest. March 16, 1873, he was united in marriage to Miss Jane Packard, daughter of Squire Charles Packard, of Lynnville, Morgan County. They have three children, of whom the following is the record: Emma May was born April 30, 1876; Charles Russell, April 24, 1881; James Ray, Aug. 20, 1883. Both Mr. and Mrs. Reeder are members in good standing of the regular Baptist Church.
Mr. Reeder, the subject of this biography, has been prospered and
has accumulated a comfortable property wherewith he is content, not striving
after great riches. He is a man of strong common sense, and in all his
transactions he conducts himself with the same honor and probity that long
ago gained him the trust of his fellow_citizens among whom so many years
of his life have been passed, and in whose hearts he holds a warm place.
He is a sincere Christian, and for thirty years has been a leading member
of the regular Baptist Church, of which he is a Deacon. He has been Road
Overseer of the precinct, and takes an active part in politics, always
voting for the Democratic nominee, except in local elections, and his first
vote was cast for Martin VanBuren.
JOHN M. REID, one of the most enterprising young business men of Jacksonville, operates a livery, feed, sale and boarding stable on South Main street, which he established in the summer of 1883. He has spent the greater part of his life in this locality, and in Jacksonville, Aug. 7, 1855, first opened his eyes to the light of day. His parents were John B. A. and Mary (Weir) Reid, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Sangamon County, Ill.
The father of our subject was brought by his parents to this county in 1826, when a little child two years of age. The father was a farmer by occupation, and died two years after coming to Illinois, about 1828. John B. A. continued with his mother on the farm and followed agricultural pursuits during the remainder of his life. For many years the family lived northwest of the city.
Of the six sons and three daughters born to the parents of our subject eight are living, namely: John M., of this sketch, Albert N., Emma L., Charles, Mary A., William E., Henry O., and Arthur. John M. received a fair education, being graduated from the Business College at Jacksonville in the class of 1875. He then returned to the farm, and was interested in agricultural pursuits until the summer of 1883, when coming into the city he established his present business. He was prospered in this enterprise, and now keeps in his employ from four to nine men, having a fine line of horses and vehicles, and keeps many fine horses to board. The ground devoted to this purpose was purchased by mr. Reid in the spring of 1882, and that same year he erected his stable, which occupies an area of 60x190 feet. Upon this he expended $3,000, but has one of the finest equipped stables in the county and enjoys a patronage from its best people. In 1885 he purchased the residence which he now occupies for a like sum.
Mr. Reid was married, Nov. 22, 1877, to Miss Julia E. Williamson,
who was born Jan. 2, 1858, in Morgan County, and is the daughter of Samuel
and Cynthia (Mullen) Williamson. The parents of Mrs. Reid were natives
of Kentucky. Mr. Reid gives his personal supervision to his business and
has butt little time to meddle with politics, but keeps himself posted
upon current events, and uniformly votes the Republican ticket. He is contributing
his full quota to the business interests of Jacksonville, and is numbered
among the leading citizens.
REID, STEPHEN HOLLAND. The honored name which stands at the head of this sketch has been successively borne by three generations. It is here used to designate an esteemed citizen of the city of Jacksonville - an active and enterprising agriculturist, still the owner of a farm of 250 acres, in the northern part of township 15, range 10. He was born in the blue grass region at Lexington, Ky., April 23, 1815, and lived there until his removal with his parents to Illinois in 1826. His father, Stephen H. Reid, Sr., a native of Boston, Mass., was a marine in the United States Navy at the time of the threatened difficulty during the Presidency of John Adams. Afterward, coming to Kentucky, he married a Miss Prather, and lived in Lexington, working at his trade as a house carpenter.
Twelve bright and interesting children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Reid, of whom the subject of this sketch was the seventh and the eldest son. Deciding to move Westward to get land for his sons, the father first came to Illinois by boat up the river, and then entering Morgan County, took up about two sections of land, in scattered tracts of eighty acres each, hoping thus to get within the borders of a town. Four of these tracts are now included within the city limits of Jacksonville. Mr. Reid then returned to Kentucky for his wife and children and household goods. Starting in the autumn, with two six-horse wagons and a covered carriage, they spent the winter in Illinois, and again setting forth in the spring, reached their destination in Morgan County on the first of May. On account of bad roads the family were left at Olney, Ill., our subject and father pushing on to Morgan County. With no bridges and no roads even, journeying by land was slow and tedious and a veritable slough of despond must have been the three mile stretch between Big and Little Ocho rivers at Vandalia, known as the "Hell and Scissors," which it took three days to cross. The Reid family at once took up their abode in a log cabin built for them during his absence, on the northeast corner of section 17, one mile north and a little west of what is now the public square of Jacksonville.
The next year witnessed the breaking of twenty acres of prairie, the hewing of timber and the framing of a house. The new dwelling was nearly ready for occupancy when the death of the pioneer Reid left the widowed wife and mother with the care of a farm and nine children. They endured the usual privations and hardships of those early days. IN the absence of flour and meal and mills for grinding, bread was made from grated corn, to different members of the family the task being assigned of grating a certain number of ears every evening. A frequent substitute for bread was a preparation of wheat, boiled like rice and called "fermative." For meat there was plenty of venison, with fresh pork and bacon from wild hogs, while prairie chickens, quails, wild turkeys and other gave were abundant. Farm produce was mostly taken to St. Louis for market. As to groceries, they had none to speak of . There was but one little store in Jacksonville. The fields furnished a substitute for coffee, a sweetening syrup was made from pumpkin, a little sugar from the maple. Milk and butter were not lacking. The first grain of genuine coffee that Mr. Reid ever saw was some gathered in Gen. Washington's garden. He ate one green kernel, and decided that he wanted no more. The log school-house was then in the land, and was used for religious as well as educational purposes, its walls often resounding to the fervid eloquence of the itinerant preacher.
The Reid family remained together several years, Stephen contributing mainly to its support, until 1837, when, being at that time twenty-two years of age, he made a journey to Kentucky and brought thence a wife, Martha Capps, a native of Clark County. They had three children of whom only one survives, Stephen Holland Reid, Jr., now a resident of Macoupin County, a farmer and Justice of the Peace, and, indeed, a representative citizen. Caleb C., and John W. died at two years of age. Mr. Reid's mother passed her last years in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Capps, dying at the advanced age of eighty years.
His first wife dying Feb. 28, 1845, Mr. Reid married Feb. 19, 1846, Miss Martha Garratt, a native of Cheshire, England, who came to America when a young lady, with her mother and brother. Seven children were the fruit of this union, six of whom are now living, namely: John Garratt, a physician in Woodburn, Ill., who married Mrs. Mary J. Whittier; Lydia C., still at home; Richard Watson, a lawyer in town, graduate of the Chicago Law School; George W., Enoch S., E. James, the three latter on the farm; Sarah died at the age of six months.
As before intimated, Mr. Reid spent a great part of his active life
as a stock raiser and tiller of the soil on a farm in the northwest part
of this township, clearing between 700 and 800 acres, and enclosing a part
of it which has never yet been out of his hands. The first brick house
in that neighborhood was built by him and occupied by his family until
1875, when he moved into his present city home, No. 402, North Church street.
Here, in the following year, his second wife died. Both Mr. and Mrs. Reid
were consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as were his
father and mother before him. Mr. Reid has been for many years a local
preacher, and is now an elder in the church, contributing to its counsels
the wisdom and sympathy which come with the varied experiences of a long
and earnest life.
REXROAT, LEWIS, the owner of 512 broad acres in township 16, range 11, with his homestead on section 21, has lived on the farm, which he now occupies since the 20th of March, 1866. He was a poor man upon coming to this county, and has illustrated in a forcible manner the results of diligence and frugality. He has practically retired from active labor, but superintends the operations of his large farm, which is mostly devoted to stock raising, there being upon it now about 130 cattle, together with horses and swine.
Mr. Rexroat is a native of this county, having been born in Arcadia Precinct, on the 23d of May, 1845. His father Zachariah Rexroat, was a native of Adair County, Ky., and the son of parents, who were probably of German ancestry, if not born in the Fatherland. Zachariah was reared to farm pursuits and remained in the Blue Grass State until reaching manhood. Then coming to Illinois, he settled in this county in the latter part of 1829. He was married after coming here, in Arcadia Precinct, to Miss Sarah Bristow, who was born and reared in this county, and who was the daughter of an excellent family.
The parents of our subject after their marriage settled on a tract of land and their life thereafter was similar to that of the pioneers of Arcadia Precinct, who endured many hardships and difficulties, as the country was wild and new and there was neither stage route nor railroad. Not far from their homestead there grew up in time the flourishing town of Arcadia, and the father being prospered, became the owner of 1,800 acres of land valued at about $100,000.
The father of our subject began the struggle of life for himself as a day laborer in this county and was most essentially the architect of his own fortune. He was very active in mind and body, and labored for many years early and late to developing his farm and adding to his possessions. He lived to attain the good old age of eighty-two years and was gathered to his fathers Sept. 7, 1888. The mother is still living at the old homestead, and is now almost eighty years old. She is a smart, bright old lady and for many years has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Eight of the thirteen children born to herself and husband are still living - five sons and three daughters.
The subject of this notice remained a member of his father's household until a youth of eighteen years, and then the Civil War being in progress, enlisted in Company D, 10th Illinois Cavalry, under the command of Capt. G. W. Curry, and remained with his regiment until January, 1866. He was most of the time employed as a scout throughout Kansas and Texas, and when his services were no longer required, received his honorable discharge at San Antonio, the latter State. He was never wounded or taken prisoner and upon returning home resumed the farm pursuits to which he has been bred from boyhood.
The 29th of May, 1866, witnessed the marriage of our subject with
Miss Catherine Goodpasture, who was born in township 16, range 11, Dec.
5, 1845. Her parents were Abram and Lizzie (Smith) Goodpasture and her
mother died when she was but eleven years of age. The father was married
a second time and lives on a farm in this township. Mrs. Rexroat has been
a lifelong resident of this county, receiving her education in the common
school and becoming familiar with all kinds of domestic employments. Both
she and her husband are members in good standing of the Methodist Protestant
Church, in which Mr. Rexroat is Trustee and Circuit Steward. Politically,
he gives his adherence to the Prohibitionists, being strongly in favor
of temperance and of every measure which will put down the traffic of ardent
spirits. Of the nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. Rexroat, Sarah E., died
when one year old. The survivors who are all at home with their parents
are named, respectively: Rosa E., William H., Laura A., Richard A., Mary
E., Maggie, Zachariah and Robert L.
VINCENT S. RICHARDSON, SR., is one of the oldest and best-known inhabitants of Morgan County. He is well located in township 15 and range 11, where he has labored industriously for many years, the result of which has been the accumulation of a large fortune. His homestead now consists of 260 acres, which is the portion he has left out of about 1400 acres that he formerly owned. He has given each of his children a farm. The homestead is an ideal one. The land is in a high state of cultivation, and the house is a model of comfort and convenience. He has lived in this township since July 22, 1830, and is now enjoying the rest he has earned.
Mrs. Richardson also owns 400 acres of good land in Scott County, besides twenty improved lots in Merritt, Ill. Mr. Richardson is a native of England, being born in Yorkshire, near Scarboro, in the North Riding, on the 9th of May, 1806. He came from a good family, and one prominent in Yorkshire, this being the home of the Richardsons for many generations. They were a hardy, industrious class of people. Mr. Richardson is one of nine children. His father and mother, John and Elizabeth (Coats) Richardson, lived in their native county until they came to America. They were preceded to this country, however, by their son Vincent, who sailed from Liverpool in April, 1830, and after a voyage of seven weeks and two days landed in New York City. He did not tarry long there, but started for the West, visiting several different states in quest of a good location, but he found none to suit him until he reached Morgan County, and here he found his ideal of a farming country. He says that he has never seen the time when he regretted his choice.
As a matter of course, when Vincent Richardson arrived in Morgan County the country was wholly undeveloped; but, with a determination to succeed, he went bravely to work, and has succeeded beyond his fondest dream. Being so well pleased with this country, he wrote to his people in England, and in consequence, his father and mother and the rest of the children came over, arriving in October, 1831. They soon found a home in what is now the southwest part of township 15 and range 11. His father, John Richardson, was not long in securing a good property, upon which he lived and died. His death occurred in 1851, when he was nearly eighty-five years old. His wife died some years later, at the age of eighty-four. They are held in kindly remembrance as the best of people. The old gentleman was a Whig, and took great interest in the politics of his adopted country. His wife worshiped with the Methodists.
Vincent Richardson is the only survivor of a family of five sons and four daughters, of which four sons and three daughters lived to be married. His early habits formed in England served him well in this country. He was taught that industry and prudence were two indispensable virtues, and by this sign he has conquered. A few years after he came to this country, he was married to Miss Lydia Rawlins, who was born in North Riding, Yorkshire, England, in 1809. Her parents, William and Mary (Wilson) Rawlins, came to America in 1837, and afterward lived and died in Morgan County. They were the parents of five sons and four daughters. Three of the children are still living. Mrs. Lydia Richardson died at her home in this township in 1868. She was then past middle life, and had done her share toward making the fine home where she died. She was the mother of nine children, three of whom are deceased. Two of the children died in infancy, while Elizabeth passed away after she was married and became the mother of four children. Her husband, Charles Lazenby, survives her with three children. The living survivors of Vincent Richardson's family are: Mary A., wife of Robert Riley, who lives in this county; John V. is a farmer, and resides in township 15 and range 11; William A. married Alice Sanderson; they also live on a farm in township 15. George S. married Frances Rawlins, and is also farming in the same township; Vincent S., Jr., is a farmer in Stafford County, Kan., and married Mary Frost; James I. married Jane Wilson, and is residing on a farm in Champaign County, Ill.
Mr. Vincent Richardson's second marriage occurred in Scott County,
to Mrs. Mary Gannen, nee Cherune. She is a native of Scott County, Ill.,
and was born May 4, 1835. Her father and mother are dead. Her first husband,
John Gannen, accumulated a large property, leaving his widow 400 acres
of land, which still belong to her. Mr. and Mrs. Richardson are public
spirited people, and believe fully in the Golden Rule. Mr. Richardson is
a Republican, and has held many local offices. He is also a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church.
JONATHAN RICHARDSON is a general farmer and stock-raiser, whose farm is situated on section 27, township 15, range 11. Here he owns 110 acres of very fine land, and good buildings. He has lived on this farm since 1870, renting the place until 1877, when he purchased it with money made as a renter. He came to Jacksonville in May, 1857, directly from England, and since coming to this country has made his home in Morgan County. He was born in Yorkshire, England, April 15, 1835.
Mr. Richardson's career since coming to America is a practical illustration of the possibilities that lie within the reach of all who have the courage, ability and industry to grasp them. His English training taught him that nothing is gained without labor, and following this idea, he has reached a high eminence in his calling. Many Englishmen have come to this country with money, and plenty of it, and have miserably failed. They did not have a proper conception of their opportunities but brought with them the high notions that are inseparable from the English aristocracy. On the other hand, the poor man who, perhaps, came in the same ship, riding in the steerage of the vessel while his wealthier brother was having the best in the cabin, attained wealth, and when they visited their native land, it is safe to say that the one who came here with money exchanged places on the ship with the Englishman who came here totally destitute of resources.
The father of the subject of this sketch, Jonathan Richardson, Sr., was a typical English farmer. He was a native of Yorkshire, and was married in his native county to Jane Pasby, who was a native of the same shire. After marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, Sr., began farming on a small scale, and in common with most small farmers in England, it was with difficulty that they made both ends meet, but they succeeded in giving their children a fair education, and teaching them that their success in life would depend wholly upon their own efforts; and with that lesson fully learned, Jonathan Richardson, Jr., sailed for America in 1857, joining his brother, William, who had preceded him to America in 1850, and had located in Morgan County.
In 1858, the father and mother, accompanied by three of their other children, came to the United States and located near Jacksonville. They both lived and died in Morgan County, living to a good old age. The elder Richardsons had a reputation of being prudent, industrious and intelligent people, and when they died were deeply mourned. When Jonathan, Jr. came to America, he had just become of age. He was married in the house he now owns and occupies, on April 12, 1867, to Miss Martha J. Mawson, a native of Scott County, and who was born March 10, 1841. She is the daughter of Robert and Ann (Killam) Mawson, now both deceased, having died at their home at an advanced age. The parents of Mrs. Richardson were natives of Yorkshire, England, and came to America in 1829 and located in Morgan County. They came here when this part of the country was nearly uninhabited, and by good management built up a comfortable fortune. Their reputation was that of worthy citizens.
Mrs. Richardson, as before indicated, was reared to womanhood in
this county. Not being blessed with any children of their own, Mr. and
Mrs. Richardson reared and educated two - Thomas B. Swawell and Lena Ball.
Mr. Richardson is a Republican in politics, and attends the Methodist Episcopal
JOHN V. RICHARDSON, one of the practical and successful farmers of Morgan County, lives on section 28, township 15, range 11, where he owns and operates a magnificent farm, and lives in one of the finest residences in his township. The barns are in keeping with the rest of the place. Everything around his farm denotes the intelligence of te owner, and is an object lesson of American independence.
Mr. Richardson has lived on his farm since 1862, and has made most of the improvements that now adorn the place, since he purchased it. He owns eighty acres in another part of the township also. He was born not farm from Franklin, this county, on Feb. 14, 1840. His father Vincent Richardson, whose biography appears in another part of this volume, is one of the prominent men of the county. He came here in 1830, and was one of the men who originally bought his land from the Government. He was born in Yorkshire, England, and was married to Miss Lydia Rawlins, who died some twenty years ago. He married a second wife, who is still living.
John V. Richardson was the second child and eldest son of a family of five sons and two daughters. As had been before stated, he was reared and educated in this county, where he was married, near Lynnville, to Miss Mary Combs. She was also a native of Morgan County, and was born May 8, 1851. She is the daughter of Richard Combs, who was a native of Devonshire, England. After her father attained his majority, he came to the United States, where he married his wife, who died when she was in the prime of life, and when her daughter, Mrs. Richardson, was quite young. After her death, Mrs. Richardson was reared by her father, who is yet a resident of Lynnville, this county, where he has retired from active life, and is living with his second wife.
After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, they took up their
residence on their present elegant farm, and in 1879 returned to the native
land of their parents, in England. They returned with new ideas of the
early life of their parents, and how it was spent in England. Mrs. R. died
at her home Dec. 7, 1887. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
and died in that faith. She was a woman of fine character, and well beloved
by all who knew her. She left four children, the following of whom are
deceased: Walter C. aged four years. He was accidentally killed by swallowing
carbolic acid: Minnie B., died aged eighteen years. She was a bright and
intelligent young lady. The two living children are John W., who is fifteen
years of age, and Annie S. seven years old. Mr. Richardson is a Republican,
and takes great interest in the welfare of his party, and though he is
not what may be termed a politician, he is always foremost in the councils
of his party. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in religious
matters, displays the same enthusiasm that he does in secular affairs.
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