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)
THOMAS WILCOX. The farming and stock-raising interests of Morgan County are finely represented by Mr. Wilcox, who owns 250 acres of land, comprising his homestead in this county, and 190 acres in Sangamon County. The whole has been brought to a good state of cultivation, and is supplied with the buildings necessary for carrying on agriculture easily and profitably. Mr. Wilcox makes a specialty of stock-raising, especially horses, and keeps fifteen brood mares, comprising some of the most valuable animals in this section. His residence and its surroundings form one of the most attractive homes in the township, and he is regarded as a man representing its most important interests.
A large proportion of the active agriculturists of this county are operating not far from the place of their birth, as is the case of our subject, who was born in Sangamon County, this State, June 28, 1831. He was given a common-school education, and in his boyhood became familiar with farm pursuits. His father, Ellis Wilcox, was born in Kentucky, about 1792, where he lived until reaching man's estate. He was then married to Miss Ann Lewis, of South Carolina, whose parents had removed to Kentucky, and the young people continued residents of the Blue Grass State for some time after their marriage. They finally emigrated to Macoupin County, Ill. The father of our subject was married in 1820, and settled in Sangamon County, this State, where they lived five years. Next they took up their residence in this county, and the mother died in 1876. The father is still living with his son in Sangamon County, and has arrived at the advanced age of ninety-seven years. Upon coming to this county he first secured eighty acres of land, to which he added by degrees until he was the owner at one time of 700 acres. The parental family included six children, four of whom are living, viz.: Josiah L., John F., Charles H., and Thomas.
Josiah Wilcox was first married to Alace Parker, of Sangamon County, and they became the parents of one child, Joseph. After the death of his wife he was married to Fanny Patterson, and he is now a practicing physician and surgeon of Springfield; they have three children - Dwight, Annie and Augustus. John E. was first married to Miss Mary Ray, now deceased; his second wife was Fanny Scott, of this county, also deceased, and who became the mother of five children. His present wife was formerly Fanny Meachan; they have no children. Charles married Miss Carrie Caruthers, and they live on a farm in Sangamon County; they have two children - Lew and Warren. Samuel died at the age of twenty-one years.
Our subject was married, in 1856, to Mrs. Catherine (Ruble) Fox. Her father, Jesse Ruble, was of German descent, and came from Tennessee to Illinois at an early day. The record of their ten children is as follows: Charles was born Dec. 10, 1856; Albert, July 23, 1858; Benjamin was born Jan. 20, 1860, and died March 8, 1888; Mary Ann was born Aug. 27, 1861; William, May 7, 1863; Francis was born March 14, 1867, and died July 18, 1885; Ruth S. was born Sept. 22, 1872; Thomas Aug. 22, 1874; and Katie E. Feb. 18, 1877. Charles married Miss Susan Kuhns, of Sangamon County, and is operating as a lumber merchant and agricultural implement dealer at New Berlin. He has four children - Mary, Henry, Edith and Benjamin. Albert married Carrie Wilcox, of Sangamon County, and lives in Macoupin County, where he is engaged in the breeding of Percheron horses; they have three children - Hattie L., Bertha and Dora.
Ellis Wilcox upon coming to this county began at first principles
in the accumulation of a competence, for he possessed no capital excepting
his strong hands and resolute will. He was a man who persevered through
every difficulty, and being honorable and upright in his dealings secured
the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. Thomas, our subject, is
apparently following in his footsteps, and is perpetuating the reputation
of the family in a most praiseworthy manner. Both he and his excellent
wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Wilcox
is a Steward, and one of its chief pillars. He is a Republican in politics,
and a man who keeps himself well informed upon current events, while at
the same time he carefully avoids the responsibilities of office, having
about all one man can attend to properly, in the management of his extensive
CHARLES A. WILDAY, one of the most public-spirited and enterprising citizens of Meredosia Precinct, is numbered among its leading farmers and stock-raisers, and has a fine estate on section 17, township 16, range 12. He is a native of the Prairie State, and was born in Logan County, Dec. 22, 1843, being thus a man in the prime of life and the midst of his usefulness.
Benjamin and Sarah (Hults) Wilday, the parents of our subject, were both natives of Ohio, where they were reared and married, and whence they came to Logan County, Ill., early in the forties. They resided there a comparatively brief time, then came to Morgan county and settled on section 3, of the precinct in which our subject now resides. The father took up a tract of wild land where he made many improvements and brought the soil to a good state of cultivation. Not being satisfied with his surroundings, however, he removed to a point about four miles southeast of Meredosia, building up a comfortable home which he still occupies. The mother departed this life in December, 1861. Their six children were named respectively, William H., Elizabeth, Charles A., our subject, Arthusa J., James M., and Benjamin R.
The father of our subject came to Illinois with no means to speak of, but is now the owner of 200 acres of good land, and is one of the representative citizens of the county. He is a pillar in the Baptist Church and enjoys an extended acquaintance in the community where he has made many and life-long friends. His head is silvered by the snows of many winters but his life has been such that he is in the enjoyment of a green old age, surrounded by children and friends, and with a consciousness of having performed his part in life in a manner to reflect honor upon his posterity.
The subject of this sketch received a limited education, and has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was married at the age of nearly twenty-six years, nov. 18, 1869, to Miss Sadonia Houston, whose parents were natives of Kentucky, and for a number of years residents of Cass County, Ohio. Of the five children born of this union two are deceased. The survivors are, Florence, Guy and Maude S. Morris, and one child unnamed are deceased.
The Wilday homestead comprises 280 acres of choice land, which, with
the exception of about sixty acres, is situated in the famous Meredosia
bottoms, noted for the fertility of the soil. The principles of the Democratic
party coincide with the political views of our subject, although in local
matters he votes for the man whom he considers best qualified for office.
He was elected School Trustee in the spring of 1887, for a term f three
years, and has signalized himself as the friend of education and progress.
While having no use for the drones in the world's great hive, no man is
more ready to assist those who will try to help themselves.
ALEXANDER WILDAY, a leading pioneer of this county, is comfortably established on section 3, township 15, range 12. He is a native of Pike County, Ohio, and was born July 11, 1825, to Thomas and Eleanor Wilday, who were both natives of Delaware. They lived in that State until the death of the father, which occurred when the subject of this notice was a young man of twenty years.
In 1846, accompanied by his widowed mother and three other children, Mr. Wilday emigrated to Logan County, this State, where he settled and lived two years. In 1848 he changed his residence to this county, locating upon the land comprising his present homestead. The mother purchased 400 acres, which were subsequently transferred to our subject and his brother Jerial. The family performed a great deal of hard labor in those early days, and our subject, in December, 1850, established domestic ties of his own by his marriage with Miss Talitha Drinkwater. This lady was born in Cass County, this State, and was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Drinkwater, who were early settlers of that county. Of this union there were born four children, only two of whom are now living: Sarah E., the wife of W.H. Geiger, of Tama County, Iowa, and Martha J., Mrs. Thomas Naylor, of this county.
Our subject studied his first lessons in a log cabin in his native
county, the floor of which was of puncheon, the benches and desks of slabs
and the window panes of greased paper. During the years which have intervened
since then he has been an interested witness of the growth and development
of the Great West, particularly of Illinois, and has contributed, as he
was able, to the general result. In religious matters he is a member of
the Primitive Baptist Church, while his estimable wife belongs to the Methodist
Episcopal Church. He has served as School Director probably fifteen years,
and in politics uniformly votes the Democratic ticket. He has been successful
in accumulating a fair share of this world's goods, and is numbered among
the upright men of his community who enjoy, in a large measure, the esteem
of their fellow_citizens.
BENJAMIN WILDAY, an Illinois pioneer of 1842, came to Logan County, this State, with his wife and two children during that year and taking up a piece of wild land labored upon it until 1848. That year he changed his residence to Morgan County, of which he has since been a resident. He farmed on rented land a number of years and finally settled on section 25, township 6, range 13, where he resided until 1887. He then removed to his present homestead on section 36, township 16, range 13.
A native of Pike County, Ohio, Mr. Wilday was born in Feb. 1815, and is the son of Thomas and Ella Wilday, the father a native of Maryland and the mother of Delaware. They settled in Ohio at an early day and became the parents of nine children, five of whom survive. Nancy, Mrs. Cline, is a resident of Logan County, this State; Jeriel; Rebecca married John Gilliland of Morgan County; Betsey, Mrs. Corwine, is a widow and resides in Lincoln; Charles, Alexander and Benjamin.
Our subject was reared to man's estate in his native county and pursued his studies in the log cabin school house principally during the winter season. The temple of learning was a rude structure in keeping with the time, destitute of patent seats or desks and with greased paper for window panes. The floor was made of puncheons and the chimney was built outside of earth and sticks. The system of education was in keeping with the building and its appointments, but the youth of that day grew up strong and healthy in mind and morals, and almost uniformly made good and reliable citizens.
Young Wilday remained a member of his father's household until ready to establish domestic ties of his own. He was married in his native county May 20, 1837, to Miss Sarah Hults, and they sojourned there for a period of five years. Their subsequent movements we have already indicated. Of the nine children born to them six are living, namely: William H., Charles A., Elizabeth, Arethusa J., James M. and Benjamin R. At the time Mr. Wilday came to Morgan County a large proportion of the land was in its primitive condition, only a comparatively few men having yet ventured on to the Western frontier. He endured his full share of hardship and privation, laboring early and late in obtaining a foothold and making a comfortable living for his family. He has a fine farm, part of which lies in the fertile Meredosia bottoms. He commenced the battle of life for himself without means or resources other than the good health and stout muscles with which nature had endowed him.
Mr. Wilday suffered an irreparable loss in the death of his estimable
wife, which took place Dec. 16, 1861. She was a lady possessing all the
Christian virtues and her death was not only deeply mourned by her own
family but regretted throughout the community. Mr. Wilday is a time_worn
veteran of seventy_four years and while reflecting upon the changes of
a long life, may feel that his time has been reasonably well spent and
that he has learned much from experience and observation. He has had very
little to do with public affairs and has never been confined within any
party lines, availing himself of the privilege to support for office those
men whom he considers most likely to serve the interests of the people.
In religious matters he is identified with the Baptist Church.
HENRY WILKIE is a general farmer, living on section 26, township 16, range 11, and owns a fine farm of eighty acres. If there is one thing in agriculture in which a German excels, it is in his thoroughness in cultivating his land. On his farm nothing is allowed to go to waste, and everything connected with it denotes thrift and industry. Though Mr. Wilkie's farm is not so large as those of some of his neighbors, it will be a safe assertion to make, that he gets as much from an acre of ground as any other farmer. It is a notable characteristic of his race to do all things well.
Mr. Wilkie has lived on his present farm since 1865, coming here from Sheboygen, Wis., where he had lived from his boyhood days. He was born in Mechlenburg, Germany, on Aug. 7, 1832. He is the son of Charles and Elizabeth (Schmidt) Wilkie, who were also natives of Mechlenburg, and were residents of that city until they came to America. The father was a shoemaker by trade, and a successful one. In 1849, the father, mother and two sons concluded to seek their fortunes in far_off America, of which they had read and heard so favorably, and after a voyage of seven weeks and three days they landed, without incident worthy of mention, at New York. They immediately started for Sheboygen County, Wis., where they arrived in due time, and in a few years the elder Wilkie purchased a tract of land, upon which he is yet living, at the age of eighty_five years, and is enjoying good health. His wife died in 1887, and was then eighty_three years and two months of age. They had celebrated their golden wedding five years before the death of Mrs. Wilkie. She was a member of the Lutheran Church, and her husband also believes in the same religion. In their neighborhood none were better thought of than this venerable couple.
Henry Wilkie is the eldest of the two sons born to his parents. His brother, William, died, leaving a wife and two children, his death occurring in Jacksonville. Henry was educated in his native city, and was early apprenticed to the carpenter's trade, finishing it at Chicago. He became a good mechanic, and at this business he first got a start in the world. He was married in Wisconsin to Miss Henriette Seibert, who was born in Germany in 1841, and was four years old when her parents came to the United States. Her father, Charles Seibert, is yet living on a farm in Sheboygen County, Wis., where her mother died when Mrs. Wilkie was quite young. Mrs. Wilkie was educated and lived to maturity in Wisconsin. She is the mother of three children, as follows: Adelia is the wife of Philip Engel, who is a druggist, living in Kansas City, Mo.; Made and Charles are at home, assisting their father and mother in carrying on the farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilkie are well known, in the community where they have
so long resided, as a worthy couple, and of whom naught can be said but
words of commendation. Mr. Wilkie, politically, does not affiliate with
any party, but prefers to vote and act independently. He cares little for
politics, and is only desirous of seeing the best men in office.
ALFRED WILLIAMS, one of the oldest living settlers of his locality, having come to Morgan County, Ill., in October, 1837, is a native of St. Lawrence County, N.Y., and was born Jan. 10, 1822. He was the son of Joseph and Hannah Williams, both natives of Vermont. His grandfather, Joseph Williams, Sr., was a soldier in the War of 1812, and also one of the early settlers of Vermont.
Alfred Williams was reared in his native county until his sixteenth year, at which time, with an uncle, he came to Morgan County, where he has remained since. He is distinguished as being one of a company who operated the first threshing machines and cleaners in this county and State. He and his Uncle Seth Wetherbee broke the first furrow on the present site of the village of Chapin. For several years Mr. Williams owned and operated a threshing machine, from which business he made considerable money. In 1848 he settled on his present farm, which was then destitute of improvements, being wild, uncultivated prairie land. He broke the land and continued to make improvements, buying more until he now owns a farm of 362 acres, unequaled in fertility, and to be the owner of which any man ought to feel proud. Mr. Williams has seen this section of the country develop from a wilderness to a garden spot, and now upon every hand is to be seen prosperity, where once was poverty. He is one of the thousands of pioneers who are reaping the harvest of plenty that was sown by them years ago. He has been successful beyond his fondest dream, and he deserves it. His magnificent estate is a monument to his industry, perseverance and good management.
Politically, Mr. Williams is a Republican, and when the Whig party was in existence, acted with them, and during the war, he was an active Union man. He has served as School Director, but being of a modest nature, he cares but little for office. He married Miss Esther Bean, May 22, 1851, who bore him four children, two of whom are living: Joseph B. Williams, married Ada A. Wing, of Bridgeport, Vt., and is farming part of the homestead; Arthur C. married Nellie A. True, of Morgan County. Her parents were formerly from New Hampshire. He also farms a part of the home place. Joseph B., and Arthur C. are both prosperous residents of Morgan County. The deceased children are Julius Seth, and Alfred. Both Mr. Williams and his wife are members of the Congregational Church at Joy Prairie. Mrs. Williams was the daughter of Joshua Bean, of Readfield, Kenebec Co., Me., twelve miles from Augusta. Her mother was Abigal Pierce, of Westbrook, Cumberland Co., Me. They reared a family of seven children, two boys and five girls. They subsequently removed to Massachusetts, and lived and died at Chelsea, Mass. Mrs. Williams was in her girlhood liberally educated, and in October, 1850, came to Morgan County, Ill., alone, and taught school in country district, about three miles from her present home; it was here she became acquainted with Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams was one of the original members and prime movers in the establishment of the Congregational society, donating land upon which to build the church. He is a Trustee of the church spoken of, and is always ready and willing to do anything for the improvement of his chosen religion. He is liberal and enterprising, and is one of the few men in this world who do charitable acts in an unostentatious manner.
Mr. and Mrs. Williams, are now a little past the prime of life, enjoying
the fruits of their early industry, and their neighbors are unanimous in
saying that they deserve all the comfort there is to be had in this life.
CHARLES WILLSON, a retired and highly reputable citizen of Winchester, was born July 13, 1812, in Lycoming County, Pa. His father, Ezra Willson, was a native of New Jersey, and traced his ancestry as coming from Wales. In the days of Mr. Willson's youth it was a difficult matter to obtain proper schooling, but being of an aspiring nature, and fully realizing that without education he would go through the world handicapped, he successfully waded through difficulties that would seem to the modern youth insurmountable, and so, at the age of eighteen years, he was in the possession of a fair education, and going to Canada, he there learned the trade of a blacksmith. In the early part of 1836 he concluded to see more of his native country, and possessing little else beside hope and high resolves, he came West, landing at Jacksonville, this State, and in the following autumn came to Winchester. The greater portion of Illinois was at this time an almost trackless prairie, whose only inhabitants were savages and wild beasts; but the transformation has been complete. Beautiful cities, elegant homesteads, and peace and plenty are found on every hand. Here Mr. Wilson for twenty years carried on blacksmithing and accumulated a handsome competence, the result of industry and prudence. To aid a young man in whom he felt some interest, he furnished the capital and joined him in the grocery business, from which he withdrew at the end of three years, having placed his younger friend fairly on the road to prosperity. This matter of history fully illustrates one of the salient characteristics of Mr. Willson. In 1860 he retired from active business, and has lived comfortably upon an income honorably earned by the sweat of his brow.
Originally, a Whig, Mr. Willson merged readily into the Republican party, to which he gave hearty and undivided support until within the past few years; he is now an enthusiastic and consistent advocate of prohibition. At no time in his life an office_seeker, his devotion to party has been from principle _ the only office he has ever held has been that of Alderman _ and his advocacy of prohibition is but the offering of a sincere desire to see the greatest of all modern evils rectified; and he firmly believes that he will live to see his fond hopes realized.
Mr. Willson is a devoted member of the Baptist Church, and was for
twenty_four years its Treasurer, retiring from that office only in 1888.
He was married at Winchester in 1810, to Miss Nancy Scales, a native of
New Hampshire and a daughter of one of the pioneers of this county _ then
Morgan. To this union no children have been born, but several nephews and
nieces have been reared and educated by this worthy couple, who have gone
forth in the world as most creditable examples of the influences of good
breeding, careful training and moral precepts.
FREDERICK WISE is a veteran of two wars, and was born in Middletown, Snyder County, Pa., May 20, 1826. His father died when he was very young, after which Mr. Wise was reared by a man named George Rentschler. When he was ten years old he came to this State, reaching here in the fall of 1837. He made the entire journey driving a one_horse wagon. He located in Morgan County, still continuing work for his guardian until he was eighteen years old. Up to this time he had no educational advantages so at the age of eighteen he went to Jacksonville to attend school, after which he made an attempt to learn the trade of a tailor, but abandoned that and engaged in a printing office for a short time, but found this occupation too sedentary. He then resumed work on a farm until 1843, when he returned to Pennsylvania, and remained there about one year working at cabinet work. In the spring of 1844 he came back to Morgan County, and went to work on a farm, a business for which he was specially adapted. In the meantime, he attended school until the Mexican War broke out, in 1847. He enlisted as a volunteer from Illinois, and was transferred to St. Louis, thence to Mexico via the Mississippi, Gulf and Rio Grande to Monterey where he was mustered in Company G, 16th Regular United States Infantry. He joined the army at Monterey where his regiment remained for some time doing guard duty. From here the regiment was sent to New Orleans, thence to Newport, Ky., where it was mustered out in June, 1848. He saw no active service. The war being over Mr. Wise engaged in various pursuits. After one year of working in this manner he engaged in the carpenter business, which he followed for six years, and being a natural mechanic he made a success at this last venture, particularly as a contractor and builder. In 1856 he built a store in Concord, Morgan County, and then went into the mercantile business in which he was engaged for two years. The financial disasters of 1857 came very near taking him down financially, but he rallied, and then went into the confectionery business at the same place.
In 1862, and on the 10th day of August, Mr. Wise enlisted in the 101st Illinois Infantry, and was mustered in at Jacksonville. On the 20th of the same month his regiment went South. He enlisted as a Sergeant, but Gov. Yates tendered him a captain's commission, which he promptly declined, saying that he enlisted as a sergeant, and wanted no higher office. His regiment was engaged in doing guard duty at various places until the battle of Holly Springs, Miss., which occurred Dec. 20, 1862, where he and most of the regiment were taken prisoners by Van Dorn. They were afterward paroled and sent to Memphis, from which place they went to St. Louis, remaining there seven months before they were exchanged. The regiment then joined the main army at new Madrid, Mo., and assisted in building a fort, which occupied two weeks. While here Mr. Wise predicted that Vicksburg would surrender on July 4, which prediction was verified. This was in the year of 1863. From New Madrid the regiment went to Clayton, Ky., and from that place was ordered to Skirmish in the surrounding country, and finally the regiment came to Union City. At Clayton Mr. Wise was taken ill with rheumatism and other diseases, which caused him to seek the hospital, where he remained until January, 1864, and not being able to walk he was given a furlough to visit home. During his furlough he reported at Jacksonville, and from there was sent to the general hospital at Quincy, Ill., where in the fall of 1864 he was honorably discharged after serving his country well for two years and three months.
After the war was over he started a confectionery store in Concord, not being able to do manual labor. In this business he was moderately successful. A few years later he rented a little farm, and in 1877 he purchased the place on which he now lives. The farm at the time of the purchase had most of the present improvements. Mr. Wise has succeeded in cultivating a greater portion of the place, and among other good things on the farm, he has a fine orchard and a good vineyard. The place comprises 160 acres. He raises grain and stock, and does a general farming business, and is considered one of the solid farmers of his precinct. The St. Louis branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad runs through his farm.
Mr. Wise married in 1856 Miss Mary A. Hailey, a native of Tennessee. She was the daughter of James and Sarah Hailey, old settlers of Morgan County. She died March 10, 1867, leaving five children: William H., Mary A., Sadie, Katie A. and Martha (now deceased). William H. is married as is also Mary A. Sadie and Katie are at home, the latter is a teacher in the public schools. The family belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Wise takes great pride in gardening and fruit raising. His garden
is kept in a nice manner, and excels all others in appearance. His small
fruits and grapes are particularly fine. Mr. Wise is a man of good sound
judgment, and is truly a self_made man, and he exhibits pardonable pride
in the fact that he served his country in two wars. The hardships which
he endured while in the army are now apparent in his halting step and snow_white
hair. The country owes to such as he a great debt. Mr. Wise politically
is a stanch Republican.
H.W. WOBBE. There is no class of foreigners who come to this country to better their condition that make better citizens and better farmers than the Germans. In their native country their condition was unfavorable to money getting, and their faculties were constantly at work devising ways and means of getting on in the world, a state of affairs which helps them in this country. As a class they are industrious, frugal and honest, and the work they have in hand to do is invariably well done.
Mr. Wobbe is favorably known among the German settlers of this part of the county as a thorough representative of the class of Germans referred to. He has a good farm of 120 acres, the greater part of which he has cleared from a heavily wooded section. It is located on sections 26 and 27, township 16 and range 11, and on this place he has made his home since 1863. He came to Illinois to make a permanent home for himself and his children, and he has succeeded well. He came to Morgan County directly from Beardstown, Ill., at which place he located in 1854, having come there from New York City. He lived in the latter place thirteen months. He landed in New York City Sept. 30, 1852, having crossed the Atlantic on the sailing vessel "Elizabeth." After landing he began life as a laborer, being wholly without means in a strange land and without an acquaintance, and from this condition he has risen to the proud position of being an owner of his own home, and of being independent so far as this world's goods are concerned.
Mr. Wobbe was born in Hanover, German, Oct. 27, 1824. His ancestors were all Germans. His father was a native of Hanover and a miller by trade, and died in his native country when the subject of this notice was not quite seven years old, while his wife, Elizabeth (Ilerman,) survived him for a few years, dying in 1848, at the age of sixty years. She and her husband were members of the Lutheran Church, and were respected in their country.
Mr. Wobbe, of whom this sketch is written, is the eldest of three children, the other two being named George and Herman. George is a resident of Kansas, where he is a thriving farmer, and single; Herman is yet in Hanover, engaged in agricultural pursuits and married. Our subject has supported himself since he was a child, and earned every cent of which he was ever possessed. He has been obliged to fight an unequal battle with the world, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that he has gained the victory. He married Margaret Mass in his native country, and their first child was born after they landed in Beardstown, Ill. Mrs. Wobbe died at her home May 9, 1887, at the age of sixty-one years. She was a devoted member of the Lutheran Church, and fully sustained her reputation of being an industrious woman and a loving mother. Her husband also worships at the Lutheran Church. This couple had born to them six children, two of whom are deceased: Mary, formerly wife of David McFadden, died March 8, 1889. She left five children - Mary, Fred, Arthur, William and Minnie. The father and children are living near Arcadia, this county. Minnie is also dead, dying in 1871 at the age of eleven years. The living are as follows: Henry married Miss Mollie Manley, of Missouri; she died in that State Nov. 24, 1882, leaving one child, Nellie. Henry is now working for his father on the old homestead; Charles is engaged in farming; Ella is the wife of Orrin Berkenhiser. They live on a farm in township 15, range 11; Emma is at home.
Politically, Mr. Wobbe is an ardent Democrat, and takes interest
in the progress of his party, and though he has never sought political
preferment he has held about all the good offices in his township. He is
considered a good, safe man in any place.
GEORGE WOOD is a native of Morgan County, and was born Dec. 10, 1844. He is in the possession of a good education acquired at the public schools and by intelligent reading.
Samuel Wood, the father of George, was born in Madison County, Ky., Oct. 13, 1813, and came to Morgan County with his father, Richard Wood, who was a native of Virginia. These people were truly pioneers of Morgan County. Samuel Wood commenced life without any money, but succeeded in building up a comfortable fortune. He at one time held the office of Judge and was commonly addressed as such. He married Mrs. Martha Smith, widow of Harvey Smith, and to this union were born eight children. Their record is as follows: Elizabeth was born Sept. 24, 1834, and died July 27, 1844; David was born April 4, 1838; Milton was born Sept. 4, 1839; Iven was born Feb. 24, 1841. Julia A. was born June 17, 1847; Richard was born Oct. 7, 1851; James was born March 16, 1833; while the record of George appears at the beginning of this sketch.
David married Eliza Godley. They are living on a farm in Morgan County, and have six children four of whom are living: Martha, Samuel, Ballard and Richard. Lizzie and Iven are dead. Lizzie married Andrew Stice. She died leaving two children, Bertha and Albert. Ballard married Ruth Cole and they reside in Morgan County. Samuel was married to Anna Hubbs. She died leaving one child. When Samuel married the second time it was to Mary Duncan. Iven, brother of the subject of this sketch married Mary Calm. They had eight children, six of whom are living: Charles, Minnie, Samuel, Arthur, Lizzie and Homer. Julia married James B. Beekman, a farmer of Morgan County, and they have one child, Mary. Richard married Martha Purvis, of Macoupin County. He is farming in this county, and they have had five children, three of whom are living: Adelia, Grace and Myrtle. Nellie and an infant are deceased. James married Mary Eldred of Greene County, Ill. They are now living in Morgan County, and engaged in farming.
George Wood married Emily Cox of Morgan County. She was born Sept. 10, 1847, and was born and reared in this county. Her parents were natives of Kentucky. In this family are six children: Mary, Julia, Hettie, John W., Hubert and Emily, the wife of the subject of this sketch. Mary married Jerry Cox, who is dead; Julia married Ansel Buchanan, a farmer of Morgan County; Hettie married John Johnson. They have four children: Edith, Homer, Francis, and Howard. John W. married May Ray. They are the parents of three children: Freddie, Ray and an unnamed babe. Hubert married Winnie Schaun, of Morgan County.
George Wood was married Jan 14, 1867, and is the father of four children: Walter W., James B., Laura B., and Milton M. Walter W. married Sarah Wilson, and is engaged in farming in this county. The balance of the children are at home with their parents.
The subject of this sketch commenced life on a farm of 200 acres of well-improved land, and as the years have gone by, he has been constantly adding to the original tract until he now owns a farm of the magnificent proportions of 1,000 acres. He does a general farming business and takes pride in breeding horses, among which are the Hamiltonian, Grade Norman and Black Hawk breeds. He also raises stock for the market. It is rare that he has less than fifty horses, 250 head of cattle and 100 head of hogs feeding on his farm.
Mr. Wood is not affiliated with any church, but is a member of the
Odd Fellows. Politically, he believes in the Democratic party and is a
worker for its principles, although he never seeks office.
ROBERT J. WOODALL, of township 13, range 12, being a native of Scott County is consequently closely identified with everything concerning its welfare and prosperity. He owns and occupies a good farm on section 1, near the old homestead of his father and where he was born, Jan. 6, 1839. He is the son of Robert Woodall, one of the early pioneers of this region, a native of Yorkshire, England, and now a resident of Winchester.
Our subject received the advantages of a common school education, and at an early period in his life chose farming for his occupation. He grew up familiar with this occupation, and was trained to habits of industry and economy which are the surest basis of success. Just before the age of twenty-one he was married in February 1860, to Miss Sarah Jones, daughter of William Jones, also a pioneer of this county. Of this union there were born three children, the eldest of whom a son, William, was first married to Miss New, who died soon afterward, and he was then married to Miss Lizzie Burk, and is now living in Winchester. He is the father of one child, a daughter. Annie became the wife of Frank Dolen, of Winchester, and has two children - Addie and Vincent. Samuel married Miss Bridget Lollis, and lives near his father on the old Thomas Mason place; they have one child, daughter. Mrs. Sarah (Jones) Woodall departed this life at the homestead May 14, 1869.
Our subject Jan. 18, 1870, contracted a second matrimonial alliance
with Miss Elizabeth, daughter of James Bell of this county. This union
resulted in the birth of eight children, viz: Ella, Eliza, James, Lee,
Charles, Olive, Jesse and an infant daughter, Lillian Bell. The farm of
our subject embraces 400 acres of choice land which is largely devoted
to stock-raising - graded short-horn cattle, Poland-China swine, and Norman,
Clydesdale and English coach horses. In this industry Mr. Woodall has been
more than ordinarily successful and devotes to his farm his best efforts,
paying little attention to politics and carefully avoiding the responsibilities
of office. He, however, keeps himself posted upon matters of general interest
and votes the straight Republican ticket.
HON. J. E. WRIGHT may usually be found at his homestead on section 8, township 13, range 10, where he has lived many years, and has become well-known to the people of this region. He is a native of Morgan County, and born July 11, 1842. His parents were John W. and Eliza Wright, the father a native of Tennessee, and the mother of Kentucky. The paternal grandfather, John Wright, settled on section 9, township 13, range 10, at an early day, but finally removed to Murrayville, where he died in the eighty-sixth year of his age. It is believed that he came to this section as early as 1828. His son, John W., then a young man, and Wright Precinct was named in honor of the father.
Capt. Wright, as he is familiarly called, since the close of the civil War has been largely interested in live stock. He received a practical education in the common schools, necessarily somewhat limited, but has kept himself thoroughly informed in regard to passing events, and is naturally adapted to business pursuits. He was first married to Miss Maria Wilson, and there were born four children, three of whom are living - Minnie O., Mattie and Charles J.
After the outbreak of the rebellion our subject, Aug. 1, 1861, enlisted as a private in Company G, 1st Missouri Cavalry, which was assigned to the Western Army, and was mostly under command of Gen. Curtis. A year later Mr. Wright was promoted to Corporal, later to Sergeant, and served as a scout more or less, while he also fought the guerillas in Missouri. He met the rebels in the battle of Pea Ridge and at the charge of Sugar Creek, his company being at the front in the latter place. Later he participated in other engagements, and after the close of the war received his honorable discharge. In the meantime he had returned to this county and organized a company of infantry, Company E, in the spring of 1865, consisting of about 100 men, and which became a portion of the 58th consolidated infantry. The regiment was assigned to the 16th Army Corps, under command of Gen. A. J. Smith, and served mostly in Alabama, being present at the surrender of Mobile.
Upon the organization of this company Mr. Wright was elected First
Lieutenant, but the Captain being called away on detached duty, Lieut.
Wright was obliged to assume command of the company. He did not leave the
army until the last of April, 1866. Then returning to this county he once
more turned his attention to rural pursuits, and has now a well-regulated
farm of 240 acres, which yields him a handsome income. In the meantime
he has interested himself in political affairs, and in November, 1886,
was elected to the Lower House of the Illinois Legislature for the term
of two years. Prior to this, in 1875, he was the candidate of his party
for the office of Sheriff, his opponent being Irvin Dunlap, of Jacksonville.
Socially, he belongs to Watson Post No. 420, G.A. R., at Murrayville, and
was installed as its first Commander after the organization, which position
he still holds. He is a pronounced Republican, politically. He believes
in strict economy, which at times approaches the verge of what some people
would term penuriousness, although his integrity in business cannot be
questioned, and he enjoys the esteem of a large circle of friends.
SALLIE (HEAD) WRIGHT relict of James Wright, was born in Franklin County, Ky., on the 25th of December, 1811. Poets have sung of the vicarious suffering of man; painters have made their canvas eloquent with lights and shadows of human endeavor, historians have recorded in imperishable words the deeds of heroes, but when the history of this great land shall have been stripped of prejudice, and trust in its simplicity recorded, the brave suffering pioneer mother will stand as the synonym of grand character. Leaving the comforts of civilization, and the happy scenes of childhood, bidding farewell to the sacred ties that cluster around associations that appeal to the better, higher and nobler feelings, she exhibited a bravery that would put to blush the deeds of the soldier of Gettysburg or the adamantine heroism at Thermopylae. The lady whose name initiates this sketch is a typical pioneer mother, a class of early settlers whose sufferings are entitled to a place on record not a whit below the husband. With finer natures their privations were more acute, and a fair-minded writer of history can make no distinction between the sexes.
Mrs. Wright's father, John Head, was born in Culpeper County, Va., May 23, 1788, and died Aug. 7, 1850. Her mother was a native of Franklin County, Ky. In this family were ten children, a history of whom is herewith given. Those living are William, Permelia A., Henry H., and Sallie.
William was married twice. His first wife was Sarah Norris, of Scott County, Ky. His second wife was Anastasia Norris, of Scott County, Ky., by whom he had seven children. He is a prominent minister of the Baptist Church; Permelia A. married George Triplett, of Franklin County, Ky. He was born in 1808 and died in 1887, while the date of his wife's birth was 1809. Mr. Triplett was politically prominent in the State of Kentucky. He served in both Houses of the Legislature, and when the South seceded he was sent to the Confederate Congress, a position he resigned to enter the Rebel Army under Gen. Breckenridge. At the close of the war he returned to his native place, and immediately assumed his old place in the political world. He was mainly instrumental in electing Samuel McCreary to the United States Senate, after which he was chosen to the position of County Judge. He was the father of ten children; Henry H., is a farmer in Davis County, Ky.
Mrs. Wright was married to James Wright, of Franklin County, Ky., Sept. 25, 1830, and in a few days subsequent to that event they started for Morgan County, a distance of 350 miles, the whole distance being covered on horse-back. Mr. Wright was born in 1794 and died March 13, 1872. His parents came from Culpeper County, Va., and were of Irish and Welsh ancestry. His father was a Revolutionary soldier, and served seven years under Gen. Washington.
Mrs. Sallie Wright was the mother of eleven children, eight of whom are living - William H., John A., George M., Permelia A., Alexander H., Thomas B., Maggie E., and Benjamin F. William H. married Leonora Reinbach, of Morgan County, and lives in Jacksonville. He is President of the Franklin Bank, and is reckoned as one of the solid men of this section of the State. In early life he crossed the plains to California and was 140 days on the road, arriving there March 10, 1853. He was transported by an ox team. He left California Oct. 3, 1863, and returned by the way of Panama, arriving at the old homestead in Morgan County, Nov. 5, 1863. He then directed his attention to farming and at intervals taught school. He was elected Treasurer of Morgan County, and served eleven years, after which he filled the office of Deputy Sheriff for four years. He was married June 10, 1884, and is the father of two children - Leonora B. and William H. John A. married Paulina Harney, of Morgan County; George M. a retired farmer, married Catherine Ward, and is the father of five children - William E., Effie, Charles, Myrtle, Kimmie May. Permelia, married George N. Boulware. They have four children - May, Sallie, George W., and Maggie. Thomas B. married Anna Reinbach. He is a stock-dealer and a farmer; Maggie married Dr. William E. Manley, a physician, of Franklin. They have two children - Carl W., and an infant, Mary Z. Benjamin F. married Sallie Hill, of Morgan County. He is a commercial traveler and lives in Jacksonville, and is the father of two children - Emma and Alfred.
Mr. James Wright, husband of her of whom this sketch is written,
at the time of his marriage, was the owner of a small farm of eighty acres,
though at his decease, his holdings covered 500 acres. He was a man noted
for his sympathetic nature, a kind husband and a good citizen. The family
are members of the Christian Church.
COL. WILLIAM J. WYATT, a veteran of two wars and the hero of many a thrilling event, is one of those rare characters which we meet here and there, and whose history is filled in with experiences which if collected and properly illustrated would fill a good sized volume. He is a self-made man in the strictest sense of the term, one whose early life was bare of opportunities, but who, by the very force of his will and his ambition, has made for himself a name and a position among men. After the close of the late Civil War he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, improved a good farm in this county and accumulated a competency. This farm, 240 acres in extent, he still owns, but in 1885 rented it to other parties and wisely retired from active labor. Although his experiences have been great and many, he is not by any means aged, having been born Oct. 28, 1825. He is a native of this county, his boyhood home having been at this father's homestead in township 15, range 10.
It may be well before proceeding further to glance at the parental history of the Colonel, whose father, John Wyatt, was a native of Culpepper County, Va., and was born in 1796. He lived there until attaining his majority, then moved to Kentucky and married Miss Rebecca Wyatt, who, although bearing his own name, was no relative. They sojourned in the Blue Grass regions a few years, and until after the birth of one child, then removed to Madison County, this state. Here John Wyatt purchased a farm, and in due time became a stock-dealer of no small proportions. In 1821 he again changed his residence, this time coming to this county, and purchased a farm five miles southeast of Jacksonville. He lived there until 1839, then abandoning the active labors of life, retired to Franklin Village where he spent his last years, passing away in 1849.
The father of our subject was a man of much force of character, and made his influence sensibly felt in his community. Besides occupying other positions of trust and responsibility, he served in the Illinois Legislature two terms when the capital was at Vandalia, and was a Lieutenant in Capt. Samuel Mathews' company in the Black Hawk War. The parental household was completed by the birth of eleven children, all of whom are deceased with the exception of the youngest daughter and our subject. The first mentioned, Sarah, was first married to Shelby M. Burch who died, and by whom she became the mother of two children; she is now the wife of Francis M. Scott of Kentucky who is now a retired farmer, making his home in Franklin. Mrs. Scott is the mother of five children, namely: George, Henry, Elizabeth, Mattie and Sarah.
George Scott married Miss Mattie Easley of Sangamon County and is farming in the vicinity of Franklin, this county; Henry also married a Miss Easley; Elizabeth is the wife of William Eador; Sarah Wyatt is the wife of William Dodsworth. To Mr. and Mrs. Burch there were born two children - John B. and Mary Ann. The son married Miss Helen Rice of this county, is a farmer and has one son, Fred; Mary Ann is the wife of Harry C. Woods, a farmer of this county, and they have a son, J. W.
The subject of this sketch, while a resident of Morgan County was married, Sept, 28, 1848, to Mrs. Eliza A. (Kellar) Williams; this lady is the daughter of William Kellar of Pennsylvania, who with his wife died when Eliza was a child, and upon reaching womanhood was first married to David Williams, by whom she became the mother of two children, the eldest of whom, John C., married Miss Jennie Farrell of this county and is the present County Clerk, living in Jacksonville. The daughter, Ellen, is the wife of Samuel P. McCullough, Deputy County Clerk.
To the Colonel and his wife there have been born three children. The daughter, Mary A., is unmarried and remains at home with her parents; James W. died June 10, 1861; George H., was first married to Miss Molly Dodds, of Sangamon County, and who is now deceased. The second wife was Miss Nellie Lambert of New York State. They live on a farm near Franklin, and have two children - Mary L. and George W.
Col. Wyatt received a very good education, and this with his natural ambition and qualities of resolution and perseverance comprised the capital with which he started out in life. When about twenty years of age he was called out with others to suppress the Morons in Hancock County, this State, and spent the fall and winter there, returning home on the 14th of March. In the meantime he had been made First Lieutenant. In June, 1846, he enlisted to go to Mexico as Captain of Company G, 1st Illinois Infantry, the regiment being under the command of Col. John J. Hardin. They were out twelve months, at the expiration of which time our subject received his honorable discharge, June 17, 1847, at Camnargo, Mexico. He still has the muster-out roll of his company in his possession, and he as well as his friends occasionally derive much satisfaction in re-examining the old relic.
After his return from Mexico, Col. Wyatt engaged in farming, and as a stock-dealer in township 11, range 9, until the outbreak of the Civil War. In due time he was appointed by Gov. Yates of Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 101st Illinois Infantry. The regiment was mustered into service at Jacksonville, Sept. 2, 1862, and soon thereafter reported for duty at Cairo. Thence they repaired to Davis Mills, Miss., where they joined the forces of Gen. Grant, and after passing Lumpkins Mills were sent back to Holly Springs, Miss., Dec. 1, 1862, for post duty. On the 20th of December following a part of the regiment was captured by the Rebel Gens. VanDorn and Jackson, and was sent to Benton Barracks near St. Louis, Mo., for exchange.
In the meantime Col. Wyatt, together with his soldiers had been subjected
to great hardships on account of which his health was undermined, and he
was obliged to accept his honorable discharge April 13, 1863, receiving
from the army surgeon a certificate of physical disability. He then returned
to this county and resumed the peaceful occupations of civil life, confining
himself to the operations of his farm. He cast his first Presidential vote
for Taylor, and since that time has been true to the Democratic principles.
He has exercised no small influence among the councils of his party in
this section, and indeed he is a man who, wherever he has been, has left
his mark. While not particularly aggressive, he is still fearless in the
defense and the expression of his principles, and is one whose opinions
are involuntarily looked up to and respected. He has served on the Grand
and Petit juries, and is a man generally well read and well informed, and
of more than ordinary intelligence. Both he and his wife are members in
good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which they contribute
a liberal support. Their daughter, however, is an Episcopalian in religious
belief. The family residence in franklin is a neat and comfortable structure,
and within its hospitable doors are often gathered the best elements of
the community representing its culture and refinement, and the Colonel
and his family occupy a leading position therein.
W. J. WYLDER. The life-labors of the subject of this notice have resulted in the accumulation of a good property, in the shape of a well-cultivated farm, which he has now owned for a period of nineteen years. He has convenient and substantial buildings, and his land, comprising 120 acres, has, under a course of careful cultivation, become exceedingly fertile and finely adapted to the growth of the richest products of Central Illinois. The homestead is pleasantly located on section 17, township 15, range 11, and the proprietor and his family are not only surrounded by all the comforts of life, but enjoy in a marked degree the respect of their neighbors.
Mr. Wylder came to this county in 1852, and for a time operated on rented land. He purchased 120 acres the year following on section 8 of this same township, and which he occupied from 1853 to 1869. Then selling out, he secured that upon which he now resides. He is a native of this State, having been born near Greenfield, in Greene County, March 4, 1831, and is the son of Wylie Wylder, a native of North Carolina, and whose people before him were Southerners. The paternal grandfather, Moses Wylder, it is believed, was a native of North Carolina, and he was one of a family of three sons and two daughters. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Later he settled down to farming pursuits, and after his marriage and the birth of all his children by two wives, removed with his family to DeKalb County, East Tennessee, where his death took place when he had attained his fourscore years. His son, Wylie, the father of our subject, was his eldest born, the child of his first wife, who died when she was in her prime.
The father of our subject was reared to manhood in his native county, and was bred to farm pursuits. He married a maiden of his own neighborhood, Miss Temperance Melton, who was of Southern parentage and reared not far from the town of New Salem, N.C. Soon after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Wylder, together with the Melton family, removed to DeKalb County, Tenn., and engaged in farming pursuits, as before. They lived there until after the birth of seven children, then, in the fall of 1830, made their way to Greene County, this State, and settled in the wilderness, five miles from any neighbor. Mr. Wylder took up a tract of Government land, from which he constructed a comfortable homestead, and, with the exception of three years spent in Texas, there passed the remainder of his life, his death occurring in 1860, when he was a little over seventy-five years old. The wife and mother had departed this life when little past middle age.
The subject of this sketch was the eighth child of his parents, whose family consisted of six sons and five daughters, all of whom lived to mature years, and all, with one exception, were married. One son, Thomas N., enlisted as a Union soldier in Company K, 27th Illinois Infantry, and at the battle of Mission Ridge was shot through the leg and died in the hospital at Chattanooga, Tenn., at the age of twenty-seven years. One other brother died when six months old. W. J., our subject, remained a resident of his native county until reaching man's estate, and learned the trade of harness-making. He came a single man to this county, and in 1852 was married at the home of the bride, in Lynnville Precinct, to Miss Willmuth W. L. Jones. This lady was born in Howard County, Mo., and is the daughter of Joel and Nancy (Anderson) Jones, who were natives of Kentucky. This branch of the Jones family is of Welsh descent, while the Andersons trace their ancestry to Holland. The parents of Mrs. Wylder were reared and married in the Blue Grass State, whence they removed to Missouri, and in which State their two children - Mrs. Wylder and her sister Sarah - were born.
When the Jones family came to this county, they located on a tract of wild land, on section 16, township 15, range 11, where they established a permanent home, and where the parents resided until their demise. Mr. Jones was accidentally killed by a runaway horse, attached to a sleigh, from which he was thrown and received such injuries that he only survived a short time. He was then about fifty years of age. Mrs. Jones survived her husband until August, 1879, and died at the age of seventy-five years. Both were members of the Christian Church.
Mrs. Wylder was but a child when coming to this county. She was reared to womanhood under the parental roof, and attended the district school, while at the same time she was taught to make herself useful, and became an expert housekeeper. Of her union with out subject there is one child only, M. Anna, who was born in Greene County, this State, June 29, 1854, and is now the wife of Thomas Paschal. Mr. Paschal is the son of Coleman and Sarah (Street) Paschal, the former of whom died in Cass County when her son Thomas was four years old. The mother died ten years later, and thus at the age of fourteen years the boy was left to fight the battle of life singly and alone. He employed himself at whatever he could find to do until a youth of seventeen years, and then, the Civil War being in progress, enlisted as a Union soldier in Company F, 17th Illinois Infantry. He served one year, met the enemy in battle at Spanish Fort, and, escaping unharmed, received his honorable discharge.
Mr. Paschal, upon leaving the service came directly to this county,
and has since made his home within its limits. Since his marriage, which
occurred, Nov. 22, 1877, he has lived on this same farm, near his father-in-law,
and the two families occupy a good position among the representative people
of the county. Our subject, with his wife and children, is identified with
the Christian Church, in which mr. Wylder is an Elder and Mr. Paschal a
Deacon, attending services at Chapin. Both gentlemen, politically, are
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