HISTORY OF MORGAN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Its Past and present
Chicago: Donnelley, Loyd & Co., Publishers, 1878.
(reprinted by the Jacksonville Area Genealogical and Historical Society, 1975)
VANCIL, A. B. farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 6, Macoupin County, P.O. Vancil’s Point, Macoupin County. Mr. Vancil was the fourth child of Gideon and Tarraba Vancil; he was born in Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1828; where his parents moved about 1826, and settled in the vicinity of Auburn, where they remained for a number of years; and made their way to the State of Texas, but subsequently returned to Illinois; of a somewhat restless disposition, he eventually became a resident of Missouri, where he now lives with his children; his wife having died on their return trip from Texas; eleven children: seven of whom are living: Mary Jane, Clarinda, James, Hughston, Sarah Ann, Frank, and A. B., the only one now living in this State, grew up in Sangamon County, and married in Macoupin, in 1853, Miss Lizzie Scott, a daughter of John Scott; two children; Arthur L., born in 1853, J. A., born 1858. Mr. V. owns 120 acres of well improved land, in Macoupin County.
VANCIL, ADAM farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 8, P.O. Waverly. The subject of this sketch, a life long resident of this State, and County, was born in Union County, Illinois, in 1814; there are but few now living, who have made a home in this State for the period of time that Mr. Vancil has been among us. The father of Adam Vancil was born in Virginia, about 1790; in early manhood he left the old homestead and located in Union County, Illinois, where he married Miss Katty Putmaster, a native of Virginia; when Mr. Vancil arrived in the State, he had but little save his trusty rifle, wherewith to commence the battle of life; no grist or horse mills being in use for several years, it became necessary for him to pound small grain, for breakfast or dinner, in a rough mortar. Moving to Morgan County, in 1827, he entered land from the government, and became, in his younger days, a successful farmer; the remains of himself and wife now rest in Morgan County. Adam, at time of his father’s settlement in the county, was in his 13th year; when Black Hawk made war on the settlers, in 1832, although a youth, he determined to become among the few to protect the border, from the incursions of the red man; in 1834 he married Miss Margaret McCoullough, a native of North Carolina; for some years he rented property, until such a time as he became able to buy; in 1846 Mrs. Vancil died, leaving six children: John, Franklin, and Elizabeth, living; January, 1848, Mr. Vancil married Mrs. Rhoda Ray, relict of Lewis Ray, and daughter of John and Elizabeth Lawrence. Mrs. Vancil was born in North Carolina, in 1809; by this marriage, three children, one living, George, who resides in California; Mr. Vancil, although not a large land owner, has for its size, one of the best managed farms in the State.
VANCIL, EDMUND C. Farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 4, P.O. Vancil’s Point. Mr. Vancil takes a leading position among the wealthy men of Macoupin County; he was born in Kentucky, May 8, 1798; the early history of this family, is somewhat obscure; his father Tobias Vancil, was of German parentage; who married in Virginia Miss Nancy Jack; they moved from Virginia to Kentucky, where the head of the family departed this life as early as 1816. Young Vancil, who was of a daring disposition, set out for the boundless prairies of Illinois; reaching the Ohio, he floated down the river, on a flatboat, reaching Golconda, Illinois; from this point he made his way into Union County, where he erected a cabin, and entered land from the government, and for some time worked as a deck hand, on keelboats, on the river, so common on the Western waters in an early day. In his twenty-fifth year, Mr. Vancil married Miss Mary Byers, a daughter of John Byers, a native of Pennsylvania, who moved to North Carolina, and afterwards to Kentucky, where Mrs. Vancil was born. For ten years Mr. Vancil became the successful proprietor of a distillery in Macoupin County; erecting the buildings, he also made the barrels; a natural mechanic, everything he undertook was successfully accomplished, and that in a superior manner. In 1827 he moved to Sangamon County, and during the Spring of 1828, moved on to the property he now owns; in many respects Mr. Vancil is a remarkable man; above the average in ability, possessed of rare judgment, his life has been a succession of brilliant successes; during his pioneer days he manufactured his own boots and shoes, built his own wagons, etc.; in 1848 he erected the substantial dwelling, where now lives, which at the time it was built, was perhaps the finest farm residence of Macoupin County; in 1852 he built a steam saw-mill, which he ran successfully many years; and which proved a paying investment; during this time he invented a plow for breaking purposes, a great improvement over those formerly in use, and many are in use at the present day; he also constructed a flatboat, in a very workmanlike manner, which made his name widely known as a superior workman. Mr. Vancil is today a representative type of the early pioneer; coming to the county, poor as the poorest, he has worked his way upward to a proud position in life; owning at one time, some 1,500 acres in Macoupin County, owning now some 6,000 acres in the States of California and Illinois; he is now living with his wife, a true type of the Western woman, on the farm, where he worked during the days of his early manhood; this marriage was blessed with six children: Emeline, who married C. Moffet; Imri B. who married Eliza Rice; Mordecai, who married in California, where he now lives; Wm. L. who married Miss Lucy Seaton. This sketch would be incomplete were we to omit to mention one of the older daughters of Mr. V.; Amanda, a remarkable woman, indeed, noted for wealth, rare executive abilities, and superior education, and well remembered by the citizens of Macoupin County.
VANORMAN, OSCAR, farm hand, Sec. 8, P.O. Chapin, fourth son of Theo. Vanorman, born in Randolph Co., Ind., Jan. 24, 1850; removed West with his parents when quite young, and lived in Iowa and Kansas; removed to Morgan Co. January, 1875; married May 22, 1874, to Sarah, daughter of Andrew and Laurene Barton, of Allen Co., Kansas, born May 22, 1857. This union has been blessed by two children, viz.: Norah Ellen, born July 27, 1876; and Oscar Olaf, born Nov. 30, 1877.
VANWINKLE, ALEXANDER, farmer and schoolteacher, Sec. 20, P.O. Waverly. Mr. V. was born in Morgan County, in 1831; his father, Ransom VanWinkle, was born in Kentucky, about 1796; he married in Kentucky, Miss Margaret Brooks, who was also a native of Kentucky. During the Autumn of 1829 the family moved to Illinois, and located on Apple Creek, Morgan County, and settling on the unbroken prairie, prepared to cultivate the soil; here were spent the last days of the old folks; this marriage was blessed with nine children: Hiram J., who married Miss Mary Vanmeter, he died in 1864; Thomas J., who married Orpha Bourland; Roxcillana, who married Monroe Mayfield; Sarah Jane, married a Mr. Reed, of Missouri; James N., who married in California; Martinette who died in 1858, unmarried; Atherton, who married Miss Nellie Luttrell; John H., who married Miss Lizzie Gibson, and Alexander, who heads this sketch married Miss Henrietta Keplinger, a daughter of Samuel Keplinger; three children: Mary H., born Feb., 1864, Homer A. and Horace U., twins, born Dec. 11, 1865; Horace departed this life Dec. 30, 1865; mr. VanWinkle for many years of his life was a school teacher; in 1870 Mrs. VanWinkle departed this life; in 1852, Mr. V. accompanied an expedition en route for the gold fields of California, where he remained for six years, engaged as a miner and stock raiser, returning to Morgan County in 1858; in 1861 he entered the army enlisting in Co. B 10th Ill. Infantry, and remained encamped at Cairo until the expiration of service; he then re-enlisted, in Aug. 1861, in the 32d Ill. Infantry; up to Feb., of this year, the regiment was stationed at Camp Butler, where Mr. V. was appointed Sergeant-Major of the regiment; at Shiloh Mr. V. was severely wounded, which disabled him for many months; promoted Adjutant of the regiment, he served in that capacity until his resignation, which occurred in 1864; after the war he returned to Morgan County, but shortly went to Wisconsin, where he became a merchant; returning to this county in 1871, he devoted his time principally to the school room, and owns farm property of 160 acres.
VANWINKLE, JOHN, farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 32, P.O. Waverly. Among the original pioneers was John VanWinkle; he was born in Jefferson County, Georgia, March 23, 1894; it is probable his father was a native of New Jersey, and his mother of Georgia; in 1805, the family moved to Kentucky, and there purchased land, and erected the common log cabin; there the family worked early and late, to provide necessaries; as they lived in between the mountains, it was no uncommon occurrence to see bear and panther; the clothing wove and spun by the women was exceedingly comfortable, and looked well; at twenty Mr. Van Winkle married Miss Lovisa Pemberton, who was born in Virginia; shortly after the ceremony, in 1826, at a time when but very few had set the example, they set out for Illinois, his wife traversing the distance on horseback, while he drove a covered wagon; after various incidents in the way of travel, the little party settled on the Mauvaisterre, near Jacksonville, where Mrs. Van Winkle would frequently go, in an ox wagon, to lay in a supply of provisions; the cabins were sometimes far apart, but the people met at a raising, and the laugh and joke went round; for the pioneers who have contributed so much to the present prosperity of the country it is a pleasant task to look back to the past, noting in imagination the successive stages of improvement; in the log hut where now stands the large residence of J. T. Holmes, the family spent many happy years, and there many of their children were born; one incident in the life of John Van Winkle may be of interest; during the winter of the deep snow, being a large man, he would frequently break through the crust formed on the top; to avoid that he procured some boards the necessary length, and attached them to his feet; this was a bad move, for although he did not break through as frequently, when once down it became a great deal more difficult to regain the surface; Mr. Van Winkle raised a family of eight children, seven of whom are now living: Mary, Sophronie, Simeon, Richard, Simpson, William, and Martin; Mr. V. is one of the most conscientious men of this county, and is very comfortably situated in life, owning 200 acres; has owned 400 or more.
VANWINKLE, JOHN H. farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 2, T. 13, R. 9, P.O. Franklin, was born in Morgan Co. Aug. 8, 1844. His father, Ransom VanWinkle, was a native of Kentucky, emigrated to Illinois in an early day, and settled in Morgan Co., Sec. 3, T. 13, R. 9. In moving from Kentucky to Illinois, Mr. VanWinkle used oxen for his teams, and bringing a horse or two for riding animals, as the wagons did not afford room for all the goods and the family too. Two children were placed in baskets and strapped on a horse, looking like a peddler’s pack horse. John H. VanWinkle enlisted, at the age of eighteen, in Co. H 32d Ill. Vol., and participated in all the engagements, commencing at the siege of Vicksburg, and then the campaign from Vicksburg to Meridian, also Sherman’s grand march from “Atlanta to the sea”. After being mustered out, June 15, 1865, he returned to Morgan Co. In 1866, Oct. 18, married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. J. M. Gibson. Five children, four of whom are still living: George, Charles Bertie and Helen. Mr. VanWinkle owns a small farm of sixty-one acres on which he now lives; he has been chosen school director two terms in succession on account of his good judgment and known business qualifications.
VANWINKLE, N. B. (deceased); among the many adventurous men who sought a home in the West, came the subject of this sketch; he was born in Wayne County, Kentucky, November 11, 1802; on the old homestead were passed the youthful days of Mr. VanWinkle; there he received rather a more liberal education than usually falls to the lot of most farmer boys; on arriving at maturity he made his way to Missouri, and there married Miss Sarah Crow, daughter of James and Rhoda Crow, on the 27th of November, 1832; the following December he settled in the bounds of Morgan County, on what is now known as the Van Winkle estate; the cabin erected by them was a fair sample of those then in use; it contained neither nail, brick, nor sawed board; the floor was constructed of puncheon, a clapboard roof being in use; a year later, a hewed log house was built, more attractive and comfortable; Mr. Van Winkle was one of those men of rare energy and judgment, and accumulated a large property; the broad, uncultivated prairie soon gave place to the well improved farm; in time came churches and school houses, and emigrants began to enjoy life; it is quite likely Mr. Van Winkle had more capital than usually fell to the lot of the pioneer, he first taught a school on the Mauvaisterre, and then bought 120 acres of land; after a long and successful battle with the world, he departed this life September 22, 1872; he left an estate of 538 acres; he was a very successful farmer; the cabin entered by the family is still standing; in 1869, this gave place to the beautiful residence now owned by the widow and heirs; six children: Micajah, Rhoda L., Mary e., Martin A., Henry L., and Jacob E.
VASEY, RICHARDSON, farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 27, P.O. Jacksonville, fourth son of John Vasey, of Scalby, Yorks, Eng., who came to this country 1849, settling in this locality. The subject of this sketch was born May 9, 1843, being only six years of age at the time above referred to; he has thus grown up, as it were, with the county, and one whose interests are closely identified with its growth and improvements; married Aug. 20, 1877, to Virginia Belle, daughter of John and Sarah Gordon, of Lynnville, Morgan Co., born Oct. 28, 1853. Mrs. Vasey’s father, the Hon. John Gordon, has twice been elected by the Republicans as member of the State legislature from this (39th) district, and served them in a very able and satisfactory manner. Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. V. took an extended tour through Europe, visiting England, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and many other notable places of interest, returning after an absence of about four months. Mr. Vasey, in addition to his numerous travels abroad, has also been a great traveler in this country, having visited nearly every State in the Union, including many of the Territories. He is now the Democratic representative for member of the legislature for this district, and agent for the “Anchor Line” Steamship Co. He has also contributed many valuable communications to the press, and works of literature, such as essays, sketches of travels, poetry, novels, etc., etc. The homestead consists of 160 acres, delightfully located, and he owns considerable other land in the West.
VERRY, L. W. MRS., Sec. 32, P.O. Jacksonville, widow of the late W.C. Verry, who first settled in this county 1822, and entered the land where the subject of this sketch still resides, when it was first offered in market by the government; he was one of the first settlers in this neighborhood, and prominently identified with its growth and improvements; he died March 10, 1877, at the advanced age of 82 years. Mrs. Verry was the daughter of Silas Massey, also one of the earliest settlers, having removed west in 1819, from his native State, New Hampshire, where he was born April 1, 1786. Mrs. Verry was born in Vermont, Sept. 24, 1809; was thus only ten years of age when coming to this State. Was married 1828, to Stephen Holmes, and lived three years in Jo Daviess Co., removing to Jacksonville 1831, where Mr. Holmes died, April 17, 1833, leaving three daughters. Mrs. Holmes became the wife of W.C. Very, Jan. 21, 1837; there were three children by this marriage, one only of whom survives, viz: Augusta, now Mrs. Milton Seibert. Mrs. V. still resides at the old homestead, and recalls with vivid recollections the many incidents of their early settlement; she is a lady of rare colloquial_powers and refined tastes, and is a sister of H.H. and S.S. Massey, of “Mound Ridge”.
VERTREES, DANIEL H., farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 10, P.O. Murrayville; son of John Vertrees and Nancy Haycraft, natives of Hardin County, Ky,; was born May 6, 1821, and moved with his parents, settling on Little Sandy Creek, Greene County. At this time there were but two log huts in the little western town of Jacksonville; this was anterior to the “deep snow.” Little Dan, “Old Punkin,” (the horse), and the old dog “Tige,” did the business of going to mill. At this early day of the county’s history, deer were as plentiful as any other game of the western forest. It was in the memorable year of 1827 that our subject, with his father and “big brothers,” killed the last “grizzly” that roamed through our prairies, and was a terror to the few hardy pioneers; this remarkable incident occurred on Coal Creek. Daniel first imbibed the truths of education under a Mr. Fitzgerald, a good old Irish gentleman, and a fist_fight in the school room was no uncommon occurrence. Having met the woman whom God designed should be his guide through life, was married to Miss Nancy M. Herron, daughter of Simeon Herron and Phoebe Birdsell, contemporary settlers with the Wyatts, Wrights and Gunns. This marriage was celebrated April 6, 1848, ‘Squire Geo. Wright tying the indissoluble knot, and during the same year Dan paid the marriage fee to the ‘Squire by breaking prairie for him; has had by this union twelve children, viz: Mary J., born May 8, 1849; Charles T., born Nov. 10, 1850; James L., Feb. 15, 1852; Samuel H., Dec. 1, 1853; Emerine, Sept. 1, 1855; Melissa N., Feb. 7, 1857; John E., Dec. 26, 1858; Emily, Jan. 24, 1861; Cornelia, Jan. 23, 1864; Edwin M. Stanton, Sept. 15, 1868; Walter, May 8, 1870. It is very remarkable that the oldest celebrates its birth in May, and the youngest also. James L., Emerine and Mattie E., have long since passed to the realms of bliss to await the coming of their parents who both lead a life of rectitude and right, are members of the Baptist Church, and are universally beloved by all who know them; owns 146 acres of land worth $7,000.
VIGELS, JOHN, farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 1, P.O. Alexander; was born in Clinton County, Kentucky, June, 1847; at eighteen he was united in marriage to Miss Clarinda McCoy, a daughter of Jeremiah McCoy, a native of North Carolina; in 1867, he came West, and located near Orleans; early in the Spring of 1865, near the close of the war, a regiment was organized for State duty, but mustered in the U.S. service, Mr. Vigels joined Co. C, Kentucky Cavalry, at Creelsborough, Kentucky; was honorably discharged at Lebanon, after the close of the war; seven children, six living: Lauren A., James H., Wm. A., John F., Meredosia, and Hattie.
VIOLETT, WILLIAM, farmer and stock raiser, P.O. Franklin; third child of Thornton and Mary Violett, natives of Kentucky and Indiana respectively; in the State of Indiana young Violett was born, February 16, 1830; same year the family set out for Illinois, in a covered wagon; they located, on arrival, near Jacksonville, Morgan County, on farm property; when old enough William attended a subscription school; at twenty_four he married Miss Sarah Huddlestone, of Morgan County; when the war broke out Mr. Violett enlisted in Co. F, 129th Regt. Ill. Infantry, in 1862, remaining in the service three years, becoming engaged in some of the most important battles of the war, such as Resaca, Burnt Hickory, etc.; on the close of the war he was honorably discharged, at Washington, D.C., disbanded at Chicago, Illinois, and returned to Morgan County, where he has since resided; owns 110 acres of land; names of children in order of birth: George, Mary Ann, Louisa, Lyman, Marshall, Newton, Julia, Nettie, and Arthur.
VIRGIN, JOHN, farmer and stock raiser, Sec. 20, P.O. Prentice. The above-named gentleman was born in Greenup Co., Ky., Sept. 16, 1830. His father, John H. Virgin, was born in 1796, in Fayette Co., Pa.; from boyhood to manhood he followed agricultural pursuits; in 1818, he was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Hughes, by whom he had six children: Ely, not living; Mary, unmarried, Geo. W., Eliza A., Enslow, Maria, who married Lewis Bonnett; Margaret R., who married E. J. Davis; in 1851, John Virgin Sr. moved with his family to Menard Co., Ill., where he followed farming up to the time of his decease, which occurred in 1858; his wife survived him six years. John, who heads this page, and whose courtesy and liberality is well known, passed many years of his life in Ohio and Menard Co., Ill., and in 1859, came to Morgan County; in 1856, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary F. Gibbs, a daughter of William Gibbs, of Menard County; by this marriage eight children, six of whom are now living: and whose names are: Charles F., Hattie E., Clara M., Anna; Luella; and John; Maria L. and Eveline, not living. In closing this brief sketch, it will be well here to mention Mr. Virgin is one of our wealthy citizens and prominent agriculturists, owning 400 acres; in 1873, he was elected county commissioner, and re-elected to serve in 1876.