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)
HON. JAMES M. RIGGS is one of the leading citizens of Scott County, and in its history has played a prominent part. He is a native of Scott County, and was born April 17, 1839. He received a common school education, supplementing that later by a partial collegiate course.
After leaving college, Mr. Riggs chose the law as his profession, and after studying the required length of time he was admitted to the bar, and has since practiced with successful results, except when holding the office of Sheriff, which position he occupied for two years, having been elected in November, 1864. In 1872-72 he was chosen to represent Scott County in the House of the Twenty-Seventh General Assembly of Illinois. For four years he served the people faithfully and well as States-Attorney for Scott County, having been chosen to that office in November, 1872. He was elected to the Forty-Eight Congress and then re-elected, as a Democrat, receiving 22,046 votes, against 15,177 for Black, Republican; 820 for Parker, Greenbacker; 161 for Wallace, Prohibitionist, and forty votes scattering.
James M. Riggs is a son of John Adams Riggs and Orpha (Campbell) Riggs, who were natives of Tennessee. Grandfather Riggs came to Illinois during the territorial days, and was a member of the first Illinois Legislature. His name was Scott Riggs. Edward Riggs, the head of the family in this country, emigrated from England and settled at Roxbury, Mass., early in the summer of 1633. He brought his wife and family of two sons and four daughters with him. His son Edward married Elizabeth Roosa, in 1635. He was a Sergeant in the Pequot War, and greatly distinguished himself in rescuing his commander and twelve of his companions from an ambuscade, and he was ever after known as "Sergeant Riggs." In 1646 he settled at Milford, Conn. In 1655 he was a leading man in the purchase of a district north of Milford, and in making a new plantation there. His location is known as "Riggs Hill", and is still in possession of his descendants. His family consisted of Edward, Samuel, Joseph and Mary. Thus is shown a synopsis of the history of the head of the family in America, and to carry this genealogy down to the succeeding generations would be altogether beyond the compass of this biography.
James M. Riggs married Lilly Berry Dec. 31, 1868. She is the daughter of Dr. L. Berry, who was at that time a resident of Winchester. Mr. and Mrs. Riggs are the parents of the following children: Lecie, Ralph, Roy, Berry, Cecil, Kent, Lilly Belle, Max, and Lillie Belle (deceased). Mr. Riggs is an only son of his parents, and had two sisters who died in infancy, and two now living, one in Winchester and another in Wichita, Kan.
Scott Riggs, the grandfather mentioned before, was born in Oaks County,
N.C. His wife's maiden name was Hannah Berry. The maternal grandfather
was James Campbell and the grandmother Margaret Berry. The ancestors of
the subject of this sketch were distinguished for their high character,
and for the part they have taken in the early history of this country.
During the Revolutionary War the Riggs family was brave and patriotic,
and the descendants have inherited many of their characteristics. The Hon.
James M. Riggs, of whom we write, is a man of great natural ability, and
one who has acquitted himself well in all of the high and responsible positions
he has held. He is extremely popular with all classes, and is held in high
esteem as a neighbor.
ROBERT RILEY is a splendid example of the thrifty and successful farmer, and one who exhibits his good sense by engaging in diversified farming. He owns a good farm of eighty acres, located on section 28, township 15, range 11, and is also the owner of two other small and well_improved farms.
Mr. Riley has lived on the farm upon which he now resides for twenty_four years. He has made a large number of improvements, which compare favorably with those of his neighbors. He came to Morgan County in the fall of 1860, and has been a resident of the United States since 1859. He lived about one year in Scott County. He is a native of Lancastershire, England, and was born on Dec. 2, 1834. His father, Joseph Riley, lived and died in England, where he was born of good English stock. He was a laborer all his life, and died in his native shire when his son, Robert, was a small boy. He was the father of ten children. The maiden name of his wife was Helen Fisher. The names of the children are: Thomas, Nicholas, John, Joseph, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth, Helen, Ruth, and Ann, the two latter being the only daughters living. Mrs. Riley died when she was about eighty years of age, her death occurring in England, in 1869. She and her husband were both members of the English Church, and were active in religious matters.
Robert Riley, of whom we write, is the only surviving son of the family. His sisters are both living in England, and married. He was reared at home with his mother until he was fourteen years of age, and she being a widow with a large family, he was thrown upon his own resources, and later became a coachman for an English gentleman by the name of W.E. Windows, a position he occupied for six years. Seeing no chance in England to better his condition, he concluded to seek his fortune in the New World, and so, on May 11, 1859, he boarded the "City of Baltimore," of the Inman line, at Liverpool, and on May 24th, he stepped ashore at New York City, in a free land, where aristocracy and caste are unknown, and no man is entitled to be called a gentleman unless his actions deserve it. He went from New York to Canada, and stayed four months in Oxford County, but noy being satisfied with Canada, he came to Illinois, locating for one year in Scott County, whence he came to Morgan County. He was married in this township on Jan. 31, 1865, to Miss Mary A. Richardson, a native of Morgan county, and who was born in June, 1837. She is the oldest daughter of Vincent Richardson, whose biography appears in the Album. Mrs. Riley was reared at home, and was blessed with the manifold advantages that attach to having careful and prudent parents. She is the mother of six children: Sarah E., wife of Albert Scott, lives in this township on a farm; John W., married Lizzie Wilson, and is also farming here; George A.; Vincent R., Mary R., and Lizzie A. are at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Riley are consistent members of the Methodist Church,
and politically, Mr. R. is a sound Republican, and has held township offices.
He has always been found faithful to any trust confided in him, and when
the roll of good men of Morgan County is made up, Mr. Riley will appear
as one of the best.
HEZEKIAH RIMBEY, a retired contractor and builder of Winchester, was born in Frederick County, Md., Dec. 1, 1817. His father, Peter Rimbey, a weaver by trade, was a native of Pennsylvania, and descended from German ancestry, and his mother whose maiden name was Margaret Stultz, also of German parentage, was probably born in Virginia. The old gentleman died in Maryland somewhere about 1854, at the age of sixty-three years, and the old lady lived to be eighty-three. They reared a family of three sons and four daughters, Hezekiah being the oldest son and second child.
Hezekiah Rimbey was educated at Emmettsburg, Md., and for a short time taught school in that vicinity. He subsequently learned the carpenter's trade, and thereafter devoted the greater portion of his time to it. In 1838 he emigrated to Montgomery County, Ohio, whence, two years later, he removed to Illinois and located at Jacksonville. Remaining at that place about two years, he then removed to Lynnville, and made that town his home probably until 1850, in which year he returned East. In 1851 he took up his abode in Winchester, and has been more or less identified with the construction of about every first-class building erected in that city since.
In August, 1861, Mr. Rimbey enlisted in Company C, 285h Illinois Infantry, and served with distinction to the end of his three year's enlistment, being a non-commissioned officer, and participating in the battles of Shiloh, Hatchie, Jackson, Miss., etc. While on detached duty at Memphis he met with an accident from the effects of which he will probably never recover. Being mustered out of the service Aug. 26, 1861, he returned home and resumed, as has been indicated, his former occupation. He was married at Lynnville, Morgan Co., Ill., Jan. 26, 1843, to Miss Mary Quarton, daughter of Thomas Quarton, who was one of the pioneers of that county, and has been born to him seven children, of whom we have the following memoranda: Margaret died in infancy; Manassah died at the age of three years; Hammoleketh died, aged eleven years, nine months and twenty-three days; Thomas died aged one year and nineteen days; Helen died aged six months; Hezekiah, Jr., is a clerk in Winchester, and Ada is the wife of Mr. L. Schierieck, now of St. Louis. The family are enthusiastic and consistent members of the Christian Church. Mr. Rimbey is a stalwart Republican in politics, and a devoted member of Hesse post No. 203, G.A.R.
Mrs. Rimbey's father, Thomas Quarton, was a native of England, and
during his day one of the most extensive farmers of Morgan County. Mrs.
Rimbey was born in England in 1819, and was ten years old when her parents
came to America.
FRED B. RITCHIE. The Waverly Journal has been under the editorial and proprietary control of this gentleman since the 1st of January, 1885, and has become fully established as the favorite local newspaper of this section. It is specially devoted to the interests of Morgan County, and enjoys a circulation which is steadily increasing. Mr. Ritchie is a gentleman in the prime of life, and a native of the Prairie State, having been born in Carrollton, Greene County, March 18, 1848. His parents were John H. and Mary (Kirgan) Ritchie, natives respectively of New York City and Lexington, Ky.
John Ritchie, he paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Edinburg, Scotland, where he was reared to man's estate and apprenticed to the trade of a stone-cutter. He was also married there, and some time afterward emigrated to New York City, where he met his death by falling from a building. He left two sons - John and James. The latter settled in New Hampshire, where he engaged in farming pursuits, and probably spent the remainder of his life. The other son, John, the father of our subject, likewise learned the trade of a stone-cutter, which he followed in New York City and Boston until coming to Illinois. Here he first located in Pike County among its earliest pioneers. Later he removed to Greene County, and next to Macoupin, where he resided until the fall of 1887. He then changed his residence to Moberly, Mo., where he is now living and engaged in the hotel business.
The father of our subject was first married in New York City to Miss Margaret Wilson, who accompanied him to the West, and died in Pike County, this State, leaving three children. The eldest of these, a daughter, Elizabeth, became the wife of Erastus Eldred, and died in Macoupin County, where also a younger sister died, named Emma. Amanda became the wife of Thomas J. Arnold, of New York City, and is deceased.
The elder Ritchie was a second time married in Carrollton, Ill., to Miss Mary Kirgan, who was born in Kentucky, and was the daughter of Benjamin Kirgan. This union resulted in the birth of two children - Fred B. and Julia, the latter of whom is now living with her father. Fred B., our subject, pursued his studies in the common schools until a youth of sixteen years, then he entered a printing office at Virden, where he learned his trade. Later advancing, he was employed as local editor in Greenfield and other places until coming to this county. In Greenfield he was married, Sept. 19, 1872, to Miss Sarah, daughter of Hiram and Vianner (McLaughlin) Holiday. Mrs. Ritchie was born in Greenfield, Ill., in 1848, acquired a common-school education, and remained a member of the parental household until her marriage. She is now the mother of one child, John, who was born July 9, 1873.
Mr. Ritchie, politically, is a sound Democrat, and an earnest worker
for his party, frequently serving as a delegate to the county and district
conventions. He occupies with his family a pleasant home in the west part
of town. Mrs. Ritchie is a member of the Congregational Church.
RICHARD ROBERTSON, one of the younger farmers of this county, has spent his entire life in Central Illinois, near the place of his birth, at his father's homestead in this county, where he first opened his eyes to the light Sept. 16, 1857. He received an excellent education, completing his studies in the Jacksonville Business College. When not in school he occupied himself at the various employments around the homestead, and naturally chose agriculture as his future calling. His farm property comprises 278 acres of land where in addition to the tilling of the soil he makes a specialty of stock-raising, having cattle, horses and swine.
John Robertson, the father of our subject, and also a native of this county, was born in 1823, and here likewise has spent his entire life engaged in farming and stock-raising. The Robertson family is of excellent Scotch ancestry and was first represented in America probably during the colonial times. The mother of our subject, Mrs. Mary (Drinkwater) Robertson, is now deceased. One of her sisters settled in Polk County, Oregon, at an early day and is still living there.
The family of John and Mary Robertson included nine children, seven of whom are living, namely: John T., Mary, Frank, Cassie, Mattie, Richard and William L. John T. married Miss Lyda Matthews of Cass County, where he operates as a banker. They have five children - Richard, Nellie, Virgil, Frank and a babe unnamed. Mary became the wife of S. W. Eldred of Greene County, and they are living on a farm near Virden, Ill.; they have three children - John William and Louisa. Frank married Miss Nora Thomas, of Greene County, is a farmer by occupation and the father of two children. Mattie married Elon A. Eldred, and Cassie is the wife of A. E. Wilson, both farmers of Greene County. William L. married Mamie E. Rexwod of Cass County, they live on a farm in Morgan County.
The subject of this sketch was married Feb. 2, 1887, to Miss Ettie daughter of James and Lizzie (Hill) Humphrey, of this county, and there has been born to them one child, a son, Elon A. The parents of Mrs. Robertson were natives of Chester County, Pa. The father was born Sept. 21, 1824, and departed this life Dec. 25, 1872, in Sedalia, Mo. The mother was born April 30, 1836, and is living. Of the five children born to them four are living. Anna became the wife of Samuel L. Duncan, a barber of Chicago; they have no children; John H. married Miss Mary Allen and lives in Colorado; they have no children; Mary B., is the wife of John Smith, a commercial traveler and they make their home in Lincoln, Neb.
At the time the father of our subject came to Morgan County, the face of the country was mostly in its primitive condition - a wide, uncultivated tract of land with here and there the cabin of some adventurous settler. He has been a witness of great and wonderful changes during a long and busy life - a life which has been filled in with the usual amount of labor and struggle, but which is crowned with success. He is now in good circumstances and connected with the Jacksonville National Bank.
Our subject, politically, is a decided Republican and has already
been quite prominent in local affairs, serving as Road Supervisor and School
Director, and is a gentleman of whom much is expected in the future. He
occupies a fine residence and the young couple are very comfortably established
in life, being surrounded with all its comforts, and in the enjoyment of
the friendship of a large circle of acquaintances.
PETER ROBERTS first saw the light of day Jan. 12, 1812, in Washington County, Tenn., where he resided until he was twenty-one years of age, and in company with Alexander Pitner, emigrated to Morgan County in 1833. He commenced life by working on a farm by the month.
Mr. Roberts, in 1837, was married to Miss Emeline McGinnis, a native of Washington County Tenn. Her parents came to Morgan County in 1825. Mr. Roberts is now the happy possessor of 600 broad acres of land, well improved, and in a good state of cultivation.
William Roberts, father of the subject of this sketch, was also a native of Washington County, Tenn. He married Miss Eve Ruble, of Pennsylvania, whose parents emigrated to Tennessee at an early day. Our subject had eleven brothers and sisters: One brother, Joseph, married Caroline Sargent, of Sangamon County, Ill., where he is engaged in farming; they have six children. Samuel married Eve Seymour, of Morgan County; he enlisted in the late war, and was one of the many thousands who gave their lives in defense of their country. He was killed at the battle of Peach Tree Creek, Ga., leaving a widow and three children, who are now living in Morgan County.
In the family of Peter Roberts, whose name heads this sketch, are four children: Thomas, James, Douglas, and Hardin. Douglas married Miss Lulu Dickinson, of Morgan County, and is a farmer; they have seven children. Hardin married a lady in Texas, where he is residing, following the occupation of lawyer and teacher. The rest of the children are at home.
The subject of this sketch is one of the pioneers of Morgan County, and is a man of ability. He was elected Colonel of the 22d Illinois Militia, a position he filled with credit to himself and the service for seven years. He inherited his soldierly qualities from his father, who served with distinguished honor in the war of 1812. He is engaged in a general farming business, and has been eminently successful in business affairs. His neighbors can testify to the fact that there is no more public spirited man in the community than Col. Roberts. His son, Douglas, is superintendent of the farm.
Col. Roberts is a Democrat, and cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson,
so that it will be seen that he is not a recent recruit in the Democratic
MARTIN L. ROBINSON is a fine representative of the sons of the old pioneers of Morgan County, who were born and reared within its borders, and for several years have been taking a prominent part in the sustenance and extension of its marvelous agricultural resources. His farm, which is in many respects one of the most desirable in the vicinity, is finely located in township 16, section 13, range 9, and on section 18, range 8; is amply provided with conveniently arranged, suitable frame buildings, including a comfortable dwelling, barn, corn-cribs, etc., all in good repair, and looking neat and substantial. He has built all of these himself, with the exception of a part of the house which stood on the place when it came into his possession.
The subject of this brief biography was born in this county, on the homestead where his father still lives. His parents were Harrison and Elizabeth (Thompson) Robinson, pioneers of this county.
Our subject gleaned a very good, practical education in the district school, and in his native township was reared to an independent, stalwart, manly manhood. He early began to make his own way in the world, and when he was only nineteen years old established a home of his own, marrying, Oct. 22, 1872, Miss Lydia, daughter of William J. Lathom, of this county. (For parental history see sketch of W. J. Lathom on another page of this volume.) Mrs. Robinson is an excellent housewife and has cooperated with her husband in his work and has been an important factor in bringing about his prosperity. In their pleasant home five children have been born to them - Carrie, Anna, Rhoda, Leroy, and Pearl.
Mr. Robinson is a man of unlimited energy, capacity and expedience, who has met success more than half way and has already acquired a competence. His farm of 220 acres is not surpassed in cultivation and point of improvement by any other in the neighborhood, and it yields to his superior management abundant harvests. It is admirably adapted to raising stock, and our subject makes a specialty of feeding all the cattle that he can ship at home to advantage.
Mr. and Mrs. Robinson stand high in the social circles of their community,
and they have one of the cosiest and most attractive of homes, where the
coming guest is cordially welcomed and the parting visitor kindly sped,
in accordance with the laws of true hospitality. They have a fine family
whom they are educating and training to be useful and honorable members
ROTTGER, JOHN, who is one of the prosperous merchants of Jacksonville, and proprietor of the Furniture and Undertaking establishment on South Main street, is a native of Prussia, and was born in the year 1839. He is the son of William and Wilhelmenia (Taylor) Rottger, who were born in the same country. The father of our subject was a butcher by trade. In the year 1847 he came to the United States, leaving his family in Germany until he had determined whether to make this country his home or not, and if so to make full provision for their comfort before their arrival. He made his way to this county, and in 1852 he sent for his wife and four children, and before long the family was re-united. He continued to follow his trade in Jacksonville, but afterward went to work on the Mississippi River, and met his death by drowning near New Orleans, about the year 1852.
The other members of the family to which our subject belongs are: Wilhelmenia, now Mrs. Knollenberg, of the city of Jacksonville; Eliza, who is the wife of H. H. Knollenberg, of the same city, and Frederick W., whose home is at Mt. Sterling, Ill., where he is engaged in farming, is the owner of a lumber yard, has a well established stock and grain business, and is also a banker. The mother of our subject, who has reached the advanced age of ninety-two years, makes her home with her eldest daughter.
The subject of this sketch, commenced, in 1857, to learn the furniture trade, engaging with Mr. Cyrus Saunderson, with whom later a partnership was formed, which continued for some time. Later he was joined by the firm of Becker & Degen, and it became that of Becker, Rottger & Degen. In the course of time this was changed, and the same business is now carried on by our subject alone. He is doing quite an extensive business, and in 1879 was compelled to put up his present store building; it stands 20x110 feet, and is three stories in height. The material employed in its construction is the best brick, with stone dressings. He has in his employ two skilled workmen, a saleslady, and his daughter, Mamie E., who is his bookkeeper.
Mr. Rottger was married in the year 1860, the lady of his choice being Miss Emma L. Entrikin, of Murrayville, Ill. To them have been born three children, whose names are recorded as follows: John F., their first-born, whom, however, they were only privileged to have with them for about five years, when he was removed by death; Curtis H., now the manager of the telephone exchange of this city, and a graduate of Jacksonville Business College; his wife was Jessie A. Wilbur, of Jacksonville; Mamie E., who received the best education obtainable in the city, and is a graduate of Washington High School. Mrs. Rottger died in the year 1872, on January 8. Mr. Rottger was again married, Nov. 27, 1884, the lady being Annie M. Carlile, of Pisgah, Ill., who has presented him with five children, viz: Maude H., John F., Wilhelmenia, Ula B. and Jessie C.
Our subject is, in matters connected with governmental questions,
guided by the principles of the Republican party, which are in harmony
with his own position, and usually he votes the ticket of that party. He
is an extensive stockholder in the coal shaft of the city, and sustains
a reputation for business integrity and enterprise, of which his embarking
in this venture, with the hope of benefitting the district, is but a case
in point. In the fraternities of the city he is well known and heartily
received, being a member of the Untied Order of Workingmen, the I. O. O.
F. and Masonic orders.
WILLIAM R. ROUTT, a retired capitalist, having a fine residence in the southern part of Jacksonville, No. 1427 South Main street, is the son of an early settler of Morgan County, a man of considerable prominence and influence among its pioneers, forty or fifty years ago. The father's name was Harvey Routt, and he was born in Woodford County, Ky., in the latter part of the 18th century. He was a man of fine mental and physical endowments, was well educated, and early assumed a place of importance in his native county, serving it at different times as Surveyor and as Commissioner, he having received a practical training as Surveyor. He was ambitious to improve his financial condition, and in 1834, with his wife and three children, he left the pleasant scenes of his old Kentucky home, and bravely penetrated the wilds of Illinois to Morgan County, and soon after located on the old farm where our subject passed the most of his boyhood, and where many years of his manhood were spent, it still being in his possession. The father, besides paying attention to improving his farm, engaged in surveying, and thus acquired a good knowledge of the topography of the surrounding country. His fellow_pioneers looked up to him as a man of superior wisdom and ability, and often consulted him on important public questions. He gained a handsome competence, retired to private life in Jacksonville, and in February, 1873, he died, and thus passed away from the scenes where he had been a familiar figure so long, a citizen whose memory is held in respect not only as a pioneer, but as a man who was true to himself, and to those about him in all the relations of life. He was twice married. The wife of his early manhood died soon after they came here, leaving three children _ our subject, C.L., and Mrs. Newman, the latter a widow living in Chicago. After a time he married Mrs. Ann Fry, and to them came one child, Catherine. She is now Mrs. James T. McMillan, and has one son, Frederic T. Mrs. Routt survived her husband four or five years, and then she too passed away.
William Routt of this biography, was born in Franklin County, Ky., April 1, 1832, and was but two years of age when his parents settled on the farm eight miles southeast of Jacksonville, in this county. Having the sad misfortune to lose his mother a few years afterward, he lived with an aunt until after his father married a second time, then he took him home. He gleaned a good practical common_school education in local schools, and was with his father on the farm until he attained his majority, and then his father left the old homestead in his and his brother's care, and out subject continued to live thereon, engaging extensively in buying, feeding and selling fat stock, until September, 1886. He then bought a fine residence in town, and retired to it to enjoy the fortune that he had accumulated by judicious management and careful investments. He now owns 313 acres of the old homestead that once belonged to his father, having sold off a part of it, and also in addition owns about 700 acres. After it came into his possession, he made many valuable improvements such as any enterprising farmer would make, erecting a fine set of farm buildings, including a barn that cost $1,000, with cattle scales adjoining, and everything to facilitate agricultural pursuits, and under his management it became on of the finest farms in the township. It is located on section 25, township 14, range 10.
On Jan. 28, 1869, Mr. Routt was united in marriage to Miss Martha Ransdall, and one son has blessed their union, Harvey, born on the 15th of March, 1871. He is now in the preparatory school fitting for college, his father intending to give him every advantage that can be gained by a fine education. Mrs. Routt was born in the neighborhood where her husband was reared, her birthplace being about three_fourths of a mile from his father's homestead. Her father, John Ransdall, a native of Kentucky, born in February, 1812, came to Morgan County when a young man. He was a carpenter by trade, and afterward turning his attention to agriculture, is still living on the same farm that he first bought. He married for his second and present wife, Miss Tabitha Grimsley, and four children have been born to them, one dying in infancy.
Mr. Routt's course through life as a man and as a citizen has always
been highly commendable, and he has exerted his influence for the public
good, using his wealth freely to benefit his community, ever having its
highest interests at heart. He was a School Director for many years, and
was active in promoting the cause of education. In politics he is a sound
Democrat, as was his father before him. He is a member of the Christian
Church, a faithful and exemplary follower of its teachings.
CHARLES L. ROUTT occupies a very high position in Morgan County as a gentleman and capitalist, and has a liberal education. He is a native of Woodford County, Ky., and was the son of Harvey and Catherine M. (Springer) Routt, and was born in the year 1823. His parents were natives of Kentucky and New Jersey. They were married in Kentucky and there made their home. During the earlier years of his life the father of our subject was engaged in teaching, and when not so employed was occupied upon his farm. He came to this county, about 1833, shipping his goods by water and traveling overland by carriage, and settled about eight miles south west from the city. He continued extensively engaged in farming until about 1856, then removed to the city, where he resided until his death, on the 23d of February, 1872. He was the father of three children by his first marriage: Charles L.; Caroline, now Mrs. B. Newman, of Chicago, and William R., of this city.
His first wife dying on the 17th of January, 1835, the father of our subject subsequently remarried, the lady of his choice being Mrs. Ann Fry, of Morgan County, Ill.; the day whereon this alliance was celebrated being the 4th of January, 1838. This has been consummated by the birth of one daughter, Catherine M., now the wife of J. T. McMillen, of this city. By a former husband this lady was the mother of two children, viz.: Mary A., who is happily married to C.B. Lewis, of this city, and William, who died in 1848, owing to an accident. He was at the time twelve years of age. The maiden name of Mrs. A. (Fry) Routt was Ann Ransdell, and she was the daughter of Presley and Mary (Shely) Ransdell, who were natives of Virginia; they migrated to this county in 1833. Mr. Ransdell being very extensively engaged in farming. The first husband of this lady, William Fry, of land in Morgan County, Ill., which he continued to farm until his death, which occurred soon after coming to this State, Aug. 19, 1835
The father of our subject, Harvey Routt, was elected to the office of County Commissioner, and also that of County Surveyor; he was also one of the Township Trustees; and at one time was in business as a loan agent. He was a man of sound business principles, strictest integrity, and stood high in the esteem of the people as a man, a citizen and a Christian. He took the largest possible interest in the affairs of the county and State, and was never tired of working to that end. In politics he was strictly conservative, and as behooved one of the most prominent citizens of the county, was of irreproachable reputation.
The subject of this biography from the first evinced somewhat of the strong, manly principles and large brain power that has distinguished him above his fellows. He was educated in the schools of Kentucky and Illinois, and also attended the Catholic College at Cincinnati, where he remained for three years, leaving that institution when in his seventeenth year, upon which he returned home and engaged in farming. At this he remained for a number of years and came to this city in 1866. Since that time he has retired from the more arduous work and from the pressing cares of business, and simply superintends the working of his farms, which comprise over 1,500 acres. In addition to his farms he is the owner of a very fine residence situated on East State street.
Ever since attending the Catholic school Mr. Routt has espoused that
church and religious system, and has expressed his devotion thereto by
his hearty support of the same, being among the very largest subscribers
to the various institutions connected therewith in the city and neighborhood.
He is a doughty defender of Democratic principles, and takes pleasure in
promulgating and supporting them. He is in fact in every way worthy of
the name of a representative American citizen.
RICHARD RUBLE. In noting the career of the representative men of Morgan County, he with whose name we introduce this sketch cannot properly be omitted. Within its limits he was born July 16, 1826, and here have centered his closest interests. While watching the growth and development of Central Illinois, he has practically "grown up with the country," and in his labors of thirty years or more has contributed largely to the growth and prosperity of his township. He is practically a self-made man, having received only limited advantages in his youth, acquiring his book learning in the primitive log cabin with its puncheon floor and desks and seats made of slabs. The system of instruction in those days was in keeping with the architecture of the building - far inferior to that enjoyed by the present generation. Those times, however, with their arduous labors and unavoidable duties, had the effect to develop an admirable class of men - men who form the bone and sinew of all well regulated society. Not only were they courageous, physically, but they possessed the moral courage which looked with contempt upon a mean act, and made the best good of the community an interest almost equal with their own.
Our subject is the offspring of a good family, being the son of Jesse Ruble, who was born in East Tennessee in 1798, and came to this county in 1820. He first located on a piece of land, which he improved and sold to John Green, then entered 160 acres from the Government, and commencing another homestead, added by degrees to his real estate until he became the owner of 520 acres of land. Finally selling this also, he purchased the farm now owned and occupied by his son, our subject, and later disposing of this also, removed to Sangamon County. There he purchased a farm of 200 acres or more and spent the remainder of his life, passing away Aug. 1, 1871.
The mother of our subject was in her girlhood Miss Mary Matthews, and Richard and Jacob were the only children born of this union. Jesse Ruble married for his second wife Catherine Robertson, who was born in Scotland and died in 1837. They had one daughter, Catherine, who became the wife of Thomas Wilcox, of Sangamon County. They are now living on a farm in this county, and are the parents of ten children, two of whom are deceased. This lady died, and Mr. Ruble was married the third time to Miss Mary Butler, of Sangamon County, who became the mother of one child and is now deceased, together with the child.
Upon coming to this county Jesse Ruble found a wild, uncultivated waste, with the cabins of the settlers few and far between. He carried the surveyor's chain when the city of Jacksonville was laid out. Before coming to the West he had served in the War of 1812, and later was the only man in this county able to drill the militia at the general muster customary at intervals all over the United States. He also served in the Black Hawk War under Gen. Taylor, and received a Colonel's commission. The people of this region endured many hardships in the early days, and frequently were greatly troubled to obtain enough provisions. Mr. Ruble was a very public-spirited and benevolent man, and would frequently take his ox team and go to the river bottoms on hunting excursions for honey and bees wax, which the Government land officers, then located at St. Louis, Mo., accepted in payment for land and debts, as there was no money in circulation in this county at the time.
The subject of this sketch was first married in 1849, to Miss Lucy D. Harris, who was born in 1828, and whose parents came from Middle Tennessee in 1843. She departed this life at the old homestead in November, 1863, after having become the mother of one child, a son, John A., who is now living in Kansas; he married Miss Mary Reger, of Sangamon County; and they have three children - Charles, John and Lorenzo. Mr. Ruble contracted a second marriage with Miss Sarah Jane Smetters, of Sangamon County, and whose parents came to this county in 1843, when she was quite young. The seven children of this union were named respectively: Mary Ellen, Milton, Andrew J., George, Henry, Sarah Jane, and Samuel. Mary Ellen is the wife of Harvey Sorrels, who is farming in the vicinity of New Berlin, Sangamon County. The other children remain at home with their parents.
Mr. Ruble commenced in life at the foot of the ladder, employed as a farm laborer. He then herded cattle for two years, and next began operations on rented land, working in this way for six years. At the expiration of this time he purchased a part of the land which constitutes his present farm. He now has 720 acres, the whole of which is under a good state of cultivation and improved with good buildings. The industry with which he has labored, and the good judgment with which he has managed cannot be better realized than by glancing over his valuable country estate, and noting the fact of the large outlay of time, labor and money which have brought it to its present condition.
In July, 1864, Mr. Ruble met with a serious accident by falling seventy-four and a half feet from a bee tree, form which he sustained what at first appeared to be almost fatal injuries; and on account of this, and being afflicted with rheumatism, he has been obliged to abandon in a great measure his active labors. His rare faculties as a manager, however, fully supply the place of brawn and muscle, and he is still competent to superintend the operations of his large farm. He usually feeds about 100 head of cattle annually for the Chicago market, and also the same number of swine. He keeps about forty-two head of horses and mules, and from these two industries alone realizes handsome profits.
Politically, Mr. Ruble uniformly votes the Republican ticket, and although not belonging to any church organization, he endeavors to make it the rule of his life to do unto his neighbors as he would be done by. A man needs no better recommendation than the good will of his neighbors, and this Mr. Ruble possesses in a marked degree. He has made for himself an enviable record both as a man and a citizen, and is one of those who will be kindly remembered long after he has departed hence.
Jacob Ruble, the younger of the two children born to the mother of
our subject, married a Miss Kingsbury, of Iowa, and is a resident of Labette
County, Kan. As a boy he took kindly to his book, acquired a good education,
and now follows the profession of a teacher; he has no children.
WILLIAM G. RUSSELL, a well educated gentleman, and a successful farmer, is located on section 30, township 14, range 9. He was born in Morgan County, April 30,1858, and prosecuted his education in Jacksonville College, taking a business and commercial course. He is the son of William Russell, who was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and came to America with his parents in 1833, shipping from Glasgow and landing in New York City, whence they came directly to Morgan County.
Grandfather Russell purchased a large tract of land, and built up a fine estate, of which his son William is now superintendent. The latter married Miss Emily Gallagher, and has been for some years a prosperous merchant of Jacksonville. The parental household included ten children, namely: Andrew, James, Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Thomas, Catherine, Isabelle and William G., our subject. Andrew is cashier of the Jacksonville Bank and a very capable young business man. With the exception of our subject the others are unmarried, and the younger ones attending school.
Our subject, upon reaching man's estate, was married to Miss Virginia
Martin, of Ralls County, Mo. The father of Mrs. Russell is deceased but
her mother lives on the farm in Ralls County. Her five children are all
living and residents of that county. The four children born to Mr. and
Mrs. Russell are Emily, Jane, Susan and a babe unnamed. Their farm comprises
200 acres of choice land, finely adapted to general agriculture and stock
raising, in which latter industry Mr. Russell is meeting with success,
keeping usually fifty head of cattle, fifteen horses, about one hundred
head of swine and a goodly number of sheep. Politically he belongs to the
Republican party, and religiously both Mr. and Mrs. Russell are members
of the Presbyterian Church, in which our subject is an Elder and one of
its chief pillars.
JOHN H. RUSSWINKEL. The American born citizens of German ancestry represent some of the best elements in the agricultural districts, being almost without exception, thrifty, industrious, honest, well_to_do, and thoroughly reliable. They have been willing to make sacrifices, and endure hardships and privations for the sake of future good, and this course in due time invariably brings its reward. The subject of this notice, a son of one of the German pioneers of this county, was born Feb. 5, 1858, was reared to habits of industry and economy, and is now comfortably established on a good farm of his own comprising eighty acres of land on section 19, township 16, range 12.
On another page in this volume will be found a sketch of the brother of our subject, George H. Russwinkel, and mention of the parents, John H. Sr., and Ellen Russwinkel, who are both natives of Germany, and the former of whom emigrated to America probably some time in the fifties. He first occupied himself as a farm laborer, then operated on rented land, and finally purchased a farm on section 16, township 16, range 12, where he built up a good homestead, and where he spent the remainder of his days, passing away Oct. 12, 1885. Upon his place at the time of purchase, there was a log hut and part of the land had been broken, but a large amount of labor was required in bringing the soil to a fertile condition, and in making the improvements which he effected upon it.
The father of Mr. Russwinkel was well known throughout this county for his sterling integrity, likewise his energy and perseverance. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he served as Trustee, and to which he gave liberally of his means. Politically, he affiliated with the Democratic party, and in his death the county lost one of her best citizens. John H., our subject, was reared to manhood under the parental roof, and received his education in the district school. As soon as old enough, he was required to make himself useful about the farm, and remained with his father until he was past twenty_seven years of age.
The 23d of April, 1885, was made memorable in the life of our subject
by his marriage with Miss Catherine E. Heitbrink. This lady was born in
the Province of Osnabruck, Germany, and came to America with her parents
when twenty_one years old. To Mr. and Mrs. Russwinkel there was born one
child, a daughter, who died in infancy. Mr. Russwinkel, like his father
and brother, supports Democratic principles, and is a reliable citizen,
held in respect by all who know him.
GEORGE H. RUSSWINKLE. This prosperous farmer and stock_raiser, who is residing on section 17, township 16, range 12, was born in Morgan County, Feb. 23, 1860. His parents were John H. and Ella Russwinkle, natives of Germany. The father came to this county when a young man, poor in purse, and occupied himself as a farm hand until he had laid up sufficient money to purchase the land which his widow now occupied and where he built a good home. But forty acres were broken at the time of purchase, and he added to his real estate until he was the owner of 300 acres, all of which he had accumulated through his industrious efforts. Not only did he come to this country without means, but was obliged to borrow $1.50 in order to get from New Orleans to St. Louis.
To the parents of our subject there was born quite a large family of children, of whom six survive, viz: John, George H., our subject, William, Mary, the wife of Henry Jording of Lafayette County, Mo., Annie, the wife of John Bullis of Broken Bow, Neb., and Ella. After the death of the mother the elder Russwinkle was married the second time, and there were born two more children, Lizzie and Lotta. Mr. R. was a member of the Lutheran Church, in which he served as trustee, and in politics was a Democrat. His sterling worth and integrity were the means of gathering around him many friends. He served as School Director in his township and was numbered among the prosperous German farmers of Morgan county.
The subject of this notice was reared to man's estate in this county
and received his education in the common school. He remained a member of
his father's household until twenty_three years old, assisting in opening
up the new farm, and remained unmarried until after the death of his father,
which occurred in October, 1885. On the 5th of May, 1887, he was married
to Miss Lizzie, daughter of George Werries of Morgan county, and they have
one son, George H. Mr. Russwinkle owns eighty acres of good land which
he has accumulated by his own industry. He is a member of the Lutheran
Church, like his father, and also like him belongs to the Democratic party.
Mrs. Russwinkle died at the homestead, Oct. 3, 1888.
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