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)
F. M. SPRINGER of the city of Jacksonville, was born in Fayette County, Ky., near the city of Lexington. His parents were Francis and Elsie (Runyon) Springer. The family circle included five children, viz.: Julia Ann, George, Catherine, our subject and Elizabeth; the latter died in Missouri in the year 1878.
The father of our subject who was born in the Blue Grass State, was by occupation a cabinet maker and carpenter. His father had migrated from Virginia in days when Kentucky was an almost unknown region, and became one of the pioneers of its settlement. In his day he was a prominent citizen and labored hard to bring his adopted State to the front so far as was in his power.
In the fall of 1833 our subject left Kentucky and came to this county. For a time he lived with his brother-in-law, Robert Castle, continuing until he was about twenty-five years of age, when he married. The interesting event was celebrated in the Autumn of 1844. The maiden whom he had chosen as his companion in life was Eliza Alexander, one of Morgan County's fair daughters. As soon as he was married he began farming upon his own account and rented a farm for two years near Jacksonville. At the end of that time he purchased a farm twelve miles east of the city and continued to live upon it for between ten and twelve years, when he sold it to advantage, and moved to Jacksonville, where he has continued to reside ever since.
The family circle of Mr. Springer includes five children whose names are given as follows: Mary Ann, who still makes her home with her parents; Laura, who is happily married to David Hamilton of Greenwood County, Kan.; Catherine, who is single and is still at home; John T., who is now the husband of Eligel B. Banks; and Hettie who is also at home. The wife of our subject died in the year 1864, and in April, 1865, he became the husband of Mrs. Mary M. Long. He was again left a widower by her death, which occurred in September, 1886. June 19, 1888, our subject married to Mrs. Jennie Jones, a native of Jacksonville.
Our subject being one of the pioneers of the county has always been alive to its interests and has been by no means backward in shouldering his share of effort and expense to bring it to the front and supply it with educational, benevolent, and religious institutions and corporations of commercial value. He has been a resident of the county for fifty-four years, and is consequently strongly attached to it by all the ties of home and friendship that enter into a life in that period. His religious home is within the pale of the Christian Church, of which he is an earnest member and generous supporter. He is also connected with the Masonic fraternity, and has been raised to the degree of a Master Mason. For many years he was a stanch adherent of the Republican party, but being impressed with the grave issues presented by the Prohibition party he has cast in his lot with them, and now votes that ticket.
The Springer family is of Swedish origin. About the year 1700 Charles
Christopher Springer was sent from his home in the city of Stockholm to
London, England, in order to be educated; but it so happened that he did
nor reach his destination. While on the way he was kidnaped and carried
to the United States, where his services were sold for his passage, and
he continued to serve his master for five years. He settled in Wilmington,
Del., and was granted a tract of land where Wilmington and New Castle now
stand. The different members of this family in the United States met at
St. Louis for the double purpose of a family reunion and in order to ascertain
if a title to the above grant of land could not be made out or discovered,
as it is claimed that the title is vested in the Springer family. The remains
of Charles Christopher Springer rest in Wilmington, Del., and the name
is still intelligible on the marble slab that marks his last resting place.
He was a finely educated man, and for many years occupied the position
of a lay-reader in the old Swedish Church. The subject of this sketch is
the youngest of the fourth generation of the family in this country that
claims an heirship to the above land grant. The issue at stake is not yet
decided, although hopes are still entertained that the matter may yet be
S.C. STEVENSON, Postmaster at Orleans, and a well_to_do farmer of Morgan County, has a fine estate on township 15, range 9, section 27. Here he has carried on agriculture and stock_raising for a term of forty years. He has been a prominent man in his community, occupied many positions of trust and responsibility, and has taken an especial interest in educational matters. He has been a School Director for more than thirty years, and his voice and influence have ever been heard in the encouragement of those enterprises calculated for the general welfare of the community. He is noted for his liberality in all works of charity, and during the late Civil War donated large sums of money to the Union cause.
The subject of this sketch was born Sept. 21, 1821, in Scott County, Ky., and is the son of William and Martha (Elliot) Stevenson, natives respectively of Westmoreland County, Pa., and Woodford County, Ky. William C. Stevenson was born June 21, 1779, and was the son of James and Jane Stevenson, who emigrated to Kentucky and settled near Louisville, in March, 1780. He followed farming his entire life. He was married, March 1, 1803, to Miss Martha, daughter of William and Elizabeth Elliott, at that time residents of Woodford County, Ky. They became the parents of nine sons and one daughter, four of whom are living.
The parents of our subject, with their family of eight children, came to this county in the fall of 1829, and settled five miles east of the then unpretentious village of Jacksonville. There the father labored industriously as a tiller of the soil, and resided until his death, which occurred April 27, 1863, after he had reached the advanced age of eighty_four years. He had outlived his faithful companion a period of seventeen years, the death of the mother having taken place July 27, 1846, at the age of sixty_five years. The birth of both occurred on the 21st of June, and both died on the 27th day of the month.
S.C. Stevenson was the seventh child of the parental family, and settled in Morgan County in 1829. The homestead now embraces 320 acres of fine farming land, a large portion of which, however, he has divided among his two children. His early school privileges were exceedingly limited, but being fond of reading and study, he has kept abreast of the time, and is a man well_informed and of more than ordinary intelligence. Upon approaching manhood he began making his arrangements for the establishment of a home of his own, and was married, in February, 1847, to Miss Eveline Hill, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of John and Charlotte Hill, natives of Kentucky. She became the mother of seven children, and departed this life at her home in Morgan County, Sept. 14, 1867. She was a lady highly esteemed in her community, an active member of the Presbyterian Church, and a teacher in the Sabbath_school.
Of this union there were born the seven children named respectively, Irvin, Fanny F., Thomas, Charlotte, John W., Cornelia May, and Fred. Fanny is the wife of James M. Cully, and lives on a farm in this county; Charlotte is the wife of George Guthrie, a merchant of Zanesville, Ohio; Cornelia May married Charles S. Rannells, a farmer of Morgan County.
Mr. Stevenson, on the 16th of December, 1868, contracted a second marriage with Miss Minerva, daughter of Henry and Love D. (Snow) Bosworth. This lady was the eldest child of her parents, and born in Chautauqua County, N.Y., Aug. 25, 1821. Mr. Bosworth was a jeweler, and carried on business a number of years in Fredonia, N.Y. The parents spent their last days in Fredonia, the mother dying in 1850, and the father in 1859. Mrs. Stevenson, together with our subject, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and active in all good works, serving as President of the Foreign Mission Board, is a teacher in the Sabbath school, and devotes much of her time and energies to the Christian cause. She is a lady of excellent education, having completed her studies in the famous Mount Holyoke Seminary, in Massachusetts. She taught school first at Westfield, N.Y., and later in Jacksonville, this State, in the Presbyterian Female Academy. She was thus occupied several years, and until her marriage with our subject. The residence of the Stevenson family with its surroundings forms one of the most complete homes in the vicinity of the city of Jacksonville.
Irvin Stevenson, the eldest son of our subject, married Miss Kate
Clark, and is farming in this county; Thomas also following agricultural
pursuits, married Miss Alice Snow, of Fredonia, N.Y., but she is now deceased;
John W. married Miss Libby Reynolds, of Jacksonville, and is engaged in
the practice of law at Aurora, Neb., where he holds a position among the
leading lights in the profession; Fred Stevenson was married Nov. 20, 1888,
to Miss Loulie M. Greenleaf, of Jacksonville. Mr. Stevenson, politically,
is a stanch Republican, and maintains a warm interest in the success of
the temperance cause.
IRVIN STEVENSON is a native of Morgan County, and was born Dec. 14, 1848. He is in the possession of a good business education, acquired at Washington High School, and is a prominent citizen of his county.
Septimus Stevenson, father of Irvin, was born in Scott County, Ky., and is an old settler of Morgan County. He married Miss Eveline Hill, of Fayette County, Ky., who died in September, 1867. They had seven children, all of whom are living _ Fannie, Lottie, May, Thomas, William, Fred and Irvin. Fannie married James M. Culley, of Indiana, and they are now living in Morgan County; Mr. Culley is a prosperous and intelligent farmer. They have one child living, Howard; Thomas married Alice Snow, of Fredonia, N.Y., but has no children; Lottie married George Guthrie, a commercial salesman of Zanesville, Ohio, at which place they now reside; William married Libbie Reynolds, of Jacksonville, and they are now residing in Aurora, Neb.; they have one child, a babe; May married C. S. Rannells, a farmer of Pisgah, Morgan County, Ill. They have no children; Fred married Lou Greenleaf, of Jacksonville, Ill. They are living on the old homestead in Morgan County.
When Septimus Stevenson came to Morgan County there was little indication of there being such a transformation in the character of the country as has occurred. Provisions, lumber and all other commodities that were needed by the early settlers were procured only by hauling a long distance, sometimes the trip to the Mississippi river consuming ten days. All the trials incident to the opening up of a new country befell Mr. Stevenson, but, with commendable courage and perseverance, he conquered all difficulties, and has left his imprint upon the history of Morgan County. He has a magnificent homestead, all the land connected therewith being in a high state of cultivation, and he is now enjoying the fruits of the inconveniences that surrounded him in the pioneer days.
Irvin Stevenson, of whom this sketch is written, was married, in 1879, to Miss Kate Clark, of Morgan County. Her father is now living, but her mother is deceased. Three children have blessed this union, only one of whom is living, Herbert Clark. Mr. Stevenson owns a fine farm of 200 acres, and the buildings thereon are a credit to the place. He is an extensive farmer, and also deals in cattle, and feeds them for the market. In this part of the farming industry he has scored a marked success, and is one of the many farmers of this section who are fast becoming rich by reason of close attention to business, coupled with intelligence. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Pisgah.
Mr. Stevenson has positive and intelligent convictions upon any subject
with which he is familiar, which accounts for his zeal in advocating the
principles of the Republican party in a stalwart manner. Though he has
never sought office, it would not be surprising some day to hear that the
office sought him.
JACOB STOUT. This gentlemen has spent nearly sixty_four years in this county _ in fact his entire life with the exception of about six months, when he was brought here by his parents from the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was born March 7, 1825. Under these circumstances his chief interests have naturally centered here, and while growing up with the country he has been closely identified with the matters pertaining to its development and progress. He comes of excellent New England stock, being the son of Nathaniel Stout, who was born in New Jersey, and was the son of Abraham Stout, a cooper by trade, who lived to be eighty years old and spent his entire life in New England. He was Baptist in religion and was twice married.
Nathaniel Stout was reared to man's estate in his native county, and married a distant kinswoman Miss Catherine Stout, of Ohio, and the daughter of Jesse Stout, a patriot of the war of 1812. The latter came to this county when nearly one hundred years old, and died nearly fifty years ago. His wife survived him and passed away at the home of her daughter Catherine after she had become a centenarian. Both Jesse Stout and his wife were Baptists in religion. Nathaniel and his wife after their marriage settled a few miles from Cincinnati, Ohio, where the father conducted a distillery, but after the birth of their first child, our subject, they determined to change their location and occupation, and came overland to Illinois. The father took up a Government tract near the site of the present city of Jacksonville, which cost him $1.25 per acre and which he sold for $30 per acre. He then removed to Scott County.
Upon first coming to Illinois Nathaniel Stout landed with a capital of $50 and a team of horses which would at this day be considered of very little value. At the expiration of twelve years and preparatory to his removal to Scott County, he sold out for $10,000 and purchased land from which he improved two farms. These also in time he sold and removed to a point near the Ohio River in Pike County, where he began boating and was thus occupied until his death, which took place when he was about fifty_three years old. His career had been more than ordinarily active and industrious and presented a fine illustration of the results of persevering labor and good management. His wife survived him about three years, dying in the spring of 1853, when about fifty_four years old. Their family consisted of five daughters and one son our subject, and they are all living, making their homes mostly in Illinois.
Jacob Stout was first married in this county, in 1843, to Miss Harriet Sprang, who was born here, where she was reared and educated, and who died in Wapello County, Iowa, Feb. 20, 1848. They had removed to Iowa after their marriage. There was one child born of this union, a daughter, Sarah, who died at the age of twenty_four years. Mr. stout was married the second time, Dec. 24, 1849, to Miss Elizabeth Deaten. This lady was born near Jacksonville, July 21, 1836, and is the daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Cook) Deaten, who both died here, the father in 1880, at the age of seventy_four years and the mother in 1883, aged seventy_five. The latter was a native of Virginia whence she came to this county with her father, James Deaten, in 1821, when but a few people had settled here. He was thus one of the earliest pioneers and became one of the most prominent men of this county. He put up the first mill within its limits northwest of the present site of Jacksonville, and became widely and favorably known. His death was the result of a fall from an apple tree. His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth (Pollard) Deaten, had passed away prior to the decease of her husband; both were active members of the Methodist Church, and the first class_meeting in the county was organized and held at their house. Their home also became the stopping place of the itinerant.
Mrs. Elizabeth Stout was the eldest of five children born to her mother _ two sons and three daughters _ and she remained a member of the parental household until her marriage. The seven children born of her union with our subject, are recorded as follows: Marshall married Miss Mary E. Rawlings and lives on a farm in the same township as his father; Albert married Miss Ellen Parks and is also in township 15; William makes his home with his brother Marshall, and they farm together; Joseph married Miss Anna Lake, is a carpenter by trade and lives in Beardstown, this State; Lizzie A., Alta M., and Charles are at home with their parents.
After the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Stout on the 2d of September, 1862, enlisted as a Union soldier in Company D, 101st Illinois Infantry, the Company under command of Capt. Kaufman and the regiment commanded by Col. Fox. They are assigned to the 11th Army Corps and for a time were under Gen. Howard. Later they were consolidated with the 20th Army Corps under Grant and Sherman, and our subject participated in the siege of Vicksburg, and was one of four companions who escaped being captured by the Rebels. He next fought at Chattanooga and was with his regiment near Resaca, May 14, 1864. The following day he was struck by a shell from the battery which was playing upon the Infantry, having his right leg torn from his body. He was conveyed to a hospital where he was confined several months, when he was sent North and received his honorable discharge, Jan. 1, 1865. He also suffered a great deal from sickness and now draws a pension from the Government.
Mr. Stout votes the straight Republican ticket, first, last and altogether,
and has served as Justice of the Peace. He is naturally identified with
the G.A.R. Both he and his estimable wife are members in good standing
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in which Mr. Stout officiates as Trustee,
and in which he is a chief pillar. The father of Mr. Stout was a soldier
in the Black Hawk War.
STRANG, CARY F., a native of Greene County, Ill., was born June 19, 1838. His parents were Benjamin and Martha A. (Sanders) Strang, the former of English descent, and the latter a native of Kentucky. They emigrated to Greene County sometime in the thirties. The father died when our subject was about seven years of age, and at the age of nine, with his mother, and step-father, Samuel Murray, he came to Morgan County. The family settled about two and one-half miles northeast of the present site of Murrayville, and lived there two years. In 1851, they removed to the present farm of our subject. Samuel Murray was a native of Scotland, and laid off the town of Murrayville, which is named in honor of him. He continued a resident here until his death, which occurred in 1867.
Mr. Strang, of whom we write, was reared to manhood in this county and received his education in the early subscription schools, and later attended the public schools. He had not the advantages offered the young men of today, but being a reader all his life he has been able to keep himself posted in the current topics of the day. Mr. Strang is engaged in farming and raising live stock, and has seen the country rise from its primitive condition into what it now is.
The subject of this notice was twice married, his first wife being Ellen M. Grimes, who became the mother of five children: Mary E., is the wife of Benjamin Rice, and they reside in this county; Maggie married John Wyatt, and they are also residing in this county; Clara, is the wife of Thomas Crouse, Postmaster at Murrayville; Edward; one child is deceased. Mrs. Strang passed away on Nov. 21, 1871. Mr. C. Strang was subsequently married to Margaret Grimes, daughter of John and Mary A. (Potts) Grimes, the father a native of Kentucky. By this union he became the father of four children, all of whom survive - Ellen M., Lulu G., Harry G., and Meda E. The mother of these children is a native of Pike County, Ill., and was born Dec. 7, 1839. She left her native county when quite young and resided for some time in Greene County, this State, and also for a time in Jersey County, and in 1871 came to this county.
The subject of this biography is the owner of 200 acres of land in
this county. He also owns one-half interest in 147 acres, where he now
lives, with his brother, B. D. Strang, who resides in Greene County, this
State. He likewise has an interest in 1280 acres of land with his brother
heretofore mentioned in Greene County. He is practically a self-made man,
having made all he has by his energy and industry with the exception of
receiving a small start from his father's estate. He and his wife are consistent
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he serving as Trustee of that
organization. He owns one of the finest and best furnished homes in the
county. He and his wife are active members of society and are now in the
prime of life and enjoying the fruits of a life well-spent and surrounded
by their children and friends. Politically Mr. Strang votes with the Republican
JACOB STRAWN was a native of Pennsylvania, and was born May 30, 1800. His father was Isaiah Strawn, who came of a family of nine sons born to Jacob Strawn, Sr., the latter being born in the city of London, England, and left an orphan when he was a small boy. In company with his mother, in his boyhood days, Jacob Strawn, Sr., emigrated from England to America, coming on a ship that had among its passengers, William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. When the widow Strawn and her son, Jacob, landed in Philadelphia after a long voyage, they were strangers and friendless. When the boy grew to manhood, the removed to Bucks County, Pa., where many of his descendants now reside. He was married to a Miss Purcely, whose parents had emigrated from Wales to Pennsylvania when she was quite young. They had nine sons and three daughters, and those who grew up to maturity, had families. This couple died in Pennsylvania, and their son, Isaiah Strawn, the father of the subject of this sketch, married Miss Rachael Reed, of Sussex County, N.J. Just after their marriage they removed on to a farm in Turkey Bottom, Somerset Co., Pa., and there Isaiah and his wife spent the rest of their active days as farmers, and there also their children, four sons and two daughters were born, Jacob being the youngest child. In 1817 some of the Strawn family moved to Licking County, Ohio, where the elder children had settled, having grown up and married there.
It was in 1837, that we find the first families of Strawns settling in this State, locating in Putnam County, where Isaiah S. died at very advanced age, Aug. 4, 1844, his wife dying ripe in years April 4, 1843. They were Quakers, and came of a hardy robust stock. Such is a brief account of the Strawns in America. The progenitors of this family were of good, old honest sort of people, that it would be refreshing to see in these latter days.
Jacob Strawn in early life had limited advantages for obtaining an education, and as the people of Sommerset County, Pa., were as a rule, not well off in this world's goods, the district schools were operated on as economical a plan as possible. But Jacob was a determined boy, of good habits, and possessed a great deal of physical endurance. He went through the district schools in a satisfactory manner, and thereupon decided to make his life work that of a cattle raiser and dealer in livestock; and with this determination in his mind, he set out to fight his way through the world. When seventeen years old, his parents removed to Licking County, Ohio, and at the age of nineteen, he was married to Miss Matilda Green, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Green, of Licking County. As a basis upon which to erect a fortune, this young couple started out in life with an indebted ness of $7. From that time forward Mr. Strawn's financial success in life was extraordinary. The first $100 he made, was invested in wild land in Ohio, and while there he bought and sold cattle quite largely, but believing that Illinois was a better field for more extensive operations, he came to this state in 1828, and was struck with the rich soil of the prairies, and the remarkable fattening qualitites of the grasses. Instead of purchasing cattle with his money, Mr. Strawn invested it in land, a part of which afterward became his homestead. In 1831 he returned to Ohio, where he disposed of his property, and came back with his family, settling in Morgan County, on land he had previously purchases at such a low price.
Mr. Strawn at once started out on the highway of prosperity, and in his long march, which covered a great many years, he never met with an obstruction. And it was not luck that was the foundation of his remarkable victory. He was clear headed, energetic, and above all, exhibited excellent judgment in all his investments. He became one of the largest cattle-dealers of the United States, and besides this, was a very extensive land holder in Illinois. When he died he was the wealthiest and best known man in Morgan County. His death occurred in 1865.
Jacob Strawn was a man of generous instincts, and possessed an eminently
Christian spirit. He did not seek political preferment, and would have
nothing to do with politics as a business, but he always exhibited great
interest in his party. He was an Old-line Whit, and a Republican. During
the War of the Rebellion he was very enthusiastic in doing what he could
to support stalwart war measures, he being a friend of Abraham Lincoln,
and willing to follow where the great war president might lead.
JACOB W. STRAWN is a young man whose clear, well-balanced intellect, and practical knowledge of farming in all its branches, with his ability to do well whatsoever he undertakes, have already gained him a high place among the substantial members of his calling in Morgan County, and give promise of a bright future. He has an excellently improved farm of 120 acres on section 31, township 16, range 9, in one of the richest agricultural regions in this part of the county, all under a high state of cultivation and capable of producing large crops. It is fenced, and everything about the place is neat and orderly, denoting system and industry on the part of the owner. He has recently erected a handsome, commodious frame house, and has a substantial set of farm buildings to correspond. He has his farm well stocked with cattle, horses, and hogs of good breeds, as he carries on general farming.
Mr. Strawn is a son of Isaiah Strawn, a pioneer of the county (of whom see sketch on another page of this volume), and he was born and reared on the farm where he now makes his home. He was given a liberal education, and after leaving the local school was sent to Jacksonville to pursue his studies in the business college. He was a close student and stood high in his classes and left college with honor to himself and credit to the institution. He wisely concluded that a good business education would profit him as much in agriculture as in any other vocation, and having a natural taste for that calling he adopted it, and is pursuing it with the success before remarked.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Jennie, daughter of Richard Lambert, of Jacksonville, was consummated May 22, 1877. Into their pleasant home six children have been born to them, four of whom are living, as follows: Josiah died at the age of fourteen months; Jacob, Julius, Elizabeth, Lambert (deceased), and Harry. The pleasant roomy home of our subject and his wife is tastefully fitted up, and is rendered attractive to their many friends by the open-hearted hospitality so cordially extended by the amiable hostess and genial host.
Mr. Strawn stands well in the estimation of the people among whom
he has always lived, and who have watched his career with friendly interest.
He is gifted with foresight, firmness and tact in a large degree; his life
is guided by principles of truth and honesty, and he is an honor to the
citizenship of his native township.
MRS. NANCY STRAWN (BRADSHAW), whose home is situated upon section 23, township 15, range 9, of Morgan County, was born in the year 1825, in this county, and is the daughter of John and Fanny (Elkin) Bradshaw. Her father was a native of South Carolina, her mother of Kentucky. Her father was born on the 5th of January, 1788. He was reared on a farm, and for the greater part of his life continued to follow that calling. He came to Illinois in 1818, and settled near the site of the present city of Jacksonville. He entered a tract of land, to which he afterward added by various purchases until he became the owner of 840 acres, the whole of which he brought to a well_nigh perfect state of cultivation. He continued thus employed until his death, which occurred on the 17th of March, 1846. Then the farm was divided and sold to different persons. During his life he had been quite prominent as a citizen, and was a consistent and energetic member of the Christian Church, to which his wife also was attached. They were the parents of twelve children, the subject of this sketch being their tenth child. Charles Bradshaw, a leading lawyer of Los Angeles, Cal., is a brother of Mrs. Strawn; the other members of the family are chiefly identified with the agricultural interests of the different places where they reside.
Our subject became the wife of James G. Strawn on the 19th of September, 1844, which relation was happily sustained until his death, which occurred on the 18th of February, 1887. He was the son of Jacob and Mathilda (Green) Strawn, and was the third child born to them. He was appointed Postmaster at Orleans, and continued to hold the same for a number of years, but never attended to the active duties of the office, which were left to the care of a deputy. He was actively engaged in farming, in which he was prosperous beyond the average. He was an upright member of the Church of the Disciples. In political matters he took his stand with the Republicans, and was always ready to act in concert with his party as far as it was possible to do. In the fall of 1845 he moved on the farm still occupied by his wife. It was 320 acres in extent in the beginning, that being the gift of his father, but at his death comprised 2,240 acres. Different portions were given to the children who reside near the old farm, so that it is now reduced to 370 acres, which are operated under the supervision of Mrs. Strawn. Before its division it was one of the largest farms in the county, and is still well furnished and heavily stocked.
Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Strawn, whose names are recorded as follows: John A., Jacob H., William S., Charles B., Isah, James G. and Joel G. Isah, the only member of the family deceased, departed this life on the 9th of May, 1874. With the exception of William, who is the proprietor of a mercantile house in Alexandria, all are agriculturists.
The Strawn family were for several generations identified with the Quaker community, but in later years became Methodists. The father of Mr. Strawn was born in the year 1830, and came to this county in 1831, and was largely engaged in farming and stock raising throughout the greater part of his life. He was one of the leading and influential citizens of the county, and owned land to the extent of several thousand acres. His wife took the greatest delight in her home, and endeavored at all times to make it the most desirable place on earth for each of its members. She succeeded in rearing her family therein with such an appreciation for it as have led them to prize its memory through life. Her husband's death occurred Aug. 23, 1865.
Mrs. Strawn has received only the education obtainable in the common
schools, but is nevertheless now a well_informed woman, and without detracting
in any wise from the dignity of her sex, is abundantly capable of superintending
the proper working of her farm. She is a worthy member of the Christian
Church, and in that communion is held in high regard, and also in the community
WILLIAM S. STRAWN. The mercantile interests of Morgan County are fairly represented by the subject of this memoir, who is former years was a prosperous farmer, but finally sold out and engaged in general merchandising at Alexander. He carried a full stock of fine dry_goods, boots and shoes, hardware, men's clothing and Yankee notions, and also deals in agricultural implements. He operates on a capital of $6,000, and in 1888 enjoyed a trade of $20,000. He has a fair prospect of an increase the current year (1889). In view of these facts his enterprise and business methods are beyond question.
Our subject is a lineal descendant of Jacob Strawn, of Somerset County, Pa., and was born in Morgan County, July 28, 1853. He attended the district school during his boyhood, and was trained to those habits of industry and frugality which have been the secret of his success in life. His father, James G. Strawn, a native of Ohio, was the son of Jacob Strawn, Sr., and came with his parents to this county at an early day. Here he married Miss Nancy Bradshaw, whose parents were natives of Kentucky, and whose father died Feb. 28, 1887. Mrs. Strawn lives at the old homestead. Of their seven children, six are living: John A., Jacob H., Charles B., James G., Joel G. and William S. John A. married Miss Emma Dixon, of Hancock County, this State, is a farmer and the father of three children _ Ella, May and Gracie; Jacob H. married Emma J. Corington, is a farmer and has two children _ Clifton and John; Charles, a farmer in Logan County, married Anna Johnson of this county, and they have four children _ Maude, James H., Carrie and a babe unnamed; James G. is living with his third wife, who was formerly Miss Mamie Arnold, and they have two children _ May and Alice. By his second wife there was born one child _ Cora. Joel G., a farmer of this county, married Miss Kate Covington, and they have three children _ Ernest, Mabel and Henry.
William S. Strawn, our subject, shortly before reaching the twenty_first year of his age was married, April 9, 1874, to Miss Rosa Mason of this county. Her parents came from Morgan County, Ohio, to Pike County, this State, and later to this county, where they now reside. The father followed blacksmithing during his younger years, but at the present time officiates as clerk for Mr. Strawn. In this family there were born four children _ William A., Ulysses Grant, Elsworth E. and Rose, Mrs. Strawn. William A. married Miss Mary Mapes of this county, and is blacksmithing in Orleans; he is the father of one daughter _ Iva; Ulysses G. married Miss Susie Wiswal, and is living on a farm; they have no children. Elsworth is unmarried and lives at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Strawn are the parents of three children, one of whom,
Mabel Lillian, died when eighteen months old. The survivors are Pearl and
Joe Fifer. From the name of the latter child may be inferred the politics
of our subject, who became a member of the Republican party when casting
his first vote. He has served on the Grand and Petit Juries, but has no
aspiration for office. A solid, reliable citizen in whom the people have
the utmost confidence, he has borne no unimportant part in the development
of this part of the county, and has been the encourager of those enterprises
calculated to elevate the people. He is not identified with any religious
organization, but with his estimable wife attends the Christian Church.
JOSEPH B. SWAIN represents the vigorous and wide-awake young farmers, natives of Morgan County, who are materially promoting its highest interests. He is managing his farm with signal success, and is fact acquiring a competence, although he is still a young man. He is a well-known figure in the civic and religious life of his community, and makes an able and popular public official.
He is the son of Thomas and Catherine Swain, natives of England. In pioneer times they came to Illinois, in 1831, and took up land in this county, on which they lived till 1864, when they purchased the farm now owned by our subject, on section 16, township 3 north, range 8 west, and immediately removed to it with their family. They resided here till 1885, when they took up their abode in Jacksonville, where they live in retirement, in one of its numerous pleasant homes, in the enjoyment of an ample income, the fruit of their united labors. They are people whose worth and high character are well known and appreciated. The father is well endowed with firmness and sound common sense, with decided opinions of his own. He has always been a strong Republican, and stood stanchly by the party when he was distinguished as being the first to cast a vote in its favor after five years of exclusive Democratic reign in this precinct.
Our subject was a boy of ten years when his parents removed to this farm, and here he was reared to a stalwart, independent manhood, and adopting the calling in which he had been thoroughly trained, when he was ready to establish himself in life, in the spring of 1875, he bought 115 acres of the homestead of his father, and immediately after his marriage brought his bride here to live, and entered upon the management of his property. His farm is in fine order, with substantial buildings, and equipped with first class machinery of all kinds, and is classed among the finest estates in the vicinity. Mr. Swain has it well stocked with cattle, horses, and hogs of excellent grades, as he engaged in general farming. He has two threshing machines and a corn sheller, also a sawmill which he operates in this part of the county in the proper seasons, making much money by his enterprise.
Mr. Swain has been twice married. His first wife was Luella, daughter of Blackburn Sims, one of the first settlers of this county. After a happy wedded life of two years the young wife died, in 1877, leaving one child, Edwin L. She was a sincere Christian, and a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her memory is cherished in the hearts of those who loved her.
In 1879 Mr. Swain was married to Miss Hannah Parrish, who has been to him a faithful wife, and is devoted to his interests. To them in their cozy home have come five children - Carl, Rilla, Edith, Lloyd and Homer - all of whom are living, and are enjoying fine educational advantages. Mrs. Swain's father, James L. Parrish , settled on the frontier of this State, in Menard County, and died last October at the age of seventy-six years. His wife, whose maiden name was Matilda Stout, survived him but a short time, dying Jan. 1, 1889, aged seventy-nine years, passing away on the anniversary of her birth.
Mr. Swain is ambitious and progressive, and his high personal character,
purity of aim, and fine business tact make his influence felt in the public
and political life of his township, and in social and religious circles.
He and his wife are prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
are identified with all its good works, and he has been Superintendent
of the Sunday School since he was twenty-one, and is also one of the Trustees
of the church and of Ashland circuit. He has served as Justice of Peace
four years, and has been Overseer of the Poor of this Township for nearly
seven years. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. Oak Lodge No. 341, Ashland,
Ill., and has filled all the office of that lodge. He is one of the leading
Republicans of this part of the county, and has been a member of the Central
Committee some fifteen years.
CHARLES W. SWAIN. This enterprising young farmer is industriously devoting his life to his chosen occupation, is doing well financially, and bids fair to become a man of means, and one of the substantial citizens of his native township. He is a son of Thomas Swain, a pioneer of Morgan County. He was born Jan. 20, 1862, and was reared to the life of a farmer, on the home farm in this township, receiving a sound, practical training in the calling that he afterward adopted when he arrived at years of discretion. He gleaned a substantial education in the public schools, as he was a bright and faithful scholar, and early entered upon his career as an agriculturist. His farm of fifty-six acres, with a fine growth of timber on it, is under excellent tillage, and its soil of exceeding fertility yields abundant harvests in repayment for skillful labor expended on it by the owner. The buildings are well built, and in good order, and everything about the place indicates thrift and method in its management.
For the success that he is sure to achieve if he continues to prosper, Mr. Swain will be greatly indebted to his intelligent, capable wife who gladly co-operates with him in his work, and makes their home the centre of comfort and ease, attractive alike to their many friends with whom they often share its generous hospitalities, and to the stranger who for the first time crosses its happy threshold. Mrs. Swain's maiden name was Mary E. Standerford, and she was a daughter of John and Mary E. (Manchester) Standerford, of this township, and a granddaughter of Mrs. Ethia Manchester, the widow of the well-known pioneer of Morgan County, the late David Manchester. She was born in Richardson County, Neb., of which her parents were early settlers, having removed form here to that place in the early days of its settlement. Mrs. Swain's mother died when she was a small child, and her father subsequently married Miss Mary A. Pursell, of Nebraska. By his first marriage he had three children - Maud, Thomas (deceased), Mrs. Swain. The latter was tenderly cared for after her mother's death, and reared to womanhood by her grandmother Manchester, and from that happy home she went forth to be the light of another, her union with our subject having been duly solemnized Sept. 9, 1885. Their marriage has been blessed to them by the birth of one son, whom they have named John.
Mr. and Mrs. Swain are both representatives of leading pioneer families
of this county, and they stand high in the social and religious circles
of their community where they are so well-known, and are regarded with
great esteem as possessing those fine traits of character that render them
desirable as friends and neighbors. Mr. Swain is identified with the Methodist
Episcopal Church, as one of its most consistent members, and in him the
Republican party finds an earnest supporter.
HENRY B. SWETTART. This prosperous and well_known manufacturer of spring wagons, carriages and buggies at Chapin, needs but little in the way of an introduction to the people of Morgan County, who have long known him as one of the much valued citizens of this community. He is a native of Hanover, Germany, where he was born on the 13th of December, 1837. He is a son of Benjamin and Mary Swettart, natives of the same place. His parents gave him a as good an education as they were able in the schools of Hanover, and, being quite fond of reading, and having become well acquainted with English, he is able to take his place among the well_informed English_speaking people of the county.
Mr. Swettart emigrated to this county, in 1855, from Bremen, crossing the Atlantic in a sailing_vessel, the voyage lasting forty_nine days. He landed at New Orleans, where he remained about six months; at the end of that time he went to Memphis, and subsequently to Louisville, where he made his home for three years, working at wagonmaking _ having begun the same in New Orleans. His settlement in Morgan County dates from the year 1859. He first worked for Mr. John Webb in the village of Bethel, continuing to follow his trade until August, 1862, when he enlisted in Company 101st Illinois Infantry, as a private. Subsequently he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, which position he held at the time of his honorable discharge at the close of the war, on the 7th of June, 1865. He was present as an active combatant in the battles of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Peachtree Creek, and Newhope Church; was one of the men to accompany Sherman in his famous march; he also fought throughout the entire Atlanta campaign, and finished his experiences in the ranks at the grand review at Washington. He was captured at Holly Springs, Miss., and, after being held about four hours, was paroled. This was his only experience as a prisoner_of_war.
At the close of the war Mr. Swettart returned to Morgan County, and began business for himself in Bethel, where he continued until 1882, when he removed to Chapin, where he still resides. His business has grown most satisfactorily, and consists of two departments _ the one, that of his manufactory of various vehicles, and the other, that of the sales of all kinds of farming implements and machinery, of which, although not a manufacturer, he handles quite a large quantity.
The first marriage of Mr. Swettart was celebrated in July, 1865,
with Lucinda Sullins, by whom he became the father of one son, who received
the name of William R. On the 3d of June, 1877, he contracted a second
matrimonial alliance with Mary Plamer. To them was born a daughter, who
received the name of Lena. In the community this family is held in high
regard, our subject commanding the respect of his fellow_citizens, both
in a business and social way. He is a member of the G.A.R. Post at Chapin,
and is at present the Quartermaster of the Post. He is also identified
with the I.O.O.F. and the A.O.U.W. Religiously, he is connected with the
Christian Church, and in matters political is a Republican. He is one of
the Board of Trustees of Chapin, of which he has served as President.
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