1894 Plat Book of Morgan County Illinois

1894 Plat Book of Morgan County Illinois
"Statistics of the Population of Morgan County By Townships, With Abstract of Agricultural Productions"

Hon. William Orear is a native of Frederick county, Virginia. He was born December 24, 1795. His father, Benjamin Orear, was also a native of the "Old Dominion," and was born in 1768, and in that state received his early education. His father was born in Virginia, and his grandfather at Bordeaux, France, the latter being one of the early pioneers of Virginia. Mr. Benjamin Orear, at an early age, was married to Miss Elizabeth Irwin, daughter of William Irwin, who was a native of Pennsylvania, though at an early age he became a resident and citizen of Virginia. His ancestors were Scotch. To Benjamin Orear and wife was born a family of ten children, only two of whom are now living. William Orear is the eldest child of that family. A few years after his marriage, Mr. Orear emigrated to Kentucky, and after a time, permanently settled near Boonsboro, in that section known as the "dark and bloody ground" where for a long time, Colonial Daniel Boone, the brave pioneer settler, struggled for existence against the Indians. In making his trip, Mr. Orear passed down the Ohio river, from Pittsburg, in a small flatboat, landing at a place since known as Limestone. They being early settlers, and the country in a wild, and almost primitive, state, had many hardships and inconveniences to endure. Mr. Orear and his wife emigrated to Morgan county, Illinois, about 1834 or 1835, and came to the house of their son William, who had previously settled in the county. Mrs. Orear died in 1836, at the house of Wm. Orear, and her husband survived her till 1862. His death occurred at the residence of his son, George Orear, near Jacksonville. Two brothers of William Orear, Sr., grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Daniel and Enoch Orear, were with General Roger Clark, in his western expedition against the Indians, in the territories of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri, which were then Spanish possessions. After the trouble with the Indians had been quelled, they returned to their home in Virginia. The mother of Wm. Orear, Jr., was a descendent of the numerous and influential family of Chambers, who were among the early pioneers of eastern Pennsylvania. Many of the family afterward settled in Kentucky. Such is the brief history of the lineal descent of the wife and family of Benjamin Orear.

Mr. William Orear, like other boys of that day who were raised on a farm in Kentucky, had but poor facilities for obtaining an education; yet, by assiduously employing his spare time from labor, he was enabled to acquire a good knowledge of mathematics and other branches, and during life he has been an attentive and deep thinker, thereby continually adding to his store of knowledge, till we find him a gentleman of liberal and extensive views on the great topics of the day. Until his marriage, Mr. Orear's time was employed in teaching, principally in Kentucky, but two or three years in Missouri. On becoming thirty years of age, he was united in marriage to Miss Maria T. Sawyer, daughter of Daniel Sawyer, a native of New York, and his wife of Connecticut. Mr. Sawyer and wife, immediately after their marriage, settled in North Carolina, in what is familiarly known as the "Jumper Lumber Regions," and was there engaged in shipping lumber, until his death; after which the family moved to Petersburg, Indiana, and there Mr. Orear became acquainted with the lady whom he married, as above stated. Mrs. Orear was born in North Carolina, August 16, 1805. Her family were descended from the old Puritan stock of the New England colonies. They were married on the 18th of March, 1825, and on the 13th of April following, Mr. Orear and wife settled in Morgan county, Illinois, for a short time obtaining shelter in a cabin of one of the older settlers, until he could build one for himself. He immediately settled on some land which he commenced to improve, and fenced a large farm, and two or three years after, when the land was brought into the market, he purchased what he had improved, and considerable other land beside. He early became largely interested in stock growing and dealing, and at the writing of this he is prominent among the larger landholders of Morgan County. When he came to Illinois he made the trip on horseback, from Indiana, bringing his young bride by the same mode of conveyance; and all his wealth, which he says was but limited, was contained in his saddle-bags. But, being young, energetic, and full of determination, these seemingly adverse circumstances did not intimidate him. With that perseverance, industry, and integrity so characteristic of the old settlers, he set about to acquire property and a position in society, and he has achieved a success scarcely second to any in Morgan county. The acquisition of his large property is, under the blessing of Providence, simply the result of his own individual and unaided exertions. Mr. Orear is a large stockholder, and president of the Jacksonville National Bank. In politics he early became a member of the whig party, and an admirer of its great champion, Henry Clay, with whom for a number of years, he was personally acquainted, having been raised in close proximity to the home of the illustrious statesman. Mr. Orear was elected from Morgan county to a seat in the senate of Illinois, as the nominee of the whig party, and during that term Stephen A. Douglas was a member of the lower house, as representative from Morgan county. Col. John J. Hardin was also a member of that legislature, Morgan county then having six representatives. Abraham Lincoln was also a member during the same term. There were three sessions during the senatorial term, and Mr. Orear filled the position with honor to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. Previous to being elected senator, he was twice elected sheriff of Morgan county. When the whig party was disorganized, and the republican party formed, he was among the first to become an advocate of its principles; and during the great rebellion he was earnest and active in supporting the government. Mr. Orear is a firm and enthusiastic republican. His first vote was given for John Quincy Adams, since which he has voted at every presidential election. H always voted for Henry Clay whenever he was a candidate; he also voted for Harrison, Taylor, Fremont, and twice for Abraham Lincoln, and looks forward with pleasure to the time when he can give his second vote for U. S. Grant. Mr. Orear served in the Black Hawk war.

Mr. and Mrs. Orear had a family of three children; their daughter, Frances Delia Orear, is the only one now living. Mrs. Orear died at their residence, July 22, 1830. Her husband remained a widower till November 17, 1846, when he was married the second time, to Miss Lena M. Eades, daughter of Horatio H. Eades, formerly of Bourbon county, Kentucky, though at the time of their marriage, the parents of Miss Eades were residing in Morgan County. Their original ancestors were English. Mr. Orear and his wife and daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a prominent patron and trustee of the Illinois Female college. Mrs. Orear's parents settled in Morgan county in the fall of 1834. Sergeant Champ (a man of extraordinary coolness and decision of character), who was selected by General Washington to perform the difficult task of the capture of Benedict Arnold, after his treason, was an uncle of the mother of the present Mrs. Orear, though the history of those times will show that the adventure was an unsuccessful one, and to prevent the probable capture of the brave sergeant, General Washington took him out of the ranks, and he afterward emigrated to Kentucky. Of such patriotic blood is the present wife of the subject of this brief biography. Mr. Orear needs no eulogy at our hand, for as a farmer, banker, and citizen, he is well known to the people of Morgan county, and his life and works speak plainly for themselves. In him we find an example of the truly self-made man.

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