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From History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Co., 1885, pp. 457 – 470. There will be typographical errors.
The name of Ruyle was applied to it [this township] in honor of Col. W. L. Ruyle, one of the enterprising citizens of the township, who was quite active in securing for the county his mode of internal government.
John H. Huitt came to what is now Jersey county in 1816, and located on the northeast quarter of section 31, in the present Ruyle township. His father, John Huitt, a native of Virginia, moved to North Carolina some time after the war of the Revolution, where he married Lizzie Radcliff, by whom he had, at the time of his immigration to Illinois, eight children. In 1804 they settled in Madison county, Ill. John W. came to Jersey county in 1816, locating as aforesaid. In 1818 he removed from there to a farm about four miles northeast of Carrollton. He afterward moved to Carroll ton, where he lived until his death in 1882. He was married to Rosanna Hareford, of Kentucky. He retained the vigorous use of his faculties until the time of his death.
Matthew Cowan made a settlement in this township in 1822. He was a Virginian by birth, and one of the pioneers of Illinois, having located in Madison county as early as 1812, where he resided until he came to this county. Here he lived for years, until, in the fullness of time, he was gathered to his rest.
John C. Whitlock came to this township and made a settlement in 1823. He was a native of Virginia, but had lived for some time in Kentucky, from where he had come here. He died in 1879.
Samuel and Richard Rhoads made a settlement in this township during the year 1828.
William Palmer, a native of Vermont, made a settlement on a portion of section 13 in Ruyle township in 1829. He is now numbered with the great majority of old pioneers who have passed the river of death.
Among other old settlers in this township, the date of whose settlement it has been impossible to obtain with accuracy, but who were known to have lived here prior to 1830, were the following: Richard Chowning, John Hawkins, Benjamin Cleaver, Eli Fitzgerald, Henry Floyd, two brothers by the name of Wood, and others.
Benjamin Cleaver was a relative of the Reddish family and came about the same time with them. He subsequently went to Oregon, where he still resides.
James Richey, a Kentuckian, made a settlement in the township during the year 1830.
Rev. Jacob Rhodes settled on section 36 in 1830.
John Rhodes made a settlement about the same time, in the same township.
John Gilworth came to this township locating on section 29 in 1830. He had been a resident of the county for 10 years previous.
John Twitchell settled with his family on sections 13 and 14 in 1833. He was from the state of Vermont, and came to Apple creek, Greene county in 1830, but moved onto the above land soon after he had entered it. He only lived here until Aug. 10, 1833, when he died.
David Rhodes and family settled in Ruyle township in 1834. His son, J. L., yet lives in the township.
Elias Palmer came to Jersey county with his family in 1836.
There are two regularly recorded cemeteries within the boundaries of Ruyle township, both of which are well kept up, as well as neatly laid out.
Oakland cemetery was laid out by W. K. Miner, president, and James Bringhurst, secretary, of the Oakland Cemetery Association, on March 13, 1869, the survey being made by George I. Foster, the county surveyor. It comprises the northwest corner of Sec. 36, T9, R10.
Hawkins’ Prairie cemetery was surveyed and platted by George I. Foster, county surveyor, on May 14, 1868, for the Hawkins’ Prairie Cemetery Association, of which D. P. Pritchett was president, and John Fenke, secretary.
[Kemper] was laid out on Nov. 5, 1870 by W. W. H. Kemper. The survey of the town was made by George I. Foster, county surveyor, and the plat recorded on the 9th of the same month.
Orin Palmer commenced business in Kemper in 1871. He erected a building 30 x 60 feet in dimensions, and at first handled grain exclusively, buying and shipping. In the fall of the same year, there being no store there, Mr. Palmer put a stock of groceries in the same building, thus making him the first store-keeper in Kemper. In the summer of 1872, he sold the stock of groceries to Ruyle & Elliott, who removed it to a building they had erected. In 1872, Mr. Palmer added the lumber and agricultural lines to their business.
He received grain from a radius of eight miles, shipping mostly to St. Louis and Alton, and mills in Northern Illinois. He also handles fat hogs, shipping them to the St. Louis market. He keeps on hand a stock of agricultural implements, and supplies all orders. His aggregate business in a year will run from $25,000 to $50,000, varying according to the amount of crops and market price of grain in different years.
Orin Palmer is a native of Weybridge, Addison county, Vt., born Oct. 11, 1832, his parents being Elias and Thirza (Stowe) Palmer, natives of Vermont. When Orin was four years old the family came to this county, coming overland to Cincinnati; then down the Ohio and up the Mississippi river to Alton, then proceeded to what is now Jersey county and located on Palmer’s Prairie, named after William Palmer, a brother of Elias, who had settled there three years previous. William came to the state of Illinois in the fall of 1830, and lived at Apple Creek prairie, near White Hall, until the spring of 1833, when he moved to Palmer’s prairie, in what is now known as Ruyle township. Here, Mrs. Elias Palmer died in June 1859. She is buried in what is called Delaware cemetery. In 1860 Elias moved to Chesterfield, in Macoupin county, where he resided until his death in September 1863. He had held the office of justice of the peace, and was connected with the schools as director. Orin did not go with his father to Chesterfield, but remained in this county, where he was engaged in farming. He was reared in the township where he now resides, and has been identified with it for nearly half a century, or almost the entire period of his life. He was educated in the schools of this county, and attended the school of Prof. Wilder in Greenfield. He was married in Kemper on Jan. 20, 1858 to Mary Kemper, a daughter of W. H. H. Kemper. By this union there were three children: Ida, Elmer E., and Nora M. Mr. Palmer was again married May 7, 1884 to Hattie L. Sturtevant, a native of Vermont, and daughter of Leonard Sturtevant. Mr. Palmer is a member of the Good Templars lodge at Kemper, and is clerk and trustee of the Congregational church, with which he has been closely identified since its organization. He is the principal business man of Kemper.
George C. Robinson now conducts the general merchandise business. The store was started by G. B. Harlan, who erected the building. He sold the stock in Oct. 1883 to George C. Robinson, on a trade, the latter exchanging a property in Chesterfield for it. He has conducted the business since that time. He handles groceries, boots and shoes, nails queensware, glassware, woodenware, tinware, notions, cigars, tobaccos, etc. He carried a stock of about $1,500 worth of goods.
George C. Robinson was born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Eng. on June 12, 1858, his parents being James and Catherine (Crossland) Robinson. When George was 11 years old he came to this country with his elder brother, John William Robinson, and located with his uncle, William Crossland, in Macoupin county, near the town of Fayette. He remained in that county about eight years, at the expiration of which he came to Jersey county, where he has since resided, with the exception of a short time. He worked three years, by the month, for Charles Sanders, and one year for V. L. Dodge and then came to Kemper, and engaged in the grocery business, which he conducted for about two years. He then sold out and went to Chesterfield, Macoupin county, where he was engaged in general merchandising, which he continued for a time. After closing out his business there, he returned to England on a visit to friends and relatives. Oct. 19, 1881, he was married to Margaret C. Kirkland, a native of England, and daughter of Thomas Kirkland. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson have two children, Florence Viola and John Walter. Mr. Robinson is the present postmaster of Kemper. He is a member of Kemper lodge No. 596 of the I.O.O.F., in which he has acted as V.G., and is at present I.G. James Robinson, father of G. C. Robinson, was killed by the natives in the East Indies, where he was overseer of the first railroad constructed by the natives. His widow, Mrs. Catherine Robinson, is now living near Hagaman, Macoupin county, Ill., with her youngest son, James Robinson. She is the mother of five children now living. They are: John William, Elizabeth Ann, George Crossland, Charles Crossland and James, all natives of England.
J. F. Still & Bro. also handle general merchandise. The business was commenced by Ruyle & Elliott, who purchased a stock of groceries from Orin Palmer in 1872. Ruyle & Elliott were succeeded by Ruyle Bros., and they by Harlan & Son, who sold to J. C. Robinson. The present firm succeeded Robinson. They handle such goods as are usually found in a general store.
James Albert Whitfield, the present telegraph operator and station agen for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, at Kemper, is the son of W. T. and Jane Whitfield. He was born in Fidelity, Jersey county, March 7, 1866. He resided with his parents until his marriage, March 12, 1844, to Olive Eliza Jones, daughter of Madison and Eliza Jones. He assumed his present position in 1882, succeeding W. W. Myers, who was in charge of the office six months. Zachariah Kemper was the first agent at this point, and remained here about ten years. He was then succeeded by H. M. Elwell, who remained a few months, and was in turn succeeded by W. H. Curtis. The latter had charge of the office about a year. The next agent was M. E. Stone, the predecessor of W. W. Myers. Mr. Stone remained here one year. Mr. Whitfield is a worthy young man, well fitted for the duties of his position, which he has performed in such a manner as to merit, justly, the reputation which he has gained, of being a faithful and efficient agent and an accommodating gentleman.
The Kemper Baptist church was organized April 1, 1876. The Delaware Congregational church at Kemper was organized in 1870.
The postoffice was established in Kemper in 1871, with W. H. H. Kemper as postmaster. His son, Zachariah, was deputy. Mr. Kemper was succeeded by G. B. Harlan. He continued until Oct. 1883, when he was succeeded by George C. Robinson, the present incumbent. The postoffice is kept in Mr. Robinson’s store.
Kemper lodge No. 596, I.O.O.F., was first organized in Fieldon, this county, but there not being a sufficient number of members there to support the lodge properly, it was removed to Kemper. It was organized in 1876, with the following charter members: William Eads, Wiley H. Scribner, John L. Terry Jr., Wesley Park and Ward Combs. The first officers were: Ward Combs, N.G.; William Eads, V.G.; J. L. Terry, Jr., S.; Wesley Park, T. The removal took place in April 1880. The officers of the lodge at present are: H. W. Young, N.G.; Thos. Kirkland, V.G.; W. T. Whitfield, Sec.; J. F. Still, Treas.
Mrs. Mary Ruyle, widow of Thomas B. Ruyle, is a daughter of Amos and Eliza Pruitt, and was born three miles north of Carrollton, in Greene county, Ill. She was married, February 2, 1843. Her husband, Thomas B. Ruyle, was born near Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 18, 1820. When he was seven years old, his parents moved to Morgan county, Ill., and in 1833 to Jersey county. Mr. and Mrs. Ruyle settled, after their marriage, on section 28, in Ruyle township, and continued to reside there until 1858, when they moved to section 15. Mr. Ruyle died Aug. 28, 1880, and was laid to rest in Delaware cemetery, near Kemper, Jersey county. Mrs. Ruyle now resides on section 15. She is the owner of a large farm, comprising 240 acres, on that section; also 40 acres on section 10, and 180 acres in Greene county. Mr. and Mrs. Ruyle had twelve children born to them: Amos L., who lives on section 15; Charles, living in Beatrice, Nebraska; Lucinda Jane, wife of Hiram Wright, living near Rockbridge, in Greene county; Eliza E., wife of Charles Ketcham, of Lincoln county, Kansas; Mary, wife of B. C. Elliott, of Kemper, Jersey county; Celia, who is now living at home with her mother; Thomas B., George W. and Annie, also living at home. Henry is deceased; also two children unnamed, who died in their infancy. Mrs. Ruyle is a member of the Baptist church at Kemper. Her deceased husband also belonged to that church. He held the offices of road supervisor and school director in this township, and was a useful and hight esteemed citizen. His death was deeply felt, not only by his friends, but by the entire community. Mrs. Ruyle’s sons, Thomas B. and George W., reside with their mother and manage the farm successfully. They carry on general farming.
William L. Ruyle, an early settler and influential citizen of Ruyle township, was born in Knox county, Tenn., and came to Illinois with his parents, when about two years of age. They settled in Macoupin county, near Waverly, where they resided five years, then moved to Scottsville, two and a half miles south, where his father died. Mr. Ruyle was married about Oct. 1, 1854 to Jane Elliott, daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth Elliott. Mr. and Mrs. Ruyle are the parents of nine children: Celia, deceased, born Aug. 17, 1855, and died June 9, 1856; William H., Elizabeth, Amos, Laurie, Louis L., Lucinda, Edgar, and Oliver T. Mr. Ruyle owns an extensive farm, comprising 880 acres of land, 480 acres of which are located on sections 28, 33 and 34, 80 acres on section 30, 160 acres on section 20, and 160 acres on section 24. He is engaged in raising grain and stock on an extensive scale. He makes a specialty of thoroughbred cattle. Mr. Ruyle began life in very limited circumstances, and his present prosperity is due entirely to his own energy and judicious management. He is a man of sterling character, and justly deserving of the reputation which he enjoys, of being on of Jersey county’s most prominent citizens.
Lewis Elliott, Sr., deceased, was a son of Curtis and Elizabeth Elliott. He was born in what is now the state of West Virginia, on Sept. 9, 1805. When about 20 years of age, he went to Grayson county, Ken., where on Oct. 29, 1826 he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Reddish, a native of that county. Thirteen children were born to them: Lucinda, wife of Samuel Rhodes, of Ruyle township, she was born in Kentucky, Feb. 10, 1827; Nancy, deceased wife of John V. Rhodes, was born Oct. 26, 1829, and died March 30, 1863; David, born Nov. 20, 1831, married Nancy Reddish, now dead, and lives in Pratt county, Kan.; Mary Jane, born Oct. 4, 1833, now the wife of William L. Ruyle, of this township; Caroline, born May 4, 1835, now the wife of William Barnes, of this township; John William, born Dec. 22, 1836, and died Nov. 23, 1851; Stephen, born Feb. 17, 1829, and died Sept. 4, 1839; Elizabeth, born Aug. 4, 1840, and died Sept. 3, 1840; Lewis, born Feb. 12, 1842, now living in this township; Thomas B., born Dec. 16, 1844, now living in Macoupin county; Elizabeth, born Dec. 16 1847, and died Oct. 19, 1848; Benjamin C., born Dec. 16, 1847, now living in Ruyle township; and Julia Ann, born May 23, 1851, and died June 20 of the same year. Elizabeth and Benjamin C. were twins. In the summer of 1827, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, with their child Lucinda, came to Illinois and located in what is now English township, built a cabin and began making a home for their family in the (then) wilderness of what is now Jersey county. They remained here about a year. At the end of that time, John Rhodes, who had married in Kentucky a sister of Mr. Elliott, came out to Illinois, and located on the site of the present town of Medora, in Macoupin county. Being pleased with the locality, he persuaded his brother-in-law, Mr. Elliott, to remove thither. The latter entered land just north of Mr. Rhodes’, or what is now the “Simpson” place. There the family resided until 1833, when they moved to Choteau Island, Madison county, Ill., where his brother Thomas had previously settled. They resided there 15 years, during which Mr. Elliott carried on farming, also dealing in wood, having it chopped and sent to St. Louis on a wood-boat, and kept a wood-yard to furnish wood to boats. He was very prosperous here until the overflow of the river in 1844, which swept away the results of his years of hard labor. At that time the water was so high that the children could be saved only by being taken out of the second-story windows into a boat. In 1848 they moved from Choteau Island to a farm on Sec. 26, T9, R10, now Ruyle township. Here Mr. and Mrs. Elliott remained until the time of their death, rearing their family and improving a good farm. Mr. Elliott’s death occurred Sept. 29, 1865, and that of his wife Aug. 26, 1862. They are buried in the Elliott cemetery, on the homestead farm. Both were among the original members of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist church, and lived consistent Christians to the end of their lives.
Lewis Elliott, the ninth of the 13 children of Lewis and Elizabeth (Reddish) Elliott, was born Feb. 12, 1842. He remained with his parents until his marriage, on Oct. 22, 1862, to Eliza Jane Fink, who died March 11, 1863. He was married again March 23, 1864 to Serena Brownfield, a native of Randolph county, and daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Gilworth) Brownfield. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott are the parents of nine children, eight of whom are living: Dora Jane, Mary Lorena, Lewis Walter, Rosa Elizabeth, Lucinda Caroline, Wealthy Brownfield, Milton Cleaver and Rena May. Peachy Bell was born Oct. 29, 1867, and died Nov. 7, 1875. Mr. Elliott has lived on his present farm on section 26 since the fall of 1864, since which all of the improvements have been made. He has 550 acres of land, and pays considerable attention to stock-raising, also raises quite an amount of grain. He keeps short horn cattle and makes a specialty of fine horses. He was the first supervisor of Ruyle township after its organization. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott are members of the Baptist church.
Thomas B. Elliott, the 10th in order of age of the children of Lewis Elliott, Sr., was born Dec. 16, 1844. He lived with his parents until his marriage to Elizabeth Fink, Dec. 22, 1864. She died in the fall of 1872, leaving four children, two of whom are living: Thomas Lindley and Otis Fredland. Those deceased are: John Monroe and Lewis Elmer. In Oct. 1874, Mr. Elliott was married to Frances Amelia Walter, a native of Ohio, and daughter of George and Rachel Walter. By this marriage there are two children, Howard b. and Florence Myrtle. Mr. Elliott resided within a half mile of the old homestead of his parents until the spring of 1885, when he rented his farm and moved to Medora. He has 330 acres of land in three farms. Mrs. Elliott is a member of the Baptist church. He is politically a democrat.
John Ryan, deceased, one of the earliest pioneers of what is now Jersey county, was born in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1796, his parents being John and Rebecca Ryan, the former was of Irish, and the latter of English descent. When quite young he went to Chester county, Penn., and learned the trade of millwright, serving an apprenticeship of seven years, becoming a thorough master of the trade. After working a short time in Chester county, he started westward to seek his fortune in a newer country. Coming to Illinois, he located at Frenchtown, now East St. Louis, in the fall of 1819, where he remained until the fall of 1824, then went to Alton, and after stopping a short time, came to what is now Jersey county, and located about five miles southwest of the site of the present city of Jerseyville, in Hickory Grove. In the fall of 1828 he moved with his family to a point four miles southwest of Carrollton, in Greene county. There he resided until 1840, then returned to Jersey county, settling this time on section 27 of what is now Ruyle township. He lived on that same tract of land, which he had previously entered, until the time of his death, which occurred Jan. 26, 1863. He was married in Zanesville, Ohio to Jane Wilcox, a native of Canada. They were the parents of eight children: Richardson, a sketch of whom appears herewith; Sarah, who died when quite young, in Alton; Mary, widow of John Christopher, now living one mile south of Fidelity; Charles, deceased, who was, at the time of his death, the most prominent physician of Springfield, Ill., he was one of the early physicians of this county; Jane, married to W. C. Farrow, and living in this township; John, who died in Virden township, Macoupin county; Henry, the subject of the following sketch; and Catherine, who was married to William M. Stevenson, and died on part of the home place. Mrs. John Ryan died July 11, 1852. Mr. Ryan was one of the constructors of the first mill in Greene county, Coonsville mill.
Henry Ryan, the next to the youngest of the children, was born near Carrollton, March 28, 1831, following the winter of the “deep snow.” When he was nine years of age, the family moved to the farm where he now resides, on section 27, Ruyle township. Here he grew to manhood, receiving his schooling in Greene and Jersey counties. He was married on Sept. 26, 1861 to Almira E. Thomas, daughter of John I. and Ann (Chorn) Thomas. Samuel Thomas, her grandfather, was the first white man who located in Greene county, north of Macoupin creed, he having penetrated the wilderness an made a settlement there in 1818, the year Illinois was admitted to the Union as a state. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan are the parents of eight children, six of whom are living: John T., Mary A., James H., George E., Ethel W., and Marcus Jeuduthum. Ada Jane died in Aug. 1881, in the 13th year of her age; Hugh Lewis died in April 1878, aged one year. For nearly half a century Mr. Ryan has been identified with the interests of Ruyle township. He has served at road commissioner, an was for 11 years an officer of the celebrated Jersey county fair, having acted as director, president and vice-president of the association. He owns a fine stock farm, comprising 660 acres in Ruyle township, and is engaged in raising short horn cattle, Poland China hogs, and mutton sheep. He raises steers to export to the English market.
John V. Rhoads came to Jersey county with his parents, Josiah and Susannah Rhoads, who settled on section 25, Ruyle township, in 1835. The subject of this sketch was born in Grayson county, Ky., Jan. 17, 1830. His childhood and youth were spent in this county, and Sept. 30, 1854 he was united in marriage with Nancy Elliott, daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth Elliott. They were the parents of five children: James Lewis, Silas, Hezekiah, Stephen, and Elijah B. Mrs. Rhoads died March 28, 1863, and is buried in the family cemetery. In Sept. 1864 Mr. Rhoads was married to Jeanetta Brown, daughter of James and Mary Brown. By this union there were eleven children: Mary Elizabeth, Susannah, Emma Matilda, Katie Ann (deceased), Jeanetta, John William, Charles B., Lawson, Josiah (deceased), Earnest E. (deceased), and Grace Ann. Mr. Rhoads owns a large and valuable farm, comprising 320 acres on section 25, and is engaged in general farming. He has served as school trustee for some time, and as school director for a number of years. He has been a member of the United Baptist church for 37 years, and is trustee and deacon of the church at Kemper, and belongs to the Fidelity lodge of the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Rhoads has been identified with Ruyle township and Jersey county for over half a century, and is now a prominent and honored citizen. His father, Josiah Rhoads, was born in Hardin county, Ky. in 1790, and died in Jersey county in 1859. His mother, Susannah Rhoads, was born in Maryland in 1788, and died here in 1872. Both were for many years consistent members of the Baptist church. They are buried in the family cemetery, which is located on Mr. Rhoads’ farm.
John Twitchel, deceased, was born in Weybridge, Addison county, Vermont, on May 30, 1798. He lived with his mother until the time of his marriage, March 16, 1818, to Anna Sanford. He then moved to New Haven. In 1831 he came to Illinois and settled on Apple Creek prairie, removing from there to what is now Jersey county in 1833. He entered land on Secs. 13 and 14, T9, R10. On Aug. 10, 1833, Mr. Twitchel died. His widow is still living, and now resides with her son, Gaston D. Twitchel. They were the parents of eight children: Gaston D.; Mary Ann; Lydia; Sydney; Loraine; Ann Jeannette, who died June 25, 1827; Loretta, who was married to Nathan Chamberlain, and died October 18, 1880; and Silva Jane, who was the wife of John Ryan, and died June 14, 1881.
Gaston D. Twitchel was born in Weybridge, Addison county, Vt., Jan. 1, 1819. He came to Illinois with his parents when in his 12th year, and grew to manhood on the farm where he now resides, having been identified with this township for over half a century. He has devoted his attention to farming and is the owner of 240 acres of land. Mrs. Twitchel is a member of the Congregational church. Mr. Twitchel carried the first mail through from Alton to Jacksonville on the Jacksonville and Alton road, shortly after that road was laid out. He acted as mail carrier on winter, making one round trip a week, occupying two days in going each way. He traveled on horseback, and was employed by the contractor, whose name was Strong.
John C. Dannels was born near Kane, Greene county, Ill. on Nov. 4, 1826. He is a son of Walker and Martha Dannels. When John was very young his father, Walker Dannels, died and he went to live with his sister, Mrs. Tompkins, with whom he remained until the date of his marriage, March 28, 1847, to Mary Palmer, daughter of William and Mary Palmer. Mr. and Mrs. Dannels were the parents of seven children: Laura R., born Aug. 8, 1848, now the wife of V. L. Dodge, of this township; William W., born Aug. 5, 1850, and died Aug. 6, 1851; John F., born Sept. 26, 1852; Charles F., born July 5, 1855; George P., born Feb. 28, 1858; Jessie F., born March 7, 1860; and Anna, born Feb. 24, 1867, living at home with her parents. Mr. Dannels owns a large farm comprising 480 acres of land, with 240 acres on section 11, where he resides, and the same amount on section 10. He was one of the charter members of the Masonic lodge of Fidelity, and has acted as school director of the Delaware school for a number of years. He is one of the substantial citizens of the township.
John Franklin Dannels, eldest son of John C. and Mary Dannels, was born Sept. 26, 1852 in Ruyle township. He was reared on a farm, and received his education in the district school. He remained with his parents until his marriage, which took place Sept. 26, 1876, when he was united with Elizabeth Frost. They have one child, Florence, born Aug. 9, 1877. Mr. Dannels owns 90 acres, 50 of which are located on section 11, where he resides, and 40 acres on section 10. He carries on general farming. He holds the office of township clerk, and is a member of the I.O.O.F. lodge of Kemper, also of the Masonic fraternity.
C. A. Dannels, son of John C. and Mary Dannels, was born July 5, 1855, near the village of Kemper, Jersey county. His early life was spent here, and his education obtained in the common schools. Oct. 26, 1879 he left the home of his parents and was united in marriage with Paulina A. Kemper, a daughter of W. H. H. and Elmira Kemper. By this union there are three children: Lelia F., born July 31, 1880; Pauline E., born Jan. 26, 1882; and John C., born Jan. 25, 1885. Mr. Dannels owns a farm of 80 acres, located on section 11, where he now resides. He is a member of the Kemper lodge of I.O.O.F., and formerly belonged to the K. of H.
W. T. Whitfield is a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, born near Dayton on Sept. 15, 1821. He lived in his native county until age 16. He then went to Preble county, Ohio, where he remained until 1857, at which date he came to Jersey county and located at Fidelity. He engaged there in the manufacture of carriages and wagons. In 1879 he moved to Kemper, and has since devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits, raising grain and stock. He was first married, Nov. 6, 1842. His wife died Aug. 30, 1858, leaving five children: Sarah, married; Charles; William L., deceased; Emma Jane, who was married to C. W. Tietsort, and died Feb. 24, 1865; and Julia, wife of J. H. Dupy. Mr. Whitfield was married on Sept. 25, 1862 to Mrs. Jane Smith, daughter of Roland Hooper. By this union there are six children: Mary Elizabeth, James Albert, Theodore Wilson, Rachel Jane, Joseph U. and Francis Edgar.
James H. Stotler, a farmer of Ruyle township, was born in what is now the state of West Virginia, June 27, 1844. In 1862 he moved with his father’s family to Greene county, Ill. and settled six miles east of Carrollton, where they resided about one year. They then moved to Macoupin county. In 1875 the subject of this sketch was married in Macoupin county, to Peoria Peak, daughter of Richard and Mary Peak. After his marriage he lived two miles north of Medora, in Macoupin county, for a period of two years, then moved to Jersey county, and located on the Sanders’ place, on which he remained eight years, removing from there to his present residence. He now lives on the farm owned by Milo Stowe and cultivates 400 acres. He carries on general farming, raising grain and stock.
Richardson Ryan was born in Zanesville, O., May 13, 1818. He is the eldest son of John and Jane (Wilcox) Ryan. He was one year old when his father came to Illinois, in the fall of 1819. In the spring following, Mrs. Ryan and her two children, Richardson and Sarah, came out and joined Mr. Ryan at Frenchtown (East St. Louis). Richardson followed the fortunes of the parents and is now living on the same tract of land where his father died 20 years ago. He was married in what is now Jersey county, Nov. 13, 1842, to Angeline Ritchie, who was born near Golconda, Polk county, Dec. 31, 1820, and a daughter of James and Julia Ann Ritchie. She died Jan. 5, 1881. They were the parents of three children, all of whom are living: Alice, living with her father; Leonard, married to Alice, daughter of John I. and Ann (Chorn) Thomas, and grand-daughter of the pioneer Samuel Thomas; and Richardson, who lives in this township. Mr. Ryan recollects the time when St. Louis was nothing by a French village, and has driven hogs to market when there were but a few scattered houses west of the court house in that city. His life has been one of industry and energy, and he has accumulated 566 acres of land, the greater part of which lies on Sec. 35, T9, R10, the remainder, timber land on sections 17 and 18, lying across Macoupin creek. In 1849 Mr. Ryan and his brother Charles went to the Pacific coast, and engaged there in the mines for two years, after which they returned to Illinois.
Harvey Gilworth is a son of John Gilworth, and was born on section 29, Ruyle township, Aug. 4, 1843. He is the youngest of nine children, and remained with his parents until the time of his marriage, which took place March 29, 1866, to Mary Ann, daughter of Jacob H. Pickett. Mr. and Mrs. Gilworth are the parents of seven children, six of whom are living: Edward, Ida May, Delia Jane, Lottie Bell, Nellie B., and Elmer Claude. John Henry was born June 4, 1867, and died Aug. 20, 1868. John Gilworth, father of the subject of this sketch, was one of the earliest settlers of Jersey county. Harvey Gilworth owns a fine farm of 200 acres, located on section 29, Ruyle township, and is engaged in general farming.
Vilas L. Dodge, a well known farmer of the township of Ruyle, is a native of Addison county, Vt., born Oct. 28, 1846. In 1852 he moved with his parents to Whiteside county, Ill., and two years later to Jersey county, locating then on section 14, Ruyle township. They resided on that section until 1860, when they moved to section 12, where Mr. Dodge now lives. Vilas L. remained with his parents until 1871. On Feb. 21 of that year he was united in marriage with Laura R., oldest daughter of John C. and Mary Dannels. They have had five children born to them, four of whom are living: Mary, born March 27, 1874; George, born July 24, 1876; Lotta, born June 30, 1878; and Fred Leroy, born June 24, 1884. Mr. Dodge’s farm contains 162 acres of land, with 42 acres on section 12, 100 acres on section 2, and 20 acres on section 1. He carries on general farming. He has held the offices of township supervisor and assessor, and is at present road supervisor. He is a member of the Sheffield lodge of the Masonic fraternity, at Rockbridge, Greene county.
John Henry Taylor, oldest son of Isaac and Mahala Taylor, was born near Rockbridge, Greene county, Ill., June 2, 1848. He resided in that county with his parents until 1874. On June 4th of that year, he was married to Harriet Palmer, daughter of Washburn and Sarah Palmer. They have had born to them six children, only two of whom are now living: Silas Newton, born Feb. 22, 1879; and Lula, born Nov. 22, 1881. Those deceased are: William O., born Feb. 7, 1875, and died Feb. 18 of the same year; Georgie, born Jan. 14, 1877, and died the following day; Lena May, born Nov. 28, 1879, and died Feb. 9, 1881; and Celia Ann, born Jan. 12, 1884, and died March 9, 1885. Mr. Taylor resides on section 10, where he is engaged in farming.
Joseph B. Carter, of Kemper, is a son of Robert and Jane Carter, and was born near Chesterfield, in Macoupin county, Feb. 26, 1843. He lived at home with his parents until his marriage to Lucy Kemper, Dec. 27, 1867. She is a daughter of W. H. H. and Almira Kemper. After marriage Mr. Carter settled four miles northeast of the village of Medora, Macoupin county, and remained there four years, after which he moved to Greenfield, in Greene county, and engaged in keeping livery stable, which business he continued one and one-half years, then sold out and moved to Kemper, Jersey county, where he has since remained. After coming here he engaged in farming, following that occupation until 1884. During that year he was, for a few months, employed in running a meat market at Medora, Macoupin county. Mr. Carter owns and resides in block No. 1, in the village of Kemper, and is not at present in any business. Mr. and Mrs. Carter are the parents of two children, Ethel May and Elden Guy.
William Palmer, deceased, one of the earliest pioneers of this section of the country, was born in Sudbury, Rutland county, Vt., June 20, 1799. He was a son of William and Abigail Palmer, formerly of Dutchess county, N.Y. His grandfather, Elias Palmer, was of English descent. William and Abigail Palmer had a family of seven children, three sons and four daughters, all of whom are deceased. The subject of this sketch was the youngest. He received his education in his native state, and was married Jan. 13, 1823, to Mary Barton, a native of Addison county, Vt. Six children were born to them: William George, residing in Macoupin county; Mary A., wife of John C. Dannels; Franklin, who died in infancy; Henry R.; Harriet S., wife of Milo Stowe; and Martha J. Mr. Palmer in 1830 immigrated to Illinois with his family, which at that time consisted of his wife and three children, making an overland journey of over two months. He located west of White Hall, where he remained two years, then removed to the southeast quarter of Sec. 14, T9, R10, making one of the first permanent settlements in the township in which he lived for more than 40 years. He was one of the commissioners appointed by the court of Jersey county to establish the boundary line between Greene and Jersey counties, which duty he performed satisfactorily to all. He was for three years one of the county commissioners, and was appointed postmaster under VanBuren’s administration, being one of the first postmasters in the county. About the year 1845, Mr. Palmer, by a premature discharge of powder, while blasting rock, lost his eyesight, and although in darkness for the last 29 years of his life, he was constantly cheered, and his pathway brightened by the love and kindness of his numerous relatives and friends. He was one of the substantial citizens of the community in which he so long resided, and highly esteemed and honored by all. His death occurred April 20, 1874.