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Early Government Representation, Officials
From History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Co., 1885, pp. 190 – 227. Not a complete transcription. There will be typographical errors.
National, State and County Representation
The county of Jersey has been among the few counties of the state that have had the honor of furnishing a senator to represent the great state of Illinois in the senate chamber of the United States. Samuel McRoberts, the United States senator from Illinois, dying on March 22, 1843, Governor Ford appointed James Semple to fill the vacancy. This gentleman assumed the duties of the office, and discharged them to the uttermost satisfaction of everybody, serving from 1843 to 1847. A man in every sense of the word, he made his mark on the period of his existence and only gave way before the rising genius of one of the greatest statesmen of the age, Stephen A. Douglas, who succeeded him.
General James Semple, deceased, a native of Greene county, Ky., was born January 5, 1798. He was the oldest son of Dr. John W. and Lucy (Robertson) Semple. Dr. Semple was a lineal descendant of the ancient Scottish family of that name, which was connected with leading events in the history of that kingdom for many generations. The subject of this sketch received his early education in the schools of Greenboro, Ky. After leaving school and when about 22 years old, he went to Chariton, Mo. Residing there only about one year, he returned to Louisville, Ky., commenced the study of law, and in due time was admitted to the bar. In 1828 Gen. Semple settled at Edwardsville, Ill., where he began the practice of his profession, and soon became a leading member of the Madison county bar. Gen. Semple took a prominent part in the Black Hawk war, first as colonel of an Illinois regiment, and afterwards as a general officer. On his return he was elected to the legislature from Madison county on the democratic ticket. Being twice re-elected, he was, for four years, speaker of the house of representative. On June 5, 1833 he was married to Mrs. Mary S. Mizner, daughter of Dr. Cairns, of Monroe county, Ill. Mrs. Semple’s father was a member of the first constitutional convention of Illinois, and held other prominent positions. The issue of this marriage was three daughters and one son. Two daughters, Mrs. L. V. S. Ames and Mrs. Ashley D. Scott, of St. Louis, Mo., and one son, Eugene Semple, of Vancouver, Washington territory, still (1885) survive. In 1837 Gen. Semple, who had previously been attorney-general of the state, was appointed by President Van Buren charge d’affairs of the U. S. At Bogota, which position he filled with credit until 1842, when he resigned and returned to his adopted state. In the fall of 1842 he was elected one of the justices of the supreme court of Illinois, and soon afterwards was appointed to the U. S. Senate by Gov. Ford, to fill a vacancy in that body caused by the death of Senator McRoberts. Being afterward elected by the legislature to fill the unexpired term, Gen. Semple took a prominent part in national affairs, being the first to introduce a resolution in favor of the abrogation of our treaty with Great Britain, in regard to the joint occupancy of Oregon. This question was then one of paramount importance, and Gen. Semple always maintained that our claim to 54 degrees 40′ north latitude, was clear, and that we ought to insist on it, even at the cost of war. At the close of is senatorial term, Gen. Semple retired from politics entirely, and devoted himself to his private affairs. Some years afterward he became, by a combination of circumstances, the most available candidate for governor of the state, and the democratic nomination was tendered him, but, to the regret of his friends, he refused to emerge from his retirement. The leading characteristic of Gen. Semple, and the secret of his continuous popularity, was his conscientious devotion to the duties of every position in life in which he found himself. He demeaned himself in office with Jeffersonian simplicity, and had faith in the continued existence of the Republic. He died at his country residence, Trevue, near Elsah, Illinois, on Dec. 20, 1866, and was buried in Bellfontaine cemetery near St. Louis, Mo. Lucy V. Semple, second daughter of Gen. Semple, who inherited much of the talent and energy of her distinguished father, remains in Jersey county, as the representative of the Semple family. She was married in 1860 to Edgar Ames, Esq., one of the most prominent and wealthy merchants of St. Louis. By the death of her husband in 1867, she was left with the care of four children and a vast estate. By providence and foresight she has acquitted herself with credit in both these responsible positions. In pursuance of the plans of her husband and in the fulfillment of the wishes of her father, she has built an imposing residence on the bluffs overlooking the village of Elsah and the Mississippi river, on the old estate of Trevue. Here she resides during most of each year, and while dispensing the hospitalities of “Notch Cliff,” contributes largely to the material prosperity of the village and surrounding country.
In the 36th congress the district was represented by John A. McClernand, of Springfield, who was re-elected to the 37th congress, but resigned his seat Dec. 12, 1861 to take a commission in the army. On the resignation of John A. McClernand, he was succeeded by A. L. Knapp of Jerseyville, who occupied a place in the 37th congress up to March 4, 1863.
Anthony L. Knapp was born in Middletown, Delaware county, N.Y., June 14, 1828. When 11 years of age he moved with his father to Illinois, and studying law was admitted to practice at the bar in 1849, locating in Jerseyville. In 1858, Mr. Knapp became a candidate for state senator, accompanying Stephen A. Douglas in that ever memorable campaign with Abraham Lincoln. In the fall of 1861 he was elected to the 37th congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John A. McClernand. He served through the 37th and 38th congresses with distinguished ability. Some of his speeches whild a member of the house were so favorably received that they were used as campaign documents in 1864. . . . On retiring from congress, Mr. Knapp commenced the practice of law at Chicago in 1865, where he remained two years and then moved to Springfield, this state, where he formed a law partnership with James C. Robinson, which lasted until dissolved by the death of Mr. Knapp, May 23, 1881. Mr. Knapp was married in Chicago to Henrietta Smith, by whom he had one child, Toney W.
Under the apportionment act of July 2, 1872, made on the basis of the census of 1870, the state of Illinois was divided into 19 districts, and the counties of Adams, Brown, Pike, Calhoun, Greene and Jersey were combined into the 11th district. The first election was held in November 1872, when Robert M. Knapp of Jerseyville was elected representative from the district and took his place March 4, 1873 in the 43rd congress. He served one term, at this time.
Hon. Robert M. Knapp was born in the city of New York, April 21, 1831. His father, Dr. Augustus R. Knapp, was an eminent physician of Jersey county, Ill. While Robert was a child, his father moved to Savannah, Ga., and from there to New Jersey, and finally in 1839 to Illinois, and the following year to this county. In Illinois he was prominent in his profession and in local politics. In 1847 he was a member of the constitutional convention. Robert, after securing such instruction as was given in the common schools of Illinois at that time, became a student in the Kentucky State Military Institute, near Frankfort, in 1849; but becoming affected by the then prevailing gold fever, went overland to California, and remained two years successfully operating in the gold mines. He subsequently studied law, and in 1855 commenced practice in Jerseyville. On Dec. 26, 1855 he married Fannie A. Green, who was born in Haverstraw, Rockland county, N.Y., March 15, 1837. She is the daughter of Capt. Stephen S. and Letitia (Quick) Green, deceased, who were natives of Westchester county, N.Y. Captain Green ran a line of boats from New York to Sing Sing several years. In 1839 he came to Macoupin county and bought a large tract of land, on which he placed numerous tenants. An incident which may be mentioned in his farm life is that he purchased the first McCormick reaper ever sold. As a result of the marriage there are three children: Katie L., born Sept. 26, 1856; Susie Green, born Aug. 16, 1858; Hattie Bagley, born Nov. 17, 1864. Mr. Knapp was a democrat in politics. In 1867 he was elected to the Illinois general assembly, but declined to be a candidate for a second term. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Jerseyville, and re-elected in 1872. In 1876 he was again elected to fill that office. He was elected to the 43rd congress in 1872, and was re-nominated for the same position by the Roodhouse convention in 1874, but, for the sake of harmony, declined. In 1876 he was again re-nominated and elected. He departed this life June 24, 1879, a few minutes before six o’clock, A.M. Mr. Knapp was a Knight Templar, and was buried with Masonic honors. The bar of the county passed resolutions of respect and condolence with the widow and relatives of the deceased.
The 14th general assembly convened at the city of Springfield, Dec. 2, 1844 and adjourned March 3, 1845. The district composed of Macoupin and Jersey counties was represented in the senate by John Harris, while James Harriott was the representative of Jersey county in the lower house.
The 15th general assembly met at Springfield, Dec. 7, 1846, and adjourned March 1, 1847. John Harris continued to serve this district in the senate. In the house Thomas Cummings, and early settler in this county, served the people of this district to their satisfaction.
The 16th general assembly convened at Springfield, Jan. 1, 1849 and adjourned Feb. 12, 1849; a second session met Oct. 22, 1849, and continued until Nov. 7, 1849. This district was represented in the senate by Franklin Witt, a resident of Greene county, and in the house, first by Isaac Darneille and John D. Fry, but the former of these dying and the latter resigning, they were succeeded by Joel Cory and Thomas Carlin.
Isaac Darneille came to this county during 1828 or 1829, entering land in what is now English township. He is said to have been one of the most social men ever in the county. He is reported to have been much more interested in riding around the country chatting with his neighbors, than attending to the duties of husbandry. He was a relative of Isaac Darneille of Kaskaskia, the second lawyer in the state of Illinois, and like him had a penchant for legal matters, although no lawyer. He was often on had to manage for his friends causes before a justice of the peace, and would, if necessary, follow the cases to a higher court, and stand as chief adviser to the attorney. In fact he never missed an opportunity of attending court, and was frequently found outside the court house, expounding the law to groups of listeners. He removed to Jerseyville, but after living there for a few months was stricken down with the cholera in 1849.
Hon. Joel Cory, one of the pioneers of Jersey county, was born in New Jersey, August 26, 1805. He followed farming in his native state, and was there married to Sarah Cross, a sister of Hugh N. Cross. In 1834 he left New Jersey with his family, consisting of a wife and four children, and moved in wagons to Illinois. He at once entered land, two and a half miles south of the site of the present city of Jerseyville, where he improved a farm of 400 acres, on which he resided until his death which occurred Feb. 26, 1872. Mrs. Cory died in 1884. Six of their children survived them in life. They are: Mary, now the wife of D. R. Stelle; Levi D.; John; Joel; Sarah, wife of Robert Newton; and Walter, all of whom reside in Jersey county. Mr. Cory represented his district in the state legislature one term, and often served the people in minor offices. He was a democrat politically. He gave close attention to his farm and was successful financially. He was for many years a prominent and consistent member of the Baptist church.
The first session of the 22nd general assembly met at Springfield, Jan. 7, 1861, and adjourned February 22; a second session was held from April 23, 1861 until May 3rd. In the house John N. English was the delegate from this district.
Hon. John Nelson English stands conspicuous in the history of Jersey county, not only as an early pioneer, but also as a citizen who for half a century has taken an active part in the public welfare of his fellowmen. Mr. English is a native of Henry Co., Ky., born March 31, 1810. He is the eldest son of Thomas and Alla (Cooper) English, of French and German ancestry, the former a native of Maryland, and the latter of Pennsylvania, and the daughter of Jonathan Cooper, who served in the war of 1812. They were married in Kentucky, then they moved in 1820 to Washington county, Ill., where they resided until 1825, when they settled in Jersey county and here continued to carry on farming until the death of Mr. English, which occurred Oct. 14, 1836; Mrs. English having died July 13, 1833. John N. received his education in the common schools of Washington and Jersey counties, dividing his time between study and farm work. At the opening of the Black Hawk war in 1831, he enlisted in a company of mounted volunteers, commanded by Captain Carlin, afterward governor of Illinois, and started on a march to Rock Island, where a treaty with the Indians was soon made. Returning home in 1832, he enlisted in Capt. Patterson’s company, and participated in the battles of Wisconsin and Bad Axe, receiving an honorable discharge from the service when peace was declared. The soldiers who were thus engaged received about $1 per day, and congress afterward ceded to each 80 acres of land. After his return home, Mr. English was employed by D. A. Spaulding in surveying the lands around Lake Michigan, and in 1834, entering land in Jersey county, engaged in farming. On the organization of the county he was elected sheriff, and was re-elected at the expiration of his first term. At the close of his service in this capacity, in company with Messrs. Magee and Terry, he erected a steam saw and grist mill, five miles out of Jerseyville, the location now being English township, which he conducted about two years, and then engaged in steamboating with the rank of mate; after following this vocation two seasons he purchased a farm in what is known as “Rich Woods,” now English township, where he settled in the fall fo 1847 and continued to reside until the fall of 1867, when he moved to Jerseyville, his present home. His attention has been almost unremittingly given to agriculture and stock-raising, and by an industrious and upright course, he has accumulated a liberal competence. Politically Mr. English is a staunch democrat, and he has been a delegate to nearly all the conventions of that party since he began to mingle in political affairs. He has taken a high stand, and has exerted a wide influence and his fellow citizens have shown their appreciation of his worth by honoring him with many position of trust. In the fall of 1860 he was elected to the state legislature from Jersey and Calhoun counties, and there rendered efficient service, being of that class of legislators who were in favor of coercing the Southern states. At the expiration of his first term he was re-elected with a larger majority, and filled the position with honor to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. Mr. English then lived a private life until the fall of 1875, when he was again nominated as a candidate for the legislature, and was elected by a good majority and served three consecutive terms. Mr. English has been twice married. On Dec. 17, 1840 to Elizabeth Belt, daughter of H. N. Belt, of Jersey county. He died, after a lingering illness, on January 5, 1872. Of four children, three survive her in life: Lloyd, present supervisor of English township; John N., Jr., present township clerk, both farmers in English township; and R. B., a lawyer at Hardin, Calhoun county. In Oct. 1873, Mr. English married Catherine C. Selby, nee DeLong, she being the widow of John Selby, of Jersey county. Mr. English, or Col. English, as he is familiarly known, resides in the west part of Jerseyville city, where he has a pleasant home, supplied with all the accessories of the best social life. He owns 80 acres of land, for which he gave $16,000, 40 acres of the land lying within the city limits of Jerseyville. At the present writing he is 75 years of age, but enjoys good health and life. Every day he is seen up-town, and is always surrounded with friends who enjoy his conversation. He is always ready to appreciate a good story or joke, and rejoices in the prosperity of his fellow-men. Mr. English is a man remarkably well preserved for one of his age. He stands just six feet, and is straight, well built, and from all appearances bids fair to enjoy yet many years of life. He weighs 195 pounds, is not a fleshy person but, is built from the “ground up,” and presents a very commanding appearance.
Robert A. King was born in St. Louis county, Mo., July 5, 1830. He was the eldest of a family of six children of George Y. and Mary (Dougherty) King. The parents resided on a farm until 1835, when they moved to Washington, Franklin Co., Mo., where they lived until overtaken by death. Robert A. worked on the farm until his 17th year, attending school during the winter. In 1846 he went to Cape Girardeau county, Mo., and studied privately with Rev. A. Munson for two years. He afterwards studied law with his uncle, Judge Andrew King. He served two years as deputy in the county and circuit clerk’s office at St. Charles, and two years as deputy sheriff. He obtained his license to practice law in 1853, and the year following returned to Washington and opened an office. Here he entered the political field and filled several positions. He was married May 24, 1859 to Jennie L. Bibb, and by this union that had one child, James B. King. His wife died Jan. 11, 1861, and one month later the child died. On May 22, 1864 he was again married to Miriam Munson, by whom he had three children: Louis M., Robert A. and Arthur S. Robert A., Jr. died Feb 26, 1875. In 1865 Mr. King came to Jerseyville and entered into a law partnership with E. A. Pinero, to which firm George W. Herdman was admitted later. In the summer of 1867 Mr. King retired from the firm on account of ill-health. In 1869 he was elected a member of the constitutional convention. In 1870 he became a member of the general assembly, and in 1872 was appointed probate judge, and the year following was elected to the same office. After the expiration of his term of office in 1883, he went to Los Angelos, Cal., where he is now living.
Hon. William McAdams, Jr., was born in Butler county, Ohio, Dec. 28, 1839, and is the eldest of a family of seven children of William and Eliza McAdams. The subject of this sketch received his early education principally under the tuition of Professor Nathaniel P. Firman, an eminent educator of Ohio. by which he attained a thorough knowledge of the English branches. He was passionately fond of the study, and practiced investigation of the science of geology, and in the state geological reports of Illinois frequent mention is made of his name, in connection with the many important discoveries that he has made in that profound science. Previous to becoming a resident of Illinois, he was engaged in teaching for three or four winters in Ohio, but his principal occupation has been that of farming. In the spring of 1865 he was married to Anna Curtis, of Jersey county. They have had six children. In early life he became a member of the democratic party, to which he has since strictly adhered. He was elected a member of the Historical Society of Illinois, several years ago, and his attainments in the scientific field have won him many golden opinions. He is now president of the State Natural History Society of Illinis. In 1878 he became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has since read many scientific papers before this body. At the Ann Arbor meeting of this association he was elected to be a Fellow and placed on the committee for the nomination of officers. He employs much of his time in scientific work for the government. In the fall of 1872 he was elected a member of the legislature of Illinois and was a prominent member of that body two sessions.
In Springfield, on Janury 6, 1875, the 29th general assembly of the state assembled, and remained in session until April 15th following, when it adjourned, sine die. Beatty T. Burke, of Carlinville, was the senator from this district. In the house, the interest of this and the adjoining county of Macoupin, constituting the 40th district, was in the hands of Samuel G. Gilbert of Carlinville, Oliver P. Powel of Jerseyville, and Henry F. Martin of Brighton.
O. P. Powel was born in Tennessee, March 17, 1819, and came to this county during 1848. He was twice county judge, his first term being from 1857 to 1861, his second from 1865 to 1869. He was married in his native state, Oct. 27, 1846, to Sarah E. Russell, a daughter of Joseph Russell. He is a democrat in politics and a Presbyterian in religion. He is still a resident and large land owner in the county.
Hon. George E. Warren was born at Worthington, Franklin county, Ohio, on August 16, 1817. His father, Thomas Warren, by profession a physician, a native of New Hampshire, was lineally descended from the Puritans. In about 1810 he moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, and there untied in marriage with Martha, daughter of Charles DeWolf, a prosperous merchant and ship-owner of that port; in fact, he was part owner of the noted privateer “Yankee,” that figured in the war of 1812. In 1814 Dr. Warren moved to Ohio, and there resided until the spring of 1818, when they returned to Bristol and there remained until 1835. His wife having died in 1829, in 1835 the family, then consisting of a daughter and two sons, of whom Judge Warren is the only survivor, again moved west and settled at Alton, Ill. Dr. Warren entered considerable land within the limits of Jersey county and resided here at the time of his death, which occurred in 1853, at the residence of his son, Judge Warren. He was a gentleman of rather extensive literary culture. Geo. E. Warren received an education, partly collegiate, having entered Brown University at Provicence, R.I. at 14 years of age, and remaining until the middle of his senior year. After his removal to Illinois he commenced reading law in the office of Woodson & Hodges of Carrollton, Ill., and also assisted M. O. Bledsoe, clerk of both the circuit and county commissioners’ courts. His health having become seriously impaired by close application, in the spring of 1837 he made a visit to this former home and friends in Rhode Island, for the purpose of recuperating, and there, the following August, he was married to Harriet S., daughter of S. S. Allen, Esq., collector of the port of Bristol. He soon thereafter returned to the West, and in the spring of 1838 settled at Alton, Ill., where he completed his law studies and was admitted to practice in the Illinois courts in 1839. Owing to the financial depression then prevalent in Alton, and other causes, that place offered but little inducement to the aspiring young lawyer, and his father having purchased for him a large farm near Jerseyville, with money bequeathed by his grandfather, Charles DeWolf, he moved there in the spring of 1840, and engaged in farming. If he did not acquire wealth at his new pursuit, he gained a vigorous constitution and a practical knowledge of hard work. In politics Judge Warren was a whig until the declension of that party. He then cast his fortunes with the republicans, and is still ardently attached to their principles. In 1841 he was elected justice of the peace, without solicitation on his part, and he thereafter continued in that capacity until 1849, when, under the state constitution of 1848, he was elected the first county judge of Jersey county. He performed the duties of that office to the satisfaction of the people for eight years. In Jan. 1862, he resumed the practice of law in connection with his son-in-law, William H. Pogue, which business relation existed until the election of Mr. Pogue to the office of county judge in the fall of 1883. In 1875 Judge Warren was elected mayor of the city of Jerseyville, as the anti-license candidate, and thus became the first republican mayor of the city. In the fall of 1878 he was elected to represent his district in the legislature. The district was then composed of Jersey and Macoupin counties, both democratic. Judge Warren served one term in the legislature. He has frequently been a delegate to state conventions. Thus it can be seen that the life of Judge Warren has been one of moderate success. He never aimed at the acquirement of immense wealth or political notoriety, but sought and found satisfaction in a quiet home life, finding his chief happiness in his home circle, the society of genial friends, and the pursuit of knowledge. He has always been a firm believer in the christian religion, owing in the first place to the early training of a pious mother, and in maturer years, to an intelligent apprehension of the truth of that religion taught in the bible. At the age of 16 he united with the Protestant Episcopal church, of which his mother was a member. He retained his predilection for that society for some years, but there being no congregation of that denomination in Jerseyville, in company with his wife he united, in March 1852, with the First Presbyterian church, of which he has been an elder since Jan. 4, 1866. Judge Warren is blessed with a devoted and intelligent wife, and their union has been blessed with nine children. The eldest, a son, died at the age of four years. Mattie D. became the wife of Dr. George S. Miles. Mary A. became the wife of Judge W. H. Pogue. Charles D. is a farmer. Harriet S. became the wife of Henry C. Lovel, who is a clerk in the United States treasury department at Washington. Mark A. is a merchant. George is a clerk in the store of his brother. Anna became the wife of Robert S. Powel, a farmer, and Frank is at home. Judge Warren is the oldest Odd Fellow in Jerseyville, as he became a member of Jerseyville Lodge No. 53, I.O.O.F. in 1849.
Major Walter E. Carlin, one of the prominent representative men of Jersey county, was born at Carrollton, Greene county, Ill., April 11, 1844. His father was William Carlin, a farmer and prominent man of Greene county, being county clerk at one period, and holding the office of circuit clerk at the time of his death in 1850. He was a brother of Hon. Thomas Carlin, once governor of Illinois. William Carlin married Mary Goode, a native of Virginia, who is still living. Walter E. was educated in the common schools of Carrollton, at the school of the Christian Brothers, in St. Louis, and the University of Wisconsin. Aug. 17, 1861 he enlisted in Company A, of the 38th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to second lieutenant, then to first lieutenant, and finally to captain, but on account of his age, being under 19, he declined to accept the last commission. He served for awhile on the staff of General Jefferson C. Davis, and later on the staff of his brother, General William P. Carlin, a graduate of West Point. He was highly commended by General Davis for his gallantry in the battles preceding that of Chickamauga, and in that bloody contest he had two horses shot under him. He served three years, and at the close of the war was appointed second lieutenant in the regular army, but declined. In the spring of 1878 he assisted in organizing the 15th battalion Illinois National Guards, and was elected major, which position he held five years, being commissioned by Gov. Cullom. On his return from the army he served two years as deputy circuit clerk of Greene county, under his brother, Thomas J. Carlin. In August 1866 he engaged in banking with his brother-in-law, John Long, at Carrollton, the firm being Long & Co., and continued until 1870. He then went to Mount Vernon and there established a bank, becoming a member of Carlin, Cross & Co. In 1872 he came to Jerseyville and engaged in the same business. In 1876 he organized the First National Bank of Jerseyville, of which he acted as cashier until 1880, when he resigned that position, but continued vice-president of the bank until the fall of 1881. In 1880 he engaged in grain buying, having charge of the Jerseyville elevator, of which he was three-fourths owner. He disposed of that interest in 1881 to E. O. Stannard of St. Louis. In September of the same year, he became associated with M. E. Bagley in the banking business, the firm being Carlin & Bagley. This partnership continued until March 1885, when he sold his interest to Mr. Bagley. Major Carlin is, politically a democrat. He represented his district in the state legislature one term, and in 1884 was re-nominated, without opposition, but later, at the state convention, he received the nomination for state auditor, and this declined the nomination for representative. He is at present chairman of the board of supervisors of Jersey county, a position which he has occupied for seven consecutive years, and has usually been elected without opposition. He is now serving his third term as representative from the Grand Encampment of Illinois to the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows. In April 1868 he was married to Mary Cross, daughter of Hugh N. Cross. She died in March 1880, leaving two daughters, Mary Eugenia and Alma W. In June 1883 he was married to Lina Darneille, daughter of James M. Darneille, of Chatham, Sangamon county, Ill. Major Carlin is connected with the Presbyterian church of Jerseyville.
The 34th general assembly met at Springfield, the state capital, Jan. 7, 1885, and adjourned after a long and stormy session. . . . In the house the 37th district was represented by Henry C. Massey and Theo. S. Chapman, both of Jersey, and Byron McEvers, of Scott.
Theodore S. Chapman, present representative from this district in the state legislature, is a citizen of this county, and a prominently rising character in the political field of the future. He is a native of Berkshire county, Mass., born March 31, 1849. His parents, Theodore and Julia E. (Wadsworth) Chapman, were formerly from the same county and state. When the subject of this sketch was seven years old is father died, and two years later his mother was married to a missionary and went to India. Theodore had two sisters, Anna and Julia; the former accompanied her mother to India, and there died; the latter was married to Prof. J. A. Edgar, who was the founder of the Swedish department of Morgan Park Theological Seminary of Chicago. When Theodore was nine years old he went to Rockford, Ill., and lived with a farmer named M. H. Johnson for three years. Then, his mother having returned to this country and located in Hamilton, Madison county, N.Y., he went there and attended the city schools for two years. This course of instruction was subsequently supplemented by three years attendance at Madison University. The same thoroughness which characterized his actions of later years, there prevailed, and by studious application he obtained a very fair education. He then went to La Porte county, Ind., and engaged in teaching two years; then to Rockford, Ill., and remained four months; then to St. Louis. Not being satisfied or contented in Missouri, he returned to Illinois, and soon afterward located at Jerseyville. Here he engaged in teaching one winter, and afterwards had charge of the Otterville school two years. Meanwhile, as he had opportunity, he studied law, and in 1874 was admitted to the bar, since which time he has been engaged in the practice of his profession. Politically he adheres to the republican party. In 1876 he was a candidate for state’s attorney, and although defeated, received a vote much beyond the strength of his party, a deserved compliment to a worthy man. In 1884 he was elected to the state legislature, where he faithfully worked for the best interests of his constituents, and was instrumental in effecting various legislation of much interest and importance to the people. His ability was early recognized in that body, and he was a member, not only of the temporary steering committee, but of the permanent. . . . Mr. Chapman is what might be called a self-made man. His position has been secured solely by his own endeavor. He commence the practice of law here under what would ordinarily be considered unfavorable circumstances, renting an office without the partnership or influence of any, he has steadily and with commendable energy, built up a practice and made a reputation. He has a good business in both probate and chancery courts, and is a lawyer of acknowledged honesty and ability. He was married Dec. 31, 1875 to Sarah A. Landon, daughter of William D. and Alvira Landon. They have four children: Harry, Theodore, Paul and Truman.
Henry C. Massey is a native of St. Charles county, Mo., born Nov. 19, 1828, and is the son of Woodberry and Wana (Coonts) Massey. His father resided in St. Charles county for a short time after his marriage, and about 1830 crossed the river into this county, at Grafton, where he entered some land. Not long after, he moved to the forks of Otter creek, where he carried on a store. He afterwards went to the Dubuque lead mines, where he was subsequently murdered. His murder was amply avenged by his brother and sister, Henry L., and Louise. After this tragic event, Mrs. Massey, with her young family, returned to St. Charles, Mo., but in 1837 came again to this county. Henry C. was reared principally in Jersey county, and in early life was thrown on his own resources. Nov. 25, 1854 he was untied in marriage with Catherine Fitzgerald.
Since the organization of Jersey county there have been three conventions to draft state constitutions, and in each of them Jersey county was represented. The first of these was convened at Springfield on June 7, 1847, . . . William Bosbyshell and A. R. Knapp were the delegates from the counties of Jersey and Calhoun.
Dr. A. R. Knapp was a native of Connecticut, and at an early age moved to Delaware county, N.Y. He was a man of fine scholarly attainments. He was married to Catherine Wyckoff, and they had a family of five children. He moved to Illinois in 1839, first locating at Kane, where he engaged in the practice of his profession of medicine. In 1844 he moved to Jerseyville. Few physicians of this portion of the state had a more extensive practice. In 1849, having contracted gold fever; he went to California, and came back with a fair share of money. He was always prominently identified with the democratic party, and was an intimate friend and admirer of Stephen A. Douglas. His death occurred July 13, 1862. Two of his sons, prominent attorneys of this county, represented this district in congress.
William Henry Allen, a native of New Bedford, Bristol county, Mass., was born on October 12, 1814, and is the son of William H. and Ruth (Parker) Allen. His father was of Quaker descent, and held to the faith of that sect until his marriage. His mother was a direct descendant of Miles Standish, and both were of Saxon origin and Puritan stock. During his early life William enjoyed superior educational advantages, attending the schools of his native place until 17 years of age, then he entered Harvard University. His habits were of a social character. Being of a practical turn of mind, he had little sympathy with abstruse questions, but had a great fondness for literary work, and a desire and natural taste for the study of medicine and surgery. After graduating from college, however, in 1835, following the advice of a relative, he decided to devote himself to business rather than to professional life, as a more speedy way to success, a choice, the wisdom of which is seen in the reward that has crowned his work. He moved to Illinois in 1840, and in the following year settled at Grafton, Jersey county, his present home. He at first engaged in the real estate business, and such other employment as might prove lucrative, and after a few years, having accumulated sufficient capital, engaged in merchandising, and at the same time dealt in grain and produce. In 1854 he erected a flouring mill at Grafton, which he conducted until 1868, when he was succeeded in the business by his son. In 1869 he began the banking business, and has continued in it up to the present time, 1885. In all his business career he manifested an integrity and a spirit of generous and fair dealing that have won for him the highest respect of all who have been brought under his influence. In his religious views he is identified with no church, although he has the greatest respect for all. His early training was shaped by the teachings of Dr. Channing, Dr. Dewey, and other eminent Unitarians, and he was naturally led to sympathize with that faith, but he is now wholly independent in his opinions, and gives to all that enjoyment of personal views which he asks for himself. In politics he was formerly a whig, but on the dissolution of that party, became a democrat, casting his first vote for James Buchanan. Although he has never aspired to political honors he has had several important public trusts imposed on him. In 1860 he was elected to the constitutional convention; served as county associate judge from 1865 to 1869 inclusive and in 1871 was chosen state senator from the 6th district, comprising Pike, Calhoun, Greene and Jersey counties. In 1873 he was elected a member of the county board. In all these various offices he acquitted himself with credit, but at the termination of each was happy to return to the peace and quiet of his home. Mr. Allen was married in 1840 to Martha Maria Mason a native of Illinois, and only child of James Mason, well known in the early history of the state. They have six children: Rosalie, wife of Dr. E. L. Harriott, of Jacksonville; Irene A., wife of Edward A. Pinero, an attorney of Tecumseh, Neb.; James M.; Harry C.; William H., Jr.; and Ruth M., wife of E. C. Stelle, near Jerseyville, Ill. James is engaged in the flouring business. Mr. Allen is one of the leading men of the state; as a man of the strictest integrity and impartial judgment; he is looked to as the arbiter of all controversies in his community. He has given special attention to self-culture, and is a man of high social attainments, and does not fail to impress all whom he meets with the genuineness of his true manhood. Liberal and charitable, his hand is ever open to the needy, while his sympathies are broad enough to gather in their embrace all men. He now looks back on a life well spent, crowded with happy recollections and cheered with warm friendships, and sees in all only the preparation for that existence beyond, whose hopes cheer and strengthen his declining years.
Joseph G. Scott was the first to occupy the office [of probate justice], having entered on the duties thereof at the time of the organization of the county in the fall of 1839, and remained in the same until 1847, being re-elected continuously, thus being the only one in the county to fill the position.
Joseph G. Scott, a native of Somerset county, N.J., born Aug. 12, 1809, was the son of Col. Joseph W. Scott, an eminent and brilliant lawyer of that state. Joseph G. received his education, first in the grammar school of Queen’s College, and lastly at Rutger’s College, entering the sophomore class, and graduating three years later, being the valedictorian of his class. After leaving college he studied law with his father three years, and one year with Elias Van Arsdale, of Newark, N.J., after which he was admitted to the bar. He practiced at New Brunswick three years. In the spring of 1835 he started west, landing in Jerseyville on July 5th of that year. He soon afterward entered a farm about three miles south of town. He was married in 1839 to Eliza Duryee.
Jacob Lurton is among the first settlers of this section of country, having come here in 1817, with his father, from Kentucky. He is now living on Sec. 32, T7, R11, or the township called Mississippi. He is a native of Kentucky, and was born near Louisville, Sept. 16, 1805. In the spring of 1817 the family, consisting of seven children, four boys and three girls, bid farewell to their old home, and started from Louisville on a keel boat, landing subsequently at the city of St. Louis. Jacob Lurton, Sr., the father of the subject of this sketch, was a physician, and a minister of the M. E. church, and realizing the importance of an education, determined that Jacob should have a good opportunity, and to this end kept him engaged in study until he graduated from the high school at Louisville. The profession of medicine was chosen as his future avocation, and to become familiar with the many details, he was kept in an “apothecary shop” for four winters, attending school during summers. The effort to make a doctor out of the young man only partially succeeded, and he never became a “full-fledged” physician. Almost constant application to the books of his father and his father’s partner, and making collections for them, gave him an insight to that particular branch of the business, and he became disgusted with the whole matter, and made a farmer of himself. On their arrival here they settled on Piasa creek, on a farm through which subsequently ran the division line separating the counties of Jersey and Madison. In addition to the family they brought five negroes, a mother and four children and set free at the age of 25 and 27. Thus, in 1817, commenced the life here of Jacob Lurton. He has witnessed the development of this county, and has had no small share in its transformation from a scene of natural wildness to its present condition. He was for eight years a judge of the county court of this county, and for 12 years a justice of the peace in Mississippi township, and was the first postmaster in this township, which office he held 14 years. He was a captain of the militia at the time of the Black Hawk war, the place of rendezvous being Carrollton. They were held as a reserve for 35 days, when the adjutant-general called on them and told them to disband, and to be ready, at a moment’s warning, with five days’ provisions for self and horse. He went home and has never been discharged nor received any compensation. His sword and outfit cost $25, and the sword is in good preservation to this day, and is in possession of his son, N. M. Lurton. He still has his commission, and for many years was known as Capt. Lurton. He is a man of integrity and ability, and performed the duties pertaining to these and other offices conscientiously and well. He was deservedly popular, and was the leading man in the community where he lived. His advice was sought and asked on all matters of every description. At every marriage he officiated, and by him were tied the nuptial knots, uniting the hearts and destinies of many a happy couple. For all these and kindred services he never made a charge, and after so many years, there being no absolute necessity longer, and wishing to be free, he resigned all offices and announced his intention, having done his part, of remaining out of office, and notwithstanding the wishes of the people he has since steadfastly pursued that course. He was married March 20, 1829 to Margaret McDow, a daughter of John and Margaret (Gillham) McDow. There were born by this union eight children: N. M., born Jan. 9, 1830; John C., born April 6, 1831; Julia A., born Nov. 17, 1832; Mary J., born Feb. 26, 1834, and who died February 27, 1876; Sarah M., born March 4, 1836; Jacob P., born July 17, 1838, and died Nov. 8, 1868; Elizabeth C., born Nov. 28, 1842; Olivia M., born Jan. 6, 1850. Jacob P. was a lieutenant in Co. H, 97th Ill. Inf., and died of disease contracted in the army. Mr. Lurton is a remarkable man. He is now 80 years of age and has never been intoxicated, never played a game of cards, never took part in a dance, never sued but one man, never was sued, never bet higher than a gill of butter-milk, and has always led an upright, honest life. Mrs. Lurton is now (1885) 76 years old, and in good health, and together they are passing down the decline of life, with a feeling of peace and happiness known only to those whose lives have been well spent. They must soon go to their reward. May the Lord grant an abundant entrance to his heavenly kingdom.
James McKinney was a native of Virginia, born May 24, 1806. He was the eldest son of Abiram and Mary McKinney, who emigrated to Illinois and settled in Madison county in 1818, where they remained two years, when they moved to this county, locating on the Illinois bottom, but afterwards moved to section 24, English township. Here young McKinney was reared. James McKinney and Mary Ann Crain, a native of Tennessee, were united in marriage June 8, 1826. They had a family of 13 children. Mr. McKinney died Sept. 17, 1867.
Jasper M. Terry, deceased, was born in Hardin county, Ky., Jan. 5, 1811. He is the fifth child of Jasper and Sarah Terry, the former a native of Botetourt county, Va., and the latter of Peekskill, N.Y. Jasper Terry, Sr., was married in 1797, and in the fall of 1800 emigrated to Kentucky, where he resided until the fall of 1828. At that date he came to Illinois and settled in the present limits of Jersey county, on the northeast quarter of Sec. 24, T7, R12. In 1849 he sold his farm here and after a visit to Texas, returned to Greene county, where he died in Nov. 1850, at the residence of his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Rev. John Stephens. His wife died at the same place about one year later. They had a family of nine sons and three daughters. Jasper M. Terry obatined his education in the common schools of Hardin county. He came to Illinois with his father’s family, and was married Sept. 20, 1833 to Mary Ann Waggner, daughter of John and Mary Waggner, of Greene county, Ill. By this union there were born nine sons and two daughters, three of whom died in infancy. Those who reached maturity are: Rev. John W., of Carlinville, Ill.; William H. and Anslam, in Montgomery county, Ill.; Albert O., living near Janesville, Ill.; Henry Clay, near Pana, Ill.; Mary E., wife of E. D. Howard, of Montgomery county, Ill.; Thomas J., Theodore F., and Annie Frances, residing with their parents. Mr. Terry settled, soon after his marriage, on the northwest quarter of Sec. 24, T7, R12, where he resided until his death, Oct. 21, 1876. He made farming the business of his life, and was successful. He began life without financial capital, but he was possessed of those elements of mind which are more valuable, and the proper use of which insure success to their possessor. These qualities are good common sense, unerring judgment to plan, and energy to execute, with order and method. He gave to his children the advantage of a liberal education, as well as financial aid to facilitate their life labors. He settled four of his sons on 1,000 acres of land in Montgomery county, Ill. Politically Mr. Terry was an “old line whig.” He was a great admirer of Henry Clay, after whom one of his sons was christened. Although he never sought official position, he served several years as acting justice of the peace. He was elected associate judge of the county court of Jersey county, which position he filled seven years with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituency.
Phineas Eldredge was the son of Anthony and Susanna (Vance) Eldredge, and was born in Philadelphia, Penn., March 14, 1822. He served an apprenticeship of three years at ship building, and three more at sail making in his native city. His father was a sea captain, at this time, in the merchant service, and Phineas sometimes accompanied him on his voyages. The man with whom Phineas was learning his trade, having a contract to get out live oak timber, he sent Phineas, who had studied naval architecture, to superintend the operations in Florida, and he did so well that when he returned, although his apprenticeship was not out, he was “given his time,” as the saying is, or, made a full journeyman. He now entered on a sea-faring life, having accepted the position of second mate on a trading vessel. He made a trip to South America, and then, for three years, was first officer. He then went to New Orleans, and in 1843 was made senior warden of the city prison, and, with the prisoners, built the house of refuge in that city. He remained there until 1846, when the Mexican war broke out, when, having a steamship, largely owned by his father, he entered the transport service, but being caught in the Gulf by a norther, after battling with the storm for five day, the vessel was lost, and they lost their all. He then returned to New Orleans, and was deputy superintendent of the city gas works, where he remained two years, when his father made him an offer of a tract of land, his present farm, if he would come and live on it, which he accepted. The Eldredges were sea-faring men for five generations, and Phineas Eldredge’s ancestors had settled on Cape Cod, coming from Wales at an early day. On his mother’s side his ancestors were German, and her grandfather served on the staff of General Washington. In 1848 Phineas came to Illinois and settled on the farm where he now lives, on section 11, Piasa township. At one time he and his father owned some 1,600 acres of land, 800 acres of it in a body. He was elected associate justice of the county court in 1865, and a study of the official actions of the court in this volume will show that he did efficient work. He was the projector of the poorhouse, also. This was his last official act. He was married in Sept. 1843 in Philadelphia to Elizabeth Wharf. Their children have been: Susanna, wife of James Burke; Anthony, clerk in the Anchor line; Elizabeth, wife of Colonel John Breenholt; Harry, pilot on the City of Natchez; and five deceased. Mr. Eldredge is a member of Hibbard Lodge No. 249, A. F. & A. M. at Brighton. On his farm he has two and one-half acres of fish pond, and sailor-like, he has a sail boat thereon.
J. M. Hurd was the second son of Ezra and Polly (Hamilton) Hurd, and was born in Georgetown, Madison county, N.Y., March 1, 1809. He was educated in the common schools of Georgetown, becoming proficient in several branches, especially surveying. At the age of 14 he commenced helping his father in the saw-mill, of which he was placed in charge. At the age of 17 he spent the fall and winter learning the cloth-dressing trade. He continued in the old home until 1830, when, being 21 years of age, he turned his steps westward and came to Illinois, and met his uncle, Dr. Silas Hamilton, in Monroe county, and with whom he came to Jersey county on July 3rd of the same year, and located in what is now Otter Creek township. In September he returned to his New York home, where he spent the winter. In the spring of 1831 he, together with his father’s family, came to Illinois by the water route, landing at Eminence, from where they proceeded by a hired team and wagon. His father died that fall. J. M. Built a log cabin on the site of the present village of Otterville, but spent the most of his time surveying until 1837. In 1833 he was elected constable, and two years later justice of the peace. He was married January 26, 1836 to Lydia Noble, by whom he had eight children. From 1839 to 1847 he was the postmaster of Otterville. In the fall of the latter year was made probate judge of the county. After serving his term he personally managed his farm until 1852, when he was elected sheriff, when he moved to Jerseyville, where he resided until 1873, when he moved to Nebraska, where he died. He was from 1844 to 1859 in the mercantile business with C. M. Hamilton and Marcus E. Bagley, selling out in the latter year. In November 1869 he was elected county judge, as above.
Caleb Noble was born in Adams county, Miss., July 28, 1817, and is the son of Henry and Mary (Swayze) Noble. The father, wishing to move to a more northern climate, started for Illinois, and landed at Grafton on April 3, 1833. He settled on a farm which he purchased on section 10, in Otter Creek township, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits, and where he died in July 1852. His son Caleb, when a boy, attended the schools of his native state.
Hon. William H. Pogue is a native of Philadelphia, Penn., born Dec. 23, 1835, and a son of Joseph and Jane Knox (nee Cooper) Pogue, the former a native of Ireland, who immigrated to America about 1812; and the latter a native of Philadelphia, and daughter of Hugh Cooper, an old merchant of that city. His father was for 33 years, an active business man of Philadelphia, while his mother was a noted Sunday school worker; she and her sister, over 50 years ago, having established a Sunday school where there is now an old and flourishing church. It was owing largely to her influence that the subject of this sketch became interested in Sunday school work, he having held the positions of secretary of the Illinois State Sabbath school convention, president of the Jersey county Sabbath school convention, and superintendent of a mission school in his own town. William received his early education in a private school in Philadelphia, under the instruction of Samuel Crawford, a noted teacher of his day, but later moved with his father’s family to Camden, N.J., and there attended school until the death of his father, which occurred in 1848. He completed his studies at the Pennington Male Seminary, receiving an ordinary English education with a limited knowledge of Latin and German. After closing his studies, being still young, he was placed in the store of James R. Webb, of Philadelphia, but after a short time took a position in the store of Horatio Litzenberg, of Lower Merion. He afterwards went to live with Perry Litzenberg, of West Philadelphia. In Feb. 1854 he moved to Illinois, where his father had invested large sums of money in landed property. He first settled at Alton, and in January of the following year, began the study of law in the office of Hon. Edward Keating of that place. He soon became private secretary of Mr. Keating, who was attorney-general of what is now the Chicago and Alton railroad, and acquired a knowledge of business that has proved invaluable to him in his life-work. After the death of his employer, which occurred in 1857, Mr. Pogue began practicing his profession, being then about 20 years of age. In Sept. 1858, he was elected city attorney of Alton, and on the organization of Alton city court he became ex-officio the states attorney, thereof, and in the following spring, by appointment of Judge Henry W. Billings, he became master in chancery of the Alton city court, a position to which he was re-appointed in April 1861. In Jan. 1862 he moved to Jerseyville and formed a partnership with Hon. George E. Warren, his father-in-law, and began practice under the firm name of Warren & Pogue. The business of this farm rapidly increased and soon became one of the largest in the county. In 1872 he was appointed by Governor Palmer, state’s attorney, for the first judicial district of Illinois, in place of Hon. Wm. Brown, who had resigned, and was also appoint state’s attorney of Jersey county, by Judge J. M. Hurd, county judge, under the new law conferring criminal jurisdiction on county courts in Illinois. In the fall of 1882 he was elected county judge, which office he has since held. In Dec. 1860 he was married to Mary A. Warren, of Jersey county. They are the parents of four children: Harry W., Edmund D. W., Hattie and George Dudley. Judge Pogue is a member of the board of education, and was its president for two years. In politics he is a democrat.
Thomas J. Selby was born in Delaware county, O., Dec. 4, 1840, the son of G. H. Selby, a native of Virginia, of English descent. His mother was of Dutch origin, but a native of New Jersey. Both parents have been called to their last account. The father was a stone cutter by trade and moved to Illinois in June 1849, and settled in Crawford county, and in 1860 the family came to Jersey county. There were four children in the family: I. N., a member of the 97th Ill. Inft., died while in the service in Jan. 1862; Mrs. Frances Dixon, who died in 1883; Mrs. Allan, a teacher in Jerseyville; and Thomas J. The latter gentleman was united in marriage with Amanda Richardson, March 30, 1862, and they have been blessed with five children, one daughter and four sons, all living. Mr. Selby followed teaching from the age of 16 until 1864, when he was elected to the office of sheriff of Jersey county, and served as such one term of two years. In 1866 he purchased the Jersey county Democrat and ran it until 1870, when he sold out to Wheelock & Burr. He was elected county clerk as above stated. He also served three terms as mayor of Jerseyville. Mr. Selby was admitted to the bar in 1869, but did not commence the practice of law in Jerseyville until 1876, in connection with E. A. Pinero. In 1879 he moved to Nebraska, where he engaged in the practice of law. He made some unfortunate investments in sheep-raising, which financially embarrassed him for the time. He is now a practicing attorney at Hardin, Calhoun county. He has always been prominently identified with the democratic party.
James Eads, who is now serving his second term as county clerk, was born in St. Louis, Mo., April 25, 1846, he being the older of the two sons of James A. and Caltha (Burke) Eads. When he was three years of age, the family moved to Jersey county, Ill., and since that time the subject of our sketch has been a resident of the same. He was educated in the common school, and at an early age assisted his father, who was a merchant in Fieldon. When he was only 16 years of age, he quit the school-room on account of his father’s poor health, and took charge of the store and continued in business with his father until 1873. From 1868 to 1873 he dealt in grain. In 1873 he moved to Jerseyville, and served at chief deputy in the office of county clerk, T. J. Selby, and in Dec. 1877, succeeded Mr. Selby, and was re-elected in 1882. Mr. Eads is a democrat in politics, as was his father before him. He is a Mason, belonging to Blue lodge, chapter and commandery; a member of the subordinate lodge and encampment of the I.O.O.F.; a member of the K. P. society, and the K. of H. He was married on April 2, 1874 to Virginia E. Crosby, daughter of George W. Crosby, and two children have been born to them: James B. and Emma F. Mr. Eads, besides attending to the duties of his offices, also, in connection with his brother, deals in real estate, and loans money. He is a gentleman who is easily approached, always attending to the duties of his office, and ever ready to be of service to his fellowman.
William Eads, younger son of James A. and Caltha A. (Burke) Eads, was born in Richwood township, Jersey county, Ill., Dec. 14, 1850. In early life he attended school during the winter seasons, and the remainder of the year assisted his father in the store. The winter of 1869 he spent in attending school in Jacksonville. In the fall of 1871 he went to Calhoun county, and in partnership with E. P. Lowe, engaged in general mercantile business at Batchtown, the firm being Eads, Lowe & Co. In the fall of the following year he returned to Fieldon, and assisted his father in business, until the death of the latter, which occurred in Jan. 1874. He then continued the business with his brother for two years, under the firm styled “Eads & Bro.” William then, in Jan. 1876, having sold out his former business, came to Jerseyville and clerked in the office of county clerk, T. J. Selby, until Feb. 1877. At that date he went to Kane, Greene county, where, with his brother, he established a dry goods business. Five months later they sold out, and William returned to Jerseyville, again entering the employ of T. J. Selby, whom he served until Dec. 1877. Since that time he has served as deputy county clerk under his brother. Mr. Eads was married in Montgomery county, Ill. to Elizabeth J. Thomas, second daughter of Samuel and Mary E. Thomas. Mr. and Mrs. Eads have three children: Caltha T., Mary D., and Lenna B. Mr. Eads is a democrat in politics, and a member of Fieldon lodge No. 592 of A. F. & A. M., also of the Jerseyville chapter No. 140 of R. A. M.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
The first to occupy this onerous office was Robert L. Hill, who was duly appointed by Judge Thomas, and the organization of the county in 1839, and being successively elected his own successor, served until 1849, a service of 10 years. Robert L. Hill was a native of Todd county, Ky., and was born during the year 1797. He was reared and educated in the place of his nativity, where he was also married to Maria Tonstall. They were the parents of six children: Martin L., Mary A., A. C., M. Ellen, Juliet A., Robert T., and Oscar. But three of these are now living: Mary, in Nebraska; Ellen, in Kentucky; and Oscar, in Jerseyville. Mr. Hill moved to what was then Jersey county from Kentucky, and on the organization of the county was made circuit clerk as above stated. His death occurred in1863, while a resident of Jerseyville.
In the latter part of 1849 Mr. Hill was succeeded by Thomas L. McGill, who also remained in this official capacity for a number of years, serving for 11 years, or until the fall of 1860. Mr. McGill came to Jersey county about the year 1840 from St. Louis, Mo., and settled in what is now Piasa township. He has, since the expiration of his term of office, died.
Marcus E. Bagley was the next incumbent of the office of clerk of the circuit court, being elected thereto in 1860, and served for twenty years. Marcus Bagley was born August 18, 1828 in Greene county, N.Y., and is the son of Thomas and Mary Bagley. In the fall of 1850 he came to Jerseyville, and soon engaged in mercantile pursuits in company with A. W. Howe, in which he remained several years. February 16, 1860 he was married to Mrs. Hattie M. Harriman, nee Page. In the fall of 1860 he was elected, as above. He was the first mayor of Jerseyville and master in chancery many years. He is now engaged in the banking business.
At the regular election of November 1880, Jesse I. McGready, the present clerk of the circuit court of Jersey county was duly elected to that office . . . Jesse I. McGready was born in Washington, Mo., Jan. 10, 1847. He is a son of John and Isabella (McIlvaine) McGready, the former a native of Tennessee, and the latter of Kentucky. John McGready settled in Missouri when a young man, and engaged in farming and lead mining. He resided in that state until his death. Jesse I. McGready is the youngest of eight children, only three of whom are now living. His early life was spent on the farm. At the age of sixteen years he entered McKendree College at Lebanon, Ill., where he attended one year. He then learned the art of printing, first working in the office of the St. Louis Republican, and afterwards at Carlinville, from where, in 1870, he came to Jerseyville. Here he became associated with J. A. Birdsall, formerly of the Macoupin Times, and purchased the Jersey County Democrat. In 1871 Mr. McGready became sole proprietor, and continued editor and proprietor until 1880. At that date he was elected circuit clerk, and in 1884 re-elected to the same office, in which he is now serving his second term. He was elected mayor of Jerseyville in 1879, and served four terms. He is a member of the I.O.O.F., both subordinate lodge and encampment; also of the K. P. society. Mr. McGready is a faithful and efficient officer, and his continued re-election to places of public trust is abundant testimony of the respect and esteem with which he is regarded by his fellow citizens.
At the first election held after the organization of the county, among the first officers elected was John R. Black, who entered at once upon the duties of his office and served four years. Col. John R. Black was a native of Lancaster county, Penn., born Ajpril 19, 1797, and was the son of James and Mary A. Black, who were of Irish descent. John R. attended school in Tennessee, his parents having moved to that state when he was but six years of age. In 1815 John R. came to Illinois, locating on the American Bottom, but five years later came to Jersey county, settling in what is now Mississippi township. He was married here, April 23, 1833 to Malinda Darneille, and they had four children. He was a volunteer during the war of 1812-15, and also of the Black Hawk war. He died in 1880.
In 1843 C. Easell was inducted into this very responsible office, having been elected at the regular election of that year. He served four years.
Solomon Calhoun was the next incumbent of this office, being elected to the same in the fall fo 1847, and served until December 1857.
Solomon Calhoun was born in Lyman, Grafton county, N.H., Nov. 25, 1795 and was married to Rhoda Walker. In 1823 he moved to Bridgeport, Addison county, Vt., and from there to Illinois in 1833, and settled on a farm near Jerseyville, where he continued to reside until his death, Dec. 25, 1869. His wife survived him 13 years. There were five children: James W. resides at Jerseyville; Hannah W. married William Post, she died May 1884; Caleb C. died at the age of 37 years; Adrastus resides in Jersey county; Benjamin F. resides in Jersey county; Benjam F. resides on the homestead. Mr. Calhoun was a devoted member of the Masonic order, being made a Mason at Bath, N.H. when 21 years of age. He was a charter member of Jerseyville Lodge No. 394, A. F. & A. M. He was strictly honorable in all his dealings and had a large circle of admiring friends. Politically he was a whig and afterwards a republican. He was one of the first county commissioners, and for 16 years assessor of Jersey county.
John F. Smith was the next incumbent of this office, elected in the fall of 1857 and re-elected in 1859, serving four years as county treasurer. John F. Smith was a native of South Carolina, born April 7, 1811. He came to Jersey county in 1848 or 1849, and entered on the business of cultivating a farm which he acquired. He was married to Sarah McGuire, previous to his coming here, and three of the four children by this marriage are still living: Mary, Martha, and James Knox. He died Feb. 25, 1877; his widow still survives, living in St. Louis. He was elected and served as treasurer as above stated. Mr. Smith was a leading member of the M. E. Church.
John E. Van Pelt, now a prominent citizen of Cook county, succeeded Mr. Smith as treasurer, first elected in 1861 and again in 1863, serving for four years in the office. John F. Smith, having when in office pleased the people, was again elected to this position in 1865, was re-elected in 1867, and again in 1869, serving this time six years, with credit to himself and honor to the people of the county.
James M. Young was the next to fill the office of treasurer. [Elected 1871, re-elected 1873, serving four years] James M. Young, a prominent citizen of Jersey county, was born in Rutherford county, N.C., Dec. 16, 1828. He was the eldest of the seven children of Martin and Deborah Young, who were of French and German descent. In 1835 Martin Young moved with his family to McDonough county, Ill., locating on a farm near Blandinsville, where they remained until 1845. They then moved to the state of Georgia. After the war broke out, Mr. Young moved his family to Jersey county. He died at the residence of his son, James M., in the fall of 1865, and the following spring his widow and children returned to Georgia. James M. Young attended the common schools of McDonough county, and at the age of 16 went to Wisconsin and worked in the lead mines about four years. On Nov. 13, 1848 he came to Jersey county, and for a few years followed boating and rafting on the Illinois river. Oct. 15, 1851 Mr. Young was married to Lucretia Nott, daughter of S. B. Nott, of Jersey county. They have had seven children, five of whom are now living. For a few years after his marriage, Mr. Young followed farming in this county. He served as justice of the peace two years, also two years as constable of Richwoods township. He was appointed postmaster at Fieldon, September 18, 1868, and held that office three years, being constable at the same time. In the fall of 1871 he was elected assessor and treasurer of Jersey county, and in the spring of 1872 moved to Jerseyville. In 1873 he was re-elected to the same office, thus serving four years. In the fall of 1876 he was elected sheriff, and re-elected in the year 1878, and served as such for four years. In 1880 he rented the National hotel, and ran the same two years. In June 1883 he move to southern Kansas, there acting as agent for a patent machine for the manufacture of fencing. He returned to Jerseyville in February 1885, shortly before the death of his wife, who had for some time been in feeble health. She died Feb. 12, 1885. Mr. Young is a member of the A. F. & A. M., also of the subordinate encampment of I.O.O.F., and Knights of Pythias. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Young are: Luella, wife of C. A. Sullard, of Kansas City, Mo.; Hattie, wife of Fred Armstrong of Jerseyville; Luther, who is a printer by trade and resides in Springfield, Mo.; Susan and Antonia, who reside with their father in Jerseyville.
George Hunter Jackson, deceased, formerly one of Jerseyville’s most useful and highly esteemed citizens, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 15, 1813. His father, Andrew Jackson, was also a native of Philadelphia, and one of its honored citizens. He was appointed, by President Washington, an officer in the custom house of that city, where he remained until 1837. In 1838 he came to Jersey county and died here in 1850. Mary (Servoss) Jackson, mother of the subject of this sketch, was born in New Jersey, and was the grand daughter of Samuel Fleming, the founder of Flemington, in that state. George H. received the rudiments of his education in the common schools of Philadelphia, and subsequently complete a course at the American Scientific and Military Academy of Middleton, Conn. He moved to Illinois in 1833 and located on land adjacent to the present side of Jerseyville. Here he engaged in farming, which occupation he followed the greater portion of the time until his death, which took place May 20, 1884. In Oct. 1839, on the organization of the county, he was elected recorded, in which capacity he continued four years. In 1866 he was appointed postmaster of Jerseyville, and held that office two years. Soon after the incorporation of the city of Jerseyville in 1867, he was elected city clerk, and was re-elected to the same office in 1874. During the latter years of his life he devoted his spare time to investigating and making abstracts of the land titles of Jersey county, compiling a work of incalculable value to the people of the county, as much vagueness and uncertainty had previously characterized the boundaries and titles to large portions of the land of that county. For this work Mr. Jackson was eminently qualified, by reason of his early settlement, long residence and large experience. Politically he was an Andrew Jackson democrat, believing in the greatest good to the greatest number. He was a firm believer in the doctrines of Christianity, as taught by the “sermon on the mount,” and a member of the Presbyterian church. He was married in March 1837 to Elizabeth, daughter of John Brown, who came to the territory of Illinois in 1802, and entered a considerable tract of land in Greene county. He accumulated much wealth and was, in later years, one of the influential men of Jersey county, where he died April 24, 1872. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson reared 10 children, nine of whom are now living: Charles, who is an engineer and resides in Springfield; Emily, wife of J. S. Daniels; John, who resides in Kingman county, Kas., engaged in the real estate business; Mary, living at home; Katie, wife of W. W. Douglas, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Lizzie, Fannie and George H., at home. Mrs. Jackson lives in Jerseyville.
Captain Murray Cheney [sheriff elected fall 1850, served for two years] was born in Addison county, Vt., Feb. 28, 1809. He was reared in his native state, where he remained until he arrived at the age of 24 years. He then started for Illinois, making the journey by canal to the city of Buffalo, then to Pittsburg, and via the river to Illinois. This was during the long to be remembered “cholera year,” and some of his fellow passengers sickened and died while on the passage down the Ohio river. Mr. Cheney was intending to remain on the boat until it reached St. Louis, but on account of the cholera landed at Shawneetown, and proceeded on foot to Alton, then to Jersey county. He had no objective point in view, but had simply started in search of a favorable location in Illinois. On arriving at the site of the present city of Jerseyville, he located land and remained here one year, after which he returned to Vermont, where he was married to Caroline Pickett, who was born in Addison county. Her parents had just moved to Chatauqua county, N.Y., and in that county Mr. Cheney remained for a short time. In 1836 he again come to Jersey county, making the journey with wagons. Mr. Cheney continued to reside in Jersey county until 1856, and during that period held numerous offices, among which were those of constable, deputy sheriff and sheriff. At an early day he organized a militia company, of which he was elected captain. Their arms were the old flintlock muskets, and were furnished by the state. The “training days” are well remembered by the older inhabitants, and the “muster” was an event looked for as anxiously as the fair of the present day. It constituted, for many years, the amusement of the people, and was a semi-holiday. Capt. Cheney was elected major of the regiment to which his company belonged. He moved to Sangamon county in 1856. He, at that time, owned land near Virden, in Macoupin county, where he followed farming for at time, after which he moved to the village of Virden, where he still resides, having retired from active business. Mr. and Mrs. Cheney reared a family of eight children: Prentiss D.; Gilead P., who resides at Denver, Col.; Byron M., living in Scott county, Ill.; Mary, wife of George W. Cox, of Virden; Charles H., living in Burlington, Ia.; Martha S., wife of Oliver S. Greene, of Jacksonville, Ill.; John G., living in Christian county; and William, who lives on his father’s farm in Sangamon county. Mr. Cheney was formerly a whig in politics, but now votes with the republican party. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Benjamin Wedding, son of James H. and Nancy Wedding, was born April 14, 1826 in Scioto county, Ohio. He came with the family to what is now Jersey county in 1834, and here spent his early life and obtained his education. At the age of 20 years he began teaching school, which occupation he followed during the winter seasons for 10 years, farming during the summers. In 1856 he was elected sheriff of Jersey county by the whig party and moved to Jerseyville. He served one term. He joined the republican party at its organization and has consequently since been on the minority side of politics in this county. In 1864 he was appointed revenue collector for Jersey and Calhoun counties, which office he held for four years. He was justice of the peace eight years, and mayor of Jerseyville one year. He has carried on a real estate and loan business. Aug. 9, 1847, Mr. Wedding was married to Tabitha Johnson, then of Jersey county, but a native of Scioto county, Ohio. Twelve children were born to them, five of whom died in infancy. Those now living are: Barkley; James; Arabella, wife of R. H. Maltimore; Thomas; Phil; Harry; and Heber.
Charles H. Bowman was born in Troy, N.Y., March 12, 1822, and was the third of a family of the six children of Elisha and Eunice Bowman. The elder Mr. Bowman with his family came to Jersey county in 1836, landing here Sept. 27 of that year. He soon after settled on a farm in Fidelity township. Charles H. was educated in his native city, and came to this county with his parents and engaged in farming until 1858, when he was elected sheriff. He held the office several terms and died, while in this position, in Jan. 1873. [When he died his son, Stephen H. Bowman was elected to fill the vacancy.]
James H. Belt was born Feb. 22, 1837 in Jersey county, and was the son of Horatio N. and Mary Jane Belt. He received his education in the common schools of this county, and when but about 16 years of age he became a member of the firm of Belt Bros. & Co. When about 25 years of age he was united in marriage with Helen M. Bramlett. In the fall of 1868 he was elected sheriff.