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Biography of B. J. Farris

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B. J. Farris, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Westfield; was born in Edgar Co., Ill., March 24, 1831, being a son of James and Nancy Farris, who were among the earliest pioneers of that county. His father was born in Virginia, in the year 1785; received a liberal education, being designed for the Presbyterian ministry, and leaving home at the age of 18, he went to Warren Co., Ohio, where he married Miss Nancy Downs, a native of South Carolina, born in 1799, and lived there till he came to Edgar Co. He was a soldier of the war of 1812; fought at Lundy’s Lane and Chippewa, and was a witness of Perry’s victory on Lake Erie. Arriving in Illinois he took up 640 acres of land in Edgar, Coles and Clark Counties. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and dealt honestly with every man. He had a powerful constitution and was a hard worker. Although the son of a wealthy Virginia family, he never owned slaves; was a Whig in politics and joined the Republican party on its organization. He was a stanch Union man during our late war, and the defeat of the Union army at the battle of Bull Run, which occurred during his last illness, greatly affected him. He died Sept. 27, 1861, leaving eight children; his widow died Dec. 9, 1877. The subject of this sketch continued to reside in Edgar Co. until he was married, Aug. 12, 1852, to Miss Mary J. Bishop, a daughter of John W. Bishop; she was born in Rush Co., Ind., Sept. 18, 1832, and first came to Clark Co., Ill., when 5 years of age. They have eight children: James, Sarah A., John W., Florence, George Grant, Albert, Benjamin F. and Ida. The year of his marriage, Mr. Farris removed to Coles Co., where he lived till March, 1876, and then removed to Nebraska. At the end of three months, however, he returned to Coles Co., and in 1877, purchased the farm of 120 acres where he now resides.

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