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Biography of Samuel Mason Gregg

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Samuel Mason Gregg. The dignity of labor raises the farmer to a level of importance corresponding to that occupied by any class of producers. To labor long and faithfully, giving the best of one’s ability and talent along any line of endeavor is to fulfill the destiny of mankind and to make possible a happy, contented old age. Samuel Mason Gregg, one of the substantial farmers and highly esteemed citizens in the vicinity of Rantoul, has made his life one of constant industry and honorable labor, and though always busy he has never failed to find time to make friends or contribute to the welfare and advancement of his community.

Though a resident of Champaign County for many years, Mr. Gregg was born in Crab Orchard, a son of Samuel H. and Elizabeth (Singleton) Gregg. The parents were also natives of Kentucky, and during the childhood of Samuel M. Gregg removed to Illinois. Mr. Gregg had a common school education and was early trained to farming pursuits.

On April 11, 1878, he married Miss Emma Hitz, a native of DeKalb County, Illinois, and a daughter of Frank and Catherine (Shaffer) Hitz. Her father was born in Switzerland and her mother in Germany, and they came as unmarried young people to America. They were married in Rochester, New York, then moved to Kendall County, Illinois, from there to DeKalb County, and located permanently in Champaign County in 1864. Mrs. Gregg received her early educational advantages in the Maple Grove district school of this county.

After their marriage they started out as farmers, buying 160 acres in East Bend Township. One year later they moved to land owned by Mrs. Gregg’s father, and then bought the 120 acres comprising their present homestead, located seven miles northwest of Rantoul. This land is in section 17. They took to their task as home makers the true spirit of the pioneers. The land they bought had no buildings, no trees to furnish shade, and there stretched before them a long period of years to be filled with the hardest kind of labor in order to make a home and provide for the increasing responsibilities of existence. Both were people of strong character and ample energy, and while their earlier years were characterized by strict economy they long since were able to provide a beautiful home and commodious buildings for all their purposes. Their home stands on an elevation with the land sloping gently away from all sides, and their house is now surrounded with trees and shrubs, making a park like environment. More beautiful shrubs cannot be found in the large city parks.

Mr. and Mrs. Gregg have one son, Samuel Elza. He was educated in the local district schools and in 1908 graduated with honors from the Rantoul High School. Subsequently he entered the University of Illinois and took the mechanical engineering course, graduating in June, 1912. He then remained at home with his parents a year, and married Miss Etta J. Pontious, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. V. Pontious. Mrs. Samuel E. Gregg was educated in the Rantoul High School and was also a student of a business college at Champaign, where she prepared for work as a stenographer. While it was the purpose and ambition of the son to follow mechanical engineering as a profession, his parents wisely persuaded him to locate near them, and he is now doing that most useful of all work, farming, and manages a 100 acre place a mile and a quarter southwest of the home of his parents. He is industrious and capable, and has the thorough technical education that makes him equal to all emergencies.

Mrs. Gregg and son are active members of the Christian Church at Rantoul. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served as school director. Mr. Gregg is one of the dairy farmers of Champaign County, and has a herd of twenty blooded Jerseys, beautiful and productive animals such as would constitute a fine asset to any farm. Mr. Gregg uses them for the production of cream, which is shipped to the Chicago market.

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