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Biography of Daniel Evinger

Daniel Evinger, farmer, carpenter and millwright; P. O. Westfield; is a native of Ohio, having been born in Hamilton Co., of that State, Sept. 10, 1820. In November, 1831, when he was 11 years of age, his parents moved to Coles Co., and settled upon Sec. 19, Hutton Tp., where Mr. Daniel Evinger now resides. His parents died upon the homestead, his father in the year 1835, his mother in the year 1855. His father carried on the business of carpenter and millwright, and was also a minister of the United Brethren Church in Hamilton Co., Ohio. After coming to this county, he was mostly engaged in farming, although he turned his experience in his trade of carpenter to good advantage in putting up the frame of his residence and barn; the barn still standing, its frame apparently as strong as ever, and is one of the few buildings of that day now standing in Hutton Tp.; he also filled regular appointments of a minister up to the time of his death, and formed the nucleus of the United Brethren Church of this county, and the first class was organized in the year 1832 in his house; he also established the first Sabbath school in Hutton Tp., in the spring of 1832, near Otterbein Cemetery. The object of this sketch, with the exception of five years, when he resided in Clark Co., Ill., has resided upon the homestead. From the year 1853 to 1858, he was a partner in a steam-flouring and saw mill in Westfield, Clark Co., Ill.; having sold out his interest he was engaged in merchandising...

Biographical Sketch of C. P. Davis

C. P. Davis, farmer; P. O. Hutton; was the eldest of nine boys, and was born in Lawrence Co., Ind., Sept. 13, 1829. In 1829, while he was still an infant, his parents, John C. and Elizabeth Davis, moved to what was then Clark Co., and settled in what is now Hutton Tp., of Coles Co., and first having lived in different localities in the township, about the year 1840, settled on Sec. 34, where they lived up to the time of their death, Mr. Davis dying Nov. 30, 1871, Mrs. Davis’ death having occurred January, 1862. Mr. Davis was among the first settlers of this county, at that time an unbroken wilderness inhabited by the red man. He entered 80 acres of land, and made a farm, improving the same, and enduring all the hardships and privations incident to the pioneers of this Western wild. The subject of this sketch lived with his parents up to the time of his marriage with Miss Elizabeth Conley, Dec. 28, 1850; in the spring of 1852, Mr. Davis moved to his farm, on Sec. 27, where he has ever since resided. His wife was a daughter of John Conley, of Hutton Tp., now residing in Butler Co., Mo.; she was born Dec. 15, 1832; they had seven children, five boys, all living – John W., Henry, James N., Charles N., and David E.; two girls-Nancy, living, and one that died in...

Biographical Sketch of George Bidle

George Bidle, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Westfield; was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, Sept. 25, 1833; he remained there until he was 17 years of age; his parents having died in Germany Mr. Bidle emigrated to the United States, landing in New York City in April, 1852, and first went to New Jersey, remaining there four months working upon a farm, after which he went to Louisville, Ky., and worked at the wagon-maker’s trade for two years, when he came to Westfield. Clark Co., Ill., and from there, in the fall of 1865, moved to Coles Co., and settled upon the farm upon which be now resides, farming 250 acres, all but twenty acres enclosed; has been Justice of the Peace for nine years, and at present School Director. He married Christiana Airey, of Perry Co., Ohio, in Hutton Tp. of this county, Jan. 17, 1856; they have three children – Henry, born. April 22, 1857; Richard A., Sept. 2, 1858; and Charles, Oct, 20,...

Biographical Sketch of Matthias Beavers

Matthias Beavers, farmer; P. O. Hutton; was born in Meade Co., Ky., June 6, 1823; his parents, William and Nancy, came to Clay Co., Ind., while he was an infant, and settled near Bowling Green, and after remaining there some six or seven years, came to Clark Co., and lived in the ” Rich Woods,” near Westfield, and about the year 1833, came to Coles Co. Mr. Beavers remained with his parents up to the age of 21, when he married Miss Elizabeth Endsley, daughter of Andrew Endsley, of Hutton Tp., on Jan. 2, 1845; shortly after, he came to his present farm on Sec. 13, where he at present resides; he owns 180 acres, mostly improved. Mr. Beavers remembers well when the Indians were encamped near the cabins of the settlers, and was present when they took up their march at the call of Black Hawk. His wife was born Oct. 8, 1820; they had nine children, six living – Albert, born Oct. 15, 1845; Matilda J. (now Mrs. R. Bennett, of Clark Co.), born Sept. 7, 1848; Isabel (now Mrs. Andrew Lee, of Clark Co.), born Aug. 28, 1850; Nancy E., born April 24, 1854; Sarah C. (now Mrs. Owen Lee, of Hutton Tp.), born Oct. 15, 1856, and Louis R., born May 1,1860, and three boys, who died in infancy. His son Albert enlisted in the 54th Regt. Ill. Vols., and was discharged on account of...

Biographical Sketch of William Beavers

William Beavers, farmer; P. O. Hutton; is one of the pioneers of this county, and was born in Loudoun Co., Va., on 23d day of July, 1797; at the age of 17, he left home, driving a team to Barren Co., Ky., remaining there for four or five years. In the year 1818, he married Miss Nancy Bradenburg (daughter of Henry Bradenburg), and after remaining at the home of her parents one year, rented a farm for one year, and, in 1820, went to Clay Co., Ind., remaining there for seven years; in 1827, he came to Clark Co., Ill., near Westfield, and lived there for three years, and, in the year 1830, entered and moved upon the land upon which he now resides, on Sec. 10, near the village of Salisbury; he owns eighty acres. Mr. Beavers first built a log cabin, with a “puncheon floor.” The Kickapoo Indians at that time owned this land and lived all around him; while cutting some ” bee-trees ” in Long Point, this county, he saw the ” runners ” that had been sent by Black Hawk calling the Indians together. Mr. Beavers is remarkably active at his time of life, now being in his 82d year; his mother died in Virginia while he was an infant, and his father in Locust Grove, Adams Co., Ohio, where he had moved some years before. His wife was born in the year 1803; they had seventeen children, seven boys living – Matthias, Henry, Solomon, William, Barnett, John and Joseph; three girls-Sallie Ann (now Mrs. William Ashby), Nancy (now Mrs. Joseph Dyer) and Martha...

Biography of Richard O. Wells

Richard O. Wells, farmer; P. O. Westfield; was born in Bourbon Co., Ky., Dec. 29, 1809; he remained there with his parents until he was 25 years of age assisting on the farm; his father died there in the year 1835; his mother surviving him until the year 1860. Mr. Wells, while at home in Kentucky was married August, 1831, to Miss Jenette Boston (daughter of William Boston of Kentucky); she was born July 15, 1815; shortly after his marriage, he moved upon a farm near that of his father’s, where he lived until his removal to Clark Co., in 1837; the next year he moved to Coles Co. and settled on Sec. 6, where he lived three years, and then returned to Clark Co. and from there, in 1843, moved back to Kentucky and after remaining ten years, in the year 1853, came to Coles Co. and settled upon Sec. 7, where he has since resided. He owns 111 acres; has been School Director one term. They had twelve children, seven boys, three living – Richard J., born May 29, 1849; Robert L., August 11, 1853, and Charles M., born Jan. 22, 1856, and four deceased-Preston, born Oct. 22, 1832, died in 1842; James F. M., born April 1, 1836, died in 1865; William H., born July 17, 1840, died in 1850; and Leroy B., born April 6, 1851, died in February, 1852; five girls, two living – – Leah, (now Mrs. Reily Lee), born Feb. 10, 1838; Leomia (now Mrs. M. Connely), born Sept. 15, 1842; and three deceased – Mary E., born Nov. 29, 1844, died...

Biography of Rev. J. W. Woods, C. P.

Rev. J. W. Woods, C. P. minister, Mattoon; was born in the Territory of Indiana, Feb. 5, 1815. He is the son of Wm. G. and Rachel (Lester) Woods; his father was a farmer and his early boyhood days were spent upon the farm; his education was obtained mainly at Pilot Knob Academy, under the instruction of Prof. D. R. Harris; when 10 years of age, he came with his parents to Clark Co., Ill.; his father settling about four miles east of the present town of Marshall, his house became the resort for most business transactions in that part of the county; it was the “preaching-place” for fifteen years, until the building of a church in the neighborhood. At the age of 17, young Woods became a member of the church, and in May, 1834, of the Presbytery;. in June, 1837, he began his public ministry in Clark Co., Ill., and, for a number of years, labored in Coles, Douglas, Cumberland, Shelby and other counties in this section; in October, 1839, he was ordained to the full work of the ministry; in 1859, he moved to Mattoon for the purpose of building the church in the city; under his direction and superintendence, the church was built, and he was Pastor until September, 1861, when he entered the U. S. service as Chaplain of the 5th I. V. C., and remained in the service until Jan. 8, 1865; on his return from the army, he again labored for the church in Mattoon one year and four months; two years ago, he built the church ten miles south of Mattoon,...

Biographical Sketch of R. M. Gray

R. M. Gray, attorney at law, Mattoon; was born in Pleasant Grove Tp., Coles Co., Dec. 27, 1848; his father, James C., was one of the early pioneers of this section; his early life was that of a. farmer’s son; in addition to his common school education, at the age of 19, he entered Westfield College, Clark Co., Ill., and remained one year; he next attended an academy in his native township, two years, under the supervision of Prof. T. J. Lee; in the fall of 1870, he entered the law department of Michigan University, from which he graduated in March, 1873; he then entered the office of Maj. James A. Connolly, in Charleston, Ill., and remained till the spring of 1875; he then came to Mattoon and entered upon the practice of his profession, in connection with H. W. Magee; soon after locating, he was appointed City Attorney, and held the office one year; in 1877, he formed a co-partnership with Charles Bennett, which lasted one year; in 1876, he was elected State’s Attorney for Coles Co., which position he now holds; since the spring of 1878, he has been practicing his profession alone, and though comparatively young in the work, has already shown himself ” a workman that needeth not to be ashamed....

Biography of William H. Reynolds

William H. Reynolds, far.; P. O. Oakland; born in Fairfield Co., Ohio, May 29, 1837, where he was brought up on a farm until about 18 years of age, when he emigrated to Clark Co., Ill., and located for one year; thence to Coles Co., where he hired as farm laborer for two years, when he rented land and farmed three years. He enlisted July 25, 1861, in Col. Oglesby’s regiment-the 8th I. V. I. going in camp at Cairo, where he remained about two months, during which time he was engaged in reconnoitering expeditions in Missouri; he then joined the Army of the West under Gen. Grant, and was in many severe battles, among which were Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, siege and capture of Vicksburg, after which he went with the army South to New Orleans, and went into winter quarters, remaining until the spring of 1865, when they went to Mobile, which place they captured after remaining there two months; went to Shreveport, La., then to Marshall, Tex., where he received a furlough, and while at home was mustered out of service by special order from the War Department April 20, 1866. Mr. Reynolds was in the Union Army nearly five years, and while he had many narrow escapes; was wounded only once, while making a charge at Raymond, Miss., having the flesh torn from one of his fingers. At the battle of Shiloh, he received a bullet through his pants, one through his blouse, and one struck the stock of his gun; his comrades at either side were killed; at the battle of Holly Springs, he...

Biography of Lafayette Craig

Lafayette Craig, farmer, Sec. 18; P. O. Charleston; born in Clark Co., Ill., Mar. 27, 1832; he emigrated with his parents when 3 years of age, and located in what is now known as Morgan Tp., in December, 1835, in which township he has since continued to live for a period of upward of forty-three years; he is a son of Isaac N. Craig, and with his father is one of the earliest pioneers of Morgan Tp.; the subject of this sketch was employed in his early days in watching sheep during the day to protect them from the wolves, and at night would drive the sheep in close pens near the house, for safety during the night; there were no roads in those days, and to go to Charleston and other points, they would follow by-paths, taking a direct line to whatever point they wished to go; he remained with his father and assisted him in farming until 21 years of age, when he was employed by his father for two years, at $100 per year, when he, with his brother farmed upon the old farm for six years, receiving half of the crops for their labor; he then continued farming alone on the same conditions, for a period of three years longer; he removed upon his present place in the spring of 1864, where he has since continued to live; he owns 161 acres of land in his home farm, and 110 in other parts of the county. He married Jan. 3, 1856, to Jemima Fowler; she was born in Coles Co., Oct. 14, 1836; she died...
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