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Biography of P. A. Kemper, M. D.

P. A. Kemper, M. D., physician and surgeon, Mattoon; was born in Culpeper Co., Va., Aug. 31, 1832; his early education was under the direct supervision of his mother, who was a well-qualified schoolmistress; his father was an artisan by profession, of whom he was bereft at the early age of 8 years; when about 16 years of age, he left home and came to Paris, Edgar Co., Ill.; in the fall of 1855, he began the study of his profession with Dr. D. O. McCord, remaining in his office two and a half years; during the winter of 1857 and 1858, he attended Rush Medical College, and, at a later date, received his degree; He began the practice of his profession in Pleasant Grove Tp., Coles Co., March 3, 1858; here he remained until 1876, excepting an absence of two years in the army. In 1861, he raised a company for the 5th Regiment, and was chosen Captain of the same; his position he resigned for that of Assistant Surgeon of the regiment; when the final organization occurred, however, through the treachery of professed friends, he failed in receiving the appointment; notwithstanding the unjust treatment to himself and Col. Updegraff, the commanding officer, he elected to remain with his boys, as a private in the ranks, rather than return home; in June, 1862, he was captured at Pocahontas, Ark., and remained a prisoner of war some three months; he was next sent on parole to St. Louis, and then exchanged and appointed to duty in the hospital with the rank and pay of Assistant Surgeon; in October, 1863,...

Biographical Sketch of Theodore Jonte

Theodore Jonte, dealer in harness and saddles, Mattoon; was born in Nashville, Tenn., April 4, 1839; his father was a wholesale confectioner; he received a good common-school education, and, at the age of 16 years, left home and came West, settling in Quincy, Ill., where he engaged in working at his trade; in the fall of 1861, he engaged in laboring for the U. S. Government in the making of cavalry equipments; the fall of 1862, he came to Paris, Edgar Co., and engaged in business with Wm. Legy; they operated a shop in Paris, and one in Grand View at the same time; Mr. Jonte had charge of the latter; in the fall of 1864, he removed to Mattoon, and opened up his present business; his is the only first-class establishment in the city. He was married in 1865 to Anna Stone-burner, a native of Grand View, Ill.; has one child-Alberta. Owns considerable real estate in the city. In 1876, he was chosen City Mayor; is at present Assistant Supervisor of Mattoon Tp.; also a member of the Board of Education, West...

Biography of J. O. Rudy

J. O. Rudy, real estate agent, Mattoon; was born near Louisville, Jefferson Co., Ky., May 1, 1827; his parents moved to Illinois, and settled near Paris, Edgar Co., in 1830; his early life was spent upon the farm, and his early experiences were those of a farmer’s son; his education was derived from the common schools; in 1850, he crossed the plains to California, where for two years he applied himself to mining; near the close of 1852, he returned, having as his reward for toil, hardships and privations, about $3,000 in gold; on his return, he engaged for one year in operating the old homestead; near the close of 1853, he engaged as a partner in the dry goods business, in the firm of Augustus & Rudy, at Paris; in the fall of 1858. The firm closed out business, and he moved to his land in Douglas Co., and opened up, and improved his farm; in 1862, he was appointed Post Trader to the Pawnee Nation, under the administration of President Lincoln; this position he held till the beginning of the administration of Andrew Johnson, returning in the fall of 1865; he next went to Trumbull Co., Ohio, and engaged in sinking wells, and in the manufacture of lubricating oil; this he followed one year; in the spring of 1867, he came to Mattoon, arid in company with Richard Champion and S. D. Dole, began the business of banking, under the firm name of Champion, Rudy & Co.; in 1872, he sold out his interest, and continued operating a planing-mill which he had previously purchased; this was soon...

Biography of Rev. J. W. Riley

Rev. J. W. Riley, Pastor Missionary Baptist Church, Mattoon; was born in Clermont Co., Ohio, Nov. 9, 1823; his ancestral line, traced through five preceding generations have been ministers in the Baptist Church; his father’s family furnished six ministers to the society, himself and five sons. From an historical record gathered from time to time, it was ascertained that the family of near relatives have furnished thirteen ministers of the Gospel; ten of these are Baptists, two Methodists and one Christian. His father, Rev. J. W. Riley, Sr., founded the first Missionary Baptist Church in all this section; this was at Bloomfield, Edgar Co., as early as 1835. Out of that grew the Bloomfield Baptist Association, which is today one of the largest in the State. His early life was spent upon the farm and in attendance upon school; at the age of 15 years, he became a member of the church, and soon after began to take part in its public exercises; he was ordained to the ministry April 26, 1845. He was married in 1843, to Olive J. Crouch, a native of Clermont Co., Ohio; she died April 4, 1855. His second marriage occurred Sept. 7, 1856, to Sarah A. Vance, of Licking Co., Ohio; she was educated at Granville College, Ohio. From first wedlock he reared five children – three sons and two daughters; from second, two sons. He came to Mattoon in November, 1864, and most of the time since has been Pastor of the Church. About the year 1866 or 1867, his health having become impaired, be went South and spent some time recruiting;...

Biographical Sketch of Aris Galbreath

Aris Galbreath, farmer; P. O. Rardin; was born in Nicholas Co., Ky., Jan. 20, 1812. His parents removed to Scott Co., Ind., when he was 2 years of age, where he lived until 18 years of age, when he emigrated with his mother to Illinois and located in Edgar Co., in the Fall of 1830, where he engaged as farm laborer for two years at $8 per month; in 1832, he located in Ashmore Tp., Coles Co., Ill., working one year for $100, out of which he saved money to enter 40 acres of land, which he improved one year, when he sold out and purchased 240 acres, which he improved for ten years, which he then sold and entered 160 acres of prairie and purchased 40 acres of timber in Morgan Tp., upon which he lived until 1875, when he removed upon his present place, after renting his old homestead; he now owns 300 acres of land with three sets of buildings. When Mr. G. located here, wolves and Indians were plenty, and to obtain quail, prairie chickens or other game, was only necessary to shoot from your door or window. He married Dec. 8, 1835, to Jane Reed; she was born in Spencer Co., Ky., Oct. 9, 1817; they have three children, now living by this union-James T., born Oct. 9, 1836; William R., Nov. 4, 1838; Ann Eliza, born Jan. 5, 1841, Mrs. G. was a daughter of Thos. Reed. who emigrated from Kentucky and located in Illinois in 1829; he died in Ashmore Tp., in the winter of 1845. Mr. Galbreath has taken a deep...

Biographical Sketch of F. M. Parker

F. M. Parker, farmer; P. O. Rardin; born in Edgar Co., Ill., March 18, 1849; he is the eldest son of Wm. M. Parker, who emigrated from Kentucky, and located in Edgar Co., Ill., in the year 1829; he died in Coles Co. Feb. 14, 1873; his mother was born in Co., and emigrated with her parents, and located in Coles Co. in 1828; the subject of this sketch remained with his parents, and assisted in farming, until 20 years of age, when he was employed as farm-laborer for about four years; he first commenced farming for himself in 1871, in Edgar Co., and the year following in East Oakland Tp., Coles Co.; he removed upon Sec. 5, Morgan Tp., in December, 1873, where he has since successfully followed farming. He married Sept. 14, 1871 to Sarah J. Roberts; she was born in Muskingum Co., Ohio, March 11, 1848; she is daughter of Thomas Roberts, whose biography appears in this work; they have four children by this union-Rhoda A., born June 30, 1872; James W., born May 1, 1874; Cara A., born May 21, 1876; Dora R., born April 29, 1878. Mr. Parker has held the office of Road Overseer for two years, and Collector of Morgan Tp. for...

Biographical Sketch of A. J. Bigelow

A. J. Bigelow, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Fuller’s Point; one of the early settlers; was born in Massachusetts Oct. 10, 1829; came to this State in 1852, and settled in Edgar Co.; he removed to Coles Co. in 1852, where he has since resided; his farm consists of 254 acres, valued at $7,000. He was married to Miss Ada Green, who was born in Massachusetts; they have two children – Levi and Charley E. Since his residence in the township, he has held the office of Supervisor one year and School Director ten years. He was a participant in the late war, having enlisted in the 79th I. V. I.; after volunteering, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and later was promoted to First Lieutenant, and as such served faithfully for several months, when he was promoted to Captain; he served in the war about three years, and was discharged with honor at its...

Biographical Sketch of John D. Farris

John D. Farris, farmer and nurseryman, Sec. 2; P. O. Charleston; owns 900 acres; was born in Edgar Co., Ill., Sept. 30, 1827, and was engaged with his father in farming and nursery business until 29 years of age. Was married to Eliza J. Manfort Jan. 28, 1852; she was born in Henry Co., Ky., March 16,1833; the fruit of this marriage is eight children, viz., Caleb, Mattie M., John N., Olive, Israel J. (deceased), William, Anna and one infant. Mr. Farris’ father started the first mill to grind wheat and corn in this township; people came a great distance to mill, this being the only one for miles around; Mr. Farris has carried on farming and nursery business very extensively, and has still a great variety of trees yet on hand; he has put in over 4,000 rods of tiling on his own land in the last few years; raised at one time 162 bushels of grain on one acre of...

Biographical Sketch of James R. P. Cassaday

James R. P. Cassaday, farmer, Sec. 10; P. O. Campbell; was born in Edgar Co., Ill., Aug. 22, 1845; lived with his parents until 14 years of age, when they died, leaving him to shift for himself. He was married to Catharine Edmond Oct. 17, 1867; she was born in Virginia Feb. 8, 1844; died Aug. 13, 1877; they had six children – four dead, two living; the names of the living are Mary E., William H.; the names of the deceased are Jemima, Joanna, Sarah E. and one infant. Mr. C. was then married to Mary M. Neal July 20, 1878; she was born in Cumberland Co., Ill., Sept. 7, 1841. Mr. Cassaday has held office of Pathmaster one term, School Director several years. He was in the late war; enlisted in 1863 in 11th Ind. V. C., Co. D; served two years, and was in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, and was also on the plains fighting the Indians six months. Mr. Cassaday’s grandfather on his father’s side was in the Black Hawk war. Mr. Cassaday owns 77½ acres of excellent...

Biographical Sketch of James Gray Bovell

James Gray Bovell, farmer; P. O. Larna; owns 260 acres; was born in Washington Co., Tenn., June 1, 1825, and came to Edgar Co. with his parents when only 4 years old; he stayed there five years; then came to Coles Co., where he has since resided. He was married May 6, 1846, to Eliza Dryden, who was born in Bedford Co., Tenn., July 24, 1825, and has had four children, viz., Mary E. D., Nancy C., John W. and one infant; Mary E. D. is the only one living. Mr. and Mrs. Bovell’s parents were natives of...
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