Bert Rayburn. Champaign County with its high-priced lands is distinctively the field for the highly efficient farm manager. That is the work and position of Mr. Bert Rayburn. By long experience he has proved his capability in handling the soil and resources of Champaign County in a manner productive both to himself and the owners of the land. Mr. Rayburn has acquired a considerable stake as a land holder himself, but his chief experience has been as a renter and farm manager.
A native of Champaign County, he was born in Mahomet Township, September 24, 1872, a son of Lee and Dora (Christian) Rayburn, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Kentucky. The Rayburns were pioneers in Champaign County, where Grandfather John Rayburn located about 1856. He was a farmer, and farming has been the regular occupation of the family through three generations. Mr. Lee Rayburn spent many years in that vocation and is now living retired at Champaign. He was at one time road commissioner of Scott Township. He and his wife had thirteen children: Estella, living at Champaign, widow of William Herriott; Bert; Leonard, a farmer in Mahomet Township; Joseph, Pearl and Nellie, all deceased; Myrtle, at home; Ethel, wife of Charles Keller of Urbana; Mabel, wife of Thomas Barker, a farmer in Scott Township; Cecil, a Scott Township farmer; J. W. of Scott Township; Lee and Elsie, still at home.
Mr. Bert Rayburn had a thorough training as a farmer during the first twenty-one years of his life, which he spent at home. In the meantime he acquired a substantial education in the local schools. At the age of twenty-one he continued working a year for his father and then rented ninety acres in Scott Township, which he managed two years. He then went to a larger farm, consisting of 265 acres, and had that place under his control for five years. His next experience was in the implement business at Bondville for a year, and removing to Mattoon, Illinois, he farmed a 240-acre place two years and for one year was in Iroquois County, farming 200 acres.
In 1909 Mr. Rayburn took the active management of the large Burnham estate in section 2 of Champaign Township. This has long been one of the noted farms of Champaign County, and for eight years Mr. Rayburn has rotated the crops on this 270 acres and has handled it both as a general farming and stock-raising proposition. Altogether he has 367 acres under his direction, including ninety-seven acres of his own located in Hensley Township. Mr. Rayburn pays successful attention to all the varied departments of farming, and if there is any one specialty it is his dairy of fine thoroughbred Holstein cows. Politically he is a Republican and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On February 20, 1895, Mr. Rayburn married Eva E. Shaffer, who was born at Ludlow, Illinois. They are the parents of six children: Fern, who was born March 23, 1896, and died in November, 1899; Glenn and Gladys, twins, born August 10, 1897; Harold, born in 1899 and died in 1901; Vernon, born in November, 1903; and Feryl, born May 3, 1910.