George Driskell. One of the farms that lend distinction and dignity to Champaign County as a center of the great Illinois corn belt is that of Mr. George Driskell in section 33 of Kerr Township. Mr. Driskell has been a farmer all his life, and he knows the business as only one can know it through years of practical experience and common sense application of his energies to the task at hand.
Mr. Driskell was born in Warren County, Indiana, a son of Hiram and Anna (Black) Driskell. There were six children in the family, four sons and two daughters, Roland, George, William, one that died in infancy, Julia Ann and Hannah. Hiram Driskell was also a farmer, and brought his family to Champaign County when George was nine years of age. The family located on a farm at Sugar Grove in Kerr Township and the children attended the Sugar Grove school. Hiram Driskell and wife lived in this locality the rest of their lives.
On February 12, 1871, Mr. George Driskell married Miss Samantha Mercer. They had been sweethearts for some time, but their parents opposed their attention and planned a different future for them. The young people thought they knew best, and determined to take the issue in their own hands. In the early winter of 1871 they attended a party at the home of a neighbor named Pattens. All the young people of that district were present. On the following day, instead of returning home, George and Samantha drove to Champaign and were married at the hotel. On returning home they received the blessing of their parents, and their long and prosperous married life shows that they made no mistake in this vital decision.
Mrs. Driskell was born in eastern Ohio, a daughter of Aaron and Polly (Cecil) Mercer, her father a native of Virginia. Their ancestors were formerly from Scotland. Her parents were married in Ohio and there were five sons and three daughters: Solomon, William, James,’ Joseph, Henry, Martha, Nancy and Samantha, who was the youngest. When Samantha was a small child the Mercer family came to Illinois and located in the Partlow settlement of Vermilion County. The children attended the Sugar Grove school and the Flagg school. Samantha finished her education in a school for young ladies at Paxton, Illinois, when Mrs. Buckley was principal.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Driskell started out for themselves on eighty acres which he inherited from his father. They located in their new home in the month of June, the month for brides, and they went at their task as home makers with youth, enthusiasm, courage and ambition. They lived there ten years and then removed to a part of Mr. Driskell’s father’s estate, and also bought adjoining land. At the present time the Driskell farm comprises 240 acres, and through his care and management many notable improvements have been made. The house has been remodeled, a large barn has been built, and there is ample equipment for carrying on such a farm as a business. Mr. and Mrs. Driskell have planted many trees, flowers and shrubs and their home stands out as one of the picturesque spots in Kerr Township. Mr. Driskell’s work has chiefly been as a grain grower and stock raiser. He has raised hogs on a large scale, some years as high as 150 head. One year the cholera struck this region and he lost over 100 hogs through this disease.
A high degree of public spirit has characterized all of Mr. Driskell’s activities in the community. He is widely known all over Champaign County, which he served fifteen years on the board of county commissioners. During that long public service he had a part in the building of nearly all the bridges along Middle Fork Creek, the largest being the Mercer bridge, and also the one east of his home. These bridges are a credit to the entire county. Mr. Driskell has also served on the school board and has helped make his district one of the best in the county. Mr. and Mrs. Driskell attend the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, but is a man of broad views and believes that the special national executive is entitled to the support and confidence of every true American. Mrs. Driskell has done all she could to forward the prohibition movement in the county and state, and it is one of her most ardent hopes that nationwide prohibition will be an accomplished fact in her lifetime. From such facts as have been here related it is possible to understand Mr. and Mrs. Driskell’s high position in Champaign County, and it is not without good reason that they take pride in their country home, their family and the worthy influences that they have been able to set in motion for the benefit of the community.