James A. Somers is a native of Champaign County and for many years, with his good wife by his side, has labored industriously and with good results as a farmer in St. Joseph Township. He has built up a splendid home and at the same time has acquired the esteem and confidence of a large body of the citizenship of Champaign County.
He was born in Somer Township of this county October 10, 1866, a son of John L. and Mary J. (Kirby) Somers. His father was a native of North Carolina and his mother of Indiana. The parents were married at Farmer City, Illinois, and spent the rest of their days in Somer Township of Champaign County. They were the parents of eight children, five sons and three daughters, James A. being the fifth in age.
He was well educated in the common schools of his native township, and grew up to a life of independent effort, with industrious habits early inculcated. At the age of twenty-eight, on March 3, 1895, he married Miss Minnie I. Grierson, daughter of Robert and Sarah (McDaniels) Grierson. Mrs. Somers was next to the oldest in a family of nine children, and was educated in the district schools.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Somers, possessing little capital, though with abundance of energy and enthusiasm, rented a tract of land in Somer Township and were tenant farmers a period of thirteen years. In that time, in addition to providing for their family and home, they were each year laying something aside and planning effectively for the future, and they then invested their capital in eighty acres of land in section 28 of St. Joseph Township. This they made a permanent home and have greatly improved and beautified it since it came into their ownership.
Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Somers: Russell Ivan, Ross Donald and Florence Winifred. The only daughter died at the age of ten years. Mr. and Mrs. Somers appreciated the need of good education for their children and have encouraged them in every way to make the best of their talents. Both the boys attended the district schools in the country and afterwards attended high school at Urbana. Russell then entered the University of Illinois, where he specialized in the study of chemistry until his studies were interrupted by the call to duty for his country. He is now with Company K of the Three Hundred and Forty-ninth Infantry, stationed at Camp Dodge, Iowa. The younger son, Ross Donald, is still a student in the Urbana High School. Mrs. Somers is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically he is a Republican. Mr. and Mrs. Somers are a splendid couple, who can look back upon a period of prosperity which their own efforts have earned, and they may take pardonable pride in the home they enjoy and the sturdy sons that are growing up ‘to manhood’s responsibilities.