James P. Heaton, who was a prominent citizen of Newman and a member of its board of education, was born August 16, 1845, and died March 14, 1897, aged fifty-one years, six months and twenty-eight clays. He was a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania, where his early youth was passed among the picturesque hills and scenery of that mountainous region. He was a son of William and Mary Heaton. At the age of sixteen years he came to Illinois and located on the Ridge, four miles north of Newman. At that time there was no church building in that section and in 1869 when the Cumberland Presbyterians built their church he contributed liberally toward its construction and helped in the good cause in various ways. In 1872 he joined the Methodist church, and when the M. E. church on the Ridge was built he and his brothers contributed largely toward its erection, upon ground donated by their father, who located on the Ridge sometime during the ’50s and entered a tract of land of 1,400 acres. He afterwards lived in Edgar county from 1873 until 1885, when he moved to Newman and lived there until his death in 1897.
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James Heaton was not long in becoming one of the most influential and prosperous citizens in his neighborhood. In 1871 he bought a tract of land now known as the Spring Branch Stock Farm, located just over the line in Edgar County. His principal occupation was stock raising, his farm containing 600 acres. In addition he owned a business block and a residence in Newman, whence he removed in 1885. On March 4, 1873, he was wedded to Miss Lottie Harris, of Chariton, Iowa, a daughter of John and Lucinda Harris. To their marriage were born five children, three of whom are living: Eva E., who is the wife of Joe Walker, a lawyer of Tuscola: Ada May and Boyd H.
Mr. Heaton held several local offices, was four years supervisor and was collector for the same length or time of his township in Edgar County, and at the time of his death was a mein-her of the hoard of education, and city alder-man of Newman. lie was a member or the I. O. O. F., and in the death of Mr. Heaton, Newman lost one of her most popular and useful citizens, who was always ready to advance the interests of the community in which he lived for the common good of all.