Mathew L. Yeazel. One of the old and honored families of Champaign County is that which bears the name of Yeazel and which has been represented here for more than three-quarters of a century. Its members have been mainly engaged in agricultural pursuits and have been noted for their honorable and upright dealings and their good citizenship. A worthy representative of the name is found in the person of Mathew L. Yeazel, who for nearly sixty years has been a resident of Homer Township, where he is now carrying on operations on the Old Homestead farm.
Mr. Yeazel was born on the farm to the supervising of the operations on which he now devotes his attention. This is located in section 7, Homer Township. He was born June 12, 1858, a son of James and Mary Maria (Spencer) Yeazel, natives of Ohio. James Yeazel came to Champaign County in March, 1840, and from small beginnings grew to be one of the most substantial farmers in this part of the county, having accumulated a property of 640 acres and various other holdings, including realty and business interests. Also he was prominent in the affairs of his community and was frequently elected to office in the township, where he held, among others, the position of township supervisor. Mrs. Yeazel died when her son Mathew L. was eight years of age. The children were as follows: John and William, deceased in infancy; Alice, who is the wife of Hugh O’Neil, of Homer; Abraham and Abigail, who are deceased; Mathew L.; and Inez, the wife of C. G. Squires, of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The public schools of Homer Township furnished Mathew L. Yeazel with his education, and his boyhood and youth were spent on the home farm, where he assisted his father. Married at the age of twenty-one years, at that time he began operations on his own account on a rented farm of eighty acres, on which he lived ‘for five years, and at the end of that time rented another property, one of 160 acres, and spent a like period thereon. In the meantime his father had died, and his father-in-law had purchased 260 acres of the present farm. Two years later he passed away, leaving his son-in-law and daughter 225 acres, and when Mr. Yeazel settled thereon he named it the Old Homestead farm, in honor of his and his wife’s parents. He is now engaged in general farming operations, but more as an overseer than as an active worker, and is recognized as one of the skilled and substantial agriculturists of his community and a business man of ability and honor.
Mr. Yeazel was married October 9, 1879, to Julia E. Smith, a native of Champaign County and a daughter of Mortimer and Jennie (Tresler) Smith. Mr. Smith was one of the prominent men of Homer Township, having started the second tile manufacturing plant in the State of Illinois, and he died a very wealthy citizen, passing away May 21, 1906. He and his wife were the parents of eight children: Julia E., the wife of Mr. Yeazel; Clara, deceased; William, a resident of Homer; Mary, the widow of Byron S. Poisal, of the Auditorium Hotel, Chicago; Jennie, the wife of Wyley C. Wamsley, of Long Beach, California; Nellie, who is deceased; Charles, of Danville, Illinois; and Harry J., of New York. Mr. and Mrs. Yeazel have had four children: Estella J., who is the wife of Charles Havard, of Homer; Jennie, who met death as an infant by burning; Nellie M., the wife of C. V. Davis, of Sheridan, Wyoming; and Lelia, the wife of Owen Johnson, of Marshfield, Indiana. Mr. Yeazel is a Republican, and his influence is felt in fraternal circles, he being a member of the local lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. His religious connection and that of Mrs. Yeazel is with the Presbyterian Church.