Location: Charleston Illinois

Biography of James L. Reat, M. D.

James Lee Reat, M. D., one of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons of Illinois, and who has been long and honorably connected with the professional and industrial interests of Douglas County, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, January 26, 1824. The Reat ancestors are traced back to Scotland, where the name was pronounced in two syllables, with the accent on the last. Two brothers emigrated to this country during the war of the Revolution, one of whom espoused the cause of the rebels, the term by which the patriot colonies were then known, and served through that struggle with Washington’s forces. The other brother sided with the Tories, in consequence of which the two brothers became alienated and a total separation occurred between the two branches of the family. Dr. Reat is descended from the one who cast his fortunes with those of the patriots and who, after the war, settled in Frederick Town, Maryland. At this place James Reat (father) was born and subsequently found his way to Ohio, where he married Susanna Rogers, a Virginia lady, and with her settled in Fairfield County, Ohio. When our subject was five years old, his parents removed to Coles County, Illinois, where the father purchased a farm on which they resided for a time, then removed to Charleston and lived there up to the time of his death, in...

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Biographical Sketch of John M. Madison

Within the past two years Tuscola has lost many of its oldest and most prominent citizens by death, but in the list none have been more sadly missed or sincerely mourned than our subject, John M. Madison, whose death occurred Monday, July 13, 1896. He was born in Harrison County, Kentucky, May 6, 1823, and was at the time of his death in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He belonged to a family of ten children; one brother and two sisters are still living: H. B. Madison, Tuscola ; Mrs. Harriet Parrish, of Cynthiana, Kentucky; and Mrs. Parmelia Carter, of Washington. On September 22, 1851, our subject married Miss Jennie Rankin, at Cynthiana, a good and noble woman, who preceded him to the grave only a few years. To them were born Harry, Robert and Fannie, all of whom reside in Tuscola, the two former composing the large clothing- house of Harry Madison & Company. In 1854 Mr. and Mrs. Madison came to Charleston, Illinois, where he opened up a store, and in 1860 they removed to Tuscola, where Mr. Madison engaged in the mercantile business, which he continued up to within two years of his death. For many years he conducted the leading general store in Tuscola and by his honesty and straightforward dealing with his fellow men prospered in a gratifying manner. He was a man...

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Biography of Malden Jones

In touching upon the history of Douglas County for the past sixty years, none have been more prominently connected with its growth and industrial expansion than the Hon. Malden Jones. He endured all the hardships incident to the rough pioneer life and has passed through a most honorable and enviable career. He is a native of Lee County, Virginia, and was born February 8, 1818 when a child he went with his parents to Kentucky, where he was reared and where, at about the age of seventeen, he entered a store as clerk and remained three years. In 1840 he came west, making the trip on horseback, settled with his brother, Alfred, five miles southwest of Arcola, and there engaged in farming and the live stock business. In 1848 he removed to his present locality and, in company with Mr. Gruelle, opened a general store about half a mile north of Bourbon, his store being the only one west of Charleston. He was engaged extensively in buying and selling cattle and horses, and drove them from his home to Wisconsin, which at that time was the only market worthy of the name in the west. They continued at this point about one year. Mr. Jones then built a store in Bourbon and laid out the town. He continued merchandising here about six years. In 1858 he was elected sheriff...

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Biographical Sketch of Rev. R. C. Hill

Rev. R. C. Hill, farming and stock; P. O. Charleston; the subject of this sketch was born in Sullivan Co., Ind., Dec. 11, 1817. He married Miss Mary A. Woods Dec. 10, 1839; she was born, in Sullivan Co., Ind., May 23, 1817; they had six children, four living, viz., Franklin P., John W., Martha J. and Elizabeth M.; he lived in Indiana twelve years, when, with his parents, he came to Illinois and settled in Clark Co., where they engaged in farming; in 1846, he came to Coles Co. and settled in La Fayette Tp., remaining one year; he then went to Charleston Tp., where he lived about eighteen months, when he again went to La Fayette Tp., and, in 1853, he came to his present place, and has lived here since, except two and a half years in Charleston; he has been connected with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for forty-seven years, and has been preaching since; licensed 32 years ago; he owns 160 acres in this county, which he has earned entirely by his own labor and management; his parents, Rev. Isaac and Margaret Cunningham Hill, were natives of Kentucky and Pennsylvania; they were married in Kentucky; he died in Clark Co., Ill., and she died here in Coles Co.; they had thirteen children, eight boys and five girls; four of the boys studied medicine, two engaged...

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Biographical Sketch of T. L. Endsley

T. L. Endsley, merchant, Salisbury; was born in Coshocton Co., Ohio, Nov. 21, 1842; his parents, Thomas and Matilda, were natives of Harrison Co., Ohio; his father was born in August, 1801, and is still living in Coshocton Co., Ohio, having lost his eyesight in the year 1876; his mother died about the year 1854; the subject of this sketch remained with his parents until he was 25 years of age, when he came to Hutton Tp. in the fall of 1866, and, the first winter, taught school; in the spring of 1867, he went to Westfield, Clark Co., Ill., and carried on a general merchandise business until late in the fall. He then married Miss Mary J. Endsley (daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Endsley, of Hutton Tp.) Oct. 24, 1867; directly after his marriage, he came to Salisbury, in this township, and lived upon his farm for three years, when he moved to Charleston, and for nearly five years clerked for Frommel & Weiss and J. F. Neal; in the year 1875, he came back to Salisbury and opened a general merchandise store, in which he is still engaged; his wife was born Oct. 20, 1844, and died Jan. 31, 1876, leaving two children – Elizabeth (born Oct. 16, 1868) and Clarence (born Nov. 25, 1870), both residing with their grandparents,...

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Biographical Sketch of Daniel Messer

Daniel Messer, proprietor Essex House, Mattoon; was born in Piermont, Grafton Co.. N. H., A. D. 1829; his father was a farmer, and his early life was that of a farmer’s son; in addition to his common-school education, he attended for some time a seminary of a high grade, in Bradford, Vt.; at his majority be left home, and began life for himself; his first employment was that of overseeing a force of workmen on the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad; he subsequently contracted on the Buffalo, Corning & New York Railroad; in 1853, he came West, and contracted on the St. Louis, Alton & Terre Haute Railroad, and on the completion of the road, was appointed Roadmaster from Terre Haute to Yana, which position he held from 1855 to 1860 or 1861; on leaving the road, he next operated the Messer House, in Charleston, till 1867; from 1867 to 1869, he owned and operated a planing-mill, at Charleston; in 1869, he leased the Essex House, at, Mattoon, and has operated it for the past ten years; with a house first-class in all its appointments, and himself possessed of all those necessary qualifications that go to make a successful landlord, he has met with deserved success, and is to-day regarded one of the financially solid men of the city; he is at present a Director in the First National...

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Biographical Sketch of H. W. Magee

H. W. Magee, attorney at law, Mattoon; was born in Coles Co., Ill., in October, 1847; his father came from Cynthiana, Ky., and settled in Coles Co., Ill., in 1832; here he engaged in farming; he relates that his father labored a whole year for Joseph VanDeren for $96; when H. W., was 2 years of age, his father moved to the western portion of Missouri, and was there during the border troubles; in the fall of 1857, he returned with his family to Coles Co., and settled in what is known as ” Dead Man’s Grove ;” in 1872, he moved to Louisa Co., Iowa, where he at present resides; having obtained a good common-school education, at the age of 20 years, H. W. entered the office of the Circuit Clerk, at Charleston, as Deputy; here he remained about two and a half years; in the winter of 1869, he entered the law department of Michigan University, from which he graduated in the spring of 1872; at that date, he was admitted to practice in the courts of Michigan, and, the summer of 1872, was admitted to the courts of Illinois; he began the practice of his profession in Mattoon, his present residence. He was married in the spring of 1873 to Ellen J. Barnes, a native of Indianapolis; has one...

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Biographical Sketch of Isaac B. Craig

Isaac B. Craig, attorney at law, Mattoon; was born in Coles Co., Ill., April 28, 1854; he was brought up upon the farm, and his early experiences were those of a farmer’s son; with a good education acquired at the common schools, he began the study of his profession in March, 1873, with his brother and O. B. Ficklin; in the fall of 1873, he entered the law department of the Michigan University; he graduated in the spring of 1875, and, in June, 1875, was admitted to practice at Mt. Vernon, Ill.; he began the practice of his profession in Charleston; in 1877, he came to Mattoon, and entered into partnership with his brother, and has since been engaged in the practice...

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Biographical Sketch of R. M. Gray

R. M. Gray, attorney at law, Mattoon; was born in Pleasant Grove Tp., Coles Co., Dec. 27, 1848; his father, James C., was one of the early pioneers of this section; his early life was that of a. farmer’s son; in addition to his common school education, at the age of 19, he entered Westfield College, Clark Co., Ill., and remained one year; he next attended an academy in his native township, two years, under the supervision of Prof. T. J. Lee; in the fall of 1870, he entered the law department of Michigan University, from which he graduated in March, 1873; he then entered the office of Maj. James A. Connolly, in Charleston, Ill., and remained till the spring of 1875; he then came to Mattoon and entered upon the practice of his profession, in connection with H. W. Magee; soon after locating, he was appointed City Attorney, and held the office one year; in 1877, he formed a co-partnership with Charles Bennett, which lasted one year; in 1876, he was elected State’s Attorney for Coles Co., which position he now holds; since the spring of 1878, he has been practicing his profession alone, and though comparatively young in the work, has already shown himself ” a workman that needeth not to be ashamed....

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Biographical Sketch of John Nock

John Nock, farmer; P. O. Charleston; born in Germany Feb. 20, 1835; he emigrated with his parents to America when 2 years of age; coming directly West, they located first in Ross, then Waverly Cu., Ohio, until 1849, when they located in Charleston, Coles Co., Ill., where he learned and worked at the carpenter trade until 1863, at which date he located upon his present place, where he has since continued to live; he owns upon his present place 165 acres, upon which he has good buildings, and which is mostly under cultivation. He married Aug. 5, 1863, to Mary Golladay; she was born upon the place where she now lives, and where she has lived since her birth, which occurred Dec. 18, 1841; they have seven children now living, by this union, viz.: Katie and Annie (twins), born Aug. 24, 1864; Minnie, Jan. 4, 1869; John, Oct. 8, 1872; James, Nov. 13, 1874; Jackson, Nov. 28, 1876; Emma, April 17, 1878. The father of Mr. Nock, John Nock, died in September, 1851; his mother died Aug. 27, 1875; the parents of Mrs. Nock, Moses and Catharine Golladay, were among the early pioneers of Coles Co., locating here in 1836; Mr. Golladay was born in Virginia, Oct. 15, 1809; he died in Morgan Tp., March 12, 1862; Mrs. Golladay was born in Virginia March 25, 1819; she now lives...

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Biographical Sketch of Jacob K. Cottonham

Jacob K. Cottonham, farmer; P. O. Charleston; the subject of this sketch was born in Floyd Co., Ind., Nov. 15, 1831. He married Miss Sallie Ann Fowler March 5, 1855; she was born in Coles Co., Ill., Dec. 13, 1843 they had seven children, six living viz., William E., Margaret L., George A., Joseph U., Charles D. W. and Hervey F. He lived in Indiana until 1855, when he came to Illinois, and settled in Coles Co. near Charleston, and engaged in brickmaking, and continued in the business nearly eight years, when he engaged in farming; in 1874, he came to his present place, and has lived here since; he owns 120 acres here and 49 in Charleston Tp., which he has principally earned by his own labor. His parents, Andrew and Margaret Grant Cottonham, were natives of Kentucky and Virginia; they were married in Indiana; they came to Coles Co. in 1855; he died Aug. 29, 1869; she is living herewith her son. His wife’s parents were James and Susan Ann Lumbrick Fowler; were natives of Tennessee and Coles Co., Ill. (probably), they being in this county at a very early date; they died in 1843 and 1848,...

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Biographical Sketch of John Foreman

John Foreman, farmer; P. O. Charleston; the subject of this sketch was born in the District of Columbia March 17, 1823. He married Miss Harriet E. Richardson Oct. 10, 1842; she was born in Franklin Co., Ohio, March 24, 1820; they have seven children, viz., William T., John R., Joseph, Isaac P., David B., Thomas N. and Edward P. He lived in the District of Columbia until he was 12 years of age; he then moved to Fayette Co., Ky., with his parents, who engaged in farming, and he remained until 1853, when he came to Illinois and settled in Charleston, where he lived two years while improving his farm; he then came on his present place, and has lived here since. In 1865, he was elected Supervisor of Seven Hickory Tp.; he was also one of the first two Justices of the Peace of this township, being elected in 1860, and served four years; he has also served as Commissioner of Highways and Township Trustee. He owns 260 acres in this county. His parents, Joseph and Mrs. Chloe Payne Foreman, were natives of England and Virginia; they were married in the District of Columbia; they moved to Fayette Co., Ky., in 1834, where his father, died; his mother died in Lexington,...

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Biographical Sketch of William Henderson

William Henderson, blacksmith, Oakland; born in Gurnsey Co., Ohio, Sept 25, 1831, where he learned and worked at the blacksmith trade until the fall of 1858, When he emigrated West and located in Lawrence Co., Ill., where he followed his trade until 1862, when he enlisted as a private in the 60th I. V. I., and went forward to battle for the Union; he served with his regiment one year, when he was detailed as blacksmith in the Quartermaster’s Department at Chattanooga, Tenn., where he remained until the fall of 1865, when he returned and worked at his trade at Marion, Ill., and Terre Haute, Ind., until August, 1866, when he located in Charleston and worked at his trade until June, 1872, when he removed to Oakland, where he has since lived. He is President of the National Christian Temperance Union, and is held in high esteem for the noble stand he has taken in the cause of temperance; he was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Oakland at the last municipal election, which office he now holds. His marriage with Ellen Eaglan was celebrated March 27, 1871; she was born in Virginia June 2, 1835; they have four children now living by this union, viz., Francis, John, Edward and...

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Biographical Sketch of Merrill F. Hackett

Merrill F. Hackett, retired farmer; P. O. Oakland; born in Lexington, Fayette Co., Ky., Sept. 10, 1821; he removed with his parents, when 8 years of age, and located in Springfield, Sangamon Co., Ill., where he learned and worked at the trade of brickmason until 1841, at which time he removed to Charleston, Coles Co., and engaged at his trade and farming and stock-raising until 1856; he then removed to the northern part of Coles Co., where he followed farming and stock-raising until 1875, when he purchased his present place of about thirty acres, upon which he has a fine residence, and removed to Oakland, where he has since continued to live; he also owns 613 acres of land in Douglas Co., which he has rented. He married Jan. 22, 1867, Elizabeth J. Sargent; she was born in Coles Co., March 22, 1839; her parents were among the early pioneers of Coles Co., locating in 1830; they have four children by this union-Snowden S., Gennella C., Lora E. and Florence...

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Biography of Thomas H. Duncan

Thomas H. Duncan; P.O. Oakland; born in Clark Co., 111., April 29, 1844, where he attended school and engaged in farming until August 1, 1862, when he enlisted as private in Co. A (Capt. James B. Hill), of the 123d Regt. I. Y. I., and went forward to battle for the Union; he first went to Louisville, Ky., then marching South, was engaged in the battle of Prairieville, Ky., Oct. 8, 1862, going then to Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he remained until May, 1863, when, on account of disability, he received his discharge, and, returning home, engaged in farming for a short time; then, after attending the Westfield College one term, he engaged as clerk in the dry goods store of J. M. Miller, at Charleston, which position he held for nearly two years, when, on account of ill-health, he returned home, where he remained until the fall of 1868, when he entered the college at Eureka, where, after attending one term, he worked as clerk in the stores of Kirkbride and Marcilleot, at Eureka, during the summer, and in the fall again entered the college, but on account of ill-health was unable to remain but a short time. In early life, he had formed a determination to obtain a collegiate education, and his lack of means only tended to stimulate his energies in that direction, and to obtain the...

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