Location: Edgar County IL

Biographical Sketch of A. F. Shaw

A. F. Shaw, Police Magistrate, Charleston; is a native of Illinois; he was born in Paris, Edgar Co., Feb. 10, 1824; he is a son of Smith and Elizabeth Shaw; his father was born in North Carolina; was raised in South Carolina, and when a young man, emigrated to Tennessee, and from there to Kentucky; he was one of the pioneers of Missouri, from which State he was several times driven by the Indians; he afterward came to Illinois, long prior to its admission as a State, and finally, in 1822, settled in Paris, where he died about sixteen years later; Mr. Shaw learned the saddler’s trade at the age of 15, and followed it till the breaking-out of the Mexican war; he then volunteered in Col. Baker’s 4th I. V. I., and was elected 2d Lieutenant of Co. H; he marched with Gen. Taylor’s army through Mexico, from Matamoras to Tampico, and afterward participated in the siege of Vera Cruz and the battle of Cerro Gordo; returning at the end of a year’s service, he engaged in business in Paris. In 1850, he crossed the plains to California, and engaged in mining; on his return, three years later, he went to Carthage, Hancock Co., Ill., where he carried on the saddlery business till 1856. He was married in May, 1854, to Miss Lucy A. Bunnell, a daughter of...

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Biographical Sketch of Judge A. M. Peterson

Judge A. M. Peterson, attorney at law, Charleston; was born in Westmoreland Co., Penn., Jan. 15, 1825; leaving there in 1845, he went to Canton, Ohio, and began the study of medicine, attending a course of lectures at the Cleveland Medical College. He came to Illinois in 1849, and began practice as a physician in Edgar Co., and the following year removed to Newton, Jasper Co., Ill. On the 18th of April, the same year, he married Miss Nancy Whalen, of Edgar Co., a native of Nelson Co., Ky. The practice of medicine proving distasteful to him, and having a natural preference for the law, in 1853, he abandoned the former and engaged in the practice of the latter profession, which he continued till May, 1861. He then entered the Union army, as Captain of Co. K, 218t I. V. I., of which Gen. Grant was then Colonel; he served until November, 1862, when, owing to ill health, he resigned. In the spring of 1863 he located in Charleston, and resumed the practice of the law. He was elected a member of the City Council in the spring of 1864, and again in the spring of 1866; the same year he was elected Mayor of Charleston, but the duties of the office being uncongenial, he soon afterward resigned. In 1869, he was elected County Judge, and held that office...

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Biographical Sketch of W. S. Minton

W. S. Minton, of the firm of Minton, Alvey & Van Meter, proprietors of the City Mills, Charleston; was born in Washington Co., Penn., Dec. 10, 1828; at the age of 12 years, he began to work in his father’s mill, and there became familiar with every branch of the milling business; he continued in that for eight years, and in 1848, started with his father in the dry goods business; six years later-1854-he came to Illinois, bringing with him a thousand head of sheep, and engaged in sheep-raising in Vermilion Co.; he soon after removed to Edgar Co., where he traded his sheep for Western lands, and coming to Coles Co., settled on a farm near Charleston; after farming five years, he engaged in merchandising in Kansas, Edgar Co.; in 1864, he removed to Charleston, and with W. G. Wright and A. K. Spears, started in the grocery trade; since then, he has been engaged in the hardware and lumber business, the grocery business and the boot and shoe trade; in 1877, the firm of Minton, Alvey & Van Meter erected the City Mills, a fine brick structure, costing $15,000, containing four runs of stone, and fitted up with the latest improved machinery for manufacturing flour by the patent process. Mr. Minton was married Oct. 14, 1853, to Miss Matilda R. Wright, a daughter of Samuel Wright, now...

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Biography of Peter K. Honn

Elder Peter K. Honn, retired; P. O. Ashmore; was born in Nicholas Co., Ky., July 22, 1814; he is a son of Daniel and Anna Honn; he passed his early years upon a farm, and at the age of 18 years, began the trade of a blacksmith; in 1835, he decided to follow Horace Greeley’s advice, ” Go West, young man, go West,” and accordingly joined the family of Jeremiah Powell, and with them made the journey to Illinois, with a horse-team and two ox-teams; they stopped in Edgar Co., where Mr. Powell settled, and where many of his descendants still reside; after spending a short time in Edgar Co., and about six months in Sangamon Co., working at his trade, he came in 1836 to Hitesville, and opened a blacksmith-shop; about five years later, he purchased a quarter-section of land, which he began to improve in connection with his trade; after a number of years, he abandoned his shop and devoted his entire attention to farming; he continued on the farm until 1875, when, having accumulated a comfortable competence, he retired to his present home where he enjoys the harvest gathered in the summer of life. During his whole life, Mr. Honn has always been ready to assist in carrying forward any public enterprise; he has served the public in various offices of trust-having held four commissions as...

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Biography of B. J. Farris

B. J. Farris, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Westfield; was born in Edgar Co., Ill., March 24, 1831, being a son of James and Nancy Farris, who were among the earliest pioneers of that county. His father was born in Virginia, in the year 1785; received a liberal education, being designed for the Presbyterian ministry, and leaving home at the age of 18, he went to Warren Co., Ohio, where he married Miss Nancy Downs, a native of South Carolina, born in 1799, and lived there till he came to Edgar Co. He was a soldier of the war of 1812; fought at Lundy’s Lane and Chippewa, and was a witness of Perry’s victory on Lake Erie. Arriving in Illinois he took up 640 acres of land in Edgar, Coles and Clark Counties. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and dealt honestly with every man. He had a powerful constitution and was a hard worker. Although the son of a wealthy Virginia family, he never owned slaves; was a Whig in politics and joined the Republican party on its organization. He was a stanch Union man during our late war, and the defeat of the Union army at the battle of Bull Run, which occurred during his last illness, greatly affected him. He died Sept. 27, 1861, leaving eight children; his widow died Dec. 9, 1877. The...

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Biography of William S. Childress

William S. Childress, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Ashmore; was born in Knox Co., East Tenn., April 11, 1827; he is a son of Richard and Rebecca Childress. In 1831, his father removed to Edgar Co., and settled just on the line between Illinois and Indiana. In 1848, Mr. Childress came to Coles Co., being the first of the family to settle here, his father following in the spring of 1849; his father died about 1862; his mother still survives, and now resides in Farmington, in Coles Co., at the age of 75 years. Mr. C. was married April 30, 1848, to Miss Temple A. Barnes, a daughter of Enos Barnes, one of the pioneers of the county; she died Sept. 17, 1874, leaving nine children – Elizabeth J. (wife of Washington Moody, of Ashmore Tp.); Lucinda E. (wife of H. Ph. Goodnight, of Ashmore Tp.), Richard M., Rebecca A., Florence A., (wife of George Honn, of East Oakland Tp.), John F., William A., Melinda and Viola. A stranger, viewing Mr. Childress’ farm, comprising over 1,000 acres, his large and beautiful residence, his herds of over a hundred cattle, fifteen to twenty horses, a hundred and fifty sheep, and a hundred and twenty-five hogs, would find it difficult to realize the hardships through which he has passed in accumulating them. When he came to the county his total possessions...

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Biography of William H. Brown

William H. Brown, farmer and stock-raiser ;P. O. Ashmore; was born in Oneida Co., N. Y., March 23, 1813, being a son of Jonathan W. and Elizabeth (Aiken) Brown, and accompanied his parents in their removal to Milton, Ky., to Lawrence Co., Ill., and to the Walnut Grove, Edgar Co., in January, 1825. He remained at home until he was nearly 21, when he began working on a farm; he worked at various employments in different places until he was married, Nov. 4, 1835, to Miss Elizabeth McGhan, of Clark Co.; he then settled on a farm in Clark Co. During the summer of 1835, he was associated with his father and brother in grading a portion of the old Terre Haute & Alton Railroad. His wife died Sept. 14, 1838, leaving one son, William W., who, in the late war was Orderly Sergeant of Co. H, 10th I. V. C., and was killed at the capture of Little Rock, Ark. In the spring of 1839, Mr. Brown came to Coles Co., and on the 13th of June, 1839, married Mrs. Emily Buck, a daughter of John T. Olmsted, an old pioneer of Edgar Co., settling in Grand View about 1828, and afterward came to Coles Co.- Of nine children of this marriage, six are now living – John O. (now a resident of Charleston, Harriet, wife of James...

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Biographical Sketch of George A. Brown

George A. Brown, dealer in hardware, lumber, furniture, etc. (firm of Austin, Brown & Kimball), Ashmore; was born at the Walnut Grove, in Edgar Co., Ill., Oct. 17, 1837 he came with his parents, Job W. and Martha R. Brown, to Coles Co. in 1840; he remained on the farm until the age of 23 years, receiving his education in the little log schoolhouse in the neighborhood; after arriving at age, he taught school one winter; at 23, he engaged in contracting and building in Ashmore, building most of the village, including the Methodist Church and many of the business houses and private dwellings; also helped to build the Presbyterian Church. Among the business houses may be mentioned those of Austin, Brown & Kimball, F. M. Waters, Thomas O’Brien, Dr. Robertson, Joshua Ricketts, A. J. & R. Waters & Co., etc.; in 1872, he engaged in the lumber business, Mr. W. F.. Austin afterward becoming a partner; they added hardware, undertaking, furniture, etc.; in 1875, Mr. W. C. Kimball became a member of the firm. Mr. Brown has been a member and President of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Education a number of years; he is at present Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He was married Jan. 25, 1861, to Miss Arden O’Brien, a daughter of the late John O’Brien, of Ashmore; they have three...

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Biography of Rev. Stephen J. Bovell

Rev. Stephen J. Bovell, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Ashmore; was born in Washington Co., East Tenn, May 27, 1827. His father, Rev. J. V. Bovell, was a native of Virginia; removed to Tennessee at an early age; graduated at Washington College at the age of 20 years, and, when 26 years old, became President of that institution, and occupied the position three years. In June, 1829, he received a call to the Presbyterian Church, in Paris, Ill., and removed to that place, where he died but a few months afterward, leaving a wife and four children; Mr. Bovell’s mother, Christiana Gray Bovell, was a native of Tennessee, and now resides with her son; in 1835, the mother, with her family, removed to Coles Co., near Charleston; Mr. Bovell remained on the farm until the age of 20, then, in 1847, returned to Paris, where he spent two years as a student in the Edgar Academy, then under the control of Rev. H. R. Venable. In 1849, he entered Hanover College, where he graduated in 1852; he then went to Mississippi and engaged in teaching, but at the end of one year, he received an attack of paralysis, which disabled him from work for a year and a half; in the fall of 1854, he entered the New Albany Theological Seminary, where he spent one year, when, owing to...

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