Location: Pleasant Grove Illinois

Biography of George B. Balch

George B. Balch, farmer, Postmaster and agent G. & M. R. R.., Larna; born in Bedford Co., Tenn., Nov. 1, 1828; his father, Alfred M. Balch, was born in Logan Co., Ky., Jan. 23, 1798. He was married to Elizabeth Gammil July 1, 1819; she was born Jan. 1, 1800; they left Tennessee late in October, 1830, and settled in Pleasant Grove Tp.; their journey and settlement are fully noted in the history of that township; they remained here during their lives; Mrs. Balch died Dec. 29, 1855; Mr. Balch Dec. 2, 1856; the subject of this sketch, Geo. B., grew to maturity here, receiving only a moderate education. He was married March 19, 1851, to Margaret S. Walker, who was born in Tennessee, Oct. 1, 1832; they became the parents of eleven children, all of whom’ are now living; Mrs. Balch died Nov. 4, 1875, leaving her daughters to fill her place; the names and births of the children are as follows: Samuel W. (born Jan. 28, 1852; married Nov. 25, 1875), Elizabeth J. (born Sept. 18, 1853; married April 21, 1875 ), Ann Minerva (born Aug. 10, 1855), Thomas W. and Nancy M. (born Oct. 8, 1858), Esther R. (born June 20, 1861), Ellen D. (born Jan. 31,1863), Minnie B. (born March 30, 1865), Eliza J. (born June 25, 1868), Robert E. (March 26, 1871), Margaret L....

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Biographical Sketch of Joshua Johns

Joshua Johns, farmer; P. O. Charleston; was born in Pendleton Co., Va., June 6, 1821. When he was 18 years of age, he went to Bath Co., Virginia, working on the farm of William Friel, whose daughter Isabel he married, Sept. 15,, 1840, and after living there for three years moved to Pleasant Grove Tp. in this county, remaining there for twelve years when he came to Hutton Tp., and after settling on Sec. 33 remained there fourteen years, and in March, 1867, came to his present farm on Sec. 9; he owns 692 acres; has held the office of Supervisor one term, and School Director for many years, and is so at the present time. His wife was born Aug. 19, 1824; they had fourteen children – seven boys, four living – George A., born March 19, 1848; James H., July 13, 1851; Leander, Dec. 21, 1853, and Edwin S., born Sept. 23,1867; three deceased-James W., born Jam 27, 1844, died Sept. 28, 1846; Seton, born Oct. 11, 1858, died Nov. 28, 1859, and one that died in infancy; and seven girls, five living – Jemima (now Mrs. Wm. Bishop), born April 12, 1855; Virginia, (now Mrs. Frederick Thompson), born Aug. 27, 1857; Sarah Ann, born Sept. 13, 1860; Mary E., Dec. 19, 1863; and Emily A., born Nov. 18, 1869, and two deceased-Martha E., born June 16,...

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Biography of P. A. Kemper, M. D.

P. A. Kemper, M. D., physician and surgeon, Mattoon; was born in Culpeper Co., Va., Aug. 31, 1832; his early education was under the direct supervision of his mother, who was a well-qualified schoolmistress; his father was an artisan by profession, of whom he was bereft at the early age of 8 years; when about 16 years of age, he left home and came to Paris, Edgar Co., Ill.; in the fall of 1855, he began the study of his profession with Dr. D. O. McCord, remaining in his office two and a half years; during the winter of 1857 and 1858, he attended Rush Medical College, and, at a later date, received his degree; He began the practice of his profession in Pleasant Grove Tp., Coles Co., March 3, 1858; here he remained until 1876, excepting an absence of two years in the army. In 1861, he raised a company for the 5th Regiment, and was chosen Captain of the same; his position he resigned for that of Assistant Surgeon of the regiment; when the final organization occurred, however, through the treachery of professed friends, he failed in receiving the appointment; notwithstanding the unjust treatment to himself and Col. Updegraff, the commanding officer, he elected to remain with his boys, as a private in the ranks, rather than return home; in June, 1862, he was captured at Pocahontas,...

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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 George Thomas Rodgers

George Thomas Rodgers, farmer, Sec. 20; P. O. Campbell; owns 114 acres; was born in Coles Co., Ill., Sept. 13, 1849, and lived on the farm with his parents until married to Mary Ella Brunk Wright Nov. 25, 1876; she was born in Coles Co., Ill., Sept. 11, 1856; they have one child-Mary Blanche. Mr. Rodgers’ father is a native of Tennessee, and his mother of Indiana. Mrs. Rodgers’ father is a native of New York, and her mother of Tennessee. Mr. Rodgers’ father made the first brick ever laid in the city of Charleston, Coles Co.,...

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Biographical Sketch of John White Rodgers

John White Rodgers, farmer, Sec. 18; P. O. Campbell; owns seventy acres; was born in Morgan Co., Ill., Feb. 10, 1831, and lived with his parents on the farm until 23 years of age. He was married to Margaret Elizabeth Gillinnater April 5, 1854; she was born in Effingham Co., Ill., Jan. 18, 1836; they have bad six children, five of whom are living, viz., James F., Mary L., William B., Hiram M. and Henry G.; deceased-Isaac E. Mr. Rodgers was Overseer of the Road one term and was elected Justice of the Peace, which office he now holds. His parents were natives of Kentucky; hers, of Tennessee; Mrs. Rodgers’ father was in the Mexican war thirteen...

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Biographical Sketch of Albert H. Odell

Albert H. Odell, farmer, Sec. 9; P. O. Mattoon; owns eighty acres; was born in Coles Co., Ill., Aug. 5, 1844, and lived with his parents on the farm in this county until married Sept. 9, 1874, to Louisa E. Miller, who was born in Coles Co., Ill., Oct. 8, 1849; they have three children – Lola A., Milla M. and Gertrude. Mr. Odell was Township Collector two terms. He was also in the late war four months. Mr. Odell’s father was in the Black Hawk war, and also in the late war four months. Mr. Odell’s eldest brother was the first child born in the city of Charleston, Coles Co., Ill. Mr. Odell’s parents were natives of Tennessee, and Mrs. Odell’s of...

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Biographical Sketch of Francis Popham

Francis Popham, farmer and stock-dealer, Sec. 10; P. O. Campbell; was born in Knox Co., Ohio, June 2,1838; lived with his parents on the farm; engaged in farming until married to Sarah E. Babbs, Dec. 11, 1862; she was born in Knox Co., Ohio, Dec. 8, 1844; the fruit of their marriage has been four children – William C., Fred D., Minnie A. and Clarence E. Mr. P. owns 100 acres of excellent river-bottom land, which he farms; he also deals largely in horses; he is a very liberal-hearted man, and respected by all who know...

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Biographical Sketch of Carson Porter Reed Rodgers

Carson Porter Reed Rodgers, merchant, Farmington; P. O. Campbell; the subject of this sketch was born in Coles Co., Ill., Nov. 1, 1840, and lived with his parents until 26 years of age. He then married Catharine Winford Ridley Oct. 30, 1866, who was born in Gallatin Co., Ky., Oct. 30, 1847, and died April 14, 1869; he afterward married Martha Jane Veatch March 8, 1874, who was born in Washington Co., Ill., Oct. 26, 1837, and has had three children, two of whom are living, viz., Isaac Walter, Kate Winford; deceased–Martha H. Mr. Rodgers was Assessor one term, Township Collector three terms, Supervisor one term and School Treasurer ten years. He is now in the mercantile business in Farmington and owns 100 acres in Cumberland Co.,...

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Biographical Sketch of Cephas Miller

Cephas Miller, farmer, Sec. 3; P. O. Mattoon; was born in Coles Co., Ill., Nov. 6, 1852; engaged with his father in farming, until he married Alice Denman, Feb. 19, 1873; she was born in Jasper Co., Ill., Dec. 19, 1852; they have had three children, viz.: Santa Clara, she was born Jan. 7, 1874; Denman, was born July 16, 1875, died Nov. 20, 1877; Katie, born Dec. 3, 1877. Mrs. Miller’s father was in the late war; enlisted in the 97th I. V. C.; served three months. Mr. Miller’s father, J. W. Miller, is one of the largest landholders in the township. Mrs. Miller’s father, J. B. Denman, was killed in the city of Charleston by a horse running...

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Biographical Sketch of John W. Miller

John W. Miller, farmer and stock-dealer, Sec. 1; P. O. Charleston; owns 800 acres, worth $40 per acre; he was born in Trimble Co., Ky., March 13, 1825; he lived in Kentucky until 12 years of age; then emigrated to Coles Co., Ill.. where he lived with his father on the farm; engaged in farming until he married Rebecca A. Tremble, June 26, 1851; she was born in Harrison Co., Ind., July 15, 1828; the fruit of this marriage was eight children, five living and three dead; the names of the living are Cephas, Horana, Armantha, John and James; the names of the deceased are George, Elizabeth and Quitman. Mr. Miller went to California in 1849, returning in 1851; he also went to Pike’s Peak; he is highly respected in his...

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Biographical Sketch of Patrick Nicholson

Patrick Nicholson, farmer, Sec. 12; P. O. Charleston; owns 380 acres was born in Jefferson Co., Tenn., Nov. 6, 1809; resided with parents on farm, helping his father until 21 years of age; came to this State in November, 1830, to what is now Douglas Co.; Mr. N. made several thousand rails for $1 per hundred; worked six months for $8 per month; had nothing but one saddle-share; sold mare and saddle and bridle for $8. Was married to Elizabeth Ashmore, May 17, 1832; she was born in Jefferson Co., Tenn., March 4, 1814; they are the parents of eleven children, seven living; Patrena A. (now widow of James Balch, deceased), William A., Dorotha (now Mrs. F. A. Endsley, of Green-up), Harriet N., Albert B., Margaret M. (now wife of Thomas Newman, of Hickory Tp.), Ella E.; deceased-Joseph B., born May 30, 1833, died May 24,1873; James M., born March 26, 1841, died March 28, 1847; Mary P. C., born Mar. 6, 1839, died June 4, 1864; Amos E., born May 8, 1845, died while in 5th Illinois Cavalry, in the fall of 1863. Mr. N. has held office of Supervisor of Township one term; he was one of the early settlers of this county, and bore his part in the hardships of those days. He commenced in this township with almost nothing; has by hard labor, economy and...

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Biographical Sketch of Samuel L. Morris

Samuel L. Morris, farmer and stock-dealer, Sec. R; P. O. Mattoon; owns eighty acres; was born in Logan Co., Ohio, April 3, 1855, and lived with his parents on the farm until he married Phoebe C. Lucas, Feb. 12, 1875 she was born in Logan Co. Ill., Oct. 16, 1857; they have one Child-Rosetta. His parents are natives of Ohio; Mrs. Morris’s father is a native of...

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Biographical Sketch of Wily Matthews

Wily Matthews, farmer, Sec. 21; P. O. Johnstown; owns forty acres; was born in Morgan Co., Ind., June 27, 1842, and lived with his parents on the farm until the year 1859, when he came to this county and has resided here since. He was married Oct. 27, 1863, to Margaret Jackson; she was born in Owens Co., Ind., Oct. 17, 1844, died Jan. 1, 1871. He then married Eliza T. Balch Aug. 13, 1871; she was born in Madison Co., Miss., Jan. 15, 1857, and has had seven children, six of whom are living, viz., Oscar M., Lizzie, Cary, Esther M., Gertrude and Mary A. Mr. Matthews has been Assessor in this township two terms. He was in the late war three years, and subsequently in the hundred-day...

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Biographical Sketch of J. L. F. Miller

J. L. F. Miller, farmer and stock-dealer, Sec. 9; P. O. Mattoon; owns 337 acres; was born in Trimble Co., Ky., Jan. 9, 1829, and engaged with his father in farming until 23 years of age. He was married to Rachel P. Gray Nov. 27, 1857; she was born in Tennessee April 19, 1829, died May 2, 1860; the fruit of this marriage was two children – George L. and Rachel E. Mr. Miller then married Mary J. Romine Feb. 25, 1866; she was born in Vigo Co., Ind., July 3, 1841; the fruit of this marriage is eight children – Lola, Mattie, Clara, Mary T., Bertha, Katie and Clinton, and one infant deceased. Mr. Miller commenced with but little property and by his honesty, industry and economy has accumulated considerable...

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