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Reminiscences - Martitia F. Harris

I was born March 20, 1814, in Adair county, Kentucky; moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, in 1830, and from thence to McDonough county, in the following year, 1831. Was married before leaving Kentucky, to Alexander H. Harris, who died in 1861, and had one child born while living in Sangamon county, Illinois. We moved to the county in an ox wagon, and settled on the place where I am now living, four miles northeast of Macomb. We were very favorably impressed with the county, and thought we had a very good soil for cultivation but did not think those large prairies would ever be so thickly settled as they now are.

Our nearest neighbors were old Father Harris, who lived half a mile northeast of us, and Joseph Smith, who lived three miles east. Land, at this time, was worth from $1.25 to $2.50 per acre; the same will now bring $40 to $50 per acre.

Macomb was our trading point, but it did not have the fine stores now in the place, nor did the merchants carry the stock now kept be the merchants of the place.

The first sermon preached in our neighborhood was by Rev. William K. Stewart, of Macomb, a Presbyterian minister. The first couple married was James Osborne and Ruth Smith. Ruth borrowed my mother's shoes to be married in. The couple started the next morning on foot to the infair, which was near Industry, and stopped at my father's house on their way, to see if she could keep the shoes until after the infair. She was barefooted, and was carrying the shoes in her hand, and this on the twenty-fourth day of November, 1838.

My daughter, Parthena Harris, was the first child born in this neighborhood, April 1, 1835. The first death was Samuel Harris, my husband's brother.

Source: History of McDonough County, Illinois, It's Cities, Towns, and Villages with Early Reminiscences, Personal Incidents and Anecdotes, and a Complete Business Directory of the County, by S. J. Clarke, published in 1878, pages 592-593.

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