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Chapter 24 - Hire Township

This sub-division of McDonough county derived its name from George W. Hire, although the territory was originally organized as Rock Creek. It lies in the western tier of townships, and is bounded on the north by Blandinsville township, on the east by Emmet, with Tennessee on the south and Hancock county on the west. It is composed principally of prairie land, the only timber appearing in the two western tiers of sections, with the exception of groves here and there. There is no stream of water of any importance in the township, but several small creeks find their source within its boundaries, furnishing water for stock, to which industry considerable attention is given. The soil is of good quality, and the farms rank among the foremost of the county. There are about 23,000 acres of improved land in the township, valued at about $600,000, while there is about 800 acres of timbered land. The township was constituted in accordance with a vote of the citizens of the county at the general election in 1856, and was christened Rook Creek, as before stated, but at the first meeting of the board of supervisors in the spring of 1857, the name was changed to Hire. The railroad facilities are good, having competing lines of road to eastern markets within a few miles of the township.


Richard Dunn was undoubtedly the first settler of Hire. When William Job came with his family to the county in the spring of 1826, they stopped at the cabin of Mr. Dunn, in the northern part of the township, about three weeks, while the former was constructing a cabin for his family in Blandinsville township. Mr. Dunn had been here and raised four acres of corn the season before. He afterward left and the cabin was occupied for a while by a man by the name of John Wilson.

Lewis Walters settled where Peter Reiser now lives, on the northeast quarter of section 3, as early as the spring of 1829, but left some time during the year 1830.

In the spring of 1830 Nathaniel Herron came, entering a farm on the northwest quarter of section 3. He came from Sangamon here, and about the year 1855 removed to Nodaway county, Missouri, where he has since died.

In the fall of 1830 Robert Seybold came. A sketch of this early family is appended.

James Seybold was one of the earliest settlers, coming to the county in 1830, settling four miles north of Blandinsville, on what is termed a squatter's claim, where he staid two years. Robert Seybold was the father of James, and came to the state in 1830. He lived on section 4, Hire township, at first, and in 1860, removed to Blandinsville, where he died in 1869. He was born in Virginia August 10, 1793, but was reared in Kentucky, having gone there when but four years old.

On the father's side the ancestors were German, and on the mother's side English. At the time of the elder Seybold's death, the property was divided among the children, and being quite successful, there was considerable property to fall to each one. James, the subject of this sketch, owns now 345 acres of land in Hire township. He has had some bad luck, burning out at two different times. He has had two wives, the first being Susan Logan, a daughter of John Logan, the ceremony taking place August 3, 1837. She died in 1842, leaving one child, Robert T. His second wife was Cynthia A. Monarch, a native of Indiana, and daughter of George and Sarah (Bishop) Monarch, and they also came to the county early, being in 1842, but in the state in 1835. They had seven children, two of whom live in the county--Mrs. Seybold and George H. Monarch. James Seybold came to his present place in 1874, having lived in different places, near by, from 1835. The family by the latter marriage was large, consisting of 14 children, seven of whom are living, and below will be found their names--Sarah, Margaret, Marietta, Almira, James L., Charles D., and John B.

Evan Martin, one of the pioneers of Hire township, came to McDonough county in 1831, and entered 93 acres of land on section 31. He shortly afterward purchased 80 acres of timber land of the government, which he still owns. Mr. Martin was born in Clarke county, Kentucky, Mar. 7, 1796, and soon after went with his parents to Green county, Ohio. They afterward removed to Indiana, where his father died. After a residence in Sangamon and Morgan counties, he located at his present place of residence. He was married March 23, 1818, in Ohio, to Susan Steel, a native of Virginia. They have seven children who are living. Mr. Martin has been a hard worker in his time, and although considerably advanced in years, still enjoys good health, and is the oldest settler now living in the township. He was for 12 months in the service of the war of 1812, and participated in the Nauvoo and Winnebago troubles. He has affiliated with the republican party since its organization. When he first came to the county, deer, wild turkeys and game of all kinds were abundant. Mrs. Martin's death occurred in 1875.

William H. Hays, one of McDonough's 1832 settlers, was a native of Springfield, Washington county, Kentucky, and was born 1802. He was united in marriage with Mary Funk, and resided in his native state until coming to Illinois, and settled in Hire township, McDonough county. Mr. and Mrs. Hays reared seven children--Julia, who married William Ruddell, now of Missouri; Levi S., a carpenter and resident of St. Joseph, Missouri; Martha, died in childhood; Joseph W., a resident of Macomb; Sarah, married John N. Carroll, moved to Missouri, and afterward died; Louisa, married William Pine, removed to Missouri, and has since died; Susan, the third child, married William Barger, and now resides near Muscatine, Iowa. Upon coming to the county, W. H. Hays was accompanied by his wife and three children, Hillary Hays (his father), and two brothers, Thomas and Jefferson. Each brought their families with them, with the exception of Jefferson, who was a single man. The religious complexion of all these early settlers was Methodist Episcopal. In 1858, Thomas Hays removed to Missouri, where he died about 1884, and his widow still survives him.

Hillary Hays resided in this county until his death, which occurred in 1845, his widow surviving him some 10 or 15 years. A daughter, Frances, married Jacob Hutchinson, and now resides in Missouri.

Jefferson Hays afterward married and was engaged in farming until his death. His widow now resides in Sciota township.

Nathaniel Hays was one of the pioneer settlers of Hire. A son, John W., resides in Macomb, and in the history of that place occurs a sketch of Nathaniel, in connection with John W., his son.

Elder John Logan purchased the place on section 3, on which his widow now resides, in 1834, removing to it October 13, 1835, coming from Industry township, where the family had settled in 1828. A sketch of this noted man occurs in the Ecclesiastical chapter of this volume, as he was largely connected with the churches of the country at an early day, and, in fact, until his death.

Samuel Logan, the oldest son of Elder John Logan, was born in Kentucky, in Simpson county, October 24, 1822. His early life was spent in Schuyler county, and the advantages of school were not as they are at this age of the world, however, young Logan obtained a fair education. In his marriage relations, be was very fortunate in forming a union with Paulina Girton, the date of which was November 9, 1850. She was the daughter of Dickenson and Clara (Green) Girton, the date and place of whose settlement will be found elsewhere. Mrs. Logan lives on the farm, which her husband improved, and is in good circumstances, having a considerable amount of land, besides property in Blandinsville, and attends to the business herself. Four children were given to this happy pair--Viola, wife of Mortimer Cover, who lives in Chalmers township this county; Leona, wife of Wm. Mackey, of Hire township. Selwin, who owns a farm in Hire township, but resides in Ellis county, Kansas; and Ella, wife of Hebron Kline, living in Chalmers. The following was taken from the Macomb Journal in regard to Mr. Logan at the time of his death, which occurred June 7th, 1878. "He needs no man's testimony to prove his devotion to God; and to the welfare of the race, having spent forty-six years of his pilgrimage here as a christian, being converted at ten years of age. Shall we miss him? We know of none, no, not one to fill his place. He always performed his services honestly and uprightly. His equal might be, but his superior never was. His last words were "Jesus is with me in this, my hour of death." The funeral services were conducted at the home of the family by Rev. Saunders, of Blandinsville. His text was "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” And in another place it says "Another pioneer gone" and pronounces a splendid eulogy on this man who seemed the friend of every one who ever knew him.

In 1835 William Ruddell and family came to Hire township, entering land on section 6. About the year 1838, his wife died and in 1840 he removed to VanBuren county, Iowa, where he was among the early settlers of that county. He died there in 1871. Mr. Ruddell was a native of Virginia, emigrating to Kentucky at an early day. He afterwards lived in Sangamon county, from which place lie came to McDonough county, as above stated.

Vandever Banks was among the early settlers of Hire township, locating there in 1836. He entered the south-west quarter of section 30, and immediately erected a house thereon, and soon afterward purchased other land. He was successful in all his undertakings, and at the time of his death had acquired considerable property. Mr. Banks was born in Adair county, Kentucky, April 16, 1804, and during his early life worked at the carpenter trade. He was a son of Vandever and Elizabeth (Walford) Banks, the former a native of Maryland, while the latter was a Virginian by birth. He was married August 31, 1826, to Loraner A. Sharpe. Eleven children have been born to them, five of whom are living--Elizabeth W., wife of Thomas Massie, of Hancock county; Sarah M., wife of John M. Lyon, deceased, now residing on section 30, Hire township; James C., Millard T. and Job V., all residents of Hire. The death of Vandever Banks occurred June 26, 1876, after an illness of some six months duration, and was caused by a cancerous affection of the stomach. The deceased was well known throughout the county, being highly respected by all with whom he formed an acquaintance, and was a resident and influential citizen of McDonough for over forty years and always bore a prominent part in the affairs of the county. When the Mormon troubles were exciting McDonough, Hancock and other adjacent counties, and the citizens volunteered to drive their enemies from Nauvoo, Mr. Banks was elected captain of one of the companies and as such served through the continuance of the armed disturbance. In 1856, he was the Whig candidate for member of the legislature, and although the county was democratic, so popular was the deceased that he received a majority of the votes cast in the county, but through some informality regarding the judges' signature to the Prairie City roll books Mr. Banks opponent secured a seat in the legislature through contest. During the war of the Rebellion, Mr. Banks was an uncompromising and earnest union man, and although too old to enlist, showed his devotion by lavish expenditure of his time and money, whenever called upon, in behalf of the union. He was a true type of that class of pioneers who have hewed civilization out of the, then, unsettled west, and in his demise we can truly say, "another land mark of early days is gone."

Job V. Banks is a native of McDonough county born where he now lives, January 12, 1837, and is a son of Vandever and Loraner A. (Sharpe) Banks. His marriage occurred June 22, 1865, to Mary A. Lyon, a native of Hancock county, Illinois. They lived a short time in Hire township and went to Hancock county, where they lived from 1866 to 1881. Selling his farm there, he came back at that time and took possession of the old homestead. He owns 234 acres and makes stock raising a specialty. Four children have been born to them,--Tabitha S., the date of whose birth was January 7, 1868; Orville R., born November 18, 1878. Two of the little ones have been called from this world,--Carrie, born May 3, 1867, died September 28, 1867; and Paulina, born March 16, 1871, and died April 16, 1872. Mr. Banks is the sixth child of a family of eleven children. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., and with his wife a member of the Christian church. In politics he has always been a consistent republican.

John Mobley settled on the farm now owned by Jacob Hainline, in 1836. He came from the state of Kentucky to this county.

Major Hungate came about the year 1836, from Hamilton county, settling on the southwest quarter of section 13. He remained here three or four years, when he removed to Missouri.

Jacob Clarke came at the same time, with Major Hungate; settling on the same section, and left the state for Missouri with Mr. Hungate.

In the spring of 1838, Fitzgerald Woolley and family left the state of New York for the west, coming direct to this township, where they arrived on the 1st day of October, 1838, traveling the entire distance overland by wagon. They settled on the southeast quarter of section 32, where they lived until 1847. At that time the family, with the exception of one son, Pardon, who resides in Walnut Grove township at present, removed to Webster, Hancock county, where Mr. Woolley died, in February, 1861. Mrs. Woolley died in 1876, in Hire township, at the advanced age of 89 years.

In 1838, Jacob Hainline, a native of Kentucky, came to this township, and entered a farm of 320 acres, on section 17, erecting a cabin on the northwest quarter, where he lived until his death, in 1865. The remains were interred in the cemetery, just south of the town of Blandinsville. Mr. Hainline was born in Montgomery county, Kentucky, in 1789, where he resided until coming to this township. He was married to Celia Cockerel, a native of Kentucky. Eight children were born to them, five of whom still reside in this county, Mrs. Hainline making her home with the children here. Mr. Hainline was a great hunter, free-hearted and generous to a fault, and his death was greatly regretted by all who knew him.

In 1839, Jacob Keithley and family came to McDonough county, and in 1842, settled on section 2, Hire township. They resided here until 1860, when he made an exchange for property in Blandinsville. In 1870, he removed to California, where he died five years later. Mr. Keithley was born in Bath county, Kentucky, in August, 1805, his ancestors being of German extraction. He lived in Kentucky until 12 years of age, when the family removed to Indiana, where he grew to manhood. It was in that state that he united his destinies with Sarah Roberts, and to them were born 12 children--ten sons and two daughters. Mr. Keithley was a peculiar man, reticent, but very stern, never joking even in the family circle. He had a faculty for making money very easily, but after his death most of the property was squandered. His wife still lives in Blandinsville, at an advanced age, and does her own work. Mr. Keithley was a good, conscientious, and strictly honest man, having been a member of the United Brethren church since 1841.

In 1842, E. N. Hicks came to this township, where he still lives.

Ebenezer Newton Hicks, one of the most successful men, financially, to be found in McDonough county, and a resident of Hire township at this time, is a native of the state of Ohio, Ross county, Union township, and was born March 10, 1816. His father, Willis Hicks, was born in Maryland, as was also his father, Ebenezer's grand-father, who was named Joseph Hicks, but whose birth-place is uncertain; however, the family were of German extraction, and originated in Holland. Willis Hicks served in the war of 1812 for some time. From Ross county the family removed to Madison county, the same state, and became wealthy. Willis Hicks was born March 25, 1792, and died August 26, 1867. His wife, Frances (White) Hicks, was a daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Small) White, and was born November 17, 1792, and died April 6, 1869. She was born in Delaware. Ebenezer Hicks lived in Ross county until 1842, when he emigrated to Illinois, and purchasing the southwest quarter of section 33, in Hire township, settled, where he is still a resident, making, at the present writing, a continuous residence of 43 years on one spot. When he purchased this place there was but 16 acres broken and a small shanty built. He improved this farm and subsequently built a good house and other buildings necessary. Mr. Hicks has been a man who always attended strictly to business, driving all before him. He had a very strong constitution, or would ere this be laid away with the fathers. In a short time he commenced buying more land, as he was able to pay for it, some costing $1.25 per acre, and later on even $50, and he now owns about 4,000 acres, scattered around in various townships, especially in Hire, Tennessee, Colchester and Scotland. The most of this is rented; only about 1,000 acres is retained for the management of his sons. Mr. Hicks oversees the whole thing, thereby causing him much hard labor, although not doing muscular work, the task of taking care of this amount of land and other property, is very laborious to him. Stock-raising is the especial feature, and large herds of cattle roam over his dominions. Much stock is bought for feeding and shipping also. Mr. Hicks was married to Jane C. Robinson, May 23, 1844. She was the daughter of John Robinson, of Ross county, Ohio, but whose native place was Fayette county, Pennsylvania. John's father, Joshua, was killed by the Indians in Ross county, Ohio. She was born May 22, 1816, and is at present as active as most younger women, doing her own work and taking an active part in her husband's business. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Hicks--John Willis, born July 5, 1845, and died September 25, 1864; Mary Frances, born August 31, 1847; Darius Hicks, born May 5, 1850; Franklin Pierce, born October 4, 1852; Eliza Jane, born January 26, 1855, died February 4, 1857.

Jesse Hire settled on section 32, in 1847, where he lived until 1859, when he disposed of his property and bought 80 acres on section 28, where he resided until his death. He subsequently purchased other land until he had a farm of 242 acres. At the time of his death, January 22, 1877, the property passed into the hands of his heirs. Mr. Hire was born in Ross county, Ohio, March 9, 1817, where be resided until his removal to this county. He was married December 11, 1836, to Elizabeth Skidmore, a native of West Virginia, by whom there were eight children born. He was a farmer and trader, speculating in stock to some extent, and was well-to-do at the time of his demise.

William Hire, the second son of Jesse Hire, was born in Ohio, February 6, 1841. He is at present living on the old homestead, and has almost exclusive control of the farm his father left, having purchased the interests of the other heirs; and being a hard worker, and straightforward man, has succeeded well. He made his home with his parents until his father's death, when he assumed control and provided for the family. The farm is under good state of cultivation, and, although he has no fine buildings, he enjoys life well, and like his father, engages considerably in trading in cattle, buying, feeding and selling. His mother and sisters keep his house, William having never married. In politics, Mr. Hire is a strong democrat

Cyrus Hire, the fourth son of Jesse Hire, is a native of McDonough county, born July 21, 1856. He always made his home with his parents until his marriage. On September 11, 1884, he took Cina White to be his wife. She is a native of Hancock county, Illinois, and is a daughter of Thomas White, still living in Hancock county. Mr. Hire owns 70 acres on the northwest quarter of section 28, beside a small piece of timber in connection with his brother William. He is in a fair way to accumulate a good property, being a man of sterling qualities. His education is very good, and is above the average of the farmers' sons. He is democratic in politics.

George Hire, after whom the township of Hire was named, settled in that subdivision of McDonough, in 1851. He was not a land owner in this county, but was quite well off, making his home with his children. He was a man of considerable ability and was quite popular, and somewhat of a leader in the democratic party of this county. In 1856 he was elected to the state legislature by that party, serving two years. Mr. Hire was born in West Virginia, but when quite young, removed to Ohio, and while a resident of that state, followed driving stock across the country to eastern markets at Philadelphia and New York. His ancestors were of German extraction. He was united in marriage with Catherine Bryant, a native of Virginia. They had five children--Jesse, Mary A., Jefferson, Margaret, in Kansas; and Elizabeth, in Ohio. He saw Washington m Virginia, when a small boy.


Besides the ones already mentioned, there are others to whom the township is indebted, in a large degree, for its prosperity. Sketches of the more enterprising of these are given:

John H. Hayes is a native of McDonough county, and was born on section 2, Hire township, April 7, 1836. His father, Jefferson Hayes, was born in Kentucky, in Washington county, in the year 1808, and came to this county in 1832, settling on section 2, Hire township, where he owned and improved the northwest quarter. He lived on this place until he removed to Blandinsville a few years before his death, which occurred October, 1857, and was buried near the old "Hayes school house." His widow, formerly Maria Jane Head, now lives in Sciota. She was a native of Washington county, Kentucky. There were six children in their family, five sons and one daughter, four of whom are now living. Mr. Hayes was one of the most liberal men, giving to any one who asked him, even beyond his means, and was also a religious man, and never known to swear. Two brothers, William, who died in Macomb, and Thomas, who died in Missouri, also came at the same time Jefferson did, and took land near by. John H. Hayes has been a man who has attended strictly to business, and has a good farm by his own exertions. He has a good home, although not luxurious, still an air of comfort pervades it, and with his wife and interesting family, he enjoys life exceedingly. In 1856 he went to the Wisconsin pinery, and in 1857 started to Pike's Peak, but only got to Fort Kearney, when he returned to Missouri and staid a few months, he returning to McDonough county. When the war broke out, he enlisted for three years, the date of enlistment being November 1, in company I, 11th Illinois, and was in the battles at Shiloh, and other important engagements, but was principally on scouting expeditions. Mr. Hayes' settlement on his present place was in 1866, and at present he owns 161 acres. Martha J. Keithley became his wife in 1863, September 20. Five sons bless this union--Albert M., Edward K., Oscar and Arthur, twins, and Robert. In politics he favors the republican party.

Oliver P. Courtright, a native of Fairfield county, Ohio, was born November 8, 1814; came to McDonough county, in the spring of 1853; settled on section 16, in Hire township. He, with his growing family, farmed there until the breaking out of the war. His love of country became aroused. His eldest son, H. V. having enlisted in the first 75,000 call, he turned his energies to recruiting, and in the fall of the next year, did a large part in recruiting company C, 78th regiment, Illinois volunteers. He was first lieutenant of that company. The company was taken prisoners, Christmas day of that year and were held some months and then returned. He was married twice, the second time to Anna Maria McElroy in the year 1851. By this marriage nine children were born--James A., in Montana territory; Frank M., in Illinois; John D., in Colorado; Julietta Shepherd and Fannie M., now in Kansas; Robert A., Stephen B., and Oliver P., all dead. Mr. Courtright died August 25, 1868, and was buried in the South cemetery, near Blandinsville.

His son, Frank M., was born on section 16, Hire township, on the 9th of November, 1853. He attended college at Onarga, Illinois, in the spring of 1873, and graduated the next year. He bought a farm on section 18, Hire township, in September, 1884, where he has a nice home and can there enjoy life. He was married in November, 1881, to Maria Hobert, a native of Hancock county, Illinois. They have one child, Bessie Blaine, born March 26, 1883. Mr. Courtright is a republican and in 1880, ran for circuit clerk, but was defeated for the nomination by a small number.

Jacob George is a native of Hesse-Cassel, Germany; was born September 30, 1829, and is a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Shafer) George. The family removed to America and settled in Virginia. Jacob left home and went to Ohio, whence in 1855, he came to McDonough county, and purchased 40 acres on section 28. He bought 79 acres on 30, where he lived five years, and again moved to section 31, but on building his house on section 32, he removed thither, and has a nice residence two stories in heighth, the main part 18x32 and an ell, 20x28 His farm consists of 320 acres, mostly improved. He makes stock-raising a specialty, having a good herd of cattle, and some fine horses, keeping the Clydesdale brood mares, and raising some as fine horses as are found in the township. Jacob George is one of the best farmers in the township and compares favorably with any in the county, being neat in his work; and attending strictly to his business, he has amassed a good property. His marriage occurred October 18, 1849, to Catharine George, also a native of Hesse-Cassel They have had a family of nine children--Mary E., wife of Joseph Morgan, living in Tennessee township; John H., who married Ida Bloyd November 23, 1876. She died June 2, 1884, leaving three children--Florence A., Jacob B., and Clarence W. They make their home with their grandfather. The third child was Louisa, now deceased; William P.; the next two, Lewis and Milton C., died; Catharine F., Clara V., and Dora B. Mr. and Mrs. George are members of the M. E. church.

Newton Eakle, lives on section 31, on 80 acres of his father's farm, which is nice rolling land, and engaged in stock raising as a specialty, having some fine Durham stock, and good horses. This farm is familiarly known as part of the old "Prentiss place," being one of the first settled upon in this part of the country. It is fenced in small fields, affording advantage for feed of great worth. Mr. Eakle was born in Ross county, Ohio, November 13, 1842, and is a son of John B., and Mary A. (Hire) Eakle. His home was with his parents until his marriage, which occurred November 19, 1868, in Tennessee township to Lide E. Anderson, a daughter of William Anderson, now in Macomb. Since their marriage they have always lived on the same farm, believing that "a rolling stone gathers no moss." Three children have blessed the union of these people--Nellie M., born November 12, 1869; Harry, born July 1, 1871; Myrtle Lou, born September 30, 1875.

R. F. Foster, one of those genial men one loves to meet, is a native of Michigan, born in St. Joseph county, July 31, 1835, and lived at home until his marriage, June 24, 1855. Lydia Watson, a native of Indiana, became his wife at that time, and two children--Mary J., wife of John Lockett, Knox county, Missouri, and Louisa, wife of Reuben Martin, were born to them. Her demise occurring, in due time he again was married to Maria Charter, a native of McDonough county, and nine children were born to them, six of whom are living--George J., Thomas L., Harrison A., Susan C., Theodore F., Florence, Charles, Alfred C. and Alice. This lady also died and Mr. Foster married Margaret E. Davis; this ceremony was performed in Missouri. She was a native of Indiana. Two children were given to this marriage--Ralph C. and Nellie. George Foster, father of R. T., was a native of Virginia, born in Botecourt county. His wife, Mary Shepherd, was a native of the same place, and their marriage occurred January 20, 1825. His death occurred January 26, 1868, and hers in 1855; they are buried at New Hope cemetery. R. F. Foster owns a nice farm on section 10, which with its great fertility and good location makes it a desirable home. He owns about 244 acres in all, after giving his children a piece of land as they left home. Coming here in 1856, he has continually lived in the same place since. The date of his coming to the county was in 1850.

Nathan W. Farris settled on section 16, Hire township, where he owned 40 acres of land. He made his settlement in the year 1844. His native home was in Washington county, Kentucky, and the date of his birth was April 1, 1818. His people were also from the same county. Elizabeth Hungate was his wife and her uncle, Harry Hungate came with Mr. Graham to the county and now lives in Blandinsville. While on a trip to the river Mr. Farris was thrown from his wagon and killed July 7, 1855. His remains were interred in the cemetery at Good Hope, leaving his wife and family to mourn the great loss so suddenly thrust upon them. The widow lived on the farm until her death which occurred June 27, 1873. Eight children blessed this union--William J., Martha J., wife of Richard Bond, living in Hire; Milton R., in Knox county, Missouri, Mary A., wife of Thomas Fisher; John, deceased; Nancy E., deceased, who was the wife of Josiah Fasher; and Nathan, now living in Hire township.

John B. Murray was born September 20, 1813, in Green county, Kentucky. His grandfather, James Murray, came to Kentucky from near Guilford Court-House, North Carolina, in an early day. The latter was a soldier in the revolution, but the date of his service is unknown. It was doubtless during its last days, as he was in only one engagement. J. B. Murray's grandfather, on the maternal side, was John Ray, who came to Kentucky from Maryland. William, the father of J. B., came with his parents to Kentucky at the age of six years. John B. Murray, at the age of 21, came to Springfield, Illinois. This was in the fall of 1834, and in the spring of the following year, he returned to Kentucky, where he remained several years longer. He was united in marriage on the 11th of April, 1839, with Susan Kirk, a daughter of Dixon Kirk, born June 6, 1817. Mr. Murray, wife, and four children, started from Marion county, Kentucky, March 17, 1848, and by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, came to Illinois, landing at Warsaw, March 27th. He immediately came to McDonough county, and on the 3d of October, of the same year, settled on Spring creek, in what is now Emmet township. The location was a beautiful one, with timber on the east and north, and a fine walnut grove near the house, in which the Methodists held their camp meetings in 1853 and 1855. Here he remained until 1854, when he sold out to Jesse Bugg. In the fall of the same year he went to Kansas, in company with Alexander and James Wilson, leaving his family at home. He was gone some six weeks looking for a home, but returned to this section, thinking that Kansas would not be settled up in his day. He then bought a farm in the southeastern part of Hire township, to which he moved in December. Here he remained for three years, but in the spring of 1857, he removed to a prairie farm, four and a half miles north of Colchester, where he has resided for 28 years. He had three daughters and one son born in Kentucky--Harriet, born February 9, 1840; Lucy, April 4, 1842; Frances, October 27, 1844; and J. T. William D. was born in McDonough county, April 2, 1850. "Billy," as he was commonly called, was loved by all who knew him, was of an intellectual cast, and always had a natural regard for books. In his studies, he was quick of perception, and his ability to solve any problem that came up was marvelous. He depended but little on his teachers, and always cultivated a love for the good and beautiful. As an orator, it is said, he would compare with the best speakers of his age. He had an intense relish for composition and writing, and his essays were pointed and full of meaning, and marked with originality and thought. He attended, in 1868-69, the normal school at Macomb. Among his most intimate friends, perhaps, the one most loved, was F. M. Martin, now a physician at La Harpe.

Billy knew how to appreciate the Creator. He had a love for natural scenery, and spoke often in his writings of the high hills, lofty mountains and the great ocean; from these his thoughts would go up to the God of Nature who made all things by the word of his power. He was, also, a good bible student; he was industrious at school and on the farm, and despised the loss of time. One day while passing through the field, he pulled up a small willow sprig which he planted in his father's yard next to the public road. He was then eight years old. It was the first set out in the yard and has been growing for 27 years, and is now more, than two feet in diameter, and has a large spreading top of more than a hundred branches. This tree which we call Billy's willow, makes a cooling shade for weary passers-by.

One touching incident occurred shortly before his death. He had returned home from the school at Macomb; his oldest sister from Clinton, Missouri, had returned, home for the first time in 10 years on a visit. The children were all at home. There was a family re-union. In three days from this time, Billy had a severe attack of lung fever, and in less than three days more he was taken away from the home circle by the hand of death. He was a strong advocate of temperance and was always in his place both in the Good Templars lodge and in Sabbath school. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Argyle. He lived a consistent christian life and died in the triumphs of a living faith; on April 1, 1869. F. M. Martin, J. T. Murray and J. W. Sell, collected a number of his best essays and had them published in pamphlet form; 200 of these books called the "Youth's Standard," were gratuitously distributed to his friends.

The following tribute to his memory, written by J. T. Murray, is inserted at the request of admiring friends:


Billy sleeps,
Where the weeping willow weeps;
In the church yard sad and lone,
Underneath the marble stone.
Yet we love him still the same,
No link is severed from the chain;
That fond affection wove on earth
And gave to life its golden worth,
That chain is love--a jewel bright,
That glitters in the realms of light,
And reaches down to earth below,
To heal its bleeding wounds of woe.
The thought is sweet, that we shall meet
Beyond the shadows and the strife,
When done with time, in heaven's bright clime
We'll rest beneath the trees of life

James R. Murray, the youngest of J. B. Murray's children, was born February 12th, 1859, in McDonough County, Illinois. He labored on the farm several years during the summer and attended the district school in the winter. His health having failed on account of disease of the lungs, he started in September, 1877, in company with Mr. Downing of Industry, to Nebraska. They started through in the wagon, but Riley grew worse, west of Burlington, one day's drive, and was obliged to return home. From this time to the close of his life he was a constant sufferer.

Still in the midst of his afflictions he was cheerful, still hoping for the restoration of his health. In August, 1878, he went in company with Albert Graham to one of the northern lakes, near Albert Lea, in Minnesota. There he spent the harvest. On his return home he visited Minneapolis and St. Paul. This visit gave him temporary relief, but it was not lasting. On the following winter he was married to Alice Askaw of Macomb. He returned to Minnesota in the summer of 1879, but returned home without receiving any material benefit. He died February 15th, 1880. His death was most remarkable. Many friends were present who will never forget that day. But we will attempt no further description, than to say it was a day of deliverance from constant suffering and also one of exulting victory and holy triumph. Riley like Billy made much proficiency in writing; his best productions were read before the Sunday School conventions of Hire township. J. B. Murray at the age of seventy-one is still living on his farm in Hire township. He has three children dead and three living. Lucy Bradley, his second daughter, died January 12th, 1878. In just two weeks from this time J. W. Bradley, her husband, died near Knoxville Tennessee. Their three children, Willie, Ollie and Lizzie Bradley live with their grandfather and grandmother on the farm. S. Frances Sell, the youngest daughter of J. B. Murray, lives six miles north of Erie, in Neosho county, Kansas. J. W. Sell, her husband is one of the old settlers of Neosho county. He was one of the McDonough county's school teachers 22 years ago. He is still teaching in Kansas. They have three children---Wata, Willie and Ina.

Eli Murray, son of William and Margaret Murray is a native of Kentucky, and born December 14, 1830, coming to McDonough county with his parents in 1848, settling on Spring creek in Emmet township, afterwards removing to Hire township where the father bought eighty acres on section 24, and lived on the same place till the time of his death, from cancer, January 26, 1855. The date of his birth was January 7, 1785, in North Carolina. He removed to Kentucky when a young man, and to Illinois in 1845. His wife, Margaret Bird, was born January 7, 1799, and died November 27, 1862, and are both buried in Argyle cemetery. Both were members of the M. E. Church. Mr. Murray was a man of piety, very sociable, genial, and a man of marked characteristics in respect to honor and uprightness. He raised a family of sixteen children, seven of whom are living in the county, viz: John B., Benjamin F., Reuben, Eli, Allen, Elizabeth, and Milom A. The three living out of the county are, Green B., living in Nelson county, Kentucky; James, in Morgan county, Illinois; Robert B., in Adair county, Missouri; Eli lives on section 13, Hire township, where he has a beautiful home, the improvements all having been made by himself. Besides this home he has 265 acres on Spring creek, in Emmet township. Mr. Murray has buildings that cost upwards of $3,500. His marriage occurred September 20, 1855, to Elizabeth H. Phelps, a daughter of L. P. Phelps. She was born in Chautauqua county New York, February 1, 1837. A sketch of Mr. Phelps will be found below. Mr. and Mrs. Murray have five living children--Addie N., wife of J. D. Martin; Etta M., a teacher in the county, having been educated in Macomb; Leander P., Eli Franklin and Ermine V. They have buried seven, and their names were as follows: Mattie F., Louisa M., Margaret E., William B., John W., Elsie E., and Ella E. The last two were twins. Mr. Murray, wife and daughters were members of the M. E. church, and he steward and trustee in the same; also school director of district No. 6.

Saturday, January 13, 1872, Mr. L. P. Phelps was killed while riding to the depot, at Macomb, on a dray, having hired a drayman to draw a load of goods to his residence on East Carroll street. A team, running away, came in contact with the dray wagon, and Mr. Phelps was knocked off the wagon and trampled under foot by the running team. Upon a surgical examination being made, two severe wounds were found on the back of the head, a terrible gash over the eye, and the nose mangled and cheek bone mashed in a terrible manner. The wounds on the head were supposed to have been caused by striking on the frozen ground, and those on the face by the sharp hoof of one of the horses, which must have planted his foot squarely in his face when passing over. Mr. Phelps never became conscious, but death relieved him of his sufferings the next day. He was buried on Thursday, January 16th. The deceased was about 61 years of age, at his death, and a prominent and highly respected citizen. He emigrated to this state from New York over 30 years ago, and settled in Emmet township, where by industry and energy he amassed quite a handsome fortune. About 14 years ago he removed to the city, to enjoy in his declining years, the fruits of his early days of toil. He left a wife and two daughters (two married) who had the sympathy of the entire community in their sudden and terrible calamity.

William J. Farris made his egress into this world October 6, 1839, and is the oldest son of Nathan Farris, whose sketch appears elsewhere. Coming to McDonough county from Hancock, where he was born, he remained at home until his father's death. At this juncture the responsibility was thrown upon William, and he had the family to care for. Although young, he assumed these new duties with the seeming experience of older men, and conducted the financial matters well. Upon his marriage with Leantha D. Foster, December 20, 1860, he left the care of the family to others. She is a native of Michigan, and daughter of George Foster, a native of Virginia; he settled in Hire township, coming from Michigan here, and died at his home January 26, 1868, having lost his wife in 1855, and both lie in Good Hope cemetery. In 1862 Mr. Farris came to his present residence on section 3, owning a nice farm here, with good improvements, which he made by his own and wife's exertions. His home is about two miles east from Blandinsville, on the main road to Macomb, and is sheltered by fine timber. Five children have been born to them, three of whom are living--Walter J., born November 7, 1862; Oscar, born September 12, 1869, and Theodore, born December 31, 1875.

Albert and Louie are deceased, the former born March 7, 1865, and died August 6, 1865, and the latter was born June 5, 1872, living only a short time. They are members of the Baptist church. Mr. Farris is engaged in farming, also in raising English draft horses, owning two fine brood mares, and also some half-blood Normans, which he sells for roadsters and farm use.

John A. F. McCord, one of McDonough county's sons, born in Emmet township, on section 30, March 14, 1844, and is the second son of William and Louisa (Scantlin) McCord. He crossed the plains when 20 years old to Idaho city, in search of the precious metal; his stay was short, returning to his home in Emmet township. His trip was made overland with a mule team, paying for his trip $100 for passage. On returning home he followed farming in summer and digging coal in winter. He was married, November 8, 1866, to Sarah J. McGee, a native of Hancock county, Illinois, and daughter of William McGee, who died when his daughter was very young. Since his marriage, Mr. McCord, has lived in Hire township, for five years on section 25, and in 1872, he bought 40 acres on section 36, and owns at present 76 acres of his home place and 25 acres of timber. Mr. and Mrs. McCord have had seven children--Robert S., living; Sarah Malinda, deceased; Mary Lucretia, deceased; John A. F., living; William Lee, deceased; Nancy Bernetta, living; and Thomas Roach, deceased. In politics, Mr. McCord is a democracy.

W. W. McCord was born in Overton county, Tennessee, February 12, 1809; lived there until the fall of 1829, when he, with the rest of his father's family, moved to Morgan county, Illinois, where he lived two years, when he and his father came to this county, remaining until the fall of 1832, when he and his father went back to the state of Tennessee on business, and where he was married to Louisa Scantlin, on November 1, 1832, a native of Jackson county, Tennessee; remaining there two years, then returned to his home in McDonough county, Illinois, where he remained until the spring of 1849, when he moved to Nauvoo, remaining there two years, then moved back to the old farm in McDonough county, where he remained until the spring of 1878, when he moved to Kansas, where his wife died in the fall of the same year. He then returned to Illinois where he remained until the summer of 1870, when he took a trip to Franklin county, Illinois, and married Lucretia Mulkey. He remained there, but losing his second wife in a little over one year from his marriage, did not return to this county until the spring of 1884, where he resided until his death which occurred July 20, 1884, aged 75 years. His occupation was that of a farmer.

Reuben M. Folts, one of the present residents of Hire township, lives on section 25, where he owns a fine farm of 160 acres, which is under a good state of cultivation, with very good improvements and plenty of nice timber near by--in fact, surrounding his buildings. His native state was Ohio, he being born in Butler county, January 15, 1835, and is a son of Reuben and Anna Mary Folts. They removed to Ross county, Ohio, and subsequently to Sangamon county, Illinois, and later to McDonough county, settling in Hire township. Mr. Folts has a good education, having been a teacher for a number of years, teaching in Sangamon, Cass, Menard, and other counties. In 1862 he crossed the plains, arriving in September in Washington territory, also visiting Oregon. The next January he went to Salmon River mountains, and was engaged in mining mostly all the time. Remaining till 1864, about the middle of the year, he went to British Columbia, at Victoria, and down the coast, stopping at San Francisco, Panama and Aspinwall, returning to his home in this county. The trip was fraught with danger while crossing the plains. He was sick also on the sea, but in all was successful in accumulating a nice little property--more than the usual gold-seeker in the mines of the far west. His wife was Isabel Graham, a daughter of Bedford Graham, a farmer on section 23, Hire township. The ceremony was performed December 21, 1864, and to these people have been born nine children--Cora J., Franklin H., and Elice L., deceased, Mary B., Maggie Z., deceased, Clinton G., Frederick F., Mattie M., Lena R., born Aug. 21, 1884. Mr. Folts has served on the board of supervisors, and been school director a number of years. In politics he favors the democratic party.

Reuben Folts and Anna Mary Petefish, the parents of Reuben M., were united in marriage in Rockingham county, Virginia. He was one of the best citizens in the county at the time of his death, being a moral, upright man, strictly honest in deal, and beloved by his neighbors and family. They are both interred at Friendship church in Tennessee township. They removed to Sangamon county, Illinois, and subsequently to McDonough county, settling in Hire township on section 25, where their daughter, Christania, now lives, who with her brother J. P. Folts, owns 80 acres, the east one-half of the southeast quarter. She is a native of Butler county, Ohio. She has formerly followed the occupation of teaching, especially in McDonough county, educating herself in the common schools, and at Macomb; also attending the Methodist female seminary, at Jacksonville, Illinois, for two years. Ezra D., commonly called "Doc," lives with her, and is running the farm, and is a native of Sangamon county, born near the city of Springfield.

Bedford Graham is a native of Kentucky, born and raised in Green county, where he lived until a young man. The date of his birth was April, 1823. His father, Hampton Graham, was a native of Virginia, and Maria, his mother, was a native of North Carolina, who moved to Virginia, where she was married to Hampton Graham, after which they moved to Kentucky, and after raising a large family of children, the father died in Kentucky. March 25th, 1844, was the date of the union of Bedford Graham to Jane Murray, daughter of William Murray and Margaret, his wife. In the same year Bedford moved to Illinois, bringing his mother. Settled in McDonough county in the year 1848, in Hire township, where he now resides, his mother having died in the year 1855. Bedford Graham owns 90 acres on the southeast of section 23, all of which is under cultivation. Mr. and Mrs. Graham had eight children; three are living and five are dead; those living are--Mary Isabel, Margaret M. and Alfred N. Mrs. Graham died in the year 1860; and Mr. Graham married the second time to Almedia L. Felter. They have eight children, five living and three dead. Those living are--Lewis H., John A., George W., Sionilli L., Asenath A. Mr. Graham has been justice of the peace for 12 years. He attends the Baptist church.

George W. Keithley is a native of Indiana, born in 1831, July 22. He lived at home until he was twenty-five years old. His marriage occurred April 19, 1855, to Abigail R. Lyon, a native of Illinois, and daughter of John Lyon, one of the settlers of 1834, in McDonough county, Tennessee township, who died in Kentucky, while there on business, September 27, 1840. Her mother was Margaret Mourning, who died in this county in November, 1877. George first settled on section 14, and now owns the east one-half of the north-west quarter. Their children are seven in number--Sarah E., Hannah M., Eliza J., Sanderson P., Clara D., John J., George R. Margaret M., was the oldest child, now deceased. Mr. Keithley is a member of the Masonic order and M. E. church, and Mrs. K., is a member of the United Brethren church. This lady has been blind for eighteen years, caused by scrofula at first. Although in this condition, she is a blessing to a household, administering comfort to every one around and having hosts of friends. In church and Sunday school work, our subject has been prominent as a teacher and laborer in the good cause.

James Keithley was born in Harrison county, Indiana, February 11, 1838. His home was with his parents until his marriage, which took place March 3, 1859. Frances Veal became his wife at that time. She is a native of Missouri, born in Chariton county, a daughter of Sampson Veal. While on a visit to her brother in McDonough county they became acquainted, and after the marriage they lived on the old Keithley homestead for nearly six years. At this time he purchased 40 acres of land which he sold afterwards, and lived in Blandinsville township a long time. He has always made farming his sole occupation, and now lives in Hire township. Nine children have blessed the union of these--Isabel, Scott, Andrew J., deceased; Elizabeth, William, Eva, George, Freddie, and Dora E. Mr. Keithley is a member of the A. O. U. W. and Select Knights. In politics he is a republican.

Samuel Pulliam was born in Shelby county, Kentucky, December 18, 1815, and was reared on a farm there. His parents were James and Susan (Greer) Pulliam, both natives of Virginia, and both died in Nelson county, Kentucky. Coming to McDonough county from Kentucky, Samuel Pulliam rented land for some time. His first actual settlement was on section 27, where he now lives, owning the northwest quarter, which is well cultivated. His marriage occurred in 1837, when he was united in matrimony with Miss Elizabeth Goff, a native of Kentucky, Spencer county. She died in 1870, and is buried at Tennessee. The family consisted of--Mary, wife of Nicholas Yager, and living in Missouri; Susan and William, deceased; John T., living on the homestead; Bettie, deceased; James H., living in Kansas; Kitty, wife of Thomas J. Stookey, and now part owner of the old place; and Martha. Mr. Pulliam is quite feeble in health and does not attend to business matters, as in times past, leaving that part to his children.

George W. Hainline lives on section 2, where he owns 60 acres, the balance of his farm being on section 11. He was born June 3d, 1825, in Montgomery county, Kentucky, and is the son of Geo. and Flora (Cockerel) Hainline, and came to McDonough county in 1838. He remained at home until his marriage, which occurred June 16, 1845, to Mary Jane Keithley, born July 2, 1826, in Indiana, a daughter of Jacob Keithley, who formerly owned the farm Mr. H. now owns. A sketch of Mr. Keithley will be found in another place. There were 14 children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hainline--Nathan T., born October 17, 1847; Susan Mary A., born October 7, 1848; George T., born January 12, 1850; Sarah L., born September 5, 1851; Flora A., born November 4, 1852; John W., born on March 25, 1854; Francis M., born March 30, 1855; Jacob E., born November 16, 1856; Seth, born September 1, 1858; James O., born February 19, 1860; Anabel, born December 27, 1861; Americus G., born January 2, 1864; William S., born December 29, 1865; Ida M., born October 24, 1869. Susan, died August 20, 1849; Flora A., died February 14, 1876; John, died October 18, 1854. Mr. Hainline was never much of a politician, but always favored the republican party. He has a nice grove of black walnut timber near his house, the walnuts having been planted by himself.

Randolph Rodgers, deceased, was born in Ross county, Ohio, December 23, 1820. His parents were John and Mary Rodgers, the father a native of Virginia, the mother of Pennsylvania. Randolph grew to manhood in Ohio, living on a farm there until about 1854, when he came to McDonough county and settled on section 36, Hire township, his farm consisting of 160 acres. Mr. Rodgers was thrice married, twice in Ohio, and the third time to Lineury Carmack, June 20, 1858. She was a native of Tennessee, but came with parents to McDonough county and settled on section 26. Her father was Cornelius Carmack and mother Ingabo (Gore) Carmack, both natives of Overton, Tennessee. He died on the old farm in Hire township July 24, 1849. Mrs. Rodgers still lives on 91 acres of section 36, which was left to her for a lifetime dower; the youngest son, Wilson R., carrying it on. He was born in 1860, September 26. The remainder of the farm has passed to the heirs. William B., was born in 1859, March 14, and owns a farm of 72 acres on section 26, all under cultivation. The young men are enterprising and have considerable stock. They have some Durham cattle and some good young horses.

Bainbridge H. Roberts is a Kentuckian by birth, born in Breckenridge county, on a farm, January 2, 1833. Is a son of James E. and Sarah M. (Cox) Roberts. The former a native of Campbell county, Tennessee, the latter born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bainbridge made his home with his father until of age, and was married February 9, 1858, to Mary E. Williams, a daughter of John Williams. She was born in Schuyler county, Illinois, and six children bless this union--Seymour L., now in Kansas; Jerusha A., Laura A., Oliver J., Sterling E., Harley C. The Roberts family removed to Hancock county, Illinois, where they still live, excepting the subject of our sketch, who came to Hire township, McDonough county, in 1865, where he bought the south half of the northeast quarter of section 30. He has a nice place, under a good state of cultivation, with excellent timber land surrounding his comfortable home. Although owning a small farm, he manages to raise a considerable amount of stock, which is the principal feature which engages his attention. Before coming to Hire township, Mr. Roberts worked at the carpenter's trade, in Tennessee, having learned this trade when quite young. Mr. Roberts has served the township as justice of the peace for six years, which capacity he fills at present. He has been township trustee for several terms, and a member of the school board for many years. He favors the democratic party; is also a member of the Masonic fraternity.

James Wilson, came to McDonough county in 1833, landing Sunday, November 15, in Blandinsville township, locating on section 20, the southwest quarter. This was partly improved, but under the management of Mr. Wilson it became a good farm. On this place he lived until 1855, when he died and was buried on the farm in a private burial lot. He was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, July, 1776. He left Virginia when 16 years of age, and went to Washington county, Kentucky, thence to this county. He was a man of medium size, and in consequence of his father dying when he was quite young, he was bound out, and failed to secure an education. He possessed a good, fair business ability and died in comfortable circumstances. He was twice married. The first wife died, and left one child. Nancy Dorothy was the name of the second lady who became Mrs. Wilson; she was born in Washington county, Kentucky. By the second marriage there were nine children; six of whom are now living; two in McDonough county--William L., and Thos. F.

William L. Wilson was born November 15, 1820, and was a son of James Wilson, now deceased. On June 17, 1846, he was married to Nancy J. Huff; her death occurred January 16, 1854, and she was interred in the Baptist cemetery in Hire township. Four children were born to them--Belle, deceased; Andrew, Mary and Dora. Mr. Wilson was again married June 27, 1857, to Mrs. Elizabeth Messer Smith, nee Hill. She was born in Kentucky, but reared in Indiana, where they were married. Her parents were Elizabeth and Charlotte (Tucker) Hill. Three children were born to them by Mr. Wilson's latter marriage--Eliza, now the wife of Michael Hainline, and living in Kansas; Susan, at home; and Alice, deceased. When Mr. Wilson located in Hire township, he settled on section 15, where he bought 80 acres, which he at present occupies, and has it under a good state of cultivation. The time of his coming to his present home being about 1865. The early portion of his life he lived at home, and really made his home with his father until his first marriage. He is a man of good judgment, and a social turn of mind. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson live a contented happy life, and are journeying down the hill happy in each other's society.

James Bice is a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, but was reared in Washington county, the same state. His father, Nicholas Bice was born in Pennsylvania, near Carlisle, his father was Joseph Bice, also natives of the same place. Nicholas settled in McDonough county in 1853, and located on section 14, owning 120 acres of the northeast quarter, living on that place about 20 years, he sold and removed to Blandinsville, where he died. His wife had preceded him a few years. Her death seemed to so disturb his peace of mind that his property went like the wind, and he died having a very small allowance of this earth's goods. James removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio, taking his wife whom he had married August 31, 1843. Her maiden name was Francis Aukrom, a daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth A. Aukrom, and a native of Greene county, Pennsylvania. In 1854, he again removed, this time to Missouri. Having a desire to visit his parents, with his wife came to McDonough county, and while on this visit bought 80 acres on section 27. He now owns 202 acres in all. Mr. Bice soon after settled on the place he bought, and improved it well, having good buildings, and a nice hedge surrounding the place for a long distance of Osage orange. This he is trimming in nice shape, using a machine of late pattern which be considers valuable. Mr. and Mrs. Bice have eight children--Isaac; Rebecca, wife of Thomas Foley, in Emmet township; Nicholas, living in Hire township; Jane, wife of Thomas Hainline, in Emmet; Lucinda, wife of Edmund Inman, in Emmet; Sarah, wife of James Stickland, also in Emmet township; Franklin and David, living at home, and running the farm.

Reece Barnes was born in Highland county, Kentucky, in 1844, and is a son of Elias and Polly (Gilland) Barnes. The family settled in McDonough county in 1853, about three miles north and one west of Macomb. Reece lived at home until he enlisted, April 22, 1861. At first, in the three months' service, afterwards enlisting again, he served his country till August, 1865, being wounded five times. Mr. Barnes was in the battles of Pea Ridge, Chattanooga, Corinth and the siege of Vicksburg. He was wounded three times at Chattanooga, and at Corinth in the breast with a piece of shell. He laid in the hospital some time, and was furloughed home, staying some two months, and is at present a worthy pensioner. He was in the 2d Illinois, company B, also the 32d Illinois, company I. He was mustered in at Springfield the first time, at St. Louis the last time. Much more might be said in regard to the soldier's experience, but our work will not admit in this place. Suffice it to say, all honor to the brave boys who saved the nation.

John Fisher, the present supervisor of Hire township, is considered one of the best farmers in the county. He lives near Blandinsville, on section 10, and owns, in all, 369 acres of land, not one acre of which is untillable. His buildings are good and present a neat appearance. The house is two-stories, and the main part is 24x28 feet, with an addition 16x20 feet. His main barn is 38x48 feet. The main features of his farming consist of raising stock and feeding cattle for the eastern markets. He has some fine Norman and Clydesdale brood mares from which he raises some fine draft horses. John Fisher made his home with his parents until 20 years of age, when he went to Morgan county, Illinois, where he remained one year. He is the son of Thomas and Polly (Kells) Fisher, and was the ninth child of a family of 10 children, all of whom are now living, except William, the eldest child. Thomas Fisher was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, March 11, 1791, and died at his home in Blandinsville, in 1868. He settled in McDonough county in 1844, coming from Hancock county, Illinois, where he had settled in 1840. His first wife died, and he was again married to Elizabeth Brown, by whom there were four children. Being a mechanic by trade, or rather a mill-wright, on coming to Blandinsville he built a saw and grist mill there, besides other mills in the county, working at the trade for nearly 20 years. John Fisher was married in 1857 to Diantha Foster, a native of Michigan. She died September 20, 1881, leaving six children--William, Frank, James, Charles, Mary and Martha. George, the oldest child, is deceased. The second wife was Flora Murray, a daughter of Hiram Murray, of Missouri, and the ceremony was performed June 18, 1882. One child, Grover C., born November 25, 1884, blesses this union. Mr. Fisher has been on the school board for 14 years, and in politics, is a democrat.

Alfred Brown was born in Green county, East Tennessee, June 18, 1810, a son of John and Catherine (Hull) Brown. He a native of Virginia, and she of Pennsylvania, and both were buried in Indiana. The family removed to White county, Tennessee, and subsequently to Harrison county, Indiana, living a portion of the time in the adjoining county, Crawford, where they lived at the time of their death. Alfred was married March 27, 1835, to Sarah V. Shields, of Harrison county, a daughter of Robert and Naomi (Little) Shields. In the fall of 1835, with his family, Alfred removed to Fulton county, Illinois, where he lived till 1852, at which time he came to McDonough and settled on section 1, where he bought 80 acres, afterwards buying 94 acres more. He has lived on this place since; at first living in a small house, but in 1877, he built a fine residence 32x25 and 24x16 feet, one and one-half stories high, costing $1,800. His wife died August 3, 1871, and was buried at Blandinsville, leaving one child--Marinda, now the wife of J. D. Isom, living at the old home, where her father lives with her. She was born May 1, 1849. Mr. Brown is a member of the United Brethren in Christ, as was also his wife and daughter, in which church he has been class-leader for some time. This gentleman is highly respected by all his neighbors, and is considered a very worthy man in every respect.

John Isom is a native of McDonough county, and was born in Blandinsville township, December 25, 1838. His father was Henry Isom, and mother, Jane (Bradshaw) Isom. They settled in Blandinsville township in an early day, where they lived and died, both dying in 1842, within ten days of each other, with the dreaded disease, small-pox, and were buried at Blandinsville. The elder Mr. Isom was quite an enterprising man, and much respected throughout a wide circle of acquaintances. Their death changed the conditions of the family to such an extent, that it was impossible to keep together. John was the youngest of the family and went to live with John Bradshaw, of Jacksonville, Morgan county, Illinois. With this gentleman he remained until he enlisted, September 15, 1861, in company K, 27th Illinois infantry, and was mustered in at Cairo. Upon the re-organization of the regiment, he went into the 1st brigade. He served under General Grant the most of the time. Belmont was the first engagement he was in, afterwards engaging in battles at Columbus, Island No. 10, Union City, Corinth, Stone river and Chickamauga, besides numerous other engagements. At the last named place he was taken prisoner, September 20, 1863. His first place of confinement was at Richmond, where he was incarcerated in Libby prison for 10 months; thence to Danville, Virginia, then transferred to Andersonville, where he was about four months; again transferred, this time to Charleston, South Carolina, and subsequently to Florence, the same state, where he remained till March 1, 1865, making 528 days in the "pens of death," which constituted the prisons of the South. It don't seem possible for one man to go through what John Isom did and live. His health has never been good since, it is only the wonderful endurance and splendid physique of this man, that could withstand it. At the time of his release, at Wilmington, North Carolina, March 2, 1865, he was acting as chief of police. Returning to Springfield, he was mustered out with his regiment, May 12, 1865. In the meantime his people had removed to Hancock county. He staid with them for one year, or until his marriage, June 12, 1866, to Marinda Brown, a native of McDonough county, and daughter of Alfred Brown. They have three children living--Francis V., Alfred C. and Ethelyn B. Laura died when 15 years old, and they lost two in infancy. Mr. Isom is engaged somewhat in buying, feeding and shipping stock. He belongs to the G. A. R., Masonic, and A. O. U. W. orders. In politics a democrat. They are members of the Christian church.

Richard Scott is a native of Marion county, Kentucky, born August 8, 1814, and a son of Richard Scott, Sr., and Jane (Smith) Scott, also natives of Kentucky. Their demise occurred on the farm Richard Scott, Jr., left on coming to McDonough county. The first land he owned was on section 13, where he owned 80, and also 100 acres on section 14. He came to his present location on section 13, in 1854, at which place he has lived a bachelor with his maiden sister, Polly. He has a house two stories in height, with two parts, one 18x32, and 12x32. While in the prime of life he was a very industrious man. His motto to all who wish to succeed is "work every day when possible, and don't let your work drive you." By this means he has accumulated a fine property. He rents his land, and only tills his garden and attends to his finances, which is enough, he thinks. There were eight children in his father's family; three of whom survive--Polly, Richard, and Matilda. The deceased are--George, Ann, Robert, Jane and Elizabeth.


From the annual report of the county superintendent, for the school year ending June 30, 1884, the following facts, relative to the schools of Hire township, are taken: The estimated value of school property amounts to $7,452, and the district township tax levy amounts to $2,750. There is a bonded school debt in Hire of $1,160. The highest wages paid any male teachers is $42.60 per month and the lowest is $30, while the highest monthly wages paid female teachers is $35, and the lowest $20. There are seven frame school buildings in Hire and 10 schools taught therein, having an average of six and seven-tenth months of school per year. In the township there are 412 children of school age, 370 of whom are enrolled in the several schools.

School district No. 1, has a building located on section 11. It is 18x22 feet in size and was built at a cost of $400, in

In 1877, the school house in district No. 2, was erected on the southwest quarter of section 3. The first house, however, was built in 1837, on the north-west quarter of section 4. It was about 20 feet square and was constructed of logs. Cyrus Haines was the first teacher in this house.

District No. 3 was organized in 1864, and had a house erected on the northwest corner of section 8, which was 18x28 feet in size. There are about 50 scholars in the district.

District No. 4, also known as Rock creek, was organized in 1857. The present building, which is located on section 17, was erected in 1873. It is 22x30 feet in size and cost $1,060. There are about 50 scholars in the district with an average attendance of about 30.

The first building in district No. 5, was removed to section 22 in 1862. It was 20x30 feet in ground area, and was valued at $200.

The school house in district No. 6, was erected in 1872. It is located on the northeast corner of section 23, and is 20x30 feet in size. There are about 60 scholars in the district, with an average attendance of 35.

The school house in district No. 7, is located on the northwest quarter of section 36. It is valued at $300. There are about 30 scholars in the district.

District No. 8, also known as Hick's district was organized in 1852, and a house built the same year. In 1867 the present building was erected at a cost of $1,200. It is 24x30 feet in size and is located on section 34. E. N. Hicks was one of the first directors of the district

In 1863, the first school house was erected in district No. 9. It was 18x26 feet in size and was located on section 30. There are about 50 scholars in the district.


The Baptist cemetery on the northwest quarter of section 4, was laid out in the year 1837 or 1838. The first burial was William Hungate, a son of Adonijah. The next burials were Thomas Charter and son, Henry


After the organization of the county into townships, the following were the first officers elected in Hire, at an election held April 7, 1857: Samuel Logan, justice of the peace; Reuben Martin and Thomas Branham, constables; E. N. Hicks, supervisor; Joseph Jones, collector; S. A. Hunt, assessor. The present officers of the township are as follows: Supervisor, John B. Isom; clerk, J. L. Seybold; assessor, W. L. Shryack; collector, Frank Welch; highway commissioner, Wm. Bumgardner; justice of the peace, Geo. W. Keithley and R. M. Folts; constables, Wilson Rogers and William Carlisle; school trustee, Thos. Stookey; pound-master, Calvin Wilson.


The first religious services in the township were held at the house of Vandever Banks, in 1836. The meeting was conducted by Rev. Nehemiah Hurd, a Methodist minister.

The pioneer school was taught by Captain Charles R. Hume, in 1838, at the Isaac Oakman place, on section 18. Prior to this, the citizens of the township sent their children to more fortunate settlements, to obtain an education. Mr. Hume was justice of the peace for a number of years at Blandinsville.

Josiah Harrison was the first to occupy the position of justice of the peace in the township.

The first township election was held April 7, 1857.

B. N. Hicks, was the first supervisor to represent Hire at the seat of justice, Macomb.


The system of township Sunday school conventions, was first introduced into this township in the year 1870. The records of the first convention have not been found, but the following may be relied upon as true. The convention was organized under the supervision of Solomon Hainline, in the month of August, 1870, at the Elm Grove church. Sessions were held on Saturday and Saturday evening, and also on the Sabbath. S. Hainline was the first vice-president appointed by the county convention, to look after the interests of the Sunday schools of Hire township. Mr. Hainline was active in his office from the first, and his labors were crowned with success. Mr. Samuel Pedrick was elected secretary of the first convention, and George Keithley also took an active part. The convention on the Sabbath was held in the Grove, near the church, and Rev. David Martin, of Blandinsville, addressed a large audience. In five years from the time of the township organization, the records begin. According to this, a convention was held at Elm Grove, beginning July 10, 1875. The convention was called to order by vice-president Hainline, after which the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. Near the close of the evening session, George Mourning, of Tennessee, gave an outline of the first schools in McDonough county. On Sabbath morning, July 11, the convention met in Hainline's Grove, near the church, at 9 A. M. Father Alexander, of Blandinsville, made the opening prayer. All the Sunday schools in the township, six in number, were represented.

The next convention was held at Argyle October 2 and 3, 1875. At the evening session Thos. Parker spoke on the question, "Can our Sunday schools be sustained through the winter?"

The next convention convened at Willow Grove, October 7th, 1876. A. B. Newland, of Colchester, was present and spoke on the benefits of early religious impressions. F. F. Myer made an interesting centennial address. In the afternoon the officers were re-elected. S. Hainline received 19 votes for vice-president, and S. B. Davis 18. J. T. Murray was continued as secretary.

The 12th convention of the Sunday schools of Hire township, convened at Argyle, Saturday evening, January 6, 1877. Addresses were made at the evening session by Joseph Bean and Jesse Martin.

The 14th Convention met at Rock Creek church, September 23, 1877.

Since this time there have been held many conventions, but they are nearly all alike in tenor, and space and good judgment alike, forbid their insertion here. Suffice it to say, that great interest is displayed in this laudable work, and nowhere is more favor displayed in advancing the interests of the Sabbath schools than in this township.

Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 623-648. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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