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Mark Easley

EASLEY, Mark B.--So earnest and painstaking an exponent of scientific farming as Mark B. Easley could find no more satisfying place upon which to pursue his chosen occupation than his farm of 187 acres, forty-six acres of which reach from McDonough over into Schuyler County. Since falling into the hands of its present owner in 1891, this property has taken on a modern and progressive aspect, in its improvements and general equipment comparing favorably with any other farm in the township. Mr. Easley is engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and, while the practical and money-making impression is not wanting, a regard for the comforts and refinements of life are to be found on every hand. The experiences of Mr. Easley have been of a more varied nature than falls to the lot of the average farmer; yet agriculture has never ceased to be his first choice as a field of labor. Born in Farmer Township, Fulton County, Ill., July 24, 1844, he is of Southern ancestry, his father, Thomas, and his grandfather, Daniel Easley, both having been born in Delaware. His mother, Lydia (Buck) Easley, was born in Ohio, but her parents, Nathaniel and Nancy Buck, were natives of Delaware. Thomas Easley moved at an early day to what now is Ipava, Fulton County, Ill., but which then was known as either Easleyville or Easleyburg. He later moved to a farm in the same county, and died there in 1850, his wife surviving him until 1894, her death occurring at the home of her daughter in Vermont, Fulton County. She had three daughters older and three sons younger than Mark B.

The tragedy of the Civil War presented an opportunity for self-denial of which Mark B. Easley readily took advantage. He then was a large-hearted boy of seventeen, with a fair common school education, and practical experience as an assistant farmer. Enlisting in Company D, Eighty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, he served in the Army of the Cumberland until the battle of Chickamauga, when the army was reorganized and he was changed from the Twenty-first to the Fourth Army Corps. He participated in many of the important engagements of the war, spending most of his time in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. Though wounded in the leg by a gunshot, he was never absent from his post of duty. January 26, 1863, he was taken prisoner, but soon after was paroled and returned to St. Louis. The following April he rejoined his regiment and served until his honorable discharge at the end of the war.

Then returning to his home in Fulton County, Mr. Easley was married, November 25, 1866, to Sarah Jane Chipman, a native of Oakland Township, Schuyler County, Ill. Of this union the following named children have been born: Henry; Emma, wife of Amos France; Ida; Fred; Charles; Phoebe; Luther; Gale, and Ralph. The parents of Mrs. Easley, Levi and Delilah (Cook) Chipman, who were natives of Delaware, came to Schuyler County, Ill., in 1844, and there spent the remainder of their lives, dying on the home farm. In 1868 Mr. Easley went to Kansas and engaged in farming with indifferent success for six years. He then returned to Illinois, and locating in Schuyler County, there operated a saw-mill for thirteen years, but in 1891, as heretofore stated, purchasing his present farm on the border of McDonough and Schuyler Counties. Since casting his first vote he has stood stanchly on the side of Republicanism, althought the honors of office have never seemed worth striving for. He is an active and helpful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is a familiar figure at encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907.

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