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George T. Harlan

HARLAN, George T., one of the oldest and most prominent farmers in New Salem Township, McDonough County, Ill., was born in Monroe County, Ky., December 29, 1827, and attended the subscription school of Industry Township. He is a son of Wesley and Nancy (Greenup) Harlan, natives of Kentucky, where the father was born in Barren County. The paternal grandparents, Jacob and Sarah (Combs) Harlan, and the grandparents on the maternal side, Thomas and Catherine (McIntosh) Greenup, were natives of Virginia. George T. Harlan is the oldest of ten children born to his parents, who first came to Schuyler County, Ill., where they remained eighteen months, and moved to McDonough County in the spring of 1836. The family lived in the first log cabin on the prairie here, on the site of Jacob Raby's present residence, who is his son-in-law. After his marriage, Mr. Harlan moved to a farm of 160 acres, which he had purchased in New Salem Township, and later bought 160 acres more in the south half of Section 31, that township. This land was obtained when it was raw prairie, and Mr. Harlan has made all the improvements now observable. At the time of his marriage he built the first house erected there, and he has fenced all the land and put up all the other buildings. His mother set out the first grove on this prairie.

On December 25, 1856, Mr. Harlan was married to Tabitha C. Yocum, who was born in Marion County, Ill., and came to McDonough County with her parents when she was an infant of one year, and received her education at Pennington's Point. Mrs. Harlan's father, Major Stephen Powell Yocum, entered the Black Hawk War, as a private, but was mustered out a Major, outranking both Lincoln and Douglas. Her mother, Mary Dorris, was a native of Sumner County, Tenn., migrating to Illinois with her parents at the age of twenty-one. Major Yocum was born in Montgomery County, Ky. Mrs. Harlan's brother, George T. Yocum, was a member of Company C, Eighty-fourth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War. He was flag-bearer of his regiment and was killed at the battle of Stone River. After receiving his mortal wound he held the flag until it was taken from his hands by Colonel L. H. Waters, Commander of his regiment. As the dying soldier unwillingly gave the flag into the hands of his superior, his last words were, "Don't let the flag go down, Colonel."

The children born to Mr. and Mrs. George T. Harlan now living are: Emma (Mrs. Jesse A. Pierce), of Clay County, S. D.; Inez (Mrs. Patrick H. McElhone), Kay County, Okla.; Ambrose, who married Nellie Atherton, of Scotland Township, McDonough County; Julia (Mrs. Jacob Raby), of McDonough County, and Winifred, wife of Thomas Bean, of Sheridan, Wyo. Those who are deceased were: Horace A., born April 9, 1858, died March 3, 1860; Leroy P., born August 9, 1859; James F., born April 6, 1869, died July 16, 1869; Alma, born July 18, 1870, died July 20, 1906; and three who died in infancy. Leroy T. was killed by the falling of a limb from the top of a tree which he was cutting down on the old Wesley Harlan farm, which his father had bought. The limb struck him on the head, killing him instantly. He left a wife and one child. Mr. Harlan, the father of this family, has lived a long, industrious and useful life, undergoing all the privations and hardships of the pioneer period, and is now living in the enjoyment of that repose which he has earned by many years of persistent endeavor. In political affairs Mr. Harlan is identified with the Republican party.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 895-896, extracted 04 Jan 2019 by Norma Hass.

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