GEORGE BABCOCK. - Among the veterans of the Civil War residing in Sangamon county is George Babcock, who resides on section 33, Gardner township. He was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, near Zanesville, April 25, 1837, and is a son of James I. Babcock, who was born in New York and was there reared. When a young man, however, he went to Muskingum county, Ohio, where he formed the acquaintance of and married Janet Search, a native of New Jersey. They became the parents of fourteen children, eleven sons and three daughters, and with the exception of three, all reached years of maturity. Mr. Babcock was a millwright by trade, following that business in early life, and after removing to Ohio he developed a farm in the vicinity of Zanesville, continuing its operation for many years, or until 1853, when he removed to the west with his family, settling in Sangamon county. Here he joined two of his sons who had previously located in central Illinois. The father purchased land near Auburn, on Sugar Creek, and began the development of the farm. During the period of the Civil war he purchased a tract of land in Gardner township and there died in the year 1864, while his wife survived him for a number of years, passing away about 1883.
George Babcock was a lad of thirteen summers when with his parents he came to Illinois, and in the usual manner of farmer lads of the period he was reared upon the old homestead. He learned the blacksmith's trade under the direction of his brother Elias, with whom he worked for about three years, and in the spring of 1857 he went to Kansas, following his trade in Wyandotte, now a part of Kansas City. There he remained for one season and in the fall of 1857 he went to Texas, where he spent the winter. In the spring of 1861 he returned to his home, and on the 14th of August, 1862, he responded to his country's call for aid in the preservation of the Union, joining Company I of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, with which he went south to Mississippi. He was first under fire at the battle of Magnolia Hills, Mississippi, and he afterward assisted in besieging and capturing Vicksburg. With his regiment he was next sent to New Orleans and joined General Banks on the Red River expedition. He was captured at Mansfield and taken to Tyler, Texas, where he was held as a prisoner of war for about thirteen months, or until after the cessation of hostilities. He was then sent home and was honorably discharged at Springfield, on the 17th of June, 1865. Mr. Babcock was promoted to the rank of sergeant at Camp Butler, and served in that capacity until the close of the war.
When his military life was ended Mr. Babcock began working at the blacksmith's trade in Curran, and after following that pursuit for six years he purchased a part of his present farm on section 33, Gardner township, becoming the owner of fifty-two acres. On this he built a shop and continued to work at his trade, renting his farm land while his attention was devoted to blacksmithing and repair work for a number of years, or until about 1890. He then purchased more land and now has an excellent farm of ninety-five acres, on which he has erected a good house and planted an orchard. This is a well improved and valuable property, equipped with modern accessories.
On the 12th of November, 1867, Mr. Babcock was unite din marriage to Miss Rosanna Emiline Davis, a native of Illinois, reared in Sangamon county, and a daughter of Allen Davis, who removed from South Carolina to this state, becoming one of the first settlers of Greene county, whence he later came to Sangamon county. Our subject and his wife now have one daughter, Eva Esther, the wife of F. R. Miller, of Springfield, by whom she has one child, Grace. Politically Mr. Babcock has been a life long Republican, his first ballot being cast for General Grant, in 1868, since which time he has never failed to support a presidential candidate of the party. He belongs to Stephenson Post, No. 30, G.A.R., of Springfield, and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. For almost half a century he has been a resident of Sangamon county. Great changes have occurred during that period and Mr. Babcock has ever taken a deep interest in what has been accomplished as the wild lands have been transformed into productive farms, while towns and villages have sprung up with all of the improvements and business interests known to the older east. Our subject is well known as a man of integrity and worth and is today as true and loyal to his duties of citizenship as when he followed the stars and stripes upon southern battlefields.