Miscellaneous Biographies


Albert Warren Cloud  |  Campbell C. Jones  |  James Fackrell  |  Richard & Sarah (Hurley) Kirby  |  Martin Griffith  |  William F. Palmer (pdf 241kb)  |  James Andrew Hall  |  Rev. James C. Rucker  |  George L. Hill  |  Jacob Swearingen  | Louisa (Hickman) Hill  |  Vespasian WarnerDennis Hurley


Although among the younger medical men in Canton, the subject of this review has already attained no inconsiderable position in his profession and judging the future by the past it is eminently proper to predict for him a long and signally successful career. Dr. Cloud's paternal ancestors were English people and the genealogical history in the United States dates back as far as the year 1776. The progenitors of the American branch of the family settled originally in Virginia, but as that commonwealth increased in population and development, various representatives migrated westward, eventually spreading over several of what are now the middle and western states. Daniel Cloud, the Doctor's grandfather, moved to Illinois in an early day, settling in DeWitt county, where he lived to a very old age, departing this life there in 1882, in his ninety-third year. Among his sons was Albert Daniel Cloud, the Doctor's father whose birth took place near Cincinnati, Ohio, about the year 1843. He was a farmer all his life, moved to DeWitt county, Illinois, with his parents when quite young and there married Miss Anna Hoffer, a native of Switzerland, whose father, John Hoffer, immigrated to the United States when she was a miss of six years. About the year 1895 the Hoffer family moved to Iowa and settled in Sac City, Sac county, near which place Mr. Hoffer has since been engaged in the breeding and raising of fine blooded horses and other kinds of high grade live stock. Albert. D. Cloud was a man of varied intelligence and good social standing, honorable and upright in his dealing and very liberal in his political and religious views. His wife, a lady of excellent character and sterling worth, was a devoted member of the Disciple church and as such did much to promote the cause of religion in the community where she lived. Her children, eight in number, were named as follows: Elizabeth, who married Thomas Wampler, of Clinton, Illinois; Edward, a resident of Sac City, Iowa; John, head professor of physics in the Northern Indiana Normal University at Valpraiso; Nettie, now Mrs. John Hildreth, of Sac county, Iowa; Albert Warren, of this review; Hiram, Clarence, and Theodore.

Dr. Albert Cloud was born May 20, 1873, in DeWitt county, Illinois, and until eighteen years old lived with his parents, contributing his full share to the family support. At the proper age he became a pupil in the district schools and from the first manifested a taste for books and a desire for study which enabled him to keep pace with the boys and girls much older than himself, so that in due time, at the age of eighteen, he completed the branches constituting the curriculum. While still a mere lad he determined if possible to become a scholar and make his mark in the world, and with those laudable objects in view he began at an early age to formulate plans for his future course of conduct.

Animated by a desire, first of all, to lay a substantial, intellectual foundation; without which success is but a doubtful acquisition, Mr. Cloud, about 1891, entered the Northern Indiana University and during the ensuing three years applied himself with such diligence to his studies that by 1894 he was able to graduate with an enviable record for scholarship. Subsequently, in 1899, he completed the scientific course, meanwhile devoting the greater part of five years to teaching in the public schools of his native state, a field of endeavor in which he attained a high standard of excellence as a capable and painstaking instructor. Among the schools of which he had charge at different times were the Hull school in DeWitt county, Illinois, the Indiana Point high school in the county of Menard, town of Petersburg, where he was principal for some time, and others, in all of which his work was of a high grade of excellence and eminently satisfactory.

Dr. Cloud entered the Still College of Osteopathy, at Des Moines, Iowa, in which he prosecuted his studies and researches until June, 1901, when he was graduated with a record for efficiency comparing favorable with that of the brightest members of his class. On the 8th day of July following, he opened an office in Canton and it was soon discovered that the thoroughness with which he appropriated medical knowledge while a student was equaled by his ability to apply it in the treatment of diseases. The cases submitted to his charge soon became numerous and he was not long in taking rank among the leading physicians and surgeons of the city, in addition to which his practice took a wide range in the county of Stark. He keeps pace with the advancement in all lines of his profession, but is not entirely controlled by the theories and influence of the others, being a logical reasoner and original investigator and relying largely upon his own judgment, which has been thoroughly disciplined by severe intellectual professional training. He has a retentive memory and his mental faculties are cast in a capacious mold. Actuated by laudable ambition to excel, he spares no pains to enlarge the area of his professional knowledge, in which he is very materially assisted by the various medical societies with which he holds membership. Although but a limited period in the practice, he has steadily forged toward the front ranks of the city's successful healers and, with a determination to adhere closely to his chosen calling, there is every reason to believe that eventually and at no distant day he will win a conspicuous place among the state's most enterprising and successful medical men.

Old Landmarks of Canton and Stark county, Ohio, John Danner, ed., 1904, B. F. Brown, Publ., Logansport, Indiana, pgs. 598-600

Submitted by Mary Cookson


James Fackrell was born in the city of Bath, England, July 4, 1803, and died in Clinton, Dec. 16, 1882 [should be 1888], aged 85 years, 5 months and 12 days. At the age of 13 he started in business at stenciling and decorating for himself in his native city, and at 15 had three apprentices and a good trade, having the patronage of some of the wealthiest men of the city. When 20 years of age he was married to Miss Maria Chippett by the Rev. Wm. Jay, at Argyle chapel, Bath, both being members of the same church. About 1858 he removed to Bristol, where he resided for 13 years. here he was appointed by the Congregational ministers to preach, and during the 12 years on Sundays, he preached at the different villages within a radius of 14 miles around Bristol, but in all cases refused compensation, even when he walked 14 miles, preached three sermons and walked home again the same day. About 1834 he, with 14 others, founded the Bristol Total Abstinence society, almost, if not first, in England. Here he was persecuted for his principles to such a degree that he lost his business, being boycotted, and removed to Cheltenham where he thought business prospects were good. While here he was baptized by Rev. Lewis and joined the Baptist church. His business prospects not realizing as he anticipated, he removed to London and resided in Sloan street, Chelseo, until 1847. While here he contracted largely having at one time as many as 62 houses to paint and decorate at Greenwich, 9 miles from London. This last contract was a misfortune to him, having finished several of them when the builder failed and he lost all; then followed the failure of another builder, which caused another loss, and in '47 he determined to emigrate to America, landing in New York in November, 1847. He settled in Brooklyn where he started in the manufacture of painted marble paper hangings, and during the next year was joined by his son, and at Atlantic street, Brooklyn, printed the first decorative paper hangings manufactured in the United States, and for 18 years the firm of James Fackrell & Son was known all over the states as the manufacturers of the finest and best wall papers, carrying off the silver prize medal in the New York Institute fair five times in succession over all competing manufacturers. The first gold and velvet decorations made in America were made in his factory. In 1849 he built a factory in Plainfield, N. J., in 1853 built a larger factory in Elizabeth, N. J., and in 1863 built a large brick four story building in Newark, N. J., taking in a partner, lost machinery and all he possessed, and from that time has resided with his son, Frank.

In 1876 he came to Clinton, and has resided here till death. He was the father of six children, five girls and one son, and outlived all his daughters and his wife, who died in January last. He had just celebrated his 66th wedding day when his wife died. In politics he was a Republican since the days of '56. While in England, he was a Radical, but often said he was an American in principle twenty years before he emigrated. He was a great admirer of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, with whom he corresponded for several years. In religion he was a Baptist and preached for about fifty years and was instrumental until his shattered mind made him fancy he was like Robert Ingersoll. He was a man of integrity and principle, as honest as the day, and notwithstanding his failures, the world is better today for his living in it.

Clinton Register, December 28, 1888

Submitted by Judy Simpson


Martin L. Griffith, the publisher of the REAPER, was born in DeWitt County, Illinois, April 10, 1860. He is the son of John and Melinda Griffith. His mother is a daughter of Nathan Clearwaters, one of the pioneers of DeWitt County. His father is a native of Pickaway County, Ohio, and came to this county when a young, man. He is a carpenter by trade, and is also a farmer. Mr. M. L. Griffith learned the printer's art in the office of the REAPER. Mr. Griffith, along with R. M. Ewing, may be regarded as the founders of the Reaper. The paper is edited with ability and typographically is neat and clean. It enjoys a good circulation.


James Andrew Hall was born March 31, 1850 near Kismeth, Morgan County, TN, the fourth of ten children of William and Nancy Jane (Palmer) Hall. The family came by covered wagon to Illinois in 1865. They made their home in the Newberry settlement southwest of Farmer City. James married Alfretta Jane Newberry on February 15, 1872. Alfretta was born September 20, 1856, the first of nine children of William and Sylvia Lugenie (Winslow) Newberry. Her grandparents were John and Hannah (Clayton) Newberry and Jerimiah and Clarissa (Sawyer) Winslow. To James and Alfretta were born the following children; Duward Belmont, born March 26, 1874, married Nettie Lott, died April 20, 1917; Leonard William, born September 8, 1876, married Laura Cranfield, died July 11, 1970; Sylvia Harriet born April 6 1879, married Asa Thompson, died April 14, 1950; Ida Lola, born July 1, 1883, married Ora Yates, died July 8, 1972; Nellie Jane, born September 2, 1885, married Henry N. Stagen, died January 18, 1983; Bertha Viola, born January 26, 1884, married David S. Swearingen, died May 21, 1984; James Emil, born April 2, 1892, married Garnette Vance, after her death he married Hazel Spencer, and after her death he married Floye Tucker, he died September 17, 1958; Henry (Hank) Archie, born March 2, 1895, married Ruth Larey, after her death married Della Bear, he died May 27, 1972.

James farmed and owned and operated a merry-go-round. The Halls lived for a time near Colfax, Nebraska; Urich, Mo.; and Duncombe, Iowa, moving back to their home south of Farmer City in the early 1900's. Alfretta died April 25, 1911. James later married Emma Winslow Johnson. James died January 26, 1911. Alfretta and James are buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Farmer City.

History of DeWitt County, Illinois. Philadelphia, PA.: W. R. Brinks & Co., 1882.
History of DeWitt County, Illinois. Chicago, Ill.: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1910.

Submitted by Trish Couture


George L. Hill

One of the Pioneers of DeWitt County.

George L. HILL was born January 12, 1797, in Caroline county, Virginia, near Fredericksburg. He was left fatherless at the age of twelve years, and with his widowed mother moved to Kentucky in 1815, and there took charge of her business, at the age of eighteen years. He then rented land of Lewis HICKMAN, whose daughter, Louisa V., he married October 20, 1822. While a renter in Fayette county, there were born to them three children, Egbert O., Phoebe L., and Sarah L. In the year 1827 he returned to Henry county, Ky., where the remaining five children were born, Lewis S., John H., Emily H., Rodney P., and Benjamin T. In Henry county he purchased 104 acres of heavy timber which he cleared himself.

In those early days when settlers were few, it was the custom for the neighbors to band together and assist in clearing their farms. At such times it was customary to furnish whisky for the crowd. Mr. Hill noticed that his children began to like the sugar in the bottom of the glass and to ask for a little dram. This set him to thinking seriously of the fate that might be in store for them if they learned to like their dram. He and one of his neighbors made a firm resolve to do away with whisky, and concluded that if they could not get help to roll their logs without it, they would do their rolling themselves. At first they were obliged to do their work alone, but their neighbors found them in earnest and at last joined them in their good work.

In the year 1828, he professed religion, and with his wife joined the Baptist Church at New Castle. Being ambitious, Mr. Hill was not content to stay on a small farm, so in 1835 he started out on horseback on a prospecting tour, and while passing through Illinois was delighted with the country. After returning to Kentucky he could think of nothing but Illinois, and in 1836 made a second trip to the State and purchased the farm of 640 acres on which he lived and died, and for which he agreed to pay five dollars per acre. He moved his family to his new home in October, 1837. While in Clinton attending to the purchase of this farm, he assisted in raising the third house in town. It was on the west side of the square where the Masonic hall now stands, and was called the Macon House.

He could not immediately sell his farm in Kentucky so he borrowed from an old friend the money to pay for the Illinois farm. He made thirteen trips to Kentucky on horseback during the following twelve years to settle up his own and his mother's estate. As Illinois was then a new State he with his family had to endure many hardships and privations, which were cheerfully borne. To sell his grain he was obliged to haul it to Chicago (then a village) with an ox team, and returning brought with him groceries and salt for the coming year. When his bacon was ready for market, he would start for St. Louis, that being the best market for bacon and lard. For breadstuff he had to go to Springfield and Mechanicsburg. When the roads impassable, they had to do without until they were better, and at one time they were six weeks without breadstuff in the house. The next best thing was hominy beaten on a block, and the children did this, taking turns. The finer was sifted out for corn bread and the coarser boiled for hominy. When a doctor was needed, they had to send to Decatur. That was also the nearest point from which they could get their mail.

One of the hardest privations that he and his wife had to endure was that of having no church privileges, so in his home, on the 1st day of February, 1839, was organized the first Baptist Church of Clinton, and for the following two years meetings were held there.

About the year 1846 he gave twenty acres of land to William McPHERSON, a Baptist minister, for a home, and then he built the first Baptist Church in Clinton, furnishing the timber himself, hauling the logs to mill, and doing the work at his own expense. He was deacon of the church for twenty-two years, and faithfully did his duty. For years he furnished the fuel for the church, cutting the wood and hauling it himself. At the time of his death he was the only constituent member of the church he helped to organize, and to which he was tenderly attached. He was the oldest pioneer settler known in the county. He was a man of sterling integrity, and was often heard to say that "his word was as good as his bond," and it was never known to be otherwise. He was never sued in his life. His ambition for himself and children was for them to be honest and Christian members of society. Mr. Hill's sympathies were with the South in the troubles preceding the war, but when the first gun was fired on Sumter he said, with tears in his eyes, that he could not hold with those who fired on his country's flag, and was after that until his death a strong Republican, casting his last vote for Blaine and Logan. He was an intimate and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, who often visited him at his home. His wife preceded him to the better land a little over a year ago. He leaves six children, thirty-one grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.

He was sick about two months before he died, and little could be done for him but to give him tenderest care, which his children lovingly did. His disease was just a breaking up of the system, and he suffered terribly, but through it all his hope and trust in a risen Savior shone clear and bright and sustained him. He did not murmur but said he was ready and anxious to go, only waiting his Master's call. And at the last, when his feet touched the cold stream, his Savior took him gently across, and the peaceful look on his grand old face showed that for him indeed death had lost its sting.

Clinton Public, December 9, 1887

Submitted by Judy Simpson


Some Incidents in Mrs. Hill's Life.

When Mr. and Mrs. Hill first went to house-keeping in Fayette county, they lived in a small house on her father's farm. Having no furniture, their bedstead was built in the side of the house. Their first meal was eaten from Mr. Hill's clapboard, with a skillet, a tin cup and a shoe-knife (Mr. Hill being a shoe-maker) as cooking and eating utensils. The way she managed to cook their food was, first she baked her corn-bread, and having no lid to the skillet she had to turn the bread to bake it; then she cooked her meat; and then, washing her skillet, she boiled the water and made her coffee, and having but one cup, they drank their coffee together.

When they moved to Henry county, the place they bought was rough timberland, with no improvement save a small cabin containing one room. While there they improved and cleared the farm, raising cotton and wool, Mrs. Hill doing the carding, spinning and weaving from which the clothes for the family was made. The way she got a start for clothing her family, she spun for a neighbor and got two ewes, and the following spring these ewes had twin lambs. Before she was married she lived with an uncle and took charge of his weaving house, managing one loom and overseeing five others. When her uncle heard what she had done, he sent her six pure Merino sheep, and from these she brought fifty to this county.

One morning her uncle said to his niece and daughters, "Well, girls, I have just driven in sixty milk cows to the pail; now if any of you have any claim on me I want you to make it known." No one spoke but his niece, who said, "Uncle, I don't know as I have any claim on you, but when I am married you may give me a cow." And sure enough, after moving to Henry county, her uncle coming to visit her, brought with him a fine-blooded cow and calf, and from these came the 30 head she brought to DeWitt county with her. Before she was married she was very noted as a weaver. Twice, cloth of her weaving took the silver mug at the State fair in Kentucky. To the present day there is in the family a quilt and many other articles of her own manufacture. For many years after moving here she continued the manufacture of all the clothing for her family.

Never believing in slavery, having been taught from infancy that it was wrong, for her father never would own slaves, she has often said while living in a slave State that she felt like Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, and his warning appeared to apply to her, "Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city," and when they left Kentucky she made a solemn vow, "If the Lord would let me live to reach a free State never will I make a track on slavery's soil." And she never broke it. Often has she said she never had a desire to visit her native land, and she never would visit her brother or son in Missouri until it was a free State.

They started from Kentucky October 2d, 1837, in a "Pennsylvania scow-boat wagon," Mrs. Hill riding on horseback, carrying her youngest child, Bennie, in her arms. In their wagon was household goods, 50 pounds of wool carded ready for the wheel, a large amount of linen, cotton, and woolen cloth of her own manufacture; and having a thought of the coming winter she also brought 13 bushels of peaches and 6 bushels of apples of her own drying. Her oldest son, Egbert, walked and drove their cattle. When evening came they would pitch their tent and cook their suppers, also food enough for the next day. At one time they stopped two days and washed, baked their bread, and prepared other food for the remainder of their journey.

On the evening of the 19th of October they landed in DeWitt county and stopped a few days with Mrs. Hill's father, a portion of which is now owned by Hickman Mills. Mr. Hill previously bargained for his place, 640 acres, where the home now is, in the preceding fall after going to Missouri with the intention of buying. The place they bought had a little log cabin containing one room with a dirt floor, a slat door and no window. The fire-place, with a wooden back plastered with mud, the place for the fire being dug out and lower than the floor. The children, to keep warm, used to sit around the edge of the fire-place and hang their feet over next to the fire. Mr. Hill immediately went to work to improve the house. He made a puncheon floor, sawed out a log about as large as three small panes of glass, and tacked a greased cotton cloth over it for a window light. After a time another improvement was made by putting in an oiled paper in place of the cloth. From time to time the house was improved until it had six rooms on the lower floor, two upstairs, and a cellar---as it now stands. After being here several years she got word that her brother-in-law was coming from Kentucky to pay them a visit. Being too proud to have him come and see her puncheon floor, she and her daughter went to work, cut rags, sewed and wove them into a carpet before he reached here. This was the first carpet ever used in a house along Salt Creek, and was regarded as a great curiosity.

When Mr. Hill used to go to Kentucky on business, making 12 trips on horseback in 13 years, she used to manage the farm. At one time while he was away the horses all sickened and died, except a two-year-old colt, which, to use her own words, "never peeped through a collar." Mrs. Hill said, "Leaving my girls to manage the house I took my bonnet and gloves and went to the field with my boys, and by hiring a horse when I could, and borrowing when I could, we broke the ground, planted the grain, and had the corn plowed and laid by when Mr. Hill returned." When out of bread- stuffs, when the day's work was done, she would have the children pick out the corn, and by turns they would pound it on the "old hominy block," sieve out the fine for bread, and use the coarse for hominy.

Her home was used as a place of worship for many years. She would never turn a minister from her door, no matter to which denomination he belonged. When a minister arrived word would be sent to all the neighbors that there would be preaching, and they would always come. Her house was known far and near as the "Baptist Tavern."

She was always a dear lover of flowers, and her garden, the seeds and bulbs of which were brought from Kentucky, was the wonder of the country round.

Many times has she repeated, and she always made it a point to tell, her three principles: "I am an Abolitionist but not an Amalgamationist, a Republican and a Baptist, and I have brought up all my children in the same way." And they have never departed from her teaching, for she has not a child or grandchild who is not loyal and honors her words.

She was always a great reader and always took great pride in informing herself on questions pertaining to her country, which she loved. But above all else she loved her Bible, having read and re-read it many times. During her last days her Bible was her greatest comfort, for she retained her intellect till the very last. She kept up a large correspondence with her numerous relatives and friends, and until only a few weeks before her death she did her own writing.

Suffering as she did in her last illness, and for many years she has been afflicted, not a murmur or complaint ever passed her lips. Always a prayer for the Lord to give her strength to bear her burdens. She was ready to go and was only waiting her Maker's call. Her last days were a constant prayer for the Lord to relieve her sufferings. Her last words spoken to her daughter, Mrs. Emily WELD, were, "Oh, my child! I shall soon be to the Golden Gate. Jesus is by my side and is leading me across the River of Jordan, and all is bright. Tell all my children to meet me in Heaven."

She was always a thorough-going, earnest, consistent Christian woman, always free spoken on any subject, always ready in the hour of sickness and trouble to minister to the wants of her neighbors---a kind, indulgent and affectionate mother and friend.

Agreeable to her request, the Rev. D. Mac ARTHUR conducted the funeral services, which were held in the church she helped to establish and build up in Clinton. A large number of the old settlers united with her family and friends in paying the last tribute to her memory.

Clinton Public, October 1, 1886

Submitted by Judy Simpson


The Hurley family has the distinction of being the first permanent settlers in the Mt. Pleasant area. James Hurley and Lydia Riddle lived in Monmouth County, New Jersey, in the late 1700's. James and Lydia had four sons: John, Robert, Dennis and Timothy. They also had three daughters: Catherine, Sarah, and Mary.

Dennis Hurley, who married Mary Connell in 1818, started west from Newark, Ohio, in 1829. His mode of transportation was a four horse team and a Virginia wagon. He brought all his worldly possessions, and his children. It took the family almost a month to make the trip from Hebron, Ohio, to central Illinois. They bought oats for the horses, spending twenty-five to thirty cents a day for this. They stayed in farm homes or rooming stations at night. The roads were dirt or mud. Quoting from a diary, the writer noted, "Twenty four hours cannot pass without rain. Many places are hub deep in mud". The cost of provisions was noted as: hundred weight of flour $2.62, sweet potatoes $1.00 per bushel, fish 10 cents to 12, bread 4 cents per pound and bacon 10 cents per pound.

Dennis arrived approximately one mile southwest of Mt. Pleasant in November 1830, and built an eighteen foot square log cabin on Salt Creek. This original cabin was later moved to the McKinley Hotel in Mt. Pleasant to be used as an outbuilding. He later built a hewed log house, with a split shingle roof and puncheon floor which had three rooms downstairs and one upstairs. In 1834, Dennis Hurley's father, James, and his brothers, John and Timothy, came to Hurley's Grove. His children included Sarah Ann, married to Benjamin Newberry; Mary Jane married to Miles C. Newberry; Lewis, married to Elizabeth Swigart; David, married to Lucinda Tachwell; Jeremiah, married to Marena Vandeventer; John married to Margaret Johnson; and Catherine, married to George Swigart.

Dennis enlisted in the Rangers during the Black Hawk War. Lewis Hurley died in the Civil War at Drury's Bluff in Virginia in 1864.

History of Farmer City, Illinois

Submitted by Carol Marston


Campbell C. Jones

Campbell C. Jones was living with his parents at age 40 and was a carpenter.  His wife died prior to 1860.  He was born 1 Aug 1828, in Rhea, Tennessee and died in Kansas (I have not found the year yet).

Portrait and Biographical Album of Dewitt Co. under Preston Jones relates:

"...His elder brother, Campbell whose portrait is presented to our readers, is an honored resident of this township, where he is living in retirement from active farming operations.  He is a gentleman of superior intelligence and culture.  His early educational advantages were limited but by close appreciation to his books and a genuine fondness for good literature he has become exceptionally well informed and can talk with interest on any subject.  Upon people with whom he comes in contact the impression is made that there is no reasonable excuse for man, woman or child, not to have a practical knowledge of things if any effort is made.  He is a sincere Methodist in his religious views.  In Early manhood he married Louvesta Upton, a lady of much intelligence, who was in every respect a true wife and devoted mother.  She died leaving three children; John, Sarah and Ura."

Submitted by Trish Couture


The second family to locate in Hurley's Grove was the Richard Kirby family. They came to Illinois in 1830 using an ox team and wagon. Richard and Sarah Kirby had the following children who lived to adulthood: Jacob, Mathilda (Page), Lydia (Lyons), Mary (Whitcomb), Rebecca (Jones), John W., William, and Jennie (Robbins).

A great granddaughter, Mae Kirby (Keys) wrote about her ancestors in 1912. Quoting from the letter: "Again the old ox team was brought forth; the family belongings were piled into the wagon, and another march across the prairie was undertaken. They had just passed through the timber and crossed the north fork of Salt Creek, when a blinding snowstorm overtook them. At Marion, now DeWitt , the storm abated and they reached Hurley's Grove by midnight. They expected to live during the winter in an Indian trading house near the center of the grove, a quarter of a mile south of Camp Ground cemetery. Their new home was a double log home with puncheon floors and doors, openings cut in the walls for windows and a clapboard roof. There were two rooms with a hallway in the center. The family lived in one room, and their animals lived in the other. The following morning Richard Kirby rode two mile to Dennis Hurley's for fire. He procured the fire in a "long handled frying pan". Following the usual methods of the times, Richard Kirby cleared a piece of land in the heavy timber and cultivated. Indians still visited the Hurley's Grove in those days, but did not harm anyone.

History of Farmer's City, Illinois

Submitted by Carol Marston


Rev. James C. RUCKER was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, January 9, 1817, and died in Jacksonville, IL, September 26, 1900, aged 83 years, 8 months and 17 days. He was of French descent. His father was a Methodist preacher. At the age of 17 he came to Illinois with his parents and settled in Sangamon County. In 1837 he went to Winchester and taught school, having previously received a fair education in Harrodsburg, KY, later he studied law under Stephen A. Douglas, was admitted to the bar and followed the profession for four years. In 1843 he was converted under the preaching of Rev. Peter Akers, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He at once began to prepare for the ministry and was admitted on trial into the Illinois Conference in 1844. He served successively the following charges: In 1844, Paris; 1845, Embarass; 1846, Charleston; 1847, Monticello; 1848, Mt. Pleasant; 1849, Beardstown; 1850, Mt. Pulaski; 1851-2, Decatur; 1853, Danville;1854, Marshall; 1855-6, Agent for Female College; 1857-8, Randolph Grove; 1859, McLean; 1860-1, Old Town; 1862-3, Waynesville; 1864, DeWitt; 1865, Wapella; 1866, supernumerary; 1867-8, Homer; 1869-70, Danville, Kimber Chapel; 1871, Rushville; 1872, Taylorville; 1873, Georgetown; 1874-5-6, Homer; in 1877 he was placed on the supernumerary list, in which relation he continued till death. In his ministry he was able, fearless and energetic. During the slavery contest he denounced in unsparing terms the great evil.

He was twice married, first on August 29, 1849 to Miss Rachel HOWARD, who died September 3, 1883. In 1885 he was married to Mrs. Harriet McCORD, who passed away four years ago. In Central Illinois where he labored chiefly he will long be remembered by hosts of friends. At Clinton, where he is buried, his funeral was conducted at the M.E. Church by Rev. J.B. Horney, assisted by Revs. L.B. Taylor, M.W. Everhart and Horace Reed.

Note: Supernumerary refers to “worn-out” preachers. His second wife was Harriet Weedman McCord, daughter of John Weedman and Rachael Wilson, widow of William Y. McCord.

Journal & Records of the 78th Session of the Illinois Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1901, Pg. 121

Submitted by Lois Fullington


Jacob W. Swearingen, proprietor of feed-mill, Stockham, Neb.

Mr. Swearingen is one of the pioneer settlers of Hamilton County, and is a man who has won the respect and esteem of all by his honesty and perseverance. He was originally from DeWitt County, Ill., his birth occurring February 21, 1847, and is the son of Abram and Amy (Crumb) Swearingen, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter from Indiana. Both are now deceased, the father dying November 5, 1887, aged ninety-one, and his wife September 28, 1886, aged seventy- nine years.

Jacob W. Swearingen was early initiated into the duties of farm life in his native county, and on January 5, 1864, he enlisted in Company I, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Volunteers, serving in this company until the close of the war. He then returned to DeWitt County, Ill., and in 1866 began learning the blacksmith trade, after which he spent some time in the study of dentistry. This he practiced in Champaign County, Ill., until 1868, when he resumed farming and blacksmithing in DeWitt County.

He selected for his companion in life Miss Martha Ellen Elzey, a native of Ohio, born October 10, 1849, and the marriage ceremony was celebrated in DeWitt County, August 20, 1867. Her parents were Jacob and Mary Elzey. In 1871 Mr. Swearingen removed to Hamilton County, Neb., located in Orville Township, and since then he has followed farming and blacksmithing. In connection for several years he has also conducted a feed-mill, and owns a splendid one near Stockham, having purchased the Stockham Creamery Building and converted it into a feed-mill in the early part of 1890. On January 15 of that year he removed from his farm to Stockham, where he will also establish a tank factory and carry on blacksmithing. He still owns his farm in Orville Township, and it now consists of 320 acres, 160 acres of which he proved up as a homestead. To his marriage have been born seven children: Luella M., Noah W., Roxy Ann Eliza, William F., Mary A., Charlotte I. (deceased) and Isaac S.

Mr. Swearingen and wife are members of the Christian Church, and the former is a member of the I. O. O. F., the Farmers' Alliance and the G. A. R. In politics he is a Republican.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties. Chicago, IL.: Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1890. p.781

Submitted by Kaylynn


Born in Mount Pleasant (now Farmer City), DeWitt County, Ill., April 23, 1842, moved with his parents; John and Cynthia A (Gardiner) Warner to Clinton, Ill., in 1843; attended the common and select schools in Clinton and Lombard University, Galesburg, Ill.; studied law in Clinton; enlisted as a private in Company E, Twentieth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, June 13, 1861; promoted to sergeant June 23, 1861, second lieutenant February 4, 1862, captain and commissary of subsistence February 10, 1865; brevetted major March 13, 1865, and was mustered out July 13, 1866; was graduated from the law department of Harvard University in 1868; was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced the practice of law in Clinton, Ill.; He married Winniford Moore in DeWitt County, IL 26 March 1868; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1895-March 3, 1905); chairman, Committee on Revision of the Laws (Fifty-fifth through Fifty-eighth Congresses); served as Commissioner of Pensions from March 4, 1905, to November 25, 1909; engaged in business in Clinton, Ill., as a banker and realty owner and agent; died in Clinton, DeWitt County, Ill., on March 31, 1925; interment in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Congressional Biography