Mary Fletcher Tegg was born at May Hill, Bertie County, North Carolina, within one hundred miles of the Atlantic Seaboard on the 8th day of December 1825. Her father, John W. Hardy, was born in the same county.
In May 1836, John W. Hardy and family started for Illinois to join some of his relatives who preceded him named Hardy and Buck, who had settled on the sand ridge about ten miles southwest of this town. They arrived on the 15th of August, and settled down near these relatives where they remained till the following year when Hardy bought of John Schaeffer lot 14 block 1 in the town of Monroe, seven miles southwest of here, where he began his business of a wagon-maker. The physical who had the leading practice in the sand ridge neighborhood was Dr. Ephraim Rew; Squire Clemons taught school near Monroe; Benjamin Beesley kept a store in Monroe.
In the fall of 1838 the Hardy family removed from Monroe to Virginia, moving into a log cabin which stood near the northeast corner of the addition to the town and very near, where the Randall property is now situated. Mary F. Hardy was then between twelve and thirteen years of age. In 1841 Mr. Hardy purchased lot 82 in the addition to the Town and in 1847 he added lot 83 to it, these lots are those on which Mrs. Gore now lives, across the street east of the Christian church. The first school Mrs. Tegg remembers in Virginia was kept by William Carpenter, a brother of Mrs. Boyd who afterwards became county clerk of this county, and emigrated to Texas where he died. This school was opposite the Murray residence which stands on lot 80 in the addition to the town, and near the electric light house. Another school was taught in the second story of the Methodist church building which stood on lot 64 in the original town - just back of the Skiles lumber yard. A man named Morgan taught there; Robert and Henry and Eliza Hall, George Harris and James Harris went there to school when Mrs. Tegg was a pupil. The Harris family lived on the west side of the public square where the Hillig shoe shop now stands. George Harris, the father, made furniture. In this church Mrs. Tegg experienced religion in the year 1840, when but a child of 15 years.
Among the preachers of those early days were Levi Springer, Rev. Fox, of Jacksonville; Guthrie White, of Menard county, and Rev. William Whipp, a local Methodist preacher, the last named was born September 19, 1797, and died February 23, 1869, more than 71 years old and is buried in the old cemetery in Beardstown. For several years he kept a drug store in that city; he was a large man, weighing more than 200 pounds; his children were John W. Whipp, William Whipp, Elizabeth Munsell, Sarah Petefish and Jane Orwig. His last wife was Harriett Hinchee, a sister of the first wife of William Watkins, of this city. William Whipp and Harriett Hinchee were married on December 30, 1854, by Rev. William Clark whose wife was a sister of the bride. The wife of Hon. Milton McClure, of Beardstown, is a granddaughter of Rev. Whipp. Mrs. Sarah C. Gatton gratefully remembers him for the following reason: She was afflicted with a bad case of chills and fever when a young girl, at Beardstown, and nothing she could find seemed to help her. Mr. Whipp mixed up some pills and gave them to her, with the assurance they would surely break up the chills. Her sister, Mrs. James C. Leonard, advised her to let them alone, but the patient, in a desperate mood, swallowed the pills and never had a chill afterward.
Mrs. Tegg well remembers the occasion of the marriage of I. M. Stribling to Miss Margaret Beggs, his first wife. The day following the wedding, the bridal couple accompanied by the wedding guests came through Virginia on their way to the home of Benjamin Stribling, father of the groom, who lived a short distance northwest of this town. this company of young people, some seventy-five in number, were all on horseback and made a gay procession reaching from the present George Conover residence to the southwest corner of the public square.
When a young girl she worked as a domestic servant in the family of Dr. Pothicary, who kept the hotel on the southeast corner of the square, where the Centennial Bank now stands: Mrs. Pothicary taught her to make butter.
The town of Monroe was laid out by John Schaeffer on June 27, 1836, a month after Virginia was platted. Mr. Benjamin Beesley bought a lot in Monroe, in January, 1837, and three months later, he and John Schaeffer laid out an addition to Monroe. the stage line from Jacksonville to Beardstown then passed through this town. Mr. Beesley was a merchant in Monroe, but concluding that Virginia would be a better business point, in September, 1841, purchased of Dr. Hall, then acting as a commissioner for Cass county, lot 87 in the Public Grounds addition, at southeast corner of the west square for $210 and built the two story brick building long known as the "Boston Brick." Here he sold goods. In 1853 he sold the property to one Perrin Fay, who made the purchase on credit, and not being able to pay for it, it fell back to Beesley, in 1855, and on September 6, 1856, he sold and conveyed it to William Boston for $800, who remained its owner up to the date of his death.
On Christmas Day, 1843, Mary Fletcher Hardy was married to James Tegg by John H. Daniel, a Baptist preacher who lived in Virginia. Mrs. Tegg was then but 18 years old; her husband, English by birth, was then 43 years old. They began housekeeping in a log cabin which had been used as a house for sheep on land in Sec 8, T. 17, R. 10, about 2 miles southwest of Virginia, now owned by the heirs of Henry Quigg. The first year, Mr. Tegg put up prairie hay: his young wife would take their dinner and her knitting work and spend the day with him, knitting in the shade of hay shocks. They went from place to place, living for a time on the Dick farm in Sangamon bottom, on the William Campbell farm, on the Lynn Grove farm, on the land of Elliott near Sugar Grove, and came to this town to live in a house on lot 15, in the addition to Virginia which was afterward conveyed to Mrs. Tegg and her children by her father, John W. Hardy, on October 7, 1850. This house was burned about three years ago; here her son James Tegg, Jr., a resident of this city, was born on May 3, 1848. He helped his father to plant the sugar maple trees in front of the Rodgers property, lots 44, 45 and 46 in the addition of the town and in front of the Cosner property, then owned by Spaulding, a school teacher, at northwest corner of the square, in the year 1856. These trees were dug up about a mile and a half north of the town on land now owned by J. T. Robertson and are as fine specimens as are growing in the town.
Mrs. Tegg's mother died in 1845, after she had been blind for fifteen years. Her husband died in this town, June 4, 1864, at the age of 78 years; both these people were buried in the old graveyard field two miles west of the town.
Mrs. Tegg is now more than 79 years of age; she remembers that on the day her father moved into Virginia, the first load of brick to be used in the building of the court house was then lying in the old square at west end of the city.
She remembers that Dr. H. H. Hall practiced his profession in her father's family; she remembers Thomas Finn, the first of the family who lived here, who never was married; he owned a distillery north of this town where pure and unadulterated whiskey could be bought for twenty-five cents per gallon. Her memory of old-time events is clear; her physical condition, considering her age, is excellent.