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1882 Biographies - Pocahontas Precinct

Jacob CRICHFIELD, deceased. The grandfather of the above was an Englishman by birth. His given name was Robert, and he served on board of a British man-of-war. When near the Massachusetts coast, he with several others, premeditated their departure, got permission to go out rowing in the jolly boat, and while out made good their escape. Soon after landing, they met a Quaker, who judging them to be deserters, said to them, "Thee must change thy clothes and thy names, or thee will be caught." Acting upon this piece of useful information, Robert (it is not known what his surname was) changed his to CRICHFIELD. He had three sons born him, whose names were Benjamin, Absalom and William, all of whom served in the war of the Revolution, after which Benjamin settled in Romney, Va., William in Somerset County, Penn. Absalom never married. He was a musician; the others were farmers. The descendants who came here to Illinois were children of William, who settled in Pennsylvania. He had a family of twelve children, all of whom came to maturity. Among this number were Joseph and Jacob, who came to this county. Joseph emigrated to this region of country at the time of the war of 1812. His wife was among the number who sought refuge in the old fort which stood in this township, of which history gives an account. Jacob, his brother, came West to Bond County, arriving here April 4, 1839, fixing his location on Section 25, in Town 4, Range 4, in Millersburg Precinct, where he remained until his death June 8, 1846. His wife's maiden name prior to her marriage was Johanna JELLISON, daughter of Robert JELLISON, an Englishman. She died in 1850. Mr. Crichfield was a member of the M. E. Church, and his house was the home for the ministers. Four children were born him - Edith E., Hannah S., William M. and Freeborn. Of this number Edith died unmarried. Hannah married J. H. GILMORE, and settled in Greenville. She died in 1873. William M. and Freeborn both served in the war as true and valiant soldiers: William M. enlisted in June, 1861, in Company E, Twenty-second Regiment, and served three years, and participated in all the battles in which his company took part. F. G. enlisted in August, 1862, in Company E, One Hundred and Thirtieth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He also served three years. April 11, 1865, William M. married Emma WILDS, who was born in Hamilton, Ohio, daughter of Ralph WILDS and Lucinda JACKSON. He has three children - Lilian, Dale S. and Grace E.

Tobias FILE, farmer, P. O. Baden Baden, came to Bond County with his parents in 1818, and located with them in Old Ripley Precinct. He was born March 20, 1810, in Cabarras County, on Rock River, N. C. His father was Henry FILE, and his mother's maiden name was REEP. [Henry Oliver FILE's recorded birthday was July 4th 1776. Contributed 31 Jan 2018 by David Lindley] To Henry FILE was born the following family: George, Daniel, Moses, Tobias, and Sallie. Sallie resides in Litchfield, and is the wife of Isaac BILYEW. She and Tobias are the only ones living of the family. All of the above settled in Bond County and have descendants. Tobias remained with his father until he was grown. His boyhood was spent on the farm, and he [Page 56] assisted his father in clearing up the land. His school advantages were of the most limited character, and he has had to plod his way through life without having any substantial school benefits. In January, 1830, he married Sarah GILLESPIE, a native of Tennessee, daughter of John GILLESPIE and nancy McFERRON. Mr. FILE located in Millersburg Precinct, where he now resides, in 1837, and has since remained. His wife died in 1850, having borne him seven children, six of whom are living - Samuel, William, Nancy J., Tobias, Jacob and George. He married Fannie COOK for his second wife, who died leaving no issue. His third and last wife was Mrs. Hannah BAKER. Mr. FILE has 400 acres of land, and since 1832 has been a member of the M. E. Church, and has always been one of the substantial citizens of the commonwealth.

John H. GORDON, physician, Pocahontas, is among the worthy and successful practitioners of medicine in Bond County. He was born October 29, 1842, in Huntsville, Ala.; is of a family of seven sons, all of whom were doctors, sons of Dr. James and Mary (SANDERSON) GORDON. When a babe, he removed with his parents to Spring Hill, Miss., and left there prior to 1850. He was educated at the best schools at Russellville, Ark., and began the study of his profession before seventeen, and began practice ere he attained his majority. In 1864, he received the benefits of the St. Louis Medical College. His practice was attended with the most favorable encouragement, which kept him busy, and his graduation at the Missouri Medical College was not completed until 1874. He began practice in Millersburg, this township, in 1864, and two years later he came to Pocahontas, where he has since lived, and been engaged in his profession. At the time he came here there were eight physicians, including himself, in a town not exceeding five hundred inhabitants. In 1868, he associated with his brother, J. T. GORDON, under the firm name of J. H. GORDON & Brother, which copartnership lasted until 1870. He then purchased his brother's interest, and continued alone until 1873, at which time he took in as partner his brother W. P., and continued together until 1878, when he subsequently associated with Dr. A. R. CLINTON, January, 1878, which partnership was dissolved in the summer of 1879. Since this time he has been running it alone and has an excellent practice. December 15, 1861, he married Emily TORRENCE, born in North Carolina, but raised in Arkansas. She is a daughter of John T. TORRENCE and Jane LINCH. The Doctor has eleven children born to him, five of whom are living - William E., Charles C., Lewis L., Kate and George D. The others died in infancy, except Nancy J., who died December 3, 1877, aged ten years. The Doctor has been a member of the M. E. Church since he was fifteen years of age. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M., of this place. He makes a specialty of female complaints, in the treatment of which he is successful.

John W. HARNED, farmer, P. O. Pocahontas, was born in Red River County, Tex., January 26, 1819; son of William and Hannah (BOYER) HARNED, he born in 1792, a Methodist preacher, left the Yuba River, Cal., October 8, 1850, and was never afterward heard of. His wife was born in Pennsylvania, in 1792, and died in November, 1850. They were the parents of eleven children, seven boys and four girls. The only education our subject ever had was received in a log cabin, in the Red River bottoms, where he attended school for a short time. He first worked on the farm of Williamson PLANT, Bond County, and has been in the farming business ever since. In Bond County Febru-[Page 57] ary 2, 1842, he married Mary M. NELSON, born in Bond County August 16, 1820, daughter of William and Mary (McLEAN) NELSON. He has nine children - William C., Henry C., Joseph, Nelson, Melvina, John B., Eda R., Louis, James M. and Jennie. Mr. HARNED is a member of the Methodist Church, and his wife has been connected with the old "Gilead" Cumberland Presbyterian Church for forty-five years. He spent the first ten years of his life in what is now Texas, but which was then part of Mexico, and owing to his constant association with neighboring Indian tribes, he could speak the Choctaw language much better than English. His father was bitterly opposed to slavery; and, during his residence in the South, suffered many persecutions on account of his abolitionist principles. He stood by the side of LOVEJOY when he was shot. He built a hotel in Alton, Ill., in 1833, where our subject met LINCOLN, DOUGLAS, and many others of the noted men in the early history of our country. Mr. HARNED was well acquainted with the famous Black Hawk, chief of the Fox Indians.

James S. JOHNSTON, farmer, P. O. Pocahontas. The above gentleman first beheld the light of day July 20, 1827, in Cincinnati, Ohio; second son of Campbell JOHNSON, a native of Londonderry, Ireland, where he was born about the year 1793, and came to America in 1808, in company with his brother James, with whom he worked several years as carpenters. Prior to the war of 1812, they engaged in the manufacture of nails at Pittsburgh, and shipped their products down the river on flat-boats, and were en route for the Lower Mississippi at the time of the battle of New Orleans. About the year 1818, he went to Cincinnati and engaged in a general mercantile business, remaining here until the year 1832, when he moved to Clermont County, Ohio, and purchased a farm, upon which he died in 1842. He was a Presbyterian, and a stanch Jackson Democrat. His wife's maiden name was Jerusha SANDFORD, who died in 1852, having borne five children who came to maturity - John, James S., Nancy C., Hannah H. and Robert A. John served in the Mexican war, and is now a lawyer in Cincinnati. Nancy C. resides in the same place, and is the wife of Thomas SHERLOCK. Hannah H. never married. Robert A. also resides in Cincinnati, and is now serving his second term as Common Pleas Judge. James remained at home until his marriage, when he attained twenty-two years of age. His wife was Melvina SIMPKINS, of Clermont County, daughter of David SIMPKINS, as an Ohioan. After the marriage of our subject, he engaged in merchandising at Belfast, Ohio, where he continued until the spring of 1857, when he came to Bond County, locating where he now resides, on Section 33, in Ripley Township, Town 4, Range 5, where he has been engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has about four hundred acres of land, and has given considerable attention to sheep raising, and particularly to fruit culture, having one of the largest and finest orchards in the county, embracing nearly sixty acres. He has a good knowledge of law, and does considerable local practice. He is a Democrat, and in the affairs of his county and township he bears his proportionate part. He has six children - Mary, Nancy C., Cora, Campbell D., Lucinda and Hattie.

Henry H. METCALF, Greenville, is a descendant of one of the early settlers, whose name was Baalam METCALF, who was born in April, 1806, in Jackson county, Ga. He emigrated to Bond County in the spring of 1829, making his first location on the northeast quarter of Section 14, in Beaver Creek Township, Town 4, Range 3. He afterward removed to Greenville, where he remained [Page 58] some time, then came to this township, and remained from 1854 until his death December 15, 1871. He was a stanch old Whig, and after the formation of the Republican party he became affiliated with it, and was true to its principles as long as he exercised his right of suffrage. He took a deal of interest in the affairs of his county, and for several years was Justice of the Peace, and meted out justice to the settlers to their satisfaction. His wife's maiden name was Emeline BROWN, daughter of Thomas, whose wife was a HILL; both families came from the Carolinas. Henry H. was the only son, and has always been a resident of Bond County, except the time spent in the army, which he entered at the age of seventeen, enlisting in the spring of 1861 in Company E, Twenty-second Illinois Infantry, and served until July, 1864, and took part in many of the prominent engagements in which his regiment was in, some of which were Charleston, Mo., Stone River, Resaca, Corinth, Mission Ridge and Chickamauga. September, 1866, he married Ellen HILLIARD, daughter of J. C. HILLIARD and Jane DEWEY. For several years, Mr. METCALF was engaged in teaching. He located on his farm in 1869, and has 150 acres. He has five children - Jane E., Ralph E., Jennie E., Hugh and Allen. He is a member of the M. E. Church. He was elected Justice of the Peace in the fall of 1881.

John NEATHAMMER, farmer, P. O. Pocahontas, was born in bond County, February 20, 1847; son of John and Mary (HECHNIGHT) NEATHAMMER, he born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1808. He followed the occupation of a farmer, and died in 1859. His wife was born in Tennessee, and died in 1851. They were the parents of five children, four boys and one girl. Our subject received an ordinary education and began the business of life as a farmer in Bond County. In Bond County, in 1870, he married Ollie SEAFELDT, born in St. Louis in 1850, daughter of Julius and Mina SEAFELDT, of Pocahontas. Mr. NEATHAMMER is in politics a Republican, and is a member of the A. O. U. W. During the war, he served two years in Company E, Third Illinois Cavalry (Capt. McLANE), and took part in the engagements at Memphis and Nashville. He has three children - Mary, Mina and Julius.

Learner Blackman PLANT, Pocahontas. Cotemporaneous with the earliest settlement of Bond County was the coming of the PLANT family to Pocahontas Township, whose advent to this locality was shortly after the war of 1812. The subject of these lines was born in this township April 12, 1819; is the eldest son of Robert PLANT and Nancy PATTERSON, to whom three children were raised to maturity, L. B. being the eldest. Elizabeth, who married George PATTERSON, and America, wife of Henry EPPSTINE. Robert PLANT died in 1852, highly esteemed by his friends and neighbors. Learner B. remained with his father until he married, which was in December 5, 1839, to Rebecca DUNCAN, a native of Madison County, daughter of Joseph. After his marriage, he removed where Stubblefield Station now is, and engaged in farming. In 1858, he located on the farm he now owns, in the northwest part of the township. Before dividing among his children, he had over four hundred acres of land, reserving the larger portion, upon which he lives. He has five children - Joseph, L. D., Sarah E., Henry C. and Mary A.

James S. RIDGWAY, Pocahontas, was born in Scioto County, Ohio, August 27, 1831; eldest son of William RIDGWAY, born on the east shore of Maryland and emigrated westward to Scioto County, where he married Nancy BETHARDS. Both families, RIDGWAYs and BETHARDS, are of English stock. Our sub-[Page 59] ject came to this county with his father in the fall of 1841, and settled in Ripley Township. He remained here about five years, and then settled on Section 29; remained there until his death, December 11, 1868. In early days a Democrat, and in 1856 a Republican. He raised to maturity a family of four children - James S., William, Mary and George W. Of this number James S. is the only one living in this county. William died in early manhood. Mary became the wife of W. S. WAIT. Geo. W. resides in Kansas. James S. remained with his father until his marriage. He has been twice married, and by his last wife he has four children - Nancy, Benjamin, William and Ralph. He began improving the farm in 1855, locating on it after his marriage in 1860, and has since remained. He has about four hundred acres of land in Section 27, and is quite extensively engaged in general farming. He is Democratic in politics. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Theodore L. SCHNEIDER, farmer, P. O. Pocahontas, was born in Darmstadt, Germany, August 23, 1829; son of Lewis and Mary (HOCHE) SCHNEIDER, he a carpenter and cabinet-maker by trade. He died in Germany, as did also his wife. They were the parents of five children, three boys and two girls. Our subject attended school in Darmstadt until he arrived at his sixteenth year, when he chose the trade of his father, and learned it with him. In Bond County, in August, 1853, he married Anna BROWN, born in Ohio December 25, 1829, daughter of John and Nancy BROWN. Mr. SCHNEIDER has followed the occupation of a farmer, and has also worked at his trade in Bond County. He has filled the office of School Director for fifteen years, and is at present County Commissioner. He is a member of the German Reformed Church, and connected with the Masonic fraternity. In politics, he is a Republican. His farm of 460 acres is one of the best in Pocahontas Precinct. He has seven children - John L., Nancy Ann, Henry M., William C., Benjamin F., Simon I and Martha S.

John Lewis SEHNERT, hotel, saloon and general business, Pierron. Among the principal business men of Oakdale is John L. SEHNERT. He was born June 23, 1850, in Hesse-Darmstadt, and is the third child of a family of five. His father, Peter SEHNERT, was married to the mother of John in the Fatherland. Her maiden name, prior to her marriage, was Anna E. WEISCHANT. Peter SEHNERT was born in Hesse-Darmstadt September 20, 1820, and died in 1881. His wife yet survives him. John Lewis was but a babe when his parents emigrated to America. Their first place of living, soon after their arrival, was in Bloomington, McLean County, where the family remained two or three years, and in 1857 came to Greenville, where he lived about ten years, when he located in Madison County, where he spent the remainder of his days. He raised a family of four children. The eldest was Mary, who married Ulrich GAFFNER, and lives in Town 5, Range 2. Lizzie, the second daughter, married Michael MAUGERS. John L. and John Peter are the sons. John Lewis was raised a farmer, and has learned the machinist's trade and has had much practical experience in running machinery. November 10, 1874, he married Miss Franciska SPENGEL, a native of Madison County, daughter of Sebastian SPENGEL. Mr. SEHNERT removed to Pierron in February, 1881, and engaged in business. He is proprietor of the Oakdale House, and provides amply for the entertainment of both man and beast. He farms some, and has a steam thresher (road engine) which he operates during the fall and winter season. He [Page 60] has three children born him - George, Sebastian and Margaret. George and Sebastian are still living.

W. S. WAIT, farmer, P. O. Pocahontas, was born in 1828, in Cambridge, Mass., the eldest son of William S. and Sarah (NEWHALL) WAIT. He came with his parents to this county when a lad of few years, being about the year 1834 or 1835, and since that time has been a constant resident of the county. In 1854, he began running a saw-mill near Greenville, which he moved to his place in 1857, to which he added a grist-mill, being the first permanent mill of the kind ever run in the place. He engaged in the stock business, buying and selling, which he carries on in conjunction with his farming. He has been twice married. First, in 1859, to Mary RIDGWAY, who died soon after, leaving no living issue. In May, 1877, he married Adele RAVOLD, a native of France, who has borne him three children. Mr. WAIT has been successful in business. He has about seven hundred acres of land. He is not a member of any church organization, but is affiliated with the I. O. O. F. of this place.

Extracted by Norma Hass from the History of Bond and Montgomery Counties Illinois, published in 1882, Part II Biographical Department, pages 55-60.

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