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Biography - John Hartley

JOHN HARTLEY is one of the prominent fruit-growers of the Western country and is noted for the extensive knowledge he possesses in this line. The biographer as well as the reader finds the life of a man vastly more interesting when its vicissitudes have been varied and the subject has proved himself worthy of more than casual notice by the way in which he has managed and conducted the years allotted to him for existence in this world.

The name Hartley is well known in all parish registers in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, England. There are many residents of Lancashire who can trace this name and their own lineage back to the time of Edward the Confessor, and historians give us data concerning the bearers of this name which allows them credit as bearing honors for soldierly daring while fighting in the army of Oliver Cromwell.

John Hartley was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, on the 4th of March, 1838. His parents were both natives of England, his father being employed in the cotton mills of Manchester. Richard Hartley, the grandfather of him whose life we are recording, received honorable mention as a soldier in the battle of Waterloo. He served under the Duke of Wellington, and was a member of the troop that had the honor of taking Napoleon to headquarters as a prisoner.

The spirit of emigration seized John Hartley very early in life, and a desire to see more of the world than the city of Manchester embodied or was then contained in Great Britain influenced our subject to take his life into his own hands. At the early age of ten years, and without saying goodbye to home or parents, he started for the country so far distant, which as "the land of the free and the home of the brave,'’ was perhaps vividly pictured in his childish imagination. It may be quite safe to assume that a ten-year-old boy, making his way from England to America in the year 1848, had a wonderful amount of self-reliance, and as this appears to have been the stock in trade of our subject, he is to be congratulated on the manner in which he manipulated his capital.

On his arrival in America, our subject got employment on canal barges and river packets, and worked in this capacity until he was twenty-one years old. In the year 1859, he came to Bond County, Ill., where he obtained employment as a farm hand, and by industry and thrift saved the money with which he purchased part of his present belongings. He first commenced the cultivation of fruit in 1861, and to say that he has made a success of his chosen line of work but faintly expresses the position he now finds himself placed in. Mr. Hartley has spared neither time, labor, nor money to bring this industry to a point of excellence achieved by but few. He now owns one of the finest orchards in this part of the State, and is thoroughly posted in every detail pertaining to fruit culture. The Hartley orchard numbers some twenty-five hundred trees, and its product embodies the finest grafts known in the Western county. One of the latest achievements by our subject was the raising of more than two thousand bushels of apples in the season of 1892, while others engaged in the same line were unable to produce this fruit in any quantity whatever. The number of fruit-bearing trees in the Hartley orchard at this writing is over one thousand, and to our subject is accorded the credit he so justly deserves for the manner in which he conducts his business and promotes an industry so fraught with care and hard work.

In the year I860, Mr. Hartley and Miss Jane Patton became man and wife, the result of their union being two children: Cordelia Eunice, who is now the wife of E. T. Jarvis, of Elm Point, Ill.; and Mary Emma, the wife of S. A. May, of Shoal Creek Township. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley are both prominently identified with the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church, which body receives their support in liberal measure. Our subject has never identified himself as an office-seeker with any political faction. During the late war he was a member of the "Knights of the Golden Circle."

Extracted 20 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 420-423.

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