(Shelby County)





TODD'S POINT TOWNSHIP, (Shelby county) derived its name from William Todd, who settled at the point of timber on the Okaw in 1835. It is bounded on the north and east, by Moultrie county, on the south by Okaw township, on the west by Pickaway. It h as an area of 20 square miles, or 12,800 acres, situated in Town. 13, Range 4. This is a fine agricultural township, and possesses many superior advantages for farming purposes. Its soil is everywhere excellent, and, with but few exceptions, there is no w aste land. It originally had its share of timber of fine quality. The fact that this was one of the first townships in the county to attract the attention of settlers, and the results after fifty-two years of sturdy toil expended on its general improvemen ts speak volumes for it. You will find over its surface neat farm-houses, with neatly cultivated farms, prominent among which is that of John Turner's, situated on section 18. Mr. Turner is one of the enterprising farmers not only of this township, but al so of the county; and as a grower and breeder of fine stock few excel him.

Among the early settlers was William L. Ward, a native of Kentucky who emigrated to this state in the year 1828; he settled on the north-west quarter of section 32. He afterward moved out into the Robinson Creek settlement, where he lived until his death.

Benjamin Cutler came to this township in the year 1828, and settled on section 26, and opened a grocery, the first in the neighborhood, and for a time it was quite a resort for the early settlers and backwoods hunters who congregated there upon Saturdays, spinning yarns and talking over the hairbreadth escapes from the Indians. He continued to dispose of his wares and merchandize for a number of years, and then sold out and moved to Texas. The house and fixtures he sold to W. S. Bland, a native of Ohio, w ho resided here for several years, then built on section 23, and resided there until his death, which occurred in 1867, leaving the old place to his son, E. Bland, where he now lives.

Eli Waller settled on section 35 in August, 1828. He bought out two "squatters" who had become frightened at the demonstrations of the Indians who were making sugar on the Okaw at the mouth of the big branch. The men with their wives left in a hurry, one of the men riding on horseback, while the other with the women followed in an ox wagon bound for Kentucky. He first moved into the cabin that stood on the edge of the timber not far from where William Ward afterwards built. The following winter he moved i nto a cabin that stood on the opposite side of what is now the Main road near where Gollohu now lives. He resided here until his death November 13, 1856. He had accumulated quite a property, having about seven or eight hundred acres of land.

John Welborn, Sr., settled here in the year 1830 near the point.

Payton Moore, a native of Kentucky, came here and settled upon section 35, as early as 1832, where he lived about seven years, then moved to Moultrie county near Todd point, where he now resides.

John Henderson, a native of Maryland came to this country in 1831, and settled on section 15, where Martin Roney now lives.

Skelton Birkett, a native of Cumberland county, England, settled on section 17 west of Todd's Point in the prairie, in the year 1848, and has become one of the large farmers and stock-raisers. He was one of the first to venture away from the timber to ope n up a farm.

John and Joseph Foster, natives of Yorkshire, England, came the same year, 1848, and settled south-east of Birkett's.

John Atkinson, also a native of England, settled near the Point in the early days of its infancy. After residing here a few years he moved to the south-west corner of Moultrie county.

William Wright, a native of Bourbon county, Kentucky, settled in the south-west part of the township, in the edge of the timber. He was one among the first permanent settlers, and a successful farmer, having accumulated a large property; at his death, in 1871, he was the owner of about three thousand acres of land. He left a wife and family of eight children; they all reside in and near the old homestead.

Kit Johnson was another of the early settlers, one much liked by all who knew him. In early times the Methodist circuit rider held meetings at his house, and for a number of years after the regular preaching was held at Kit Johnson's cabin. In the year l8 51 came J. W. Scott from Licking county, Ohio, who settled upon section 31, and by thrift, patience, and industry, has accumulated quite a property, and is a successful farmer and stock-raiser, has a well-improved farm, of which a view may be seen on anot her page of this work.

First land-entries were made by the following named persons: -- On the 9th day of September, 1829, Samuel Walker entered the E. half of the N. W. quarter, section 23, 80 acres. On the 10th day of September, 1829, Benj. Cutler entered the E. half of the S. E. quarter, section 23, 80 acres. October 15th, 1829, Samuel Walker entered the W. half, N. W. quarter, section 23, 80 acres. October 19th, 1829, L. Wright and A. H. Martin entered the W. Half of the S. E. quarter, section 26, 80 acres.

First School was taught in a log cabin abandoned by squatters.

The Church, on section 18, erected in 1877, on Skelton Birkett's Farm, is of the Christian denomination.

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It is located on section 16, and was named in honor of William Todd, who first settled here in 1835. In 1856, an Englishman, John Turner, who was a shoemaker, built the first cabin in what is now the town, and began working at his trade. In a few years af ter the citizens in the neighborhood succeeded in getting a post office established here, and Mr. Turner was the first post-master, and held the position for a number of years. In 1866 John Noble, Wm. Roney, and Thomas Atkinson, built a brick building, an d began merchandizing; the store is now kept by R. C. Noble, who is the present post-master. Thomas Atkinson built another building, and is also engaged in the merchantile business at the point.

Wagon-maker. -- Joseph Pierce, sr.

Blacksmiths. -- John Nicholson and Joseph Pierce, jr.

Doctor. -- D. L. Davidson is the physician of the village.

The Independent Order of Good Templars, known as the Crystal Fountain Lodge No. 120, was organized in 1871 with 22 charter members. They built a nice hall in 1875, regular meetings are held every Saturday evening. (Present membership 40.)

Mail received every Wednesday and Saturday from Bethany, a station situate on the Decatur, Sullivan and Mattoon Railroad.

Drainage. -- The principal stream is the West Okay, entering in section 14, running south and east. Big Branch enters on section 15, flowing east to the Okaw and drains the north-eastern part of the township.

The following-named gentlemen have held the office of supervisor:

Skelton Birkett, elected in 1874, and re-elected in 1875. D. R. Wright, elected in 1876, and by re-election served until 1879. Skelton Birkett was elected in the spring of 1879, re-elected in 1880, and is the present incumbent.



AMONG the substantial leading agriculturists and prominent men of Shelby county, stands the name which heads this sketch. He is a native of Cumberland county, England, and was born near Kiswick, August 13th, 1820. The family is of Scotch descent on the paternal side, and pure English on the maternal. His father, John Birkett, was a substantial farmer and stock raiser, and was in good financial circumstances. He lived and died on the place he was born. His death occurred in November, 1873. He marrie d Mary Skelton, who died June 3d, 1840, in her forty-seventh year. By this union there were ten children -- seven sons and three daughters. Five of the children are yet living. The subject of this sketch is the fourth in the family. He spent his boyhood d ays at work upon the farm and in attending school, and received in the latter a good English education. On Christmas day 1839, he left home, and started out in the world to seek his fortune. He went to Santa Cruz Island, in the West Indies, where he was e mployed as a planter on a sugar plantation. He remained there for eight years and five months, when his health failing him, he came north to America, and landed in New York, where he stopped for two weeks. He then went to Stark county, Ohio; then to Cleve land, and from there by steamboat to Covington, Indiana; then came to Illinois, and stopped one week in Vermillion county, then went back to Covington, and from there to Terre Haute, and took the stage for Shelbyville, Ills., arriving there August 31st, 1 848. He went out to Todd's Point, where he found work on a farm for one year. The next year he entered a section of land in sec. 17, of Todd's Point township. It was raw open prairie, unimproved. The following winter he commenced breaking his land and fen ced one hundred and sixty acres. He purchased one hundred head of cattle, and seven hundred sheep, and began his prosperity by engaging in stock, sheep raising, and wool business, he also at the same time commenced permanent improvements, building a house , and outhouses for shelter for his stock. There upon that section of land he has made his home from that time to the present. He has added to his original entry of land, until he now has eleven hundred acres in one body, and all of the best quality, and as productive as the best in the county. Mr. Birkett has been one of the large land-owners of the state. He had at one time thirty-two hundred acres in this state and in Kansas, and what is somewhat remarkable, in Illinois there never was a cent of mortga ge on a foot of it. On the 13th of February, 1850, he was happily united in marriage to Miss Mary, daughter of Henry Bland. She was a native of Ohio, but was a resident of this county at the time of her marriage. She died February 9th, 1865, much regrette d by her friends, and mourned by a large circle of relatives. By this marriage there were seven children. Their names are: Henry, who at present is a resident of Springfield, Ills.; John, who was a resident of Kansas, and was drowned while bathing in the river. He was at the time of his death in his twenty-second year. Skelton, a farmer and resident of Greenwood county, Kansas: Harriet died in her second year; George, a farmer, also a resident of Greenwood county, Kas.; Mary and Elizabeth are yet at home. On the 17th of January, 1867, he married his present wife. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Lenover, daughter of John Lenover, an old citizen of Shelby county. By this latter marriage there were two children; one living, names Arthur Birkett, aged eight yea rs. Mr. Birkett is a member of the Episcopal Church of England. His wife is a member of the M.E. church, as was also his deceased wife. Politically Mr. Birkett was originally an Old Line Whig; then joined the Republican party, and in 1876 became a member of the Democratic Party. When he joined the latter organization he was convinced that a party long in power became corrupt, and that a change occasionally became necessary if the Republic and the perpetuity of free government was to be maintained. He has frequently been honored with offices of local trusts, and has represented his town-

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ship for four terms in the Board of Supervisors. He at present is a member of that body, and also a member of the Building Committee that have in charge the erection of the magnificent courthouse at the county seat. As one of the committee, he has watched with jealous care, every detail of the work, and when the building is completed, the public may be assured that they will have a house suitable to their wants, and built in a most substantial and enduring manner, and that, too, at a cost far less than pu blic buildings are usually built for. Mr. Birkett has been the architect of his own fortune. When he left his home in England his father gave him twenty-five pounds English money. That amount he returned to him the next year. He early learned habits of se lf-reliance, a trait characteristic of the English people. Being endowed with a strong, healthy constitution and an abundance of energy, backed by a large share of good common sense, he soon made a foundation upon which be has made for himself a comfortab le competency. In all of his transactions he has been guided by strict integrity. When his word is pledged, it is as good as his bond. What is true of him in his private life is equally true of him in a public capacity. In the latter he looks carefully af ter the interests of his constituents, and applies the same rule as in his private transactions or business. In his home he is a pleasant, hospitable English gentleman, making those who come beneath his roof feel that the are at home and welcome to the be st his house affords. The writer of this article can testify to the genuine hospitality and kindness shown him by both Mr. Birkett and his amiable wife on an occasion when he was made the recipient of their generous bounty and kind-hearted welcome. Mr. Bi rkett may be regarded as one of the old settlers of Shelby county. Thirty-two years have fled since first be made his home within her borders. When he came here the country was sparsely settled, and the great State of Illinois had not yet commenced her gi ant strides that has since placed her third in the union of states. To this prosperity he has contributed his mite and added to her material wealth. Few men in the county have done more in that direction than he has.


THE ancestry of the Davidson family, on the paternal side, is of Irish descent; and, on the maternal, a mixture of English and German. Samuel Davidson, the paternal grandfather, was a native of South Carolina; he emigrated to Illinois about the year 1800, eighteen years before the state was admitted into the Union, and settled in what is now known as Wayne county, where he remained until about the year 1833, when he removed to Macon county, and died there in 1840. He married a Miss Maze, who was born and raised in South Carolina. There were nine children born to them: Baxter W., the father of the subject of this sketch, is the youngest of the family; he was born in Wayne county Illinois in 1817. He was in his sixteenth year when his father removed to Maco n county. The family settled in Mt. Zion township and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He is still a resident of the above named township. He married Elizabeth Harbaugh, a native of Kentucky. She died March 1st, 1867. By this union there are seven childr en, all of whom have reached maturity. Mr. B. W. Davidson, after the death of his first wife, married Lovina Lash. Dr. D. L. Davidson is the eldest in the family; he was born in Mt. Zion township, Macon county, Illinois, January 6th, 1843. Like all boys r aised upon the farm, his time in his youth was employed during the summer months in work, and in the winter attending the

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district schools. At the age of sixteen he entered the Mt. Zion Academy, and remained there until the breaking out of the late war, when he put aside his books, and with patriotic ardor responded to the call for more troops. He enlisted as a private in Co . "C," One Hundred and Sixteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers; he was then in his twentieth year. He participated with his regiment in all the battles and skirmishes in which it was engaged, until the 22d of July, 1863, when he and forty others were captu red and made prisoners of war, while guarding a foraging train that was in quest of provender for horses in Battery " A." They were sent to Libby Prison and Belle Island, where they were kept in custody until the 22d of September following, when they were exchanged. He then returned home, where he remained some time. He rejoined his regiment at Kenesaw Mountains, Georgia, June 20th, 1864. At the battle before Atlanta on the 22d of July, 1864, he was again captured, together with nineteen hundred others. I n the charge upon the works, the command was repulsed, and fell back; but private Davidson was up to the breastworks, and was seized by three rebels and pulled over the works. He was taken to Andersonville prison-pen ; while there he was known as Sergeant Lowry; he had charge of one hundred men -- afterwards of five hundred -- and, before he was exchanged, had charge of three thousand. On the 21st of September he was taken to Jonesboro for exchange, but, owing to the armistice being broken up the day befo re his arrival, he was detained and taken to Millen, then to Savannah, from there to Blackshire, then to Thomasville, Albany, and from there back to Andersonville, where he arrived for the second time. He entered there on the 25th of December, 1864, and w as kept there until the 5th of April, 1865, when he was taken to Tallahassee, Florida, and there liberated, and marched through to Jacksonville, Fla., to the Union lines. He was then sent by ocean steamer to Annapolis, Md., and from there ordered to St. L ouis and Springfield, where he was paid off, and he returned home. His sufferings while in prison, particularly at Andersonville, were severe. In that prison he became blind, and remained so for three months ; the cause was a lack of proper nourishing foo d. In 1865, after his return home, he commenced the study of medicine, under the tuition and in the office of Dr. Blalock, of Mt. Zion. In the winter of 1866-7, he entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, remained there two terms, and graduated from that institution in February, 1868, with the degree of M D. He commenced the practice of his profession in Blue Mound, Macon county ; he continued there for six months, and then removed to Todd's Point, in Shelby county, where he has continued the practice wit h great success until the present. On the 28th of March, 1867, he was united in marriage to Miss Virginia McDowell, a native of Scotland county, Missouri, but a resident of Macon county at the time of her marriage. Three children have been born to them, t wo of whom are living -- their names are: Thomas Willburn, and Elizabeth Grace Davidson. Georgia May died in her third year.

Dr. Davidson is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He is also a member of the I.O.O.F. He is an earnest advocate of the cause of temperance, and has been particularly active in the organization of Good Templars' Lodge at Todd's point, and has filled all the offices in that order. Politically, he has been a life-long democrat. In the practice of medicine, Dr. Davidson belongs to the regular school. He is progressive, and keeps pace and is well posted in the new remedies and discoveries that ar e constantly being made in the healing art.

In his manners he is a plain, unassuming gentleman, and his character as a man and citizen is above reproach.

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THE subject of this sketch was born in Yorkshire, England, September 24th, 1823. John Foster, his father, was born in the same place in 1790. He married Ellen Atkinson. By this marriage there were six children, four sons and two daughters. In 1844, the family came to America, and settled in Stark county, Ohio. He remained there until 1849, when he came to Illinois and settled on sec. 20, in Todd's Point township, where he, in connection with his son Joseph, had entered a quarter section of land. Th ere be remained until February 19th, 1868, when he died. His wife died September 12th, 1866.

When they entered the land, it was new and unimproved. All of the improvements have been made since they settled there. Before leaving Ohio, and on the 11th of November, 1847, Joseph Foster married Mary Dobson, a native of Westmoreland County, England. Sh e was born June 24th, 1829. Her parents emigrated to America, and settled in Stark county, Ohio, in 1835. By this marriage there have been thirteen children, nine of whom are living. Their names are Mary Jane, wife of Sherman Dodge, John, died in his nint h year, Ellen, wife of Sylvester Carmer. She died in 1874. Alice, wife of Edward Boon, Sarah Frances, Joseph W., Maggie, wife of Joseph Deadman, Ida B., Amelia A., Edwin G., Clara, died in infancy, Effie M., Emma R., who died in her second year. Both Mr. and Mrs. Foster are members of the M. E. Church. He is a Republican in politics, and an advocate of temperance. He is among the successful farmers of Shelby county. He started in life poor, but by hard work and economy has succeeded in gaining a competenc y. He is much respected in his neighborhood.

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THE subject of this sketch was born in Licking county, Ohio, March 11, 1825. Peter B. Scott, his father, was a native of New Jersey. Joseph Scott, the paternal grandfather, was a native of Ireland. On the maternal side, the family is of Dutch ances try, and old settlers of this country. Peter B. Scott emigrated from New Jersey to Ohio about 1820, and settled in Licking county, where he followed the trade of blacksmith, and remained there until October, 1828, when he removed to Illinois, and settled near Washington, in Tazewell county, where he lived until his death in 1873. After a few years' residence in Illinois, he abandoned blacksmithing, and engaged in farming . He married Catharine Murphy, a native of New York city. She is still living-a resid ent of Galesburg, Ill. By this marriage there were eleven children, six boys and five girls. Seven of the children are still living. Peter P., one of the sons, was a soldier of the Mexican war, and was a member of Col. Baker's regiment. The father, Peter P., Sr., was a soldier of the Black Hawk war. James W. is the third in the family; he was about three years of age when the family came to Illinois; he remained at home until October, 1845, when he went to the cooper's trade, and worked at it for three ye ars. In the spring of 1850, in company with others, he started for California by the overland route. He left Pekin April 14th, and landed in California July 28th of the same year. He went to work in the mines, and continued until the spring of 1851, when be returned home with the intention of removing his family, but afterwards abandoned that project. He remained in Tazewell county until the spring of 1852, when he came to Shelby county on a prospecting tour, looking up government land. He entered one hun dred and sixty acres of prairie and eighty acres of timber land in this county the same year, and here he has made his residence until the present. The land he purchased was raw and unimproved, and all the improvements have been made by him. At the breaki ng out of the war he was a strong, uncompromising Union man, and gave evidence of the faith that was in him by enlisting as a private for three years in company G of the 115th Regt. Ill. Vol. infty. He enlisted August 13, 1862, and was sworn into the serv ice in September following. In November of the same year be was injured by being run over by a wagon in Lexington, Ky. He continued with his regiment until the 1st of June, when he was sent to the convalescent camp at Nashville, Tenn., and afterwards tran sferred to the 2d Battalion of the Invalid Corps. He was afterwards transferred into the Veteran Invalid Reserve Corps and sent to Indianapolis, to Camp Morton, to guard prisoners. On the night before the election, 1864 five hundred of the Veteran Reserve Corps were ordered to Chicago and put on duty, and kept on, without relief, for forty- eight hours. The object was to prevent the escape of the rebel prisoners confined there, who had made every arrangement to break prison and escape. Their plans were, h owever, frustrated by the extra vigilance of the guards. Ten days later the command removed to Indianapolis, where Mr. Scott was taken sick and went into hospital, and remained there until discharged, February 4, 1865. He returned home and re-engaged in f arming and stock-raising, in which business he has continued to the present. On the 17th of June, 1874, he was united in marriage to Miss Eliza daughter of Truman Tucker. She was born in Mead county, Ky. Her parents removed to Tasewell county in 1835.

Mrs. Scott died April 28th, 1878, aged fifty-one years. By this union there have been seven children, two sons and five daughters. Their names are James W., Esther Catharine, wife of Geo. W. Leach, Lizzie Ann, Ada Eliza, Emma Delila, Peter P., and Mary Ag nes Scott. Politically Mr. Scott was originally a member of the Old Line Whig party, and cast his first presidential vote for General Taylor in 1848. He continued a member of that party until its abandonment, when he joined the Republican organization, an d from 1860 to the present has been a staunch and ardent supporter of its principles: He has held various local offices in his township, such as assessor and collector. Mr. Scott may be regarded as one of the pioneers of Illinois, and one of the old settl ers of Shelby county. His youth, manhood, and maturer years, have all been passed in this state. In his home he is a pleasant, hospitable gentleman, and in his neighborhood where best known, he bears the reputation of an honorable and respected citizen. < P> ROBERT COOPER NOBLE.

THE Noble family trace back their history and genealogy for over two hundred years. Thomas Noble was the founder of the family. He lived in Brampton, near Penreth Westmoreland county, England. The oldest son of each succeeding generation took the n ame of Thomas. They were known in England as gentlemen farmers. Thomas, the father of the subject of the present sketch, emigrated to America about the year 1833, and settled in Stark county, Ohio, where he remained until his death, which occurred in Dece mber, 1848. A few years after, coming to Ohio Mr. Noble came west and purchased a large tract of land in Marrowbone township, Shelby county, now a part of Moultrie county, and stocked it with sheep, and commenced sheep grazing. He was very successful in a ll of his business undertakings, and would have amassed great wealth had he lived to any reasonable age. He was upon the high road to prosperity when he died. He was liberally educated, possessed of a broad and comprehensive mind, and endowed with great e nergy and business tact. He was instrumental in having a large number of his countrymen settle in Ohio, and in the northern part of Shelby county. His brother, John Noble, came to America about the year 1830, then returned to England, and again came here and settled in Petersburg, Virginia. He soon after came to Illinois and settled in Todd's Point township, where he acquired a large amount of land, and died in that township January 2d, 1864, leaving a large and valuable estate. Thomas Noble married Isabe lla Cooper, a native of Westmoreland county, England. She is still living on the old homestead in Stark county, Ohio, where Thomas Noble settled when he first came to the country. By this marriage there were five children, four sons and one daughter. Thre e of the sons are yet living. Robert Cooper Noble, the subject of this sketch, is the youngest of the family. He was born in Stark county, Ohio, February 21st, 1848. His youth was passed upon the farm and in the district schools, until his fourteenth year , when he entered the high school at Canal Dover, in Tuscarawas county, where he remained until his eighteenth year; then entered the Western Reserve College, in Summit county where he took a full classical course and remained for two years. He remained a t home until he was twenty-two years of age, then came to Illinois and settled in Todd's Point, where he purchased a stock of general merchandize, and there he has been engaged in trade to the present. On the 6th of December, 1871, he was united in marria ge to Miss Jane E. Harmount. She was born and reared in New Haven, Connecticut. Her mother is still a resident of that place. By this union there have been four children, two sons and two daughters, named: Isabella Jane, Mary Elizabeth, Robert William, an d Thomas Noble. The Noble family are members of the Episcopal Church. Mrs. Noble is a member of the Baptist church. Mr. Noble subscribes to none of the formulated creeds or religions, but believes in the teachings of the New

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Testament, and thinks it superior to any other code of morals. His theory of religion is based upon the divine precept of doing unto others as you would have others do unto you, and believes that by so doing you have filled all the requirements that const itute a good Christian.

Politically Mr. Noble is a member of the republican party. He takes no further part in politics than to exercise his right of suffrage. He is a man of liberal education, of considerable culture, and has a mind well stored with general and literary informa tion. His library is well stocked with works from the best authors. In his home he is a kind, hospitable gentleman, making all who come within his doors at home, and at ease.


ONE of the prominent English-born citizens of Shelby County is Mr. Turner, of Todd's Point township. The ancestry of the family on both sides is strictly English. They belong to the agricultural class, and have been tillers of the son, and chiefly engaged in husbandry for many generations past. John Turner, the father of the subject of this sketch, was a native of Lancashire, England. He lived and died there. His death occurred in the year 1870. He married Francis Muncaster, a native of the same pl ace. She survived her husband, and came to America after his death, and lived with her son John, and there remained until her death in 1877. By this union there are seven children living. John, the subject of this sketch, is the third in the family. He wa s born in Lancashire county, England, June 10th, 1833. He was raised upon the farm. He received in his youth a good English education in the common schools, and became sufficiently advanced to enter the Chester Diocesan College at Chester. He remained in college for two years; at the close of which time he determined to come to America. Putting his resolve into action, he left his native country and landed in America in April, 1856, and on the 27th of the same month arrived in Todd's Point, Shelby county, Illinois. The first year after his arrival here he worked on a farm, receiving for his pay eight dollars per month and board. In the winter he taught school. He continued to labor by the month on a farm for two years. After that time he rented one hundre d and twenty acres of land in the township and began its cultivation, but before the expiration of the year he purchased the land, and there upon that tract he has made his home until the present. When he purchased it there were about fifty acres partiall y improved; the balance was raw land. He went to work improving, beautifying and adorning it until he has now as fine a farm and as well improved, as can be seen in the county. A fine lithographic view of Mr. Turner's farm and residence is shown on anothe r page of this work. To his original purchase of one hundred and twenty he has added, until he has now four hundred and eighty acres of land.

In 1859, he, in connection with farming, commenced sheep-raising; he purchased 200 fine wool Merino sheep, and increased his flock to 1200, which has since been reduced by public and private sales. He afterwards introduced the breed of Shropshiredown shee p, and in the raising and grazing of both breeds he was quite successful. He did not confine himself to the raising of sheep, but had graded cattle also, that he bred and raised, but did not give much attention to the latter until 1874, when he commenced the introduction and breeding of Thoroughbred Short Horn Cattle from the most noted stock of English and American blood. He has now a herd of thirty, that in quality and fine breeds are unsurpassed in the state. Two years ago he put into market twenty hea d of his own raising and breeding, the heaviest lot of cattle probably ever raised or shipped from the county. Fourteen of them averaged nineteen hundred pounds. The whole lot averaged seventeen hundred and sixty pounds. They were shipped to New York, and from there to England. We mention this to show to what degree of excellence Mr. Turner has brought his stock. Mr. Turner ranks among the successful farmers and stock raisers of Shelby county. He is a man who has been liberally educated, and his mind has been further improved by varied and extensive reading. He is methodical and systematic, as everything around him shows. Added to these traits of character are industry and prudence. As an indication of the latter, when he came to Shelby county, he had sev enteen dollars in gold, his entire fortune, which he loaned out the next day after his arrival at ten per cent interest. These careful habits and good management have been productive of much good, and by their exercise he has secured a comfortable compete ncy. Some time after his arrival in Shelby county he was fortunate in being selected and appointed executor of a large estate left by a prominent and wealthy citizen of this county. His management of the estate, and the admirable and business-like manner in which he conducted it to a successful closing up, established him in the confidence and respect of the community. It also brought him the management and agency of other lands in Illinois, owned by English and Eastern capitalists, all of which has redou nded to his material interest and profit.

He is a member of the Episcopal church. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church. Politically he is and has been an ardent republican since casting his first vote in 1860. He is not an office-seeker; office has been tendered him, but he has steadil y refused to accept. He was elected supervisor for his township, but refused to qualify. On the 7th of March, 1861, he was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Atkinson, a native of Yorkshire, England. Her father, John Atkinson, is a resident of Moultrie coun ty, and one of the earliest settlers of that part of the country. By the marriage of John and Ellen Turner there are two children -- a son and daughter -- named Frances Alice and Alphonso John Turner; both of them at home.

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