Biography - William Abbott

WILLIAM A. ABBOTT, a retired farmer, living with his son on a farm on section 4, Vienna Township, Johnson County, occupies an honorable position among the pioneers of Pope County, where he still owns a farm, which he reclaimed from the forest wilds of that region, purchasing his land from the Government.
Our subject is a native of North Carolina, and his father and mother were also natives of that State, which they removed to Tennessee and settled on a farm. From there they came to Illinois later in life and spent their declining years in Pope County, where they owned a farm. They had a family of ten children, of whom two are living besides our subject: Martha, wife of Newton Baker, of Pope County; and Cornelius, a farmer of that county.
William Abbott was a child of five years when his parents went to Tennessee, and the little education that lie obtained during his boyhood was gained at the subscription school taught in the locality where they lived. He was early set to work to help improve his father's farm, and remained an Inmate of the parental home until he was twenty-two years old. At that age he started in life for himself, and at the same time secured a wife in the person of Miss Jane Davis, a native of Tennessee, who has faithfully assisted him in his work. He rented a farm, upon which he resided one year, gathering a fair crop in repayment of his labor, and the following year he left Tennessee to cast in his lot with the pioneers of Illinois.
On coming to this State Mr. Abbott first settled in White County, where he farmed as a renter for a period of three years, meeting with reasonable success. Removing thence to Pope County, he rented land the first year, and then entered a quarter-section of Government land, and buying the cabin that had been built upon it, he moved into it with his family, and actively entered upon the hard task that lay before him of clearing his land and placing it under cultivation. On this there was fine timber, and out of it he made some rails, but had to burn some to get it out of the way, thus destroying lumber that would command a high price nowadays. In time he made of his land a good farm, and for thirty-nine years he made it his home and attended to its cultivation. In 1892 he rented it for a year, and took up his residence with his son in Johnson County, where he is enjoying the declining years of a busy life in comfort, well earned by his former toil, as he did his share of the work that has brought Pope County to its present condition. When he took up his abode in its forest wilds it was but sparsely settled, and there were but few civilizing influences to compensate the people who had come there from older settled portions of the country. They lived from the products of their farms, varied by wild game, and wore homespun. Educational facilities were limited to an occasional session of subscription school, taught in a log house, and these primitive school buildings also served for churches generally.
Mr. and Mrs. Abbott were blessed with ten children, as follows: Mary, wife of John Triplitt, of Pope County; Matilda, who died in Johnson County; James, a resident of Vienna Township; Joseph T., who died in Pope County; Nancy Jane, William and John deceased, all dying in Pope County; Catherine, wife of Joseph Bush; Freeman, a farmer of Johnson County; and Martha, who died in infancy.

Extracted 16 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 137-138.

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