Biography - Etta Blanchfill

MRS. ETTA M. BLANCHFILL is a lady of culture and refinement, who presides with grace over her attractive home near the village of Vienna, and is successfully managing large interests with marked business ability. She was born at Oxford, Benton County, Ind., April 28, 1863, and is a daughter of John F. Mc Connell, who was a native of Virginia. When he was quite young, his parents removed from that State to Ohio, and thence to Benton County, Ind., where they were early settlers. The grandfather of our subject rose to prominence in the public life of that county, and was influential in its affairs. He held many positions of honor and trust, among them the office of Probate Judge, and was also a member of the State Legislature at one time. He lived to the advanced age of ninety years, and his memory is cherished and honored for the part he took in the upbuilding of the county where he founded a home. He was a man of good education, and taught school to some extent. He and his good wife reared a family of ten children.
The father of our subject grew to a vigorous manhood amid the pioneer environments of the home in the forest wilds of Indiana. He attended the common schools and learned what could be taught him there, and supplemented his education in after years by much reading, and was well informed on scientific, literary, political and other topics. The parents of our subject had twelve children, as follows: Etta M.; Elgin, a telegrapher; Lula H., who is teaching in Indiana; Alice, who was a teacher and died in Indiana; Chrissie, who died in infaucy; Victor, who resides at Atkinson, Ind.; Ernest, Vivian, Ray, Roy, Beatrice and Irma, who are at home.
The subject of this sketch is the first-born of the family. In her girlhood she was carefully trained in home duties, and she was given every advantage to obtain a liberal education, going from the public schools to Oxford Academy, where she studied some time under competent instructors, and then to Perdeu University, keeping up a high reputation in both institutions for excellency in scholarship. Thus rarely equipped for the profession, she began teaching when but sixteen years old, and taught until she was called upon to assume the responsibilities of wedded life, giving her hand in marriage to James B. Blanchfill September 11, 1883.
Mr. Blanchfill was born in Canada, March 13, 1834. In his boyhood he came to the United States with his father, mother and brother George, and they lived in La Fayette, Ind., until his father's death, in 1849. After that sad event, the mother removed with her two sons to Benton County, in the same State, and settled near Oxford. Mr. Blanchfill was educated in the common schools, and the bright, active lad developed into a wide-awake business man, of more than ordinary acumen, forethought and enterprise. His money was always judiciously invested, and he managed his affairs with such sagacity, energy and masterly ability, that fortune smiled upon his undertakings, and he accumulated wealth rapidly. He had a large amount of real estate in Johnson County, owning some ten hundred and seventy acres near Vienna, one hundred and fifty acres adjoining the town, and in November, 1866, he look up his residence here in order to look after his interests. He proved a decided acquisition to the citizenship of this county, ever displaying an active and wise public spirit that did much for its advancement, especially in agricultural matters. He was an enthusiast in regard to breeding good stock, and was instrumental in raising the standard thereof in this section of the State. His experience, accurate knowledge and rare judgment in that line were of great benefit to the farmers, rousing in them an interest in blooded stock, and leading them to improve the grade of their horses and cattle. He first introduced pure blooded horses into the county, bringing with him some very fine animals when he came here to settle. To the end that the interest thus awakened should be fostered and kept alive, Mr. Blanchfill succeeded in organizing the Fair Association of the county, which, with its pleasant grounds, attractive improvements and well-conducted fairs, has proved of great advantage to the people.
In the death of Mr. Blanchfill, May 15, 1890, Johnson County sustained an irreparable loss. All honor was paid to the memory of the departed, and the mortal remains of him who had been a public benefactor were reverently borne to their last resting-place in the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery at Vienna. He was a manly man, who combined strength of character with a warm, generous nature, and a frank, pleasant manner, which attracted to him many friends, who always found him steadfast and true in his friendship, while his family had in him a devoted husband and tender father. He left three children to mourn with their mother his untimely death. They are Georgia, Frank S. and Alice.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 234-235.

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