Biography - Thomas Calhoon

THOMAS H. CALHOON resides in Goreville Township, Johnson County, and was born in Williamson County, Tenn., in 1831. His father, Jacob J. Calhoon, was born in the same county, about 1794, to George Calhoon, who was a mechanic, and followed blacksmithing most of his life. He was one of the pioneers of that part of Tennessee, having emigrated from North Carolina when a young man. He married Miss Patsy Julian, of North Carolina. The grandparents of Thomas H. reared six sons and one daughter, of whom Jacob J. was the first-born. One son, Hayes, died when a young man. George Calhoon died in 1843, when about seventy years of age. His wife survived him some seven years and died in Johnson County, when about seventy-six years of age.
Jacob J. Calhoon was reared to farm life, and had a very good education for that day. He was married in Tennessee, at the age of twenty-two, about 1825, to Miss Rebecca McCall, of Tennessee. He followed farming on his own farm in Tennessee until 1852, when he sold out and removed to this county, making his first permanent settlement on about eight hundred acres of land, a part of which was taken up upon land warrants received for services in the Jackson and Mexican Wars. The removal was made by means of a four-horse and a two-horse team in large covered wagons, the regular emigrant or Tennessee wagon, known otherwise as "prairie schooners." The six horses were fine large Tennessee horses, well broken and trained to the one line and the word. They were some weeks on the road at the time of the election of Franklin Pierce as President of the United States, and after stopping two weeks on the way, arrived in Johnson County in December. There were twelve children then, seven sons and five daughters, one young son, Samuel, having died at the age of fourteen years. The father of this family died on the farm first selected in 1856, aged sixty-two years, a victim of malarial fever, then so prevalent in this part of the State. The mother survived him some years, and died in 1869, at the age of seventy-two. Of her thirteen children there are now living five sons and four daughters, of whom the youngest is about forty-eight years of age. The brothers, with one exception, are farmers in Johnson County, and that one is a farmer in Arkansas. Their names are as follows: William, in Arkansas; J. F., Thomas H., Charles D. and G. J. The daughters are Mary A., wife of James Robinson, of Johnson County; Rebecca, wife of James V. Cumi, in Missouri; Frances A., wife of William Allen, of Washington, D. C.; and Sarah J., wife of Isaac Lovelace, of Johnson County.
Thomas H. Calhoon was brought upon the farm and his education was received in the subscription schools, or select schools. He lived at home with his parents until after his majority, coming with them to Illinois, and assisting them to start in this State. He then returned to Tennessee, where he was married to Mary Jane Robinson, in March, 1854. She was the daughter of William Robinson and his wife, Patsy Robinson, a cousin. Two years after their marriage they came to Illinois and settled at his present home, on eighty acres of land, on which his father had located a land warrant. This land was then in a state of nature, except that there was a small house in the woods. The first house was 18x20 feet in dimensions, one and a-half stories high, of large hewed logs, which would face a foot. He roofed it himself with hard-wood shingles, and built a good stone chimney, and put in a good hard-wood floor of six-inch plank. This house sheltered his family from 1860 to 1887, when he built his present frame house or cottage, 32x32 feet in size, with six large rooms and hall. This house has twenty-five fine large glass windows, the first having but one, of 8x10 inch glass, and that was for a long time the best dwelling for miles around.
Mr. Calhoon has now one hundred and eighty acres of land, having fallen heir to twenty acres. He bought eighty acres early in the '70s for ยง9 per acre of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and he was some seven years paying for it. This railroad company was always very lenient and kind to a purchaser, never dunning a man with his axe or grub hoe on his shoulder. Mr. and Mrs. Calhoon buried four infants, sons, and reared eight, five sons and three daughters. These children are as follows: Martha A., wife of William P. Thornton, a farmer living near her parents, and who has three sons and one daughter; William M., a farmer in the same vicinity, having a wife and one son; James A., who has a wife and one child; Sarah F., wife of Charles Grissom, a farmer near by, and who has one daughter; Charles R., residing on the home farm, having a wife and one son; Susan E., a young lady at home, and keeping house for her father; Jacob J., a young man of twenty-one, at home on the farm; and George B., a youth of seventeen, at home. These children are all fairly well educated, and the younger one especially, who purposes fitting himself for a teacher.
Mr. Calhoon lost his wife in 1877, when she was forty-one years old. He has, however, been fortunate in his children, the daughters taking the place of their mother in managing the domestic affairs of the household. He was a remarkably strong and healthy man up to July 1, 1892, when he was strangely attacked by what the doctors called sunstroke, and when he came to pay their bills he thought he was struck by a financial cyclone. He was unconscious for eight weeks, and when he regained consciousness, concluded that his great necessity was rest. He has always carried on mixed farming, and has served the township as Trustee and School Director many years. He has always been a Democrat, and has no expectation of changing his politics.

Extracted 29 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 527-528.

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