Biography - Andrew Fern

ANDREW JACKSON FERN is one of the native-born sons of Johnson County who has devoted himself to farming, and has contributed his quota to promoting the agricultural interests of this section of the State. He has a good-sized, well-improved farm, a part of which lies in Bloomfield Township, where he makes his home, and the remainder in Simpson Township, which is his birthplace. He was born December 25, 1847, to Lawrence W. and Ellen Fern, who are represented elsewhere in this work.
Our subject grew to man's estate in his native township, and was educated in its pioneer schools. The first one that he attended was taught in a log house that was furnished in the most primitive manner, the seats being made by splitting logs, hewing one side smooth, and inserting wooden pins for legs, there being no backs to the seats or desks in front. A plank, supported by wooden pins in the wall, served as a writing desk for the older pupils. There were no railways here in his youth, and Metropolis was the principal market. Deer and wild turkeys, as well as other game, were common.
Mr. Fern resided with his parents until he attained his majority, and then began farming for himself, his father giving him some land, and he bought more in his native township. Three years later he traded that property for the farm which he now owns and manages in the same township. He lived in that township until 1879, and then took up his residence across the line in Bloomfield Township, where sixty acres of his land are situated, the remainder comprising one hundred and ninety acres, and the whole is a very desirable, well-cultivated, productive farm.
In 1867, Mr. Fern took an important step in life, which has much enhanced his comfort, happiness and prosperity, as in that year he married Miss Viola, a daughter of Reed and Eliza (Thomas) Smoot, who were natives of Missouri, while she is a native of Johnson County. Her father was a young man when he came Eastward in 1846 and cast in his lot with the pioneers who had preceded him in this county, selecting a tract of land in Simpson Township. He built a log house, in which his daughter, Mrs. Fern, was born subsequently, and in the busy years that followed he cleared a farm from the wilderness, which was his home until he died. His widow is still living at a venerable age in Simpson Township.
Mr. and Mrs. Fern are blessed with eight children, whose names are Eliza A., James F., William R., Andrew J., Martin L., Sarah E., Della G. and Levi Logan. Our subject and his family are exemplary members of the Baptist Church, and their many good traits have won for them the thorough respect and esteem of their neighbors and all who know them. Mr. Fern has decided political views and champions the People's party and Prohibition as the causes most worthy of support.

Extracted 15 Apr 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 315-316.

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