Biography - Francis Hazel

FRANCIS M. HAZEL, a farmer of much enterprise and business ability, who has a well-ordered farm on section 12, Grantsburg Township, and is also interested in the lumber trade at this point, comes of sturdy pioneer stock, and is a native of Pope County, born on the old family homestead August 2, 1859. His father was Alfred M. Hazel, who was born in Tennessee, and in the opening years of manhood came to Illinois with his father.
The paternal grandfather of our subject settled in Pope County in the early years of its settlement, coming hither by team through the intervening wilderness. He was a poor man, but made the best of his opportunities. He entered land from the Government, and the typical pioneer log house that he erected to shelter his family was his home the remainder of his days, and is still standing on the premises.
The father of our subject was brought up on a farm, and was of great assistance to his father in clearing his land and felling magnificent forest trees of primeval growth, that would now be almost priceless, and burning them to get them out of the way. He lived with his parents until his marriage to Martha Ellis, a native of Illinois, and then he moved onto some land that he entered in Pope County, and entered vigorously into the pioneer task of preparing it for cultivation. He subsequently removed to a farm on the so-called "Hog-eye Tract," and afterwards took up his residence on what is now known as the Simmons Farm. He improved that, laboring hard to carry out his plans, and made it his home for thirty years. Then selling that place, he bought a little farm of forty acres on section 12, Grantsburg Township. Four years later he disposed of that farm and retired from active business, living with his children until his death in July, 1886, and all that was mortal of liim was laid to rest in the Hazel graveyard. The mother died in 1888, and was buried in Morris graveyard. The father was twice married. His first wife bore him one child, Mary Jane, wife of Hamilton Triplett, of Panther Valley, Mo. His second marriage was to Vienna Dixon, and twelve children were born to them, of whom these four are living: Alfred Thomas, a farmer in Johnson County; Green W., a farmer in Pope County; Francis M; and Ruan, a resident of Pope County.
The subject of this sketch was reared to agricultural pursuits, and early became familiar with every kind of farm labor. He attended the common schools, but his education was necessarily limited, as he had but few advantages. He has, however, in a great measure, made up for his early deficiencies, experience, observation and reading teaching him much, and he is a well-informed man, having a practical knowledge of all things pertaining to business, etc. He remained at home until he was eighteen years of age, and then began life on his own account, working on a farm and in the timber. For two years he did not make much headway, but his prospects brightened the third year, and he contrived to lay up money the ensuing three years. At the end of that time he went to farming for himself, investing in a farm of one hundred and forty acres, which was but little improved, but his well-directed and untiring labors have wrought a great change, and it is now in a fine condition. He has increased its area from time to time, buying first twenty acres additional, then ten acres, and then twenty acres, and it now comprises one hundred and ninety acres of good land.
Mr. Hazel's attention is by no means confined to farming; he has branched out in other directions, and is interested in various enterprises. He is engaged to quite an extent in buying standing timber, employing a number of men to cut it, and he is part owner of a sawmill, from which he derives a good income. He is a live business man, and is quick to take advantage of all opportunities for making money by legitimate trade, his sagacity, keen foresight and native shrewdness carrying him successfully through any undertaking. A type of our self-made, self-educated men, he has developed into a good citizen, who is interested in all that pertains to the welfare of the community, and in public spirit is second to none of his neighbors. Appreciating the value of education, he is giving his children a chance to train the brain as well as the hands, by sending them to good schools.
Our subject owes much to the cheerful co-operation of his estimable wife, who was formerly Miss Ellen Morris, and was born on her father's farm in Johnson County. Her parents are both deceased. Her mother was from Tennessee, while her father was born in Illinois, and was a son of one of the early pioneer families. Mr. and Mrs. Hazel have had six children, as follows: Martha Jane, who lives at home; Ida Viola, deceased; Mary L., at home; Clement D., at home; a child that died in infancy; and Lillie, who died at the age of two years.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 208-209.

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