Biography - George Horsley

GEORGE W. HORSLEY was born in 1846, in the school district in which he now lives, in Tunnel Hill Township, Johnson County. His father, George T. Horsley, was born in Sumner County, Tenn., February 28, 1812, where his parents were pioneers, and died on their farm. The grandfather of George W. Horsley died young and left but one son, George T., who upon arriving at manhood's years married Susan Shaver, of Tennessee. After marriage they lived some years in that State and then came to Illinois with their first two children, in 1852. After raising one crop here they returned to Tennessee and spent another season, raising one crop, after which they next removed to Arkansas, and in the fall of 1854 or 1855 returned to Illinois. These various journeys were all made of course in the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen and, as they were poor people, they were obliged to stop when they could go no further.
Mr. Horsley, the father of our subject, was a farmer and mechanic and used to work at night making the old-fashioned hand-looms. While he never served a regular apprenticeship at any trade, yet he was so naturally a mechanic that he could do nearly all kinds of wood-work, blacksmithing and horse-shoeing. He was also a good carpenter and could build a house. He owned his first farm in Johnson County, which was settled on and deeded under the Bitt Act, and which comprised one hundred and sixty acres of land. Later on he purchased eighty acres of a settler and subsequently bought one hundred and twenty acres more for $300, about the year 1861. He at one time owned three hundred and sixty acres, and at his death owned one hundred and twenty acres, having given each of his children a small farm. Both he and his wife were active and zealous workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife died when George W. was about ten years old, and he died when about sixty-eight years old, having had three wives and having had ten children, six sons and four daughters, of whom two died young. The names of these ten children are as follows: John, who died in February, 1891, leaving three sons and four daughters; James, a farmer in Arkansas, who has one son and three daughters; Roland, who was a volunteer in the Thirty-first Illinois Infantry, served three years and died of disease at the age of twenty-three years; Frank, who died in early childhood; George W.; Mary Ann, wife of F. M. Provow, a farmer in Tennessee, who has ten children, six of them sons; Ivy M., a farmer of Johnson County, who has three sons and three daughters; Rebecca, wife of B. F. Cox, a farmer in this county, who has nine children; Lutetia, who died in infancy; and Lizzie, wife of Frank Cotton, a farmer of Johnson County, and who has three children.
George W. Horsley has been a farmer all his life, except for five winters, when he taught school. Though he had no college education, yet he was a successful teacher, and began teaching at seventeen years of age. He was in love with the work of the teacher, but failing health compelled him to abandon it for the farm. He was married in October, 1869, to Miss Mary A. Oliver, daughter of John and Susan (Stone) Oliver. Mr. Oliver was of Tennessee, but he and his wife were married in Illinois, and it was in this State that Mrs. Horsley was born. Her father died at his home farm in 1872, aged forty-five years, and his widow still survives on the farm, aged sixty-six years. Mrs. Horsley has two brothers and three sisters. She and her husband buried two sons and two daughters in infancy, and have one son and three daughters living, namely: Orpha, fifteen years old; Ollie, eleven; Evy, seven; and Otto, four. Our subject lived first for a few years on forty acres of land given him by his father, and then sold this and bought seventy acres where he now lives in 1870.
Mr. Horsley carries on mixed farming, and makes with his sorghum mill about five hundred gallons of syrup each year. He has always been a Republican and is a Master Mason, and has been Senior Warden, Tyler and Chaplain. Believing in education, he is giving his children the best advantages he can afford, and he and his family are respected residents of this vicinity.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 491-492.

Templates in Time