Biography - Mrs. Lisa House

Mrs. Lisa House, widow of Tennessee House, who is successfully managing her farm on section 13, Vienna Township, is surely entitled to an honorable place among farmers of Johnson County, as she is doing her share in advancing the agricultural interests of this region.  She is a native of Illinois and was born in Pope County 13 Feb 1849.  Her father was James Gillespie who was born and brought up on a Kentucky farm, whereon both his parents lived and died.  After he attained to manhood he set out from his old home with a team to seek fortune's favors in the wilds of southern Illinois.  He selected Pope County as the scene of the pioneer labors whereby he hoped to win an independence.  He was so fortunate as to secure a meet companion and faithful wife to share his toils in the person of Euphemia Barbara Lewis and they began life together on land that he bought.  They worked hard in the improvement of a farm, and in spite of hardships encountered and privations endured as pioneers made a home in which they lived in comfort until they closed their eyes in death, the mother dying in September 1864.  The old place has now passed out of the family and ins occupied by strangers.  The following were the children born to the worthy parents of our subject: Julia who died in Pope County; Mary Ann who married Jacob House and with her husband died in Pope County; Jane Ann, Mrs. Jesse Hodges of Vienna Twp; Henry who died in Pope County; Letha who died in Johnson County; William Theodore, a resident of Johnson County; Lisa; Lewis Filmore and Louisa, both of whom died in Pope County; and a child that died in infancy.  
 The subject of this biological review is the seventh of the family in order of birth.  She grew to womanhood well versed in all that pertains to the care of a household, and was well fitted to take charge of a home when she gave her heart and hand in marriage to Andrew W Alford.  Mr. Alford was a native of Mississippi, and was engaged at his occupation as a farmer when the war broke out.  9 Feb 1862 he laid aside his work to enter the service and was appointed ship's cook on board the United States gunboat "Tyler". He was afterward transferred to the United States ship "Mound City," and from there was sent to do duty on board of the ship "Great Western".  He was honorably discharged 13 Feb. 1865 with his health greatly impaired, and subsequently died in Kentucky.  By that union our subject had five children, all but two of whom died in infancy.  The survivors are, Louisa (W.M.Smith) of Vienna twp., and Harmon, who lives with his mother. 
 Our subject was married to Tennessee House 24 Mar 1881.  A native of Tennessee the latter grew up to the life of a farmer, obtaining a limited education in the common schools, but his natural shrewdness and industrious habits compensated him for the lack of book-learning.  He remained at home and hard at work until he enlisted in the Army in February 1864, becoming a member of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry.  He remained in the service until after the war closed, and was at length honorable discharged, 7 Aug. 1865 with a well-earned record for fidelity and good soldiership.  The terrible strain of a soldier's life had told upon his health and he never regained his former vigor, his death ultimately resulting from the effects of his army career.
After Mr. House's marriage with our subject, he commenced farming in Johnson County renting a farm three miles from Belknap.  He carried on that place a year, although laboring with difficulty on account of ill-health and the next year rented a farm a mile from that one, upon which he remained a year.  After that, he spent the ensuing year on still another farm and then removed to a place in the same neighborhood and there his life was brought to a close 4 January 1884.  A good and honest-minded citizen was thus lost to his community, one who had suffered for his patriotism and in all things had shown himself worthy of the respect accorded him.
By her husband's death, our subject was left without means, his sickness taking all their ready money, but her dower of strength, energy, thrift and ability to do well whatsoever she attempted, stood her in good stead, and she bravely facd the situation. So well did she manage, that in a few short years she was enabled to buy the farm on which she was living in Vienna Twp, and which she carries on with marked skill, with the advice and active assistance of her son. It comprises one hundred and nine acres of land and is exceedingly productive, yielding a good income to the careful cultivation to which it is subjected and Mrs. House is constantly making valuable improvements. She is now in comfortable circumstances and enjoys as she deserves the high regard of the people among whom she has cast her lot, who find her neighborly, hospitable and obliging. By her second marriage our subject had two children, Essie Lee who still brightens her home and Oscar C who died.

Extracted from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 141-142.

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