Biography - Lemuel Laurence

LEMUEL L. LAURENCE, who lives in the village of New Burnside, Johnson County, was born in Graves County, Ky., August 12, 1838. His father was Henry G. Laurence, a farmer in Illinois and formerly a miller of Virginia, who had mills on his own farm. He was born in 1807, and went with his parents in his youth to Kentucky. His father, Thomas D. Laurence, was a native of Virginia, and served as a private soldier in the Revolutionary War. Lemuel L. Laurence has a relic of those olden days in the shape of a pair of very long stockings, made at home from the flax grown on his grandfather's farm, that the worthies of those days were in the habit of wearing with their knee breeches. These hose weigh nearly half a pound and tell the story of his great stature. He was twice married, and had by the two wives two sons and six daughters, of whom Henry G. Laurence was a son by the second wife. Thomas D. Laurence died in Kentucky at an advanced age, his widow living some years afterward and dying in 1852. Had she lived seven days longer she would have received a pension for the services of her husband in the Revolutionary War. Henry G. Laurence was a well-educated man and taught school in his early life. He married Sallie Balcom, a native of North Carolina.
After our subject's father's marriage, which occurred in Kentucky in 1825, he lived in Kentucky twenty-five years, and in the spring of 1850 emigrated from Kentucky to Illinois with his own team and covered wagon, bringing with him all his sheep and cattle. Mr. Laurence bought a squatter's claim of one hundred and twenty acres of land, and also other lands, until he owned in the aggregate three hundred and twenty acres, the patents to which our subject still has in his possession. When he moved to Illinois from Kentucky he had but limited means, and brought with him his wife, seven sons and three daughters, of which family Lemuel was the seventh child and sixth son. Of these children four sons and one daughter still survive, namely: Thomas N., the first born, a farmer of Pope County, and who was a member of Company B, Sixth Illinois Cavalry. Lemuel L., our subject, was also a member of the same company, going out as a Lieutenant in 1861, and serving about nine months from September, 1861, when he was severely wounded by receiving a charge from a double-barreled shotgun and from a rifle or pistol, four buckshot lodging in his arm and lung. This was on the march from Shawneetown to Paducah, Ky. William M. is a farmer of Simpson Township, now in impaired health. H. H. is a farmer of Burnside Township; and Sarah A. is the wife of James Farless, a farmer of Texas. The father of these children died on his farm March 14, 1861, in his fifty-fifth year. A large sycamore tree is now standing near New Burnside which was cut and used as a measure for his coffin by the undertaker at the time of his death, and afterward stuck in the ground near where the coffin was made. He was large and of fine figure, being six feet tall and weighing two hundred and ten pounds. His widow survived him many years, dying in 1887, eighty-two years old lacking seven days. She was born the same year as her husband, and they rest side by side in the old Reynoldsburgh Cemetery.
Lemuel L. Laurence was married May 7, 1857, to Phoebe Dalton, of Kentucky, daughter of Edwin and Eliza (Laurence) Dalton, but although their ancestors were of the same name they were not relatives. They came to Johnson County in 1852. Mr. Laurence has been a farmer most of his life, and lived for many years on the old home farm of which he was the owner. He now has a farm of one hundred and fifteen acres, which is a part of the old homestead on which his mother spent her last years with him. He bought his present home, a frame house, 24x75 feet in size, and two stories high, with a cellar underneath, with no mortgage upon it. This is the largest house in New Burnside, and was built in 1876 and in 1887 at a cost of about $3,000. He also owns several lots, which, together with the property above described, make a fine home, to which he moved in March, 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Laurence have buried one son and two daughters, who died either in infancy or early childhood. They have seven children living, five sons and two daughters, namely: David H., a farmer of Burnside Township, who has two sons and two daughters; Ulysses Grant, a farmer of Simpson Township, residing in Ozark, who has a wife, two sons and one daughter, his wife being a daughter of Rev. C. H. Caldwell; Maud, wife of W. L. Keltner, of New Burnside, who has two sons and two daughters; M. C., a dealer in musical instruments, who has a wife, but no children; Marshall L., a farmer of Burnside Township, who has one daughter; Josiah W., a young man living at home and attending school; and Ella, a young miss of sixteen years. All of these children have been well educated.
Mr. Laurence was a Justice of the Peace three and a-half years and School Director for many years, serving satisfactorily in that capacity. He was at one time an Odd Fellow and was formerly a Republican, but is now a member of the People's party. He was a member of William Laurence Post No. 538, G. A. R., recently disbanded, and in religion is a Free Thinker. He has never been sued in his life for any debt he contracted, and has in his possession the first and last note that he ever gave. He is a gentleman in every respect, his word is as good as his bond, and he is one in whom his fellow-men can put a great deal of trust.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 464-465.

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