Biography - William Reeves

WILLIAM J. REEVES, was born in Burnside Township, Johnson County, near his present home, in 1849. His father was Elijah Reeves, a native of Alabama, who at seven years of age was taken by his parents to Kentucky to what is now Marshall County. He was a son of Reuben and Nancy (Fox) Reeves, both of Alabama, who lived on a farm for many years in Kentucky and reared a large family of children. The grandfather of William J. Reeves died there at the age of sixty years, after which his widow came to southern Illinois to the home of her son Elijah, where she died at the age of seventy-one, years. The first wife of Elijah Reeves, and the mother of William J., was Nancy Reeder, daughter of Jesse Reeder. Mr. and Mrs. Reeves lived some ten years on their farm in Kentucky, and came to Johnson County with their three children during the winter of 1848-49, making the journey with their own team and driving their cattle before them. They were in humble circumstances, and took up one hundred and sixty acres of land, one and a-half miles from the present home of William J., to whom they sold their claim two years after settlement, when they bought a claim of another one hundred and sixty acres one and a-half miles west, with a small clearing, on which they built a small rude log house and there made a permanent home. They improved one hundred and forty acres of the land, and erected a good frame house and barn, residing here some thirty years, the mother dying in 1881, aged sixty-five years. They here buried four children, two dying in infancy, and Elizabeth, wife of Levi Lay, who died at the youthful age of eighteen years, and Martha, wife of Crayton Wood, who also died in her eighteenth year. There are now four living: John W. Reeves, a farmer in Kansas; Mary Jane, wife of Joseph Holland, a farmer in Arkansas; William J., and Minerva, wife of Samuel Burrel, a resident of Carmi, ILL. The father of this family died at Ozark in August, 1892, aged seventy-three years.
William J. Reeves, in his boyhood days secured but little education, and that was obtained in the district school, which afforded but few advantages. He was reared to farm life and labor, and remained at home until his marriage in his twentieth year to Lucinda Reeves, a distant relative. She was born in Kentucky and was the daughter of Wilson and Betsy (Nichols) Reeves. To this marriage have been born six sons and one daughter, of whom three died in youth. There are three sons and a daughter living: Lewis W., a farmer of Pope County, who has a wife and one son; Cora W., a young lady now at home; John W., a youth of sixteen years, who is still under the parental roof, and Fred O., who is eight years old, and at home attending school. Mr. Reeves appreciates a good education, and is doing what he can to educate his children. He and his wife began life without means, even borrowing money to pay for the marriage license. He rented land for two years, and then bought one hundred and six acres for $490; this was one and one-half miles from his present home. To the original farm he added forty acres, and within seven years traded it for his present farm of two hundred and twenty acres, going in debt to the extent of $2,000. During the eleven years he has lived upon this farm, he has paid off his debt and he is now one of the most prosperous farmers in this part of the State. He built his fine, large stock and hay barn in 1891, which is 64x64 feet in dimensions, has twenty-five foot posts and nine roomy box stalls. It was built at a cost of $1,120, and is the best barn in the county. Mr. Reeves is one of the thorough farmers, who believes in doing things well. He is a stock farmer and is dealing in stock and grain, of which he buys and ships many carloads during the year in partnership with H. S. Parsons. They ship to Chicago, St. Louis, Toledo, and to Southern points. He has been in the stock trade ten years, and in the grain trade two years. He has no time for public office but by a unanimous vote was elected School Director, and is also a Master Mason and votes the Democratic ticket, though for some years our subject has taken but little interest in politics. At present (1893) he is doing business at the old stand, which is at Washington City.

Extracted 09 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, page 324.

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