Biography - William Suit

WILLIAM J. SUIT, a resident of Elvira Township, Johnson County, was born in Carroll County, Tenn., October 28, 1829. His father was Bartlett Suit, who was born in North Carolina, and his father, William Suit, was also a native of North Carolina, who removed to Tennessee at an early day, cooking and camping on the way. William settled in Sumner County, bought a tract of land, and followed farming there until the time of his death. His wife, who in girlhood was Rebecca Wilson, was born in North Carolina, and died in Sumner County, Tenn. Bartlett Suit moved to Tennessee, and made the best of his opportunities to secure an education that would be useful to him. He commenced life for himself by teaching school when a young man in Hardin County, and after his marriage he settled in Carroll County, where he lived until 1833, when he removed to Graves County, Ky., and bought a tract of timber land six miles east of Mayfield, upon which he built a log house and began at once to improve his farm. For a few of the first years of his residence there he taught school during the winter season, and farmed in the summer months, continuing to do this for twelve years. He then sold his farm and bought another nine miles southwest of Mayfield, a tract of timber land like the first, and lived there until 1850, in which year he died. The maiden name of his wife was Elsie Nanney, and she was born, it is thought, in Carroll County, Tenn., and was the daughter of Jordan and Onie Nanney. Elsie Suit survived her husband some years, and after his death went to Missouri, later coming to Illinois, where she lived until the time of her death in 1882, at the age of seventy-three years. She reared nine children, viz: William, Thomas Alvin, Angeline, Ulysses, Mary J., Elzada, Winfield Scott, James M., and Sarah, deceased.
Our subject was four years old when his parents moved to Graves County, at which time that county was very sparsely settled and wild game of all kinds, such as deer and wild turkeys, was abundant. Mayfield was then but a hamlet and there were no free schools, so all the education William received was given him at home. He was twelve years old when his father was taken sick, and the care of the family and the hard work upon the farm devolved upon him. He resided with his mother one year after his father's death and then married the lady of his choice and engaged in mercantile business in Graves County. He remained there thus engaged until 1860, when he removed to Mississippi County, Mo., and was there engaged in farming two years, when he removed to Johnson County, Ill. Here he rented land for two years and then he purchased one hundred and three acres on section 29, in Elvira Township. At the end of two years he sold this farm at an advance over what he had given, and purchased the farm he now owns, which contains two hundred and eighty acres, one hundred and seventy-five acres of which are cleared. The improvements now rank with the best in the county. On March 27, 1890, all his buildings, including four dwelling-houses, were wrecked by a tornado, and this loss, added to other losses by the same storm, amounted to $4,000.
For ten years Mr. Suit was Treasurer of the Grange and operated a store during that time. At the time of its expiration he was engaged in mercantile life, and continued in business in all four years. The last two years he was in partnership with Thaddeus Proctor, to whom he sold his interest in 1892, and daring this time he also superintended the improvement of his farm. In 1852 he married Tabitha F. Beach, who was born near Nashville, Tenn., in September, 1829. Her father, Patrick Beach, was born in Virginia, and removed from that State to Tennessee and thence to Kentucky, living in Christian County for some time. Later he removed to Calloway County, where he died. His wife was Nanny Huston, who was born in Virginia and died in Johnson County, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Suit have two children living: Narcissa, who is the wife of Samuel Elkins, and James B. Mr. Suit has been a Mason since 1853, and is now a member of Vienna Lodge No. 150, A. F. & A. M. He was one of the original Republicans, voting for Fremont in 1856. He also voted for Lincoln and Grant, but since 1872 has been quite independent in politics, but has voted principally with the Democratic party.

Extracted 21 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 276-277

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