Biography - James Veatch

JAMES ALBERT VEATCH, one of the oldest of the native-born citizens of Johnson County now residing in the county, was born in Vienna Precinct January 15, 1824. His father, Ishmael Veatch, was, it is thought, born in Maryland, and was the son of John and Nellie (Finks) Veatch. John Veatch, the grandfather of James Albert, was born in Scotland, and on coming to America settled in Maryland, thence went to Pope County, Ill., and from Pope to Johnson County, settling on a tract of Government land in Vienna Township. He did not enter the land, but held it as a claim for many years, residing there until his death, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. His wife died in her eighty-fifth year.
Ishmael Veatch learned the trade of a blacksmith, and did not come to Illinois with his parents, but came one year later, in 1822. He was married in the fall of that year and settled on a tract of land in Vienna Township. Here he lived about two years and then selected a tract of Government land in Simpson Township, on which he built a log house, and began to improve a farm. He was a resident of that place from that time until his death, which occurred when he was eighty-four years old. The maiden name of his wife was Parmelia Chapman, who was born in Ohio and was the daughter of Daniel and Lucretia Chapman. Daniel Chapman was born in England, and came to America at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, in which he served seven years in the interests of the Colonists. He came to Illinois about 1821 and located in what is now Simpson Township. His son Samuel entered the land included in the present site of the village of Bloomfield and secured the location of the county seat there; it did not remain there long, however, being later removed to Vienna. Before its removal he had entered the land which is now included in that village. The first court house was a temporary structure built of poles.
The grandfather of James Albert Veatch died in Simpson Township in 1871. The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Parmelia Chapman; she died on the home farm in her seventieth year, after having reared eight of her eleven children, viz.; Freeland, James A., Elmina, Lucinda, Melissa, Pleasant, Allen and Maria. Pleasant and Allen served in the war of the Rebellion, in which the latter was killed in the battle of Shiloh, and a biographical sketch of Pleasant appears elsewhere in this volume.
James A. Veatch was reared in his native township, and as there were then no free schools he received but little education. The only school he ever attended was taught on the subscription plan, in a log schoolhouse without any floor and with an old-fashioned fireplace. There was no furniture in the house, but logs laid on the ground with split poles extending from one to another were used as benches. There were then no railroads and consequently no convenient markets, and the people lived principally off the products of their farms and on wild game. The mother of the family used to card, spin and weave cloth for the clothing for .herself, her husband and children, and homespun clothes were the order of the day, while the father tanned his own leather, which was made into heavy shoes for the children. Farming was conducted on a very different plan from that now in vogue, and Mr. Veatch relates that at the time of his earliest recollection all the grain was cut with a reaping hook, and when cradles came in they were considered a great invention. His father went to Kentucky and brought back a scythe, making the frame work of the cradle himself. This was the first cradle ever used in Johnson County.
The subject of this sketch became an expert in the use of the cradle, and for some years cradled all the grain in the neighborhood. He lived with his parents until his marriage and then settled in this county, where he has since lived, in Simpson Township, and on the same farm where he now lives. This farm is located on sections 19 and 30, and contains two hundred and sixty-five acres of land, about one hundred and seventy of which are well improved and have good buildings thereon. Mr. Veatch was married in 1846, to Nancy Buchanan, who was born in Tennessee, and died in 1854. After his first wife's death, he was married to Laura Du Peister, who was also born in Tennessee, and who died in Johnson County, Ill., in 1864. He was next married to Matilda (Stone) Barnwell, who bore him three children: Sarah M., Francis M. and Jennie A. He has three children living by his first marriage, viz.: Thomas J., James C. and George, and by the second union there are four children living: Martha, Mary A., Lucinda and Amanda. Mr. Veatch is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Presbyterian Church, in which he has been an active worker for several years.

Extracted 12 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 356-357.

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