Biography - Thomas Veatch

THOMAS F. VEATCH. Among the good citizens of Johnson County who are carrying forward its agricultural interests is Thomas F. Veatch, who has a farm pleasantly situated on section 1, Cache Township. He is descended from one of the earliest settlers of Johnson County, of which he is a native, born on a farm within its precincts on the 20th of September, 1844. His paternal grandfather, Green B. Veatch, was one of the earliest of those adventuresome spirits to penetrate the wilds of southern Illinois to establish a home in its forest wilds. He was a farmer by occupation, who, hoping to better his condition, had left his native State, North Carolina, with a wagon loaded with a few necessities, and had boldly pushed onward until he arrived in what is now Johnson County, which was then a literal wilderness, infested with wolves, panthers and other wild animals, and inhabited only by Indians, with but few exceptions. He constructed as best he could a log cabin, and entered upon his pioneer life under circumstances which might well cause the stoutest heart to quail. He and his family had to live on parched corn, which was pounded to make meal. After a while a mill was put up and operated by horse-power for grinding corn, when he would occasionally carry some to be ground, having to wait his turn with others. He worked diligently to clear his farm, cutting down line large trees, rolling the logs together and burning them to make room to sow his crops. He lived upon that place many years, but others coming in, he had an opportunity to sell it at a good price, and after disposing of it, opened up another farm near by, and died thereon at a ripe old age after having contributed materially to the growth of the county, which he had found heavily timbered, and without churches or schools or other signs of civilization.
Benjamin F. Veatch, the father of our subject, was born in the pioneer home of his parents in this county, and was reared amid its primitive scenes with but few advantages for self-improvement, as far as the schools of that day were concerned. They were taught on the subscription plan by teachers who were rarely qualified for their profession, reading and a slight knowledge of arithmetic being generally the extent of their learning, one who could "cipher in the 'rule of three'" being considered exceptionally learned. At the age of twenty young Benjamin left the parental home, and as an initial step toward a home of his own, married Elizabeth Mount, a native of this county. The newly wedded pair combined their forces and worked with willing hands and light hearts at their task. The young husband first rented land near the old place, and later bought some land in the neighborhood, built a log cabin for shelter, cleared and improved a farm, and lived upon it eighteen years. Disposing of it for a goodly sum of money, he bought another farm in Vienna Township, five miles to the south, and it is still in his possession, its well-tilled fields yielding him a comfortable income. Mr. Veatch's first wife died in 1853, leaving but one child, our subject, another having died in infancy. His second marriage united him with Elizabeth McKuen, a native of Johnson County, and to them were born seven children: James C. and Leroy C., who live in Vienna Township; Mary Jane, deceased; Allen, living on the farm; Martha and Rosa, at home with their parents; and William, who died in infancy.
Thomas Veatch attended the local schools in his boyhood, and obtained such an education as they offered. He early became familiar with every branch of farm work, and was a good practical farmer when he began his independent career as a farmer at the age of twenty-four. He had previously assisted his father, but he then married Miss Harriet Mathis, of Johnson County, and for six years rented a farm. Industry, thrift and wise economy enabled him to accumulate money, and at the end of that time he bought a place of his own, comprising eighty acres of unimproved land on section 1, Cache Township, and he has made of it one of the most desirable farms of the neighborhood. Here he and his family are deservedly enjoying the comforts of a substantial home. Of the six children born to him and his estimable wife, just one remains in the household, Fearl, the others having been early called to the home beyond. Mr. Veatch is a Christian gentleman, and an active working member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, he is a Democrat, and in all things he is a good citizen.

Extracted 17 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 170-171.

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