Captain Mark Whiteaker, a prominent and highly respected citizen of Johnson county and a veteran of the Civil war, now retired after a busy life devoted to agriculture and public service, is the scion of one of the oldest families of Southern Illinois. His birth occurred on the 28th day of March, 1833, on a farm in the southwestern corner of Williamson county, his parents being Hall and Elvira (Hall) Whiteaker, natives of Tennessee. Hall Whiteaker was the son of Mark Whiteaker, who came to Southern Illinois among the earliest pioneers, but who lost his life shortly after his arrival, in 1818.

Mark Whiteaker was reared upon the farm, receiving a practical training in its many departments and receiving his introduction to the "Three R's" behind a desk in the district school-room. He enlisted in Company G, of the One Hundred and Twentieth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at the outbreak of the Civil war. He took the initiative in the organization of the company in Johnson county and received the rank of captain. He was in service nearly one year, but was mustered out in June, 1863, on account of disability. He served in and around Memphis and did scout duty in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. In May 1862, he went to Vicksburg, but soon returned to Memphis and was quartered at Fort Pickering. Two brothers, William H. and John A., were in the same regiment and engaged in General Forrest's raid.

Captain Whiteaker was not the first of his family to come to the defense of the country in its hour of need, his maternal grandfather, John Dameron, having served in the Revolutionary war. John Dameron, who was English by birth, was one of the first pioneers of Burnside township, Johnson county.

When Captain Whiteaker was twenty-five years of age he purchased forty acres of land in Burnside township, one mile west of New Burnside. Not long afterward he bought twenty acres more and later one hundred and twenty, making in all a good sized farm of one hundred and eighty acres. Upon this he resided from his marriage in 1860 until 1882. In that year he was elected sheriff, and rented a farm one mile north of Vienna and lived there during his term of sheriff, which lasted until 1886. He then bought the one hundred and sixty acre farm which he had been renting and upon this made his residence until 1902, when he sold it and bought forty acres in Bloomfield township, where he lived until 1907. With the competence won by many years of diligence and thrift, he decided to retire from the more strenuous duties of life, and disposing of his farm land, removed" to Vienna, where he now lives, secure in the high regard of all whoknow him.

Captain Whiteaker has made a good record as a public official, always serving with credit to himself and profit to his constituents. He was a county commissioner, or member of the county court, from 1864 to 1868; he served a four year term as constable of Burnside township; was twelve years justice of the peace in the same township and held the same office" in Vienna township for four years. For the past two years he has been police magistrate. In all the length and breadth of Johnson county it is safe to say no one is better or more favorably known than this venerable and public-spirited citizen. He has ever given heart and hand to the men and measure of the Republican party and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Fraternally he is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Captain Whiteaker was happily married October 24, 1860, to Elizabeth Deaton, daughter of William and Martha Beaton, natives of Alabama, who located in Southern Illinois at an early date.

Captain and Mrs. Whiteaker became the parents of eleven children, two of whom died when young and the following being an enumeration of the number: Arista Ann (McElroy); Martha Elvira (Burris); Geneva A. (Brown); Dr. Hall Whiteaker, Jr.; William J.; Thomas H., who lost his life on the Illinois Central Railroad; Charles Franklin, deceased; Elizabeth (Mathis); and Daisy Gertrude (Compton.)

Extracted 07 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George Washington Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1328-1330.

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