Biography - Obediah Rich

OBEDIAH RICH, who owns one hundred acres of land on section 5, of Burnside Township, was born near Marion, Williamson County, October 31, 1839. His father, Obediah Rich, was born in Kentucky about 1798, and died in Williamson County, ILL, in October, 1839, a short time before the birth of the subject of this sketch. He was a boot and shoe maker by trade, and followed his calling most of his life. He married Miss Polly, a daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Fell) Crossland, who was a native of North Carolina, where her father followed farming for an occupation. He removed from North Carolina to Middle Tennessee, and some years later to southern Illinois, buying a farm in Williamson County from the Government, upon which he and his wife lived and died, he at eighty, and she about the same age, dying a short time before him. They had ten children, all of whom grew to maturity and married a long time before the parents died. The latter, who married in Illinois about 1830, went to Kentucky, where they lived until 1839. When they came to Illinois, .the father died on their journey, in Williamson County, at the home of a sister, at which time there were two sons and two daughters in the family, and the subject of this sketch was added to the number a few weeks afterward.
Mrs. Rich remained a widow, kept her children together, and reared them to maturity. Her husband had served in the Black Hawk War, and. the land warrant he had received from the Government in recognition of his services was laid out on eighty acres of land three miles from the present home of our subject. On this tract he built a small log cabin, 16x18 feet in dimensions and one story high, which was superseded some six years later by a good hewed-log house, and here the family was reared. All left home with the exception of Obediah, who remained with his mother until his marriage, at the age of twenty-one years, to his first wife, Mary A. Jane Burns, daughter of John and Anna Burns, after which his mother made her home with him. Obediah's wife died leaving one daughter, Mary Jane, now the wife of James Alexander, a prominent farmer of Burnside Township, and who has one son and two daughters. His second and present wife was Rachael Goddard, daughter of John and Susan (Casey) Goddard. Just prior to his first marriage Obediah bought eighty acres of land for about $400, of which about fifteen acres were improved, with a fairly good house thereon. To this house he took his first wife, and his heroic mother lived with him here until her death, which occurred in February, 1865, aged fifty-four years; she left the following children: Valentine, a farmer of Franklin County; Polly Ann, widow of the late William Burns, who lives at Creal Springs; and Obediah.
Mr. Rich, of this sketch, sold his first farm at a profit and since then has owned several farms, and moved to his present home in 1880. With the exception of about three years spent in defense of the flag of his country, he has been a farmer all his life. He enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois Infantry, in October, 1863, under Capt. Whiteaker, but spent a long time in the hospital in Memphis, Tenn., while sick with the typhoid fever and smallpox, during which time he was six weeks unconscious, hovering on the brink of the grave. After sufficiently recovering he rejoined his regiment and was in six or eight battles, including the memorable siege of Vicksburg. He remembers well, and was a great admirer of, Gen. John A. Logan, one of the best and bravest of the Union soldiers. Soon after Mr. Rich returned to his wife and mother the latter died, as did also one infant daughter by his first wife and one by his present wife. He has two children living: Valentine, a barber at New Burnside, who married Minnie Burton and has one daughter, and John, a .young man of twenty-one years, who is at home on the farm, and both he and his brother Valentine are considered well-educated young men. Our subject is a Republican politically, and both he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church.

Extracted 16 Apr 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 321-322.

Templates in Time