Marshall County
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PRINGLE, Robert

Robert PRINGLE. Among the well known men of Scottish birth, who have done much in developing the various industries of Marshall county, especially its farming interests, must be classed the subject of this sketch, who for more than forty years has resided on section 27, La Prairie township, where, with the help of his sons, he operates one of the best farms in this section. He was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, October 10, 1821, and is a son of Andrew and Elizabeth (PRINGLE) PRINGLE, the former a native of Selkirkshire, and the latter of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Although bearing the same name they were not relatives. Andrew PRINGLE, who was by occupation a shepherd and laboring man, came to the United States in 18500, stopping for a time in New York, and in 1853 came to Marshall county, where he died at the age of seventy-seven years. His good wife survived him some years, dying in her eighty-eighth year.

The boyhood and youth of our subject were spent in Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire, where he received a limited education, but where he was inured to hard work, commencing at a very early age upon a farm, and continued in that occupation the greater part of the time until coming to this country. While pursuing his farm work his thoughts often turned to the new world with its greater possibilities, he had learned, for the poor man. Relatives and friends had crossed the ocean and written back glowing accounts of the land which was destined to be his future home.

In 1848, when twenty-six years of age, Mr. PRINGLE bade farewell to the loved ones at home and set sail for the United States. Landing in New York city he proceeded to Ontario county, New York, where he remained about four years and a half, working at whatever he could find to do, and carefully saving his money. In December, 1852, he came to Marshall county, his relatives, the DAVIDSONs, having preceded him.

While yet residing in Ontario county, New York, Mr. PRINGLE was united in marriage with Miss Jeannette TURNBULL, a native of Roxburghshire, Scotland, and a sister of Robert TURNBULL, who settled temporarily in New York. To them were born seven children – Beatie, who married John TITUS, and died at the age of twenty-two; Lizzie, who married Robert SCOON of La Prairie township. They have four children living – Frank T., Clifford, Beatie, Jeanette; John Andrew, who married Lillie Stewart, who died October 23, 1893, leaving one child Lillian; Mary, Adam and Jennie at home. Mrs. PRINGLE died August 30, 1873. She was a woman of excellent character, a loving mother and faithful wife.

It was shortly after his marriage that Mr. PRINGLE came to Marshall county. On his arrival he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, a part of his present excellent homestead, for which he paid four dollars per acre. He had just money enough with which to pay for the land, but wishing to keep some for present use he only made a small cash payment. As the land was unimproved, he rented an improved farm, on which he resided until 1854, when he moved to his own land and commenced its improvement. A little later he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of improved land, and his life work was well begun. In the early days wheat was a sure crop and the soil yielded largely, making it a profitable cereal, notwithstanding the difficulty in marketing. As wheat raising became more and more uncertain, he changed to corn and stock-raising, in which he was quite successful. For some years he fed cattle, and his shipments have annually been from one to four car loads. He was also for a time a breeder of sheep, in which line he continued until that, too, proved unprofitable, when he abandoned it, but the industry has lately been taken up by his sons, with some success, they usually having a flock of some three hundred head on hand, and annually ship from two to four car loads.

Success has generally crowned the efforts of Mr. PRINGLE in the new world. To his original purchase of one hundred and sixty acres he has added from time to time other tracts until his farm consists of seven hundred acres in one body, all of which is operated by himself and sons. While confining himself generally to faming operations, he has occasionally ventured his means in other channels. On the organization of the Lacon woolen mills he became a stockholder to the extent of twenty-five shares. While this has not been as profitable as might be wished, two seasons of prosperity followed the venture, that during the Crimean war and near the close of the civil war.

Politically, Mr. PRINGLE has always been a stanch republican, he becoming an American citizen about the time of the birth of that party. He has neither accepted nor sought official position, his tastes not running in that channel. Like most of his kith and kin, he is a great admirer of Scotland’s greatest poet, Robert Burns, and in Scottish sports and festivities always has a lively interest. A good neighbor, a loyal citizen, he is greatly esteemed by all with whom he has been brought in contact.

Extracted March 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.


No history of Marshall county would be complete without mention of Robert PRINGLE, one of the most venerable citizens of La Prairie township, where for more than a half century he has made his home. Many events which have here occurred and are to others matters of history were to him matters of actual experience and he has watched with interest the growth and development of the county as it has emerged from frontier conditions to take on all of the evidences of a modern and progressive civilization.

A native of Dumfriesshire, Scotland, he was born on the 10th of October, 1821, his parents being Andrew and Elizabeth (PRINGLE) PRINGLE. The father was born in Selkirkshire, Scotland, October 30, 1793, and the mother's birth occurred in Dumfriesshire, October 15, 1800. Although of the same name, they were not related. In his native country Andrew PRINGLE was employed as a shepherd and as a laboring man, but rightly judging that the business opportunities of the new world would prove more advantageous he came to the United States in 1850, remaining for a time in New York. The year 1853, however, witnessed his arrival in Marshall county, where he spent his remaining days, passing away December 14, 1870, at the age of seventy-seven years. His wife survived him and died July 8, 1887, when in her eighty-eighth year. The members of their family were as follows : Adam, who was born in October, 1819, and died November 7, 1863; Robert, of this review; Jessie, who was born in April, 1823, and died in July, 1841 ; James, who was born in April, 1826, and died in April, 1892. William and Jane, twins, who were born in January, 1829, while the former died July 4, 1873, and the latter April 29, 1883 ; Christina, who was born In 1832 and died in 1837; John, who was born in 1835 and died in 1836; and Mrs. Betsy TROBRIDGE, who was born in 1839 and is living in Phillips county, Colorado, being the only living member of the family with the exception of our subject.

Robert PRINGLE of this review was reared in Roxburghshire, Scotland, where he acquired his education. His opportunities in that direction were somewhat limited, but his training at hard work was not meager and lessons of industry and economy were early instilled into his mind and in later years have borne rich fruit. He heard favorable reports of the new world and its advantages, which he compared with the business outlook before him in his native country. This comparison decided him to seek a home in America and in 1848, when twenty-six years of age, he bade adieu to friends and native land and took passage on a westward bound vessel. Landing in New York city, he thence made his way to Ontario county, New York, where he remained for four and a half years, during which time he scorned no employment that would yield him an honest living. He carefully saved his money, anxious to establish a business of his own, and in December, 1852, he came to Marshall county, Illinois, where he had an uncle and aunt living, and his parents and family followed him in 1853.

While still living in Ontario county, New York, Mr. PRINGLE was united in marriage to Miss Jeannette TURNBULL, a native of Roxburghshire, Scotland, and a sister of Robert Turnbull, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work. They traveled life's journey happily together for many years, but were separated by the death of the wife on the 30th of August, 1873. Their children were seven in number. Beatrice, who was born April 19, 1855, died March 22, 1877. She was the wife of John TITUS, a farmer of La Prairie township. Lizzie, born January 8, 1857, is the wife of Robert SCOON, who is a farmer by occupation and now lives in Denver, Colorado. They have three children: John, born October 10, 1858, operates the home farm. Andrew, born December 16, 1860, married Lillie Stewart, who died October 23, 1893, leaving a daughter, Lillian. For his second wife he chose Ida PECK and they have two children, Robert and Philip, who are living with them on the farm in La Prairie township, Marshall county. Mary, born December 8, 1862, is at home. Adam, who was born April 16, 1865, and was a student in Quincy College, died February 4, 1897. Jennie, born October 11, 1867, is at home.

Soon after his marriage Mr. PRINGLE came to Marshall county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, for which he paid four dollars per acre. This was unimproved and in consequence he rented an improved farm, on which he resided until 1854, when he removed to his own land and began its development. A little later he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land and he has added to his property until he now owns a valuable farm of three hundred and sixty acres on section 27, La Prairie town- ship. He has also carried on stock-raising, in which he has been quite successful, shipping large numbers of cattle annually. He was also at one time a breeder of sheep and on the organization of the Lacon woolen mills he became one of its stockholders. In his farming and stock-raising interests, of which he has had personal control, he has made creditable and gratifying success, and his life work is an illustration of the fact that the lack of means at the outset of a business career need prove no bar to later prosperity, for if one has determination and energy they can overcome all difficulties and obstacles in the path and gradually advance to the goal of prosperity. This Mr. PRINGLE has -done and is now accounted one of the prosperous as well as venerable and honored citizens of La Prairie township.

In politics he has been a stalwart advocate of republican principles since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has never had occasion to regret the resolution which he formed in early manhood to seek a home in the new world, for here he has found good business opportunities of which he' has taken advantage and has also gained here a comfortable home and won many friends, so that his life in America has been attended with much comfort and happiness. He has now passed the eighty-fifth milestone on life's journey and from his fellowmen he receives the veneration and respect which should ever be accorded one of his years.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.


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