Marshall County
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SARGENT, Henry

Henry SARGENT, who resides upon section 15, Steuben township, Marshall county, has been a resident of the county for forty-one years. He traces his ancestry back to the twelfth century, one of the family being killed and another wounded at the downfall of Jerusalem in 1189. The first of the family to locate in this country was William SARGENT, a native of Northamptonshire, England, who came in 1638, and located at Malden, Massachusetts. The ancestry of our subject, beginning with William, is as follows: William, John, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, Daniel, Charles and Henry.

Charles SARGENT was a native of Worcester, Massachusetts. When the second war with Great Britain broke out, he enlisted in the marine service and served until after the close of the war, being discharged at New Orleans in 1815. From New Orleans he worked up the Mississippi river about 1816, and settled on a farm near Kaskaskia. He was soon after united in marriage with Sarah SMITH of St. Clair county, and continued to work the farm for some years afterward. He then removed to Belleville, Illinois, where he engaged in mercantile trade, and for some years was sheriff of the county.

Henry SARGENT, the son of Charles and Sarah (SMITH) SARGENT, was born on the farm of his parents in St. Clair county, Illinois, November 11, 1824. When he was seven years of age his parents removed to Belleville, where his boyhood and youth were passed. His educational advantages were limited to the common schools of that early day, and when old enough to be of service he was placed in his father’s store. He next went to work on a farm north of Belleville, and subsequently worked in a mill in company with his cousin.

Having accumulated a little money, our subject concluded to look around a little to see where he had best invest, and where he should make his permanent home. Accordingly, in 1853, he made a trip on foot through Missouri, Iowa and northern Illinois, taking in the far-famed city of Nauvoo, Illinois. He finally decided to locate near Lacon, that country suiting him better than any other visited. At that time the county was very thinly settled, those then living here having located near the Illinois river and smaller streams and in the timber districts. Two years later, in 1855, he took up his permanent abode here, purchasing a farm of George DRAKE, one mile west of Sparland. Mr. DRAKE was one of the pioneers of Marshall county, and was a brother-in-law of Asa and Samuel Ellis THOMPSON, who came from Athens county, Ohio, in 1834, being the first settlers to leave the river and take up their abode on the prairie. DRAKE subsequently removed to Texas, but the THOMPSONs lived and died here, the widow of Asa, Mary P. THOMPSON, surviving until Thanksgiving day, 1895, being the last of the family to reside here. Of the number residing here when Mr. SARGENT made settlement there remains but three – R. M. FRISBEY, David WATKINS and George MEAD.

Mr. SARGENT paid sixteen dollars per acre for his farm, it being partially improved. He could have gotten plenty of unimproved land at that time, but was afraid of the title. As soon as it came into his possession he commenced to make improvements, and as years went by the old house gave place to the new, and other tracts were added until at the present time his farm contains three hundred and three acres, with improvements fully abreast with the times. He has always followed mixed farming, dividing his time between the cultivation of grain and the raising of stock, principally hogs and cattle. At one time he had a very large flock of sheep, the wool industry of the country being at its height. With the low prices prevailing for wool, it has made this business unprofitable, and for that reason he has disposed of his flock. In other stock he has endeavored to keep a good grade, and usually feeds about one hundred head of hogs. His farm, which is a very productive one, is under laid with a fine vein of coal.

Mr. SARGENT was married in St. Clair county, Illinois, when twenty-nine years of age, to Miss Amelia F. WILLIAMS, who was born in Pickaway county, Ohio, February 4, 1835, and to them was born a family of eight children – William H., of South Riverside, California; George F., of the same place; Charles T., of Barton county, Missouri; James, manager of the home farm; Sarah, at home; Electa, who married Augustus GARRETT, of Steuben township, and Ellen and John, at home.

On account of advancing age Mr. SARGENT has given the management of the home farm into the hands of his son James, who has shown himself well qualified for the trust, having a practical knowledge of every detail of farm work, and an earnest desire to succeed. He is a young man of superior ability, one who will doubtless succeed in every undertaking. A member of Sparland lodge, No. 441, F. & A. M., he has taken interest in the work, and is well posted in the history and work of the order.

Our subject claims to be a dyed-in-the-wool republican, and his claim has been proved by his works. Since the organization of the party he has voted its ticket, and while mistakes may have been made by its leaders, he has never seen any reason why he should change his political views. Religiously, he is a Methodist “from the ground up,” and has been a member and active worker in the Bethel Methodist Episcopal church for a period of thirty years. Mrs. SARGENT was likewise a member of that church, and died in the full assurance of faith, July 5, 1895. She was a woman of quiet, domestic taste, a lover of home and family, and her death was mourned by not only the family, but a large circle of friends.

In the almost half century in which Mr. SARGENT has been a citizen of Marshall county, he has made many warm personal friends and but few enemies, and no man in Steuben township bears a better reputation for honesty and nobility of character.

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


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