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JACKSON, B. Kilbourn

B. Kilbourn JACKSON, of section 20, Richland township, has spent his entire life in Marshal county, and, as boy and man, has witnessed the many changes in transforming the wild prairie and heavy timber land into fine and productive farms and flourishing villages.

Andrew JACKSON, the father of our subject, was born in Barbersville, Kentucky, December 8, 1804, and was a son of John JACKSON, one of the very early settlers of the blue grass state. He there grew to manhood, and moving to Indiana, there married Mary GRAY, a native of Kentucky, born in 1803, and a daughter of John GRAY, who moved to Marshall county early in the ‘30s, but returned soon after to Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his life.

In the spring of 1835, Andrew JACKSON with his family moved to Marshall county, coming by teams from their Indiana home, and bringing with them a number of head of cattle, sheep and other stock. On his arrival he purchased the farm on section 20, Richland township, which is now owned by James IRWIN, but with he subsequently sold to Mr. HOOVER. On selling his first land he purchased the farm now owned by our subject, which he made his permanent home.

On coming to this county Mr. Jackson found a wild and unimproved country with settlers few and far between. With characteristic energy he went to work to clear the land and make for himself and family a home. Those now living in this favored locality cannot for a moment realize the hardships endured by the pioneers. When it is remembered that railroads were then unknown, that there were neither markets for what was raised, nor money to be had if a market was found, some idea may be formed of the sufferings of those who were the harbingers in the wilderness.

Two years after his settlement here the panic of 1837 set in and until after the campaign of 1840 times were indeed hard. Postage on letters was twenty-five cents each, and one was lucky to obtain the coveted “quarter” with which to pay it, and often letters remained in possession of the postmaster for months until even that small amount of money could be obtained. Frequently Mr. JACKSON went into the timber and split rails for his more fortunate neighbors for fifty cents per hundred, taking his pay in whatever article that could be agreed upon.

In the early days Andrew JACKSON was quite active in local affairs, and assisted in the organization of the township, and served for a time as township supervisor. He was once elected justice of the peace, but declined to serve. In politics he was a whig until the dissolution of that party, after which he was a thorough and consistent republican, being conscientiously opposed to slavery.

To Andrew Jackson and wife where born five children: Mary Ann, who died at the age of two years; Elizabeth M., now deceased; Margaret, now the wife of James MONAGHAN; Catherine, deceased, and B. Kilbourn, of this sketch. The parents were members of the Christian church, in which body the father took an active part. He was a man well versed in the scriptures and the various religious problems of the day. Both died on the old homestead, the father July 28, 1888, and the mother March 17, 1881.

B. Kilbourn JACKSON, of whom we now write, grew to manhood on the farm where he now lives, and received his education in the subscription schools of pioneer times, before the organization of the present school system. He remained at home assisting his father in the farm work until long after having attained his majority. The war for the union having commenced his patriotic blood was stirred, and in August, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, Seventy-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry under Captain Robert Brock, which was raised in Lacon and vicinity. The regiment was organized at Peoria under Colonel Balance, who was later succeeded by Colonel Grier.

After organization the regiment was sent to Cincinnati, and crossing the river to Covington, Kentucky, it operated in that state in the vicinity of Cynthiana, Paris, Richmond and Falmouth. It was then sent by boat to Vicksburg and was all through the siege against that city, resulting in its capitulation July 3, 1863, and in the opening of the Mississippi river below that point.

From Vicksburg the regiment was sent on the Red river expedition under General Banks, and at Alexandria, Louisiana, our subject was taken prisoner by the enemy, and from April 8, 1864, until May 27, 1865, passed through such an experience in rebel prisons as will ever be to him while life shall last a terrible nightmare. When finally released he was a veritable skeleton, and with health almost completely destroyed. On being released he was sent to New Orleans, then to St. Louis, and on to Springfield, Illinois, where he was mustered out and honorably discharged in July, 1865, having seen nearly three years of extremely hard service. In battle he had his clothes pierced by rebel bullets, but suffered no wound.

Returning home a badly wrecked man physically, he spent some little time recuperating, after which he again engaged in his old occupation of farming, which has been his life work. For some years after his return from the army he remained a bachelor, but on January 3, 1878, he was united in marriage with Miss Clara May BENSON, who was born in Richland township, April 29, 1859, and a daughter of Luke BENSON, now a resident of Oklahoma. By this union were born five children: Mary Elizabeth, Edith Jane, Benjamin Andrew, Annie Pearl and Luke Logan. The mother of these children died September 16, 1886. She was a woman of kind disposition, a loving wife and mother, and her death was sincerely mourned, not alone by the family, but friends of whom she had many.

After his marriage Mr. JACKSON located upon a farm, where he remained until the death of his wife, when he moved to his present place then the home of his father and a sister. The farm comprises one hundred and ninety acres of highly productive land, and is under average improvement. While giving almost his entire time to his farm duties, Mr. JACKSON has served his district as school director for some years, taking a very active interest in educational matters. Politically, he is a republican, and fraternally a member of Lacon post, No. 134, G. A. R. His record as a soldier is a commendable one, and as a citizen no man enjoys the respect of friends and acquaintances to a greater degree.

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

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