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JUDD, Benjamin

Benjamin JUDD is a retired farmer living in Wenona. His father, Thomas JUDD, was a native of Wilkes county, North Carolina, born in 1800, a son of John JUDD, of English descent, who died in North Carolina. The latter came to this country as a soldier in the British army during the Revolutionary war, and at its close decided to remain in this country, and settled in North Carolina, where he spent the remainder of his life.

Thomas JUDD, the father of our subject, married Elizabeth DARNELL, also a native of Wilkes county, North Carolina, born in 1803, and a daughter of Benjamin DARNELL, who came to Marshall county in 1828, locating on Sandy creek, in what is now Evans township. He was the first white man to settle in that township, and made his settlement in the edge of the timber. Before coming to Marshall county he had read medicine, and engaged in practice. He came to this county with his wife and ten children in a large paneled box wagon, with room enough in it for several to sleep. On reaching the county they camped at Crow creek at a place called Bennington’s Grove. At that time his nearest and only white neighbor was Jesse ROBERTS, who had located in what is now Roberts township, some six miles distant. Indians were quite numerous and during the time of the Black Hawk war a fort was built on his farm, enclosing his log cabin. It was used as a refuge for families for miles around. Two of his sons served in Colonel John STRAWN’s regiment during that struggle. In 1839 he left his farm, went to Kendall county, Illinois, improved a new farm there and located his children around him. He died there in 1856. The children were Elizabeth, John, James, Enoch, Larkins, Benjamin, Abram, Mrs. Polly ADAMS, Mrs. Susan HOLLENBACK and Lucy. The last named died at the age of fourteen years, and was the first death in Evans township and the first to be interred in the Cumberland cemetery located on the old Darnell farm. The others are also now deceased.

The parents of our subject were married in North Carolina, where the father engaged in farming until 1831, when they came to Marshall county and located in Evans township, adjoining the Darnell farm on the north. He built a log cabin in the edge of the timber on Sandy creek, and there remained until his death in January, 1848. The mother remained on the farm after the death of her husband and there reared her family. She died at the age of seventy-six years, and the remains of husband and wife lie side by side in Cumberland cemetery. They were the parents of ten children – Alfred, deceased; Mrs. Nancy GANTS; John and Thomas, deceased; Benjamin, our subject; Mrs. Elizabeth FRENCH, deceased; Frances, deceased; Mrs. Matilda BROWN, living in Wenona; William and Almira, deceased.

Before his death Thomas JUDD greatly improved his farm, leaving it in good condition to his wife and children. He was a well educated man, an old school teacher, and served as county commissioner of schools at one time. He was also a justice of the peace for many years. On coming to this county he was comparatively a poor man, and in the few years of his life here acquired a competency.

The subject of this sketch is the only surviving son of Thomas and Elizabeth (DARNELL) JUDD. He was born March 14, 1829, in Wilkes county, North Carolina, and was but two years old when he came with his parents to Marshall county. He was terribly afraid of the Indians and many a time crawled under the bed when they came to the house. At one time the red men camped on Sandy creek, about twenty-five rods from the cabin of his father, and there remained for some time and often visited the house for provisions. Benjamin was reared on the old Judd farm in Evans township, and received a limited education in the subscription schools of pioneer days. At the age of nineteen years he began life for himself, working on the old home farm on the shares.

On the 20th of November, 1851, Mr. JUDD was united in marriage with Miss Frances TALBOT, a native of Chester county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Nathan TALBOT, who came from England to America in 1830, locating in Pennsylvania, from which state he moved to Marshall county, Illinois, in 1842, settling in Hopewell township, where the mother of Mrs. JUDD died. He subsequently remarried and moved to Evans township, in 1851, where he remained for a time and then returned to Hopewell township, and later went to Long Point, Illinois, where he died. By his first marriage there were ten children – John, Mathias, Nathan, William, Peter, Margaret, Mrs. JUDD, Elizabeth, Jane and Mrs. Rachel LYONS. Two of his sons, John and James, served in the civil war.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. JUDD lived on the old JUDD farm until 1865, then moved to section 16, Evans township, there lived until 1886, when they removed to Wenona, and have since lived retired. Our subject was quite a successful farmer, and it is said that he raised more acres of corn than any other man in Evans township. He planted and harvested forty-two crops of corn in succession.

Mr. and Mrs. JUDD are the parents of seven children – Adeline, now the wife of Lutelus W. KEMP, lives in Evans township, and is the mother of five children: Nelson Perry married Elizabeth WILSON, by whom he has eight children, and the family now reside on the JUDD farm; James Ashley married Della HAWS, by whom he had four children, and they too reside on the old JUDD farm; Thomas D., who is a furniture dealer and undertaker in Wenona, married Ida WILSON, by whom he has one child; Clara Jane resides at home; Mary Frances married Alonzo D. BROWN, principal of the Wenona grammar schools, by whom she has two children; Julia Dell also resides at home.

Mrs. JUDD is a member of the Presbyterian church, and takes an active interest in the work of that body. Mr. JUDD is connected with the Masonic order, belonging to the blue lodge at Wenona and the chapter at Rutland, Illinois. He has passed through all the chairs of the former and has been a delegate to the Grand lodge. He has always taken a deep interest in Masonry. In politics he is a democrat of the old school and has served in many of the local offices of his township. To each of his children he has given a good education and has prepared them for useful lives. He is the oldest living resident of Evans township, and perhaps the oldest resident of the county.

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

Benjamin JUDD is today the oldest resident of Marshall county in years of continuous connection with this portion of the state, and as such he was honored at the old settlers' reunion held in Lacon on the 6th of September, 1906. His memory compasses the period of pioneer development as well as of later day progress, and he relates many interesting events concerning the early days when the typical home on the prairie was the log cabin and when all of the evidences of frontier life were to be seen. He was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina, March 14, 1829, and was therefore but two years old when brought by his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (DARNELL) JUDD, to Marshall county in 1831. His grandfather, John JUDD, who died in North Carolina, was of English lineage. He came to this country as a soldier in the British army during the Revolutionary war, and at the close of hostilities decided to remain in the new world, settling in North Carolina, where he spent his remaining days.

Thomas JUDD, the father of our subject, was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina, in 1800, and having arrived at years of maturity was married there to Elizabeth DARNELL, also a native of that county, born in 1803. Her father was Benjamin DARNELL, who came to Marshall county, Illinois, in 1828, settling on Sandy creek, in what is now Evans township. He was the first white settler of that township, and made his home in the edge of the timber. Before coming to the middle west he had read medicine, and here engaged in practice. The journey westward was made in a large paneled box wagon with room enough in it for several to sleep. He was accompanied by his wife and ten children, and on reaching the county they camped on Crow creek at a place called Bennington's Grove. At that time his nearest and in fact his only white neighbor was Jesse ROBERTS, who had located in what is now Roberts township, six miles distant. Indians were quite numerous and during the time of the Black Hawk war a fort was built on his farm enclosing his log cabin and called Fort Darnell. It was used as a place of refuge by families for miles around. Two of his sons served in Colonel John STRAWN's regiment during that struggle. In 1839 Benjamin Darnell left his farm in Marshall county and removed to Kendall county, Illinois, where he opened up another farm and located his children around him. There he died in 1856. The children were: Elizabeth, John, James, Enoch, Larkins, Benjamin, Abram, Mrs. Polly ADAMS, Mrs. Susan HOLLENBACK and Lucy. The last named died at the age of fourteen years and hers was the first death in Evans township and the first to be interred in the Cumberland cemetery located on the old Darnell farm. The others are also now deceased. The parents of our subject were married in North Carolina, where the father engaged in farming until 1831, when they came to Marshall county and located in Evans township, adjoining the Darnell farm on the north. He built a log cabin in the edge of the timber on Sandy creek, and there remained until his death in January, 1848. The mother remained on the farm after the death of her husband and there reared her family. She died at the age of seventy-six years, and the remains of husband and wife lie side by side in Cumberland cemetery. They were the parents of ten children Alfred, deceased; Mrs. Nancy GANTS; John and Thomas, deceased; Benjamin, our subject; Mrs. Elizabeth FRENCH, deceased; Frances, deceased; Mrs. Matilda BROWN, living in Wenona; William and Almira, deceased. Before his death Thomas JUDD greatly improved his farm, leaving it in good condition to his wife and children. He was a well educated man, an old school teacher, and served as county commissioner of schools at one time. He was also a justice of the peace for many years. On coming to this county he was comparatively a poor man, and in the few years of his life here acquired a competency.

Benjamin JUDD is the only surviving member of his father's family and is now in his seventy-eighth year. He is still a hale and hearty man, enjoying good health and weighing two hundred and seventeen pounds. He seems to possess the vigor and strength of a man in his prime and when seen by the writer of this article was found digging potatoes. He was reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life, being brought to the county prior to the Black Hawk war. He relates that many a time, being very much afraid of the Indians, he crawled under the bed when they came to the house. At one time the red men camped on Sandy creek about twenty-five rods from his father's cabin and there remained for several days, often visiting the house for provisions. There were few settlers in Marshall county or the northern portion of the state and Mr. JUDD remembers being in Chicago when the metropolis was- not as large as Wenona and well remembers seeing old Fort Dearborn there. Most of the homes were built of logs, were heated by immense fire places, over which the family meal was also prepared, and were lighted by candles. One could ride for miles over the prairie without coming to a house or fence to impede his progress and the timber along the streams was uncut. Gradually, however, settlers came from the south and the east and wrought a marked transformation in the appearance of the country, converting its wild lands into rich and productive farms. Upon the old JUDD homestead farm in Evans township the subject of this review was reared. He attended the subscription schools of the pioneer days, but the meager advantages of that period made his education rather limited, but reading, experience and observation in later years have counteracted this early deficiency. At the age of nineteen years he entered upon an independent business career by operating the old home farm on the shares and he still owns a portion of that farm, which his father entered from the government in about 1839, and he has never had a mortgage upon it.

On the 20th of November, 1851, Mr. JUDD was united in marriage with Miss Frances TALBOT, a native of Chester county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Nathan TALBOT, who came from England to America in 1830, locating in Pennsylvania, from which state he moved to Marshall county, Illinois, in 1842, settling in Hopewell township, where the mother of Mrs. JUDD died. He subsequently remarried and moved to Evans township, in 1851, where he remained for a time and then returned to Hopewell township, and later went to Long Point, Illinois, where he died. By his first marriage there were ten children John, Mathias, Nathan, William, Peter, Margaret, Mrs. JUDD, Elizabeth, Jane and Mrs. Rachel LYONS. Two of his sons, John and James, served in the Civil war.

Mr. and Mrs. JUDD are the parents of seven children Adeline, now the wife of Lutelus W. KEMP, lives in Evans township, and is the mother of five children; Nelson Perry married Elizabeth WILSON, by whom he has eight children, and the family now reside on the JUDD farm ; James Ashley married Delia HAWS, by whom he had four children, and they too reside on the old JUDD farm; Thomas D., who is a furniture dealer and undertaker in Wenona, married Ida WILSON, by whom he has one child; Clara Jane resides at home; Mary Frances married Alonzo D. BROWN, principal of the Wenona grammar schools, by whom she has two children; Julia Dell, also resides at home.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. JUDD continued to reside upon the old homestead farm until 1865, when they removed to section 16, Evans township, there living until 1886, when they became residents of Wenona, since which time Mr. JUDD has been retired from active business cares. He was a prosperous and enterprising farmer and it is said that he raised more acres of corn than any other man in Evans township, planting and harvesting forty-two crops of corn in succession. His former success enables him now to enjoy the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. He is a remarkably well preserved man and enjoys life today as though he were but fifty years old. In spirit and interest he seems yet in his prime. He belongs to the Masonic lodge at Wenona and the chapter at Rutland and has passed through all of the chairs of the former and been a delegate to the grand lodge. Recently he gave to the lodge a gavel made from lumber which he had preserved from the old Fort Darnell and he also gave one to the Old Settlers' Society at the reunion held in Lacon, September 6, 1906. The lumber was solid and almost as hard as iron. In his political views Mr. JUDD has ever been a stalwart democrat and has served in many local offices. In manner he is kindly, in disposition jovial and genial, enjoying wit and humor, and he is a valued addition to any social circle. An active and honorable life has won him the respect of his fellow men and it is with great pleasure that we present to our readers a life record of this prominent citizen, the oldest settler, in years of continuous residence, in Marshall county.

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

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