John R. BELSLY, living on section 8, Richland township, was born in Deer Creek township, Tazewell county, Illinois, May 29, 1863. His father, Christ BELSLY, was a native of Woodford county, this state, and one of the first children born in that county. He is now living at .the age of seventy years, his home being in Tazewell county, where after many years of active connection with farm life he is now retired. His farm in Deer Creek township, on which he resides, was purchased about forty years ago. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary SCHURTZ, was born in Butler county, Ohio, and is also living. Of their twelve children nine survive, namely: Mrs. Kate ENGEL, whose husband is a farmer and banker of Eureka, Illinois; Joseph, who is living on the old farm of his grandfather in Woodford county; John E.; Samuel, who is engaged in the real estate business at Deer Creek; Mrs. Anna E. ANSKE, of Lacon; Mrs. Maggie PHILLIPS, of Henry; Mrs. Barbara CHAPMAN, of Deer Creek; Frank, who is engaged in the banking business in Deer Creek; and Mrs. Emma DAVIS, of Chillicothe, Illinois.
John E. BELSLY pursued a district-school education in his native township and remained upon the old home place until he had attained adult age. He then entered upon his business career as a clerk in a general store, where he was employed for three years, after which he located upon a farm in Richland township, where he resided for ten years. He next purchased his present place, comprising one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 8, Richland township. He likewise has a farm of four hundred and ninety acres on sections 30 and 31 of the same township, so that his landed possessions now aggregate six hundred and ten acres of very valuable property. In connection with the tilling of the soil he is engaged extensively in raising stock and both branches of his business are bringing to him a good revenue. Moreover he is connected with the telephone exchange, having forty phones upon its line.
In 1887 Mr. BELSLY was married to Miss. Alma ROSS, of Joliet, Illinois, who died in 1895, leaving three children: Roscoe, seventeen years of age; Bruce, who died in 1900; and Mark, twelve years of age. In 1896 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. BELSLY and Miss Jennie CHAMBERS, of Richland township, Marshall county, a daughter of Charles and Minerva Chambers, the former a farmer of this county. He is a native of Illinois, while his wife was born in Pennsylvania and in their family were three children. Mr. and Mrs. BELSLY also have three children: Frieda and Cleota, who are in school; and Arla. Mr. BELSLY gives his political support to the democracy but casts an independent local ballot. He was elected assessor of Richland township in 1904 and is now filling the office of school director. Whatever tends to benefit the county along lines of material, intellectual and moral progress receives his endorsement and co-operation. He is regarded as a most progressive business man and model farmer and he and his family occupy an enviable social position in the locality where they reside. He has steadily worked his way upward in his business career and his progress has been the legitimate outcome of the concentration of his energies upon the purposes and plans in hand.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.