Marshall County


William FOUNTAIN, deceased, was numbered among the Marshall county pioneers of 1852, and deservedly ranked high among the best citizens of the county. He was a native of Sussex county, New Jersey, born July 26, 1808. In his youth, he removed to Ohio, and there formed the acquaintance of Miss Jane McGINNIS, a native of that state, born March 5, 1818. They were duly wedded, and in 1846 removed to Peoria county, Illinois, locating about one mile from Farmington, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits. Having in early life learned the trade of a shoe maker, he did some little cobbling, and made all the boots and shoes in use by the family. This he continued for some years after coming to Illinois. He also learned the cooper’s trade, and in dull seasons of farm work, he was employed in that line. Industriously inclined, and with an earnest desire to better himself in life, he let few moments go idly by. If he could not work at one thing he could at another, and so it was, as the years went by, he continually added to his possessions.

After remaining in Peoria county some six years, Mr. FOUNTAIN removed with his family to Marshall county, locating near the boundary line between Bureau and Marshall counties, and about one mile from the old village of Whitefield. He remained on that farm, however, but one year, removing in 1853 to the present family homestead, purchasing four hundred acres of wild prairie land, for which he paid fourteen dollars per acre. He at once commenced the improvement of the place, and the house he there built is yet standing and in use by the family. It is a two-story brick structure, and Mr. FOUNTAIN carried the workmen all the brick and mortar used in its erection.

Mr. FOUNTAIN made the purchase of his land on time, using what little money he had in the erection of his dwelling and in other improvements. Grain was a profitable commodity at that time and he put almost the entire farm in grain of various kinds, including corn, wheat and oats. Success crowned his efforts, and in due time his farm was paid for and eighty acres added to it. He also bought a farm near Henry, on which he built a nice residence and there resided for a time. The change, however, was not satisfactory and he returned to the old homestead, where he continued to reside until called to the upper and better world.

While Mr. FOUNTAIN was a hard working man and never suffered his pleasures to interfere with his business, he yet spent many a pleasant day in sport. There were few, if any, better shots in the country with a rifle, and game fared hard if within his rifle reach. In politics he was a strong and enthusiastic republican, and during the war was a firm supporter of the government. Two of his sons he gave to the service, one of whom died from quick consumption three months after his enlistment, brought on by exposure. The other, Orlando, raised a company for the Eighty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was commissioned captain, and later was promoted major of the regiment. He served three years and until the close of the war.

To Mr. and Mrs. FOUNTAIN seven children were born: Orlando, now resides at Santa Rosa, California, where he is engaged in the boot and shoe trade; Elizabeth married William PROCTOR, and now resides in Lamoure county, North Dakota; Martha is the wife of Oliver PEARSON, of Wabash, Indiana; Henry died in the army at the age of twenty-one years; Milton resides on the home farm; Edward W. is also deceased; and James is also on the home farm, which he operates in partnership with Milton. James married Miss Sarah E. JOHNSON, October 27, 1886, by whom he has one child, Luella. Her father, Francis M. JOHNSON, was a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and there married Jane BROWN, also a native of same county and state. Their marriage was celebrated November 8, 1849, in Licking county, Ohio, where they both then resided. In 1855, they removed to Marshall county, Illinois, locating on a farm near the old village of Whitefield. On that farm they remained a few years, removing thence to a farm across the line in Bureau county, where they lived about three years, and again returned to the old farm, but later purchased forty acres adjoining on the west, on which was a very nice residence, and where the remainder of their days were spent. They were the parents of seven children: George W.; William Oren, now residing near the old home farm; Sarah E., wife of James FOUNTAIN; John Wesley; Marietta, who married John LONG, and resides near Afton, Iowa; Frances Emeline, who married John TOWNLEY, of Chesterville, Texas; and Luella Jane.

Mr. JOHNSON was a member of the Methodist church, and Mrs. JOHNSON of the Presbyterian church. She was converted at the age of twelve years, and lived a consistent Christian life to the end. Both died in the full assurance of faith. Mr. JOHNSON was never physically a strong man, but had a very strong mind. For years he engaged in buying and selling stock, shipping principally to Chicago. His control over cattle was marvelous, they seeming to recognize his mastery. He was also a good judge of horseflesh. His death occurred in November, 1885, while his wife survived him nearly ten years, dying October 6, 1895. Their remains were interred in Whitefield cemetery. By his will the estate remained intact until the death of his wife, when it was divided among the legal heirs.

Mr. and Mrs. FOUNTAIN were zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he was a class-leader for many years. To the work of the church they gave much of their time and such talents as God had given them. When the end came they could each say, as did the grand apostle of the Gentiles, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day.” Mr. FOUNTAIN was the first to be called home, his death occurring November 3, 1891. Six weeks later his wife followed him, dying December 17, 1891. Side by side their bodies were interred in the family lot in the old cemetery in Whitefield township, there to await the resurrection day. Kind and loving to family and friends, and loyal to their God, their memory is cherished by all with whom they were acquainted.

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

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