J. W. HOLTON is the owner of an excellent farm of one hundred and forty acres on section 21, Evans township, and in the control of his business interests is displaying excellent executive ability and keen sagacity. His life record began in Muskingum county, Ohio, on the 23d of April, 1845, his parents being Francis H. and Hannah (COCKERELL) HOLTON. The father was of Scotch descent and was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, in 1818. It was there that he wedded Miss COCKERELL, whose birth occurred in Loudoun county, Virginia, in 1814, her parents being Elias and Sarah (BUTLER) COCKERELL, who removed with their family to Muskingum county, Ohio, in 1824. Upon a farm in that county Francis H. HOLTON and his wife began their domestic life and resided until 1856. That year witnessed their removal to Iowa but in the following year they came to Marshall county, Illinois, where for six years Mr. HOLTON operated a rented farm. The money which he had saved from his earnings was then invested in a farm, now owned by the heirs of John KANE. The land at that time was wild and unimproved but lie placed it under cultivation and continued its development until his removal to Vermilion county, this state. He then lived a comparatively retired life upon his farm there until he was called to his final rest on the 4th of April, 1888, while his wife passed away at the age of eighty-five years. Both were earnest and consistent members of the Methodist church and Mr. HOLTON took a very active part in the work of the Sunday-school, believing with the psalmist that "train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart therefrom." In the family were five children, of whom three reached years of maturity: Edith, now the deceased wife of Jacob M. BRENN; J. W., of this review; and George H., who is living in Omaha, Nebraska, and who married Lizzie OGLE.
When a youth of twelve years J. W. HOLTON accompanied his parents on their removal to Marshall county, Illinois. His early education, acquired in the district schools, was supplemented by study in the old seminary in Wenona and after putting aside his text-books he continued to aid in the work of the home farm until he attained his majority. He then made arrangements for having a home of "his own by his marriage, on the 1st of April, 1869, to Miss Edith Olive, who was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, in 1846 and died in 1872, leaving two children, of whom Walter O. is now following farming in Vermilion county, Illinois. The other son, Jesse M., is deceased. On the 31st of January, 1876, Mr. HOLTON was joined in wedlock to Mrs. Susan GAGE, a daughter of Ira F. WASHBURN. who was born at Sacketts Harbor, New York, in 1813 and became one of the early settlers of Rock county, Wisconsin. In the place of his nativity Mr. WASHBURN wedded Jane E. PRATT, who was born in the same county in 1824. Emigrating to Wisconsin, he there opened up a new farm. His death occurred October 31, 1889, and his wife away April 29, 1878. They held membership with the Baptist church, taking an active part in its work, while Mr. WASHBURN served as one of its deacons. The family numbered four children, namely: Louisa, now the wife of James A. MILLETT, a resident of Nebraska, by whom she has five children; George W., who was one of the soldiers of the Civil war in the Union army and is also living in Nebraska; Mrs. HOLTON; and Frank F., of Arkansas, who is married and has two children.
Mrs. HOLTON was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, in 1846 and -is indebted to the district-school system of that locality for the early educational privileges she enjoyed. She afterward became a student in the seminary at Fulton, Wisconsin, and in early womanhood she gave her hand in marriage to a Mr. GAGE, by whom she had one daughter, Georgia Leone, now the wife of Eugene CUSAC, of Bennington township, Marshall county, and the mother of one child, Beulah. Six children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. HOLTON: Frank A., Edward W. and Edith M., all at home; Edna S., who is working in the Bloomington Pantagraph office; Grace E., who is a graduate of the Wenona high school; and Winifred M., who is also a graduate of the high school of Wenona.
For thirty-six years Mr. HOLTON has resided upon his present farm, which was a tract of raw land when it came into his possession. He now owns one hundred and forty acres here and has brought the farm under a high state of cultivation, adding to it all modern equipments and accessories. He votes with the republican party and has recently been elected to the office of assessor. He has also served as road commissioner and school director and he is a member of the Grangers Association. In his business life and public relations he is alike trustworthy and deserves the regard of all with whom he has come in contact. Wherever known he is held in high esteem and he well deserves mention in this volume among the representative citizens of Marshall county, which has been his place of residence for almost a half century.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from
Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties