Granville has a considerable population of retired farmers, men whose business activity and enterprise in former years have resulted in bringing to them a measure of success that now enables them to live comfortably without recourse to further effort in the field of business activity. A representative of this class is found in James C. PACKINGHAM, who now makes his home in the village of Granville and who is one of the native sons of Granville township, where he was born on the 19th of December, 1848.
His parents were James and Elizabeth (DYSART) PACKINGHAM, natives of Massachusetts and of Pennsylvania, respectively. In 1832 the father came to Putnam county and worked in Hennepin at his trade of carpentering and milling, being thus closely associated with the early industrial development of this part of the state. Later he took up his abode upon a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Granville township. It was a tract of wild land when it came into his possession, but he turned the furrows in the fields, planted his seed and in due course of time was gathering rich crops. Eventually he placed the entire farm under a high state of cultivation and made his home thereon until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-seven years of age. His wife died at the age of sixty years. They were Presbyterians in religious faith and Mr. PACKINGHAM was a republican in his political adherence, but was without aspiration for office. Their family numbered nine children, of whom James C. was the fourth in order of birth. The record is as follows: Julia, now the wife of James CARTON, a resident of Idaho; Susan, the wife of Calvin HENDERSON, who is living in Rankin, Illinois; Achsah, the wife of B. COULTER, a resident of Iowa; James C.; David L., who is now president of the village board of Granville; George, a resident of Oregon; Archie, who is located in Ford county, Illinois; Hannah, who became the wife of Frank FRENCH and was living in Wisconsin at the time of her death; and Fannie, who died when but nine months old.
James C. PACKINGHAM remained on his father's farm until
twenty-two years of age, and his educational privileges were
those afforded by the common schools. When not busy with his
text-books he worked in the fields, and after attaining his
majority he purchased eighty acres of unimproved land near the
old home place, on which he engaged in general farming and
stock-raising. He at once began to work the fields and soon the
track of the shining plow was seen across the prairie. He
continued the work of improvement and added to his farm from
time to time until he now owns two hundred and seventy-five
acres in one body, constituting one of the best farms in the
county, lacking in none of the modern accessories and
conveniences which go to make up a model farm of the twentieth
century. He also owns forty acres of timber land northwest of
Granville, and his property interests are conclusive proof of
his life of industry, for he received no pecuniary assistance
nor inheritance from family or friends. Eight years ago he
retired from business life and built a beautiful home in
Granville, where he now resides. He has always possessed
considerable mechanical ingenuity, is known for his ability as a
machinist, and for twenty-five years he owned and operated a
steam-threshing and corn-shelling outfit.
Mr. PACKINGHAM has been married twice. His first wife, Grace PENNEMAN, was born in Vermont, and died after traveling life's journey with him for a quarter of a century. They had two children: Frank, who is a farmer near Neponset, Bureau county, Illinois, where he owns two hundred and twenty acres of land ; and Lucy, the wife of Emory SHERMAN, who follows farming in Granville township. Five years ago Mr. PACKINGHAM wedded Mrs. MARTIN, who was formerly Miss Ella GUNN, a daughter of L. D. GUNN, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. By her former marriage Mrs. PACKINGHAM has two children Helen and Joe.
Politically a republican, Mr. PACKINGHAM keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day and for twelve years has served as highway commissioner. He belongs to no church, but has always been an upright, honest citizen, reliable in his business relations and in all walks of life. A life-long residence in this county has made his history familiar to all and the sterling qualities which he has manifested have gained for him the friendly regard of the great majority of those with whom he has been brought in contact.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.