Marshall County

SKELTON, Samuel W.

Samuel W. SKELTON, who after the labors of a long and busy life, is spending his later years in retirement in Toluca, Illinois, was born on the 5th of June, 1845, in Morgan county, Indiana, but since an early age has been identified with the interests of Marshall county, Illinois, where for many years he was successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. His parents were Joel and Jemima S. (SUTHERLAND) SKELTON. The father was born in what is now Clark county, Indiana, April 21, 1815, and from there removed to Morgan county, where he engaged in farming until 1850, which year witnessed his arrival in Marshall county, Illinois. In Bennington township he entered one hundred and sixty acres of land from the government, and so successful was he in his farming operations that he became the owner of four hundred acres of valuable and well improved land, although on coming to the state he was in limited circumstances. Here his death occurred April 20, 1896. He was twice married, his first wife, who died in 1881, being the mother of our subject.

Of the nine children born of this union, two died in infancy. Leroy graduated from the schools of Eureka, Illinois, became a Christian minister, and at the time of his death, at the age of twenty-five, was preaching in Bloomington. He was buried at Eureka. James S., who lacked one year of graduation from the schools of Eureka, enlisted as a private of Company G., Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, and was killed at the battle of Shiloh, Sunday morning. He too was buried at Eureka, where the parents had removed for the purpose of better educating the children. Five of the family are still living – Sarah, wife of Elmer H. WARD, of Rutland, Illinois; Marietta, wife of Thomas SHOCKLEY, of Peoria; Samuel W., of this sketch; William H., who is married and living upon a farm at Blue Hill, Nebraska, and David F., who lives near Toluca.

The father was a natural musician, and for a time taught vocal music. Most of the family possessed the same talent, some of them being able to carry a tune before they could talk. Joel SKELTON was reared in the old school Baptist church, but became an active member of the Christian church. His brother was a Baptist minister, but was inclined toward the Christian faith, but his father, John SKELTON, was a stern Baptist, until on his death, when he called his son to him and said, “You are right in your preaching, go ahead.” In early life Joel SKELTON was a whig, supporting Harrison in 1840, but in 1856 voted for John C. Fremont, and ever afterward gave his allegiance to the republican party. He served as supervisor of Bennington township, but cared nothing for official distinction.

Samuel W. SKELTON was but five years of age when he accompanied his parents to Marshall county, where he grew to manhood, receiving his primary education in its public schools. When eleven years of age the family removed to Eureka, where he attended school for five years, and then returned to the farm with his father, two years before he would have graduated. At the age of twenty, he engaged in teaching for one year, but did not like the profession, so gave it up, and turned his attention to farming.

On the 22d of February, 1871, was consummated the marriage of Mr. SKELTON and Miss Elizabeth H. STEVENSON, of Bennington township, a daughter of Joseph and Jane (McDONOUGH) STEVENSON, who were from Washington county, Pennsylvania, where her birth occurred. Two children grace this union: Myrtle, a music teacher, who is now taking her second year at the Conservatory of Music at Galesburg; and Charles L., a boy of thirteen years. The parents and daughter are faithful members of the Christian church, of which Mr. SKELTON is deacon. He has served as superintendent of the Sunday school, and is now teacher in the same, while Miss Myrtle is an active worker in the Christian Endeavor society. The family is one of prominence, holding a high position in social circles, and have the esteem of all who known them.

Mr. SKELTON inherited forty acres of land from his father’s estate, to which he added by purchase, eighty acres, but has sold the eighty acres to the Devlin Coal company, and still owns the original forty and is now living retired. Since casting his first presidential ballot for General Grant in 1868, he has been an ardent republican in politics. In 1879 he was elected sheriff of the county, which office he acceptably filled for one term, and has also filled the position of school trustee, and been a delegate to various county and senatorial conventions of his party.

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

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