Marshall County

WILMOT, Xenophon Cardinal

Xenophon Cardinal WILMOT is a well-known citizen of La Prairie township, Marshall county, where he has resided for nearly half a century. He was born in Cattaraugus county, New York, December 13, 1827, and is the son of Stephen Bunnell and Betsy (CLAUSON) WILMOT, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter of Ithaca, New York. The Wilmots were originally from England and at an early date settled in Connecticut, removing from that state to New York when Stephen B. was a boy of five or six years of age. He was for some years engaged in the lumber trade, running down the Susquehanna river and operating near Binghamton, New York. Later he was in the same line in Steuben county, New York, where our subject spent his boyhood, the family removing to that county when he was but one year old. As soon as old enough to be of any service, he was put to work in the mill with his father, and became quite an expert in the handling of logs and lumber.

In 1837 Stephen WILMOT came to Illinois and superintended the building of a dam on Fox river, in the northern part of the state, a business in which he was an expert. In 1845 he determined on his removal to this state, and with his family, consisting of a wife and six children, he came by river, landing at Quincy, Illinois, and going from thence into the township of Lima, in Adams county, where they remained one year, then moved to La Salle Prairie, Peoria county, where they remained another year. In 1847 they came to La Prairie township, Marshall county, and for two years cultivated a rented farm, then purchased a portion of the school section of the township, and at once commenced its improvement. On this farm the father lived and died at the age of seventy-nine years. His remains were interred in the cemetery opposite the farm, which is now owned by Lewis CALDER. His widow survived him some years, dying at the age of eighty-two. They lived, however, to celebrate their golden wedding, as did his brothers, Amos, Asahel Lyman and Jesse.

In politics, Stephen B. WILMOT was a thorough and uncompromising whig until the dissolution of that party immediately after the disastrous Scott campaign of 1852. He then identified himself with the democratic party, being naturally a conservative man. In the presidential election of 1860 he voted for Stephen A. Douglas, but when Fort Sumter was fired upon, he became a republican, and acted with that party until his death.

Of the family of nine children Xenophon C. is the only representative in Marshall county. The others are scattered abroad. Stephen B. resides in Dickinson county, Iowa; Lola Eliza married George SCHOLES, an old citizen of the county, who died in Henry in 1895, since which time she has removed to Greenfield, Iowa, where her children now reside; Jane married Job FOWLER and now resides in Ellsworth county, Kansas; Asahel removed to Stark county, Illinois, where he died in 1889, and where his widow and family now reside; Susan married in 1856 and died one year later; and one daughter died in her maidenhood. Two died in New York before removal to this state; one died in Peoria county.

Xenophon C. WILMOT came to Marshall county with his parents and soon afterward purchased eighty acres of land where he now resides. In March, 1853, in company with his brother Asahel and Andrew DeREMER, of New York, he started overland for California. Arriving at Salt Lake City they sold their outfit and there remained five months. He then joined a company of Mormons en route for Los Angeles, California, and with them continued his journey, having a rough time of it. From Los Angeles he went by steamer to San Francisco, and on to the mines near Placerville, where he engaged in mining some eighteen months with poor success financially. However, he gained considerable knowledge of humanity and knew more of the faults and foibles of mankind than he ever expected to learn.

After an absence of nearly two and a half years, Mr. WILMOT returned home by way of the Isthmus of Panama, rich in experience, and but little richer in purse. The worst “take in” he experienced while away was when he stopped at a fifth-class hotel in New York. Arriving at his old home, he settled down to a farm life and has been content to here remain, believing that Marshall county, especially La Prairie township, is good enough for him, “or any other man.” To his original eighty acres, in due time he added eighty acres more, giving him a fine farm of a quarter of a section. Purchasing wild land, he has made extensive improvements upon the place, laying it out with fine evergreen drives and lanes, good house and outbuildings, making it a number one farm and model home. In his farming operations he has followed no fad, but has carried on general farming, giving attention to the proper cultivation of the soil, and engaging in stock raising to some extent. For a time, however, he was a breeder of Polled Angus cattle.

On the 23d of September, 1858, Mr. WILMOT was married in New York to Lucy Ann DUTCHER, of Steuben county, that state. After a happy married life of five years, she died May 27, 1863, leaving two children – Vistula Ann, now the wife of Eli FRANTZ, of Storm Lake, Iowa; and Douglas, who married Nancy GEHR, of Sparland, and who is now a stock grower of Eagle county, Colorado.

Mr. WILMOT was again married, taking to wife Mary E. WAUGHOP, of Washington, Tazewell county, Illinois, where she was born April 22, 1838. The marriage ceremony took place April 9, 1868. By this union four children were born: Rosa May, at home; Roswell, who died in infancy; Arthur X., state agent for the Cyclone Fence company, with headquarters at Peoria; and John Alfred, at home, connected with the Cyclone Fence company.

In politics, Mr. WILMOT is a republican, and while not extremely active, yet takes an interest in political affairs of state and nation. Socially, he is a Mason, a member of the lodge at Lawn Ridge, but was duly initiated at Chillicothe, Illinois. Religiously, he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, with which body he has been connected for a few years, and of which his wife has been a member from childhood.

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

Visit Our Neighbors
Bureau Putnam
Stark La Salle
Peoria Woodford
Search the Archives