The life record of Mr. WINSHIP is interesting because of its varied experience and by reason of the fact that his was a most honorable and upright career. He came to this section of Illinois in early pioneer times, and he was one of those who sought a fortune in California during the early days of the mining excitement there. Born in Lewis county, New York, on the 2d of October, 1825, he was a son of Ralph and Lucetta (COOLEY) WINSHIP, who went to Bureau county, Illinois, in 1832. The family trace their ancestry in America back to Timothy WINSHIP, who was born in Westminster, England, May 31, 1713, and who emigrated to the United States in early life. In 1731 he married Margaret MERRET, who was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1708.
James M. WINSHIP was a youth of only seven years when brought by his parents to Illinois, and upon the home farm in Bureau county, amid pioneer conditions and environments, he was reared. He acquired only a common-school education, but after he had attained manhood he always read broadly and became a well informed man, keeping in touch with current events and with the trend of modern thought. In 1850 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ann READ, who was born in Herkimer county, New York, June 24, 1831, and was a daughter of Phillip and Tryphena (DAVIS) READ. The father's birth occurred in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, while the mother was a native of Fall River, Massachusetts. Both passed away in Putnam county, the former in 1843, while the mother long survived and departed this life June 30, 1889. They came with teams from Massachusetts to Illinois in 1836, locating first in Hennepin township, while later they established their home in Senachwine township. The log house built by Phillip Read is still standing, and is one of the oldest landmarks of the vicinity, being a mute reminder of the changes that have occurred and the progress that has been made from pioneer times down to the present. In the family were seven children, but only three are now living: Mrs. J. M. WINSHIP; Mrs. William WHEELER; and Rosalia READ, who resides in the village of Putnam.
In 1852 James M. WINSHIP made a trip to California, crossing the plains with ox teams. He traveled over the long stretches of hot sand and through the mountain passes until at length he reached the mining regions of the Golden state. He remained for about a year, returning in 1853, and in the meantime his wife resided with her mother. After his return they began housekeeping again and in 1868 removed to Senachwine township, where Mr. WINSHIP purchased the farm upon which he resided continuously until his death. He passed away May 9, 1903, leaving an estate of over three hundred acres of very rich and valuable land. All of the improvements upon the property had been made by him and he well deserved classification with the representative agriculturists of the community, for his place was kept in excellent condition. In 1876 he made an extended trip east, visiting the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, also New York city, Washington and Mount Vernon, after which he visited old friends in Oneida county, New York. Later he and his wife also visited relatives and friends in the east. He thus traveled from ocean to ocean and gained quite intimate knowledge of the country.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. WINSHIP were born six children, of whom four are now living: J. O., who resides in Senachwine township and is mentioned elsewhere in this volume; Cora Eva, the wife of Martin L. Condit, who resides upon a farm in Senachwine township; O. W., who is living in Tiskilwa, Illinois; Walter E., who married Etta WHITE, and was a resident farmer of Senachwine township until his death; Jessie M., the wife of Charles A. PRUTSMAN, living in Princeton; and Buena Elspeth, who died in childhood.
For many years Mr. WINSHIP was a devoted and faithful member of the Christian church, exemplifying in his life its teachings and principles. He was a man of thorough reliability and trustworthiness and his word was as good as any bond ever solemnized by signature or seal. He was greatly interested in the sciences of astronomy and geology, which he studied after reaching manhood, becoming well versed in those branches of knowledge. His political allegiance was given to the republican party and he served as supervisor for two terms, while for twenty years he was a school director. The cause of education found in him a stalwart friend, and he did everything in his power to advance the interests of public instruction. To his family he was a devoted husband and father, and his memory is cherished by all who knew him. For many years he was an active farmer, representative citizen and honored man of Putnam county, and the example which he left is one well worthy of emulation. Mrs. WINSHIP still resides upon the home farm and is in remarkably good health for one of her years. She is one of the oldest residents of the township, having for seventy-four years lived in this county, so that she has witnessed its growth from the earliest period of its development down to this day of modern progress.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.