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IL Biographies
Page 6

R.P. HACKETT, retired farmer and merchant of Charleston, is a native of Coles County, Ill., and was born Nov. 8, 1838. He is the son of Levi and Sarah (Adkins) Hackett, who were natives of Kentucky. The father was born on the 14th of November, 1812, and the mother Dec. 30, 1814. The grandfather was Peter Hackett, who was a farmer and a soldier in the early wars, and died in Kentucky.  The father came to Coles County, Ill., in 1835, a single man.  The mother’s father was James Adkins, and he came to Coles County in 1835. The father and mother were married in 1836, two and on-half miles south of Charleston, and had a family of twelve children, in which the number seven predominated in several ways; there were seven boys and seven girls; seven of the had black eyes, and seven had blue. They all lived to be men and women. Levi after marriage purchased a farm in Charleston Township, four miles southwest of the city, which consisted of forty acres; he was a blacksmith by trad and followed that occupation in connection with his farming. He lived in Charleston Township until 1857, and then moved into Ashmore Township, purchasing 220 acres of land.  He remained there four years and then removed to Douglas County in the fall of 1861, where he purchased a small farm of ninety acres, upon which he resided until his death on the 2d of March, 1886. He had a family of eight children, of whom five boys are now living; R.P.; LeGrand; Robert M.; Josephus, and Richard H. For many years the father was a Henry Clay Whig, and at the dissolution of that party and the organization of the Republican party he joined his political fortunes with the latter. He was a member of the Church of God, and was a man of lovable traits of character, never speaking a wrong word of a neighbor, or never doing anything that would offend anyone. He was a happy man in his family relations and loved all church organizations. His widow, the mother of our subject, is still living on the farm. The subject of this biography was raised on a farm and obtained his early education in the school which was taught three miles from his father’s house. He lived at home until nineteen years of age, at which time he was married to Miss Ann N. Waltrip, who was the daughter of John and Susan (Williams) Waltrip, natives of Breckinridge County, Ky., who came to Coles County in 1835, and settled in Hutton Township. They purchased 24 acres of land, and lived on the same for forty years. He then came to Charleston and engaged in the grocery business for two years, at the end of which time he retired from business and died in September, 1885. The mother died in 1886. They had a family of eight children, three of whom are now living: Mrs. Hackett, Alexander, and William S. Mr. Hackett after marriage engaged in farming on a rented farm, and purchased seventy-five acres on Hutton Township, Coles Co., Ill., in 1861, and lived on this farm until 1862. On the 18th of August, that year, he enlisted in Co. K, 123d Ill. Vol. Inf., and was in the service for three yeas, during which time participated in the battles of Perryville, Hoover’s Gap, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Milton, Tenn., Flat Sholes, Ga., Noonday Creek and Selma, Ala., and many skirmishes, being under fire altogether fifty-two times. He was on detatched duty in the rebel lines, charged with the care of a wounded Lieutenant Colonel for four weeks.  He was wounded at Milton, Tenn., in the right groin with an ounce ball, and was in the hospital about two months.  He still carries the ball.  He also received a flesh wound in the shoulder, from a bushwhacker.  After he returned from the was Mr. Hackett resumed farming on his farm, on which he remained until 1872, when he removed two and one-half miles east of Charleston, on 160 acres of land, for which he paid $4,000, to which at various times he added 165 acres of land, and afterward sold eighty; he then repurchased eighty-five acres.  In 1884 he left his farm and moved to Charleston where he engaged in mercantile business for three years. He purchased two blocks in the city in the Anderson Addition, on which were a house and barn, and paid therefore $2,500, and also bought twelve acres southeast of the city, for which he paid $1,000. Mr. and Mrs. Hackett have a family of nine children: William J. married Miss Lizzie Lietch, and they have one child named Neta; Eliza E. is now Mrs. George Davis, and is the mother of three children-Carried B., Orrin and Charles; Noah M. married Miss Elsie Kelley, and they have three children ?Zeffle G., Nioma, Ida E.; Le Grand E. married Miss Liza Eastman; Henry M.. Ida J., Lula J.F., Fay R., Reason A.,  Mr. Hackett is a member of the Republican party, and a comrade of the G.A.R.  He and his wife are members of the Church of God. He was converted at the age of eighteen years, in what was known as the Separate Baptist Church, and was a member of the same for seventeen years, and filled the office of Deacon for four years. He then withdrew from that body and united with the Church of God, in which he held the office of Deacon for six years. This church was organized in 1877 at Mt. Pleasant on his farm, and at his house.  In 1879 a church was built on his farm, to which he contributed half an acre of ground, worth $50, and also $75 in cash, and has always been a liberal supporter of the same...Submitted by: DeAnn

GEORGE W. GRAY, a prominent citizen of Humboldt, is the leading merchant of the village, and also the owner of an estate containing 120 acres of fine farming land in the vicinity. He was born June 3, 1827, in Greene County, Pa., and is the son of John and Rhoda (Bane) Gray. John Gray was likewise a native of Pennsylvania, and the son of David and Elizabeth (Baston) Gray. He was a farmer and miller by occupation, and in 1830 left his native State, moving further westward, and settled in Athens County, Ohio, purchasing a farm in Hocking Valley. During the summer he cultivated his farm, and in the winter operated the Athens mill, for the firm of Miles & Matheny. He was successful in both lines of business, and passed the remainder of his life there, his death occurring in 1848. His wife was the daughter of Mordecai Bane, and was also a native of Pennsylvania. George Gray was a graduate of the High School at New Albany, Athens County, and at the close of his studies there, determined to enter one of the professions, and with the aim in view, began the study of medicine at Hibbardsville, under the instruction of Dr. Dixon. At the close of the first year his preceptor died, which event influenced him to change his plans. He returned to the farm and engaged in its various duties, and about a year later his father’s death occurred. This event caused a change in family affairs, and he then decided to come west. On his arrival in Illinois, he first located at Jacksonville, and remained there a year, engaged in stock-dealing with an uncle.  He then came to Coles County, and operated a saw and grist mill near Westfield, for the firm of Brown & Hite. The business proved successful, and he remained there seven years. At the expiration of that time he took charge of the Westfield mill for three years, and then moved to Charleston, where he engaged in the grocery business with Mr. Hullman. He remained there from 1860 to 1865, and then left Charleston and opened a grocery store at Humboldt. Five years later he enlarged his business, making it a general store, and has since made this place his home. April 24, 1855, Mr. Gray was married to Miss Mary E. Brown.  Her parents, William and Clara (Salmon) Brown, were natives of Ohio, but subsequently removed to Madison, Ind., where Mrs. Gray was born, April 18, 1836.  Mr. Brown was an engineer and mechanic, and successfully carried on his trade in Madison.  Mr. and Mrs. Gray had a family of eight children, only four of whom are now living. The following is their record: Marietta, Mary, Belle, Rhoda, Clara, William, Jennie, Maude and Jessie Blanche. Belle became the wife of Thomas I. Smith, a farmer residing in this township; Rhoda, Jennie and Jessie reside at home. The daughters are accomplished young ladies, and Rhoda is a graduate of the Oxford Female College of Ohio. She possesses a vigorous mind and enjoys active employment. She is a fine musician and utilizes her talent by giving instructions in music, and spends her leisure time assisting her father in the store. Mr. Gray has been successful in both of his business enterprises. In conducting his farm he gives special attention to stock-growing, and has commenced raising throughbreds. He possesses an unusual degree of executive ability, supervising his farm and store with equal facility. He was appointed Postmaster by “Andrew Johnson, and retained the office until the reins of Government changed hands, filling the position ably and satisfactorily. Mr. Gray has been a Deacon and Trustee in the Presbyterian Church for many years and is always interested in promoting measures calculated to benefit the community. He owns his store and residence, besides several vacant lots in town and other property. In politics, he is a stanch Republican.- pg#497 & 498....Submitted by: DeAnn




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