" Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler , and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892.
Reprint by Stevens Publishing, Astoria, IL 1971"
JAMES HILES, general farmer and stock raiser of Beardstown, was born in Salem county, New Jersey, January 4, 1822. His father, John, was a native of the same place, was there engaged as a truck-raiser, and afterward ran a large farm in Mannington township, and still later was engaged in farming and truck-raising near Bridgeport. He died at the age of ninety-six, after leading a quiet, peaceable life. His wife's name was Sarah Chrispen, also born in Salem county. She came of an old Quaker family. Her own mother and a sister were speakers among Friends for many years. She and her husband, however, adhered very closely to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which they were working members. She died at the age of ninety.
James grew up in New Jersey, and was married March 7, 1844, and about this time commenced farming in Marion county, and followed it for about nine years; then he was a butcher in Woodtown two years. He came here in 1856; first he engaged as a butcher and farmer at Brighton, Illinois, for two years, and then went to Greenfield. While at those towns he furnished the meat for the workmen on what is now the Quincy railroad, while it was building. He followed that business there for three years. He was a poor man when he reached here, but has since acquired a good property. It is now thirty-one years since he came to Cass county, engaging first in farming. He has been very successful, because of a progressive nature, and because he understood the nature of the soil. He soon began the growing of sweet potatoes and watermelons, and this has occupied most of his time for twenty-five years. He raises from 2,000 to 2,500 bushels annually, and a large number of melons. He is very well known, and is respected as a hard worker and a good citizen. His place consists of fifty-nine acres, where he has lived but a few years.
He was married in Woodtown, New Jersey, to Sarah Kidd, who was born and reared in Salem county, born in 1818. Her parents, Joseph and Jane Kidd, lived and died on the old farm in Salem county, New Jersey, members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Hiles have had ten children, among whom were two sets of twins, who died when young. The three living children are: Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Reeves, farmer and gardener, near Beardstown; James, a farmer in Cass county, and Charles, a farmer and trucker, near Beardstown. Mr. and Mrs. Hiles are good people: both have been active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church for more than fifty years. Mr. Hiles has never been a chewer or smoker of tobacco, has never been intoxicated, nor has he ever used a profane word. He has been a lifelong Democrat.