John G.S. Bohanan Portrait and Biographical Album Pages 800-801
John G.S. Bohanan was a early pioneer of this county, and as one of the organizers of Logan Township, of which he has been one of the most prominent agriculturists for more than half a centry, his name is indissolubly linked with its history. He is one of the oldest settlers now living within its borders, and is held in the highest veneration and esteem by the entire community.
Dec. 27, 1808, our subject was born in the town of Niskayuna, Schenectady County, N.Y., his grandfather, Robert Bohanan, having been an early pioneer of that part of the Empire State. He came from Germany in colonial days with his brother, who settled in the South. He reared a large family of children in his pioneer home in New York, and died there full of years and honor. The mother of our subject was a daughter of Maj. Snell, who married a Miss Gill.
The parents of our subject, Thomas and Ann (Snell) Bohanan, were natives of the same county as himself. His father was a farmer and served in the War of 1812. In 1834 he removed with his family to this county and became prominent among its early pioneers. He entered three hundred and twenty acres of land, and in the comfortable home that he built up here. He died after the war at the ripe old age of eight-six years. He and his wife were devoted Christian people and were members, respectively, of the Lutheran and Methodist Episcopal churches. Six sons and four daughters were born of their marriage, whom they named-Eliza, Margaret, Lizzie, Caroline, Robert, Major, William, Samuel, John G. S., and Edward. All the children except one daughter reared families, and all came to Illinois except William, a resident of Massillon, Ohio, and Robert of New York.
The early life of our subject was passed quietly on his father's farm, where he was thoroughly drilled in all the labors pertaining to its management. At the age of twenty he went to Albany the capital of his native State, to learn the trade of a blacksmith of Houston & Gould. In the spring of 1834, he came to this State, by boat, with his father, being two weeks on the way. His father entered a large tract of land and gave each of his children forty acres, our subjects being located on section 13. He was very industrious and improved every moment and in time acquired a valuable property. At one time he owned three hundred acres of land, but has sold until his farm now comprises one hundred acres. It is highly improved, is under the best of cultivation and is not surpassed in fertility and productiveness by way in its vicinity. Mr. Bohanan is a man of wealth and money in the bank. He was one of the organizers of Logan Township, and his liberality and enterprise have been potent factors in its upbuilding. For many years he has been connected with the Presbyterian Church, and the example of his upright Christian life has been an influence for good in this community. Mr. Bohanan has served as Commissioner of the township. In politics he is and always has been a stalwart Democrat, casting his first vote for President Andrew Jackson. While in New York he was prominently connected with the militia, and was First Lieutenant of the Fifth New York Heavy Artillery. His experience and knowledge of military tactics proved very serviceable during the late war, as he took an active part in drilling troops to send to southern battlefields.
Four times has Mr. Bohanan been married. Jane West, to whom he was wedded in Albany was his first wife. She was daughter of Thomas West, a New York farmer. They had two children-William now living in Corning, Iowa, and Jane, wife of George Grazier. They lost four children in the burning of their house. Mrs. Bohanan was a devoted member of the Episcopal Church.
Mr. Bohanan's second wife was Sarah, daughter of Stephen Alwood. Two children were born of that marriage-Stephen, a resident of Canton, IL., and George, who was a member of the One Hundred and Eighth Regiment under Col. John Brenner, now of Peoria, and was shot in Kentucky and died of the wound. The third marriage of our subject was to Mary White, widow of Robert White of Peoria. She had the following children: John a resident of Peoria; Samuel, who lives in Iowa; Robert and Thomas.
The maiden name of Mr. Bohanan's present wife was Mary Blackwell. Her father was Col. Dennis Blackwell, of Maine, who was an officer in the War of 1812. Mr. and Mrs. Bohanan have had four children named May, Mella, and George; their first child dying in infancy unnamed.
Submitted by Londie Benson.