Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 974-977
James CORLETT (deceased), a prominent agriculturalist of Guilford Township, Winnebago County [IL], and a self-made man in every sense of that much-abused term, died at his home in Guilford Township on 21 Dec 1885. He came to Winnebago County in 1844, with but 50 cents in money, began working by the day, and thus accumulated sufficient means to enable him to purchase an unbroken tract of land in Guilford Township. He went in debt for an ox team, erected a log cabin in the wilderness, and, thus equipped, began his struggle for a livelihood. Although he met with many ups and downs, he continued to persevere and by his industry and good management soon became the owner of 600 acres of land, all of which he improved. He was a progressive farmer, a successful stock raiser, and an excellent citizen and neighbor. At his death, he left property valued at from $75,000 to $80,000. He always attended strictly to business, and this, no doubt, was in a great measure the secret of his success. In politics he affiliated with the Republican party, and in religion, he was a Methodist.
Mr. CORLETT was born on the Isle of Man and was a posthumous child, his birth having occurred after the death of his father. The latter was a sa captain, and a few months after his marriage went to sea. The vessel was lost and he was never heard from afterwards. James was but three years of age when he was brought to this country by his mother, who located near Plainville [County], OH. There he remained until 19 years of age, when alone, and with very little money, he came to Rockford, IL. His mother had married the second time and had passed the closing scenes of her life in Geauga County, OH. By her second husband (who is also deceased), she became the mother of six children.
James CORLETT was first married in Winnebago County to Miss Mary VAN ALASTINE, who was born in NY, and who, when a young woman, came to IL. She died in Guilford Township when 34 years of age, and left four children, three now living: William E., a farmer of New Milford Township; Francis L., a farmer of New Milford Township; and Mary A., wife of C. C. SANDERS, who resides on South First Street in Rockford. The one deceased was Nelson A.
Mr. CORLETT's second union occurred in Winnebago County, and united him with Miss Emma G. WOOD, a native of Genesee County, NY, born near Batavia, in 1843. She was nine years of age when she came with her parents, Nathan and Adelia (SARGENT) WOOD, to Boone County, IL. They settled on a farm in that county, first near Manchester, but later removed to Bonus and thence to Belvidere, where the father died when 48 years of age. He wa a successful blacksmith and followed his trade for many years. Mr. WOOD was born in Cattaraugus [p 977] County, NY, and there learned his trade. After his marriage to Miss SARGENT, and after the birth of three children, he removed with his family to Boone County, IL, and there Mrs. WOOD's death occurred on 13 Mar 1891, when nearly 68 years of age. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her husband also held membership in that church. He was a Republican in politics. They were the parents of eight children, six of whom lived to be grown and five are now living. All but Mrs. CORLETT are residing in MI.
To Mr. and Mrs. CORLETT were born nine children, two deceased: Sherman, who died at the age of two years, and Alice E., who died when 19 years of age. Those living are Ida, wife of G. J. THORNTON [see also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of George J. THORNTON]; W. Mortimer, a farmer on the old homestead, married Miss Olive RITCHIE and has one child, Faith; Fannie M., at home, a teacher in the public schools; Bessie A., at home, a clerk in Mr. STEVENS' store in Rockford; Georgiana M.; J. Ernest, and Mabel F., all at home. Mrs. CORLETT is a pleasant, agreeable lady, and resides in a comfortable home at No. 412 Whitman Street, Rockford.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.