JEFFERSON COUNTY IL 
BIOGRAPHIES
Williamson and Lina Pickett Barnett
Williamson and Lina Pickett Barnett, who homesteaded in Jefferson 
County, had two children, Felix Grundy born Janu­ary 5, 1844 and Mary 
Elizabeth who later married John Manker Cockrum.

Felix at 17 joined the 18th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Co. 
Din 1861 and served until the end of the Civil War. He married Rebecca 
Jane Pickett in 1863.

Rebecca Jane born in 1847 to Margaret Ann Hackworth of Tennessee and 
William Pickett of Kentucky. They were well-­to-do landowners and had 
slaves. Rebecca was one of 12 chil­dren: Lihue, Delila (Lyle), Rebecca 
Jane, John, Jessie, Bill Granville, Burrell, Jemima, Celia, Ambrose, 
Lane, and a three ­year-old who fell into a fireplace and was burned. 
The family came to Jefferson County in a covered wagon and settled on a 
farm. William Pickett lived 76 years and Margaret Ann 86 years.

Felix's sister Mary and husband John lived on the home place near her 
parents, Williamson and Lina. They had six children: Lon (Alonza 
Dennis); Bob (Clemon Lee); Jim (James Grundy father of Orville, Venita, 
and Dorothy); Lizzy (Mary Elizabeth); Ada, married a Pearce; and Cora, 
later mar­ried a Robinson, who now lives in Ina with Ada's daughter Feme 
Hutchens.

Felix and Mary Jane homesteaded a 40-acre farm in Moore's Prairie. Seven 
children were born and raised here:
William Stanifer, 1865; Williamson (Wid) 1869; James Oliver (Odd) 1872; 
Minnie E., 1876; Myrta Marget, 1880; Carrie Belle, 1883; and Anna 
Abigail, 1887, who married Charlie Atkinson in 1904 and had two sons, 
Dean and Ausby. After Charlie died, Anna married Sherman Hall and lived 
in Mt. Vernon until her death in 1972.

(Stan) Stanifer married Julia Buck. Two of Stan's 12 chil­dren were born 
on the farm, Alvey J. being one of them. Alvey and wife, Lona, live in 
Kennett, Missouri and were teachers. Albert, Stan's youngest, lives in 
St. Louis. Three daughters, Canoy, Myrl, and Annie survive. When Stan 
died at 96 he had 112 descendants.

Felix and his boys farmed, hunted, and trapped. Becky Jane knew and used 
woods plants for medicine and food. She made all the family clothes, 
carding, spinning and dyeing to knit stockings and mittens. When Felix 
died December 5, 1897 Rebecca was left with two minor children but 
received a Civil War widow's pension.

After a whirlwind courtship, Myrta M. (Myrtle) married Cleveland Runkel 
of Madison. They eloped and were married in Mt. Vernon in 1903. They had 
three children: Sylvan, Geneva, and Dorothy born in Jacksonville, 
Illinois. The Runk­els moved to Moline in 1918. Sylvan graduated from 
Iowa State in forestry and worked until 1974 for the U.S. Soil 
Con­servation Service as a botanist. He served as a glider pilot (JOist 
Airborne) and was wounded in Normandy on D-Day during World War II. He 
is married and has six children and ten grandchildren in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dorothy married James E. Martin in Rock Island in 1936.

They live in Denver, Colorado and have three children: Doris, Rodney, 
and Tim and six grandchildren.

Geneva married Paul Henss in 1930. They have two chil­dren, Don, an 
attorney who served as a legislator in Spring­field for six years, and 
Virginia, a school nurse and former air­lines stewardess. They have 
eight grandchildren. Geneva was a Moline High School nurse for 21 years.

Myrtle, a strong, independent, conscientious woman was a deaconess in 
the Union Congregational Church for 17 years and all those years she 
raised the grapes and made the juice for Church Communion. She lived to 
be almost 95 and died in 1975.

Source: Facts and Folks of Jefferson Co, IL
Submitted By: Sandy (Whalen) Bauer

 
 
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