JEFFERSON COUNTY IL 
BIOGRAPHIES
WILLIAM MAXEY 
WILLIAM MAXEY 
William MAXEY, born 1770 in Virginia, married Mary E. ALLEN, sister of Rhodam ALLEN. In 1818 the whole family of 21 crossed the Ohio River at Cave-in-Rock and followed the Old Goshen Trail by wagon and horseback to Moores Prairie, about 15 miles southeast of Mt. Vernon. Perigan, Burchett's infant son, and grandson of William, died. He was the first white person buried in Jefferson County. Zadok CASEY visited the Maxeys, convincing them to move north to his "Paradise" area, three miles northwest of Mt. Vernon. William built a two-story log house near Casey's. Clarissa and husband, James JOHNSON, built a four-room log house nearby, and raised 16 children. While farming, William saw the great need for a mill, since the nearest to grind meal was in Carmi. In 1820 he built a horse-powered mill, operating it for many years. Later, son Elihu moved the mill to his farm north of Pleasant Grove and operated it. William had migrated because he disliked slavery in Tennessee. In 1830 William emancipated the 18-year-old Negro girl that wanted to come to Illinois with them when only six. This was probably the first legal emancipation of a slave in Illinois, recorded in Jefferson County Circuit Clerk's office 32 years before Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. Brother Edward and wife had no children. They adopted and educated several; one being John R. SATTERFIELD who was county judge for 21 years and married Betsey, daughter of Clarissa. Edward was the first county clerk, second treasurer. and one of the first school teachers. His contract with the parents said. "I agree to teach a school of spelling writing and arithmetic for (---time) five days a week, for $4 each scholar, $2 to be paid in money and the rest in pork or young cattle at the expiration of the term." The first society of Methodists organized in Jefferson County in 1819 was at his house. Many preached at his home. Many Maxeys were very active Methodists. Jesse MAXEY, father of William and Edward, served in the Revolutionary War in 1782. The Tennessee History states that in 1788 Jesse was scalped by Indians near Gallatin, left for dead. but lived for 20 years. Burchett MAXEY, son of William, received the contract to build the first county jail in 1820 for $320. It took over 200 logs 12 inches square and presently stands on the west edge of City Park. He built the first house in Mt. Vernon, on the square. This home stood there in good condition 75 years, then the bank was built there (now the John B. ROGERS Building). Burchett was a builder, owned many properties, held numerous offices. but was also at home in the wilderness and was a great hunter. He killed 8 bears within a half-mile of his home. When young he walked to St. Louis, driving hogs to market. After he was 80, he often walked to Pleasant Grove, a 12-mile walk. Burchett married Margaret TAYLOR, and they had 12 children. James C. MAXEY, a son of Burchett, married Nancy MOSS. Quote the Register-News of Oct. 29, 1977: "65 Years Ago Today - In honor of the 62nd wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. James C. MAXEY, the children and a host of near and distant relatives gave a grand fete and log house raising at the home of Walter MAXEY." They had eight children: John, Walter S., Oliver, Oscar, Albion F., James H., Lillie and Moss. In 1947 Dr. Moss MAXEY had practiced medicine in Mt. Vernon continuously for 50 years. He performed the first appendectomy in Jefferson County. He pioneered in the treatment of tuberculosis and was known in many states for his outstanding work as a chest specialist. Dr. Maxey received many state and national honors. Dr. Hugh and Vivian. Vivian married Doc CLEVELAND, having one daughter, V. Virginia, who married Glenn DENNIS. They presently live in Mt. Vernon and Ft. Myers, Fla. Later Dr. Maxey married Ethel ELLIOTT. At times there have been 300 Maxeys in Jefferson County. Many were Methodist ministers and farmers, millers, merchants, builders, physicians, lawyers, judges, a superintendent of schools, a senator, speakers of the House, several justices of the peace and many held public office. Thirty-three Maxeys enlisted in the Union Army. Since several lived to be over 80 and even 90, they had as many as 100 grandchildren and 200 descendants and saw their fifth generation before their death. 
SOURCE: FACTS AND FOLKS, JEFFERSON CO, IL 1978 
SUBMITTED BY: Misty Flannigan
Dec 15, 1997  

 
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