JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
Dewitt C. Youngblood
"An honest man is able to speak for himself, when a knave is not," so,
according to the Bard of Avon, Dewitt C. Youngblood should be allowed
to tell his own story, for honesty is the keynote of his character, and
realizing this his fellow citizens have done him the honor of electing
him county treasurer, but since his modesty is too great to permit him
to give a fair idea of what he has accomplished, the task must fall to
another. All of his life save the time that he has spent in the service
of his friends and neighbors in some political capacity has been devoted
to farming in Jefferson county and his relations with the life of the
county have been of the closest.
Dewitt C. Youngblood was born en the 15th of February, 1849, on a farm
near Crab Orchard in Williamson county. He was the son of John J.
Youngblood, who was born in Tennessee, in 1827. The paternal grandfather
of Dewitt was James Youngblood, who settled in Williamson county when
it was still practically a wilderness and when clearing the land was
one of the heaviest tasks that fell to his lot as a farmer. During a
deer drive he was accidentally shot, and though he apparently recovered
he died a few years later from the effects of the wound, and he now lies
buried about six miles southeast of Marion. John J. Youngblood was yet
a boy when his father came to Southern Illinois, this migration taking
place somewhere in the thirties. Until near the middle of the century
he was content to stay on the home farm and assist his father. During
the early fifties, however, he decided to strike out for himself and
settled on a farm in Elk Prairie.
In 1854, growing restless, he took a trip through the northwest, which
at that time was the haunt of the Indian, the buffalo and the fur trader.
He was gone about five years, returning home by way of the southwest.
Before settling down to a farmer's life he had served in the Mexican
war, from 1846 to 1848, under General Zachary Taylor, therefore he
was particularly interested in the country through which he passed on
the latter part of his journey, for much of it had been won for the
United States during the Mexican war, and when he realized the vast
extent of the country and the riches which could be only guessed, he
was more than ever proud that he had helped to secure this great area
for the country of his birth. The wife of John J. Youngblood was Miss
Mary Ann Fisher, the daughter of Jason C. Fisher, who was a native of
North Carolina and one of the earliest settlers in Williamson county.
In the spring of 1855, following the example of his son-in-law, he set
out for a trip through the northwest, going by boat to St. Paul, but
he did not proceed far on his journey before death overtook him and he
passed away in Iowa in May of that year. John J. was the father of
six sons and four daughters: John J., who died in Missouri; Dewitt C.;
Elizabeth, who became Mrs. Robinson and resides in California; James M.,
who died in 1880; Parlee, now Mrs. Hudson, of Oklahoma; Albert, who died
in his youth; Mary Jane (Buoy), who lives in Iowa; Ransom A., also
living in Iowa; Milley L., who died at the age of four years; and Henry
who also died, in southwestern Missouri. Mr. Youngblood himself did not
live to reach his prime, dying in 1873, on the 7th of December.
Dewitt C. Youngblood was reared on the farm and received his education
in the district schools. When he was twenty-one years of age he left
home and began to work for himself. He married and took his bride to a
little log cabin on a farm in Spring Garden township, where he began
as a tenant farmer. The young couple put away every penny and resorted
to every manner of self sacrifice until finally they had saved up enough
to buy a farm of their own. The first farm consisted of seventy acres,
but by dint of careful management they succeeded in accumulating two
hundred and forty acres, which has since been divided among the children,
Mr. Youngblood having reserved only eighty-seven acres for himself.
This farm lies in Spring Garden township, where he first started out,
and it is all under a high state of cultivation.
In politics Mr. Youngblood is a Democrat, and he has served his party
many times in different capacities. He acted as highway commissioner
in 1891, served as township assessor and has filled numerous township
offices, such as township supervisor, which post he held for two terms.
In 1910 he was elected to the office which he now holds, that of county
treasurer, his term to expire in 1914. His marriage to Parlee Harmon
took place in October, 1871. She was the daughter of Littleton Harmon,
of Jefferson county, and died on the 20th of January, 1894. She was the
mother of seven children, most of whom are married and have families
of their own. Ida May (Holeman), who lives in Arkansas, is the mother
of eight children; Mary J., who is Mrs. Gibson, and lives in California;
Alice, now Mrs. Rankin, is living in Jefferson county; Rosa, who married
Mr. Boyle, has one child; Ollie, is Mrs. Fitzgerald; Myrtle, now Mrs.
Claude Nelson, lives in Colorado; and Jessie, who is teaching school
at Windfield, Illinois.
Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith,
M. A. VOLUME I - III ILLUSTRATED
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 1912
Page 1338 - 1339
Submitted by Robert W. Loman