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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 155

JAMES BREDEN, (deceased). One of the first settlers of Bunker Hill township was James Breden. He was born in the state of Virginia in October, 1784, and was the youngest of nine children, of whom five were brothers and four sisters. His father emigrated to Virginia from Ireland. The particulars of the early family history are not known with exactness, but either his father or grandfather had been educated for the ministry of the Church of England. James Breden had very limited opportunities for getting an education. Schools in his boyhood days were few and of an inferior character, and what education he obtained was by his own efforts. He left Virginia when nineteen years of age and went to Tennessee. In that state he was married to a Miss Anderson. His home in Tennessee was White county, and he carried on a small farm and also made powder. The date of his coming to Illinois is not exactly known. On his emigration to this state he settled on Rattan's prairie, in Madison county and resided there for several years. In March, 1827, he came to Macoupin county and settled on section 9 of the present Bunker Hill township. What is now Macoupin county was then all wild and unsettled, and James Breden was one of the earliest pioneers. He located at the head of Wood river. Along that stream the remains of Indian lodges were still in existence. At that time no surveys had been made of the country, and when the lines came to be run his little improvement was thrown into four different sections, viz: 9, 10, 15, and 16. He subsequently entered the eighty acres in section 15, where his son, John F. Breden now lives, and which is also the house of his widow. He built a log house on this tract in which he lived till 1840, when he built the house in which he died, an illustration of which is shown on another page. His first wife died while he still lived in Madison county. In October, 1836, he married Mrs. Cynthia Ann Barrow, formerly Miss Cynthia A. Neaville.

Mrs. Breden was born in Knox county, east Tennessee, nine miles from Knoxville, in September, 1795. Her father, Enoch Neaville, was a native of South Carolina, and moved to Wayne county, Kentucky, when Mrs. Breden was five years old. She married William Barrow in Kentucky, 1813, and in 1817 came to Illinois while it was yet under a territorial form of government. She and her husband lived for a short time at Shawneetown and afterwards in various other parts of the state, and in 1827 came to Macoupin county and settled on Dry Fork, near the bunker Hill and Carlinville road. Her husband, William Barrow, enlisted in the Black Hawk war; was in the campaign against the Indians in 1831, and never returned. It is supposed that he was killed while absent some distance from his comrades.

James Breden was a man who was actively interested in public affairs, and was known by everybody in Macoupin county as "Squire Breden". He was a man of good judgment and considerable natural abilities. He was the first justice of the peace elected in the township, and filled that office for twenty-four years. He made a very faithful and satisfactory magistrate, and always endeavored to do strict justice between man and man. It is said that of all the cases he ever tried, no judgment that he himself rendered was ever reversed by the circuit court. He was also elected associate county judge, and for four years ably and conscientiously performed the duties of that office. In his politics he was a democrat, and took a deep interest in the success of that party. He was a strong admirer and supporter of Stephen A. Douglas. His personal character was excellent, and he had those old fashioned, honest and manly traits which were peculiar to the early pioneers of that state. He had been identified with the history of the county from its first settlement, and had many warm and strong friends. He died March 10th, 1863.

He had in all, eight children, of whom four are now living. Wiley Breden, the oldest son, resides at Woodburn. Dorcas married Charles McPeak and is now living in Maquoketa, Iowa. John F. Breden, the youngest son lives on the old homestead farm. Maria is the wife of William C. Vaucom, of Woodburn. Mrs. Breden is still living, and is now one of the oldest settlers of macoupin county, having been in the county since 1827. She is in her eighty-fifth year, but is still hearty and vigorous and performs her household duties with a sprightliness which would not be discreditable to a girl of sixteen. She remembers, with great distinctness, incidents which occurred eighty years ago.

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