NICHOLAS CHALLACOMBE - The ancestors of Mr. Challacombe were of Norman origin, and came over to England with William the Conqueror. For several generations preceding the birth of the subject of this sketch, they had lived in Devonshire, where his father and his grandfather were both born. His grandfather was name William Challacombe, and his father, John C. Challacombe. They followed agriculture, were the owners of their land, and were considered a family of good origin and standing. The home of the Challacombes was at Buttercombe Hall, in the parish of West Down. Barnstable was the nearest market town. The family is quite extensive in England, having representatives at Bristol and other localities, but as far as known none of its members emigrated to American prior to 1830. Nichlolas Challacombe was born at Buttercombe Hall, Devonshire, June 19th, 1824. He was the youngest son, and the sixth of a family of eight chidlren. His mother, Elizabeth Parminter, belonged to an English agricultural family. In the year 1833, his father emigrated with the family to America. They first settled at Stafford, in Genesee county, New York, in which neighborhood a considerable number of English people from Devonshire had settled. Purchasing a farm his father lived there till 1840, and then fulfilled his original intention of coming to Illinois. A number of English families, who had come over to America in the same vessel, had settled in Macoupin county, and accordingly he determined on making his home in this part of the state. He bought a farm in the south-west part of township ten, range seven, where he lived till his death, which took place in February, 1846. Mr. Challacombe's mother died previously, in 1843.
While living in the state of New York, Mr. Challacombe attended the district schools, and after coming to Macoupin county, went to the "Old Seminary" at Carlinville, a school well known to the older residents of the county, and in which he obtained the chief part of his education. He was sixteen when the family came to Macoupin county. In 1845, the year in which he attained his majority, his father purchased for him four hundred acres of land lying in the Macoupin bottom, in sections seventeen, twenty, and twenty-one of the present Chesterfield township. Of this tract only eighty acres were under cultivation, partly covering a mound rising from the Macoupin bottom, and affording a beautiful and picturesque building site. The place is one of the oldest in Chesterfield township, and was originally settled by a man named James Loper. From the Loper family it passed into the hands of the Blackburns, and Mr Challacombe purchased it from A. M. Blackburn, son of Dr. Gideon Blackburn. He was married on the 22d of March, 1847, by the Rev. Hugh Barr, the pastor of the Spring Cove Presbyterian Church, to Nancy Glorianna Carson. Mrs. Challacombe was born at Franklin, Tennessee. Her ancestors were Scotch. Her father, William Harvey Carson, became a resident of Macoupin county in 1833. Mr. Challacombe devoted all his energy to the improvement of his land, to which he subsequently made additions. He is now the owner of seven hundred acres, lying in one body, in sections sixteen, seventeen, twenty and twenty-one. The original cabin built by Loper, which stood on the premises when Mr. Challacombe took possession, was destroyed by fire on the night of the 14th of October, 1846. At that time his sister was keeping house for him, his marriage not then having taken place. The conflagration broke out so suddenly that the inmates of the house were compelled to seek safety from the flames without their clothing. The same fall a log house was removed from another locality to replace the structure, and was standing till 1870, when his present residence, which he began building in 1860, was completed. The mound on which stand his house comprises sixty acres.