TAYLOR G. CHASE (deceased), whose death occurred in 1876, was one of the early settlers of Brighton township, and was intimately connected with the development and growth of that part of the county. He was a New Englander by birth, and like many who came from that section, contributed greatly to the prosperity of Illinois. The history of the Chase family in America dates back to the year 1629, when three brothers of that name came over from England to Massachusetts. This was only nine years after the first landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. From one of these brothers, named Aquilla Chase, the branch of the family with which Mr. Chase was connected was descended. His grandfather, Moses Chase, moved from Sutton, Mass., to New Hampshire, about the year 1770. The greater part of New Hampshire at that time was an entire wilderness. The Chases had obtained a charter to the town of Cornish, which for several generations since has been the home of a portion of the family. Among the descendants have been several distinguished men, the most prominent of whom has been Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States, who was born at Cornish and afterward moved to Ohio. John Chase, the father of Taylor G. Chase, was born at Sutton, Mass., in 1756, and was about fourteen years of age when the family removed to New Hampshire; married, as his second wife, Lovisa Joslyn, who was born at Braintree, Mass. He died in the year 1844. For a long number of years he was a deacon in the Congregational church at Cornish. Taylor Gilman Chase was born at Cornish, New Hampshire, November 4, 1801.
His native town furnished all the advantages for obtaining an education he ever enjoyed. These advantages were limited to the common schools. His father was a farmer, the proprietor of a flouring and saw-mill, and one of the leading business men of Cornish. At the age of twenty-one he began farming for himself. His first marriage took place in the year 1827, to Ursula Nevens, of Cornish, who died in less than a year afterward. His second marriage was in September, 1831, to Emily Spalding, daughter of Waterman Spalding. Mrs. Chase was born in Roxbury, Vermont, July, 1808, but was raised mostly in Plainfield, New Hampshire. The Spaldings were among the early Puritan settlers of New England. Mrs. Chase's grandfather, Philip Spalding, entered the Colonial army, as private, at the commencement of the Revolutionary war; served as a soldier during the whole seven years of the contest with Great Britain; was in several battles; held the rank of captain at the close of the war, and afterward drew a pension from the government for his services. He died at the age of ninety-two.
In the year 1837 Mr. Chase emigrated with his family to Illinois. Railroads had not at that time become a popular means of travel, and few lies had, indeed, been constructed. The journey from New Hampshire to Macoupin county was made by wagon, and required forty-two days. The route was by way of Utica, New York, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis. He had previously visited Illinois, in 1833, and at the land office at Edwardsville, with a view of bringing out his family and making a permanent settlement, had entered 160 acres of land in section 18 of the present Brighton township. After coming to the county in 1837, he occupied with his family a cabin on rented land in section 20 till the fall of 1839, when he settled on the quarter section he had entered, where Robert H. Crandall now lives. From 1840 to 1847 he lived in Jersey county, a mile and a half west of Brighton. In 1850 he moved to the location section 17, where his family now reside. He purchased this tract from the man who made the original entry, and it was wild and unimproved at the time it came into his possession. He began the work of putting it under cultivation with his characteristic energy. He went to St. Paul, Minnesota, and procured the lumber with which to build his house and fence the land, and had it rafted down the Mississippi. His attention was devoted entirely to farming. His capital on coming to Illinois consisted of only a few hundred dollars. He was a man of decision of character, of energy and perseverance, of shrewd business habits, and these qualities enabled him to be successful in business, and to accumulate a competence. At the time of his death he owned 525 acres of land, all of which is still in the possession of members of his family. He was actively engaged in the management of the farm until failing health during the last two or three years of his life admonished him to take things more at east. His death occurred July 30, 1876, and his remains now rest in the cemetery at Brighton. As a citizen he was enterprising and public spirited; he assisted in the establishment of schools and in advancing every measure designed to promote the best interests of the community, and few of the early settlers of Brighton township did more toward its development and improvement. He was a Democrat in politics. His children were five in number - O. A. Chase, in the mercantile business at Brighton; Don Carlos Chase, who died in 1857, at the age of twenty-four; Emily S., now Mrs. Geo. H. Aylworth, of Brighton; Alonzi, who died when four years old, and Celia A., the wife of Geo. W. Hilliard of Brighton township. The oldest son, O. A. Chase, was born in New Hampshire, July 1st, 1832. He was about five years of age when he came to Illinois. He was a student for two terms at McKendree College. He entered into the mercantile business at Brighton, in partnership with William C. Merrill, in 1861, and this business is still continued. August 30, 1864, he married Miss Calista E. Smith, a native of Chateaugay, Franklin county, New York. He is one of the representative business men of Brighton.