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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 225

HENRY ETTER, one of the old citizens of South Palmyra township, is a native of Tennessee, and was born in Andrew county, May 14th, 1820. His father's name was also Henry Etter; he was born in Wythe county, Virginia, and came to East Tennessee when in his twenty-third year, and there married Elizabeth Parks; she was a native of that state. The Parks' family emigrated into the state of Tennessee from the New England states. By this marriage there were twelve children, of whom Henry Etter was the seventh. When he was six years old his father emigrated with the family from Tennessee to Illinois, and settled in Greene county, three miles southeast of Greenfield. His father was one of the pioneer settlers of that part of Greene county. There were a few scattering settlements in the vicinity, but their settlement was one of the earliest in that neighborhood. The family lived there ten years. The settlements were so few that schools had scarcely been established; occasionally a subscription school was started for a few months, but the county was so thinly settled and the schools consequently so inconvenient of access to a great many, Mr. Etter had little advantages in attending them, and only went to school about two months in Greene county. In 1836 his father moved with his family to Macoupin county, and settled in what is now Western Mound township, on section nine, where George Etter, Mr. Etter's son, now resides. There were few settlers in that neighborhood at that time. His father bought one hundred and twenty acres second-handed, and entered two hundred and eighty additional acres. Mr. Etter only went to school there about five months, and all the education he afterward obtained was mostly by his own efforts after he had grown up. He lived at home with his father until his marriage, which occurred November 15th, 1844, to Asbereen Elizabeth Davidson. Mrs. Etter was born in Barren county, Kentucky, May 12th, 1824. Her grandfather, John Davidson, emigrated from Scotland to America. Her father, E. Davidson, was born in Kentucky, and married Margaret Wright, who was also a Kentuckian by birth. Both families had lived in Barren county, or counties adjoining, in that part of the state. Mrs. Etter was the oldest of eleven children. After Mr. Etter's marriage he went to farming for himself in Western Mound township on land adjoining his father's, and in 1845 moved to his present farm on section 16, South Palmyra township, and has since resided there engaged in farming. He owned four hundred and eighty acres of land, but has given it all to his children, with the exception of one hundred and sixty acres, comprising the old homestead farm. He has been content to lead the life of a quiet, private citizen, and has never aspired to hold office or public position, and is a man who enjoys the respect and esteem of the citizens of this part of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Etter have had four children, all of whom are living. George Etter, who is farming in Western Mound township; James Etter, who lives in South Palmyra township; Smith Etter, also farming in South Palmyra township; Elijah Etter, a resident of Palmyra. Mr. Etter in his politics has always been a member of the democratic party, as was his father before him. He is a strong believer in the principles of that time-honored organization, and believes they are best calculated to advance the interests of a free government and perpetuate republican institutions. His first vote for president was cast for James K. Polk in 1844; on the same day he procured his marriage license. His vote was cast at Carrollton, in Greene county; the law there being that a citizen of the state could vote for president any where within the limits of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Etter have now been married thirty-five years, and have raised a family of four children without a death. He has been a man of industry and energy, and all he has accumulated has been the result of his own labor. When he and his wife embarked in their married life they had nothing on which to rely except their own industry. They possessed nothing in the shape of this world's goods; but started out with bright hopes for the future, and a determination to succeed if it could be done by hard work. Mrs. Etter has been obliged to attend closely to home duties, having no daughters to assist her in the labors of the household; and both have the satisfaction of knowing that they have raised a family, and have their children settled in life around them, and occupy a good position among the citizens of South Palmyra township.

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