Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
HISTORY OF MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
DESCRIPTIVE OF ITS SCENERY,
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS.
Among the many prominent and leading agriculturists of Macoupin county stands the name of John Kesinger. He was born in Hart county, Kentucky, March 27th, 1825. His father, Lynn Kesinger, named so after a river and also a great hunter who was lost on the river, was also a native of the same state. Solomon Kesinger, his father, and grandfather of the present sketch, was a native of Pennsylvania. He removed with his father's family to Kentucky, a short time after the state was admitted into the Union. Solomon, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born on the Rhine, in Germany. He came to America when eighteen years of age. There were two brothers who came over, and from them have sprung a numerous family. Lynn Kesinger married Betsey Peebles. She is a native of South Carolina, but was reared in Kentucky, and was married to Mr. Kesinger while a resident of that state. Her mother's name was Welmoth Owens, and she was a native of South Carolina. John Peebles, the grandfather, was born in England. He was a soldier of the revolution. The Owens were also of English and Scotch ancestry. There were born to Lynn and Betsey Kesinger ten children, seven of whom are living. Lynn Kesinger left Kentucky on the 15th of November, 1847, and came to Illinois and settled in Macoupin county, four miles west of Chesterfield, where he remained one year, when he removed to Bird township, where he resides with his son. He is yet a hale, hearty man, although in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His wife also lives with her son.
The subject of our sketch spent a small portion of his younger years in the subscription schools of his native state, and the balance of the time was employed in cultivating tobacco, which was the principal product of that section of Kentucky, as it was exchanged for all the necessaries of life. He remained at home until October, 1845. He was then twenty-one years of age, and determined to go out in the world and do for himself. He left his native state and came to Illinois, and into Chesterfield township, where he found work in a saw mill. He was a stout, rugged young man, possessed of a fine physical frame, capable of almost any amount of endurance. He worked all through the following winter in the saw mill, and received as compensation ten dollars per month and board. His uncle, Simpson Cherry was proprietor of the mill. At the end of four months he went to Morgan county, in this state, and worked on a farm, for which he received twelve dollars a month. The next fall he returned on a visit to Kentucky, and remained but six weeks, when he came back to Macoupin county and engaged with Daniel L. Peebles to superintend his farm, for which he received sixteen dollars per month. He remained with Mr. Peebles until August, 1848. During the time he was with Mr. Peebles, he was taken sick with typhoid fever, and lay for six weeks in an extremely critical condition. During his sickness he made the more intimate acquaintance and found out the gentle and amiable qualities of Mrs. Peebles, who like an angel ministered, nursed, and took care of him when he was lying helpless on his bed of pain. The friendship then formed ripened into love, and they were married December 16th, 1848. She was the daughter of Horatio and Cynthia Adams. Her former husband, Jesse H. Peebles, died eighteen months after their marriage. By this marriage there was one child, a boy, whose name is Horatio B. The fruits of the latter marriage have been nine children, six boys and three girls. Their names are Preston, Charles E., Harriet (wife of Cicero Solomon), Cynthia A. (wife of James Sells), Manford H., William Solomon, Loretta, John P., and Manning Kesinger.
After his marriage he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 16, Bird township, and moved into a little log house that sat in the high grass. It was a very common log house, with cracks wide enough through which came the rude blasts of winter, and the snow would often lay thick upon the floors in the morning. It was a rough beginning; but both he and his wife were possessed of that kind of spirit necessary to brave the hardships and discomforts of life in those days in order to get a start in the world. His wife died Nov. 20th, 1878. She was a fond and patient wife, a kind and gentle mother, and a true helpmeet. Mr. Kesinger remained on section sixteen for fourteen years, when he moved south to a farm, where he remained for some years, and still to another farm where he now resides, and where he expects to remain the balance of his days. He has the entire section, thirteen, and eighty acres in section fourteen. All of it has been the accumulation of his own toil and industry. He started in life unaided; in fact, all of his worldly possessions when he came to Illinois consisted of a horse, two suits of clothes, and two dollars and fifty cents in money. Both he and his late lamented wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In politics he is a pronounced democrat. He voted for James K. Polk for President in 1844, and since that time has given his adhesion to the party of his first choice, and voted the ticket without scratch or blemish. He is also a consistent member of the Ancient Order of Masons.
Mr. Kesinger is a large, warm-hearted, and kind gentleman. He has hosts of friends wherever he is known. His character for strict honesty and fair dealing with his fellow men is well known. The word of John Kesinger is just as good as his bond, and both are number one in the scale of excellence in Macoupin county.
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