HENRY LAW - Among the substantial farmers and stock-raisers of Macoupin county, none deserve better mention in a work of this character than he whose name heads this article. He was born in Yorkshire, England, on the 20th of February, 1820. The Law family on the paternal side were of Scotch descent, and are direct descendants from the family of that name in Edinburg, of which John Law, the famous banker, was a member. On the maternal side of the family are of English ancestry. Robert Law, the father of Henry, married Jennie Kershaw. Five children were born to them, three of whom are at present living, viz: Henry Robert, who is a prominent business man of Chicago, and Elizabeth, who is married to Dr. John W. Trabue, and now a resident of Shipman, Illinois. Robert Law, the father, died in England, on the 23d of October, 1839. He followed the occupation of farming and stock-raising, in which he was successful. His wife, and mother of the present family, still survives him, and at present is living with her daughter, Mrs. Trabue, in Shipman, a hale, hearty woman of nearly four-score years and ten.
The subject of our sketch spent his boyhood days in the schools of his native land, and succeeded in getting a good average education, which he has since improved by extensive reading and travel. After his father's death, in 1839, he with his brother assumed control, and took upon themselves the management of the farms belonging to his father, and attended to the duties thereto belonging until 1844, when he became seized with a desire to visit America, of which glowing accounts were given of the opportunities to purchase lands and otherwise improve the financial condition of those who possessed a strong constitution and had the necessary energy to brave the discomforts of western life. He accordingly, on the 4th of May, of the year above mentioned, in company with his mother and sister, set sail for America. Upon landing he went to Cecil county, Maryland, and stopped with his brother Robert, who had preceded him the year previous. He remained in Maryland engaged in farming until 1847, when he came west to look at the country and find a location where land was cheap, and which at the same time afforded advantages for stock raising and the growing of grain. He made the journey over the mountains to Pittsburg, and then came down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers and landed at Alton; where he purchased a horse and pursued his journey on horseback. After a thorough examination of different parts of the state, he concluded that for all purposes the land in and about his present home was the best. He purchased four hundred and eighty acres, on part of which the town of Shipman now stands. He commenced its improvement at once by making rails and enclosing eight acres for grazing purposes. The same year he returned to Maryland and sold out his interests there, and in the spring of the next year removed to Shipman and settled permanently, where he has ever since remained. His brother Robert returned to England in 1848, and sold out the old homestead and farms there, and returned to this country. In 1850 Mr. Law purchased an additional one hundred and sixty acres of land, making in all one entire section. In 1852 he laid out the town of Lawton, since changed to the name of Shipman, the change occurring from the fact of sale being made of the property to Shipman, who was then civil engineer of the line of the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis railroad, and Gen. Robertson, of Alton, who had the privilege of rechristening and naming the place; in casting lots for the naming of it fell to Shipman.
On the 23d of May, 1877, he was united in marriage to Virginia Shultz, which is a native of Pennsylvania. Her parents, at an early day, emigrated to Virginia, where they remained until 1865, when they removed to Illinois, and settled in Shipman township, where Mr. Shultz remained until death, which event occurred on the 4th of October, 1871. Mrs. Shultz still resides at the same place, on section twenty-four of this township. Mr. Law is not a member of any church, yet he is exceedingly liberal in his donations to all religious enterprises, and for the erection of church edifices he has given freely and with unstinted hand whenever called upon. In politics he is a staunch democrat, but was formerly an old line whig, and cast his first vote for Gen. Zachary Taylor. In 1848 he joined the Douglas wing of the democratic party, and has remained a firm and consistent advocate of its principles ever since. Mr. Law is not a politician in the strict sense of the word, only so far as to uphold his views upon the issues of the day or to advance the interests of a friend, but as for accepting office he prefers a quiet life, and rejoices more in well tilled fields and fine stock than he does to engage in the uncertain game of political chance. In the local affairs of his town he takes an active part, and has been more or less prominent, having been elected no less than eight times as a member of the board of trustees of Shipman, and served as president of the board for three terms. During his connection with the board he was instrumental in causing the purchase of the cemetery by the town, and aided in beautifying this last resting place of the dead. And to his business tact and sagacity the town is indebted for the cemetery, and that, too, without the outlay of one cent. In 1864 Mr. Law paid a visit to the land of his birth, and spent two years in visiting all cities and places of note in England, Ireland and Scotland.
This, in brief, is a sketch of one of Macoupin county's old and best citizens. In the community where he has lived for over thirty years, and where he is thoroughly known, none are more highly respected or esteemed for those qualities which characterize an honest, upright and honorable gentleman, than Henry Law. This is the universal verdict of his neighbors and life-long