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.
JAMES L. METCALF who has lived in Barr township since 1835, was born in Hopkins county, Kentucky, May 31st, 1820. He was
the youngest of a family of nine children of William Metcalf and Elizabeth Jones. The first fifteen years of his life were
spent in Kentucky. His father emigrated with the family to Illinois in the spring of 1835, and settled on section 31 of
township 11, range 9, on the same spot where now stands the residence of the subject of this sketch. A log house
weather-boarded with clap boards had been previously built at this place by John Markham, one of the pioneer settlers
of Barr township. This improvement was purchased, and his father and mother lived there till they died, the former in
November, 1858, and the latter in January, 1852. Both are now buried in a private burying ground on Mr. Metcalf's farm.
His father was a man of considerable industry and business ability, and became the owner of twelve hundred acres of
His opportunities for going to school while he lived in Kentucky were not good enough to give him much of a
chance to get a thorough education. After coming to Illinois, he attended school at Fayette, about two miles distant in
Greene county,, and subsequently, when the settlements became numerous enough, some schools were started in the
neighborhood where he lived. As soon as he became twenty-one years of age, he went to farming for himself. His
marriage occurred in May, 1848, to Eliza Peter. Her father's name was Simon Peter. Mrs. Metcalf was born in Louisville,
Kentucky, and was living in Greene county, Illinois, at the time she was married. Mr. Metcalf has since been farming in
Barr township, and is living on the old homestead farm where his father first settled on coming to the state. His place
has been his home ever since he first came to Macoupin county. For a period of forty-four years he has lived on the
same spot, a circumstance which can be said of comparatively few men in Macoupin county. He owns three hundred
acres of land lying in sections 30 and 31 of Barr township. He erected in 1872 a handsome frame dwelling, which, with its
surroundings, makes one of the most attractive farm residences in that part of the county. He has had eight children.
The oldest daughter, Albina E., died when just reaching the age of womanhood. Lenora S. is now the wife of Dr. Clement
of Brighton. Harriet L. married Dr. Frank Martin of Greenfield. Edward P., the oldest son, is now carrying on the
mercantile business at Greenfield. The other children, whose names are Minnie, Emma, Irene and Charles, still live at
When Mr. Metcalf first became old enough to take any part in politics, he identified himself with the old Whig
party. Henry Clay, the pride of every man who was born in Kentucky, received his first vote for president when the
great champion of whit principles made his last unsuccessful race for the presidency against James k. Polk in 1844. He
remained a whit until the dissolution of that party, and then on its organization joined the republican party, with which
he has since been connected. He is not, however, a man whose tastes have led him to take an active part in political work.
With no ambition to occupy public office or take a conspicuous part in public affairs, he has been contented to occupy
his time with the management of his farm and his own private business. He is one of the oldest settlers of this part of the
county, and during his residence in it his course of conduct as a private citizen has been such as to command the respect
of the community. In the accompanying biographical sketch of his brother, Richard J. Metcalf, may be found the particulars
of the interesting history of his father and grandfather.
Index to Biographies
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