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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 244

SEYMOUR B. WILCOX - This gentleman, sheriff of Macoupin county from 1868 to 1870, was born in Genesee county, New York, August 19, 1826. His ancestors were Scotch-Irish, and settled in Connecticut, and afterward emigrated to Western New York. His grandfather, Borden Wilcox, was in the revolutionary war. His father, also named Borden Wilcox, was born and raised in Genesee county, New York. When a boy of fourteen or fifteen, he ran away from home to enlist in the army, during the war of 1812. He was taken prisoner by the British, at Fort Erie, and was two years at Halifax, in Nova Scotia. He was a farmer and school teacher. He came to Illinois in 1821, and soon afterward married Almira Kellogg, daughter of Col. Seymour Kellogg; she was born in Genesee county, New York, on a farm adjoining the birthplace of Mr. Wilcox's father. Col. Kellogg settled eight or ten miles west of Jacksonville, in 1818, the same year as the admission of Illinois as a state. He was an officer in the war of 1812, and one of the oldest settlers of Morgan county, in which he made his home when a wilderness. He died while on a visit to St. Louis. After Mr. Wilcox's father was married, he lived in Morgan county for two years, and then returned New York, and lived in Genesee county for a time, and also carried on a plow foundry at Albion, on the Erie canal. October, 1831, he came back to Illinois, and settled at Naples, then in Morgan, and now in Scott county. He died January 9, 1837. Mr. Wilcox's mother died April 19, 1841.

After his mother's death the family was broken up, and Mr. Wilcox at the age of fifteen was compelled to begin life for himself. He learned the trade of a plasterer in St. Louis. August 4, 1848, he married Julia F. Macklin, who was born at Terre Haute, Indiana, but was principally raised in St. Louis. He left St. Louis in 1851, and came to Waverly, in Morgan county, where he followed his trade till 1855, and then moved to Virden, which town had only been started two or three years, and contained but a few houses. He bought an interest in the grocery business of A. L. Virden. In 1857 Walter Turner purchased Mr. Virden's interest, and the business was carried on under the firm name of Wilcox and Turner till 1864. Virden was than an important business point, and commanded the trade of a large scope of country. Their sales occasionally reached as high an amount as $700 in a single day. In 1863 he made a trip to California, driving stock across the plains and selling them on the Pacific coast. After 1864 he was in the grain and hay business. In 1868 against numerous strong competiors, he carried off the democratic nomination for sheriff, and was elected by a majority of 329, running considerably ahead of the general ticket. He was in the sheriff's office till December, 1870; he conducted it on strict business principles, and made the reputation of being one of the best officers the county ever had. He has since resided at Virden. He has five children: Josephus P., Ida M., Jennie V., Luella H., and Maxcy B. He was first a whig in politics and voted for Taylor for president in 1848. When the whig party went to pieces he became a democrat. He is known as a public spirited and enterprising man, and his residence at Virden is one of the handsomest in the town.

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