ARCHELAUS N. YANCEY - Mr. Yancey is descended from an old Virginia family, which has been represented by several distinguished men in various part of the south. His birth place was Montpelier, in Orange county, Virginia. Montpelier was the residence of James Madison, and Mr. Yancey was born about a mile from the home of the ex-president, on part of the estate which formerly belonged to the Madison family. The Yanceys settled in Virginia while it was yet a British colony. Augustus Yancey, great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and among Mr. Yancey's earliest recollections are incidents connected with visits to Richmond with his grandfather, Charles Yancey, on business concerning the pension of the latter's father. Charles Yancey was a planter in Orange county, Virginia, and he, himself, had served in the war of 1812, receiving in one of the engagements in which he took part, a wound which made necessary the amputation of his arm. He was a prominent mason, and in 1822 was grand master of the state of Virginia, the highest office in the Masonic jurisdiction of the state. Mr. Yancey's father, James E. Yancey, married Mary E. Waller, whose ancestors had also for a long period been residents of the old dominion. Her father, James Waller, was at one time, before railroads were built, largely engaged in the transportation business between Fredericksburg and Richmond, Virginia.
Mr. Yancey was the oldest of nine children, and was born March 24th, 1844. When he was twelve years of age his father moved from Virginia to Oldham county, Kentucky. Mr. Yancey had commenced his education at the Hilton Academy in Orange county, Virginia, and after moving to Kentucky, attended an academy at Middletown, in that state, where he prepared for college. He entered Dartmouth college, New Hampshire, January, 1864. From an early period of his life he had entertained the idea of becoming a lawyer, and for eighteen months before entering college had pursued his preparatory legal studies in the office of Nathaniel Wolf, a prominent lawyer of Louisville, Kentucky. Becoming anxious to commence active work in his chosen profession at as early date as possible, he left Dartmouth college in the summer of 1865, and the succeeding fall entered the law school connected with the university of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, determined on securing a thorough legal education. He was a student at Ann Arbor for two years, and graduated March 27th, 1867, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. After his graduation he practiced for a brief period in Oldham county, Kentucky, and in the fall of 1867, came to Bunker Hill with the purpose of establishing himself in his profession. About the same time, October 1st, 1871, he married Miss Belle Bryan, of Oldham county, Kentucky. Mrs. Yancey is a native of Oldham county, and her ancestors were residents of Kentucky from an early period in the history of the state.
The remainder of Mr. Yancey's history is well known to the people of Macoupin county. He has resided at Bunker Hill and in the practice of his profession the courts of this county has acquired an excellent reputation as a lawyer. His practice has embraced all branches of the law, both cases before justices of the peace and intricate litigation before the supreme court of the state and the Federal courts, and in every instance he has proved himself a man of sound legal learning, successful in the management of his cases, ready in resources, and especially able in the presentation of a case to a jury. For several years he has been local attorney for the Indianapolis and St. Louis railroad in the Counties of Macoupin and Madison. Like his ancestors, before him, he has been a democrat, and has given his unvarying support to the principles and candidates of that party. He has taken an active interest in politics, and has usually participated in the various political campaigns advocating the cause of democracy with an ability which has won him considerable reputation as a sound and logical speaker.