JOHN M. BRONAUGH. No citizen of Virden is more worthy of respect than this gentleman, whose portrait is presented among those of other prominent citizens. He was formerly connected with the business interests of this city, and accumulated sufficient wealth to enable him to retire from an active life and enjoy his income at his leisure. He was born October 22, 1814 amid the pleasant scenery of Spottsylvania County, Va. His father, who bore the name of George Bronaugh, was a native of the same State, and there passed his early life. In due time he took unto himself a wife in the person of Miss Sarah Martin, a Virginian by birth, and a daughter of John Martin. Her father was a lifelong resident of the Old Dominion, while her mother spent her last years in Kentucky with he children.
In 1818 the father of our subject removed to Kentucky, taking his family and all household goods with teams. He settled in Jessamine County six miles east of Nicholasville, where he bought a tract of land lying in the forests. After erecting a log house, he actively entered upon the work of evolving a farm from the wilderness. At that time timber was almost valueless except for building purposes, as there was no market for it, and large logs were rolled together and burned that today would bring a good sum of money. Mr. Bronaugh resided on his homestead until his death in 1832, when his community lost a good citizen, who had a help in its upbuilding. His widow survived him many years, her death finally occurring at Danville, Ky. In 1865, at a venerable age. He reared five children, Lucy A., John M., James H., Eliza J. and Addison.
John M. Bronaugh was a child of four years when his parents went to Kentucky, and he grew to man's estate amid the wild scenes of Jessamine County. There were then no free schools, as they were all conducted on the subscription plan, each family paying according to the number of scholars sent. Our subject early became helpful in the farm labors, and he continued to assist at home, until he attained his majority, when he left the shelter of the parental roof. In 1835 he too became a pioneer, coming to Illinois to cast in his lot with the early settlers that had preceded him in Greene County, making the journey to his destination on horseback. He had $1,000 in cash, which gave him a good start in his adopted State. He invested in a tract of fifty acres of improved land in South Richwoods Township, six miles from Carrollton. He established a tanyard, which he operated the ensuing five years, and at the expiration of that time he sold and bought other land, upon which he farmed seven years. At the end of that time he engaged in a new venture, going into the mercantile business at Woodville. There were no railways at that time in that part of the country, and all his goods were transported from Columbiana, Alton, or St. Louis with teams.
In 1855, in the spring of the year, Mr. Bronaugh came to Virden to engage in the grain business, which he abandoned in 1868 to turn his attention to farming on a large tract of land that he purchased in Lafayette County, Mo. Two years later he gave that place to his sons, and returning to Virden, resumed the grain business. He conducted it until 1889, when he surrendered it to his son Perry, and retired altogether from business. During his active life he became well-to-do, and is numbered among the solid men of this city who have been so potent in bringing about its financial prosperity, and have in various ways sought to enhance its welfare materially, morally, and socially. He is a man of high religious principles, who in all his dealings has been straightforward and honorable, and has always kept the right in view. For many years he was a member of the Baptist Church, but since the death of his wife he has connected himself with the Christian Church, which finds in him a useful member and a generous supporter. In his political sentiments he is a downright Democrat, though in early life he was a Whig.
Mr. Bronaugh was united in marriage with Miss Louisa Poindexter in 1837. She was a native of Jessamine County, Ky., and a daughter of Thomas and Maxie (Wood) Poindexter. She died in 1882, leaving behind her the blessed memory of a thoroughly good woman, who was a devoted wife, a loving mother, a kind neighbor. She was a sincere Christian, and for many years a valued member of the Baptist church. Three children were born to our subject and his wife: Perry S., who married Mary Burke, and has eight children; James A., who married Amelia Bronaugh, and resides in Kentucky, and Maxie, wife of J. P. Henderson, of the Virden Bank.