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Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Page 466

JOHN W. HETTICK, the owner and operator of fine farm land in Scottville Township, was born there August 22, 1845. The history of the ancestral line is not without incidents of romantic interest and thrilling excitement. Christian Hettick, a native of Germany, emigrated to America and settled on the Pennsylvania frontier. He was murdered by Indians when his son Andrew was a lad six years old and the child was taken captive and held three years. He was then rescued by soldiers and taken to his old home. The scars from wounds he received at the time of his capture were borne by him until his death. During his captivity his mother married a second time and he remained with her and his step-father a few years only, then started out to battle for himself. He went to Ohio and settled in Fayette County, where Indians were more numerous than whites and where all the trials of typical pioneer life beset his way.

Andrew Hettick was in the habit of driving his stock across the mountains to Baltimore and Philadelphia, there being no railroad communications with the Eastern States. In 1846 he removed to what was then the Territory of Illinois, performing the journey on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in a keelboat. He stopped in what is now Monroe County and bought two hundred acres of land on the American bottoms. There he made his home until 1820, then became a resident of Greene County, living near Carrollton five years and at the conclusion of that period taking up his abode in what is now Scottville Township, this county. He was the first actual settler in the township and one of the first in the county, which was at that time a part of Greene County. His means were very limited and although the land sold at $1.25 per acre, he could not buy a farm. He "squatted" on a tract of Government land, built two log houses and a log stable and broke thirty acres. The land was property entered by a would-be settler, who gave Mr. Hettick $100 as a compensation for the work he had done, and with that money he was able to enter eighty acres on section 27, and secure a home of his own. He built a hewed log house and lived there until his decease in 1853.

In the family of Andrew Hettick was a son, Stephen, who was born in Fayette County, Ohio, July 24, 1809, and who was one of the five children brought by the parents to this State in 1816. He grew to maturity amid the primitive scenes of pioneer times. He vividly remembers those days and recalls with interest the fact that for several years after the removal hither there were no railroads in this part of the country and St. Louis was the most accessible and important market. The scattered families lived almost entirely upon the products of their farms, and coffee was one of the luxuries seldom found in their dwellings. He and his brothers and sisters wore homespun made by their mother's hand, she having a thorough knowledge of all the processes by which flax or wool was converted into clothing. He grew to a vigorous manhood, having but little opportunity to pursue manhood, having but little opportunity to pursue the knowledge found in the text books, but acquiring a good understanding of practical affairs and imbibing, as from the air around him, the sterling principles which were generally characteristic of those bred on the frontier. Before his marriage he entered eighty acres of land on section 28, Scottville Township, and built a log house in which he subsequently began housekeeping. He split logs for flooring. He has lived on the same farm since his marriage, but has changed its appearance so much that it would hardly be recognized as the same property. The old log cabin has been replaced by a more modern dwelling and substantial buildings of various kinds have risen near. Mr. Hettick bought other land at different times and held the title to upward of two thousand acres at one time.

Stephen Hettick was married December 24, 1853, to Delilah Sharpe, who was born in Clayton County, Tenn., May 14, 1817. She is a daughter of William and Sarah (Kirk) Sharpe, and her early training was such as to fit her for the position which she occupied as the wife of an early settler. Of the children born to her the following are now living: Emily, wife of Henry Ruyle; Melinda, wife of J. W. Neighbors; Andrew, John, Stephen A., Jesse B., Samuel E. and Sarah, Mrs. Angelow. The parents belong to the United Baptist Church.

The subject of this biographical sketch began to assist his father on the farm as soon as his strength would permit. He attended school as opportunity offered and became well versed in the more practical branches of an English education, and from time to time added to his store of knowledge by the varied means opened to all observing and thoughtful minds. He remained with his parents until his marriage at twenty three years of age, then settled near the present site of Hettick Station. He lived there sixteen years, then took possession of the farm he now operates selling his other property and buying here. Following the example set before him by his honored ancestors, he has worked diligently and carefully, and is classed among the best farmers in this section of the country. He votes the Democratic ticket, and he and his wife belong to the Baptist Church in which they have good standing, as they have throughout the community.

The marriage of our subject to Miss Martha E. Calhoun occurred April 8, 1869. The bride was born in Casey County, Ky., where her father, James Calhoun and her grandfather, William Calhoun, also opened their eyes to the light. In that county James Calhoun married Julia Wood, daughter of Abram and Martha Wood, and thence they came to this State in 1851. Mr. Calhoun died in Scottville Township the year after his arrival. His widow subsequently married John S. McColom, (deceased), and is now living in Barr Township. Mr. and Mrs. Hettick have seven children, named respectively: James I., Stephen L., Cora E., Julia D., Charles O., Ola May and Frank.

1891 Index

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