FRANCIS LANCASTER. Among the British-American citizens of Macoupin County, we are pleased to present to our readers the portrait and a sketch of the life of that genial and prominent resident of Bunker Hill Township, who is so well known in the county as Francis Lancaster. He is a successful and practical farmer and progressive stock-raiser, and lives on a fine farm located on sections 1, 2, and 12, of Bunker Hill Township. This tract comprises eight hundred acres, most of which is in a fine state of improvement. His handsome, two story brock residence and his barns and other farm buildings, are located on section 1, and have been placed there by Mr. Lancaster. He has owned and lived on the homestead since 1848, and procured most of the land when it was in its unbroken state.
Mr. Lancaster did not have a dollar of capital when he entered this county in 1844, and has made his fortune out of the soil by the help of his pluck, push and perseverance. He came to the United States in 1841, voyaging on a three mast sailor, the "Ontario," being on the ocean seven weeks and two days, and landing in New York City, March 7. It was three years later before he was able to send back for his wife and children whom he had left at the old home. He had, in the meanwhile, earned the money for their transportation, and to give them a suitable welcome in the new home. His wife has ever been a faithful and efficient helpmate in his struggle for the attainment of a comfortable fortune.
Our subject was born August 7, 1813, in Buckinghamshire, England, and came of a good, old yeoman family, who were for generations residents in that shire. It was there that the father and mother of our subject lived and died, passing away after they had both completed the limit of three-score years and ten. The father, Joseph Lancaster, was a brickmaker and fruit dealer by occupation, and the mother, Harriet (Downey) Lancaster, was also of an old English family. She became the mother of fourteen children, and four of her sons came to the United States, two of them now having died.
Our subject learned the trade of a brickmaker, and after he became of age, married a wife in his native shire. She was Miss Elizabeth Collins, who was born in 1812 in the same shire; she was reared there by her parents who came of good old English stock, and who lived and died in their native home. She followed her husband to this country, helped him to gain the splendid property which he owns today, and died at her home May 12, 1883. She was a woman of unusual intelligence and a lively Christian faith, which was shown forth in a life of unpretentious goodness. She was brought up in the church of England, and was always strongly attached to the Episcopal service.
She was the mother of ten children, four of whom have passed to the other world. Frank died after his marriage, and the birth of his six children. His wife bore the maiden name of Caroline Hooker, and is now living in Kansas City, Mo. The other who died passed away when young. One was an infant unnamed, and the others were Harriet and Albert. Those who are living are as follows: William, who took to wife Mary Hovey, and lives at Girard, where he is a farmer and stock-raiser; Elizabeth the wife of Henry Wise, a miller at bunker Hill; Mary, the wife of Esop Barnes, a dentist of Girard; John, a farmer in Bunker Hill Township, who married Hannah Parmeter; Matilda the wife of Joseph Barnes, a farmer of Sumner County, Kan.; the second son, Joseph, is a heavy stock dealer in St. Joseph, Mo., and married Miss Mary Parmeter. This valuable family stands high in the social and industrial circles of Macoupin County, and its members have done much to develop the resources of this section of the county.