FRANK M. SOLOMON, a retired farmer residing in Palmyra was born on a farm on section 32, North Palmyra Township, September 6, 1838. His father, the Hon. Lewis Solomon was born in Muhlenberg County, Ky., April 1, 1812. The family from which he has descended is of Welsh and English origin and the first ancestors in this country settled in Maryland and North Carolina. Lewis Solomon, the grandfather of our subject, took part in the Revolutionary War and was one of the gallant Marion's band which did such good service in the campaigns in South Carolina, striking terror in the hearts of the British invaders. He was married about the year 1798, to Sarah Bowden, a daughter of John Bowden, a prominent citizen of Franklin County, N. C. In 1811 he removed into Kentucky and Judge Solomon, the seventh child, was born in that State.
The home of the Solomon family in Muhlenberg County, was in a rough and poor strip of country, and the father of our subject attended for a few months a subscription school kept by a man named Shelton, and this was the only schooling he received in Kentucky. In 1825 the family emigrated to Illinois, making a tedious and wearisome journey as most of the family came on foot. They had lost their financial means by the breaking of a bank and when they reached the new home, had no money to invest in land. Their first home was made near Jacksonville, in Morgan County, and they spent the winter in a log cabin part of the floor of which was composed of mother earth. In the spring they moved to the head of the Sandy, five miles from Jacksonville, and the following year settled in Palmyra Township, Macoupin County. Here Judge Solomon's father lived and engaged in farming until his death in August 1849. His mother died the preceding February.
The father of our subject was a boy of exceedingly bright faculties, especially in the line of mathematics and made excellent progress in his studies, although his opportunities were so poor. Besides helping his father in carrying on the farm, he and his brothers were hired out by the month and thus aided in raising the necessary money for family purposes. the father had to borrow the money with which to enter his first eighty acres of land, paying for its use the exorbitant interest of twenty five per cent. But, by the family industry and economy, all debts were paid and when the grandfather of our subject died, he possessed a clear title to two hundred and fifty-six acres. Lewis the second, was a volunteer in the Black Hawk War and saw hard service during his short two months' campaign.
The young man had $46, which he had earned in the war and borrowing $16 more, (for which he paid by making rails at forty cents a hundred) he entered forty acres of land a quarter of a mile west of the town of Palmyra. He also grubbed land for his brother-in-law, who paid him by giving him one quarter of what he raised on his farm. He also chopped wood at Jacksonville for forty cents a cord and boarded himself, and in the winter of 1834, took a contract to cut five hundred cords of wood at fifty cents a cord. Thus were the foundations laid for the future success of one of the most prominent families in Macoupin County. In 1856, Nancy Ann Fink, daughter of John Fink of Kentucky, and one of the early settlers of this township became the wife of the sturdy and independent pioneer. She became the mother of our subject, who, in honor fo the General under whom his grandfather had fought, received the name of Francis Marion.
The subject of our sketch attended the pioneer schools which were carried on in the log school house with home-made furnishings and furniture, and used quill pens, as was necessary in that day. These were made by the teacher from goose quills, and were in no doubt better in many respects than some of the steel pens of the present day. Matches were then unknown and a flint and steel must be brought into requisition to strike a fire. At night the fire was buried in the ashes, but in case it went out, it was sometimes necessary to go a long distance to a neighbors in order to "borrow fire" in shape of coals to start one. From 1860 to 1863 inclusive, he attended the McKendree College at Lebanon after which he taught for three years in Morgan County. He remained with his parents upon the farm until his marriage and then settled on a farm given him by his father on section 5, of North Palmyra Township. Here he continued farming until 1888, when he came to Palmyra, and has since retired from business. Mr. Solomon read law some years ago, has practiced in Justice Courts and is now finishing his law studies with J. B. Searcy.
The marriage of Frank Solomon with Miss Margaret Lowrey took place October 31, 1861. Two children, Judson and Rosa, came to bless this home. Their mother is a native of the Emerald Isle being born in County Down, twelve miles from Belfast, upon New Year's Day, 1843. Her father, James Lowrey was born in Ireland, of Scotch parents. They were Presbyterians and reared their children in this faith, and the grandfather died in County Down. The grandmother came to America and spent her last years here with her children, dying in Pittsburgh, Pa. The father of Mrs. Solomon was reared and married in County Down and died there in 1848. His wife's maiden name was Rosanna Potter. She and her parents were natives of the same county and were of Scotch ancestry. She spent her entire life in her native county. The mother of Mrs. Solomon came to America in 1853, with her seven children and settling in Indianapolis, resided there for two years and then came to Macoupin County, and made her home east of Virden and alter at Lick Creek, Sangamon County, where her sons bought farms and where she has since resided. The names of her children are Samuel John, David, Margaret, Flora, Sarah and Jennie. Flora married Thomas Jarrett and is a member of the Presbyterian Church, but the rest of the family except Mrs. Solomon, have connected themselves with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Sarah is now the wife of Charles Turpin. Jennie became the wife of William Hall. Mrs. Solomon herself is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Solomon is a Democrat in his political views and cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas. He is prominently identified with Palmyra Lodge, No. 463, A.F. & A.M..