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Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Page 239

JOHN L. SOLOMON, who resides on section 17, North Palmyra Township, is a son of Judge Lewis Solomon, deceased, and a nephew of D. N. Solomon, of Palmyra. The father was one of the oldest settlers of Macoupin County and was intimately identified with the history of this part of the State. He was born April 1, 1812, in Muhlenberg County, Ky., and came of Welsh and English origin. His grandfather, who bore the name of Lewis Solomon, took part in the Revolutionary War, being one of that daring band who, under the gallant Marion, did such good service in the campaigns in South Carolina. Judge Solomon's grandmother was a woman of remarkable bravery and determination and on one occasion drove the British out of her house with a poker.

The grandfather of our subject removed from Kentucky to Illinois in 1825. The mother and three youngest children rode in the cart with the household goods and the remainder of the family trudged on foot. The family fortunes had been sadly impaired by the breaking of the Commonwealth Bank of Kentucky and they had no money with which to purchase land. Their first settlement was in Morgan County, but in the spring of 1827 the family removed to Macoupin County and located two miles north of Palmyra. The grandparents died here in 1849 and 1850.

Judge Solomon was in his fifteenth year when he came to this county. He had attended a subscription school in Kentucky for a few months only and here in the summer of 1829 he attended a school kept by his brother-in-law, James Howard. He was a boy of bright faculties and learned rapidly, excelling in mathematics. In the year 1832, when twenty years old, Lewis Solomon volunteered in the Black Hawk War, and during this two months' campaign experienced considerable hardship. He was in the engagement twenty miles from Dixon and at one time the men in his regiment were five days without bread. On starting out he weighed one hundred and fifty pounds and lost twenty-five during service. Subsequent to this active experience he was made Major of the Sixty-second regiment of State Militia and was considered one of the best militia officers in Illinois.

The mother of our subject was Nancy Ann Fink, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of John Fink, one of the early settlers of Barr Township. Her marriage to Lewis Solomon was solemnized June 23, 1856. By hard work and untiring enterprise the young man accumulated a few hundred dollars and at the time of his father's death purchased the interest of the other heirs to the estate and moved onto the homestead farm, but two years previous to his marriage he had purchased three hundred and sixty acres of land in North Palmyra Township, where he has since made his home. He is the owner of the largest body of land in the possession of one man in this township. His first wife died September 18, 1863. She was the mother of twelve children, of whom nine grew to maturity. His second marriage was with Mrs. Mary Ann (Baker) Butcher.

During the War of the Rebellion the father of our subject was a prominent war Democrat and assisted in sending to the South forty-three men from Palmyra precinct, two of whom he placed in the field with his own means. He has ever adhered to the party which was made illustrious by the names of Jefferson and Jackson. He received numerous tokens of the confidence and esteem of the people and at different times served as Constable, Assessor, Justice of the Peace, member of the Legislature and County Judge. In 1861 he was a made a member of the Constitutional Convention, the nomination to which was entirely unsought. In 1870 he was elected to the State Senate and while in the Legislature he was an active and efficient member, devoting his attention to such legislation as would secure the best interests of the people. In the Senate he served on three or four important committees and his views commanded the respect of even his political opponents. He was the author of a bill giving landowners a right to redeem lands sold at tax sales at twenty-five per cent addition the first six months, fifty per cent the first twelve months, one hundred percent, for two years and after that no redemption; the previous law required an addition of one hundred per cent penalty any time after the sale. Scarcely a man in the county held so many positions nor received so many marks of public favor. Upon his character for honesty and integrity a suspicion was never breathed. His life was open to the view of the citizens of the county and not a stain can be found on his record as a public officer or as a private citizen.

Our subject was one of the youngest members of his father's family, being born in North Palmyra Township, March 6, 1852. Here he was reared to manhood and here he established his home. H was educated first in the common schools and later in the college at Eureka. He was married in North Otter Township August 6, 1874, and took for his bride Rhoda, a daughter of Andrew A. and Lizzie (Brown) Atkins. This worthy couple died in Greene County, Ill., which was the native county of their daughter Rhoda, her natal day being September 28, 1853. John L. Solomon has always been engaged in agricultural pursuits and has made a specialty of fine horses and bronze turkeys.

A serious disaster befell the household of our subject in the fall of 1879, in the destruction by fire of their pleasant home. He has rebuilt his house, in better style than before and now owns one hundred and seventy-five acres, most of which is in North Palmyra Township. Three children have blessed this home - Bertha, Jesse and Elzena. Jesse died when he was about a year old. Mr. Solomon has taken an active part in political affairs, being a democrat both by training and conviction. He has held the office of Justice of the Peace for four years and as an active member of the Farmer's Alliance, being ever wide-awake to the interests, social and pecuniary, of the farming community. The excellent lady who presides with so much grace and dignity over his home is an earnest and consistent member of the Christian Church, in which she is active for good.

1891 Index

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