WILLIAM STEWARD, a retired farmer, living at Shipman, is a man whose honorable life career is well worthy of record on these pages. He was born in Maniton township, Salem County, N.J., December 5, 1820. His father was Joseph Steward, and he was also a native of that State. He in turn was a son of Nathan Steward, who, so far as known, was born in New Jersey, and was a descendant of some of the early Scotch settlers in that State. The first ancestor of the family to come to America from his native Scotland was Joseph Steward. He first located in Berks County, Pa., whence he removed to New Jersey prior to 1794, and there died. He married Alice Wright, a daughter of Joshua Wright. The next in line was their son Joseph, who married Bridget Middleton. Their son Joseph married Ann Rollins, and their son Nathan Steward was the grandfather of our subject. He spent his entire life in New Jersey, his occupation being that of a farmer. He married Rachel Morgan, who was a daughter of Jonathan and Bathsheba Morgan. He died April 11, 1811.
The father of our subject was reared in his native State. He learned the trade of a tailor and followed it until he was twenty years old, when he abandoned it for farming, buying a farm in Salem County. He pursued agriculture until a few years before his death, which occurred in that county January 31, 1870, at a ripe age. In early manhood he married Sarah Rogers, a native of Burlington County, N.J., and a daughter of Abner and Lydia (Tilton) Rogers, and a granddaughter of William Rogers. She survived her husband until October 30, 1874, and then she too passed from the scenes of earth to that home not made with hands. Those worthy people reared twelve children to useful lives.
Their son of whom we write passed his early life on the New Jersey farm that was his birthplace, remaining an inmate of the parental home until he attained his majority. He then rented land, and carried on agriculture on his own account. In 1855 he resolved to take advantage of the superior facilities offered by the rich virgin soil of Illinois to all who were willing to undergo the hardships and privations incident to life in a country that still retained much of its primitive condition. He traveled by rail to Pittsburg, thence by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Alton, and from that point by rail to Brighton. For two years he rented land, and at the expiration of that time he bought land near the village of Shipman, for which he paid $30 an acre. While he resided on his farm he placed it under excellent cultivation, and greatly increased its value by many substantial improvements. He made money by his farming operations, and in 1876 he bought a cozy home in the village of Shipman, and here he and his good wife are living retired from active labor.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Rebecca Abbott was celebrated January 5, 1843, and for nearly half a century they had lived happily together, furnishing their friends an example of a true wedded life. To them eight children have been born, four of whom are living - William H., an attorney at Carlinville; Milton R. and Benjamin F., merchants at Columbus, Kan.; and Fannie, their only daughter, who married Henry Huskinson of Shipman.
Mrs. Steward is, like her husband, a native of Salem County, N.J., born May 2, 1819. Her father, Joseph Abbott, was a native of the same county, and was a son of Joel Abort, who was born in England of English parents, he being a son of Joseph and Mary (Graysburg) Abbott. He married Mary Graysburg, and died in Salem County. Mrs. Steward's father was a farmer, and his entire life was spent in his native county. He married Sarah Torton, who was also a life-long resident of that county.
Mr. and Mrs. Steward are both devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They are people of kindly natures, whose warm hearts prompt them to extend sympathy and substantial help to all who are in trouble or in want, and they are held in affection and reverence by the entire neighborhood. Mr. Steward is a strong temperance advocate, but he is no third party man, he being a true Republican in his political views.