HARMON G. TALLEY, a retired farmer living at Shipman, Macoupin County, was born January 20, 1828, in that part of the city of Wilmington, Del., then known as Brandywine village. His father, whose name was Isaac Grubb Talley, was born four miles from Wilmington, Del., in Brandywine Hundred, and was a son of Harmon Talley, who was born in the same locality, his ancestors being among the first settlers of the State of Delaware. He resided near Wilmington many years and then made an overland journey to Ohio, and became one of the early pioneers of Muskingum County, where he resided until about 1850. In that year he came to Illinois and for a few years was a resident of Ogle County. He then came to this county and spent his last days in Piasa, Macoupin County, and was buried in Piasa Cemetery; his age was about eighty-six years.
Isaac Grubb Talley, the father of our subject, passed his early life in the State of his nativity and was there married to Mary Simmons, who was also a native of Delaware. She died in 1833 and was buried at the old Swede Church; she left two children - our subject and his brother John, a resident of Wilmington, Del. Mr. Talley married a second time, Rachel Grubb becoming his wife; they had one child, Rebecca J., who married Alonzo Baylus, a florist. In 1856 Mr. Talley left the home of his birth and came to Illinois with his family. He purchased a farm in Shipman township, near Piasa, which he sold at the expiration of four years, returning to Wilmington, Del.; he bought a residence there and spent the remainder of his life in the city. He died February 22, 1888, at the venerable age of eighty-seven years and was buried at old Bethel Church in Brandywine Hundred.
Harmon G. Talley, of whom this sketch is written, served five years in his youth to learn the trade of a blacksmith in the village of Centreville, Del. He actively engaged in that calling in his native State until 1850, and in that year he came to Illinois, pursuing the most convenient Western route at that time, which was by rail to Philadelphia, thence by canal and rail to Pittsburg, and from there by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Alton, Ill. He was a pioneer of the village of Piasa, and opened the first blacksmith shop there, which he operated until after the breaking out of the war. September 3, 1864, he cast aside his work to join the brave boys at the front and became a member of Company A, One Hundred and Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry. He joined his regiment at Alton and served with credit until after the war closed, being mustered out July 14, 1865. He proved to possess qualifications for responsible positions, and he was promoted from Corporal to be Sergeant of Provost Guard in February, 1865.
After his discharge Mr. Talley returned to his home, and the following year turned his attention to farming a quarter-section of land that he had previously bought, that was advantageously located one mile east of Piasa. He devoted himself assiduously to the cultivation of his land for several years, and made many improvements that greatly increased the value of his farm. In 1887, having accumulated a comfortable competency, he left his sons in charge of his homestead, and removed to Shipman, where he has a pleasant home.
Harmon G. Talley has been twice married. In 1851 Miss Louisa Ann Hodges became his first wife. She was born near Woodburn, Macoupin County, Ill., coming of one of the old pioneer families of this State; she died on the home farm in 1879, and was buried in the Piasa Cemetery. She was the daughter of L. W. and Mary Hodges, and had one brother, W. W. Hodges. Five children were born to her and our subject - William, Hattie, Dora, Lulu and Harmon Grubb. William married Laura Kelsey, and Dora married W. B. Waggoner, Lulu married Elmer Carter. Our subject's second marriage, which took place in 1885, was with Mrs. Mary (Martin) Quick, a native of the State of New York.
Mrs. Talley's father's name was Seth Martin, a native of the Green Mountain State, as was his father also. The former early learned the trade of a blacksmith, and finally went from Vermont to Susquehanna County, Pa., where he followed that calling for a time prior to his removal to Woodhall, Steuben County, N.Y., where he bought a farm which he operated while he engaged in blacksmithing in addition. He died in Michigan, near Saginaw, in 1875. The maiden name of his wife was Lucinda Coleman. She was born in Vermont, and was a daughter of William and Hannah (Corse) Coleman. They were likewise of Vermont birth, but they both died in the State of New York. Mrs. Talley was first married when she was eighteen years old to Royal W. Bennett, a native of the State of New York, and a son of Egbert and Gertrude (Rackmire) Bennett. He was a blacksmith, and came to Illinois in 1859 to engage at his trade in Shipman, Macoupin County, Ill., where he died in April, 1865 and was buried in Shipman Cemetery. Two children were born to Mrs. Talley of that marriage - Gertrude, now the wife of Silas Webster; and Jerome C., who married Sophia Harris. Mrs. Talley's second marriage was to Parker Quick, a native of Missouri, and a farmer by occupation. He died at Shipman in 1873, and was also buried in Shipman Cemetery.
Our subject has a good record as a soldier, as a citizen, and in all the relations of life that he has sustained towards others, and his neighbors and friends hold him in high esteem for his genuine worth. Politically, he is a sound Republican, and his faithfulness to his party was rewarded by the position of Postmaster at Piasa, which he retained ten years. Religiously, both he and his wife are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.