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Richmond & Arnold
Chicago, Illinois

Page 419

John E. Hart, one of the leading citizens of South Otter Township, Macoupin County, owning a farm of 230 acres, situated in sections 6 and 7, belongs to an honorable pioneer family of Illinois. He was born in North Otter township, Macoupin County, in 1855, and is a son of John C. and Martha (Bull) Hart.

No more interesting reading could be found than in an extended history of two such important families as those which our subject has descended, identified as they have been with the public, agricultural and religious life of the sections in which they have made their homes. The present biographer regrets the limitation of space. Charles Hart was the pioneer of the family in America, coming with his brother in 1700, landing at Charleston, South Carolina. According to the compact entered into before the voyage was undertaken, a not unusual one at that date, the youths were sold at auction to such as needed help, the money paid going to the master of the ship to pay for their passage. Thus the brothers were separated and never were reunited. Charles Hart discharged all his obligations and spent his whole life in South Carolina. David Hart, a son of Charles, was born in 1740 and moved to North Carolina, where he took an active part in the War of the Revolution. He left five sons and two daughters. David, the eldest of the sons, was born in North Carolina, December 18, 1768, married Margaret Blackwilder, and reared a family of one daughter and 10 sons. He resided in Mercer County, Kentucky, but removed, at an early day, to Bedford County, Tennessee, where he died.

Solomon Hart, third son of this family, was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, January 6, 1793, and was 10 years old when his father removed to Tennessee. At the age of 20 years, with his eldest brother, he enlisted in the United States service, under Gen. Andrew Jackson, and took part in the Horse Shoe battle. After his return, on July 17, 1817, he married Nancy Waggoner, and in 1826 they moved to Morgan County, Illinois, accompanied by his brothers, Nathan and Charles. For a short time they lived near the village of Jacksonville, which was then but a hamlet. Coming from the timbered lands to which they had been accustomed, the lack of trees in their vicinity made the country look barren to them and caused them to remove to the southern part of the county, where they found a fine belt of timber on an island lying between Big and Little Apple Creeks. Here they built their cabins, after each had secured land, Solomon securing three 80 acres tracts of the best timber. The remainder of his capital he invested in prairie land. Four other brothers subsequently joined him and all settled here, the spot still bearing the name of Hart's Prairie. Here Solomon Hart and wife bore with wonderful fortitude the hardships incident to their pioneer life, patiently bearing the disadvantages and, by contrast, enjoying to the utmost the few pleasures which came into their lives. They were blessed with a family of eight sons and two daughters, all of whom throve despite the lack of what we consider the necessary comforts of life, and reached maturity. Before the parents were called away, they had the satisfaction of seeing all comfortably settled in life. It was in this household that the teachings of Alexander Campbell were so nourished that it soon became possible to gather a congregation together, and great were the religious results from the preaching in this home of those natural orators, well known in the history of the spread of the Christian Church, Dr. Patrick Henderson, W. W. Happy and Robert Foster. All were earnest men and all of devout life and practice.

In politics. Solomon Hart was a Democrat of the Jackson school, and became a great admirer of Stephen A. Douglas. He lived to cast his vote for 14 presidential candidates, and imbued his sons with his political sentiments. His death took place October 17,m 1874, in his 82nd year. He was survived by his widow several years, her age being 86 years.

John C. Hart, father of our subject, was reared at Hart's Prairie, Morgan County, Illinois, and came to Macoupin County when about 21 years of age. He located on the south edge of North Otter township and died there in 1863, aged 39 years. This homestead farm was entered by his uncle Nathan and was purchased by John C. when he came to Macoupin county. He married Martha Bull, who was a daughter of Moses Bull, who came from North Carolina and settled at Hart's Prairie in early days, dying there before our subject was born. Eight children were born to his marriage, John E. of this sketch being the fifth member of the family.

After the death of his mother in 1865, in North Otter township, our subject returned to Hart's Prairie, where he remained until 1876, when he purchased his present farm in South Otter township and contracted his first marriage, with Sarah Cherry, who died in 1881, leaving two children: Nora, who is the wife of Elijah Clark of South Palmyra township; and Moses, a resident of Virden. In 1883 Mr. Hart married Laura Hunt, who is a daughter of Amiel and Mary (Battershell) Hunt.

Amiel Hunt was born in Pike County, Illinois, in 1836, and was a son of Eber Hunt, a native of North Carolina. Eber Hunt came to Illinois with his family and entered 160 acres of land near the Illinois River, where he died in 1838, survived by his widow until 1899. Amiel Hunt and his wife still reside on their farm in South Otter township. The latter was born near Winchester, Illinois, in 1840, and is a daughter of John Battershell, who was born in Kentucky and came with his wife to Illinois in pioneer times.

Mr. and Mrs. Hart have three children: Bessie Lee, born in September, 1883; John Waller, born August 30, 1888; and Frederick D., born May 4, 1890. Mr. Hart is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Modern Woodmen of America, the American Home and the fraternal Army of America. In politics, like the rest of his family, he is identified with the Democratic party. He belongs to the Christian Church.

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