MRS. EMMA J. LANCASTER is the widow of the late John Lancaster, who was one of the sturdy tillers of the soil of Macoupin County, as well as a highly esteemed citizen and a gentleman of creditable interest in the building of the township of Bunker Hill. Mr. Lancaster up to the time of his death, which occurred January 14, 1895, resided on his beautiful farm, located in section 11, which consisted of 235 acres.
Mrs. Emma J. Lancaster was born August 22, 1852, at Bunker Hill, Illinois, and is a daughter of Charles A. and Mary M. (Barnes) Parmenter. Charles A. Parmenter was born at Antrim, New Hampshire, March 10, 1806, and was one of the pioneer settlers of Bunker Hill, there being very few dwellings in the township at the time he made his settlement. Mr. Parmenter devoted the greater part of his time to farming, although he was also engaged in the carpenter's trade. Politically he was a member of the Republican party and an abolitionist. When the Civil War broke out, it was the desire of Mr. Parmenter to join the ranks but owing to his age he was not accepted. Religiously he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, on whose church structure in Bunker Hill he did a large part of the carpenter work. He was also a very active church worker and did much to gather a large congregation. Fraternally he was a member of the Masons and Odd Fellows and took much interest in the work of both. For many years he held offices and for his valuable services received from the I.O.O.F. lodge a fine cane which he prized very highly. Mr. Parmenter's ancestors were French Huguenots, who were driven from France on account of their religious views. Mr. Parmenter was married, May 10, 1831, to Mary M. Barnes, who was born in New Hampshire, January 31, 1809, an was the daughter of William and Abigail (Parker) Barnes. Mr. and Mrs. Parmenter were the parents of seven children, namely: Mary, who died at the age of nine years; Sarah K. (Cash) who died June 9, 1866, at the age of 25 years; Leona (Pennington) of Orange, New Jersey; Almira (Lancaster), who is a resident of Bunker Hill township; Laura A. (Linbarger), who resides in Missouri; Emma J. (Lancaster), the subject of this article, and Charles J., a resident of Oakland, California. Mr. Parmenter died October 5, 1898, in Bunker Hill township.
Emma J. Parmenter was wedded to John Lancaster, June 23, 1875, in Bunker Hill township, where he resided until his death. Mr. Lancaster was born in Bunker Hill township, Macoupin County, Illinois, January 13, 1854, and always resided in the township, having in early years engaged in farming, purchasing a farm of 315 acres in section 11, which he cultivated for many years with successful results. Mr. Lancaster was a self made man in every respect the word implies, having entered upon the cares of a business man when very young and as a result of careful methods and energy well directed attained a high position among the business men of his community. John Lancaster was a son of Francis Lancaster, born in 1813, in Buckinghamshire, England, who came to America in the early part of 1841 and located in Macoupin County in August of that year after a short stay in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His wife and three children were left in England until he could earn a sufficient amount of money to remove his family to his new home; it was not long before they joined him. Francis Lancaster at one time owned more than a section of land and accumulated considerable property during the active days of his life, which ended November 2, 1895, having reached the age of 82 years. He married Elizabeth Collins, and they had seven children, namely: Francis W., who died in St. Louis, Missouri, in May, 1883, leaving a family; William, who died at Girard, Illinois, leaving a large family; Elizabeth (Mercer) (Wise), who is a widow living at Bunker Hill; Joseph, of Bunker Hill; Mary M., who married Asaph H. Barnes, a dentist of Girard, Illinois; Matilda (Mrs. J. H. Brown) of Milton, Kansas, and John, who was the husband of our subject. There were also three children who died in infancy.
Mr. John Lancaster politically was a member of the Republican party, and religiously was a member of the Congregational Church. Mr. Lancaster was survived by his wife (the subject of this sketch) and five children, namely: Ernest J., of East Alton, who is married and has two children, - Ruth N. and Perry C.; A Mariam (Barnes), a resident of Akron, Ohio, who has one child, - Harold W.; Harry, who resides on the homestead place; Myra C.; and Willis E., who also live at home.