JOSEPH LANCASTER, an experienced and successful general farmer and extensive breeder of fine stock, owns one of the finest farms of Bunker Hill, Cahokia township, Macoupin County, Illinois, and is a son of Francis and Elizabeth (Collins) Lancaster.
Francis Lancaster was for many years one of the most prominent men and largest land-owners of Macoupin County, although he came here with little capital. He was born in 1813 in Buckinghamshire, England, and came to America in the early part of 1841. He located first in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and came to Macoupin County in August of that year. He was a man of great energy and business foresight and soon had established a brick-yard and aroused interest in other enterprises which served to benefit the community as well as himself. In September, 1856, he purchased the farm now occupied by his son, and added to his first purchase until he owned 900 acres in Bunker Hill township, all of which is still in the possession of his heirs. Francis Lancaster moved on the farm now occupied by our subject in 1857 and improved the whole body of land. He made extensive improvements, building the handsome brick residence his son occupies, and all the surrounding substantial buildings. He devoted 20 acres to an apple orchard and 10 acres to small fruits and shade trees. He enjoyed the comforts of this beautiful home he had provided until his death, November 2, 1895. In political sentiment, he was a Democrat, but he always refused to accept office, although few men in his township were better qualified. He married Elizabeth Collins, who was born in England, and died on the homestead May 12, 1882, aged 69 years. They had seven children: Francis W., who died in May, 1883, in St. Louis, Missouri, leaving a family; William, who died December 4, 1898, at Girard, Macoupin County, leaving a large family; Mrs. Elizabeth (Mercer) Weis, who is a widow living at Bunker Hill; Joseph, of this sketch; Mary M., who is the wife of Dr. Asaph H. Barnes, a dentist of Girard, Macoupin County; Matilda, who is Mrs. J. H. Brown, of Milton, Kansas; and John, who died January 14, 1895. In addition to the seven children named above, Francis Lancaster had three who died in infancy.
Joseph Lancaster was reared in Macoupin County and remained at school until he was 20 years of age, finally completing the high school course at Bunker Hill. He then went into business, buying feed and shipping live stock, in which he continued until May 6, 1876, when he made a trip to Texas and Indian Territory, in the same line, and in 1879 went into the live stock commission business, at Kansas City, Missouri, where he remained for eight years. This experience fitted him for his next work, that of buyer for a packing house in that city, and three years later he became financially interested in a packing house at St. Joseph, Missouri. During his five yeas' residence there, he bought a ranch in Nebraska, on which he lived for a time and then returned to his early home to settle down permanently. In February, 1896, Mr. Lancaster took possession of his present farm, which he devotes mainly to stock raising and feeding and to the breeding of Shorthorn and Durham cattle, taking a great interest in making them eligible to registration. In addition to his own agricultural labors, he has the management of 600 acres belonging to his sisters.
Mr. Lancaster was married June 2, 1869, to Almira Parmenter, who was born near Bunker Hill, a daughter of Charles A. and Mary M. (Barnes) Parmenter, natives of New Hampshire, who came to Illinois in 1836. Six children have been born to them: Delbert, a traveling salesman living in Nebraska; Milton, a farmer and stockman living in Franklin County, Nebraska; William Francis, a traveling salesman, whose home is in Nebraska; John F., who is living at home; Morton H., who is attending college at Manhattan, Kansas; and Helen E., who is a student in the Bunker Hill High School, of which her brothers are graduates.
Mr. Lancaster has always taken an active part in public matters in Bunker Hill township, and is now a commissioner. In politics he is identified with the Republican party.