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Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 487


Although J. D. Alderson, one of the highly respected citizens of Virden, is a native of Morgan county, he has spent nearly his entire life in Macoupin county, having been brought by his parents to Elm Grove when he was nine months old. He comes of good southern stock and was born December 18, 1835, a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Clack) Alderson, the former of whom was born in Tennessee and the latter in Kentucky. The father came to Illinois in the 20s, riding in a two-wheeled cart which was drawn by a blind mare, and stopped for a time in Morgan county, Illinois, where he made rails at twenty-five cents per hundred. In 1835 he settled at Elm Grove, Macoupin county, where he entered forty acres of government land, to which he added as his resources permitted until he owned one hundred and sixty acres. When he located here deer and wild game of all kinds abounded on the prairies and wolves were often heard howling at night. About 1847 he disposed of his place and bought three hundred and forty acres upon which he established hi home. After his children were grown and scattered in different parts of the country he sold his farm and went to Cherokee county, Kansas, where he bought one hundred and sixty acres. He died on his Kansas farm February 11, 1883, his wife having passed away in March, 1880. Thirteen children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Alderson, namely: James, deceased; W. C., who makes his home at Virden; J. D., of this review; Samuel, who died in infancy; Reuben, also deceased; Warner, who lives at Carl Junction, Missouri; Nancy J., the wife of F. J. Coonrod, of Idaho; Robert, of Macoupin county; Arthur, who went to Oklahoma and is now deceased; Martha, who became the wife of John Simms, of Morgan county, and is now deceased; and Lydia, who married F. A. Jackson, of Cherokee, Kansas.

Advantages of education were secured under greater difficulties in the rural districts of Illinois previous to the Civil war than under the present favorable conditions. As a boy J. D. Alderson was obliged to walk four miles to the district school and the schoolmaster ruled with the rod and not by moral suasion. The growing lad assisted his father on the home farm until eighteen years of age. He was then married and during the first winter after that happy event he hauled rails with two yoke of oxen and he and his father fenced forty acres of land. In the following spring he rented land on his own account and raised a crop, his wife assisting by dropping corn which he covered with a plow. He sold his crop in the field and then purchased forty acres of land at twenty dollars per acre. He disposed of this land at twenty-five dollars per acre and bought one hundred acres. After losing two crops he traded hi land for forty acres which he owned for eight years, acquiring additional property until his land holdings amounted to one hundred and thirty acres. He sold out and bought two hundred and forty acres on the edge of Sangamon county, later acquiring eighty acres in Macoupin county upon which he lived for twelve years. He gave two of his sons eighty acres apiece and disposed of the balance, after which he bought two hundred and forty acres in Macoupin county, which he owned for twenty years. In October, 189, he moved to Virden where he has since made his home. He bought thirty acres in the eastern part of town, upon which one of his sons resides. The father is now living in a beautiful home which occupies three city lots and is the enjoyment of comfort and ease as the result of many years of well directed effort.

On the 5th of October, 1854, Mr. Alderson was married to Miss Sarah Nevins, a daughter of A. S. and Margaret (Steel) Nevins. To this union nine children were born, one of whom died in infancy. The others are: William A., a resident of Virden; Charles A., who makes his home in Macoupin county; Robert, also of Virden; Ida B., deceased; Amy A., the widow of Horace Campbell, of Virden; Laura, who is the widow of John Armstrong, of Jacksonville, Illinois; Arthur, a physician of Thayer, Illinois; and Louis, deceased. The mother of these children died in 1881 and Mr. Alderson was married March 29, 1882, to Miss Mary Clarke. Three children were born to this union: Roy Russell, who is now living at Eureka Springs, Arkansas; O. C., of Lafayette, Colorado; and Mattie L., at home.

Politically Mr. Alderson has for many years been a supporter of the democratic party but never through any desire for office as his principal interest has centered in his business and his family. He has been identified with this section of the state during all his active life and has always responded promptly to every movement which aimed to advance the general welfare of the county. He is connected with the Christian church, is one of the oldest members at Virden and was selected, with his grandson, John Campbell, ten years of age, the youngest member of the church, to turn the first sod for the foundation of the new church building in Virden, which is being erected at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars. The ceremony took place on Sunday, June 18, 1911, at seven P.M., before a large gathering of people. The exercises were held out of doors, the ministers of the various denominations assisting in the services, and proved highly interesting and impressive.

1911 Index
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