An enterprising agriculturist of Chesterfield township and public-spirited citizen is Cornelius B. Christopher, who was born three miles northeast of Jerseyville, Jersey county, Illinois, on the 4th of January, 1861. The Christophers were one of the pioneer families of Pennsylvania, from which state the great-great-grandfather of our subject went to the front during the Revolution, later casting his ballot for George Washington for president of the United States. His son John was born in the Keystone state in 1802, and was reared to manhood on the old homestead. For his wife he chose Jane Hollenscheid, who was of Dutch extraction and they subsequently removed to Somerset county, Ohio. There Mr. Christopher acquired a large tract of timber land, which he cleared , but later removed to Jersey county, Illinois, where he rented land for two years, then bought one hundred and sixty acres. Disposing of this in 1874 he retired to a small farm in the vicinity of Jerseyville, where he died in 1881. Nine children were born by this union: Jacob, now a resident of Mitchell, Kansas; Mary, the widow of Isaac R. Ely, of Jerseyville; John, the father of our subject, who passed away on the 28th of August, 1892; Catherine, the deceased wife of Richard Fisher, of Greenfield; James, who is living in Waverly, Illinois; Helen, the widow of William Anderson, of Denver, Colorado; Sarah, who married Henry White of Jerseyville; Adam, who is a resident of the same place; and Edward, who lives in Butler, Kansas.
John Christopher, the father of our subject, resided at home until his marriage to Miss Mary Elizabeth Baird, a daughter of James and Rebecca (Ely) Baird of Jerseyville. Her parents moved from New Jersey about 1846, locating at Jerseyville, this state, where the father bought some land that he cultivated until his death in 1849. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Christopher settled on a farm he owned in the vicinity of Jerseyville. Cultivating this land for four years he disposed of it and in 1862 the family removed to Sangamon county, near Virden, where he bought three hundred and twenty acres. They resided upon this tract until 1870 and then sold again and returned to Jerseyville, remaining there engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1876. In the latter year they came to Macoupin county, locating near Medora, where he farmed until 1886, and then removed to Carleton, Nebraska. There he passed away on the 28th of August, 1892, having but recently celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of his birth, which occurred on the 9th of August, 1832, in Preble county, Ohio. His wife died October 7, 1908. In their family were five children: James B., who is a farmer of Carleton, Nebraska; Cornelius B., our subject; John Henry, who is an engineer living at Des Moines, Iowa; Adam, who died in infancy; and Walter E., a lawyer of Thompson, Montana, who is also a state senator from his district.
Cornelius R. Christopher was reared on a farm and obtained his education in the common schools of Illinois. He qualified himself for agricultural pursuits under the supervision of his father, whom he assisted in the cultivation of the home farm until he was twenty-two years of age. After his marriage he began for himself, farming part of the old Carter homestead as a renter. This place was located in Chesterfield township, north of Medora, where he resided for three years, then removed to Brighton, Illinois, where he also farmed as a renter. In 1901 he purchased forty acres of the Arthur C. Hartwell place on section 17, Chesterfield township, and here he has ever since continuously resided. In connection with his own holdings Mr. Christopher cultivates two hundred acres of rented land. He is a man of progressive ideas and methods and has met with a goodly measure of success in his agricultural pursuits. He takes much pride in his homestead, which presents an extremely attractive appearance to the passerby. The buildings, all substantially constructed and well kept, stand back a short distance from the road with a neat and carefully tended lawn in front.
On the 5th of December, 1882, Mr. Christopher was untied in marriage to Miss Nellie Percival, a daughter of Carl and Mary Frances (Emery) Percival. Her parents were from New Hampshire, whence they removed in 1850 to Macoupin county, locating in the vicinity of Brighton, where he passed away March 16, 1894. To Mr. and Mrs. Christopher two sons have been born: Earl Carl, who married Merle Ruyle, now farming near Carleton, Nebraska; and Irvin Lester, who married Verna Rhine and is now living at home with his father.
His political allegiance Mr. Christopher gives to the republican party, but he has never prominently figured in township governmental affairs. He takes a very active and helpful interest in all community matters, striving to uplift the standards of citizenship by giving his support and endorsement to every progressive movement inaugurated.