J. A. WALLACE. - Macoupin county can claim many energetic and successful citizens who have contributed their share toward the public weal and may be depended upon in every emergency to sustain the cause that is right and just. Among this number may be named J. A. Wallace, who for more than forty years has made his home in North Otter township and has demonstrated his worth and ability as one of the respected members of the community. He was born at Littleton, New Hampshire, November 8, 1835, a son of Amos and Mary (Hildreth) Wallace, both of whom were natives of the Granite state. The father devoted his entire life to farming and lived to be eighty-four years old, the mother passing away at the age of fifty-eight. In their family were eleven children, two of whom died in infancy, the others being James, Abigail, Mary, Elvira, Amos P., Cordelia, Andrew, Berenice and J. A.
In a peaceful New England home J. A. Wallace grew to maturity, securing in the public schools the advantages of an education. He began working for himself at the age of twenty-one when he engaged in cutting and hauling timber from the forest. He next became identified with farming and about 1857, believing from what he had heard and read that Illinois presented favorable opportunities for a young man desirous of advancing in life, he came to Macoupin county where he found employment upon a farm. He spent a year and a half in Sangamon county and in 1864, having secured the necessary capital, he purchased his present home. He has since sold some of his land to his children, but still retains one hundred and twenty-eight acres, located on sections 24 and 36, North Otter Township. He has made all the improvements upon the place, including the erection of buildings, fences, the putting in of tiling and the setting out of fruit and ornamental trees, and is the owner of a home of which any man might justly be proud. He engages in general farming and stock-raising and so conducts his business as to produce a handsome annual revenue.
On October 3, 1861, Mr. Wallace was married to Miss Mary Smith, a daughter of Elisha and Susan (Eaves) Smith, the former of whom was born in Tennessee and the latter in Illinois. In their family were fourteen children, ten of whom are now living, namely: James, Elizabeth, Mary, Ella, Fannie, Metta, Allie, Laura, Nola and William. To Mr. and Mrs. Wallace eight children have been born, five of whom died in infancy. The others are as follows: William A., who makes his home in Virden, married Mary Kable and they have two daughters, Mabel and Edith. Jesse E., a resident of Macoupin county, married Mertie Chaffin, who died September 14, 1898, leaving four children: Harry H., and Eva M., both of whom are married; Fern; and Ruth. For his second wife Jesse E. Wallace married Martha Weaver, by whom he also has four children, Walter, Lola, Bernice and Marie. Glenna W. is the wife of Fred Meyers, of Springfield, Illinois, by whom she had two children; Hazel, born December 16, 1910; and one who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace celebrated their golden wedding on the 3d of October, 1911, at which time seventy-eight guests were present and left many gifts as tokens of love and esteem.
Fraternally Mr. Wallace has long been identified with the Odd Fellows, having been made a member of the order fifty-three years ago. His life has been in an important degree shaped by its beneficent and kindly teachings. Religiously he is in hearty sympathy with the Methodist Church, of which he is a valued member. He has served as a member of the board of county supervisors for three years and as school director twenty-two years. In his business dealings he is known as one who under all circumstances aims to be just and fair, thus meriting the high esteem in which he is held by his friends and acquaintances.