James Hurt Yowell, now deceased, will be remembered as one of the successful farmers of Macoupin county - a man of unusual energy and decision of character who inherited from pioneer ancestry the courage and perseverance that enabled him to overcome many obstacles and establish himself as one of the honored citizens of the county. He was born in Morgan county, Illinois, November 7, 1829, being a son of John and Sophia (Butler) Yowell, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. His grandfather on the paternal side was James H. Yowell, of Virginia. The parents of our subject came to Illinois in 1830 and the father was one of the prominent men in the state in the early days. He served as lieutenant in the Black Hawk war and was afterward made captain of his company. The people had great confidence in his integrity and judgment and in 1864 he was elected associate judge of Macoupin county.
Mr. Yowell of this sketch attended the pioneer schools and as he grew to manhood assisted his father in various operations upon the home farm. Later he became a general farmer and spared no pains or labor in securing the best results from his work. He was remarkably thorough in everything he undertook and brought his farm to a high state of cultivation, transferring the raw prairie into rich and fertile fields. He displayed good judgment in the erection of buildings and the purchase of machinery and other accessories so necessary in facilitating farm work. The keynote of his prosperity was economy, industry and perseverance. He continued actively on his farm until 1900, when he retired and took up his residence at McVey.
In 1853 Mr. Yowell was married to Miss Edith Ann Husband, of Macoupin county, and they had four sons, John E., George S., James A. and Lincoln. The mother of these children died in 1866 and Mr. Yowell was married on May 16, 1867, in Shaws Point township, to Miss Mary C. Brown, who was born in Jersey county, Illinois. She is a daughter of Captain Joseph W. and Harriet (Downey) Brown, both of whom were born in Illinois, and a granddaughter of Charles Brown, of Kentucky, and James Downey, was a native of Vermont. By his second marriage Mr. Yowell became the father of six children. Charles E., the eldest, is now living in Arkansas. He married Anna Smith, and they have two sons, Edgar and Coy. Edith May married Lorin Torrly and they live at Jacksonville, Illinois. In their family are three children, two sons and one daughter. Ada Maud is the wife of N. A. Johnson, of Macoupin county, and they have six children, four sons and two daughters. Joseph Hurt, the fourth member of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Yowell, married Kathryn Behme and their home is at Litchfield. They have three sons, Carl Brown, Calvin Ray and Joseph Harold. Mary C. is now living at home with her mother and Logan, the youngest of the children, lives at Girard.
Mr. Yowell died at McVey in 1903, having passed the Psalmist's span of three score and ten years of age. He gave his support politically to the republican party, of which he was an earnest advocate, and served several terms as highway commissioner and also as member of the school board. He was a man of progressive ideas and possessed the faculty in an eminent degree of making and retaining friends. Entirely straightforward and upright in his life, public and private, he merited the deep respect in which he was held and his name will ever be identified with the development of Macoupin county during the period covering the last half of the nineteenth century. His success in his chosen calling was in an important degree due to his persistent efforts and well directed energy and he was rightly regarded as one of the foremost representatives of agricultural interests in this section.