CHARLES CANTRALL. The name of Cantrall is inseparably associated with the history of central Illinois and the town of Cantrall in Sangamon county was named in honor of Levi Cantrall, grandfather of Charles Cantrall. From an early period in the nineteenth century representatives of the name have taken an active and helpful part in the upbuilding and improvement of this part of the state and the work of progress is still being carried forward by Charles Cantrall in Menard county. He makes his home in township 18 and is accounted one of the substantial agriculturists of his community.
His grandfather, Levi Cantrall, was born in Virginia, October 1, 1787, and was married November 30, 1809, to Miss Fanny England, who was born October 2, 1792. They became the parents of thirteen children. On leaving the old Dominion, Levi Cantrall took up his abode in Ohio and subsequently came to Illinois, arriving on the present site of Springfield December 4, 1819. Later he entered land north of the town of Cantrall and began the development of a farm in that locality, being the original owner of his tract, after the Indians had left for hunting grounds farther west. He took a helpful interest in the work of early development, was one of the valued pioneer residents of Sangamon county, and the town of Cantrall is justly considered a monument to his enterprising labors in behalf of that district. He died in the year 1862, while his wife passed away in 1835.
Their son, McDonald Cantrall, father of our subject, was born in Sangamon County, April 6, 1833, and died September 15, 1872. He was reared amid pioneer environments and he remained at home, assisting in the improvement of his father's farm up to the time of his marriage, which occurred in Sangamon county, Miss Narcissa Hedrick becoming his wife. She was born in Sangamon county, April 15, 1834, and is a daughter of Jonathan and Julia (Holland) Hedrick, the former born March 29, 1799, and the latter February 8, 1893. They were married November 1, 1827, and became the parents of three sons and three daughters. Mr. Hedrick died September 10, 1883, and his wife November 29, 1890. Their daughter, Mrs. Narcissa Cantrall, is now living with her son Charles Cantrall, her only child.
At the time of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. McDonald Cantrall began their domestic life upon a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of land and later he purchased forty acres, and subsequently one hundred and twenty-eight acres, so that within the boundaries of his farm was comprised a tract of three hundred and twenty-eight acres. He raised and fed stock and found a good market for them, thus adding materially to his income. A part of his land was wild prairie when it came into his possession, but he placed it under the plow and made substantial modern improvements, erecting good buildings, planting shade and fruit trees and continuing the work there along progressive lines until at the time of his death his property was very valuable, forming one of the attractive features of the landscape. He left a fine home surrounded by all modern improvements and his property was the visible proof of his career of enterprise and usefulness. In connection with general farming he had raised as fine cattle and hogs as were to be found in the county.
Charles Cantrall was reared under the parental roof and obtained his education in the public schools of Menard county. His father instructed him in farm labor and they worked together until the father's death, at which time Charles Cantrall, then eighteen years of age, took charge of the farm and has since conducted the business, giving his attention to the further development and cultivation of his land. In 1875 he and his mother bought a hundred acres of land additional and subsequently he sold one hundred and twenty acres and also bought two hundred and forty acres. At the present time he is farming eight hundred and twenty acres of land. Up to three years ago he fed, shipped and sold cattle and hogs, but since then he has merely superintended the cultivation of the land, without engaging in stock raising or dealing. He is one of the directors of the Fancy Prairie Grain & Coal Company and, having served four years, has been re-elected.
On the 16th of May, 1888, Charles Cantrall was married to Miss Anna F. Council, a daughter of John H. and Edna (Lake) Council, both natives of Sangamon county. The father, born May 19, 1823, died February 26, 1904. His wife, born June 7, 1831, is now living with her son, John William Council, on the old homestead. They were the parents of four sons and a daughter, who are yet living: James H., who was born January 24, 1859, married Miss Julia Cantrall and is living in Logan county; Charles F., born August 5, 1861, married Miss Gussie Jones and resides in Springfield; George R., born September 3, 1863, married Miss Mary C. Carpenter, and makes his home in Logan county; John W., twin brother of George, married Annie Kendall and is a resident of Sangamon County. The other member of the family is Mrs. Cantrall, who by her marriage has become the mother of three children: John Harry, born May 4, 1889; McDonald, February 2, 1897; and Edna N., November 25, 1902.
Mr. Cantrall has served as a school director for about ten years. He is prominent in Masonry, belonging to Van Meter lodge, No. 762, A.F. & A.M., of Cantrall, Illinois; DeWitt chapter, No. 119, R.A.M.; and St. Aldemar commandery. No. 47, K.T., both of Petersburg. Both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star lodge and his wife and mother are members of the Christian Church, to the support of which he contributes. Theirs is a commodious and attractive country residence, where cordial and warm hearted hospitality abounds, and in social circles they are prominent and influential. Mr. Cantrall stands as a high type of the progressive business man of modern times, keeping in touch with the rapid advance that has been made along agricultural lines in recent years.