JESSE F. GUM, who throughout his business career followed farming, winning both success and an honorable name, was born upon a farm near Tallula, Menard county, November 29, 1834, his parents being Jesse and Mary (Dills) Gum, both natives of Kentucky, whence they removed to Illinois at an early epoch in the development and improvement of the county. They settled upon a tract of wild land, the father becoming the owner of a tract of twelve hundred acres, which at his death was divided among his children. Indians were still found in this part of the state at the time of Mr. Gum's arrival, and every evidence of pioneer existence was seen. The land was largely uncultivated and the farm implements were crude, but stout hearts and willing hands overcame the difficulties of frontier life, and the labors of the pioneer opened up a district which is now one of the best agricultural sections of this great state. Unto Jesse and Mary (Dills) Gum were born twelve children but only one is living, Lydia Bell, a resident of Iowa. After losing his first wife, the father married Grace Flynn. One son, Charley gum, was a soldier in the Mexican war and after being wounded was honorably discharged.
Jesse F. gum was educated in the public schools and was reared upon his father's farm, early assisting in the labors of plowing, planting and harvesting, so that he soon gained practical knowledge of the business which he determined to make his life work. He began farming on his own account after attaining his majority and always followed that pursuit. He was very successful, seldom, if ever, making a mistake in matters of business judgment and his careful control of his farming interests, his energy and diligence won for him a very desirable measure of prosperity. As his financial resources increased he invested in land and at his death was the owner of a fine farm of three hundred and thirty-three acres, which has since been divided among his children.
On February 11, 1858, Mr. Gum was married to Miss Marthena Ott, who was born July 24, 1839, in Harrison county, Indiana, a daughter of Nimrod and Pearline (Gum) Ott, and who were also natives of Harrison county, Indiana, and came to Illinois in 1852, settling in Menard County. Both have now passed away. They were farming people and lived a quiet retiring life. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gum were born the following: Evaline, who died in infancy; Mary Agnes, who died at the age of three years; John Calvin, a resident of Petersburg, who married Cora Bell and has six children; Willie R., who resides on the home farm and married Elizabeth Davis, by whom he has six children; Etta, who married John Aishie, a carpenter of Pittsburg, Kansas, and has tow children; Lucinda, who married Samuel Greenwald, a farmer living near Curtis, Illinois, and has one child; Martha Anna, who was married September 29, 1903, to Oliver A. Carman, a carpenter and contractor of Petersburg; Charles and Preston, who died in infancy.
In his political views Mr. Gum was a Democrat but had no aspirations for public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business affairs, in which he met with signal success. He died October 18, 1884, his remains being interred in Grove Hill cemetery. He was a member of the Baptist church, while his wife belongs to the Christian Church. His interest in all matters pertaining to the material upbuilding and the intellectual and moral advancement of the community was deep and sincere, and while he never attempted to be a leader in public movements, he gave his hearty co-operation and approval to many measures for the public good. His salient qualities were such as won him high regard and warm friendships and thus his memory is cherished not only by his immediate family but also by many who knew him throughout Menard county.