JOHN WILLIAM KENYON came to the middle west from New England, bringing with him the enterprise and business sagacity characteristic of the people of that section of the country and of his English ancestors, and to these qualities he has added the progressive spirit which has ever been dominant in the upbuilding and development of the Mississippi valley. He has, therefore, prospered in his business career and is now one of the most successful farmers of Menard county.
He was born in Connecticut, March 12, 1848, his parents being Eli and Sarah (Armitage) Kenyon, both of whom were natives of England. The father spent his youth in that country and was there reared and married and two children were born unto them ere they left the mother country for the new world. Eli Kenyon was about thirty years of age at the time of the emigration and locating in Connecticut he became connected with his brother in the conduct of woolen mills in Woodstock, Windham county. There he spent his remaining days, passing away in 1874 at the age of fifty-seven years, and his wife survived him until 1900. She also died in Connecticut. They were the parents of five children: Mary, now deceased; Marshall, living in Connecticut; Nancy and Angie, living in Connecticut; and John W., of this review. Marshall Kenyon left home at the age of eighteen years and enlisted in the Union army, serving throughout the war. He was twice wounded, first at the battle of Antietam and afterward at Mission Ridge. He was with the Eleventh Connecticut Infantry and when the war was over received an honorable discharge at Washington D.C., and returned to his home in Connecticut.
John W. Kenyon obtained his education in the schools of his native state and when his course was completed he resolved to seek a home in the west, believing that he might enjoy better business opportunities in this great and growing section of the country. Accordingly, he made his way to Williamsville, Illinois, when eighteen years of age, and in the west he began farming, remaining in that locality for five years. He was married in 1871 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Clara M. Primm, of Menard county, a daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Tice) Primm, both representatives of old families of Menard county. Her father was a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Primm and was born January 3, 1817, in Madison county, Illinois, while his death occurred October 24, 1864, in Menard county. He was married June 1, 1843, to Elizabeth Tice, daughter of Jacob and Jane (Hall) Tice. They became the parents of ten children: James D., who was born January 22, 1845; Dulcina, who was born June 11, 1852, and married John N. Cline; Thomas R., born June 14, 1854; Clara M., wife of our subject, born August 8, 1856; Violet L., born February 8, 1860; and Ninian O., born January 21, 1861. Another daughter of the family, Susan J., died when about sixteen years of age and three children died in infancy. When young Daniel Primm had very little property, but he died a wealthy man, having worked earnestly and persistently in former years, and as his capital increased he made judicial investments in real estate, thus becoming the owner of valuable property. His father entered from the government the land upon which Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon now reside.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon settled in Menard county upon the farm which is now the homestead property and he has developed one of the best tracts of land in the county, his labors resulting in making it very attractive. The home is a beautiful and commodious residence, situated in the midst of well kept grounds, and everything about the place indicates the careful supervision of the progressive owner. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon have been born eight children: Thomas W., who was born in November, 1872, is now superintendent of a coal mine; Gilbert L., born in 1874, is married and has one child; Clara, born in 1877, was married and at her death left one son, Kenyon Fouche; Estelle, born in 1881, and Eli, born in 1884, are at home; John, born in 1886, died in 1887; Joe, born in 1889, and Hope, born in 1897, are also with their parents.
Mr. Kenyon votes with the Republican party, having embraced its principles as soon as age gave him the right of franchise. His father was also a Republican and his wife's people were of the same political faith. Mr. and Mrs. Kenyon have a wide acquaintance in this county and enjoy the regard of all with whom they have been associated. In business affairs Mr. Kenyon is found trustworthy, betraying no confidences reposed in him and carefully meeting every obligation that devolves upon him. As a citizen he favors progressive methods and while successfully conducting his business affairs he is every ready to aid in the promotion of any public cause for the general good.