JOHN R. LUKINS. After many years' connection with agricultural interests John R. Lukins is now enjoying a well earned rest, living retired in Greenview. So active and honorable was he in his business career and so reliable in all life's relations that he is justly accounted one of the representative men of this section of the state and is therefore deserving of mention in the volume.
He was born in Menard county, April 29, 1837, and is a son of Gregory and Elizabeth (Ritter) Lukins. His father, who was born in Kentucky, May 24, 1811, died on the 11th of January, 1892. He arrived in Illinois about 1830, and was married here in October, 1834, to Miss Elizabeth Ritter, who was born in Kentucky, November 24, 1903*, and died August 11, 1854. The young couple began their domestic life upon a farm of eighty acres, which Mr. Lukins had entered from the government. Later he purchased forty acres additional and subsequently sold the one hundred and twenty acre tract for eight hundred dollars. He then purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land where the Chicago & Alton Railroad depot now stands and lived upon that farm for eight or ten years. He disposed of the property in the spring of 1848 for two thousand dollars, at which time he removed to Sugar Grove and bought two hundred and sixty-three acres of land at seven dollars per acre, continuing the further development and cultivation of that place until 1869, when he bought ten acres of T.D. Hughes, formerly the old Christian church property. He afterward bought twenty acres on the west of a Mr. Brown, next purchased twenty-one and a half acres on the southeast and later twenty acres on the northeast of his ten acre tract. He afterward bought ten acres additional and later four and a half acres, so that the different purchases aggregated sixty-six acres of land. Upon this farm he carried on general agricultural pursuits and as opportunity afforded he added more from time to time to his place until it comprised two hundred and twenty-six acres at the time of his death. He also owned four lots in Topeka, Mason county. His life was crowned with a fair measure of success gained through his persistent purpose, indefatigable energy and honorable dealing. His religious views were in harmony with the teachings of the Methodist church and he contributed generously to its support. Unto him and his wife were born two sons, but the elder, Thomas J. born May 26, 1835, died March 29, 1892.
John R. Lukins, the only surviving member of the family, spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farm lads, remaining on the old family homestead until twenty-four years of age, when his patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union and he offered his services in its defense. On the 1st of August, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, of the Twenty-eighth Illinois Regiment for three years service and was honorably discharged August 26, 1864, being mustered out at Natchez, Mississippi. The first battle in which he participated was at Pittsburg Landing, or the battle of Shiloh, on the 6th of April, 1862. There a brigade was sent out in order to determine the position of the enemy. General Hurlbut's division was put in line and moved toward the enemy's forces. The night was very dark and the roads very muddy. After some heavy firing, which, however, lasted but a short time, the rebels fell back and the Twenty-eighth Illinois Regiment was called out by the long roll and marched a mile to the front, being assigned to a position on the left of the line in a peach orchard. The enemy immediately attacked, but was repulsed at heavy loss, the regiment holding its position under great odds from eight o'clock in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon. At nine o'clock in the morning General Grant and his staff rode up and the Twenty-eighth was ordered to hold its position at all hazards, which it did until ordered back by General A.S. Hurlbut, who was in command of the old fighting Fourth Division. In this conflict the regiment of which Mr. Lukins was a member lost very heavily in killed and wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Kilpatrick was among the killed and Major B.C. Gillan was badly wounded in his left shoulder and his horse was shot from under him. Adjutant J.B. Meade was mortally wounded and his horse was also killed. On the morning of the 7th of April the Twenty-eighth Illinois Regiment held a position on the right of the line and was hotly engaged until the battle closed with victory for the Union troops. Mr. Lukins was wounded in this battle but remained with his regiment until after the battle of Vicksburg, when he was sent home on account of illness. As soon as he had sufficiently recovered he joined his regiment at Natchez and continued with his command until his three years' term of service had expired, doing his full duty as a valiant soldier.
When the war was ended Mr. Lukins turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, beginning farming for himself on eighty acres of land that belonged to his father. Later he became owner of that tract and he continued to successfully conduct his farming interests until having acquired a handsome competence he retired to private life and established his home in Germany. In his business career he was energetic and progressive and whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion.
On the 6th of February, 1896, Mr. Lukins was united in marriage to Miss Julia A. Holland, who was born in Menard county, March 23, 1853, and was a daughter of Stephenson and Frances (Pace) Holland, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, the former born December 24, 1813, and the latter February 6, 1818. They married January 21, 1849, in Menard county, where for many years Mr. Holland carried on agricultural pursuits. At the time of his death he left one hundred and twenty acres of fine farming land and twenty-five acres of timber land, a part of which he had entered from the government at a dollar and a quarter per acre. He was one of the honored pioneer settlers of this county, taking up his residence here when the work of improvement and progress seemed scarcely begun and as the years advanced he bore his full share in the upbuilding of the county, especially along agricultural lines. Both he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and, rearing their children in that faith, had the satisfaction to see all of them become members of that denomination. Mr. Holland passed away March 4, 1875, and his wife died July 31, 1899. They were the parents of seven children: Martha L., born November 4, 1849, was the wife of George Snyder, and died May 13, 1886; May E., born April 12, 1851, is the wife of William Mitchell, a resident of Sangamon county, Illinois; Mrs. Lukins is the third of the family; Eliza J., born October 17, 1854, died October 11, 1874; Ellen F., born August 11, 1856, is the wife of L.K. Goff, who is represented on another page of this work; Louisa A., born June 27, 1858, is the wife of R. Belt, who is living in Missouri; Edward A., born October 25, 1860, is proprietor of a hospital at Houston, Texas, and in his practice there is making a specialty of the treatment of the diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Lukins hold membership in the Cumberland Presbyterian church at Greenview and he belongs to M. Hurst Post, No. 647, G.A.R. in that city. Politically he is a stanch Republican, having supported the party since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He also voted for Richard Yates for governor and has never faltered in his allegiance to the party and its principles. In all matters of citizenship he is as true and loyal to-day to his country and her best interests as he was when he followed the old flag upon the battle-fields of the south.*This is how it appears in the book.