JOSEPH B. PILLSBURY. The strong, forceful and commendable elements in the life record of Joseph B. Pillsbury are close application in business, earnest and honorable purpose and indefatigable energy. He was born December 24, 1866, in Petersburg, his parents being Joseph H. and Susan M. (Gardner) Pillsbury, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Sangamon county, Illinois. Joseph H. Pillsbury was born August 3, 1830, a son of Alpha and Margaret (Caverno) Pillsbury. He lost his father in New Hampshire, his death occurring in June or July, 1831, when he was but thirty-one years of age. Joseph H. Pillsbury had a brother, George Pillsbury, who was born December 6, 1826, and died January 22, 1851, in Menard county, Illinois, his remains being interred at Farmers Point. When Joseph H. Pillsbury was less than two years of age his mother's house was destroyed by fire and she went to Dover, New Hampshire, to work in the tailor shop of Peter Coushion. In the summer of 1836 she went by stage from that place to Providence, Rhode Island, thence by water to New York, on to Philadelphia by rail, by canal to Pittsburg and thence down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers to St. Louis, Missouri, and up the Illinois river to Beardstown, coming from that point across the country to New Salem, Menard county, by wagon. Her brother had come to this state in 1835 with Jonathan Colby and here he worked and afterward bought land. Mrs. Pillsbury joined her brother the following year and a few years later married James Goldsby, the first sheriff of Menard county.
Joseph H. Pillsbury was reared in Menard county and here followed the occupation of farming. He married Susan M. Gardner and they became the parents of five children, but Alice died when two and a half years of age; John died in infancy; and Mary Harper died at the age of six years. Those living are Joseph B. and Susan H., the latter living with her mother. In early life the father taught school and read law in the office of Gus Riggin, the circuit clerk, in 1854. The following year he taught the first free school in Petersburg and was elected school commissioner that year. He took an active and prominent part in public affairs and was elected county judge in 1861, having been admitted to the bar in 1856. In 1857 he was appointed master in chancery and served in that office until elected county judge. He was re-elected to the latter position in 1873. In 1877 he bought a farm four miles northwest of Petersburg, but never lived upon that place, continuing to make his home in Petersburg until his death, on the 29th of November, 1899.
Joseph B. Pillsbury was educated in the schools of Petersburg and in Illinois College, which he entered in the fall of 1884, attending that institution through two winters. He was also a student in the business college at Jacksonville, and in June, 1886, he returned home. In the following year he began farming on his present farm of one hundred acres, which he afterward purchased, and has since bought an additional tract of eighty acres, so that he now has a valuable farm of one hundred and eighty acres. He has been engaged in general agricultural pursuits, raising both grain and stock, and has met with a fair measure of success in his undertakings, having now a well improved tract of land, which yields to him golden harvests in return for the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields.
On the 15th of October, 1890, Mr. Pillsbury was united in marriage to Miss Emma Cooper, a daughter of Howard A. and Ann (Bennett) Cooper. Her father was born and reared in the city of St. Louis and her mother was a native of Petersburg, Illinois. The Coopers were of Irish descent, while the Bennetts were of Scotch-Irish lineage. Howard H. Cooper became a practicing physician and was an army surgeon at the time of the Civil war. After the cessation of hostilities he settled in Booneville, Missouri, where he practiced for a number of years and then removed to Versailles, Missouri, where he remained for a year and a half. He afterward took up his abode upon a farm south of Versailles and at a later date settled at Colecamp, where he remained for a short period. His next place of residence was Ashland, Illinois, where he spent a year and a half. His wife died March 3, 1876, in Petersburg, Illinois, where she had been taken for medical treatment, and Dr. Cooper afterward sold out and removed to Versailles, Missouri, going from that place to Rockville, Bates county, Missouri, in 1883. He spent his remaining days in Rockville, passing away in 1901, and his remains were interred in the cemetery in Versailles. He was the owner of property at that point. There were four children in that family, namely: Mrs. Pillsbury; Thomas, a miner of Joplin, Missouri, who is married and has three children; Howard, a sheep raiser, who makes his home at Freeland, Wyoming, but spends much time near Caspar, Wyoming; and Annie, who died at the age of three months. Mrs. Pillsbury was born in Versailles, Missouri, February 1, 1870, and pursued her education in the schools of Rockville and Versailles, completing a high school course in the former city. She afterward engaged in teaching school for one term and then came to Petersburg, Menard county, to make her home with Mrs. Thomas Bennett and Mrs. B.Wright. By her marriage she has become the mother of three children: Lyman Adair, born August 3, 1891; Ross Caverno, born March 26, 1896; and George Bennett, who was born July 2, 1897, and died December 1, 1903, his remains being interred in Rosehill cemetery east of Petersburg.
The parents are Presbyterians in religious belief and Mr. Pillsbury usually gives his political support to the Democracy, but at times votes for Republican candidates, as he does not consider himself bound by party ties. He has never been an aspirant for office, however, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs and now, in connection with general farming, he is feeding some cattle. His entire life has been passed in Menard county and his career has been honorable and straightforward, as is indicated by the fact that many of his warmest friends are those who have known him from his youth to the present.