JAMES T. SENTER, an honored veteran of the Civil war, has always been loyal to duties of as he displayed when on southern battlefields to his country and her welfare in days of peace as he displayed when on southern battlefields as he followed the old flat (note - typed as written). He was born in Sangamon county, Illinois, December 19, 1841, his parents being James and Mercy (Cole) Senter, both of whom were natives of North Carolina, where they spent the days of their childhood and youth and then married. The father was born December 13, 1800, and his wife's birth occurred on the 14th of April of the same year. They came to Sangamon county at a very early epoch in its history and with the material and moral development of central Illinois Rev. James Senter was closely associated. He followed farming in order to provide for his family, but he also preached the gospel as a circuit minister, traveling from place to place in order to proclaim the "glad tidings of great joy." As a pioneer preacher he suffered many hardships and privations incident to the long rides across the new country. The Bible which he used in his ministry is now in possession of his son James T. and is undoubtedly about one hundred and twenty-five years old. He contributed in many ways to the improvement and upbuilding of the county, as well as to its moral progress. He aided in laying out the streets in Springfield when the site of the capital city was an almost unbroken prairie, having only a few houses. His death occurred September 7, 1845, but his memory is still cherished by those who knew him and remains as a blessed benediction to his family and friends. He had eleven children: Aaron, who was born January 24, 1820, and died in January, 1837; one that died in infancy; Jane, who was born October 29, 1822, and became the wife of Mr. Owen and after his death married William Trenory, who is now living near Petersburg; William S., who was born April 16, 1825, and died January 3, 1867; Mary Ann, who was born February 14, 1828, and died December 1, 1878; Rebecca C., who was born February 14, 1829, and was married in July, 1849, to Robert Green, while her second husband was Louis Van Tassell, with whom she is now living in California; Joseph H., who was born March 1, 1831, and is now deceased; Sarah E., who was born March 19, 1834, and died April 14, 1861; Enoch J., who was born September 26, 1836, and married Lucinda Holland, their home being in California; Lousia, who was born December 19, 1838, and is the wife of John Kirby, a resident of Menard county; and James T., of this review.
Working on the home farm and attending the public schools, thus the days of boyhood and youth passed for James T. Senter until he was nineteen years of age, when an important event in his life occurred. The country had become involved in civil war over the attempt of the south to withdraw from the Union and Mr. Senter joined the northern army, becoming a member of Company E, Eighty-fifth Illinois Infantry. The blood of patriotic ancestors flowed in his veins. His great-grandfather had been one of the heroes of the Revolution. His father had served in the war of 1812 and his brother William had been a soldier in the Mexican war. Now he espoused the cause of his country and went to the front in defense of the Union. He served until wounded, when on account of his disability he returned home. He enlisted at Petersburg, July 17, 1862, and was discharged July 19, 1864. Immediately after the formation of the regiment the troops were ordered to the front before they really knew what dress parade meant and they opened the battle at Perryville by making the bayonet charge at three o'clock in the morning. After the battle the regiment followed Bragg, who was retreating, proceeding beyond Nashville, Tennessee, and on to Mill creek, where the regiment was attached to General Sheridan's division. They were in the battle at Stone River for one day and participated in the engagement at Chickamauga, where Mr. Senter was wounded in the left foot. He was also wounded in the right thigh at the battle of Peach Tree Creek in Georgia. He lay in the field hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, for about a month and also at Jeffersonville, Indiana, for about two months. In addition to the battles mentioned he participate din the engagements at Missionary Ridge, Ringgold and Rome. After being wounded he was sent home on furlough and was discharged through order of President Lincoln as a special favor to W. G. Green.
He was the only man in this locality that took advantage of the law that enabled ex-soldiers to attend school after reaching the age limit, but, desirous of acquiring a good education, he continued his studies and is now a well informed man, having added largely to his knowledge through reading and observation in later years. Throughout his business career he has carried on general agricultural pursuits and for thirty-five years he has been a feeder, buyer and shipper of stock. In 1875 he removed his family to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he opened a hotel, which he conducted for a year. He was also proprietor of a feed store in the south for some time, having gone to that part of the country because of ill health and hoping to be benefitted by the change. On his return to Menard county, however, he resumed agricultural pursuits and almost his entire life has been devoted to general farming.
On the 18th of March, 1869, Mr. Senter was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jane Kirby, a daughter of George and Dorcas (Atterberry) Kirby. Her father, who was born in Illinois, December 20, 1812, died March 15, 1904, while her mother, who was born April 22, 1816, died on the 23d of March, 1893. Her father had been reared to farm labor and continued at home with his parents up to the time of his marriage when he began farming on his own account. He was classed with the extensive landowners and prosperous men of his county, having about thirteen hundred acres of land in his farm. Unto him and his wife were born eight children: John, Daniel, Nancy, Samuel, William, Matilda, Mary Jane and George T.
Mr. and Mrs. Senter also had eight children, but the eldest died in infancy. Nora M. is the wife of Charles Frye, of Menard county; Etta D. is the wife of Charles Nance, also of Menard county; Mercy J. died in childhood; James G., John Harvey and Lorena M. are at home; and Inez P. died at the age of nine years.
Politically Mr. Senter is a Democrat, unfaltering in his loyalty to the party and its principles. He has served on the school board for seven or eight years, but otherwise has not sought or desired public office, preferring to give his time and attention to his business pursuits. He and his wife are members of the Baptist church and are interested in its growth and upbuilding. In all his private and public relations Mr. Senter has given his influence for social progress and for the elevation and welfare of mankind.