J. C. SHORT. One of the valuable farming properties for which Menard county is noted is in possession of J. C. Short, the most enterprising agriculturist and one whose success is well deserved, for in him are embraced the characteristics of an unabating energy, inflexible integrity and strong purpose. He is, moreover, one of the oldest native sons of this part of the state, his birth having occurred May 17, 1824, upon the farm where he now resides. He is a son of William B. and Tabitha (Manner) Short, both of whom are natives of Kentucky. The father spent his early life in that state, was reared to the occupation of farming and always followed that pursuit as a life work. He left Kentucky in order to become a resident of Illinois, settling in St. Clair county, where he remained for a year and a half and then he removed in 1819 to a farm now occupied by his son J. C. Short. Upon this place he lived until his death and when he was called away it bore little resemblance to the tract of land which came into his possession. His farm was at first a wild and unimproved region, hardly a furrow having been turned when it came into his possession, but soon the track of the shining plow was seen across the fields and in due course of time the planting of the seed was followed by the gathering of rich harvests. Mr. Short was a man of more than average education for his day and because of his intellectual force and his high character worth he exerted strong influence in his community, which was always given in behalf of justice, truth and improvement. He was numbered among the more highly respected of the old settlers of Menard county and his death, which occurred in 1865, was the occasion of wide-spread and deep regret in this part of the state. He married Miss Tabitha Manner and they became the parents of four sons and three daughters, all of whom are deceased with the exception of J. C. Short and his brother William P., who is now living at the age of eighty-five years in the enjoyment of good health, making his home upon a farm in Mason county, Illinois.
In the early district schools of Menard county J. C. Short obtained his education and when he had put aside his textbooks he continued upon the farm with his father until he had reached the age of twenty-six years. He then made preparation for having a home of his own and was married on the 27th of December, 1849, to Miss Eliza Wilcox, who was born October 17, 1817. The young couple removed to Mason county, where Mr. Short carried on general farming for fourteen or fifteen years. They then returned to Menard county and purchased the old Short homestead, upon which he yet resides. He is one of the honored pioneer residents of the county and is a great friend of Jeff Johnson, another venerable citizen of this part of the state. They were schoolmates and playmates in youth and as they grew up became partners in many business enterprises, buying stock in the north which they drove to this county. In business as well as in social life their relations have continued mutually pleasant and agreeable and few men are better informed concerning pioneer history in this part of the state than Mr. Short and Mr. Johnson.
Mr. and Mrs. Short became the parents of three children, but none are now living. John C., who was born in 1851, died in 1853, and one son died in infancy. The daughter, Mary Clarinda, born August 22, 1852, married Joseph Kincaid and removed to California, where she died January 10, 1900. She had three children, two sons, Harry E. and D. Roy, and a daughter, Ruth Eliza. The sons are now identified with the mining industry of the west and the daughter is visiting Mr. Short, having come from California at his request, he desiring that she should make her home with him in his declining years, for in 1900 he lost his wife who, on the 18th of October of that year was called to her final rest. They had long traveled life's journey together with marked devotion to each other and a most congenial companionship existed between them.
Mr. Short has frequently been solicited to accept public office by his fellow townsmen who have recognized his worth and ability, but he has always declined to serve, preferring to do his duty as a private citizen. Although he has reached the eightieth milestone on life's journey he is still a hale and hearty old man. Old age need not suggest as a matter of course helplessness or want of occupation. Mr. Short is still deeply interested in affairs concerning his county and its welfare and throughout the long years of his manhood has endorsed every measure which he has believed would contribute to general progress and improvement. His business affairs have been capably managed and he now owns a fine farm, although at a recent date he suffered the loss of his large barn and cribs through fire. He still, however, has a valuable property and it is the visible evidence of his life of thrift and energy.