MRS. MARY J. STRADER is one of Menard county's native daughters, her birth having occurred March 21, 1836. Her father, Benjamin Yardley, was born in South Carolina, December 15, 1796, but spent his early life in Kentucky and afterward engaged in farming there. He was married on the 1st of March, 1821, to Miss Mary Earnest, whose birth occurred in North Carolina, February 9, 1800, but who was also reared in Kentucky. They began their domestic life in that state, residing there until their removal to Illinois. On settling in Menard county they took up their abode upon the farm where their daughter Mary was born and Mr. Yardley carried on the work of tilling the soil and raising stock. He aided in the early development of the county and was known as a worthy pioneer settler. He was noted for his honesty and his desire for peace and good will toward all men and equal justice to all, and he was familiarly known as "Honest Ben." He died on the 20th of October, 1856, and his wife, surviving him ten years, passed away in December, 1866. They were the parents of eight children whose names and dates of birth were as follows: Elizabeth, October 8, 1822; Thomas, July 21, 1824; Susan, December 20, 1825; James, December 11, 1827; John, July 3, 1830; Rebecca, March 9, 1833; Mary J., March 21, 1836; and Hannah, August 2, 1838. All are now deceased with the exception of Mrs. Strader; Susan, who is living in Tice; and Hannah, who also resides in that place.
Mary J. Yardley acquired her education in the public schools near her father's home and was carefully trained in the household duties by her mother, so that when she was married she was well qualified to take charge of her own home. On the 28th of December, 1854, she became the wife of Isham P. Strader, who was born in Green county, Kentucky, June 26, 1828, but was only two years old when brought to Menard county by his parents, John C. and Elizabeth (Minor) Strader. His father was born in North Carolina, August 28, 1796, and died September 9, 1872, while his mother was born February 24, 1791, and died November 12, 1873. They were married in Kentucky October 5, 1815, and were numbered among the earliest settlers of this county, having located here before the winter of the "deep snow." Here John C. Strader entered a tract of government land and developed a farm. He was a soldier of the Black Hawk war.
Isham P. Strader made farming his life occupation and carefully operated his land so that the fields were made to return to him good harvests and as his crops found a ready sale on the market he added annually to his income and became the owner of about two hundred acres of land. He was interested in citizenship to the extent of keeping well informed on all the questions and issues of the day. In early manhood he gave his political allegiance to the Whig party, which he continued to support in loyal manner until his death. He was converted at the age of thirty years and became a member of the Baker Prairie Baptist church, remaining true to his professions throughout life and manifesting a kindly and considerate spirit, an unfaltering honesty in business and loyalty to friends and family. He took an active interest in the cause of education and served as school director and road commissioner most acceptably. He died upon the old home farm February 22, 1899, his death being deeply regretted by the many who knew him.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Strader were born eight children: Clara, born November 16, 1855, died April 7, 1857. Emma, born December 7, 1857, was married January 27, 1876, to William A> Clark, a farmer of Menard county, and they have six children, Robert, Bertha, Effie, Della, Clinton, and Ray. Luella Frances, born January 19, 1860, was married October 16, 1878, to Charles Crawford, and after his death wedded Azel Terry. By the first union there were three children: Edna, who was married in October, 1898, to Benjamin Derry and they have one child living, Thelma; and Verna and Iva, both at home. Mr. and Mrs. Terry are now living in Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa. John W., born July 16, 1862, died September 11, 1866. Alice, born March 12, 1865, was married October 14, 1885, to Clark Hunter Knoles, now a resident of Taylor county, Iowa,and they have five children, Leta, Ruba, Carol, Blanch and Victor. Mary Elizabeth, born November 14, 1867, was married February 3, 1892, to Eli M. Goff, a resident of Gentry county, Missouri, and they have two children, Gladys and Cecil. Laura Ellen, born April 4, 1870, died January 31, 1876. Charles Edward, born February 8, 1873, now manages the home farm for his mother. He was married January 11, 1900, to Minnie May Overstreet, who was born near Little Rock, Arkansas, April 7, 1878, and they have one child, Maud Esther, born October 10, 1900. Mrs. Strader is a member of the Baptist church and a lady of many excellent traits of character and of heart and mind. She has always lived in Menard county and has gained many friends by her kindly spirit and consideration for others.