ROBERT A. YOUNG, now residing on section 19, township 18, range 5, was for many years actively engaged in general farming and stock raising, but is now practically living retired, and well does he deserve his rest, as his has been a busy and useful career. He is also numbered among the honored veterans of the Civil war who valiantly fought for the Union cause upon many southern battlefields. He still retains an active interest in affairs of county, state and nation, and in Menard county has been the champion of many mearsures which have resulted beneficially for the community.
Mr. Young was born in Bath county, Kentucky, November 23, 1829, his parents being William P. and Margaret (Young) Young, the former born in Kentucky and the latter in Virginia. They came to Menard County from Kentucky, November 8, 1836. In their family were five children, two sons and three daughters, but only two are now living - Robert A. and Mrs. A. M. Hamil, who resides in Lincoln, Illinois.
When only six years of age Robert a. Young accompanied his parents to Illinois. Menard county was then all wild prairie or timber land and the work of reclaiming it for the purposes of civilization had scarcely been begun. Great changes have since occurred as the pioneers have claimed the land and transformed it into productive fields, building in their midst attractive and substantial homes and founding cities and villages, in which all modern improvements and facilities may be found. Mr. Young attended the public schools and assisted in the work of the home farm, pursuing his studies through the winter months and aiding in the labor of the fields through the summer season.
Having arrived at man's estate he was married to Cassandra Claypool, a daughter of Levi and Barbara Claypool, but Mrs. Young died a year after her marriage, and on the 30th of November, 1871, Mr. Young was again married, his second union being with Ann E. Kincaid, a daughter of J. K. and Vienna (Williams) Kincaid. Her father, a farmer by occupation was born in Bath county, Kentucky, June 30, 1808, and became one of the pioneer settlers of Menard County. In early life he served an apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade, after which he worked for twelve dollars per month in order to obtain money that would enable him to attend school. In this manner he acquired a good education. He came to Illinois in 1832 and followed carpentering for two years, after which he purchased land and turned his attention to farming. He was married April 24, 1836, to Vienna Williams, who was born in Bath county, Kentucky, March 4, 1817, and then gave his attention to agricultural pursuits. He improved more than six hundred and seventy acres of land in Menard county and he owned seven hundred acres of land in Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. He was very successful and his prosperity was well deserved, as it was gained through honorable methods and close application. Both he and his wife were consistent members and active workers in the Presbyterian church for many years and they gained the unqualified confidence and esteem of all with whom they were associated. In their family were fourteen children.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Young has been blessed with two sons and two daughters: Mary M., who is the wife of Dr. Barber, of Boulder, Colorado; Will H., at home; James K., who married Kate Hopkins, and is living on the old homestead; and Margaret E., who is acting as her father's housekeeper. Mrs. Young, the mother of these children, died December 8, 1903. An obituary published at that time said: "Seldom is a home, church or community called upon to sustain so great a loss as was occasioned by the death of Mrs. Young. In the home she was a true wife and devoted mother, and it was her delight to dispense genuine, loving hospitality. In her quiet, unobtrusive way she went about doing good wherever sickness, sorrow or need called her. In this ministry of mercy she contracted the disease - pneumonia - which in a few days resulted fatally. For nearly half a century she was a member of the North Sangamon Presbyterian church, was a most earnest, active member of the Ladies' Missionary Society and was interested in everything that tended to promote Christ's cause. Many characterized her as the best woman they ever knew and this estimate was not the language of compliment, but of sober judgment. Her memory and influence are a precious heritage."
Mr. Young, in early manhood, manifested his loyalty to the government by enlisting at Athens, Illinois, August 14, 1862, as a member of Company K, One Hundred and Sixth Illinois Infantry, and after almost three years of active service was mustered out at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, July 12, 1865. He arrived at Camp Butler, Springfield, July 24, 1865, and was there paid off. His company was composed of Menard county men and the regiment went into camp at Lincoln, Illinois, August 15, 1862, being mustered into the United States service on the 18th of September. On the 7th of that month they moved to Columbus, Kentucky, and on the 10th to Jackson, Tennessee. On the 6th of December occurred the first death in the regiment - that of E. Rankin, of Company C. At the Obion river fight Sergeant Henry Fox, of Company H, climbed up the timbers of the bridge and crossed that structure under the fire of the whole rebel force, on his way to Jackson for re-enforcements, and although this was a most perilous undertaking he accomplished it in safety. Later the regiment was sent further north to guard railroad stations. The prisoners paroled by General Forrest were sent to Benton Barracks and exchanged in the summer of 1863. The balance of the regiment was ordered to Bolivar, Tennessee, in March, 1864, and about the 31st of May moved on to Vicksburg. While en route the boat which was transporting the troops was fired upon at close range off Island 63 by several companies of rebel infantry and two cannon, and Captain Beizely's son was killed at the first fire, while a few others were also killed and about twenty-five wounded. After serving in the trenches at Vicksburg a few weeks, the One Hundred and Sixth Illinois was sent forty miles up the Yazoo river to repel a rebel force and, returning by forced marches, was harassed by the enemy, while under the scorching summer sun many soldiers were prostrated by the heat. The regiment lost more men on that trip than from any other cause during its term of service. The One Hundred and Sixth served in the line of battle at Vicksburg until after its surrender and was then ordered to Helena, Arkansas, and took part in the advance on Little Rock, participating in its capture. It was in the battles of Clarendon, Duvalls Bluff, Pine Bluff, Benton, Hot Springs, Lewisburg, St. Charles, Dardanelles, and Brownsville and performed its full share in crushing out the rebellion. Its members suffered many privations and hardships, marching through swamps and bayous, fighting and foraging, and its history shows a long list of casualties. Mr. Young was always most faithful to his duties and returned home with a most creditable military record.
Since the war Mr. Young has been identified with farming and was also engaged in breeding and raising Shropshire sheep and fine cattle and hogs. For many years he was active in the operation of his farm, but has now turned it over to his sons, while he is living a retired life, enjoying a well earned rest. He has been prominent and helpful in church work for many years and is an elder in the North Sangamon Presbyterian church. He is president of the Indian Point Cemetery Association and for sixteen years he has been a member of the school board. His political allegiance has been given the Republican party since he cast his ballot for John C. Freemont in 1856, and since that time he has never wavered in his allegiance to the party. In 1852 he voted for John P. Hale for president. He belongs to Pollock Post, No. 200, G.A.R., at Athens, and in all matters of citizenship he has been loyal, laboring for the best interests of the community. His has been a useful, active and honorable career, and his record is indeed worthy of emulation.