WALTER W. YOUNG, who resides near Athens in Athens precinct, carries on general farming and is one of the representative business men in his community. He was born in Kane county, Illinois, November 10, 1846. His father, Francis Young, was a native of Paris, France, but was reared in Canada, and later married Rachel Lindsay, of the state of New York. He followed farming in early manhood and in the '30s emigrated westward to Illinois, establishing his home in Kane county, where he also carried on agricultural pursuits. Later he settled in DeKalb county, Illinois, where he remained until about 1878, when he took up his abode in Dawson county, Nebraska. There he spent his remaining days, passing away in August, 1903, at the very advanced age of one hundred and two years and four months. His widow still survives him and is now living in Dawson county at the age of ninety-three years, making her home with a son there. They were the parents of eight children, all of whom are yet living: Mary, who is a widow and resides in DeKalb, Illinois; R.F., who follows farming in Dawson county, Nebraska; Mrs. Kate Kearney, who resides at Junction, Nebraska, and is a widow; Elizabeth, who is a widow and lives at Gothenburg, Dawson county, Nebraska; Annie, who makes her home in the same county; Walter W.; I.A., who is living on a ranch in Nebraska; and Jennie, a resident of Dawson county. All have been married with the exception of I.A. Young.
Walter W. Young was educated in the public schools of Illinois and early became familiar with the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He assisted in the farm work until after the inauguration of the Civil war, when he joined the army, remaining at the front until after the cessation of hostilities. He was but a young boy when he joined the Union troops as a private, but he was always faithful to his duty and after a time was made a bugler of his regiment. He participated in all the engagements with the Army of the Potomac and on one occasion was slightly injured.
When his military service was over Mr. Young became a railroad contractor and was thus engaged in business until 1875, when he located on the present farm in Menard county. It was on the 27th of May of that year that he was joined in wedlock to Miss Rose A. Primm, a daughter of Abraham Primm, of this county. Mrs. Young was born on the farm where she still makes her home, her natal day being March 15, 1853. Her father, A.S. Primm, was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, and his wife was a native of Wyandot county, Ohio. He came to Menard county in 1819, settling at Athens, where he engaged in farming for many years. His father had entered from the government the land upon which Mr. and Mrs. Young are now living and they have in their possession the old land warrants signed by John Quincy Adams, then president of the United States.
A.S. Primm continued to carry on agricultural pursuits upon this farm until his life's labors were ended in death on the 22d of October, 1892. His wife also died on the old homestead, departing this life in 1889. Their children were as follows: Mary A., the eldest, born in 1846, is now the wife of Henry Cline and they resided two and a half miles from Athens, owning a fine farm which is located over the Sangamon county border. They have one daughter and two sons, namely: William A., who married Jennie Flagg, of a very prominent family of Sangamon county; Allen Cline, who is living at home; and Jennie, the wife of Young Caldwell, a cousin of Ben Caldwell, ex-congressman from Sangamon county. Their home is near Williamsville, Illinois. Melissa Primm, the second sister of Mrs. Young, is the wife of M.T. Hargrave, who for more than a quarter of a century has been a druggist of Athens and is one of the most prominent business men of this part of the county. He is also active in public life and served as sheriff of Menard county for six years. Unto him and his wife have been born two children, but Lillie Mae died at the age of eleven years. The living daughter is Minnie, wife of Fred W. Ayers, who resides in Athens, and they have three children: West, who is now five years of age; Mary, four years old; and Hargrave, two years old. Minnie Ephraim, another sister of Mrs. Young, was born January 2, 1851, and died January 8, 1890. She was married to A.P. West, of Logan county, who became a merchant and banker, conducting business in Los Angeles, California, and in Pana, Illinois, for fifteen years. He died January 6, 1904. Lillian Primm, the youngest sister of Mrs. Young, was born April 19, 1855, and became the wife of W.M. Estell, who was admitted to the bar. He did not practice, however, but became a merchant and subsequently he established the first electric light plant at Athens. He owned a very beautiful home near Springfield, where his death occurred October 26, 1903. Unto him and his wife were born two sons: Primm and Harry, both now living.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Young has been blessed with three children, but Grace, who was born August 26, 1877, died in infancy; Ione, born January 30, 1884, was married in 1903, to Arthur Jensen, and they now reside with her parents; Ilene, born April 1, 1893, is at home.
Mr. Young is very prominent and influential in public affairs and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, have frequently called him to public office. He served as justice of the peace at Athens for four years, was a member of the city council for six years and has been road commissioner for three years. The duties of these positions he discharged in a most capable and able manner, showing that the trust reposed in him was well placed. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to blue lodge, chapter and commandery of Petersburg, and he attends the Presbyterian church. He is now practically living retired after a long and active connection with agricultural interests, having in the meantime acquired a competence that now enables him to put aside business cares and rest in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. He is widely and favorably known throughout this county, his abilities well fitting him for leadership in political, business and social life. The terms progress and patriotism might be considered the keynote of his character, for throughout his career he has labored for the improvement of every line of business or public interest, with which he has been associated and at all times has been actuated by a fidelity to his county and her welfare.