PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF MORGAN AND SCOTT COUNTIES, ILLINOIS
Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers

1889


John G. Bobbit

JOHN G. BOBBITT. A residence of sixty years in this county has made this gentleman quite well acquainted with its history, and he has also become well known to a majority of its older residents. He was brought here by his parents when a child five years of age, and spent his boyhood and youth amid the primitive scenes of life on the frontier, practically growing up with the country, with little education, but forming those habits of industry which have served him well in his struggle with the world. In starting out for himself he had no capital but his perfect health and strong hands, together with sound common sense and good judgement, but these qualities have served him well and he is now numbered among the independent farmers who, sitting under their own vine and fig tree, have few apprehensions for the future, being in possession of a competence and fortified against want in their declining years.

The property of Mr. Bobbitt embraces 340 acres of choice land, located on sections 7 and 18, the residence being on the former. He secured this land in its wild and uncultivated state, and has brought it to its present condition largely by the labor of his own hands. A native of Southern Missouri, he was born Nov. 6, 1824, and came with his father's family, to this county in 1829, when but few white men ventured to this region from which the Indians had not yet departed. Wild game of all kinds was plentiful but neighbors were few and far between, and the journey to mill and market, performed frequently by the slow means of an ox team, was a trip occupying several days. The little family established themselves in a rude log cabin, which sheltered them for a number of years, and until their means and circumstances enabled them to replace it by a more modern dwelling.

William J. Bobbitt, the father of our subject, was a native of North Carolina, a millwright by trade and a natural mechanic. He was the son of Southern parents, and his father Isham Bobbitt, served in the Revolutionary War, from the time the feeble band of patriots took arms against a powerful nation until peace was declared. He died in this county, at the advanced age of eighty-four years old. William J., inherited from his honored sire, his talent of handling edged tools, and became a master mechanic. Upon leaving his native State he located in Kentucky, where in due time he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hale. This lady was a distant relative of the celebrated John P. Hale. After their marriage the parents of our subject settled in Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Ky., where they lived until after the birth of two children. Then hoping to better their financial condition, they sought the Southwest, locating in Madison County, Mo., where the father put up a mill and engaged as a miller and general mechanic until coming to this county.

The elder Bobbitt now purchased forty acres of land from the Government and began the construction of a homestead in the wilderness. He lived but seven years thereafter, resting from his earthly labors in 1836, at the age of sixty-one years. Both he and his wife were members of the Regular Baptist church. The wife survived her husband many years, dying at the age of seventy-six. She was a number of years younger than he, and of their union there were born eleven children - five sons and six daughters, all of whom had reached mature years and married before a death occurred in the family. One son, William C., was waylaid and killed for his money in the gold regions of California. Three sisters are not deceased, all of whom left families. The eldest brother living has now reached the advanced age of over eighty years and the youngest member of the family is past fifty.

The subject of this notice at an early age was taught to make himself useful around the pioneer homestead. In 1848, he established domestic ties of his won, being married to Miss Martha J. Newton, who was born in Trigg County, Ky., Oct. 22, 1827, but who at the time of her marriage (which took place in Brown County, this State.) Was a resident of Bloomington, Ill. Her parents, Henry and Martha (Ezell) Newton were natives of Virginia, and are long since deceased. Henry Newton was twice married and was the father of a large family. Mrs. Bobbitt was a daughter of the first wife, who died when comparatively a young woman. She lived with her father and her sister Mary, principally in this county, growing up with a limited education. In those early days the plan of the resent school system had not been developed, for the children were scattered over the desolate country at such distances as to prevent a common meeting ground. Only armed men would traverse the lonely pats leading from one cabin to another. Mrs. Bobbitt like her husband, was taught to make herself useful at an early age, learning to be a good housekeeper and to perform all those duties necessary to the comfort and happiness of the household. Of the three children born to Mr. and Mrs. bobbitt, one son, Louis M., died at the age of thirty-four years, in township 15, range 10. He was married to Miss Ellen Busey, who survives him. They had two children - Walter N., and John C. Mary L., became the wife of J. B. Holliday, and they are living on a farm in township 15, range 11. They have four children - Ralf, Mable, Charles L., and Frank S. Hattie E., remains at home with her parents; she is a very intelligent young lady, greatly interested in music. Mrs. Bobbitt and her children belong to the Christian Church. Our subject, politically, was in former years a Democrat, but his warm interest in the temperance movement has since led him to identify himself with the Prohibitionists.

This volume will be cherished by its possessors, not only on account of its historical value, but also as presenting to view the familiar faces of old friends. Among all these the portrait of Mr. Bobbitt is important, as delineating a pioneer and prominent resident of Morgan County.


1889 Index
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