FRANCIS CASTLEDINE. Among the old and much valued citizens of Morgan County must be mentioned the gentleman whose biography is here sketched, at present residing at Chapin. He is a native of Lincolnshire, England, where he was born on the 17th of November, 1823, to John and Mary Castledine. He was reared to the years of manhood in his native country, and received a somewhat rudimentary education, after which he devoted himself to farming, which occupation he has followed the greater part of his life. For about one year he drove a stage_coach in England.
The subject of our sketch emigrated to America in 1851, taking passage on a sailing_vessel at Liverpool. The ocean trip lasted for about twenty_eight days, and provided much food for thought, as the wonders of Neptune's empire were presented for the first time. Landing in New York City, he came direct to New Albany, Ind., and there remained for a few months, when he came to Scott County, Ill., and worked for two years and one month as a farm hand, for Thomas Coultas, after which he came to Morgan County and bought a farm of eighty_three acres on section 11, near Chapin. Subsequently he purchased an additional seventy acres on section 9, township 15, range 12, making in all 150 acres which he still owns, all of good and improved land.
Mr. Chapin was first married on the 22d of December, 1853, when he was united with Mary A. Coultas. To them were born two children, Sarah J., and John F., both of whom are deceased. The distressing feature of their death, was perhaps, that both died within an hour of each other in October, 1885, the cause of death being malarial fever. Their mother died on the 17th of May, 1860. On the 3d of January, 1865, our subject was married the second time, the lady being Mary Middleton, born on the 10th of May, 1835. She is the daughter of Richard and Martha Middleton. In 1860 she emigrated to this country from England, the land of her nativity, and came direct to Illinois and continued to make her home in Scott County for about four years. At the end of that period she came to Morgan County, where she has resided ever since.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Castledine are identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church, our subject being one of the church Stewards for many years. Both are now in the declining years of life, and their westerning sun casts its rays over the pathway of lives well spent, and filled with deeds that have won for them the highest regard and esteem of all who know them. Our subject has served in the office of Road Supervisor for a number of years, and also as School Director. He has always been a true citizen, and, as becomes a pioneer, a man filled with that spirit which elevates the interest of the community, even above that of self. At a very early age he began to work upon a farm, and to make his own way in the world. His successes to be appreciated must be contrasted with his early environment, with all its limitations and lack of privilege, despite all of which he has come to occupy the place and position he does to_day, and to enjoy the confidence and high regard of the community of which he is a member.