ALBERT CHANCE, the oldest living settler in his township, owns and occupies a snug homestead of forty acres on section 33, township 15, range 14, in Scott County, but, in addition to this, operates 400 acres of land belonging to other parties. He has had a full experience of pioneer life, and is one of the old landmarks who will be remembered long after he has passed away. He has just passed the sixty-ninth year of his age, having been born May 20, 1820, and his native place was near Milford, Kent Co., Del.
Mr. Chance when a young man emigrated to Ohio, and thence to this county, when there were only a few houses within several miles of where he settled. Wild game of all kinds was abundant, and the Indians had not very long departed from this region. Mr. Chance had no schooling until after he was twenty-two years old, and then attended school only one winter. He was put to work at an early age, and when nineteen years old purchased his time of his father for $100. In the spring of 1840 he crossed the Mississippi into Missouri - after having sawed some of the timber for the Naples & Springfield Railroad, the first built in the State.
Afterwards Mr. Chance went to Columbia, Boone Co., Mo., where he engaged in teaming during the construction of the State University. He hauled out the first load of dirt from the cellar of that structure, and was given a premium of $5. He was thus employed two years, and at the expiration of this time entered two tracts of Government land, which he improved, and engaged in general farming and stock-raising. He put up good buildings, and in 1859 sold out at an advanced price, and then returned to Illinois overland with his teams and wagon. While in Missouri he had engaged considerably in breaking prairie, employing sixteen yoke of cattle and four plows, and operating with a partner.
Mr. Chance could not obtain a clear title to the first land he purchased in this county, and he then rented land near Bluffs two years. Later he carried on farming in the vicinity of Exeter. He purchased his present homestead in the spring of 1870, and has effected all the improvements upon it. It makes a very desirable residence. Mr. Chance in his farming operations employs four teams and devotes his attention largely to the raising of grain, making a specialty of wheat. He was married Jan. 20, 1843, in Boone County, Mo., to Miss Elizabeth Dunbar. This lady was born near Lexington, Scott Co., Ky., and is the daughter of Weeden D. and Fanny (Welden) Dunbar, natives respectively of Virginia and Kentucky. They settled in the latter State, and then removed to Missouri, where Mr. Dunbar became the owner of 320 acres of land. He died in Missouri; he was an Elder in the Christian Church, and rounded up the ripe old age of one hundred and four years.
To Mr. and Mrs. Chance there were born six children, viz: William W., Frances A., Agnes E., Sarah A., Albert Bishop and Mary Emma, who died when ten years old. Their eldest son is a carpenter by trade, and possesses extraordinary mechanical skill. Frances is the wife of Giles E. Montague, and resides at Naples; Agnes E. is the wife of William Bean, a farmer of Winchester. Both these ladies were finished dressmakers before marriage; the other children are at home with their parents. The youngest son operates the farm, and votes the straight Democratic ticket. Mr. Chance is also a Democrat, politically, and has served as School Director, in Missouri, and Road Supervisor; also as County Commissioner, and has been on the Grand and Petit juries. In religious matters he belongs to the Christian Church at Naples. He is a brother of Mrs. Elizabeth Finney, who is represented elsewhere in this sketch.