SAMUEL DANIELS. As a representative of the pioneer element of this county, Mr. Daniels stands pre-eminent, one of the old landmarks, whose name will often be recalled with kindly remembrance long after he has been gathered to his fathers. He came to Central Illinois not long after the Indian had departed, and purchasing a tract of wild land, proceeded to the construction of a homestead. In this he succeeded admirably, accumulated a competence, and is now enjoying the fruits of his labors at a pleasant country homestead, finely located on section 5, township 15, range 11.
Mr. Daniels was at one time the owner of nearly 400 acres of land, the whole of which he brought to a god state of cultivation, and upon which he effected the improvements naturally suggested to the progressive and enterprising agriculturist. He has given each of his two children 160 acres, which in the case of the deceased of either, becomes the property of the widow. This arrangement is one not often entered into, and is a good index to the character of the man. A glance at his early life and antecedents acquaints us with the fact that he is the scion of an excellent family, the son of Verin and Polly (Eaton) Daniels, of Massachusetts, who at the time of his birth, Nov. 15, 1808, were residents of Fitchburg. The mother died there when about seventy-three years old; she was a lady of more than ordinary intelligence, and one possessing all the Christian virtues. As a wife and mother her example was one worthy of emulation.
Verin Daniels was by trade a carpenter and millwright, and like his estimable wife, spent nearly all his life in Fitchburg. In 1838, however, he set out for the great West, joining his children in this county, but only lived until the following year, dying in 1839, at the home of his son, Verin, after having nearly attained the eightieth year of his age. Prior to coming to this county, he had sojourned for a time at Nashville, Tenn. Both he and his estimable wife were members of the Old Puritan Church, of Massachusetts, in the faith of which they died. Politically, Mr. Daniels, was a Jackson Democrat. Two of his brothers served in the Revolutionary War. After entering the army they were lost track of, and never afterward heard from.
Mr. Daniels, as will be noted, is approaching the eighty-first year of his age. He was the youngest but two of nine children, six sons and three daughters, and is the only living member of his father's family. He was reared in his native town, and learned the trade of a clothier from his father, which in those times was not very profitable, he receiving during his apprenticeship only about $1.50 per week, and boarding himself out of that. Later, he became master of the cloth-making art, but finally abandoned it for the more congenial occupation of a machinist, and for some time was employed in running the Columbia Cotton Mills at Mason Village, now Greenville, N.H. Here he fulfilled a five year's contract as a member of the firm of Bacon & Daniels. The mill under his supervision was conducted strictly on the prohibition plan, and Mr. Daniels steadfastly refused to employ anyone who persisted in the use of ardent spirits. The consequence was that it was noted as being the best managed and most reliable establishment, not only in New Hampshire, but in all New England.
During his connection with this enterprise, our subject made quite a little sum of money, and finally determined to invest it in the great West. In the meantime, however, he provided himself with a wife and helpmate, being married in Washington, N.H., Aug. 17, 1837, to Miss Mary Safford. Soon afterward, setting out on a bridal tour to their new home, they landed in what is now this precinct, this county, Oct. 30, 1837, and Mr. Daniels at once began purchasing land and bringing the same to a state of cultivation. He was prospered from the beginning, and in the course of a few years found himself surrounded by all the comforts of life, and with a prospect of a competence for his old age.
Mrs. Mary (Safford) Daniels was born Feb. 5, 1813, in Washington, N.H., where she was reared and married. Her parents were of excellent New England stock, and spent their entire lives in the old Granite State, occupied in agricultural pursuits. Miss Mary received a common-school education, and was taught by a careful mother those housewifely duties, and knowledge of which is so essential in the comfort and happiness of a home. She was ambitious, and wishing to earn money for herself, finally entered the mill conducted by Mr. Daniels, where she was employed about three years before her marriage. After coming to the West, she was the faithful and efficient assistant of her husband in all his plans and undertakings. She became the mother of two children, and departed this life at the homestead, Sept. 20, 1885. Her funeral services were conducted by the minister of the Baptist Church, with which she had been connected in membership many years.
George B. Daniels, the only son of our subject, upon reaching manhood was married to Miss Carrie M. Abbott. He became the father of two children, and died March 5, 1884, at his home in this precinct, where he had settled and engaged in farming. He was thrifty and well-to-do, a worthy member of the community, and a member in good standing of the Congregational Church. His widow still retains the farm property left her by her husband, where she makes her home and manages the place.
Miss Mary L. Daniels, the only daughter of our subject, became the wife of James C. Fairbanks, and they are living on a farm near Concord. Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks are prominent in the social circles of their community, are prosperous financially, and have a very pleasant home. Mr. Daniels, upon becoming a voting citizen, allied himself with the old Whig party, with which he remained until its abandonment by the organization of the Republicans. To the latter he has since given his unqualified support, voting with it for a period of thirty-three yeas. He is a Baptist in religion, and has for a long time held the office of Deacon in the church at Jacksonville and in this precinct.