JAMES P. DEWEES is the son of a pioneer of Morgan County, who came here in the early days of its settlement, and in the prosecution of his calling as a farmer accumulated a handsome property, and left besides an honorable name as a legacy to his children. He, of whom we write is one of the oldest native citizens of this county, and has been counted among its successful grain-growers and stock-breeders these many years. He has a farm on section 31, township 16, north, range 8, west, that is not exceeded in value or productiveness by any other of equal size in the vicinity, and the home that he has built up here is one of the most beautiful in the township.
Our subject is of Kentucky lineage, on both the paternal and maternal side. His father, Nimrod Dewees, was born in Barren County, that State, in 1801, a son of John Dewees, an early settler of that region. He was there reared and married to Elizabeth Murphy. In 1830, animated by the pioneer spirit of his forefathers, he with his wife and four children left their old home and penetrated the wilds of Illinois as far as this county, and located near where the county infirmary now is. There the mother gave up the struggle for life in March, 1837. She was a truly good woman and a sincere member of the Christian Church, of which her father was a preacher in Kentucky. The father married a second time, mrs. Eliza (Sanders) Kerr, becoming his wife, and by her he had four children, of whom one survives. Mrs. Dewees died, leaving the memory of a just and good woman, and one who as a member of the Christian Church, had led an exemplary life. Mr. Dewees married again, Mary J. Talbot, becoming his third wife. She is a thoroughly good woman, and an esteemed member of the Christian Church. She lives in Jacksonville with her daughter, Mrs. M. L. D. Keiser, who is her only surviving child. In March, 1866, the father of our subject rounded out a useful and busy life. He was ever an influence for good in this community, materially advancing its interests, and his death was sincerely lamented by the many friends and acquaintances that he had made in Morgan County, during his thirty-six years' residence here. He was a member of the Christian Church, and led a pure and spotless life in consonance with its teachings. His son, William W., who was born in Kentucky in 1822, and that son's son Henry, served in the late war, as members of the 101st Illinois Infantry. William died in Piatt County, Ill. In March, 1888.
James Dewees was reared on his father's farm to the life of a farmer, and from him inherited property that gave him a good start in life. After his marriage he and his bride began their wedded life on a farm now owned by Frank Robinson. In the following fall our subject went to Texas, and stayed in the Lone Star State till the spring of 1860, and then came back to his native State and with his family settled in Sangamon County. Five years later, he came with them to this county and settled on his present farm, where he has ever since lived. The farm comprises 240 acres of land in a high state of cultivation and all fenced, and a commodious, well-appointed frame house and a large barn have taken place of the one-story frame house and small barn that formerly stood on the place. Here he and his family have one of the most charming and beautiful homes in this locality. The lawns are tastefully laid out with walks and lovely large flower beds, flower stands, etc. and adorned with fine shade trees and everything to make the place attractive.
In these years our subject has had the able assistance of the best of wives, to whom he was united in marriage near Carrollton, Greene County, Ill., Sept. 29, 1858, and they have reared a family of six children to honorable and useful lives, as follows: George E. (see sketch), S. N., Lizzie A., Frank L., Norman and Hettie. Mrs. Dewees' maiden name was Nancy J. Trimble, and she is a daughter of Harvey and Margaret (Rice) Trimble, natives of Kentucky. Her father was born in 1811, and her mother in 1810, and she died Dec. 5, 1887. The father is an esteemed resident of Greene County, Ill., of which he was a pioneer.
Mr. Dewees is a thoroughly practical man, skillful in his calling, and he well knows how to work to advantage so as to produce the best results. Sound judgment and foresight are the prominent traits in his character, and have led him to prosperity. He commands the respect of all with whom he comes in contact either in business or in a social way, as he is known to be a man of high moral character, who would not willfully wrong another. Having been reared by pious parents in the faith of the Christian church, he united with it early in life, but as there is no organization of that denomination in this neighborhood, he is not as active in religious matters as he was once. He is a Democrat in politics, though rather reserved and wants no office.