The career of our subject has been one of more than ordinary interest. He was born in Scott County, at the homestead, which he now owns and occupies, Jan. 3, 1840, and was bred to farming pursuits, acquiring his education in the common schools. His father died when he was a lad of twelve years, but he remained at the homestead until he reached his majority, and in May of that year, about a month after the outbreak of the Civil War he proffered his service as a soldier of the Union. He entered the ranks as a member of Company K, 14th Illinois Infantry, under the command of Col. John M. Palmer, and was mustered in at Jacksonville on the 11th. The regiment was at once sent to the front and marched through Missouri, skirmishing by the way and participating in the battle of Springfield, which was surrendered and evacuated by the Rebel General, Price.
Young Haskell subsequently participated in many of the important battles of the war including Shiloh in which he was uninjured, but later, while picking over some cartridges, an explosion occurred and he was seriously burned about the face and hands and laid up in the hospital from March 17, to July 26. After rejoining his regiment he acted as Color Sergeant and participated in the battles at Hatchie's Run, was at the siege of Vicksburg and at the capture of Ft. Beauregard, went on the Meridian raid and remained in the service until the expiration of his term of enlistment, when he was mustered out at Springfield, June 20, 1864, and there received an honorable discharge. He experienced some hairbreadth escapes and at one time the simple point of a bayonet saved his life.
After retiring from the army Mr. Haskell returned home to the farm, where he sojourned until 1869. He learned the blacksmith trade at Exeter and purchased a shop in partnership with J. W. Covington and they operated together for two years, doing general blacksmithing. In 1871 he sold out and purchased his present homestead upon which he has effected nearly all the improvements which are viewed with such admiration by all who look upon it. A large area is enclosed with neat hedge fencing and about eighty acres are under the plow. The location is especially fine, with good springs and a sufficiency of timber. The residence was completed in 1875, the main part being 16x26 feet in dimensions and the wing 16x18. In his growing of small fruits Mr. Haskell has been remarkable successful and has made quite a little fortune. He is also considerably engaged in the breeding of live stock, making a speciality of full-blooded Chester and Poland-China swine, raising about eighty head each year.
Our subject was married in Exeter Precinct, Nov. 18, 1869 to Miss Sarah E. Mills, a native of Scott County, and the daughter of Alford and Beda (Lowe) Mills, a sketch of whose parentage will be found in the biography of her brother, D. W. Mills, elsewhere in this volume. The Mills family were among the first settlers of Scott County, and Mrs. Haskell before her marriage was engaged as a teacher some seven or eight years. Of her union with out subject there have been born three children: Maude, now deceased; Fritz and Dovie. Mr. Haskell meddles very little with public affairs, but gives his undivided support to the Republican party. He at one time served as County Commissioner and Road Supervisor and has been on the Grand and Petit juries. Socially he belongs to the Modern Woodmen.
Benjamin Haskell, the father of our subject and John Haskell, his paternal grandfather, were natives of Maine, where the latter carried on farming and stock-raising until his removal to Ohio. He was of English descent and spent his last days in the Buckeye State. Benjamin was a boy when his parents removed to Ohio. They settled near the present sight of Batavia, and during his early manhood he employed himself at rafting, hunting and trapping along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In 1826, he came to Illinois and while passing through this section of the country entered the land from which he afterward constructed a homestead. He labored upon it during the summer season, but did not give up his home in Ohio until some time later. He was married in 1838, in Scott County after coming here.
Upon his arrival here for the purpose of permanent settlement the father of our subject put up with his own hands a house which is still standing and is well cared for by our subject. He was obliged to cut away a great deal of timber and he brought a goodly portion of the soil to a state of cultivation. He was an expert hunter in which pastime he took much delight and kept both his own family and his neighbors supplied with the choicest of wild meats. Daniel W. has in his possession the gun used by his father and which is familiarly known as "Long Tom". The firearm in its day brought down many a deer of the forest as well as wild turkeys and other game. The elder Haskell was the owner of 300 acres of land in different parts of this State. Politically he was an old line Whig and coincided with the ideas of Webster and Clay. He departed hence in 1852 at the age of fifty-four years.
Mrs. Sarah (Coonrod) Haskell, the mother of our subject was born in Virginia in 1801, and was the daughter of George Coonrod, a native of Germany, who, after his emigration to the United States, became a Virginia planter. Later he removed to Ohio, where the family resided until 1820. They then came to Illinois by water and located on land in Scott County, where the father engaged in farming, but died soon afterward. The grandmother died in 1803; she was a woman remarkable in many respects and a sincere Christian.
Miss Coonrod was twice married and by her first husband became the mother of six children - Henry, who is now deceased; James of Macoupin County, this State; Sarah of Morgan County; Eliza, deceased; George, of Washington; and Julia, of Missouri. James and George during the Civil War served in a Missouri regiment, the former during the entire period of the war and the latter of two years; both held the rank of Lieutenant. Of the second marriage of the mother of our subject there were born five children, viz: Daniel W., of this sketch; Beda S., now deceased; John H., in California; an infant, who died unnamed; and Elizabeth, a resident of Nebraska.