JOSEPH HODGKINSON, who is numbered among the prosperous and enterprising farmers of Scott County, has risen to his present honorable position through the quiet force of persistent labor and indomitable will, that has overcome all obstacles that lay in the pathway of success. He owns a fine, well-stocked farm on section 11, township 13, and a pretty, comfortable home pleasantly located just outside the corporate limits of the city of Winchester. He is mostly engaged in stock raising, and is prominent member of the Scott County Stock Breeder's Association, of which he has been a director for six years, and now has entire charge of the horses belonging to the Association. These animals are the finest in the county, and consist of two Percherons, one Clydesdale, and one French coach horse. Mr. Hodgkinson is eminently fitted for the responsibility of such a position, as he is a dear lover of the horse, has a perfect knowledge of the animal, knows all their best points, and understands the best methods of handling them.
On Christmas Day, 1832, in Kirk Ireton, England, the subject of this sketch was born to George and Fanny (Dale) Hodgkinson, both natives of Derbyshire, England. His ancestors were a race of yeomen in old England, and the father and grandfather of our subject were also tillers of the soil in their native land. In the fall of 1843 the family emigrated to America, and coming directly to Illinois bought a place, comprising forty acres of wild land, about five miles southeast of Winchester. But the father and mother were not destined to enjoy the new home long, for the former was killed by being thrown out of a wagon, in the winter of 1844-45, and six weeks later the poor mother died from the shock of the dreadful blow that had befallen her and her little ones in a strange country so far from their old English home. The six children born to that worthy couple, comprising three sons and three daughters, are all living, and on the death of their parents they were separated and bound out till they came of age: Fannie, now Mrs. Megginson, of Morgan County, was bound to Adam Allinson till she was eighteen years old; Hannah, now Mrs. Jones, of Scott County, was bound out to James Coultas till she was eighteen; George, who lives in Republic County, Kan., was bound out to Robert Woodall, Sr., till he was twenty-one; Robert, who has lived in Vallejo, Cal., since 1861, was bound out to his uncle, Charles Frost; Ann, who lives in Macoupin County, Ill., and our subject, were bound out to William Wonksley, of Scott county, till they became of age.
The latter was to work on a farm and to attend school occasionally. He had to work very hard, received a limited education, and was poorly clad, having the ordinary experience of such boys. He left those people before his time was up, in the fall of 1852, and began to look out for himself, being a young man of an ambitious, energetic disposition. He was employed by his uncle, Charles Frost, who gave him $12 a month, and he remained with him till February, 1853. He then went to Morgan County, and was there working on a farm when the war broke out, and he then returned to his uncle again, and was engaged on his farm and other farms, and also in shipping horses to St. Louis for some time. October 11, 1865, Mr. Hodgkinson took one of the most important steps of his life in his marriage, on that date, to Miss Louisa, daughter of the late Reuben and Martha (Adkisson) Howard, natives of Tennessee, who were among the earliest settlers of Scott County. The father, who was a practical, successful farmer, died Jan. 17, 1884, and the mother died Feb. 22, 1877. They had six children, four daughters and two sons, one son and one daughter now being dead. Their son Newton gave up his life in the late war. He was a private in Company H, 129th Illinois Infantry, was taken sick and died in the hospital in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 2, 1863. Mrs. Hodgkinson was the youngest child, and was born Feb. 21, 1837, in Scott County. Of the three children that has blessed the happy wedded life of herself and husband, two are now living: George R., born May 27, 1878; Viola A., May 31, 1880. They are bright and intelligent children, and are receiving good educational advantages. The greatest sorrow in the wedded life of our subject and his wife was occasioned by the death of their little daughter, Martha F., who was born May 17, 1867, and died April 23, 1871.
After marriage Mr. Hodgkinson settled on fifty acres of land, and four and three-fourth miles southeast of Winchester, on the Manchester Road, which he bought Sept. 8, 1865, and still owns. He has added to it since, having bought sixty acres in 1867, and ten acres in 1882, besides two and ninety-eight one-hundredth acres on the outskirts of the city, where he has built his home. He has greatly increased the value of his farm since it came into his hands, has set out shade trees, built two barns, sheds, etc., and made many other improvements.
Mr. Hodgkinson is a frank, warm-hearted man, with a pleasant manner, that wins him esteem from all with whom he comes in contact, either in a business or social way. He is gifted with firmness, sagacity and natural tact to a large degree, and so manages his affairs as to produce the best results financially. His fellow-citizens rightly judge him to be a good man for office, and wished him to serve as County Commissioner, but he refused to allow his name to be used for that position. He has, however, been School Director and Road Supervisor of the precinct, and in both cases did good work for the community. He occasionally takes part in politics, and uses his influence in favor of the Democratic party. Both he and his wife are zealous members of the Christian Church, he being an Elder in the same. Mrs. Hodgkinson is pronounced by those who know her well, to be a very fine woman, kind, sympathetic, and motherly, and a true Christian. When her parents became infirm through age she and Mr. Hodgkinson kindly undertook the responsibility of caring for them, and fulfilled this duty faithfully, and after the death of the mother Mrs. hodgkinson took entire care of her father, till his death from a cancer relieved his sufferings.