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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


JOSEPH HULETT. Among the prominent agriculturists of Morgan County who have in the last four decades, materially assisted in its advancement and prosperity, no one is more deserving of honorable mention in this BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM than he whose name we have with pleasure placed at the beginning of this brief sketch. He is a native of Kentucky, born near Winchester, Clark County, Sept. 1, 1823. His father, Joseph Hulett, Sr., was born near Fredericksburg, Va. When a child his parents removed to Clark County, Ky., where they remained a short time, and then settled in Madison County, where he, the father of our subject, spent the larger part of his youthful days and, when old enough to establish himself in business, began farming there. He subsequently removed to Fayette County, and was for a few years engaged in agricultural pursuits in Lexington, finally removing to Morgan County and settling near Jacksonville, where he died at the ripe old age of seventy-eight years. He was twice married. Miss Nellie Mansfield, a native of Green River County, Ky., becoming his first wife, and of their union eight sons and five daughters were born, all of whom grew to maturity. His second marriage was to Elizabeth Hukill, who born him five children, two sons and three daughters, and of the two marriages eleven children are still living. Mr. Hulett was a man highly respected in this community for his sterling integrity and honesty of purpose. In politics he was a stanch old-line Whig. He was a member of the Baptist Church for more than half a century, and both he and his wife were sincere workers in the cause of religion.

Our subject was among the younger members of the thirteen children born to his parents, and was reared on a farm, living with his father in Clark and Fayette counties till grown to manhood. He had the misfortune to lose his mother while a boy, and the family records having been destroyed by fire, his knowledge of his ancestral history is limited. Not being quite satisfied to settle down to farming, he learned the carpenter's trade, and for six years engaged in carpentering and contracting. Subsequently his early knowledge of cattle, learned while on the farm, became of practical use to him, and his excellent judgment concerning them easily secured for him a position as buyer of stock for prominent cattle dealers in the vicinity of Lexington, and he gave up his trade to become manager of the large stock farm of Benjamin Gratz, an extensive farmer of Lexington. He also had the supervision of the farm of Carter Harrison, Ex-Mayor of Chicago, the short time he was a resident of that place. The shrew business habits and undoubted ability of our subject in that line of business insured him an excellent salary, and, as he was as economical as he was industrious, in the few years he was thus employed he laid the foundation of his present fortune. In 1850 Mr. Hulett determined to permanently establish himself in life, and, knowing Illinois to be one of the finest agricultural States in the Union, came to Morgan County March 3, that year, and rented a farm north of Jacksonville, on which he lived for awhile, then removed to this neighborhood and rented a farm of Joseph Morton, which he managed successfully three years. In 1853 he bought 160 acres of his present homestead, lying on sections 25 and 26, township 15, range 10 west, paying $30 an acre for it, although there were plenty of farms in the vicinity that could have been bought for two-thirds that sum, but they were lacking in many of the essentials that he considered necessary on a good farm. Mr. Hulett afterward bought adjacent land, paying $60 an acre for some and $80 an acre for other tracts, till now he has a valuable farm of 250 acres under excellent cultivation. There were very comfortable buildings on the place when our subject moved on to it in 1854, and he and his family occupied the house until 1872, when he built his present fine brick residence. It is of modern architecture, neatly and artistically furnished and decorated, the interior and exterior alike showing marked evidence of the taste, cultivation and refinement of the occupants. The property of our subject is a testimony to the ability, good judgment and superior management which he has used in improving it from year to year, and is now one of the model farms of the county, and an ornament to his township. Mr. Hulett has been extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising, but he now rents the larger part of his farm, keeping his beautiful house as a residence, and is practically retired from active life, having been a sufferer the past seven years from angina pectoris (ueralgia of the heart).

As a man of strict honesty, fair and square in all business transactions, our subject is universally esteemed throughout the community, and merits the high respect in which he is held. In local affairs he has always been prominent, and has faithfully served the township in the various responsible offices, having been Township Treasurer, School Director, etc., for many years. Religiously, he is a consistent member of the Christian Church.

An important step in the life of Mr. Hulett, and one to which he owes in a measure the grand success that he has met with in life, was his marriage with Miss Elizabeth V. Simpson, which was celebrated Aug. 9, 1849. She was born in Woodford County, Ky., being a daughter of Johnson and Elizabeth (Powers) Simpson. Her father, who was a carpenter and contractor, spent his entire life in Woodford County, where his widow is still living.

To our subject and his wife have been born ten children, all of whom, excepting William J., who died when thirteen months and thirteen days old, are still living, the following being their record: Ella married J. V. Stout, the proprietor of a book and stationery store in Jacksonville, and they have two children, Harry and Corinne; Elizabeth J,; Josephine; Granville, who married Miss Jessie Freeman, and is now in business in Kansas City, attended college in Jacksonville six years and Rush Medical College three years, and subsequently practiced medicine in Kansas City two years; Fannie; Belle married Samuel Scott a dry-goods merchant of Kansas City, and they have one child, Fannie Marie; Lorena married Eugene Pyatt, clerk in a Jacksonville bookstore; Jennie S. married Thomas Montgomery, a general merchant at Hersman Station, Brown Co., Ill.; Marcus has just finished his education, and has joined the Doctor in business in Kansas City.

Mr. Hulett, whose educational advantages were limited, has very generously given his children every possible opportunity for acquiring knowledge, not only in the common branches of study, but especially in music, arts and sciences. His daughters have taken a college course as well as his sons, having attended the college at Jacksonville, Fannie completing her education at Valparaiso. The beautiful works of art that adorn the walls of the house testify to the natural talent and ability of Misses Fannie and Lizzie, who are accomplished artists, handling brush or pencil with equal facility, as evidenced by their works in pen-drawing and crayon, their specialty being portraits. Mrs. Hulett and two of her daughters are esteemed members of the Presbyterian Church, while the remaining members of the family belong to the Christian Church.

1889 Index
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