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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


JAMES KERSHAW, a retired farmer of section 28, township 16, range 11, has been a resident of this county since coming to the United States in the early part of 1839. He was born at Holden, Lancashire, England, Oct. 29, 1814, and came of pure English stock. His father, Robert Kershaw, also of English birth and parentage, was a cotton spinner, and was married in his native town of Holden to Miss Bettie Chadwick. They became the parents of four children - James, Albert, Robert, Jr., and Thomas, and, on the 27th of January, 1839, set out with their little family for America. They made the voyage on the sailing-vessel "Lucia," and landed in New Orleans on the 26th of March following.

From the Crescent City a part of the Kershaw family came up the Mississippi to the Illinois River, and thence to Beardstown, landing there on the 7th of April. Upon this boat was transported the first engine ever brought to Illinois, landing at Meredosia. It was to do duty on the road running through the embryo city of Jacksonville on flat bars laid on sleepers. A part of the family had been left in New Orleans on account of a scarcity of funds, only James and his father coming to Illinois at that time. Their first business was to seek employment, and they began working on the new railroad with such good results that they sent for the mother and the three other sons to join them, which the did on the 4th of July following.

The elder Kershaw in due time purchased a tract of land, including that which his son now occupies, and here he and his excellent wife spent the remainder of their days, living to be past threescore years and ten. They are remembered as worthy and honest people, and were respected by all their neighbors. Their children are all living, married, and have families of their own. James, our subject, found his bride in this county - Miss Martha Hursey, a native of his own shire in England, and born Jan. 5, 1822. She was the daughter of the Rev. James and Sarah (Nelley) Hursey, the father born Jan. 17, 1798, and by occupation a gardener and a preacher combined. The mother was a cotton spinner. The family emigrated from England to America early in 1838, sailing from Liverpool and landing in New Orleans, and thence coming to Beardstown by boat and overland to this county. Mr. Hursey afterward continued farming and preaching until his death, Aug. 5, 1877, which occurred when he was seventy nine and a half years old. His wife died June 25, 1870, at the age of eighty-two years, having been born Feb. 10, 1788. Both were members of the Methodist Protestant Church. Mrs. Kershaw is the only surviving child.

Twelve children came to bless the union of our subject and his wife, six of whom are deceased, namely: Luther, Betty, Mary A., Jane, Becky, and an infant unnamed. The survivors are Joseph, Robert, Hannah, Ellen, Nettie, and John. Mr. and Mrs. Kershaw are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Concord, and our subject, politically, is a sound Republican.

1889 Index
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