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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


THOMAS KERSHAW. The Kershaw family comprises one of the old landmarks of this county, to which the father came early in the forties and secured 400 acres of land in township 16, range 11, a part of which, to the extent of 154 acres, is occupied by the subject of this sketch, and lies on sections 27 and 28. The land is rolling, and upon it is situated the well-known Duncan Sulphur Spring, which was discovered, in 1839, by Ex-Gov. Duncan, who then owned the land. The spring, however, has been chiefly developed by the Kershaws, and possesses valuable medicinal properties, as has been demonstrated by William L. Dudley, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who has made a thorough examination, and recommends it for various ailments. Many people who have drunk of the waters have sent strong testimonials as to the virtues of this wonderful spring, which, had it not been for the death of Gov. Duncan, would doubtless have become a favorite health resort.

The subject of this notice was born in the town of Oldham, Lancashire, England, Feb. 25, 1835, and is of pure English stock. His father, Robert Kershaw, was a native of the same place, where he learned the art of spinning cotton and married Miss Bettie Chadwick, who was also born and reared in Lancashire, and who became the mother of four sons, all of whom came to America, and of whom our subject was the youngest. A further history of the family will be found in the biography of James Kershaw on another page of this volume. On coming to the United States they set sail from Liverpool, landed in New Orleans, and later came up the Mississippi River to this county. The family was first represented here by the father and his eldest son James, the others being obliged to remain in New Orleans on account of the scarcity of funds. After the father and son had made sufficient money, they sent for the mother and the three younger sons, who landed in this county July 4, 1839.

The father of our subject and his sons made some money by working at whatever they could find to do, and, after the death of Gov. Duncan, the father purchases 400 acres of his landed possessions. He was successful in his labors as a tiller of the soil, and both parents lived many years on the homestead which they had built up, enjoying the comforts of life together with the esteem of their neighbors. Thomas, our subject, was the youngest of the family, and remained with his parents until they no more needed his filial services. When about twenty-four years of age he was married to Miss Sophia Wood, of Jacksonville, and a native of his own county in England. She was born in 1844, and is the daughter of Ammon and Bettie (Buckley) Wood, natives of England, where all but one of their twelve children were also born, and of whom Mrs. Kershaw was among the youngest. They came to America in 1845, and settled in the then little town of Jacksonville, where Mr. and Mrs. Wood spent the remainder of their lives; the father dying at the age of seventy-two years, and the mother in middle life, when her daughter, Mrs. Kershaw, was only twelve years old. Both parents were members of the Church of England. Two brothers of Mrs. Kershaw, John and Benjamin, are residents of Jacksonville. The other children of that large family are deceased.

To Mr. and Mrs. Kershaw there were born two children only, both of whom died young - Albert and an infant unnamed. Mr. Kershaw, politically, uniformly supports the Democratic ticket, and keeps himself well posted in regard to matters of general importance, although he has no desire to assume the responsibilities of office. They have a very pleasant home, and number their friends by the score in this county.

1889 Index
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