Our subject is a Kentuckian by birth, and his immediate ancestors were among the earliest white settlers of that State in the time of Daniel Boone, of whom they bought a large trace of wild land, embracing many thousand acres. His grandfather, John Liter, it is thought was a native of Pennsylvania, at all events he was married there, and there his son Jacob, father of our subject, was born. The grandparents removed to Kentucky in an early day, and as before stated, bought a large tract of land of Daniel Boone. They lived about three years in Grant's Fort as a measure of safety against the hostile Indians. They, the grandparents, died in Kentucky, and the title of their 10,000 acres of land proving to be worthless, after several years of litigation, the family were obliged to relinquish the entire tract. John, the eldest son, then left the old Kentucky home, and with others made his way to Rolls County, Mo., where a Liter settlement was made. There were eight children born to the grandparents, namely: John, Lewis, Jacob, Abram, Henry, Tina, Kate, Betsy. Tina married Torence Smith, who died on the battlefield in the late war, and she died in this county; Kate married John Giltner and they both died in Kentucky; Betsy married George Livey, and they both died in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jacob Liter, the father of our subject was married in Kentucky to Miss Catherine Boyier, and there their nine children were born, whose names are as follows: Abram, Andrew, Jacob, John, Polly, Sam, Sarah, Joseph, and Jonas. In September, 1839 they came with their family to this county, located on the farm, where the subject now lives, and here spent their last days, and are now peacefully sleeping their last sleep in the little family cemetery, where their children in affectionate remembrance of their goodly lives have erected monuments commemorative of their virtues. They were both people of earnest religious character, and were consistent church members, he of the Stoncite Church of Kentucky, and she of the Lutheran Church.
Our subject was a little past nineteen years of age when he came to this county, and his life has since been passed on the old homestead in this pleasant locality. He owns 300 of the original 600 acres of the Liter farm, lying on section 2, township 16, range 10. It is under admirable tillage, every acre being cultivated to its full capacity, and all capable of yielding rich harvests. The buildings, including a commodious dwelling, roomy barn, etc., are of a substantial order of architecture. The farm joins the village of Liter, which was planned and laid out by our subject on his own land after the railway passed through, and is a monument to his enterprise and shrewd foresight.
On Feb. 14, 1849, Mr. Liter was united in the bonds of holy matrimony with Miss Emeline, daughter of Emery and Rebecca (Padgett) Shed. Her parents were married in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her father died in that city when she was a mere child, and her mother soon after brought her to Illinois. The following children have been born to her and her husband: Elizabeth, now Mrs. Samuel C. Ennis; Mary, who died at the age of six years; Joseph married Luella Black, daughter of John Black; William is dead; Jane, now Mrs. Charles L. Massie; Angeline married Dr. S. Griffin, and both are dead; Jonas F.; Edward is dead; Eva L. and Luella are at home.
On the 18th of May, 1883, a terrible calamity befell this family in the destruction of the village of Liter, wherein perished some of its beloved members. On that eventful day a cyclone swept through this township, leaving death and desolation in its track, and in a few minutes the village of Liter was almost destroyed; the depot, the cars on the railway, and nearly all the houses were blown to pieces, and nine persons were instantly killed, including Edward Liter, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Liter, and their daughter and son-in-law, Mrs. and Dr. Griffin, with their child. Outside the village the awful storm did not do so much damage, and although several were hurt, but few were killed.
Mr. Liter is possessed of much executive ability and business tact, and has increased his share of his father's estate by shrewd management, and is numbered among the wealthy members of his precinct. He is a man whose worth and stability of character is conceded by all, and he is an influence for good in his community. He and his family are leading members of the Baptist Church, and in all that they do evince a true Christian spirit.