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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


WILLIAM G. LUMSDEN. This sturdy old veteran who is approaching the eighty-third year of his age, is one of the earliest settlers of his neighborhood, and has for many years been comfortably established at a well-regulated farm on section 17, township 13, range 10. He came to Central Illinois during the days of its pioneership, and for many years labored early and late in transforming a portion of the wild prairie into cultivated fields and a permanent homestead. With the assistance of his devoted wife he realized in a goodly measure the ambitions of his early manhood, obtaining a competency for his declining years, and gathering around him troops of friends, of whose esteem and confidence he has been assured in many ways. During the period of his active life he was quite prominent in local affairs, and contributed his full share in developing the county and encouraging the enterprises calculated for the general good.

Louisa County, Va., was the native place of our subject and his birth occurred Sept. 23, 1806. His parents were William and Ann Lumsden, both natives of the Old Dominion, while his paternal grandfather was a native of Scotland; the mother traced her ancestry to England. The family lived in Virginia until 1818, then removed to Kentucky and located in Todd County, where the parents spent their last days upon the farm which they built up from the wilderness, and where their children were reared to manhood and womanhood.

When about seventeen years old the subject of our sketch left the farm and began learning the tanner's trade, which he followed a number of years. The education he received was acquired in the primitive log school house, first in Virginia and then in Kentucky, the advantages of that day being far inferior to those enjoyed by the present generation. At the age of twenty-five years he was married, in Kentucky, Sept. 1, 1831, to Miss Lucy Keeling. This lady was born in Halifa County, Va., Oct. 11, 1803, and was the daughter of Edmund and Nancy (Francis) Keeling, who were also natives of the Old Dominion. The Keeling family traced its descent to Scotland, while the Francis family was of German descent.

In 1834 Mr. Lumsden set out with his wife and one child, in a covered wagon with five horses and accompanied by Elijah Harlan, for Illinois. Mr. Harlan stopped in Macoupin County, but Mr. Lumsden, after a twenty days journey, halted in the embryo village of Jacksonville. In those days there were neither railroads or hotels, and the emigrants stopped wherever night overtook them, cooking and camping by the wayside, and sleeping in their wagons. Soon after his arrival Mr. Lumsden rented a tract of land, upon which he farmed two years, then purchased land about one and one-half miles west of the present site of Murrayville. A year later he sold out, and then rented land three years from Uncle John Hughes.

In due time our subject made permanent settlement on the farm which he now owns and occupies, and which embraces 220 acres of choice land. Only thirty acres had been broken at the time of his settlement here, and there was a frame house of one room, besides an old log hut. The family moved into the house before it had been plastered, and used the log structure for a kitchen, and the mother also kept her loom there, for the housewives of those days were obliged to spin and weave, and manufacture most all the cloth for the family use. Mrs. Lumsden also wove scores of yards for her neighbors and the people around, in order to assist her husband in making both ends meet.

With the hardships of those days there were mingled many pleasures notwithstanding, and in due time there gathered around the hearthstone of our subject and his estimable wife the faces of a number of bright children, the record of whom is as follows: Susan E. became the wife of John Bracewell, of Wayne County, Iowa; James W. is now living with his father; Martha is the wife of Thomas Widdup also of Iowa; Frances M. lives in this county; John T. is a resident of Champaign County; Mary J. is the wife of Edward Wyatt, of Murrayville; Edward T. lives in Monticello, Ill.; Nancy F. is the wife of Howarth Ayre, and they live in Black Pool, England, where Mr. Ayre has been employed as a carpenter for half a century.

Mr. and Mrs. Lumsden have been for many years members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which our subject has officiated as Steward, and contributed to its support. He joined the Republican party at its formation, and has served as Constable, Township Trustee and School Director. He is a member of the Old Settlers Society of Morgan County, and is one of those men whose name will be held in kindly remembrance long after he has gone the way of all the earth.

1889 Index
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