AUSTIN MOODY, well known as among the oldest settlers and prosperous citizens of Morgan County, is a native of Somersetshire, England, the date of his birth being the 29th of October, 1834. He is the son of Austin and Jane Moody, to whom were born thirteen children, of whom the following are known to survive: Austin, the subject of this writing; Charles, who lives in England; Christopher, in Australia; Richard; Ann, the wife of James Bryant; Elizabeth, the widow of Mr. Smith, and Martha, wife of William Parnell, all of Somersetshire, England.
The education of Mr. Moody was received in the schools of the parish where he was born, and was fairly thorough in the usual English branches. At seventeen years of age he began to learn the trade of a butcher, and served a three-years's apprenticeship - paying $100 as a premium for the same. In 1845 he emigrated to America, taking passage at the port of Liverpool upon a sailing vessel, and after an ocean voyage of five weeks, landed in New York city, whence he came almost at once to Naples, Ill., making the entire trip by water. He followed the following route: via Hudson River from New York to the Erie Canal, which he followed to the lake, thence to Cleveland, where he took the Ohio Canal to Portsmouth, which is adjacent to Cincinnati, and there he followed the course of the Ohio River and that of the Mississippi to St. Louis, and thence to Naples.
Arriving in Naples, our subject began work on a farm, and continued for about three years; in 1850 he purchased a farm for himself in section 14, township 15, range 12, now known as Merritt Precinct, Scott County. For this property he paid $8 per acre. His first purchase included but 100 acres, but to this he has added from time to time until it comprised 490 acres. He came to this country a poor man, and had practically nothing to begin with, but by long continued effort, intelligently directed, perseveringly continued in and sustained by thrift, he has been thus successful, assisted always by the most estimable companion of his life, who has been in every regard a true helpmate, faithful in every responsibility that has come to her in the domestic relation.
Mr. Austin was married on the 12th of December, 1850, being most favorably impressed with the admirable disposition and many happy qualities possesses by Mary Lazenby, the lady of his choice, who was born upon the 13th of October, 1828, in Yorkshire, England. She is the daughter of John (deceased) and Sarah Lazenby, by whom she was brought to America when about six months old. Her parents settled in Morgan County in 1829, near Jacksonville. Mr. and Mrs. Moody were the parents of six children, five of whom are living, viz: John, who is a resident of Scott County; Sarah, the wife of B. DeLapp of California; Mary, now Mrs. Charles Rawson of this county; Emma, the wife of Walter Birch, a railroad agent; James B., of Scott County. The deceased child is Henry.
Mr. Moody lived on his farm in Scott County until 1875, in which year he removed to Chapin, where he has lived a retired life for many years. He is a very earnest member of the Episcopal Church. Both our subject and his estimable wife are respected members of society and in every circle, both social and religious. The relation of our subject to questions of government and political economy is with the Democratic party, of which he is an old and tried member. Both Mr. and Mrs. Moody have been hard workers throughout their lives, and now in their declining years are reaping the harvest thereof, but their days are not spent in idleness or inactivity, but being relieved from the embarrassing responsibilities and cares of business, they are careful to spend them in acts of kindness and deeds of usefulness.
The parents of Mrs. Moody were very early settlers in Morgan County, and settled about five miles west of Jacksonville. To them were born seven children, of whom it was their privilege to bring five to the estate of man and womanhood. These are: Mary, the wife of our subject; John and Charles, both of this county; William, who resides in Missouri, and Isaac, also of this county. The names of those deceased are as follows: Elizabeth and James. In the death of John Lazenby the county sustained the loss of one of its best and representative citizens. His widow, who is in her eighty-sixth year, resides with our subject.