The offspring of a good family, our subject is the son of James Ranson, a native of Sheffield, England, who emigrated to America a single man, and later was married to Miss Sarah Richardson, a sister of Vincent Richardson, of this county. After their marriage the young people settled not far from the home of the Richardsons, and the father of our subject since that time has been a resident of this county, and continuously engaged in agricultural pursuits. The wife and mother died at the old homestead in Jacksonville, June 18, 1881. The parental household included seven sons and four daughters, of whom John, our subject, was the second born. He first opened his eyes to the light at the old homestead, near Lynnville, Jan. 27, 1836, and was there reared to man's estate. He remained a member of his father's household until taking up his abode in township 14, in 1862.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War our subject, then a man of twenty-five years, and full of his plans for the future, laid aside his personal interests, and enlisted as a Union soldier, Sept. 2, 1861, in Company K, 27th Illinois Infantry. After serving four months, mostly in the army of the Mississippi, he was obliged to accept his honorable discharge on account of disability. After his return home he gave his attention exclusively to agricultural pursuits, in which he has since been engaged. Four years later he was married, May 23, 1865, at the home of the bride, four miles west of Jacksonville, to Miss Ann E. Killam. Mrs. Ranson was born near Liberty Church, on the 1st of October, 1843 and is the daughter of William and Mary (Hall) Killam, who were natives of England, and are now deceased.
In the spring of 1862, prior to his marriage Mr. Ranson settled in township 14, and is now the owner of 44o broad acres, nearly the whole of which has been brought to a high state of cultivation. In addition to general agriculture he is quite largely engaged as a stock-dealer, and from this industry has reaped quite a little fortune. His farm buildings are commodious and substantial, and he avails himself of the latest improved machinery in the cultivation of the soil. It has taken years of labor, and involved an outlay of thousands of dollars to bring his homestead to its present condition, and it is scarcely excelled by any in Morgan County in point of actual value.
Only three of the five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Ranson are now living, viz: James W., Samuel E., and Charles L. The eldest is twenty-two years of age, and the youngest fifteen, and they all remain under the home roof. Mr. Ranson, politically votes the straight Republican ticket, and, socially, is identified with the G. A. R.