MRS. NANCY STRAWN, whose home is situated upon section 23, township 15, range 9, of Morgan County, was born in the year 1825, in this county, and is the daughter of John and Fanny (Elkin) Bradshaw. Her father was a native of South Carolina, her mother of Kentucky. Her father was born on the 5th of January, 1788. He was reared on a farm, and for the greater part of his life continued to follow that calling. He came to Illinois in 1818, and settled near the site of the present city of Jacksonville. He entered a tract of land, to which he afterward added by various purchases until he became the owner of 840 acres, the whole of which he brought to a well-nigh perfect state of cultivation. He continued thus employed until his death, which occurred on the 17th of March, 1846. Then the farm was divided and sold to different persons. During his life he had been quite prominent as a citizen, and was a consistent and energetic member of the Christian Church, to which his wife also was attached. They were the parents of twelve children, the subject of this sketch being their tenth child. Charles Bradshaw, a leading lawyer of Los Angeles, Cal., is a brother of Mrs. Strawn; the other members of the family are chiefly identified with the agricultural interests of the different places where they reside.
Our subject became the wife of James G. Strawn on the 19th of September, 1844, which relation was happily sustained until his death, which occurred on the 18th of February, 1887. He was the son of Jacob and Mathilda (Green) Strawn, and was the third child born to them. He was appointed Postmaster at Orleans, and continued to hold the same for a number of years, but never attended to the active duties of the office, which were left to the care of a deputy. He was actively engaged in farming, in which he was prosperous beyond the average. He was an upright member of the Church of the Disciples. In political matters he took his stand with the Republicans, and was always ready to act in concert with his party as far as it was possible to do. In the fall of 1845 he moved on the farm still occupied by his wife. It was 320 acres in extent in the beginning, that being the gift of his father, but at his death comprised 2,240 acres. Different portions were given to the children who reside near the old farm, so that it is now reduced to 370 acres, which are operated under the supervision of Mrs. Strawn. Before its division it was one of the largest farms in the county, and is still well furnished and heavily stocked.
Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Strawn, whose names are recorded as follows: John A., Jacob H., William S., Charles B., Isah, James G. and Joel G. Isah, the only member of the family deceased, departed this life on the 9th of May, 1874. With the exception of William, who is the proprietor of a mercantile house in Alexandria, all are agriculturists.
The Strawn family were for several generations identified with the Quaker community, but in later years became Methodists. The father of Mr. Strawn was born in the year 1830, and came to this county in 1831, and was largely engaged in farming and stock raising throughout the greater part of his life. He was one of the leading and influential citizens of the county, and owned land to the extent of several thousand acres. His wife took the greatest delight in her home, and endeavored at all times to make it the most desirable place on earth for each of its members. She succeeded in rearing her family therein with such an appreciation for it as have led them to prize its memory through life. Her husband's death occurred Aug. 23, 1865.
Mrs. Strawn has received only the education obtainable in the common schools, but is nevertheless now a well-informed woman, and without detracting in any wise from the dignity of her sex, is abundantly capable of superintending the proper working of her farm. She is a worthy member of the Christian Church, and in that communion is held in high regard, and also in the community at large.