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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


MRS. ELLEN THARPE. In 1830 William and Frances (Richardson) Wilkinson, of Yorkshire, England, crossed the Atlantic to seek a new home in the Western World. Coming directly to Illinois, they settled on a farm in Morgan County, where they became the owners of 250 acres of land. The third daughter of this pioneer couple is the subject of the present sketch. Her mother died in 1851, and her father in 1856. Ellen Wilkinson was born in Morgan County, Feb. 6, 1833. Educated in the branches usually taught in the subscription schools of those early days, and no doubt thoroughly instructed by her mother in all domestic duties, she remained an inmate of the parental household till she went forth to preside over a home of her own on her marriage with Sanders Tharpe, which took place Oct. 28, 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Tharpe immediately rented a farm in Morgan County, on which they lived till March, 1854, when they bought their present homestead of 120 acres in Scott County, on section 25, Winchester precinct, No. 14, range 12. The work of improving the farm went on till the breaking out of the Civil War, when responding to his country's call, Mr. Tharpe enlisted, in August, 1862, in Company H. 129th Illinois Infantry. He was with his regiment three months and five days, taking part in its toilsome marches and other active duties till disabled by illness. Congestion of the lungs caused his death at Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 10, 1862, and thus early a brave and efficient soldier was lost to the cause. Mrs. Tharpe by this sad event was left a widow with five children of tender age, three sons and two daughters. She proved an excellent manager of the farm as well as her household, conducting her affairs with marked success. A part of the land she rented out for two years. With this exception, she attended to its cultivation herself, when her boys were small, often accompanying them to the field and sharing in the actual labors of seed-time and harvest. Her son Cornelius and his wife Hebe, nee Reed, live on Henry Todd's place; they have seven children. Her daughter, Martha A., wife of William D. Wells, of Scott County, is the mother of four children. Her other children - Frances A., Lyman, and William W., as yet unmarried - live with their mother in the pleasant home built by her two years ago. Lyman is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Winchester. The Tharpes are a family of readers. Thus, in a measure, self-educated, they have thriven by their own industry and intelligence.

Mrs. Tharpe is of a deeply earnest, religious nature, but no bigot. Blessed with a sound constitution, a cheerful disposition, and an object in life stimulating her to generous exertions, she has enjoyed good health and a fair share of worldly prosperity. A Penelope in faithfulness to the memory of her patriotic husband, she has untiringly devoted herself to her children, of whom it is little to say that they do credit to their ancestry and their training.

1889 Index
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