JOHN WHEWELL, an independent and prosperous farmer and stock-raiser of Winchester Precinct, is classed among the most upright and highly respected members of its social and religious community. Although of foreign birth the most of his life has been passed in the United States, which has no more loyal citizen than he, and during the late Civil War he fought bravely and well in defense of the institutions of his adopted country, although he was then scarcely more than a youth.
Our subject is of English origin and ancestry. His father, James Whewell, was a native of Lancashire, England, and his mother, whose maiden name was Maria Out, was also born in that shire. The father learned the trade of a weaver, and about forty years ago emigrated with his family from his native land, coming directly to Winchester, Scott County. He cast in his lot with the pioneers of the precinct, rented a place for a few years, and then removed to Morgan County, where he bought sixty acres of land, which he tilled assiduously until death closed his useful career in 1861. He was twice married, his first wife, by whom he had two children, our subject the only survivor, dying before the family left England. There are three children by the second marriage now living.
John Whewell was but four years of age when he left the land of his birth and came with his father to America. His education, which was very meagre, was conducted in what is now known as Hart's school-house. As soon as he was large enough to be of any use he had to assist his father on the farm, and he thus early acquired a good, practical knowledge of farming in all its branches that has been of inestimable value to him since he began the pursuit of agriculture on his own account. He was a self-reliant, self-helpful lad, and at the age of seventeen went forth from the old home to make his own way in the world henceforth. He worked out for nine months, and then responding to the call of his country for assistance in defending the stars and stripes, he put aside all personal aims and ambitions to take up the hard life of a soldier, enlisting in Company I, 101st Illinois Infantry, at Jacksonville, Ill. His regiment was ordered to Holly Springs in Mississippi, and there met the enemy, and six companies, including Company I, were captured. They were imprisoned but a very short time before they were paroled and dispatched to St. Louis, where they remained until spring. Mr. Whewell took part in all the battles in which his regiment was engaged, accompanied Gen. Sherman on his famous march through Georgia, and was wounded at the battle of Resaca, receiving a severe scalp would from a rifle ball, which laid him up in the hospital at Nashville, Tenn., three months; he then returned to duty, his term of enlistment not expiring until the war closed, and he took part in the Grand Review at Washington, and was finally mustered out of service at Springfield, this State, having won a good military record as a brave and efficient soldier.
After his experiences of the privations and hardships of war on Southern battlefields our subject returned home and resumed his former occupation, and as soon as he was married he settled on his present homestead, which comprises 110 acres of land of exceeding fertility and well located, and 100 acres under plow. The land was in its primitive wildness when it first came into his possession, and he had to clear away brush and timber before he could attempt its cultivation and bring it to its present excellent condition. The farm is well supplied with stock, and Mr. Whewell feeds all he raises. The buildings are neat and substantial, and everything about the place denotes a well-ordered farm that is under skillful management.
May 24, 1868, was the date of the marriage of Mr. Whewell to Miss Mary Ellen Hart, daughter of Henry and Mary Ann (Herring) Hart of this county, of which they were early settlers. They reared but two of their family of children. Mr. Hart has been gathered to his fathers, but his widow is still living. Mrs. Whewell is a native of this county. Her happy wedded life with our subject has been blessed by the birth of six children, three sons and three daughters, all of whom are living.
In every department of life that our subject has been called on to fill he has shown himself to be a man of honor and unswerving integrity. In his domestic relations he is a considerate husband and a devoted father, passionately fond of his family. Both he and Mrs. Whewell and their daughter Annie are members of the United Baptist Church and cordially cooperate with their pastor and fellow members in any good work. Mr. Whewell's part in public affairs has been creditable to him and advantageous to his precinct, which he has served as Road Supervisor and School Director. He takes interest enough in politics to do his duty a the polls, always voting with the Republican party. The memory of his life on the battlefield is preserved by his connection with the G.A.R. he being a valued member of Hesse Post, No. 203, at Winchester.