STANDLEY, RICHARD , retired farmer, Jacksonville, Ill., is one of the oldest of the living native-born citizens of Morgan County. He was born on his father's farm five miles northwest of Jacksonville February 4, 1828, son of Noble and Nancy (Smart) Standley, both natives of Tennessee, where they were married, and whence they came to Illinois in 1819. In that year Noble Standley entered a quarter-section of Government land five miles northwest of the site of Jacksonville, then but a small hamlet; and subsequently made another entry of 60 acres. The land was virgin prairie. The elder Standley erected a two-room cabin of unhewn logs, with the ground for a floor and a flue of sticks held together by mud. After having made some material progress in the improvement of his land, he erected another log house of two stories, containing four rooms, with a clapboard floor in the second story. He and his wife had a family of seven sons and two daughters, and to clothe this family the parents were compelled to work up the raw wool and flax into cloth, doing their own spinning and weaving. His children were all educated in a log school house, the first seats in which were plain logs, which subsequently were replaced by slabs. Their first teacher was a man named Haynes. The family was exceedingly poor in those days, and the children did not secure a very liberal education, as it was necessary for them to spend the larger portion of their time in assisting their parents in the great task of developing a farm from the wilderness. Noble Standley had served his country in the War of 1812, and received from the Government a warrant entitling him to a quarter-section of land. He did not lay the warrant himself, however, but transferred it to his son William, who secured land thereon either in Missouri or Kansas. Another son, John, went to California in 1848, by way of Cape Horn, and now resides near Roseburg, Ore. Mr. Standley spent the remainder of his life on his farm, where his death occurred.
Richard Standley was born in the first log cabin built by his father, was reared on the farm, and at the age of nineteen years went to work for neighboring farmers at $8 per month. Three years later he married, and until 1861 rented land upon which to engage in independent agricultural operations. He then purchased 120 acres, which formed the nucleus of his present farm, and to which he later added another 120 acres, an is now the owner of 240 acres of fine, productive land. For two years he and his brother operated a saw-mill, and for thirteen years Mr. Standley operated a threshing machine, part of the time as the partner of Neil Turley. He has also been a successful stock-feeder in connection with his general farming. When, in 1861, he found himself in a financial position to purchase land, he visited Kansas with the expectation of making an investment there; but after prospecting the country he came to the conclusion that Illinois was much the better State for agriculture, and soon afterward returned to leave this State no more.
In November, 1896, Mr. Standley and his wife removed to Jacksonville, where they have since lived in retirement, enjoying the well earned fruits of their long years of toil. Mr. Standley has been independent in politics, and has never consented to occupy political offices, with the exception of the local posts which all good citizens are called upon to fill from time to time. For forty years he has been an Odd Fellow, affiliating with Urania Lodge, No. 243, of Jacksonville. He was married October 1, 1846, to Rachel Ausmus, a native of Morgan County, where she was born February 11, 1827. Her parents, Philip and Deidia (Bratton) Ausmus, came from Tennessee to Illinois about the time of the arrival of the Standley family. Mr. and Mrs. Standley have a family of twelve children, and now have forty-seven living grandchildren and seven living great-grandchildren. Their children have been as follows: Henry B., born August 17, 1847, and died at the age of fourteen; Cyrus, born November 16, 1849, now a resident of Greenwood County, Kans.; Philip, born August 23, 1851, now of Shelby County, Ill.; Sarah, born June 3, 1853, and died at the age of five; Noble, born July 3, 1855, and died at the age of fifteen months; Benjamin, born April 15, 1857, and died at the age of seven months; Eliza, born October 1, 1858, now the wife of Lafayette Gusman, of Markley, Ind.; Mary Jane, born October 19, 1861, now the wife of Major Valentine, of Ashland, Kans.; Oscar, born July 10, 1862, died at the age of five; Joseph, born April 14, 1864, a farmer of Morgan County; Edward, born March 11, 1866, managing the home farm; and Richard, Jr., born May 18, 1868, assisting his brother Edward in the operation of the farm.
Mr. Standley and his wife are numbered among the highly esteemed native residents of Morgan County, within whose borders they have spent their entire lives, with the exception of the brief period passed in Kansas, as noted. They are entitled to recognition not only for their many good qualities, but for their long identification with the history of the county in which they are honored landmarks. Though they have lived quietly, building for the future of their children and grandchildren, they have neglected no opportunity to do all the good they could for their neighborhood, contributing of their time and means to the promotion of all worthy enterprises.