Search billions of records on

(this piece with no dates or paper name is in papers I received from my Mom)

Biographical Sketch of Old Citizen Whose Death Cuba Mourns

James M. Sherwood was born in Bernadotte township, Oct. 10, 1830, and at the time of his death, on Thursday, March 5, 1908, he was one of the oldest native-born residents of Fulton county. He was a son of Elmer and Margaret Sherwood, pioneer settlers of the county.

Mr. Sherwood began to make his own way in the world when he was about 15 years of age and though a cripple and obliged to use crutches, by persistent effort and indomitable energy he succeeded where many men might have failed. Between the hours of labor, when he was learning the trade of a shoemaker, he succeeded in acquiring a fair education and later taught school in Putman township.

About 1849 or 1850 he went to Springfield, where he continued to reside for about 15 years, employed most of the time in a wholesale boot and shoe store.

Mr. Sherwood was twice married. His first wife was Miss Martha J. McKinney, to whom he was married in Springfield, Oct. 17, 1852. There were born to them three children; two of whom survive: Mrs. A. J. Heller of Little Rock, Ark., and John E. Sherwood, whose home is in Oklahoma. A daughter, Sarah Sherwood, is dead. His first wife died Oct. 25, 1859.

In September, 1862, Mr. Sherwood married Miss Rhoda Gard of Springfield. The two children born to them are dead.

While in Springfield Mr. Sherwood was intimately associated with many of the great men of his day. He assisted in the organization of the Republican party in the state in 1856, and knew personally Lincoln, Douglas, War Governor "Dick Yates", and many other prominent men of that time. About the close of the civil war Mr. Sherwood and his family returned to Cuba, where his remaining years were spent among old friends and the scenes of boyhood days.

Mr. Sherwood was for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and in his active years was a faithful worker in the Sunday school. By all who knew him he was held on high regard and general sorrow at his demise is mingled sympathy for the bereaved relatives.

Unless Mr. Sherwood's son, John, is unable to arrive in time, the funeral services will be held at the Methodist Episcopal church Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock and conducted by the Rev. H. F. (last name is unreadable)


* James K.P. White - Rambler's Reruns...

Jan. 24, 1904 - James M. Sherwood was born in Bernadotte township, Oct. 10, 1830, and is the son of Elmer and Margaret Sherwood, who came to the county in a very early day. He is one of the oldest of native-born citizens of Fulton County now living, and has passed through many of the hardships and trials incident to pioneer life. At the early age of 15 years he began work for himself, under most adverse circumstances - being a cripple and chained down by poverty. But by indomitable pluck and energy he succeeded in educating himself at such odd spells as he could find between the hours of labor, learning the shoemaker's trade at night. He grew up amid pioneer associations, taught school in Putman township, and has passed more than one severe winter in an open cabin into which the wind and snow gained free access, the snow frequently covering the floor and bedding to the depth of several inches.

There were no matches in the country then, and during the severe winter of 1842-43 Mr. Sherwood remembers going four or five miles to the houses of neighbors, before breakfast, to borrow fire.

About 1849 Mr. Sherwood went to Springfield, where he made his home for 15 years, and where on Oct. 17, 1852, he married Martha J. McKinney, of Sangamon county. To them were born three children, namely: Mrs. A. J. Heller of Little Rock, Arkansas; John E. Sherwood of Sedgwick County, Kansas; and Sarah E. Sherwood (deceased). His first wife died in Springfield, October 25th, 1859, and he was married a second time September 17th, 1862 to Miss Rhoda Gard, of Springfield. To them two children were born, both deceased.

During Mr. Sherwood's residence in Springfield, he clerked most of the time in a wholesale and retail boot and shoe store, and he was intimately acquainted with Lincoln and Herndon, Lincoln's law partner; Dick Yates, the War Governor of Illinois; Stephen A. Douglas and many other noted men of the time.

He remembers vividly the profound sensation created by the attempt of John Brown of Kansas to free the slaves by force of arms at Harpers Ferry in October 1859, and in speaking lately of the Republican National Convention which assembled at Chicago on May 16, 1860, and nominated for president Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, and for vice-president Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, he said: "On the day Lincoln was nominated he was standing on one side of the street, leaning against a lamp post or an iron pillar of a building, and I was standing on the other side, nearly opposite to him. Just then the flag was run up to the top of the staff or pole on the telegraph building, which was the signal that Lincoln was nominated. The 'Great Emancipator' saw the flag go up, and turning to some boys who are passing, he said, "Well boys, old Abe's nominated, and with a smile on his face he walked rapidly home to communicate the news to his wife. "I was also one of a committee of citizens who called at his residence that night, and we congratulated him on his nomination, promised to stand by him and pledged to him our hearty support. To this committee he delivered one of his most powerful speeches of his life, and which I do not remember to have seen in print.

In the election which followed, thousands who voted for him knew him only as Honest Old Abe, and voted for him on that account, but we who knew him personally, knew that the calm, patient man whom the people had selected as their chief magistrate would stand like a rock when the threatening storm came - and the storm did come and we stood by him and held together and under God he brought us through to victory. The great Civil War itself is slowly fading out in the distance, like a mist on the horizon, but the name of Lincoln, the supreme figure in this vortex of history, will never fade away.

That of old Dick Yates, the War Governor of Illinois, is another name that is cushioned in the heart every true patriot of our great state. He was an orator, a man of sound, practical wisdom, and by his energy and devotion won the title of War Governor. He is one of the brightest names on the pages of Illinois history. When his son, the present governor of the state, attended the soldier's county reunion here last August, I was introduced to him, and I told him I knew his father and mother, his grandmother and his great-grandmother.

"And did you know Whittling Joe?" asked the governor.

"Yes," I replied. "I knew Whittling Joe." Whittling Joe was an older brother out of Richard Yates Sr., who spent most of his time sitting on dry goods boxes whittling. I helped to organize the Republican Party, and I remember well a meeting we held on the third-floor of the American House, in Springfield, away back in 1856. The Honorable J. R. Giddings was present and addressed the meeting. The agitation of the slavery question was causing great excitement all over the country, and our meeting in the American house was a secret one.

About the time the Civil War closed, Mr. Sherwood and family moved back to Cuba, where they have since resided. Both Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, the former being of the oldest and, up to a few years ago, one of the most active Sunday school workers in the county or state.

Submitted by Carla Finley

All material contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged researching their family origins. Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages does so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.