John D. Combs, was born in 1792 in France and was the son of John D. and Mary A. Combs who were also natives of France. The family emigrated to New Castile in Portugal when he was young; at the time of Bonaparte's defeat at this place. John D. fled to seek shelter from the shot and shell of the British army; he got lost from his mother and supposing she had been killed, wandered around in search of his father, he being on Bonaparte's staff, but found him dead. Our subject was now left without parents, brother or sister and he knew not what to do. A Jewish peddler proved to be a good Samaritan to him, taking him in charge, feeding him and conveying him to Lisbon; here the orphan wandered about the city, sleeping out of doors and in abandoned retreats for 3 or 4 weeks, and getting nothing to eat except what he could pick up from the back doors of hotels and boarding houses. Here again a good Samaritan appeared in the person of an American sea captain and took him aboard his ship and cared for him until the captains death. The captain's wife then became his guardian and bound him out to the boot and shoemaker's trade; after 4 1/2 years' stay he ran away from his master and enlisted in the US service for 5 years under Scott's command at Baltimore [Co MD], and Council Bluffs [Pottawatomie Co IA]. This expedition was for the purpose of making treaties with the Indians in Nebraska and as far north as the Yellowstone. After 5 years' service he was mustered out at Omaha [Douglas Co], Neb. and went to New Orleans [Orleans Parish, LA] for his pay; then returned to his state, then a territory and located at Alton [Madison Co IL], where he was first married. After working at his trade for several years, he commenced selling goods on the Illinois river, at Perry, and also at New Salem. He is at present living a retiree life at the age of 88 years. He has been 3 times married, but is now a widower; is unusually spry and active for one of his age and challenges any man in the county for a half-mile race. P. O. New Salem."



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