Wall's history of Jefferson County, Illinois
All life and achievement is evolution; present wisdom comes from past experience, and present commercial prosperity has come only from past exertion and suffering. The deeds and motives of the men that have gene before have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of later communities and states. The development of a new country was at once a task and a privilege. It required great courage, sacrifice and privation. Compare the present conditions of the residents of Jefferson county, Illinois, with what they were one hundred years ago. From a trackless wilderness and virgin prairie it has come to be a center of prosperity and civilization, with millions of wealth, systems of intersecting railways, grand educational institutions, marvelous industries and immense agricultural productions. Can any thinking person be insensible to the fascination of the study which discloses the incentives, hopes, aspirations and efforts of the early pioneers who so strongly laid the foundation upon which has been reared the magnificent prosperity of later days? To perpetuate the story of these people and to trace and record the social, political and industrial progress of the community from its first inception is the function of the local historian. A sincere purpose to preserve facts and personal memoirs that are deserving of preservation, and which unite the present to the past is the motive for the present publication. The work has been in the hands of able writers, who have, after much patient study and research, produced here the most complete biographical memoirs of Jefferson county, Illinois, ever offered to the public. A specially valuable and interesting department is that one devoted to the sketches of representative citizens of this county whose records deserve perpetuation because of their worth, effort and accomplishment. The publishers desire to extend their thanks to these gentlemen who have so faithfully labored to this end. Thanks are also due to the citizens of Jefferson county for the uniform kindness with which they have regarded this undertaking, and for their many services rendered in the gaining of necessary information.
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Having been a citizen of Jefferson County and Mount Vernon since the Presidential campaign of 1840, when William Henry Harrison was elected, and having accepted a request of Messrs. B.F. Bowen and Company, to edit a plain, succinct History Qi Jefferson County, I naturally desired to make it as complete as possible and have taken pains to arrive at the facts and give the pioneers of the county the praise due them by a grateful posterity. We have also tried to give proper credit to those who have from time to time during the century, striven to keep the moral trend of the county upward. The history of a county is best told in the lives of its people. It is safe to say that the life of every good citizen is a lesson that should not be lost to those who follow. The good man who pursues the even tenor of his way, not seeking the applause of men — always seeking to do the right thing at the right time and in the right way is the man who deserves a place in our history and we have carefully sought these characters that we might place their names in our Jefferson County History. "They have done what they could." It has been our desire to make this volume a prized treasure to this and succeeding generations because of the facts contained in it, and in view of this, we have gratefully accepted the aid given by many old timers, from their recollections of the "long ago." We have drawn liberally from the writing of our old-time friend. Dr. Adam C. Johnson, the old Jefferson county historian, without which this history would be incomplete. History cannot be changed and the only change we have made is to state the facts in our own simple way. Kindly thanking one and all for the assistance rendered, we can but breathe a fervent prayer that we may all meet in the grand reunion in the sweet beyond, where we may meet those noble spirits gone before and talk over "Old Times." away back in old Jefferson. "With malice toward none, but with charity for all," we herewith present the reader with the result of our labors in trying to bring the main features of Jefferson county history down to the present date.