Joseph Harrison Myers, one of the most interesting and high-minded of the retired farmers living in Mackinaw, is also one of the very early pioneers of this section, having arrived in Tazewell County in 1835. He comes of thrifty Pennsylvania stock, in which State he was born, in Allegheny Township. Armstrong County, March 1, 1826, and near where his father, John Myers, was born May 29, 1793. He died Aug. 16 1829. His mother (nee Catherine Shoemaker), was born in Armstrong County, Pa., March 1, 1800, and it is supposed that his maternal grandfather, Joseph Shoemaker, who died in Ashland County, Ohio, at the age of ninety, was also a native of Pennsylvania.
The paternal branch of the family was established in America, during the latter part of the eighteenth century, by the grandfather of Christian Myers, who married a Miss Beachly, and who died near Ligonier, Westmoreland County, Pa., at an advanced age.
In 1835 the widow of John Myers brought her family to Tazewell County, where she died in the town of Mackinaw, in March, 1865. She was the mother of three sons and two daughters, one of whom did in infancy, Joseph H., being the only survivor. Eliza, who became the wife of Clark Barton, died in Mackinaw at the age of seventy-six; Susan, wife of Charles Samuels, died near Nevada, Mo., at the age of seventy-four, and Johnston died in Little Mackinaw Township, in his sixty- eighth year.
At the age of fifteen the subject of this sketch began to learn the saddler’s and currier’s trades, and for several years devoted his energies to the making of horse collars. On March 13, 1849, he married Susan Perry (born near Lexington, Ky.), and to them six children have been born, two of whom died in infancy. Of the four surviving, Julius F. lives in Topeka, Kans.; Charity is the wife of Lucian Hill, of Normal, Ill.; Louisa, the wife of P. Breniger, of Bethany, Ill.; and Susan M., the wife of William K. Thomas, of Chicago.
Mrs. Myers is a daughter of John and Charity (Pugh) Perry, who came to Illinois in 1835, and settled near Danvers, where both attained the age of seventy-three. Mr. Perry was born in Philadelphia, where his parents died, and where he learned the shoemaker’s trade.
Mr. Myers discontinued the making of horse collars in 1851, and a farm of 100 acres in Mackinaw Township, which at the time was slightly improved. Gradually he increased his possessions to 280 acres, and still owns a finely cultivated 160-acre farm. His public spirit has been repeatedly demonstrated since attaining his majority, more especially since success responded to his untiring efforts and enabled him to be of practical assistance to his friends and the community at large. A notable illustration of this phase of his career was manifested when the present branch of the “Big Four” Railroad was built through the township, and he donated five acres of land for a station at Lilly.
Since 1882 Mr. Myers has lived in the town of Mackinaw, which, when he became a resident of Tazewell county in 1835, was larger than the village of Peoria. He has been an interested spectator and an active participant in the agricultural and general upbuilding of this portion of the State, and at all times has also been a promoter of educational and moral growth. Formerly a Democrat, he has for years been a stanch supporter of Prohibition, the principles of which have been practically illustrated in his immediate family, and through his zeal and earnestness extended to friends and associates.
Since 1845 Mr. Myers has been a member of the Christian Church, at Mackinaw, and for the past thirty years has been an Elder in that denomination. His wife shares his religious views, and has been a member of the same church for more than fifty years. This couple have traveled peacefully their united lives for fifty-five years, have reared their children to be practical and useful men and women, and have made their home environment one in which the wayfarer finds good cheer and Inspiration to well-doing.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1049
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