John M. Lukens

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

JOHN M. LUKENS, who is now serving as County Treasurer of Henderson County, and is living on section 17, Rozetta Township, where he owns and operates a good farm, was born in Juniata County, Pa., September 11, 1846, and is a son of John and Mary Lukens. They too were natives of the Keystone State, and on the paternal side the family is of Irish and Scotch descent. The parents had only two sons: William S., a fruit-grower now living in Olena, Ill.; and John M. The father was graduated from Reading College, of Pennsylvania, in 1841, and for thirty years engaged in teaching school, most of the time being employed in Thompsontown. For some time he was Principal of the seminary in that place. He continued to make his home in Pennsylvania until 1851, when he came by boat to Henderson County, Ill., and located near Ward's Mill. There he purchased four hundred and eighty-eight acres of land, mostly timber, and at once began the development of a farm, there making his home until 1856. In 1857, he purchased a tract of land in Warren County, Ill., but was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, for his death occurred on the 8th of July of that year, and his remains were interred in the United Presbyterian Cemetery at Smith Creek. He was a member of the Baptist Church, and of the Odd Fellows' society. For several years he served as Justice of the Peace in Pennsylvania, and was always a public-spirited citizen, in whom the best interests of the community found a friend. His wife, who was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, died on the 3d of April, 1869, and was laid to rest by the side of her husband.

Our subject was only ten years of age when he came to this county, and upon the old home farm he was reared to manhood. His early education, acquired in the district schools, was supplemented by study in Monmouth College, of Monmouth Ill. , and he then embarked in teaching. He was still at home at the time of the breaking out of the war, but on the 7th of March, 1862, he en- rolled his name among the boys in blue for three years' service.

Mr. Lukens was assigned to Company C, Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and was mustered in at Monmouth, Ill. The first active engagement in which he participated was at Mission Ridge. This was followed by the battles of Perry ville, Lookout Mountain, Kennesaw Moun- tain, Peach Tree Creek, Resaca, Buzzard's Roost and many others of lesser importance. In the fall of 1864, he returned home on a furlough of thirty days, and when that period had expired rejoined his regiment at Columbia, Tenn. Fifteen minutes after reaching the forces he went into battle. The regiment took part in the engagements at Spring Hill and Franklin, and then fell back to Nashville, where they went into winter quarters. Mr. Lukens took part in the battle of Nashville, then went to Franklin, and on to New Orleans, where his regiment acted as guard at Gen. Phil Sheridan's headquarters. He was always faithful to his duty, being one of the valiant defenders of the Union cause.

After the war was over, Mr. Lukens was mustered out, in October, 1865, and returned to his home in Warren County. He was then only nineteen years of age. He completed his schooling, and then engaged in farming, after which he began teaching school in Henderson County. He has made his home in this county since 1874, at which time he located near Rozetta, where for five years he taught school. He then engaged in teaching at Science Hill for two years, after which he again spent one year in Rozetta, and one year at Belmont Bluff. For four years he was teacher in the Knox district, and altogether has taught about seventeen terms in Henderson County. He was a successful educator, and the cause of education has ever found in him a warm friend.

On the 10th of December, 1873, Mr. Lukens married Miss Emma Woods, and to them have been born four children: Clarence A.; Frank M., who died in infancy; Ralph E. and Mabel Grace. In 1889, Mr. Lukens became a traveling salesman, representing the McNeal & Higgins wholesale grocery, in whose employ he remained for eighteen months. Since that time he has resided with his family in Rozetta Township, where he owns and operates one hundred and twenty-five acres of good land, his farm being under a high state of cultivation and well improved. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican. For two years he served as County Surveyor to fill an unexpired term, and was then elected for a term of four years. In 1S91, he was elected County Treasurer, and is now filling that office with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. He holds membership with the Knights of Pythias Lodge, and the Grand Army of the Republic, and is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.