Robert S. Humphrey
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.
ROBERT S. HUMPHREY, one of the highly respected farmers of Henderson County, now living on section 20, Walnut
Grove Township, was born on the 9th of December, 1856, in Kirkwood, Warren County, Ill., and is the son of Henry
and Ferba( Hagood ) Humphrey. The mother was born in 1812, in South Carolina. The father was a native of Ohio, and
in an early day removed to Warren County, Ill., where he engaged in operating his father's land, and then followed
farming upon land which he purchased for himself. Later, he embarked in merchandising, but finding this venture
unprofitable, he resumed farming, which he continued until his enlistment in the Union army during the late war. He
served for about a year, when, in 1865, he returned to the farm. Not long after this his wife died, being called to
the home beyond in May of that year. They were married June 15, 1843, and became the parents of six children, four
of whom are yet living: J. C, who makes his home in Henderson County; Mrs. Eleanor A. Rankin, of the same county;
John, who is engaged in the livery business in Griswold, Iowa; and Roberts, of this sketch. The father was again
married, in 1869, and then removed to Columbus Junction, Iowa.
On the death of his mother Robert S. Humphrey went to live with C. M. Lant, with whom he remained three years.
At that time his service seemed quite hard, but thereby he developed a self-reliance and force of character which
have proven of incalculable benefit to him in later years. Subsequently, he entered the employ of S. C. Gibson,
with whom he continued for two years, receiving a small salary through the summer season, while in the winter
months he worked for his board and the privilege of attending school. On leaving Mr. Gibson he entered a mill,
where he was employed for a year. The next summer was again devoted to farm work, and in the winter he further
pursued his studies in the district school of the neighborhood. He worked all one winter for a watch, the
possession of which he wanted more than anything else. After two years spent in the employ of Mr. Rankin, he went
to Mills County, Iowa, where he remained for a year, and then returned to Henderson County, to work for his
brother, Cyrus Humphrey, with whom he remained two years. He next entered the employ of Jo Mathers, working as a
farm hand by the mouth.
On the 14th of March, 1883, Mr. Humphrey was united in marriage with Miss Louisa L. Davis, a native of New
Jersey, and a daughter of Isaac and Ann Davis. She died on the 22d of August, 1890, leaving two children: Olive A.,
born June 20, 1884; and Earl D., born May 7, 1890. On the 5th of November, 1891, Mr. Humphrey was again married,
his second union being with Miss Brachie Nevius, daughter of John S. and Maria A. Nevius, and a native of Henderson
County. Mr. Nevius is now deceased, but his widow is yet living in Stronghurst. In their family were eight
children: Simon, who is now living in Stronghurst; Mrs. Catherine Johnson; Mrs. Sarah J. Gilmore; Peter B.; Mrs.
Humphrey; Mrs. Mary B. Powlson, who died in Adams County, Iowa, leaving two children; and two who died in
Upon his first marriage Mr. Humphrey rented the farm on which he is now living, and which has been his home
continuously since. Both he and his wife hold membership with the United Presbyterian Church, and are highly
respected citizens, who have many warm friends throughout the community. In politics, he is a Republican and is now
serving as School Director and District Clerk.