Following are some biographies of families who at one time or
another lived in Henry Co. Illinois. In some cases it is the grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child who was
a Henry Co. resident so please read carefully!
Z. JACKSON, postmaster, was born in Erie Count, Pa., in 1831; moved to Knox
County, Ill., in 1839, when a boy nine years old; was raised on a farm; taught school; bought out a store and
commenced merchandising at Cambridge, Ill., in 1851; built a steam flouring-mill in that town in 1853; went to
Washington County, Neb., in 1854; published the Desoto Pilot in 1857-58, and also speculated in real estate; went
to Pike's Peak in 1859; there became one of the incorporators of a mountain toll road; was a member of the
Legislature under the old "Provisional Government," in 1860; returned to Nebraska and enlisted in the army, in
1862, in Company B, Second Nebraska Cavalry; re-enlisted in the First Battalion Nebraska Veteran Cavalry, and was
mustered as Captain of his Company in February, 1864. Was in the Indian service on the Upper Missouri River in
1862-63, was mustered out at the close of the war, in 1865, and came to Kansas the same year. Made the first
location at Junction City, Kan., and built a house there in 1866. Went to Mitchell County, in Solomon Valley, the
same year, and built the first log cabin in that county, but soon abandoned it and returned to Junction City. First
came to Ellsworth County in June, 1867, locating at Fort Harker, where he engaged in the produce, vegetable and
fruit business until the spring of 1869, then farmed two years in connection with the dairy business. He then
followed general merchandising at the Fort in partnership with A. Larkin, eighteen months; moved the store to
Ellsworth in 1872 and continued in the business three years longer. Was a member of the Kansas Legislature in
1868-69; was County Commissioner in 1871-72. He was appointed postmaster in 1874, holding the office ever since.
Has always had a farm. He stands firmly "on deck," taking no thought of the "undiscovered country."
Source: Cutler's History of the
State of Kansas, 1883
Numbered among the well to do agriculturist and highly esteemed citizens of
Loraine township is the gentleman whose home is on section 14, Loraine township. He was born in Cook County,
Illinois, September 15, 1848 and is a son of Christian Jaquet, a native of Alsace, Germany, and a carpenter by
trade. The father came to America about 1835 and located in Cook County, Illinois, where his first wife died,
Leaving one child, Christion, now a resident of Sterling, IL. For his second wife, he married Elizabeth Metzner,
who was also born in Germany and when a young girl came alone to the United States. By this union four children:
Fred, deceased; John, our subject, Mary, wife of Adam Wierhold, of Yorktown township and Henry, a resident of
Bureau County, Illinois. About 1859 the father removed to Henry County and purchased eighty acres of land in
Yorktown township. Therein he engaged in farming until his death in 1864. His wife survived him many years, dying
in February, 1891, at the age of seventy-nine years.
As soon as he attained a sufficient age John Jaquet entered the district schools
of Cook County, where he pursued his studies until twelve years old, when he accompanied the family on their
removal to this county, completing his education in the schools of Yorktown township. He began life for himself as
a farm hand in the employed of Jake Shuler, of that township, receiving seven dollars per month in compensation for
his services. At the age of seventeen he worked two=months for his half-brother, Christian, who was engaged in
farming in Loraine township, and the following spring commenced learning the carpenter's trade to which he devoted
his energies for three years. On attaining his majority he went to Boone County, Iowa, where he followed that
occupation three months, but on his return to this county resumed farming, being employed by the month for three
years. The following year he rented the John Rapp farm in Yorktown township, but at the end of that time he
returned to his old employer, Irwin Shelton, with whom he remained another year.
Mr Jaquet was married February 26, 1874 to Miss Carrie Papendick, a daughter of
Louis and Sophia (Greenwood) Papendick of whom more extended mention is made on another page of this volume. To
them have been born ten children, namely: William: deceased; Cecelia, now the wife of James Pray, of Rock Island;
Albert, deceased;Cora, wife of Edward Oberle, of Loraine township, by whom she has had two children John and Edna;
Nellie, at home and Lillie, Ralph, John, Howard and Inez, all in school.
For four years after his marriage, Mr Jaquet rented the home place in Yorktown
township, and then operated the old Papendick homestead in Loraine township for one year. At the end of that time
he purchased eighty acres of land on section 13, the latter township and to this he has since added. Making a good
farm of one hundred and thirty acres, which is well improved and in a high state of cultivation. He is an energetic
and progressive farmer and stock raiser, and a man of good business and executive ability.
Religiously both Mr and Mrs Jaquet are members of the United Evangelical Church,
and politically he is identified with the Republican Party, of which he has been a staunch supporter since casting
the first presidential vote for General U.S. Grant. He is now serving his ninth year as school trustee, and has
held the office of road commissioner six years. During which time a number of bridges have been built under his
supervision. He takes an active interest in all enterprises calculated to prove a public benefit and for eight
years has been a member of the Union special drainage commission, which has reclaimed several thousand acres of
what was once considered worthless swamp land.
Source: "The Biographical Record
of Henry County, Illinois"; Chicago; S.J. Clarke Publishing
Company 1901 p 175-176
Contributed by firstname.lastname@example.org
ANDREW P. JOHNSON
Andrew P. Johnson is a successful contractor and builder of Orion, of whose skill
many notable examples are to be seen throughout Henry and Rock Island counties. Thoroughly reliable in all things,
the quality of his work is a convincing test of his own personal worth and the same admirable trait is shown in his
conscientious discharge of the duties of different positions of trust and responsibility to which he has been
chosen in business and political life.
Mr. Johnson was born on the 30th of August, 1843, in Sweden, where he grew to
manhood and learned the carpenter's and joiner's trade, which he followed in that country for some years. In 1869
he emigrated to America, his destination being Henry county, Illinois, some friends of his from Sweden having
previously located in Western township. For about nine years he engaged in farming upon rented land, and then
turned his attention to his trade, being engaged in contracting and building for the past twenty years. He has
erected many of the business houses, residences, barns and other buildings in this section of the state. In 1895 he
also opened a lumber yard, which he has since successfully conducted, carrying a good supply of lumber and all
kinds of building material, as well as coal, tile, etc., and he has already built up an excellent trade.
On the 7th of June, 1873, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Johnson and Miss
Augusta Magdalina Lunguin, who was also born and reared in Sweden. They have a family of three children: Louise,
now the wife of B. S. Millett, of Jewell Junction, lowa; Marie, at home; and Arthur C., who assists his father in
In his political affiliations Mr. Johnson is a stanch Republican, and cast his
first presidential ballot for Rutherford B. Hayes, but has never taken a very active part in political affairs,
though he is now most capably serving as a member of the town board. He and his wife are members of the Swedish
Lutheran Church, and are held in high regard by all who know them. He was elected a member of the village board
April, 1900, since which time the electric light has been installed.
SOURCE: The Biographical Record
of Henry County IL, p. 173-174
JOHNSON, August, farmer and stock raiser, section 23, P. O. Red Oak; Mr. Johnson
was born in Sweden, March 26, 1846; emigrated to New York in 1866, and stayed there two years, serving as coachman.
In 1868 came to Moline, Illinois, and from there to Henry County, Illinois, and in 1871, came to Montgomery County,
Iowa. He was married March 17, 1870, to Miss Carrie Olson, who was born in Sweden; married in Genesco, Henry
County, Illinois. They are both member of the Lutheran church. He has eighty acres of good land, well improved;
good comfortable buildings, and fine young orchard.
Source: History of Montgomery
County Iowa, 1881 Grant Twp
JOHNSON, C. A. born in 1834 Sweden. His father being a farmer he spent most of his
youth laboring on the homestead. He attended the common schools only a limited time. Left his home in 1852, and in
a small sailing vessel embarked for the new world, arriving at Andover, Illinois, some months afterwards. Mr.
Johnson owned a good farm of 120 acres in Henry county, Illinois . While there in 1858, he married Sophia Sunberg,
a lady of agreeable, kind manners. They have had nine children, of whom seven are living. Mr. Johnson moved to Page
county in 1871, and since then has lived on his beautiful farm on section 22, Fremont township. He has almost
continuously held some township office and is now a supervisor of the county. He is a man of more than ordinary
business ability, is a fair, accommodating man, and is highly respected among his neighbors.
Source: History of Page County,
Iowa; Des Moines: Iowa Hist. Co., 1880 Fremont Twp p
CHARLES A. JOHNSON
Galva township has no more honored or highly respected citizen than Charles A.
Johnson, whose home is on section 10. He has been a resident of Henry county since 1870, and has done much to
advance the moral, social and material welfare of the community in which he lives. He we born in Smoland, Sweden,
on the 3d of January 1847, a son of Johan and Katrine (Carlson) Johnson, both now deceased. In 1884 the father came
to this country to visit our subject, and returned to Sweden in 1887. Throughout his active business life he
followed farming, and always enjoyed good health. He was seventy-three years of age at the time of his death. In
his family were only two children, the younger being Christine Johnson, a resident of Sweden.
Mr. Johnson received but a limited education in the public schools of his native
land. He served two years in the National Home Guards, and remained with his father on the farm until his
emigration to America in 1870. He was twenty days in crossing the ocean and landed in the United States with no
capital with which to begin life in a strange land and among a strange people.
Before coming to this county he spent some time near Victoria Illinois. Taking an
active interest in church work, he was given permission to attend the theological seminary at Evanston and prepare
for the ministry. He found employment on a farm, and aided other boys in securing their educations, and also
devoted considerable time to procuring supplies for his countrymen who were attending school. He always made his
home in families where they had family worship, and his first reading was in the Bible.
On the 28th of February 1878, Mr. Johnson married Miss Clara C. Bengston, who was
born in Sweden in I849, and is the only survivor in a family of three children. Her parents both died in Sweden. Of
the six children born to our subject and his wife two died in infancy. The others are Gus Wilbur, who is attending
business college in Galesburg; Eskil E. and Osier, who are attending the district school near their home; and Cora
L, at home.
After operating rental land for some years, Mr. Johnson purchased a tract of
eighty acres on section 9, Galva township; and a few years later added to it another eighty acres, making a good
farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation. He raises both hogs and
horses for market, and owns and operates a sorghum mill quite successfully. He is a stockholder in the new elevator
at Galva, and was a promoter of the same, giving both time and money to the enterprise. He is also a stockholder in
the Westrand Manufacturing Company of Galva.
Mr. Johnson takes an active interest in the welfare of the community in which he
resides, and is now serving as Chaplain of the Patrons of Husbandry. He has always been an active worker in the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and has served as one of its trustees and as superintendent of the Sunday school. In
the earlier part of his career he often preached the gospel in the Swedish language, and has done much to promote
the moral interests of the community. Politically he is a supporter of the Republican party, but has never been
prevailed upon to accept any office save that of road commissioner. Although he is practically self-educated, he is
a man of literary taste, and owns a good library.
Source: The Biographical Record
of Henry County IL, p.511
FRANK J. JOHNSON
Frank J. Johnson, the present wellknown assessor of Andover township-- a position
he has held for four consecutive years was born in Sweden on the 30th of June, 1859, and in 1870 was brought to the
United States by his parents, Peter and Hannah Johnson, also natives of that country, who on reaching the shores of
America came at once to Andover township, this county, where the father rented land. For some time he followed
farming, and then retired from active labor, moving to Andover, where he died December 29, 1899, at the age of
seventy-five years. His wife survives him at the age of seventy-six, and now lives with a daughter, Mrs. Matilda
Anderson, of Andover township. Both held membership in the Lutheran Church of Andover, and he affiliated with the
They were the parents of eight children; all of whom reached years of maturity,
nameIy: Christine, wife of A. V. Hultgren, of Andover township; Mary, deceased wife of John Reed; Hannah, deceased
wife of Eric Ericson, of Western township; Emily, wife of Charles Eckman, of Nebraska; Frank J., our subject;
Maggie, deceased wife of Clarence Anderson, of Osco township; Matilda, wife of Bengt Anderson, of Andover township;
and Otto, a turnkey in the state penitentiary at Joliet.
Frank J. Johnson received his education in the public schools of this county and
grew to manhood upon the home farm. He started out in life for himself as a farm hand and was thus employed until
I886, when he had secured enough capital to purchase some land. Nearly all this time he worked in Andover
In 1885 Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Ella Johnson, whose birth
occurred in Sweden May I4, I863. Her parents, John and Mary (Peterson) Johnson, emigrated with their family to the
new world in 1869, and settled in this county, where the mother died March 1, 1889. The father now makes his home
in Western township. Besides the wife of our subject they had nine other children: Ella S.; Hulda, wife of Nels
Anderson, of Clover township; Charles; John, also a resident of Clover township; Frank; Augusta, wife of Charles
Hultstreet; and Edwin. Of the seven children born to Frank J. Johnson and wife, two died in infancy, Cora and Nora,
the others being Fred N., Herman F., Gilbert V. S., Dora M. and Martin P.
For six years after his marriage Mr. Johnson engaged in general farming and stock
raising on rented land in Andover and Clover townships, but in 1892 he purchased his present farm of one hundred
and forty acres, to the cultivation and further improvement of which he has since devoted his energies. In
connection with the regular farm products he raises broom corn, and has found that industry quite profitable. He
also raises cattle and hogs for market, and in all his business undertakings is meeting With gratifying success. He
was one of the first to become interested in the Farmers' Telephone, and is serving as one of its
Mr. Johnson is what is styled a self-made man, for all that he has has been
acquired by industry, perseverance and good management. The Republican party finds in him a stanch supporter of its
principles. ln 1896 he was first elected assessor of Andover townships in which capacity he has since served the
people faithfully and well. He has always been officially connected with school affairs, and is now a director in
district No. 5. Andover township. Religiously he is a member of the Swedish Lutheran Church of Andover.
Source: THE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD
of Henry Co IL, p.78-79
FRANK LINDERT JOHNSON
The Swedish element plays a happy as well as an important part in the citizenship
of Lynn township, of which Frank Lindert Johnson is a representative, although he was born March 4, 1863, in the
southern part of Andover township, this county. His parents, Swan P. and Christine Johnson, came from Sweden in
their youth, their marriage being celebrated in this country. The father, alert to every opportunity, in the course
of time acquired a valuable farm of six hundred and forty acres of land. Seven children were added to the home, two
of whom died in infancy. George W. resides in Moline; John A. in Alexis; Ida, now Mrs. Frank A. Bengston, in
Andover township; Frank L., the subject of the sketch, in Lynn township; and Herbert Julius, in Moline. Swan P.
Johnson was a man alive to all that spelled progress but one who declined any public office. He was an active
church member and for many years a trustee of the Evangelical Lutheran church. He died in November, 1891, anal was
buried at Andover, while his widow still lives in Cambridge.
Frank Linden Johnson grew to manhood on his father's farm and received his
education in the district schools. After his marriage in 1887 he took under his own management a portion of his
father's large holdings, one hundred and sixty acres in extent. This has had the benefit of all the methods known
to scientific agriculture and is in consequence in a high state of cultivation. He devotes a great deal of his
attention to the raising of hogs and cattle and is an extensive feeder. In truth everything about his farm and home
indicates intelligent attention.
On May 1, 1887, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage to Miss Ida Bengston, a
daughter of Gustus and Anna Bengston, both of whom were natives of Sweden and came here early in life. They became
prosperous and were active in the affairs of the Lutheran church. Both of them are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs.
Johnson are the parents of six children, namely: Lillian, Bert, Franklin, Walter, Irene and Marjorie, all of whom
are at home. The eldest daughter teaches in the Lynn township schools, and Franklin is a student in Augustana
College at Rock Island.
Mr. Johnson gives his allegiance to the republican party. He is alert to the signs
of the times and an active member of society. He has the confidence of his compatriots and for a number of years
has been a member of the republican central committee and a delegate to all conventions. Alive to the importance of
good schools, he has quite appropriately been a member of the school board for eighteen years and for four years he
has held the position of road commissioner. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his
family belong to the Lutheran church of Andover, in which Mr. Johnson has filled the office of deacon. The other
members of the family give generously of their time and strength to the furtherance of the cause of Christianity,
Mrs. Johnson being a teacher in the Sunday school. The subject of the sketch is a man of high repute among his
neighbors, progressive in all his ideas, and enjoys the degree of prosperity which comes to men of his industry and
Source: History of Henry
County, p. 696-697
L. J. JOHNSON
Among the leading old settlers of Knox county, Nebraska, the gentleman whose name
heads this personal history is entitled to a foremost place. Mr. Johnson is a man of public spirit, who has always
given his support and aid in bettering conditions in his community. His home is in Columbia precinct, where he has
a well improved farm and valuable estate.
L. J. Johnson is a native of Sweden, born at Kolmerlen, May 22, 1846. He grew up
there, following farming as a young man, and also spent one year in the army.
His father, John Peterson, was a farmer. About ten years after his son, L. J.,
came to Nebraska, his father joined him, and here remained until his death in September, 1900. When our subject was
about twenty-two years of age he left home to seek his fortune in foreign countries, going first to Guttenberg, and
from there to Liverpool, where he took passage for America.
On landing in the United States he went directly to Henry county, Illinois,
remaining there about eight months. He then came on west, arriving in Cuming county, Nebraska, in 1869. There he
filed on a homestead, built a sod shanty, and began to improve his land. He went through many hardships while
living in that vicinity, experiencing droughts, grasshopper raids, hailstorms, etc., but succeeded in developing a
very good farm and saved some money.
Mr. Johnson came to Knox county in 1901. He purchased a half section of land which
was improved to some extent, and since his residence on the place has fitted it up with every modern convenience in
the way of buildings, machinery, etc., and has the reputation of being one of the most successful and prosperous
agriculturalists in this section.
On March 11, 1876, our subject was united in marriage to Miss Emma Newman, a
native of Sweden, at West Point, Nebraska. Eight children have come to bless their union, namely: Oscar, Albin,
Joseph, Theodore, David, Gust, Minnie and Elmer.
Mr. Johnson and his entire family belong to the Swedish Mission church at
Source: The Compendium of History
Reminiscence and Biography of Nebraska; Alden Publishing CO,
Chicago IL 1912
Peter Johnson, a prosperous and enterprising farmer of Traverse county, Minnesota,
is a resident of Monson township. He is a gentleman of intelligence and good business ability and has gained a good
home and the respect and esteem of his fellowmen.
Mr. Johnson was born in Hollan, Sweden, July 3, 1849. His father was a farmer by
occupation and was a native of Sweden, where he spent his life. He was born November 22, 1804, and died December
26, 1868. He served in the reserve army in Sweden. He was married three times and of the first union two children
were born and five children blessed the third marriage.
Our subject was the youngest of the family, and he was reared in his native land
and received his education there. He remained with his mother on the farm until he was twenty-two years of age and
then in 1872, came to the United States. He landed in New York City, May 9, and came direct to Atkinson, Henry
county, Illinois, where he remained until November, 1874. He then visited his native land for nine months and in
1875 again located in Illinois. He worked there for three years and then engaged in farming there for two years and
in the spring of 1880 removed to Traverse county, Minnesota. Three or four shanties were all that were in sight
from his farm at that time and these were vacant. He built a shanty of rough boards in which he spent his summers
and he later put up a building, a part of which he used for a house and the rest for his team. He had no means and
did the greater part of his land breaking with oxen. Herman was his nearest trading point and this was twenty-four
Many times on a trip to market he was caught in a storm. He had a farm of two
hundred and forty acres, and this he has placed under cultivation. He has a set of good buildings and all necessary
machinery for conducting a model farm and has met with pronounced success. For the past fifteen years he has been a
director in the Delaware Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company.
Mr. Johnson was married in 1893 to Miss Bina Carlson. Mrs. Johnson was born in
Sweden and came to America in 1886. Her father came to America in 1887. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are the parents of
five children, namely: Ida Lucinda, Elmer Julius, Walter Clarence, Frithjof Garfield, and Bessie Paulina. All were
born on the home farm in Traverse county. Mr. Johnson was elected township supervisor when the township was
organized and he was the first chairman of the board. He was town clerk for six years and road overseer and about
1889 was elected assessor and has since held the office. He is an independent voter, but stands for the reform
principles of the Populist party. He has attended numerous conventions as a delegate and takes an active part in
all public affairs of his township and county.
Source: Compendium of History and
Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota; Geo. A Ogle & Co.,
Chicago 1904 p 661
CLAUDIUS JONES was born in Orleans County, N. Y., on the 30th day of June, 1826,
and is the son of David and Cynthia Jones, the former being Welsh and the latter of old New England stock. He spent
the first twenty-five years with his parents on the farm, during which period he received a common school
education. In 1850, he opened a small country store, near his native home, which he conducted successfully until
1856, when he took his first step westward as far as Henry County, Ill. In June, 1859, he was married to Miss
Harriett I. Weed, of his native town and State, and settled in Galva, Ill, at which time and place he opened a
banking house, which is now known as the First National Bank of Galva, Ill, which he placed on a solid foundation.
In 1868, moved to Monmouth, Ill., and, in 1870, was one of the incorporators of the Monmouth National Bank, and
served as Cashier and Vice President until he sold out his interest for the purpose of coming to Nebraska. In July,
1873, he opened the State Bank of Nebraska at Seward, and conducted it so successfully for six years that it was
acknowledged by all to be one of the safest and best paying institutions of the kind in the State. In 1879, in
consequence of poor health, he sold out his bank and retired to his large farm near Seward, and intends to spend
the balance of his days looking after his fine herds and enjoy the fruits of his labor. He has always been a
liberal contributor to all public enterprises, and has established for himself a reputation as a citizen and
business man, which is not only a credit to himself but an honor to the community in which he resides.
Source: Andreas' History of
Nebraska, 1883, Seward County, Town of Seward
Jones, Norvel, farmer and stock dealer, P.O. Malvern; born in August, 1845, in
Mercer county, Illinois, and remained in that county until the fall of 1863. He was educated in the common schools
and at Knox College. In May, 1864, he enlisted in company C, 137th Illinois infantry for one hundred days, and
participated at the battle of Memphis. He was mustered out in October, 1864, and returned again to his
In the spring of 1867 he went to Henry county, Illinois, and remained there eight
years, engaged in raising livestock. He came to this county in 1875, and has resided here since that time. Was
married in March, 1870, to Miss Ella Mason, of Galesburg, Illinois, by whom he is the father of three children: P.
Orel, Orpha and Vena, the two last named being deceased. He is located on a good farm of 160 acres, well improved.
He deals extensively in cattle, sheep and hogs.
Source: History of Mills
Co., 1881, Des Moines State Historical Co., p. 596/597 Center
Byron Jordan, who stands for progress in all things and was recognized as a leader
among the stock raisers and shippers of Henry County, but is now retired also has a notable record as a soldier of
the Civil War. A native son of Illinois, he was born in Richland Grove, Mercer County, June 11, 1842. His ancestry
is traced tack to Rev. Robert Jordan, who was a clergyman of the Church of England and as early as 1641 presided
over the church at Richmond Island, off the coast of Maine. He married Sarah Winter, and that he was a man of more
than average intelligence is indicated by the fact that he opposed the prevalent superstition of witchcraft. He
died in 1678 at the age of sixty-eight years. In his family were six children, John, Robert, Dominicus, Jedediah,
Samuel and Jeremiah. The line of ancestry is traced down through Dominicus, Nathaniel, Israel, and Robert Jordan,
to Captain John A. Jordan, the father of our subject. The Rev. Robert Jordan belonged to a family that originated
in Ireland, but religious persecution drove them to Scotland, and as indicated, it was early in the seventeenth
century when the family was founded in America.
The grandfather of Byron Jordan was Robert Jordan, who in 1800 married Hannah
Keating. They resided for a time in Rockland, Maine, and in 1832 removed to Seneca County, Ohio, where four days
later Robert Jordan passed away. His widow there resided until 1845, when she went to live with a son in Wisconsin,
but finally took up her abode with Captain John A. Jordan, passing away in his home in 1854. In the family were
fourteen children, of whom seven became seafaring men.
John A. Jordan, the tenth child, was born in Camden, Maine, in 1819, and was a
youth of fourteen at the time of the removal of the family to Ohio. After the death of his father he continued to
live with his mother for five years, and in company with his twin brother, Thomas J. Jordan, he arrived at Richland
Grove, Mercer County, Illinois, November 9, 1839. There he entered and purchased land to the extent of one hundred
and sixty acres. At Richland Grove he was married to Miss Rachel Metzler, and all of their children were there born
including Byron, of this review; Edwin T., now residing in Montezuma, Iowa; William H., a government clerk living
at Rock Island; and Olive M., who died at the age of seventeen years. In the spring of 1856 the father sold his
farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Mercer county and removed to Rock Island County, where he purchased a like
amount of land in Rural Township, then called Coal Valley. As his financial resources increased, he added to his
landed possessions until at one time he owned five hundred and twenty acres, of which one hundred and sixty acres
were located in Iowa. At the time of the Civil War, he was commissioned a captain of company A, Thirty-seventh
Illinois Volunteer Infantry, but after five months' service was stricken with paralysis, which ultimately caused
his death in 1886, when he was sixty-seven years of age. His widow died in 1903 at the age of eighty-one years.
Both were active Methodists and in politics John A. Jordan was an earnest Republican, unfaltering and loyal in his
allegiance to the party. He served as supervisor for one term and as justice of the peace for several terms,
discharging the duties of both positions in a prompt and able manner. His decisions in the justice court were
strictly fair and impartial and won him a high place in the regard of those who are loyal to the principles of
righteousness and justice.
Byron Jordan spent the first fourteen years of his life in Mercer County and from
1856 until 1867 was a resident of Rock Island County, Illinois. He then lived in Henry County until 1876, after
which he returned to Rock Island County, where he remained until 1902. He then again became a resident of Henry
County, taking up his abode in Orion. His early education was acquired in the public schools while after his return
from the war he attended the Western High School for a time. Throughout his entire business career he has
successfully followed agricultural pursuits and in the last few years he has put into practical operation advanced
theories on the erection of buildings for the feeding and protection of stock and poultry. In the spring of 1877 he
planted five acres in white pine, sugar maple, white ash and black walnut. A splendid growth of these trees
demonstrates what can be accomplished in the interests of forestry in this section. He is greatly interested in the
subject of the preservation of forests and his opinions on the subject are worthy of attention.
The military chapter in the life history of Mr. Jordan is an interesting one. In
1862 he laid aside his text-books and joined Company C, of the One Hundred and Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry,
with which he continued to serve for almost three years, being honorably discharged in June, 1865, at the close of
the war. He participated in the battle of Resaca, was with Sherman on the march to the sea, participated in the
entire Carolina campaign and was altogether in twenty engagements. Upon his enlistment he was made sergeant,
afterward becoming second lieutenant and during the last year of his service was in command of his company, his
promotion coming to him in recognition of his bravery and fidelity.
On the 17th of November, 1867, Mr. Jordan was married to Miss Mary Anna Blackfan,
a daughter of William and Elizabeth K. (Trego) Blackfan. Mrs. Jordan was the first white female child born in
Western Township, her natal day being October 22, 1841. She is a descendant of Edward Blackfan, who was persecuted
in England because of his religious belief and came to America about the time of William Penn. Tradition says that
he was a cousin of the founder of the Penn colony and from secured a grant to a large tract of land in what is now
Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The title of most of his property remained in the family until 1859. William Blackfan
with his wife and son, William, and daughter, Elizabeth, arrived at Stevenson, now Rock Island, May 3, 1841, after
three weeks' journey by stage and canal boat to Pittsburgh, thence by steam boat down the Ohio and up the
Mississippi Rivers. He purchased a forty-acre tract of land in Western Township upon a part of which the town of
Orion now stands. Mr. Blackfan died November 10, 1843, leaving a widow and four children, a son, Samuel, having
been born in the previous July. One daughter, Mary Anna, had been born after the arrival of the family in this
section. Mrs. Blackfan toiled nobly and by strict economy and indomitable energy succeeded in keeping her little
family together, and as the years passed and the children grew and added their strength to hers, she was able to
extend the boundaries of her little farm by the additional purchase of sixty acres, making a good farm of one
hundred acres. It was twelve years after the death of her husband before public schools were opened, during which
time a teacher was hired to train the children. In 1855 the public school system was inaugurated and all of the
children attended, and later Mrs. Jordan became a pupil of the Rock Island High School. She taught for six months
in the local schools, afterward attended Lombard College at Galesburg, Illinois, and later again engaged in
Unto Mr. And Mrs. Jordan were born four children: Roland B.; Elmer H.; Samuel
Lester, deceased; and Erwin B. The eldest son, who lives in Roseville, Illinois, is a carpenter by trade and
married Miss Linnie Davis, who died when their daughter Edith was only twelve days old. He afterward wedded Miss
Sophia Davenport. Elmer is in business at Winfield, Kansas, and Erwin is a civil engineer.
On attaining his majority, Mr. Jordan became a Republican, but for the past few
years has supported the men and measures of the Prohibition Party, and has served as county chairman. He has been a
delegate to numerous state conventions of his party and in 1896 attended as a delegate the National Prohibition
Convention at Pittsburg. In 1894 he ran as the Prohibition candidate for state senator in the twenty-third
senatorial district, and received a fair vote. He is a faithful member of the Methodist Church in which he is now
filling the position of steward, trustee and teacher in the Sunday School. He is very prominent in the Rock Island
Camp Meeting Association, having been a member of its executive committee for a number of years, and is now its
vice president. Mrs. Jordan was also a member of the Methodist Church and during her life had taken special
interest in philanthropic and charitable work, building and furnishing a room at the Deaconess Hospital at Peoria,
and also furnishing a room in a school for poor white girls in the south, and was actively engaged in various other
lines of religious and charitable work. She passed away January 16, 1910. Mr. Jordan is a visiting member of Heding
College at Abingdon, Illinois, and fraternally holds membership in Edgar Trego Post, No. 394, G. A. R. Kind hearted
and generous, he allows the use of his grove for picnics, and it has become a very popular place among pleasure
seekers. Genial and kindly in nature, he fully appreciates his obligations to his fellowmen, and his honorable
principles and upright manhood have won for him the high regard, confidence and good will of all with whom he has
come in contact, while the consensus of public opinion accords him prominence among the valued and representative
citizens of Western Township.
Source: Kiner, Henry L., History
of Henry County Illinois, Volume II, Chicago, Pioneer Publishing
Submitted by: Alice Gless