1 Mar 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885
Reproduced on CD purchased from "Old Glory Accents"
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
John Abbey, farmer, resident on section 24, Newton Township, was born in November, 1833, in Licking co., Ohio, and h e was four years old when his parents, Luke and Hannah Abbey, removed thence to Newton Township. Luke Abbey was a pioneer of 1837 in Whiteside County. He was born in March 1787, in Yorkshire, England. He belonged to the agricultural class in his native shire, and was trained carefully in all things pertaining to the business of a farmer. In 1818 he came to the United States, locating in Trenton, N. J., where he lived several years. He went to Ohio in 1833 and was a resident of Licking county four years. In August, 1837, he transferred his family and interests to Illinois. His household included his wife and seven children, and the journey hither was made overland. Mr. Abbey located a claim on section 23 of township 20, range 3, now the township of Newton. At first he built a log cabin, and later a cement house. He improved a fine farm, on which he resided until his death, in November, 1869. He was married three times. His third wife, Hannah Mills before her marriage, was born in Mr. Holly N. J. She bore him seven children: Sarah married O. A. Root, of Dickinson Co., Kan.; Charles W. is a resident of Aliceville, Kan.; Hannah L. is the wife of John Marshall of Cottonwood, Montana; John lives on the homestead; Marie, wife of Henry S. Eye, is living in Citrus, Los Angeles Co., Cal. Two children are deceased.
Mr. Abbey was reared on his father’s farm. At 18 he went to California, starting April 7, 1852, with ox teams, to cross the plains. He arrived at Placerville Aug. 20 of the same year, more than four months elapsing before he arrived at his destination. He was occupied in mining at Placerville and in Calaveras County until 1853, when he went to Australia, and interested himself in gold-mining there. On the voyage to Australia the vessel became dismasted in a heavy gale, and a stop of 14 days for repairs was made at the Society Islands. An attempt to land at Norfolk Island was made, in order to procure coal and supplies, but the authorities refused permission, as the island was inhabited by English convicts. He spent five years on the island-continent, and visited Sidney and Melbourne and other places of interest. In 1858 he returned to San Francisco, and resumed mining in California, and also became interested in farming, spending two years in his two-fold business. In 1860 he went to Portland, Oregon, and proceeded thence to Lewiston, Idaho. He returned to Portland in the fall of that year and spent 18 months in Oregon. On his route home he went to Vancouver’s Island and after a few days to San Francisco. He returned to Illinois by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York. On reaching Whiteside County, he engaged in farming.
He was married March 15, 1864, to Annie E. Huff. Their children are named Luke, Lucy, May, Hannah, Sadie, Gertie and Elizabeth. Mrs. Abbey was born in Luzerne Co., Pa. And is the daughter of George H. And Hannah (Dodson) Huff. Her father was born in New Jersey and her mother in Pennsylvania. At the time of his marriage, Mr. Abbey settled on his father’s homestead, which he now owns and occupies. In 1870 he built a fine residence, which was burned Feb. 19, 1884. He then erected the dwelling he now occupies. It is pleasantly located near a natural growth of timber, which shelters it on the north and east. Mr. Abbey is engaged in mixed husbandry, and is giving some attentio to the cultivation of fruit.