5 Jun 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
Dennis Austin, a farmer on section 6, Lyndon Township, owns a valuable farm of 220 acres, pleasantly and desirably located about three miles south of Morrison. The place is increased in appearance and value by shade and ornamental trees and shrubs. Mr. Austin was born Dec. 30, 1825, in Allenville, Switzerland Co., Ind. William Austin, his father, was born in Oneida Co., N.Y., in 1794, and was descended from the early emigrants to New England. During the war of 1812 he raised a company of volunteer soldiers and started for Plattsburg, where a battle was in progress, but arrived too late to take active share in it.
He married Margaret Livings, a native of New Jersey, of mixed English and German parentage. After their marriage they resided a brief period in the State of New York, and went thence to Hamilton Co., Ohio. They lived two years in the vicinity of Cincinnati, and then pushed on to what was in that day the western frontier, locating in Cotton Township, Switzerland Co., Ind. The senior Austin bought a tract of land covered with the first forest, where he cleared a farm, removing for it after it was well improved to a second farm in the wilderness, where he repeated the experience and moved to a third tract of forest. He placed the latter in improved condition, and in 1854 made a final remove to Whiteside County, where he had previously bought 400 acres from the United States Government, which was located in Mt. Pleasant Township. He bought a house which he removed to section 27, and which constituted his residence until his death, in 1859. His wife died in 1877. Their children numbered ten, and seven are still living (1885). Miranda, the widow of Henry Murphy, lives in Jewell Co., Kan. Daniel, Silas R. and Dennis live in Lyndon Township. Martin B. is a resident of Morrison. Georgianna, wife of Homer Olmstead, lives in Cloud Co., Kan. William Steward is a resident at Unionville.
Mr. Austin was the assistant of his father on the pioneer farms from the time he had sufficient strength to operate with an ax. He improved the enforced leisure of the winters by attendance at the district schools, and he made his home with his father’s family until he was 23.
In September, 1848, he was joined in marriage to Harriet Gray. She was born in Rushford, Allegany Co., N.Y., and is the daughter of Charles and Eunice (Spaulding) Gray. Her parents were natives respectively of Connecticut and Vermont. Previous to his marriage Mr. Austin had purchased 50 acres of land under partial improvements in Cotton Township, on which he settled with his bride and began the world on his own responsibility. He operated as a farmer on his property, clearing and extending the improvements and increasing its value until 1854. In the autumn of that year he came to Whiteside County to engage in agricultural pursuits under more favorable circumstances. He purchased land in Lyndon Township, then known as township 20, range 5 east. His land was located on section 6, and was wholly guiltless of the arts of the husbandman. Mr. Austin rented a farm during the first year, and in 1856 began the work of improvement of his own property. He built a frame house of unpretentious character, which his family occupied 20 years, when he erected the dwelling in which they now reside. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Austin number eight: Millard married Alice Moss, and lives in Cloud Co., Kan.; Frank married Sophia Follinsby and resides in Clark Co., D.T.; Esther is the wife of S.A. Maxwell, of Unionville (see sketch); Olive married Frank Wenner, a farmer in Clark Co., D.T.; Lincoln is a farmer in Clark Co., D.T.; Hattie, Clara E. and Clark were born next in order; Harrison, fourth child, married Ellen Follinsby, and died in Exeter, Neb., aged 24 years. He left a child who resides with the widowed mother in Clark Co., D.T.