Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Originally published 1896
S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago, IL
Reproduced on CD purchased from OLD GLORY ACCENTS
RELATED LINK: Index to all Biographies from this book
Transcribed by Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
JOHN S. SEARL
There is a peculiar interest attached to the history of the pioneers of any portion of our great state, and particularly of any portion that part of it with which we are closely connected. Mr. SEARL arrived in Bureau county on the 20th of May, 1834, and has since been identified with its interests. On locating here he found an almost unbroken wilderness, the homes of the settlers widely scattered, but few towns or villages; wild game was to be had in abundance, and the nearest market was Chicago. To that city the farmers would haul their grain, bringing back the needed supplies, and the trip required from seven to nine days. Our subject experienced all of the hardships and trials which fall to the lot of the pioneer who endeavors to make a home in the midst of the wilderness, but he overcame these and today is one of the most substantial and reliable citizens of Selby township, living retired upon his fine farm on section 32, surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.
Mr. SEARL was bonr in Greene county, Ohio, July 28, 1830, a son of Brown SEARL, whose birth occurred in the empire state. The paternal grandfather, Timothy Searl, was also a native of New York, where he was married and reared his family. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. When a young man, Brown SEARL removed to Ohio, becoming one of the early settlers of Greene county, where he married Barbara HOSIER, who was born near Wheeling, West Virginia, of German parentage. The father cleared, fenced and operated a farm in Greene county for several years, emegrating westward to Bureau county, Illinois, in 1834.Her he entered six hundered and forty acres of wild land, which he at once began to improve and develop, and erected thereon good buildings. He secured the land from the goernment when it csme into market in 1836, and continued to make his home there until called to his final rest in 1869, at the age of seventy-three years. As an influential dcitizen, he took a priminent part in the early affairs of the county, holding numerous local positions of trust and honor, and was instrumental in securing the state road through this section. He was a man of exemplary habits, upright and honorable inall things, and was held in thehighest regard by all who knew him. His wife died at the home of one subject in September, 1892, at the advanced age of ninety-three years, and was laid by his side in the Ridge cemetery, where a substantial monument marks theer last resting place.
Our subject is the third in order of births in the family of four sons and one daughter, the others being as follows: Timothy, born in 1818, came with the family to Illinois in 1834, but later went to Kansas, and afterward to Page county, Iowa, dying at Clarinda, in November, 1895; Peter H., became a resident of Poweshiek county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming. He met his death by a stroke of lightening, which struck th barn in which he had taken refuge duriing a thunder storm; William is now living in Hebron, Thayer county, Nebraska; Melissa is the wife of Jesse HOSKINS, formerly of Bureau county, but now of Clarinda, Iowa.
Mr. SEARL, of this review, was but a child of four years when brought by his parents to Bureau county, and for a time he attened thepublic schools here, but is mostly self-educated. He is an intelligent man, well-informed on the leading topics and issues of the day. He remained under the parental roof, and after his father's death succeeded to a part of the old homestead which he continued to improve and cultivate and also purchased more land, now owning several good and well-improved farms in both Selby and Berlin township, Bureau county. He is a man of good business capacity, an able financier, the success that he has achieved in life has been mainly due to his good management, sound judgment and industry.
In Bureau couty, August 28, 1853, was consummated the marriage of Mr SEARL and Miss Amanda MILLER, who was born, reared and educated in Greene county, Ohio, where her parents died, and she came to this county with a brother. Ten children were born of this union - W. W., a farmer of Guthrie county, Iowa; B. F., a farmer of Selby township, Bureau county; Mary A., wife of William RAWSON, of Guthrie county, Iowa; Andrew J., a farmer of Selby township; M. F., a farmer of Berlin township, Bureau county; Samantha, widow of Moses P. FOX, a substantial farmer of Bureau county, who died in February, 1894, leaving one son, Miles S., now twelve years of age; Samuel L., a farmer of Selby township; Edwin GRANT, also a farmer of tht township: Maria D., wife of Herbert HASSLER, a merchant of Bueau Junction, and Sarah A., who died at the age of nineteen years. The wife and mother was called to her final rest February 1, 1888, and her remains were interred in Ridge cemetery beside those of her daughter.
Mr. SEARL is a Royal Arch Mason, belonging to the blue lodge and chapter at Princeton, into the mysteries of which order he was initiated in 1862. He has in his possession a Masonic apron whichonce belonged to his grandfather, Timothy SEARL, and is now treasured in the family as an heirloom. Politically, Mr. SEARL is a republican, and has been identified with the party since its organization, voting for its first presidential nominee, John C. FREMONT. He has taken an active part in local affairs, and has held numerous positions of honor and trust. For seven consecutive years he served as supervisor of the township, and has filled every township office, save that of justice of the peace. He has represented his township and coutny in various political conventions, and always with credit to himself and satisfaction of the people. While living in a democratic township, he never ran for office but what he was elected. The winter of 1895-6, was most enjoyably passed by our subject on the Pacific coast, traveling from Seattle, Washington, to old Mexico, and spending five months in California. He is numbered among the honored old settlers of the coutny, where he is so widely and favorably known, and his sterling worth and strict integrity have gained him the warm friendship of the best people of the community.