Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

AMAZIAH RATCLIFF. - Amaziah Ratcliff is now living a retired life in Dawson, but for many years was closely identified with agricultural and mercantile interests in Sangamon county. More than a half century has come and gone since he located in this county - then a lad of eight years. He was born in Ross county, Ohio, December 19, 1844, and is a son of Tobias Ratcliff, whose birth occurred in Ross county about 1815. The grandfather, Jesse Ratcliff, was also a native of the Buckeye state. Thomas Ratcliff was there reared and married, the lady of his choice being Sarah Ray, a native of Ross county and a daughter of James Ray, one of the early settlers there. Mr. Ratcliff engaged in teaching in early life and afterward followed farming in Ross county until 1852, when he came with his family to Sangamon county, Illinois, spending the first four years in Clear Lake township. He then located in Dawson upon a farm which at first comprised eighty acres. Subsequently he sold his property and removed to the village, where he spent his remaining days. His wife survived him for a number of years and passed away in Dawson in 1892 at the advanced age of eighty-four years. In the family are three living children: James, a carpenter by trade, residing in Dawson; Amaziah, of this review; and Eliza, wife of Walter Judd, a business man of Dawson.

Mr. Ratcliff, whose name introduces this record is indebted to the public schools for the educational privileges he enjoyed. He was a lad of only seventeen years when, in April, 1862, he bade adieu to his family and, offering his services to his country was assigned to Company F, Seventieth Illinois Infantry. He enlisted for three months' service, and later he re-enlisted in Company d, of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry. The regiment went south, joined the Western Army and participated in the siege of Vicksburg, where Mr. Ratcliff was first under fire. Later he took part in a number of skirmishes and the engagement at Eastport, continuing in active service until the close of the war, when he was mustered out with the rank of corporal, being honorably discharged at Camp Butler, in Springfield, 1865.

Mr. Ratcliff remained with his mother until his marriage. In 1867 in Dawson he wedded Permelia Shankland, who died in 1875, leaving three children: Ida, the wife of Edward Pierce, a business man of Buffalo, Illinois; Effie, the wife of Samuel Huckleberry of Springfield; and Anna, the wife of Edward Crane, of Dawson. About 1884 Mr. Ratcliff was again married, his second union being with Emma Wright, a native of England and a daughter of Samuel Wright of that country. She was reared and educated in Illinois, however, and has become the mother of four children: Arthur, Lorine, Fannie, and Johnnie, deceased. The eldest is now a clerk in Buffalo.

After his first marriage Mr. Ratcliff located on a farm near Dawson and carried on agricultural pursuits for a number of years. About 1885 he embarked in the grocery business, which he conducted for about eight or ten years, his efforts in that direction being attended with a gratifying measure of prosperity. When about a decade had been devoted to mercantile life he sold out and since that time has operated to some extent in real estate, but is now largely living retired. He has, however, bought, improved and sold residence property and in business affairs he is capable, his judicious investments and well directed energy bringing to him the success which is sought as the reward of all endeavor. Politically he has been an earnest Republican since casting his first presidential ballot for General Grant. He served for six years as president of the village board of Dawson and his administration of the affairs of the town was characterized by public spirited methods. His wife is a member of the Methodist church and he is co-operant factor in many measures pertaining to the general progress and improvement of the town.

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