Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
HARTMAN, REV. THOMAS FRANCIS , clergyman and pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Rochester, Sangamon County, was born at Springfield, Mass., December 4, 1863, the son of James and Mary (Crowl) Hartman, natives of Harper's Ferry, Va., the former born in 1816 and the latter in 1823, During the Civil War Mr. Hartman's father held a positioning connection with the Government Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, and at the time of its capture by the Confederates was taken prisoner, but soon after was recaptured by the Union forces. With several others, he was then sent to the Government Arsenal, at Springfield, Mass., where he remained until his death, in 1870. When the town of Harper's Ferry was burned by the Confederates, Mr. Hartman's mother and the children then with her, saw their little home and all it contained disappear in flames. In some way they managed to reach Springfield, Mass., where the father was waiting for them, and there was a happy meeting of the then homeless family. It was there that Thomas Francis was born, the eleventh child of the family, a brother and a sister being born still later.
In March, 1873, the mother, with four of her children, came to Sangamon County, Ill., and after spending a few weeks with distant relatives, the three boys of the number who had accompanied her, found homes, the subject of this sketch falling into the hands of one Mordecai Crowl, whose so-called "guardianship" for the next nine years is remembered with anything but a feeling of pleasure. The first seven years of his life, while his father still survived, he remembers were as enjoyable as could fall to the lot of any one, but in the first half of the year 1870 his father, two brothers and three sisters died. The mother kept the broken family together for two years longer, but beyond this he remembers nothing that could be called happy childhood. While in his native town of Springfield, Mass., he obtained three years' training in the public schools, but in the first eight years spent in Sangamon County, spent only two years in the rural schools, his guardian taking not interest in the boy's education.
While thus handicapped, at the age of twenty-three years Mr. Hartman began a course of study which lasted more than six years, later taking the first years' course prescribed by the Illinois Conference School of Theology. Until twenty-three years of age he followed the occupation of farming, but then spent five years as an employee in the watch factory at Springfield and later five years more in the grocery business. From these dates it will be seen that both his preparatory and professional courses were obtained while engaged in different lines of business - an illustration of the success which awaits the man of real industry and determination.
Mr. Hartman was admitted to the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, on trial, in September, 1896; two years later was ordained as Deacon and admitted to full membership, and in 1900 was ordained as Elder. During that period and since then he has filled pastorships as follows: Greenview, Ill., one year; Curran, four years; Chatham, six years; and Rochester, four years, the last three pastorates being within Sangamon County.
Mr. Hartman has been prominent as an advocate of Prohibition, and in 1904 was candidate for Representative in the General Assembly from Sangamon County, but failed of election. In 1910 he was nominated on the same ticket as a candidate for Congress from the Springfield District, but being unable to make the canvass, declined the nomination. At national elections he has always supported the Prohibition ticket, but in local affairs votes for the man, regardless of political relations.
On June 7, 1888, Mr. Hartman was married, at Springfield, Ill., to Miss Lydia L. Welden, who was born in Randolph County, Ill., and for a number of years before her marriage was a teacher in the city schools of Springfield. They are the parents of the following children: Harold Hartman, Born September 10, 1891, and now a teacher in Sangamon County; Loyal O., born October 27, 1899; and Royal L., born May 10, 1903. Mr. Hartman's fraternal relations are with the Masonic Order, Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.
(Mr. Hartman was granted a supernumerary relation from The Illinois Conference September, 1911,and moved with his family to Memphis, Tenn.)