Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
WYATT, WILLIAM J., Deputy Sheriff of Sangamon County and one of the most conscientious and capable officials of the county, has long been associated with the development of his part of the State. He was born near Jacksonville, Ill., January 5, 1834, a son of Thomas and Rebecca (Kirkman) Wyatt, native of Todd County, Ky., and farming people. The family migration to Morgan County, Ill., took place at a very early day, and in 1830 Thomas Wyatt engaged in farming four miles from Jacksonville, remaining on his property for many years. Eventually, however, he went to a farm near Murrayville, Morgan County, staying there for twenty years. At the expiration of that period he moved back to the old place, but later sold it and came to Springfield, which continued his home until he went to Macoupin County. There he died in 1896, and his wife also died in Macoupin County.
William J. Wyatt went to school in a little log schoolhouse and strove earnestly to gain an education. At the same time he worked on this father's various farms. Later he came to Riverton, first being employed on the Wabash railroad. Later he went into a grocery business, but had the misfortune to lose it by fire in 1889. He has served in a number of official capacities, being Justice of the Peace for two terms and Magistrate for the same period. For two terms he was Constable and his now acting as Deputy Sheriff of the county. In politics he is a strong Republican and is prominent in the councils of his party.
Mr. Wyatt had an interesting war experience, having enlisted in 1862, from Morgan County, Ill., in Company F, One Hundred First Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served about three years, and participated in many battles, including the Siege of Vicksburg. He was mustered out at Memphis, Tenn., after taking part in General Sherman's wonderful southern campaign, and returned home. A grateful Government pays him a pension in recognition of his loyal service. Like so many of his old comrades, Mr. Wyatt belongs to Stephenson Post, No. 30, G.A.R., and in the reunions fins much pleasure.
The marriage of Mr. Wyatt took place in Jacksonville, in 1856, to Minnie Berry. She was born in Morgan County, but her parents were from Kentucky, coming to Morgan County to locate on a farm, but later moving to Macoupin County, where they died. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt, only three of whom survive: Dora, wife of Owen Hackett, an engineer who resides near Riverton; Ida, wife of Samuel S. Alsup, a grocer of Decatur, Ill., and Oscar, also of Decatur. There are ten grandchildren in the family. Mr. Wyatt owns the pleasant family residence in Riverton and his property has been accumulated through industry and thrift. The family are Methodists in religious faith.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the service of the veterans who once were the hope of the nation. Fifty years ago men who are now drawing pensions were in the full flush of healthy manhood. Many left young families to go forth to fight for the Union. Many who lived to return came back broken in health and spirits, with memories of the horrors of war that never left them. It is only just and right that some recompense be made them for what they sacrificed and suffered that the Union might be preserved.