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

Ancestor of Earliene Kaelin

JOHN HENDRIX - Not all who lead a life of untiring industry ultimately win the success that enables them to spend the evening of life in honorable retirement from further labor, but when they do not it is due to natural causes. Success always follows persistent, earnest and honorable effort when guided by sound business judgment, and when it is not won the reason lies not in environments or in circumstances, but in the individual. Mr. Hendrix is numbered among those whose business careers have been crowned with a comfortable competence. He is now the owner of a valuable farm of eighty acres, near Dawson, and is living retired in the village.

He was born in Clear Lake township, Sangamon county, September 19, 1835, a son of Antony and Nancy (Beam) Hendrix, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. The father was born and reared in Nichols county and followed the occupation of farming. About 1825 he came to Sangamon county, Illinois, with his wife and seven children, being one of the first to make a permanent home within the borders of this county He located in Fancy Creek township and afterward purchased land, establishing his home in Williamsville township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits and reared his family. There he lived to the ripe old age of eighty-seven years, and his death was the occasion of sincere regret among his friends and neighbors, who had ever held him in the highest esteem. His first wife had died during the early boyhood of their son John, and Mr. Hendrix had afterward returned to Kentucky, where he married Kate Wycoff. By the first marriage there were eight daughters and three sons, but the only ones now living are John and Mrs. Rebecca Smith, a widow, who makes her home in Williamsville.

John Hendrix, spending his boyhood days on his father's farm, became familiar with the work of field and meadow, which largely occupied his time to the exclusion of almost all opportunity to attend school, but since attaining man's estate his knowledge has been constantly broadened by experience and reading and possessing an observing eye and retentive memory, he is now a well informed man.

He was married in this county about 1857 to Caroline Taylor, the youngest child of Simeon Taylor, also a pioneer settler of Sangamon county, where Mrs. Hendrix was born and reared. The young couple began their domestic life near Barclay, where he purchased a small tract of land, on which he built a home and continued to work, carrying on the cultivation and improvement of his land for about three years. He then sold that property and purchased forty acres of land in Williamsville township, on which be also erected a residence. His farm work was carried on there for fifteen years, and in addition to his own land he also operated other tracts. Eventually he sold that property and bought the place he now owns on section 6, Mechanicsburg township, compromising eighty acres. A good residence there stands as a monument to his thrift and enterprise, as do various modern improvements. He has built a barn and has done away with the wet condition of the field by laying many rods of tiling. Fences crossing and recrossing the farm; have divided it into fields of convenient size and the place is surrounded by a fine hedge. He has set out, a nice grove of forest trees and also an orchard, which bears its fruits in season, and in connection with the production of cereals best adapted to soil and climate he was engaged in the raising and feeding of good graded stock. He continued his farming operations until the fall of 1901, when he removed to Dawson, where be erected a neat home, in which be has since lived retired.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hendrix have been born three children: Florence, at home; Mrs. Nancy A. Greening, a widow, who resides with her parents and has two children, Lena and Ruth; and Mary Jane, who is the wife of Henry Garrett, of Dawson. The family are members of the Christian church, of which Mr. Hendrix is a trustee. He has been a lifelong Democrat and in 1856 proudly cast his first vote for James Buchanan, while his last ballot supported William J. Bryan. The county as seen today bears little resemblance to the district in which be made his home in his boyhood, great changes having been wrought through the enterprising efforts of progressive citizens. He has seen the prairies reclaimed for farming purposes and has helped to break large tracts of land and place the fields under the plow. He drove four or five yoke of oxen to a breaking plow in his early manhood and he has assisted in improving three different farms. He can remember when there were herds of deer upon the prairie and when other wild game was plentiful, but now in their place are seen the farm-yard animals, and the pioneer homes have been supplanted by commodious and substantial residences of a thrifty agricultural class, while here and there towns and cities have sprung up with all of the advantages and conveniences of the older east. Almost seventy years has Mr. Hendrix been a resident of this county, and his name is enrolled among the honored pioneer settlers.

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