Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
ATKINSON, GEORGE W. , who has been a resident of Sangamon County for more than sixty years, and now lives retired from an active life in the village of Riverton, is a native of Piqua, Ohio, born January 7, 1837. He is the son of William and Rachel (Nevius) Atkinson, both natives of New Jersey and the father a blacksmith by trade. William Atkinson followed his trade several years in his native State, then removed, by wagon, to Ohio, where he lived until 1849, the date of his coming to Illinois. Besides working at his trade, he bought and sold cattle and horses, driving them to market. The family made the trip from Ohio to Illinois by wagon, consuming several weeks on the journey, and on the way the son, George W., then a young man, counted fifty-four deer. They remained in Springfield a few months, having arrived there November 15, 1849, occupying a house near where the Chicago & Alton Railroad depot now stands. They spent four years on a farm on Fork Prairie, and in 1855 moved to the old Prather farm near Sherman, where they spent two years, then the father purchased 320 acres of land in Shelby County, where he lived about eight years and then returned to Fork Prairie and spent two years there, after which he removed to Missouri. He lived in the latter State but a short time, then returned to Fork Prairie and spent the remainder of his life with his son George, his wife having died in Missouri.
John Atkinson, father of William, served in the War of 1812, as also did Jacob Nevius, father of Mrs. Atkinson. To William Atkinson and his wife nine sons and three daughters were born, of whom seven survive: John, aged ninety years, living in Iowa; Mrs. Catherine Brooks, of Dayton, Ohio; Mrs. Hannah Magell, deceased; Jacob, a retired farmer and stock buyer, living in Iowa; Elbert, has a blacksmith and wagon shop at Anamosa, Iowa; Zenith L., a blacksmith living in Iowa; Thomas B., who conducts a blacksmith shop in the West, and George W.
After the death of his father George W. Atkinson continued farming until 1900, when he retired from active life and purchased a comfortable home in Riverton, which has since been his home. He was resourceful and intelligent farmer and became very successful, being now possessed of considerable property.
Mr. Atkinson married, in Rochester Township, in 1860, to Cordelia Ann Bashaw, a native of the township, born in 1845, daughter of James Bashaw and his wife, of Kentucky, who were early settlers of Sangamon County where they spent the remainder of their life on a farm. Mr. and Mrs. Bashaw were parents of four sons and two daughters. Mrs. Atkinson died in 1877, having borne her husband five children, four of whom are living: Harriet married Trylene H. Trotter, proprietor of a blacksmith shop at Riverton; Lecta, married George Cockrell, and they live on a farm near Rochester; Nicholas B., a resident of Pekin; Walter, in Riverton. Mr. Atkinson has five living grandchildren. He is a Republican in politics and is a member of the Baptist Church. He is well regarded as a public-spirited and useful citizen and highly esteemed in his community. He always had a warm friendship for Abraham Lincoln, and in his younger days frequently ran foot races with that illustrious mean and also had his company in many games of marbles. Mr. Atkinson takes an active interest in the public welfare and is willing to lend his active support to any worthy cause for the public good.