GREENWALT, JOHN THOMAS - Farming as an occupation is a profitable one if followed along scientific lines, but the work of the farm today entails much study and not a little scientific training, in sharp contrast to the agricultural life of several decades ago. While the soil of life of Sangamon County is very fertile, water plentiful and easily obtained, and weather conditions nearly ideal, good crops cannot be raised unless conditioned, and the high standard set by the agriculturists of this section is, therefore, all the land is properly worked and scientifically the more creditable. John Thomas Greenwalt, who is farming along scientific lines in Cotton Hill Township, was born in this township, May 22, 1862, a son of John W. and Elizabeth Ann (McAtee) Greenwalt.
Mr. Greenwalt's paternal grandfather was a native of Kentucky who died in Sangamon County. On the maternal side his grandfather was a native of Tennessee and served as Justice of the Peace of Sangamon County many years, and he also died there. John W. Greenwalt was born in Kentucky July 23, 1830, and came to Sangamon County with his parents in 1836. He spent his life there, dying January 4, 1904, and his wife, who was born in Sangamon County, March 5, 1832, died May 16, 1908. Both are buried in Zion Cemetery.
John Thomas Greenwalt was educated in Crabapple College, in Cotton Hill township and his boyhood was spent on his father's farm. He went to Texas in 1885 and remained there for six months, when he removed to Kansas and stayed there until 1889. He was engaged in farming and for one year carried on a butcher business, but sold out and returned to Sangamon County May 6, 1889, having been rather unsuccessful in his undertakings. He then rented the John Kincaid farm, and next the Willan farm, where he remained one year, then purchased a farm of eight and one-half acres, on which was situated a log cabin. Four years later he sold this and bought a twenty-acre farm. Two years later he purchased seven and one-half acres of the Funderburk property, and still later added from time to time to his property by purchasing land from Mr. Funderburk, Al Crowder and Ed Fox, paying $6,000 for forty acres from the latter, and he now owns an excellent property of 156 acres on Section 20. Mr. Greenwalt has always been a Democrat and is now serving as Township Trustee, this being his second term. He was one of the incorporators of the Zion Cemetery in 1906 and is still serving as Secretary of that organization. He also owns stock in the State and National Banks of Pawnee, Ill. Religiously he is connected with the Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, of Cotton Hill Township. He fraternizes with the A.F. & A.M. No. 675 of Pawnee, and the Royal Circle, his wife also being a member of the latter, also a member of the Royal Neighbors, New City Camp No. 194.
Mr. Greenwalt was married in Moline, Kan., December 27, 1885, by Rev. Samuel Huntebury, to Margaret Elinor Hankinson, who was born March 25, 1867, in Montgomery County, Ill., daughter of Nicholas B. and Rhoda E. (Blair) Hankinson, the former born in Darke County, Ohio, January 28, 1833, and the latter April 6, 1840. Mr. Hankinson came to Illinois as a boy and died in Kansas in 1881, his wife passing away June 24, 1877. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Greenwalt were as follows: Helen E., born October 2, 1889, died December 12th of that year; Opal F., born September 2, 1887, in Moline, Kan., was married to Emery Brown, February 30, 1909, by Rev. M. V. Hill, and has one child; Gordon E., born December 20, 1899, of Sangamon County; Walter H., born March 31, 1891; Loy S., born May 30, 1894; Jessie J., born June 17, 1897; Margaret E., born July 1, 1900; Elsie M., born November 5, 1903; and Nellie E., born January 4, 1908. Mr. Greenwalt is one of Sangamon County's self-made men. He has a fine home, is very popular in his neighborhood and has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.