PLUNKETT, CORNELIUS A. - Some of the most substantial men of Sangamon County are utilizing their ability and energies for farming purposes, realizing that the soil in this locality pays magnificent interest for all labor expended upon it. One of those profiting from this knowledge is Cornelius A. Plunkett, a farmer and stock raiser of Section 34, Cartwright Township. He was born on his present farm, February 14, 1852, a son of Silas P. and Salina (Keltner) Plunkett. The father was also born on this farm, June 15, 1828, while his wife was born in Cass County, Ill. Mrs. Plunkett was living in Sangamon County at the time of her marriage. Silas P. Plunkett was a son of John Plunkett, a native of North Carolina, who married in that State. Elizabeth Purvines, coming afterwards to Illinois and settling in Sangamon County about 1820. The father of John Plunkett was a Revolutionary soldier, so that loyal blood is in the veins of Cornelius A. Plunkett. John Plunkett entered wild land in Cartwright Township, on which his son Silas was born, making this farm his home until his death in 1849, his wife passing away in 1858, and they, with the great-grandfather, are interred in Richland Cemetery.
Silas Plunkett had seven children, one of whom died in infancy, while Nellie died at the age of sixteen years, and Albert died at the age of seven years, but the others attained mature years, being: Cornelius; James H., whose sketch appears in this work; Emma, wife of Thomas Plunkett, a farmer of Cartwright Township; Eva May, wife of Marion Turner, a resident of Medora, Ill. Silas Plunkett was one of the representative men of his time. Active in politics, he was first a Whig and later a Republican, and gave excellent service to his party. He was a consistent member of the Baptist Church, in which he served as Deacon for many years. In all public matters he was ever ready to bear his part in all measures he believed would work out for the ultimate good of the majority, and he died beloved by many.
Growing up amid healthy agricultural surroundings, Cornelius A. Plunkett early learned farming, attending the district schools whenever opportunity offered. He remained at home until his marriage, which occurred June 24, 1875, when he was twenty-three years old. His bride was Miss Virginia E. Parker, born in Robinson, Tenn., daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth (Clinard) Parker. Mr. and Mrs. Parker came to Illinois, settling in Cartwright Township, whence they moved to Menard County, Ill., buying land and living upon it until they sold it to return to Sangamon County, where they died.
After marriage Mr. Plunkett built a beautiful cottage on a portion of the homestead. He has improved the property very materially, erecting substantial buildings, and now has a very comfortable home. He owns thirty-four acres of land, which is highly cultivated and yields large crops. Here three generations have been born, and the land has never been out of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Plunkett are the parents of three children: Harry E., born January 27, 1879, at home; Daisy Pearl, born November 10, 1881, wife of Claud Hodgen, a farmer of Auburn Township; and Scott, born September 6, 1885, manager of the men's furnishings department of the Boston Store, of Chicago.
During all his life, which has been spent in Sangamon County, Mr. Plunkett has been interested in current events in the history of his county, including the heart-rending occasion of the burial of the immortal Lincoln. He has always been proud to follow that leader in his support of the doctrines of the Republican party. He and his wife are consistent members of the Baptist Church, in which he has been Deacon for a number of years. Fraternally he is a member of the Odd Fellows, Lodge No. 770, and Camp No. 139, Modern Woodmen of America, of Pleasant Plains, while Mrs. Plunkett belongs to the Court of Honor of the same place. Both are charming people, sociable in their tastes, and their hospitality is enjoyed by their friends upon numerous occasions.