Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
SEMPLE, JAMES A. - The records of Sangamon County show that some of its representative men are engaged in tilling the soil, and to judge from their present condition they have found such work profitable. One of the prosperous farmers of the county is James A. Semple, of Mechanicsburg Township, who is devoting his eighty acres of fine farm land to general farming and stock raising. He was born in Calhoun County, Ill., August 10, 1863, a son of Thomas and Decemia (Harper) Semple, natives of the North of Ireland. In either 1847 or 1848, the parents came to the United States, via the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where the father did some teaming and worked in a general merchandise store for several years. He then proceeded to Calhoun County, buying land which he developed into a fine farm. This he sold in 1867 to come to Mechanicsburg Township and purchase 170 acres, eighty acres of which was prairie and the rest timber. He worked on this until his death, in April, 1893. His widow survived him until August 25, 1898. Their children were as follows: Ann, Mrs. Stephen Correll, deceased; Jane, Mrs. Samuel Constant, deceased; Eliza, Mrs. David Correll, a widow of Buffalo; Clark, of Mechanicsburg Township, and James A., who was the youngest.
Mr. Semple lived with his parents until their deaths, when he married, on December 2, 1893, Hannah Jackson, born in Posey County, Ind., daughter of Joseph Jackson, of that State. Their children were as follows: Arthur, born March 28, 1895; Ruth, born February 9, 1898; and Joseph, born March 8, 1899. Mrs. Semple died at the birth of her youngest child. On December 1, 1901, Mr. Semple was united in marriage with Ida Haight, born at Lawrenceville, Ind., December 22, 1872, daughter of William L. and Margaret (Stanton) Haight, the former born at Cranford, Canada, in 1838, and the latter at Marshville, Wis., in 1848. The spring following his second marriage, Mr. Semple moved to Dawson, where he rented land for a year, at the same time renting the eighty acres of the homestead which was his share of his parents' estate. In 1903, however, he moved back to this farm, which he now operates, also breeding short horn cattle, hogs and road and draft horses.
While his education advantages were confined to the common schools, Mr. Semple has made good use of his opportunities and is well informed. In political faith he is a Republican and he has given the people of his district efficient service as School Director for a period of two years. Since young manhood he has been a conscientious member of the Methodist Church, giving it a liberal support in both time and money. He and his wife are very hospitable, making their friends feel welcome whenever they enter the Semple home, and they have friends both in their neighborhood and at Dawson, who appreciate their many excellent traits of character.
The work a farmer accomplishes is not always understood. Each forward movement means an advancement in his calling the standard of the neighborhood, so that all good citizens of Sangamon County ought to be interested in the progress made by their practical farmers, among whom Mr. Semple occupies a prominent place. Both his parents and those of Mrs. Semple bore their part in the development of the communities in which they lived, and left to their children habits of industry and thrift, as well as spotless names to be handed down to posterity.