WOMACK, PRESLEY BARRY. - Illinois sent thousands of her best men to the front to battle for the Union during the Civil War. She drew them from their ploughs, from their desks and from their professions, and many never returned. But those who did, developed into efficient citizens, the military training, they received fitting them for duties of private life. One of those soldiers who resumed farming activities upon his return, and now retired, is Presley Barry Womack of Springfield. He was born in Wayne County, Ill., January 29, 1830, being a son of James and Elizabeth (Barry) Womack, natives of Bowling Green, Ky., the former born in 1791 and the latter in 1798. The father, who was a farmer, emigrated west, locating in Wayne County, Ill., in 1825, and lived there until his death, in 1868, his widow surviving him until 1878. He was Justice of the Peace for a number of years, as well as Road Commissioner, and was one of the most prominent men of his locality.
Presley B. Womack was brought up in Wayne county, being educated in its public schools and trained in farm work by his father, remaining with him until he was twenty-five years old. He then began farming for himself, thus continuing until his retirement in 1894. Coming to Springfield, he lived retired for several years, and in 1901 entered the employ of the C. & A. Railroad Company as flagman, thus continuing for five months, when he accepted the same position with the B. & O. Railroad Company, but gave up all work in 1902. Upon coming to the city, he located at No. 414 West Carpenter Street, but recently purchased his residence at No. 119 West Reynolds Street. On September 10, 1861, Mr. Womack enlisted in Company I, Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry, under Captain Galbraith, and acted as hostler for the officers. His first battle was that of Fort Henry, and later he was in the Battle of Shiloh. Mr. Womack remembers well the illustrious Abraham Lincoln. When he was but a lad Mr. Womack hauled wood for the man who was later to become the head of the nation, and recalls the kindly consideration then shown him.
On February 11, 1855, Mr. Womack was united in marriage with Mahala Wheeler, daughter of John and Eliza (Ayres) Wheeler. They were Virginians by birth, who came to Illinois at an early day, first living in Gibson County, but later coming to Sangamon County, where they died. Mr. and Mrs. Womack had the following children: Susan, wife of Albert Prouty, a teamster; Henry L.; Martha wife of John Priestman; William S., book-keeper; Benjamin F., an electrician; Anna wife of William Koch, and four who are deceased. There are seven grandchildren in the family. Mr. Womack belongs to Stephenson Post No. 30, G.A.R., as well as to the Baptist Church. He is a Republican in political faith, being proud to support the party of Abraham Lincoln. He is one of the substantial men of the city and enjoys the confidence of those who know him.