WORKMAN, ISAAC, one of the older farmers of Sangamon County, resides on Section 23, Loami Township. He was born August 7, 1834, in this township, a son of William and Sally (Blyen) Workman. The father was a native of Maryland, who came to Tennessee and later to Illinois, after his marriage. Arriving in 1820, he and his wife settled in Loami Township, where the father entered and bought prairie land, becoming in time one of the most extensive property owners of the country. He and his wife lived in a primitive log cabin in which nearly all of their children were born. When his children grew up, William Workman gave each one a farm, so they would settle near him. He had eight sons and three daughters: Peter, Jacob, Stephen, David, Elizabeth, Isaac, William B., Sally, Polly and Samuel. William Workman died in 1877, aged seventy-seven years, his widow surviving him, and she passed away at the age of eighty-two years. Both were members of the Christian Church and in politics he was a stanch Republican with reference to State and National matters, although in local affairs he voted for the man he deemed best fitted for office. Although often solicited, he would never permit the use of his name on the party ticket. His success was all the more remarkable because of the discouragement he first felt upon coming to the county. However, he did not allow that fact to interfere with his progress, and died one of the very wealthy men of his county.
Isaac Workman was educated in the subscription schools of the neighborhood, held in the primitive log cabin, with slab seats and puncheon floor, the only light being furnished by a small window. Like Abraham Lincoln, Mr. Workman studied by the flickering light of the log fire at home, and learned well and rapidly. There being plenty to do on the land his father was so rapidly acquiring, Isaac began working when still a small lad, having to do everything in what today seems to have been a very primitive method, and which then suited the farmers. He plowed with the old wooden plow with an iron point, and during harvest the grain was cut with sickle and cradle. When assisting the neighbors he received fifty cents per day for using the cradle. The grain was flailed out by hand, then hauled many miles to the nearest mill. In looking back and remembering all the difficulties, Mr. Workman naturally wonders how it was that the farmers of those days accomplished so much. They always had time to help a neighbor, and attended to their religious and political duties without shirking.
The first wife of Mr. Workman was Elizabeth Workman, born in Tennessee, daughter of John Workman, a cousin of William Workman. Their children were: Sally, wife of Peter Harber, a farmer of Curran Township, issue - George, Jay and Alice; John D., at home; Martha, wife of Steven E. Workman, issue - Jacob and Harry. The mother died, a consistent member of the Methodist Church. On June 30, 1861, Mr. Workman married Martha Ann Wedden, a native of Illinois, and they had the following children: William H. married Minerva Carson and is a farmer of Loami Township, issue, Eva; Isaac L., a farmer of the same township, married Lena McLaughlin, daughter of Christopher McLaughlin, of Springfield; Mayhew, a farmer of this township, married Amanda Carson, daughter of William Carson, issue, Kenneth; Joseph and Elizabeth, at home; Ada, wife of W. A. Burton.
Mr. Workman has spent his life in this locality, now residing within half a mile of the place of his birth. Long a Republican, he has represented his party on the School Board. Having struggled hard to secure a good education himself, he has given his children every advantage, and is proud of their progress. Always a hard worker himself, he has striven to instill in his children a love for work and a knowledge of saving, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that his lessons have not gone astray. At the same time, his example has proven a worthy incentive to others trying to make advancement and do it honestly. He has always stood for progress and good schools, and the part he and his family has played in the development of the county cannot be lightly estimated.