Biography - William H. Akins

WILLIAM H. AKINS, who is a well-known practitioner before the Circuit and District Court, and also before the Supreme Court of Illinois, is enjoying a lucrative practice in Cowden, Shelly County, and surrounding towns. He is a native of this county and was born in 1848. His parents, Samuel and Susan (Moore) Akins, were natives of Ohio and North Carolina respectively. Both are now deceased, the father having departed this life in 1879, at the age of sixty-two years, and the mother having died in 1883, after having reached her fifty-eighth year.

The father had been a soldier in the Civil War. He enlisted as a private in Company H, Forty-first Illinois Infantry, and at the close of his term of service re-enlisted and remained in the army until the close of the war as a veteran volunteer. He was promoted to the position of First Lieutenant, but was not mustered in as such, owing to its depleted ranks, as there were not men enough to entitle the company to a full quota of commissioned officers. He participated in all the engagements, marches and manoeuvres in which his regiment was engaged during all his long term of service.

Of the family of our subject's parents three sons and two daughters are living: John, a farmer, married Mary Belt and resides in Cowden; Rachel L., the wife of William Beck, a farmer, resides in Fayette County, this State; Mary A. is unmarried and is the housekeeper for her brother, our subject; Henry C. married Jane Belt and resides in Cowden, being engaged in farming.

William Akins, like his father, was a soldier in the Civil War. He enlisted in January, 1864, and served until the close of the war in Company M, Third Illinois Cavalry. He participated in the battles of Tupelo, Guntown, Nashville and subsequent engagements growing out of that campaign. During the summer of 1865 the regiment operated in a campaign against the Indians in Dakota and in the Red River Valley, starting from Ft. Snelling, Devil's Lake, and Ft. Bethel, on the Mississippi River, and made a march of several hundred miles. They endured many privations and dangers incident to their removal from civilization and close proximity to hostile bands of Indians. This regiment was mustered out of service at Ft. Snelling, Minn., in October, 1865.

Farming and teaching engaged Mr. Akins for awhile after his return home, and during that time he commenced the study of law and became a student in the law department of the State University of Iowa in 1881, being graduated from that popular institution in 1882, with honor to himself and credit to his Alma Mater. Pursuant upon his graduation Mr. Akins resumed teaching for two years, also superintending his farm. In 1885 he opened his present office in Cowden. In connection with his business as an attorney and counseior-at-law he deals considerably in real estate, buying and selling, and does a general law and land business. Mr. Akins is a worthy member of Samuel Akins Post, No. 566, G. A. R., which was named in honor of his deceased father. Mr. Akins also handles a number of standard insurance companies besides personally carrying on his farm of about ninety acres, which is situated two miles from Cowden. This tract is mostly in hay and has a fine yield. His political views have allied him with the Republican party, to which he is an intelligent adherent.

Extracted 16 Feb 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 596-597.

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