Biography - JOSEPH M. BALES

"The true ruler and conqueror he, the true king of his race, who nerveth his arm for life's combat, and looks the strong world in the face."

We have many men who live simple and unpretentious lives, who are made of the same fiber as that of which heroes and conquerors are. It is not the action that dignifies the man, but the man should dignify the action. He of whom we write, who well knows what pioneer life is, having had experience in more than one place, although he has not commanded armies nor wielded a pen to touch the hearts of men; — like Moses of old, who struck the rock that the water might gush forth, he put his hand to the plow, that the earth might yield a richness of harvest that should provide nourishment for prince or peasant.

Joseph M. Bales is the owner of and resident on the fine farm located on section 18, of Okaw Township, Shelby County. He has resided in Illinois since 1854, and in Shelby County since the spring of 1877. He was born in East Tennessee, February 20, 1829, and is a son of Daniel and Mary (Trobough) Bales, both natives of Tennessee. At an early day Mr. Bales' parents came to Illinois and settled in Macon County, later moving to Coles County, and three years later the parents came to live with our subject at his present home. There his mother died March 3, 1888. His father is still living.

Mr. Bales was one of eight children, there being five sons and three daughters, whose names are respectively. James, Joseph M. our subject, William M., Cephas A., John, Catherine, Margaret and Jane. The eldest son was killed in a railroad wreck at Bunker Hill while engaged in shipping cattle to St. Louis. William M. is a resident in Missouri, being there engaged as a speculator. Cephas lives in Colorado, John is in Kansas. Catherine, now Mrs. Smith, resides in Iowa. Margaret is now Mrs. Kingsolver, and Jane is Mrs. Stumbaugh.

Our subject was reared and educated in Tennessee, where he was married to Margaret Bible. She, also, was a native of Tennessee, being of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. After the birth of their first child, they started to Illinois with a two horse wagon, and arriving in the State settled near Macon, Macon County, where they purchased eighty acres of land in the raw state, paying for it $14 per acre. Upon the place Mr. Bales erected a shanty, and here they set up their household gods and goods. They remained upon this land for eighteen years and then sold it for $50 per acre. They then purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Penn Township. The land was improved and they paid $35 per acre, soon selling it for $38 per acre. He then settled upon the place where he now resides, owning at the present time two hundred and sixty-seven acres of fine land upon which there is no incumbrance. He also owns property in Sbelbyville, which has advanced greatly in value since his purchase and promises still better to be a good investment. Thus can be seen what energy, industry and economy can accomplish for a man. Mr. Bales commenced with hardly more than a pair of strong hands and a willingness to work, one Claybank horse with black mane and tail being his stock in trade, but during the years that have passed, in hard labor it is true, he has amassed more than a comfortable competency.

Our subject and his estimable lady are the parents of six children whose names are James, Daniel, Cephas, Mary Jane, who is the wife of James Wilson; Ellen, who is the wife of Charles Davis, and Fannie, who is still at home. Mr. Bales formerly cast his vote and influence with the Democratic party, but of late he has given his allegiance occasionally to the Farmers' Alliance and favors any measures that benefit the class to which he belongs. In his religious preferences, he, with his family, is Presbyterian. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 569-570.

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