Biography - John Fearman

JOHN A. FEARMAN. The Southern States added their full quota to the early settlement of Illinois, thousands of families emigrating from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas to the southern and south central portions of the Prairie State. They brought with them an element of sociability and friendliness which is universally accorded as a leading characteristic of the Southern people. Among such families is the one of which our subject is a representative and his residence on section 21, Okaw Township, Shelby County, dates from the time of his birth, March 25, 1837, as his parents, Henry and Nancy (Roberts) Fearman, had previously emigrated to this State from Kentucky.

The Fearmans were originally settlers in Virginia, where John Fearman, the grandfather of our subject was born. The first wife of the father of our subject was Ellen Sandusky, to whom he was married in 1831 just previous to his coming to Illinois, where he purchased land in Okaw Township. This wife lived only a few years, after the family removal to the Prairie State, and he was called upon to mark his new home by her grave.

Nancy Roberts, the mother of our subject and the daughter of Alexander and Mary Roberts, who were early pioneers of this State, became the wife of Henry Fearman in 1836. She was a true helpmate to him in his arduous labors as a farmer and they became the happy possessors of an excellent, farm, upon which they passed their later days in comfort and prosperity. Her birth occurred in 1812 and she passed from life in 181858, her husband surviving her some twelve years, dying January 27, 1870, at the age of sixty-two years. They reared three children, John A., our subject; James H. and Elizabeth E., who married George S. Terry, and died in Okaw Township. Their mother was a devout and useful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The gentleman of whom we write received such education as could be obtained in the common schools of his day and had a thorough and systematic training in farm duties. He thus grew up fitted to meet the duties of life and to make his mark among the men of Shelby County. It was in 1861 that he founded a home for himself and one other by a union in marriage with Elizabeth Terry, daughter of Reuben Terry. Like himself she is a native of this county, being born in Okaw Township, August 1, 1844, No children have blessed this home.

After marriage Mr. Fearman rented land and tilled it for some time, but somewhat later removed to Shelbyville, where he carried on a mercantile business and in 1867 purchased a part of the farm which is now his. His first acquisition was sixty acres of land which was mostly covered with timber and brush, and to this he added, as prosperity allowed, more and more land, and now has two hundred and ten acres, upon which he has placed comfortable and substantial improvements.

The Democratic party is the political organization with which our subject finds himself in harmony, and he is a hearty and earnest worker for its prosperity, and has held various local offices. He is considerably opposed to secret societies and is an intelligent reader in public affairs. The Christian Church is the religious body with which his good wife is associated and in it she is a valuable and valued worker.

The paternal grandmother of John A. Fearman was a Virginian by birth and bore the maiden name of McClelland. Her son, Henry Fearman, the father of our subject, was three times married. The lady with whom he was united after the death of Mrs. Nancy (Roberts) Fearman being Mrs. Jane Doddy nee Ward, and by this union there were born two children — Margie A. and Dora, who reside at Lee's Summit, Mo.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 446-449.

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