Biography - John E. Garman

JOHN E. GARMAN has devoted himself to farming the past few years, and the appearance of his fine, well improved prairie farm on section 26, Penn Township, Shelby County, gives evidence that he has a clear understanding of the most practical methods of conducting agriculture to a successful issue. He is a Pennsvlvanian by birth, born in the town of Jacksonville, Center County, March 25, 1853. His father, George Garman was also a native of Pennsylvania, and he in turn was a son of John Garman, who was born near Hanover, Germany. He came to this country after he had attained manhood, and was quite an early settler of Jefferson County, Pa. He was a distiller by trade, and followed that occupation in connection with farming, spending his last years in the State of his adoption.

George Garman served a seven years' apprenticeship to learn the trade of a wheelwright, carpenter and millwright. In 1856 he came to Illinois and located in Stephenson County. Renting land near Freeport, he was engaged in farming there until death closed his busy career in December, 1863. The maiden name of his wife was Mary S. Neil. She was born in Centre County, Pa., a daughter of John and Elizabeth Neil, natives of Scotland. She now resides with her son, James L., in Pickaway Township. She was left a widow with four children to care for, and she nobly shouldered her burden. She resided in Stephenson County until 1865, and then coming to this county, bought forty acres of wild prairie land in what is now Pickaway Township. She at once erected a small frame house, and by hard toil and much self-sacrifice kept her family together, with the assistance of her sons, who improved the land, and she still owns the home that is the fruit of her unwearied labors. The following is recorded of her four children: Isabelle married John Black and lives in Milan Township, Macon County; John E. is our subject; James lives in Pickaway Township; William died in 1878.

He of whom we write was three years old when the family came to Illinois, therefore the most of his associations are connected with his life in this State. Like other farmers' boys, as soon as he was large enough to be of any use he was set to work on the farm, and was a great help to his mother after his father's death, remaining with her until his marriage. At the age of seventeen years he began to learn the trade of a carpenter, and at the age of nineteen engaged as a builder on his own account. He continued in that line until December, 1884, when he turned his attention to the calling to which he had been reared, and at that time bought the farm in Penn Township, upon which he has ever since resided. He is carrying on his farming operations advantageously and profitably, and has increased the value of his farm since it came into his possession by judicious cultivation, and by many substantial improvements.

Mr. Garman has been twice married. In December, 1884, he was wedded to Miss Winnie T. Tolly, a native of Pickaway Township, and a daughter of Samuel and Jane (Sims) Tolly. She died in August, 1886, leaving one child, Emma May. Our subject's second marriage took place in April, 1889, and Miss Sarah Frances Foster became his wife. She is a native of Todd's Point Township, and a daughter of Joseph and Mary Foster. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her name is associated with the good work carried on by her pastor and fellow-members. Her union to our subject has been blessed to them by the birth of two children, Mary Alice, and Grace Edna.

Mr. Garman is a manly, straightforward man, of sound principle and good habits, and in him the citizenship of this township has a valuable acquisition. His politics are of the Republican order, and he stands firmly by his party whatever betides.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 579-580.

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