Biography - Oliver L. Kendall

OLIVER L. KENDALL, who is connected with the farming interests of Todd's Point Township, is a veteran of the late war, in which, as a loyal and efficient soldier, he won a record of which he may well be proud. Tippecanoe County, Ind., is the place of his birth, and November 2, 1834, the date thereof. His. father, Joseph Kendall, was born in Massachusetts, and went from there to Kentucky. He lived in the wilds of that State for some time, and then removed to Darke County, Ohio, whence he went in 1825 to Tippecanoe County, Ind., and was one of the first settlers of Tippecanoe Township. He bought a tract of Government land in that locality on the east bank of the Tippecanoe River, and in the log house that he built by the side of that stream his son, of whom we now write, was born. He split clapboards for the roof and puncheon for the floor, and made it, in fact, a typical pioneer dwelling. For some time the country roundabout was but sparsely settled, and deer roamed at will through the forests and across the clearings that the pioneers had made. There were no railways, and for years Michigan City and Chicago were the nearest markets for grain.

The father cleared a part of his land, but his work of improvement was closed by his death in 1838. The maiden name of his second wife, mother of our subject, was Nancy Nunn, and she was a native of South Carolina. She married a second time, becoming the wife of .Martin Hermann, and lie died in 1886 in Tippecanoe County, at a venerable age.

Oliver Kendall attended the pioneer schools of Tippecanoe County, which were taught on the subscription plan, each family paying according to the number of scholars sent. The school-house was a primitive concern, built of logs, furnished with slab benches that were without backs or desks and were supported by wooden pins; and the school room was lighted by taking out a section of a log and placing greased paper over the hole thus made. Our subject resided with his mother until he was fifteen years old, and then began the struggle for an independent existence with no other capital than strong muscles, a stout heart, and willing hands. At first he worked out by the month for $6 a month. He lived in Tippecanoe County until the fall of 1860, when he came to Illinois and rented a farm in Macon County, four miles south of Decatur.

The war broke out and found him busy managing his farming interests, which he abandoned in the fall of that year to defense of the Union. He became a member of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry and after a long term of service on many a hard-fought Southern battlefield, veteranized in March, 1864, and remained with his regiment until he and his comrades were honorably discharged in November, 1865. He took part in the battles of Farmington, Iuka, and Corinth, Miss.; in those fought at Somerville, Coffeeville, Plain store, Colliersville, Byhalia and Moscow; encountered Forrest's forces at Memphis, Tenn., in May, 1864, and with his brave comrades assisted in driving him from the state. His regiment also did good work in an engagement with the enemy at Hart's Cross Road, Tenn., and December 13 and 14, 1864, bravely fought Hood's forces between Franklin and Columbus, and gallantly captured the works on Brentwood's Hill. The Seventh Illinois Cavalry joined in pursuit of Hood's fleeing army, and drove the Confederates across the Tenneesse River. The regiment remained in Tennessee during the winter, and then went to Mississippi and did garrison duty in that state and Alabama until its final discharge several months after the Rebellion was brought to a close, when its services were no longer needed by the Government. Our subject was commissioned by order of Gen. Rosencrans in 1864 as Second Lieutenant of Company I, Seventh lllinois Cavalry.

After leaving the army our subject returned Northward and resumed farming in Macon County. He resided there until 1889 when he rented the farm which he now occupies in Todd's Point Township. He is carrying on his agricultural operations skilfully, derives a good income in repayment for his industry, and has already attained an honorable place among our most practical farmers. He is greatly esteemed by his neighbors, and is known in social circles as a member of the Masonic fraternity, which joined in 1872; and for his connection with I. C. Pugh Post, No. 481, G. A. R.

Mr. Kendall was first married in 1855 to Miss Savilla Shaw, a native of Tippecanoe County, Ind., and a daughter of Alfred and Emillia Shaw. She died July 21, 1861. Her father was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, and after marriage removed to Tippecanoe County, Ind. He cleared a farm from the wilderness in Tippecanoe Township, and there death found him March, 1864. The maiden name of his wife was Emilia Marquess. She was born in Virginia, and was a daughter of Smith and Eve (Stingley) Marquess. Smith Marquess was one of the earliest settlers of Tippecanoe Township, where he cleared a farm, which remained his home until death ended his life. The mother of Mr. Kendall's first wife now resides on her farm in Iroquois County, Ill.

The second marriage of our subject was with Mrs. Jane Ward, and it was solemnized December 31, 1865. Mrs. Kendall was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, January 10, 1836. Her father, Thomas Morris, was also a native of the Buckeye state, and in early manhood was there married to Miss Nanct Bevington, a native of Virginia, who went to Ohio with her parents when she was fourteen years old. Mr. Morris remained a resident of Pickaway County until 1839, and then with his wife and eight children, he started with a team on an overland journey to Illinois. After his arrival in this State he located in Macon County, being one of its pioneers. He entered a tract of Government land three miles south of Decatur, and resided on it for some years, giving his attention to its improvement. He then sold, and removing to Decatur invested quite largely in city property and was a resident of that place until his death. His wife died while they were living on the home farm in Macon County.

Mrs. Kendall was first married to Larkin Ward, a native of Macon County, and a son of William and Elizabeth (Wheeler) Ward. He died in 1864. Mrs. Kendall has three children living by that marriage, — Henry, Marion and Martha. Her eldest born, Bettie, is dead. By her union with our subject Mrs. Kendall is the mother of four children, — Charlie, George, Albert and Nettie.

Extracted 25 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 669-671.

Templates in Time