Biography - James Q. Reighley

JAMES Q. REIGHLEY is a representative farmer and stock-raiser of Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, who is prominent in the public, political and social life of this part of the county. He was born in the town of Winchester, Adams County, Ohio, December 15, 1850, and is the eldest son of William and Rachel (Bailey) Reighley, of whom see sketch on another page of this volume. He was three years old when his parents came to establish a new home in Illinois. He was given superior advantages for an education, of which he laid the foundation in the graded schools of Paxton in Ford County, he subsequently attended the Illinois Industrial College at Champaign, and also pursued a liberal course of study at Westfield University.

Thus well-equipped by a sound mental training for life's duties, our subject after leaving the latter institution taught one term of school, and then entered the employ of the Chicago, Danville and Vincennes Railway Company as civil engineer, and later engaged with the Chicago and Paducah Railway Company in the same capacity. He also had experience as a civil engineer in the West, going to Colorado in 1875 in the service of the Kansas Pacific. In January, 1876, in common with many others he was attracted to the Black Hills by the discovery of gold in that region, and made the journey hither from Denver, a distance of four hundred miles, with teams. At that time Deadwood was a hamlet of a few log houses, and hostile Indians infested the locality. Our subject and some others started out with the intention of locating a mining camp, but their wagons were burned and their ponies and provisions were stolen by the Indians.

Thus frustrated in his attempts to search for gold Mr. Reighley concluded to return to civilization, and made his way on foot to Cheyenne. He then resumed work with the Kansas Pacific for a few months, then entered the employ of a ranchman as foreman, and in the fall of 1876, took a train load of cattle to Chicago. From there he visited the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, thence went to New York, where he embarked on a steamer for Galveston. His intention is going to Texas was to start a ranch in that State, but after his arrival there he was thrown from his horse and so severely injured that he was forced to abandon his design. As soon as he was able he returned to Chicago and for a few months was foreman in the packing house of Hutchinson and Kent. In 1878, our subject, who had already had experience in handling cattle, came to Moweaqua and was actively engaged in stock-raising the ensuing year. At the expiration of that time he invested in eighty acres of land finely located one mile east of the village mentioned. There being no buildings on the place, he rented a dwelling until 1886, when he erected his present neat and conveniently arranged residence. He has added to the original size of his farm by further purchase; and it now contains one hundred and sixty-five acres of well-improved prairie land.

In December, 1878, Mr. Reighley was happily married to Miss Elizabeth Ann Knowles, a native of Erie County, Ohio. Their pleasant home circle is completed by the one child born to them, John Henry.

Our subject is influential in the councils of the Republican party in this section as one of its most thoughtful and intelligent supporters in his community, and he has served as delegate to various political conventions. He has always taken a deep interest in all that pertains to the welfare of his township, especially in the education of its youth, and he is a member of the District School Board. He has served two terms as Highway Commissioner, and has twice assessed the township. In his social relations, he is identified with Shelby Lodge, No. 274, I. O. O. F.; and Moweaqua Lodge, No. 1013, K. of H.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 432-433.

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