Biography - Peace H. Sconce

MRS. PEACE H. (TRUITT) SCONCE, widow of the late Henry Wilson Sconce, is a daughter of one of the early settlers of this county, and was reared under the pioneer influences that obtained in the early days of the settlement of this section, and is now quietly passing her declining years amid the comforts of the pleasant home in Pickaway Township in whose upbuilding she aided her husband.

Mrs. Sconce was born in Bourbon County, Ky., February 12, 1826. Her father, Littleton Truitt, was a native of Maryland, his birthplace on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. He was a son of Samuel Truitt, who was also born in that State, and was in turn a son of John Truitt. The latter was born in England, and left his ancestral home when a young man to make for himself a home in the English Colonies beyond the sea. He thus became a citizen of Maryland, and so far as known spent his last years there. Mrs. Sconce's grandfather was reared and married in his native State, and subsequently went from there to Kentucky in the early days of its settlement. He resided in Bourbon County for a time, and then removed to Missouri, where his earthly pilgrimage was brought to a close by his death in Calloway County, and his mortal remains were laid to rest in its soil at Columbia. His wife, Elizabeth Parker, was also a native of Maryland. She died while the family was on the way to Missouri, and was buried on the banks of the Ohio River. She was the mother of ten children who grew to maturity.

The father of our subject was a resident of his native State until after the death of his first wife, and he then removed to Kentucky, and for some years farmed on rented land in Bourbon County. In 1830 he again set forth in search of a new location, and bringing with him his wife and six children, came to Illinois, journeying with three horses attached to a wagon, in which all the household goods were contained, and camping and cooking by the wayside at noon and night. After about three weeks travel, he arrived in Shelby County, which at that time was still in a wild, sparsely settled condition, and the few houses at Shelbyville were mostly log cabins. In the surrounding wilderness wolves, deer and wild turkeys roamed at will, and the few pioneers in this region found a welcome addition to their meager fare in the game which they could shoot whenever they took time from their arduous work to go hunting. Mr. Truitt entered Government land in what is now Okaw Township, and built upon it a small log cabin for a dwelling, splitting shakes for the roof and puncheon for the floor. In the absence of a stove the family cooking was done before a fire, in a rude open fireplace, and the women spun and wove the cloth wherewith the various members of the household were clad.

Mr. Truitt worked industriously to develop his land, and at the time of his death in 1864 had a well-improved farm. His life-record as a pioneer, as a man and a citizen was honorable to himself and to his community. His second wife, mother of our subject, died in 1865. Her maiden name was Jane Hamilton, and she was born in Pennsylvania, a daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Lason) Hamilton, who were also natives of the Keystone State. Mr. Truitt was the father of one child by his first marriage, and of eight children by his second union.

Mrs. Sconce was four years old when her parents brought her to Illinois. She was educated in the primitive pioneer schools of the olden days, the one that she attended being built of logs and heated by means of an open fireplace, while a row of glass inserted in an aperture made by the removal of a log from the side of the building served as a window, and the seats were made by splitting logs and using wooden pins for legs. Our subject was early taught all the useful household accomplishments that were in vogue at that time, and without a knowledge of which a woman was not thought fit to keep house, among other things learning to spin and weave, and after marriage made cloth for her own and husband's garments. She was well prepared to care for a home of her own when she united her fortunes with those of Henry Wilson Sconce, March 14, 1843.

Mr. Sconce was a native of Nicholas County, Ky., born March 23, 1823, in the pioneer home of David L. and Rebecca (Keith) Sconce, who were natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. He was seven years old when his parents brought him to Illinois and located among the early settlers of Vermillion. They resided there until 1835, and then became pioneers of this county, the father entering a tract of Government land in Okaw Township, which he improved into a farm, which was his home the rest of his life.

The husband of Mrs. Sconce was educated in pioneer schools of Okaw Township, and there grew to a stalwart manhood. When he started in in life on his own account after marrying he was the proud owner of a small mare and one cow. His father allowed him to build a small cabin on his land, and he and his bride began life together in a humble way. His capital lay in his strength, willingness to work, and capacity to do well whatever he undertook, and in the years of toil that followed he met with more than ordinary success in his efforts to acquire a competence. He farmed on rented land three years, and then settled on a tract of Government land. He built a log house for a dwelling, broke and fenced twenty acres of land, and a year later sold his improvements for $50. He invested that money by entering forty acres of land in Okaw Township, and also bought fifty acres adjoining, on which stood a house. The next year he sold that place at an advance on the cost price, and bought one hundred and twenty acres of land in the same township. He lived on it two years, and at the end of that time sold it at $5 an acre. He then purchased the farm upon which his widow resides, and it was his home until he closed his eyes in death April 4, 1890. He bought other land at different times, and once owned five hundred and ninety-five acres of fine farming land. He made many valuable improvements, including three sets of frame buildings, and made his farm one of the most desirable in many respects in the township. By diligence, thrift and careful management he arose to be one of the most substantial farmers of Pickaway, and in dying he left behind a good name, that is held in respect by all who knew him, and the memory of a useful citizenship as one of the men who had been active in the development of the agricultural resources of the county.

Mrs. Sconce is a member in high standing of the Christian Church, and is known as one who does her duty in all the relations which she bears toward others. She has four children, all of which are living, and of them the following is recorded: Sarah J. married James M. Thomas, and they have one child living, Alvah C.; Luvena married James M. Pogue, and they have five children living, Charles E., Logan E., Henry W., Sylvia E. and James Chester; Emeline married John Roney, and they have one child living, Walter; William Logan married Maggie Belle Cole, and they have the following children living, Peace H., Henry Wilson and John C. Our subject commenced life with a cash capital of $3.50.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 574-576.

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