Biography - J. G. Stewart

J. G. STEWART has ever been a living exponent of what energy, judgment and ambition can accomplish in the agricultural line in the Prairie state where the conditions are so favorable to the farmer as to take away from their work half the drudgery that it elsewhere finds. Mr. Stewart now lives in Moweaqua, having retired from agricultural pursuits in the fall of 1889, and is now living on a fine property in this place. Mr. Stewart's farm, whereon he spent a number of years, is located on section 25, Moweaqua Township, Shelby County, he came to it in 1866, beginning life with but little else than grit and perseverance, which served him far better than do large pecuniary resources many other men.

Although our subject has retired from the active business of farming he still owns his homestead of two hundred and eighty acres. There is no better land in the county, and Mr. Stewart has laid out large sums in improvements that have greatly added to its value. There is upon the place a good dwelling made cozy and beautiful by the care, interest and taste of womanly hands. The large fortune which he has accumulated has been amassed by hard work and his capable wife has been no small factor in his success. The domestic realm over which she has held sway has been governed in such a way as to not only spare our subject's means, but to add to his resources. Gain has not been her only object in life, however, for she has been a tender mother and a good and kind neighbor ever ready to lend a helpful hand in time of need.

Mr. Stewart's birthplace is what is now Blair County, Pa., near Alton. He was born September 27, 1840, and is the son of Alexander Stewart, a native of Pennsylvania, where our subject was reared. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His paternal grandfather was Alexander Stewart, like his father a native of Pennsylvania, where he ended his days. When in middle life he was married in Blair County to Mary Gray, whose parents were natives of Ireland who had settled in Pennsylvania. Mary Stewart lived and died in Pennsylvania, being about seventy years of age when her decease occurred, having survived her husband by a good many years. Our subject's grandparents were members of the Presbyterian Church.

Our subject's father was only nine years of age when his father died. He was reared by his mother in his native county, and there remained until he had attained manhood, he died in the city of Alton in 1889, having attained the age of nearly eighty-one years, and was much mourned by friends and acquaintances. He married Miss Kaziah Green, of Blair County, Pa., where she was born and reared, and where her death occurred in 1853, being then forty-eight years of age. She was of good family, her parents being old settlers in her native place. Both she and her husband were members of the Methodist Church.

The original of our sketch grew up in his native county, and in the fall of 1861, on the first call for three-year volunteers, he enlisted in the army, joining Company F, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, of which Capt. A. Wayne and Col. Powers were in command. The regiment proceeded south and assumed duty in the Tenth Army Corps. Much of the time they were engaged in hard fighting, and our subject was engaged at the battles at Ft. Pulaski, James Island, Ft. Wagner and Morris Island. He was afterward with his regiment at Drury's Bluff and Cold Harbor, and passed through many engagements. Mr. Stewart was fortunate enough to escape death and wounds and capture, and was never in the hospital. He was on duty in every engagement that his regiment partook in with the exception of one. Our subject enlisted in the service as a musician, but was mustered in as a private, and served in both capacities. He is justly proud of his military record, which is without a stain. But, although he had the opportunity, he never sought promotion.

After his return from the war, our subject persuaded Miss Lizzie Freidley to share the duties of life with him. They were married in Moweacpia in the fall of 1868. The lady was born, reared and died in this city, her demise taking place in the summer of 1877. She was then only twenty-seven years of age, and a bright and beautiful woman. She left to her husband three children, all of whom are now deceased. One died in infancy. John A. and Jessie M. did not reach the age of maturity.

Mr. Stewart was a second time married to Miss Frena M. Brooks. She was born in Flat Branch Township and was quite young when her parents came to Moweaqua. Here she received her education and attained womanhood. Her father, Josiah Brooks, has been for many years deceased. He was one of the early settlers in this county. His wife is yet living and makes her home in Mowaequa. She is now in the afternoon of life and is peacefully enjoying the sunset. By his present marriage Mr. Stewart and wife have had four children, one of whom is deceased. The living children are: James F., Malcolm W. and Charles L., who are yet at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are generous supporters of the same. Mr. Stewart has held the local office of Highway Commissioner and he is at present Commander of J. V. Clemings Post, No. 363, G. A. R., of which he is a charter member. He is also a member of Lodge No. 1013, K. of H., and of Shelby Lodge, No. 274, I. O. O. F.

Extracted 26 May 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 549-550.

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