Biography - Frank J. Stillwell

FRANK J. STILLWELL, one of the efficient and progressive farmers of Rose Township, Shelby County, is a son of John W. and Sarah (Templeton) Stillwell. The former was born near Newport, Ky., and then came with his family to Shelby County in 1866, making their home in Shelbyville and operating a sawmill in Rose Township, which they carried on for several years. The wife passed away in Shelbyville in 1876 and the bereaved husband is now living a retired life. They had two children, Robert T. and Frank J.

Our subject was born near Newport, Ky., August 4, 1859, and came to Shelby County, this State with his parents. He received his education in the common schools and made good use of his advantages, gaining much from this thorough, though somewhat narrow, curriculum. His marriage at Shelbyville, April 5, 1883, united him with Miss Anna Wortman, who was born in Dry Point Township. When they married they settled in Rose Township, where Mr. Stillwell is engaged in farming, giving his attention to the cultivation of two hundred and seventy acres of excellent land, and also raising considerable good stock.

Mr. and Mrs. Stillwell are the parents of two children, Mary A. and J. Frank. The office of School Director has been efficiently filled by Mr. Stillwell. He is a Democrat in his political views. He is prominently identified with the Order of Modern Woodmen of America, and with his wife is an active member of the Baptist Church.

The parents of Mrs. Stillwell are William and Margaret (Hickman) Wortman. Mr. Wortman was born in Shelby Township. Shelby County, October 22, 1831. His father, Isaac Wortman, was a native of Christian County, Ky., being born there August 26, 1865, and being the son of Michael Wortman. a Virginian by birth and one of the first settlers of Christian County, Ky. Michael Wortman secured a tract of timber land in that county and cleared a farm and spent his last years there. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth Wallace and she was also a Virginian. She came to Shelby County after the death of her husband.

The grandfather of Mrs. Stillwell was reared in Kentucky and resided there until 1828, when he came to Illinois accompanied by his wife, his mother and his brother with his wife. They brought all their household goods along with them in their wagons and camped and cooked by the way. They arrived in Shelby County in December, 1828, and resided in what is now known as Windsor Township for one year and then removed to Shelby Township and entered a tract of Government land one mile east of the city. A few log houses were all that Shelbyville then boasted. Isaac Wortman erected a log house on his land and commenced at once to clear away the timber. After residing there for several years he sold his property and bought in Holland Township, where he resided until his death in 1868. The maiden name of his wife (who was the grandmother of Mrs. Stillwell.) was Zelinda Hall. She was born in Fayette County, Ky., of Virginian parentage, her father and mother being Peter and Mary (Fisher) Hall, who became pioneers of Fayette County, Ky. Mrs. Hall died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Emily Willis, in Shelbyville in 1872, having been the mother of twelve children.

William Franklin Wortman resided with his parents until his marriage and then settled on an eighty-acre tract of land which he owned on section 1 of Dry Point Township. It was wild land at the time, forty acres of it being in timber and the remainder in brush. He built a log house and there commenced housekeeping and later bought other land until at one time he possessed some two hundred and fifty acres all in one body, part of it being in Holland Township. He improved the land, planted an orchard and erected good farm buildings. He continued there until the fall of 1890 when he retired from active farming and built the home where he now resides in Shelbyville. He was married in 1856 to Margaret Hickman, who was born in Shelbyville, February 15, 1836.

Joseph Hickman, the father of Mrs. W. F. Wortman, was a Virginian by birth, and the son of William Hickman, who removed from that State to Shelby County, Ky., where he continued his vocation of a farmer. He died in that county. The maiden name of his wife was Elizabeth Talbot, who was a native of Virginia and died in Shelby County, Ky.

Joseph Hickman, the grandfather of Mrs. Stillwell, married in Kentucky and came from that State to Illinois in 1830, thus becoming one of the early settlers of Shelbyville. He was one of the first teachers in the county and was a man of more than ordinary education. He resided there for a number of years and then bought a farm in Shelby Township, upon which he made his home until his death. His wife (the grandmother of Mrs. Stillwell) bore the maiden name of Ziporah Frankford. She was born in Illinois, being a daughter of Elza and Margaret (Adams) Frankford, and died at the home of a son in Shelby Township about the year 1868. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wortman, namely: Mary, Hattie, Emma, Annie, Thomas, James and Mattie. The parents are earnest and active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Mr. Wortman is a Democrat in his political views.

Mr. Stillwell's personal qualities are such as to have won for him the respect and admiration of his fellow-citizens and he has the hearty good will of all. His home is comfortable and pleasant and his family share with him the good opinion of their neighbors.

Extracted 29 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 621-623.

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