Biography - Orson Sweet

ORSON SWEET, a general farmer and stock-raiser of Penn Township, Shelby County is ranked among the most thrifty and enterprising men of his class in this section of the county, he was born in Russell, Geauga County, Ohio, February 19, 1841. He comes of one of the pioneer families of that State, where his father, Daniel Sweet, was also born, his birthplace being in Ashtabula County. He, in turn, was a son of Louis Sweet, who was born and reared, and married in the good old New England State of Connecticut. In the prime and vigor of manhood he had emigrated from that section of the country to Ohio and was one of the early settlers of that state, he resided for a time in Ashtabula County and then cast in his lot with the pioneers of Geauga County, locating in Russell Township, where he cleared a farm from the finest, upon which he lived until death terminated his earthly career. He served with credit in the War of 1812, and was a pensioner the last years of his life. The maiden name of his wife, grandmother of our subject, was Betsey Woodbury.

The father of our subject was but an infant when his parents took up their abode in the wilds of Geauga County, where he was reared to a sturdy manhood under pioneer influences. In his youth the country surrounding his early home was still mostly in its primitive condition and bears, wild turkeys and other kinds of game roamed through the forests which have since given way to rich farms and busy towns and cities. For many years there were no railways and the pioneers had to market their produce and obtain their supplies at Cleveland. Mr. Sweet early learned the trade of a carpenter and was prosperously engaged at that for several years. He still resides at Russell and is well known in that part of the country where the most of his life has been spent. The name of his wife was Philena Millard, and she was born in the town of Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio. Her father, Brazil Millard, is thought to have been born in Vermont, and was a pioneer farmer of Ohio, he spent his last years with his son in Michigan. The mother of our subject died in August, 1890, leaving behind her a record of a life well-spent. But two of her eleven children are now living, our subject and his brother Edwin, the latter residing on the old homestead at Russell, Ohio.

Orson Sweet, of whom this biography is written, was reared to agricultural pursuits in his native county and made the best of his opportunities to obtain an education at the public schools. When thirteen years old, the manly, resolute young lad began to earn his own living by working on a farm by the month, receiving at first but $8 a month. This was a hard training for a boy, but he obtained a good insight into the best methods of carrying on farming while he worked out, which he continued doing until his marriage, he then bought forty-two acres of land in Chester Township, in his native county. There was a small frame house and barn on the place, and about thirty acres of the land were under cultivation.

In 1869 our subject sold his Ohio farm as he had decided that the Prairie State afforded a wide-awake young farmer superior opportunities for carrying on agriculture, and coming to this county he bought the farm where he now resides on section 33, Penn Township, and a view of which is shown elsewhere in this volume. He had devoted his whole energies to the betterment of his farm and to the business of stock-raising, and already occupies an important place among the principal stock men of this vicinity. He makes a specially of raising thoroughbred Short-horn cattle, Percheron and Hambletonian horses and Chester-white hogs.

The marriage of our subject with Miss Ervilla Pelton took place in 1860. Mrs. Sweet is also a native of Russell, Ohio and is a daughter of G. S. and Lydia (Bailey) Pelton. To her and our subject has been born one daughter, lona. She married Jacob L. Fryar, of Maysville, Mo., and is the mother of these six children — Herbert Orson, Arthur Lee, Mark Herman, Ada Blanche, Nellie Grace and Walter. Mr. and Mrs. Sweet are members in high standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church and regarded as among our best people socially, he is a member of the Farmers' Alliance, but in politics he is unswerving in his allegiance the Republican party.

Extracted 11 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 354-357.

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