Biography - John A. Tackett

JOHN A. TACKETT. Among the citizens of this county who are most active in promoting its interests are many who were born within its borders, grew with its growth, and since attaining manhood have been potent in increasing its wealth and importance as an agricultural, commercial and manufacturing center, so that to-day it ranks as one of the first counties in Central Illinois in those respects. John A. Tackett, capitalist, is a representative of the class alluded to. He has been a life-long resident of Shelbyville, where his birth occurred September 28, 1832, and for many years he has been prominently associated with the best interests of city and county, using his wealth freely to advance various enterprises that have contributed to their development. He is largely interested in farming and also does a general brokerage business, and all that he undertakes he brings to a successful issue.

He is a son of John Tackett, one of the first settlers of Shelbyville, who was one of the leading pioneers of this part of the country until death deprived his co-workers of his aid in the upbuilding of this section in 1850. He was a native of Prince William County, Va., where he grew to man's estate and married Enfield Mason, a native of Fauquier County, Va., who died at Shelbyville in 1837. Three of their five children were reared: Charles, who died at Shelbyville; William J., a well-known resident of Shelbyville; and John A. of whom this sketch is written. After marriage the father of our subject sought the forest wilds of Kentucky but did not make a permanent home there, as he was attracted to Illinois in 1829, foreseeing that men of his calibre could expend their energies to a good advantage in a country of such splendid but untried resources. He journeyed hither with teams, bringing his household goods and being accompanied by his wife and the two children that then composed their family. He was among the first to settle on the present site of Shelbyville, where he found but little in the group of small log houses to indicate that the little hamlet was the nucleus of a flourishing and busy town such as is known by those of a later generation.

Mr. Tackett built a hewed log house, which he opened as an inn for the benefit of travelers passing through the town or coming in search of suitable locations, or for other business and it became widely known by the traveling public as "Tackett's Hotel," and its comforts were duly appreciated. There were no railroads here for years after he opened his hotel and all travel was by stage. He added to his buildings, greatly improved his property and continued to keep hotel until his death. He had an extensive acquaintance, was popular and well liked, always friendly and obliging in his relations with all with whom he came in contact, and he was greatly missed in the community.

Our subject having been born in the early days of the settlement of this county, has been a witness of almost its entire growth, and it may well be his pride that he has contributed to its rise and progress since he arrived at the years of discretion. He has a clear and comprehensive knowledge of agriculture and he is superintending his extensive farming interests with marked ability, while at the same time he is conducting a lucrative business as a broker, and from both sources derives a large income, he is one of the wealthy men of his native county and his fellow-citizens always find him ready to co-operate with them in whatever will benefit the public. His name stands high in financial circles, as his integrity in money matters is unimpeachable and he manages his business after sound methods. His personal character is such as in gain him warm esteem among his neighbors and many acquaintances. Socially his relations are with Okaw Lodge, No. 117, I. O. O. F. Mr. Tackett was happily married in 1880 to Miss Flora Cash, who presides gracefully over their attractive home and cordially unites with him in entertaining with pleasant hospitality any of their friends that may happen to enter its doors. They have one daughter whom they have named Irma Enfield.

Mrs. Tackett is a native of Westfield, Clark County, Ill., and is a daughter of Henry H. Cash, one of the well-known citizens of that town. Her father was born in Amherst County, Va., and was a son of Reuben Cash, who was a life-long resident of the Old Dominion. Mrs. Tackett's father went from his native State to Kentucky when he was twenty-six years old, and from there came to Clark County, this State, four years later. He settled in Westfield, and in time became one of its leading merchants. He carried on business a number of years, but now lives retired in that town. He married Rebecca Evinger, a native of Kentucky, and they have reared five children, — Watson G., Flora N., Rose M., George A. and Henry E.

Mrs. Tackett's grandfather Evinger was born, reared and married in Kentucky, he being a son of one of the early pioneer families of that State. He in turn became a pioneer, coming to Illinois and casting in his lot with the early settlers of Clark County. He became one of its most prominent citizens, and to him belongs the honor of having platted and named the town of Westfield. He erected a set of mills, including grist and carding mills there, but after a few years they were burned and from that time be lived retired from active business until his death at the venerable age of ninety-one years. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Seabolt. She was a native of Virginia, and went from there to Kentucky with her parents. She came to this State with her husband, and died at Westfield, at the ripe age of eighty-four years.

Extracted 09 Apr 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 494-495.

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