Biography - James S. Travis

JAMES S. TRAVIS came to this county in the vigor of early manhood more than thirty years ago, and shortly afterward bought an unattractive piece of wild prairie land in Penn Township. He bent his whole energies to the pioneer task of improving it, and to-day has a well-developed farm, finely cultivated, amply supplied with substantial buildings, and comparing in every point with the best in the neighborhood.

Franklin Township, Huntingdon County, Pa., is the birthplace of our subject, and August 28, 1834, the date of his birth. He comes of one of the old Colonial families of the Keystone state, and is a son of James Travis, Esq., who was a native of the same county as himself. His father was also a native of Pennsylvania, while the great-grandfather of our subject was born in Wales. He came to this country before the Revolution, and settled among the pioneers of Pennsylvania. The grandfather of our subject was an early settler of Huntingdon County, where he bought a tract of land in the primeval forests and cleared a farm from the surrounding wilderness, which he made his home until his mortal career was closed in death. He married Elizabeth Grey, who was likewise a Pennsylvanian by birth, and she also died on the old farm in her native State. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church, and the old grandfather was a Whig in politics.

The father of our subject was an only child, and on the old homestead that he inherited his whole life was passed, and there death found him February 7, 1851. He married Nancy Thompson, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of George and Isabella (Gardner) Thompson, she survived him many years, dying at last at a venerable age on the old farm in 1872. Both were faithful members of the Presbyterian Church, and the father was a stanch supporter of the Whig party. He was a prominent man in his community, and for several years served as Justice of the Peace.

James Travis, of this biographical review, was one of seven children, and he was reared under wholesome home influences in his native place, and was educated in the local schools. In his nineteenth year he became an apprentice to J. W. Jones, a carpenter, of Tyrone City, Blair County, Pa., and he was with him three years. During that time he acquired a thorough knowledge of carpentering, and at the end of that time did journey work three years. Then, in 1859, he came to Shelby County from his native state, and in 1860 invested in a tract of unimproved prairie in Penn Township. He has transformed it from a wilderness to a highly cultivated farm, which is an attractive home, with its neat buildings and with the fruit, shade and ornamental trees planted by his own hand that adorn the place.

Mr. Travis has been aided in the making of his home by a wife who is a true helpmate in every sense of the word. Their married life began in 1858, and in the years that followed children were born to them, of whom they have six living, as follows: Adda, wife of Isaac Osborne; Nancy E., wife of Hiram Hammel; Emma L.; Clyde E., Lyda and Carrie E. Their son William H. is dead. The family is highly thought of in the community, and Mr. Travis and four of the children are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Travis is a native of the same Pennsylvania township as her husband. Her maiden name was Catherine E. Crain, and she is a daughter of Henry and Eliza Crain.

Extracted 13 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 461-462.

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