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James Marshall Akin

>Posted by Jean Crowl 7 May, 2009

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

James Marshall Akin, who for many years, has been prominently connected with the educational interests of Henderson County, and is recognized as one of its most successful teachers, now resides in Oquawka. He claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Tuscarawas County, January 14, 1845. The Akin family originated in Scotland, and removed from the north of Scotland into Ireland. We do not know who the founder of the family in America was, but the ancestors came here in early Colonial days. The town of Aiken, South Carolina, was settled by and named for them. On account of their antipathy to the slave trade, they early removed further north, thus removing their posterity from the pernicious influence of the system of slavery. The father of our subject, John G. Aakin, was born in Ohio, and was a cabinetmaker and farmer by occupation. He married Eliza Connell, and eight children were born of their union, of whom James M. is the eldest. George W., deceased, was a farmer of Muskingum County, Ohio, and spent his last year near Benkleman, whither he removed about 1885; Samuel S. is a stock-dealer of New Concord, Ohio; William P. is engaged in house-moving in Galesburg, Ill.; Martha and two sons died in infancy; and Lizzie is at home.

The gentleman whose name heads this record was reared in Guernsey County, Ohio, whither his father removed when he was quite young. His early education, acquired in its common schools, was supplemented by study in the Union High School of Cambridge, Ohio, and in the Mclntyre Institute in Zanesville, Ohio. He displayed special aptitude in the schoolroom, and in those various institutions of learning was regarded as one of the best students. At the age of eighteen he began teaching, and has followed the profession continuously since. For some time he was employed as a teacher in the district schools, but at length came to Henderson County, Ill., in 1871, and secured a position as teacher in the graded schools in Biggsville, where he remained for three years. After teaching two years at Olena, he accepted a position in Oquawka, where he continued for eight years. He has taught for eleven years in the graded schools, for nine years in the district schools, and for nine years he filled the office of County Superintendent. To that position he was elected in 1877, serving for five years. In 1886 he was re-elected for the regular term of four years, and was in charge of the schools of Henderson County until 1890. At this writing, he is a member of the Village Board of Trustees.

On the 3d of August, 1871, Mr. Akin was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth E. Arthur, daughter of Samuel and Orpha (Callahan) Arthur. Four children were born to them, of whom two died in infancy. Orlando H., a teacher, and James L., are still with their parents. The elder early manifested considerable literary taste and ability. At the age of fourteen, he wrote stories, which were published in the local press, and attributed by the public to older persons. Mr. Akin is a warm advocate of Republican principles, and has supported that party since casting his first Presidential vote for Gen. U. S. Grant, in 1868. Socially, he is a member of Tranquil Lodge No. 193, I. O. O. F., and of Oquawka Camp No. 1037, M. W. A. Himself and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and are highly respected citizens of this community. Mr. Akin has a wide reputation as a teacher, having been most successful in his choice of vocation.