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John Birdsall

From Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois edited by Newton Bateman, LL.D and Paul Selby, A.M. and History of Warren County edited by Hugh R. Moffet and Thomas H. Rogers. Vol. II. Illustrated. Munsell Publishing Company, Publishers. Chicago. 1903

Although this is from the Warren County Historical Encyclopedia, I am adding it here as John Birdsall was one of my grandfathers up the line and he lived near Biggsville most of his life. He is buried and his Grave Marker picture is on the Salters Grove Cemetery page.

Birdsall, John. Retired farmer of Smithshire, Warren County, is one who well deserves an interval of rest between the activities of mature life, in which he has displayed manly qualities of a high order. Mr. Birdsall was born in Oxford, Oxford County, Canada West, March 28, 1832, and secured his education in the district school. He is a son of John and Letitia (Fowler) Birdsall, both natives of Westchester County, New York, and early settlers of the Oxford County, Canada West. They remained in that country some eighteen years, accumulating considerable property, and coming to Illinois in 1838.

The elder Mr. Birdsall bought a half section of land in Henderson County, where he died in 1862. His wife was taken ill with typhoid fever while on the way west, and died in Joliet. The journey from Canada was made with wagons and took four months for its completion.

John Birdsall began for himself very early in life, working at first for twenty-five cents a day and then receiving eight dollars a month. He was industrious and economical, and presently came somewhat fore-handed. His first marraige occurred March 6, 1856, prior to which he had already bought a farm and erected a house. He worked steadily and intelligently at farming and stock-raising for many years, until his retirement to Smithshire in 1892. He owns at the present time about 350 acres of land, and is Vice-President of the Smithshire Bank, of which he was one of the organizers in 1895.

The first Mrs. Birdsall died November 28, 1892, being the mother of six children: Alfred C., Catherine C., Charles C., Frank, Dudley and Jennie. Charles is Supervisor of the town of Ellison; Dudley hs been Deputy County Clerk of Warren County since 1894; James lives in Victor, Colo. Mrs. Birdsall was Abigail N.,the daughter of John H. and Letitia (Fowler) Wentworth. Her father, who was born in Vermont, was one of the first settlers of Knox County. Late in life he removed to Bates County, Mo., where he died. He was a cousin of John Wentworth, long prominent citizen and at one time Mayor of Chicago, and a grandson of Governor Wentworth, of Vermont.

Mr. Birsall was married October 1, 1896 to Mary A. (Johnston) Boyd, who was born in York County, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Joseph and Annis (Watt) Johnston. Her parents were born in Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in 1850. They always lived in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Birdsall's first husband, John R. Boyd died August 29, 1881. Frank Birdsall is a farmer on the homestaead where John Birdsall settled in 1853.