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Wesley Milliken

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.

WESLEY MILLIKEN, who resides on section 33, Media Township, is numbered among the leading farmers and stock-raisers of Henderson County. He owns and operates a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which is under a high state of cultivation. The fields are well tilled, and all the improvements upon the place stand as monuments to the enterprise and progressive spirit of the owner.

Mr. Milliken was born in Dearborn County, Ind., near Manchester, on the 21st of October, 1827, and is one of thirteen children whose parents were James P. and Priscilla P. (Noyes) Milliken. The father was a native of Maine, born October 16, 1803. In 1817 he emigrated to Indiana, and in 1841 he was elected as Representative to the General Assembly of that State. When his term had expired he was elected State Senator, and served for six years in that office. During his term a prohibitory liquor law was passed, and Mr. Milliken took an active part in securing the passage of the measure. Upon his return home his many friends in Dearborn County presented him with a silver cup as a testimonial of his services. In 1852 he was the Free-Soil candidate for Lieutenant-Governor. He was an active anti-slavery man, and possessed the courage of his convictions.

When he became a resident of Missouri, he incurred the displeasure of the slave holders and their friends by distributing anti-slavery literature. This led to threats of mobbing, and his life was in danger during his residence in that State. The family urged him to remove from that place, and they became residents of Iowa. When the war broke out, he enlisted in the Thirtieth Iowa Regiment, and was mortally wounded, May 22, 1863, before Vicksburg, dying the next morning. At that time hewas in command of the regiment. Mr. Milliken was a popular man among his friends, and possessed great influence. Of his eight sons and five daughters, only five beside our subject are living: James M., a farmer and carpenter residing in Scotland County, Mo.; Martha N., widow of Tyler Morris, and a resident of Scotland County, Mo.; Noyes, the proprietor of a bakery in Topeka, Kan.; Mary E., wife of Amos R. Lightfoot, a farmer of Scotland County, Mo.; and Thomas D., an agriculturist of the same community.

On the old home farm in the State of his nativity, Mr. Milliken spent his childhood days, and attended the subscription schools of the neighborhood, which were held in a log schoolhouse a mile from his home. He there conned his lessons at various intervals until eighteen years of age, but seldom found it possible to attend during the summer months, as his services were needed on the home farm. At the age of twenty-one he began earning his own livelihood, working on a farm by the day or month. Thus he was employed until he had a sufficient sum of money to make a payment, securing to himself one hundred and eleven acres of partially improved land. To the further development and cultivation of that tract he devoted his energies for three years, and then sold, buying another farm, upon which he lived until 1858. In that year he again sold out, and, removing to Missouri, bought one hundred and twenty acres of land near Kirksville, where he made his home until the summer of 1861. Then again his place of residence was changed, and he bought a farm of one hundred and forty acres in Davis County, Iowa, where he continued to live until the spring of 1865.

On the 29th of May, 1849, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Milliken and Miss Catherine Powell. To them have been born eleven children: Jefferson B., a farmer of Media Township: Caroline A., wife of George W. Henry, a farmer of Warren County, Ill.; Zennette J., wife of William Broom, an agriculturist of Fulton County, Ill.; James, a farmer of Henderson County; ManGrace; Greeley; Albertie; one who died in infancy; and Orville K., Wade C. and Ellsworth. The three last-named are also deceased.

In the spring of 1865 Mr. Milliken came to Henderson County, and purchased the farm on which he now resides. He has altogether one hundred and seventy acres of land, constituting a valuable property. In polities, he has always been a supporter of the Republican party, and has been honored with several local offices, having served as Township Trustee, Road Supervisor and School Director. He has ever discharged his duties with promptness and fidelity, and has thus won the commendation of all concerned. His life has been a busy and useful one, and, as the result of his untiring labor and well-directed efforts, it has also been a prosperous one.