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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN M. CURLESS. Prominent among the prosperous agriculturists of Jackson County may be mentioned the name of Mr. Curless, a resident of section 25, Degognia Township, where he owns and operates a farm consisting of forty acres of rich bottom land. A man of enterprise and public spirit, the success which he has gained is the reward of merit and is justly deserved. The appearance of his farm is such as to indicate the thrift and energy of the proprietor, who in 1892 erected a commodious two-story residence. In this house he is now comfortably situated, and when everything is completed to his satisfaction, he will have one of the nicest homes in this locality.

Born in Indiana, December 13, 1839, our subject is a son of Job and Eliza (Lowe) Curless, natives respectively of New Jersey and Ohio, who prior to the year 1844 came to Jackson County, settling on Jones’ Ridge. There, when John M. was a child of about seven years, his father passed away and was buried on the farm near his late home. The mother was called from earth about seven years later, from which time our subject has been self-supporting. He was the next to the youngest in a family consisting of seven children. His schooling was limited to three months’ attendance in a subscription school in charge of Wilson Ray, a short time under the tutelage of his uncle, John Lowe, and about three months at Georgetown, where a Miss Durfee was the teacher.

Notwithstanding his few opportunities to attend school, Mr. Curless has acquired a good practical education, and is a well informed man. As a worker he cannot be excelled. It was his ambition in boyhood to give satisfaction to all who might employ him, and it is with credit to him that it may be said that he was never discharged by anyone for whom he worked. Neither was he ever arrested, nor at any time placed in the calaboose or guard house. On the other hand, he has been a law-abiding, peaceful and loyal citizen, one who is an honor to his community.

Since purchasing his first forty acres, Mr. Curless has added an eighty acre tract of timber land, which will be cleared and put under cultivation. Corn and potatoes are the principal crops raised on his farm, and these, with the raising of a good grade of hogs, constitute his money-making capital. During the Civil War he was one of the boys in blue who went to the front and aided in protecting the Union. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, Eightieth Illinois Infantry, and served until February of the following year, when he was discharged on account of disabilities. He volunteered to act in the artillery and served in that capacity at the battle of Perryville, Ky. Since that time he has suffered from heart trouble, which, fortunately, does not interfere seriously with his farming operations. From the war until recently, Mr. Curless was a stanch Democrat, but the events of the past year (1893) have convinced him that the Republicans are the only ones who can successfully conduct the affairs of the Government.

The first marriage of Mr. Curless occurred April 5, 1866, his wife being Lavina Franklin. On the 4th of November, 1889, he was united in marriage with Mrs. Sarah Evans, the widow of John Evans, who died in East Carondelet, Ill., in 1888. Mrs. Curless is the daughter of Mike and Penetty (Fisher) Olbert, natives of Jackson County. The mother died when Sarah was less than a year old, and the father passed away December 31, 1892. Unto the union of Mr. and Mrs. Curless two children have been born, Charlotte and French. By her former marriage Mrs. Curless has a son, James A. Evans, whose birth occurred July 4, 1887.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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