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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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JAMES H. CONANT, a retired farmer making his home in the city of Chester, has been prominent in the public affairs of that place, and as a Union soldier well deserves representation in this volume. He is widely and favorably known throughout the community, and without doubt the record of his life will prove of interest to many of our readers. He is a native of this county, and his birth occurred January 13, 1828. His father, Nathan Conant, was born in Massachusetts in 1790, and his mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Hindman, was a native of Randolph County, Ill.

When a young man of thirty years the father of our subject emigrated to Illinois, and passed the remainder of his life on a farm near Chester, with the exception of a short time spent in teaching school in Perry County. He was a man of the strictest integrity and uprightness, and in his death, which occurred in 1875, the community lost one of its most honored citizens. Mrs. Conant is still living, and resides in Salina, Kan., at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

In his boyhood, James H. Conant was the recipient of ordinary school advantages, and his time was devoted principally to working on his father’s farm. When attaining mature years he launched out in life on his own account, and in connection with carrying on a farm followed the trade of a cooper, which he had learned. In 1862, the Civil War being in progress, he enlisted in Company A, Eightieth Illinois Infantry, and was mustered into service at Centralia. With his regiment he was sent to join the Army of the Cumberland, and was actively engaged in many battles throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. During an engagement at Vining Station, near Atlanta, he lost his right arm, which was shot and had to be amputated. Today he carries an empty sleeve as a memento of his life in the army.

Mr. Conant received an honorable discharge from the army in June, 1865, and returning to his home in this county, continued his farming operations for a number of years. He began life for himself without capital, but by perseverance and industry overcame the difficulties in his path and worked his way upward to success. Having acquired a handsome competency, which enabled him to retire from active work, in 1879 he moved into the city of Chester, where he is at present residing.

James H. Conant and Mrs. Elizabeth Maxwell, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Patton) Fleming, were united in marriage in November, 1873. The father of Mrs. Conant was a native of Scotland, and emigrated thence to the United States in 1840. Further facts concerning his life will be found in his biography, which appears on another page. Our subject and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. In politics he always votes with the Republican party.

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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 Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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