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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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JESSE H. De SPAIN. All loyal Americans will agree that the old soldiers who sacrificed home comforts, endured hardships and braved dangers during the days of the nation’s peril are deserving of remembrance. The historian cannot detail the lives spent on the tented field, but he can mention the chief events by which the gallant soldier secured victory, too often, alas, at the price of manly vigor and missing limbs. Were it for no other reasons than for his army life we should be glad to present to our readers an outline of the history of Jesse De Spain, a worthy farmer of Randolph County, now living in township 5, range 7.

Mr. De Spain was born in Green County, Ky., September 13, 1842, and is the son of Silas and Abigail (Edwards) De Spain. The father, who was also born in the Blue Grass State, died in the above county in 1857, while the mother of our subject departed this life in 1851. Silas De Spain was in early life a farmer, and later became a merchant, which was his occupation for ten years in Green County. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Peter De Spain, of English descent, while his mother’s father bore the name of Hugh Edwards.

Our subject passed the first eighteen years of his life in Green County, Ky., where he received a limited education, and on coming to Randolph County, in March, 1865, hired out to work by the month for Judge Thompson. Later, having saved his earnings, he operated a farm, which he rented until his marriage with Miss Agnes Crozier in 1867. The lady was born in Randolph County, and soon after her marriage removed with her husband upon their forty-acre farm, which was located one mile east of Preston, and which forms a part of his present fine estate. Mrs. Agnes De Spain bore her husband two children, and departed this life in 1873. Edward H. is residing in this township, and Abigail is the wife of Henry Redpath. The lady to whom our subject was married in 1877 was known as Miss Ellen J. Bratney, and to them have been born four children: Laura, Leroy, James B. and Bessie E.

In 1861 Mr. De Spain enlisted in the Union army, becoming a private in Company H, Thirteenth Kentucky Infantry, and took part in the battles of Shiloh, East Tennessee, Buzzard’s Roost, Harper’s Ferry, Campbell Station, Atlanta (Ga.), Louisville (Ky.) and Corinth (Miss.). He remained in the latter place for about four weeks on account of sickness, when, receiving his honorable discharge, January 12, 1865, he returned home with his health greatly impaired. He has never regained his strength, and is unable to do any hard manual labor. As a reward of meritorious conduct he was promoted from the ranks to the position of Corporal, then Second Sergeant, later First Sergeant, and was First Lieutenant in command of the company at the time of his discharge.

By hard work and economy Mr. De Spain has accumulated a handsome property, being the proprietor of three hundred and fifty acres of valuable land in township 5, range 7. He still has his farm under his management, though he does but little hard work himself, and he and his good wife are living in peace and contentment, enjoying the fruits of their united labors. Mr. De Spain has so conducted himself in both public and private life as to honor the citizenship of this place, and has borne an important part in its civil life. He has held the office of Highway Commissioner for many years, and, although on two occasions appointed Justice of the Peace, declined to accept the office. For twenty-four years he has served as School Director in this district. He cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, and has always stood stanchly by the Republican party. For twelve years he was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, but having been reared in the faith of the Missionary Baptists, he still maintains a preference for that denomination.

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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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