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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 B. BRATNEY, Postmaster at Preston, Randolph County, is also acting as agent for the sale of wagons, buggies and sewing machines. He is a native born citizen of this county, a son of one of its honored residents, and owns and superintends the management of his farm of two hundred and twenty-one acres, which is located one mile from Preston.

Our subject was born one mile from where he is at present residing, February 25, 1827, and is the son of Joseph and Elenor (Beatty) Bratney. The father, who was born in Tennessee, came to this state about 1818, where he purchased land from the Government at $1.25 per acre. Finally making his way to Randolph County, he built a sawmill near this place, which he operated for several years with indifferent success. Then moving upon his farm, he cleared and improved it, and was engaged in its operation for some time. Afterward he settled in Preston (which was in that early day known as Pollock), and engaged in the mercantile business. Later, however, he opened a tanning establishment in Evansville, and was engaged in that branch of business at the time of his decease, in the winter of 1849. He was a very enterprising citizen and never lost an opportunity to advance the welfare of his township materially or socially.

Our subject has one brother living of a family of three sons and one daughter. He received his education in a primitive log schoolhouse, which was the best that the locality afforded. It was situated in the woods and bore little resemblance to the convenient and comfortable school buildings of today. Our subject and his brother, Newton, were taken into the home of their maternal uncle in childhood. John B. remained with this relative until starting out in life for himself. A short time prior to attaining his majority, he went to New Orleans, and on his return north came again to this county, which has since been his home. During the Mexican War he joined a volunteer company, but as their services were not needed he did not go to war.

In 1850 Mr. Bratney was united in marriage with Miss Mary Jane Crozier, who was also born in this county and reared on a farm, one mile from the birthplace of our subject. After their marriage the young people moved upon the farm which had been left to Mr. Bratney by his father, and on which he had erected a comfortable residence. There he farmed until 1858, when he was appointed Postmaster at Preston. Moving into the village, he engaged in merchandising in connection with his official duties and there lived for twenty years. He has, however, held the office of Postmaster since his first appointment, during Buchanan’s administration, and is still the incumbent of that position. He has also been Justice of the Peace for two terms, was Trustee of the School Board, in which body he is now Clerk, and holds a similar position among the Road Commissioners. He cast his first Presidential vote for Zachary Taylor, and after the organization of the Republican party was a member of its ranks until 1892, when he joined the People’s party.

Mrs. Mary J. Bratney died eleven months after her marriage, and Miss Henrietta, the sister of our subject, kept house for him until her marriage with Alexander Mann, one of the old settlers of this county. She is now deceased. The lady whom our subject married in 1853 was Miss Margaret Thompson. She became the mother of a son, Theodore S., who resides in St. Louis. His mother died in Preston in October, 1864. The present wife of Mr. Bratney, with whom he was united in 1868, was Miss Mary W. Pollock, and to them has been born one daughter, Nettie F., now Mrs. W. A. Glore, of Steeleville.

Robert, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the War of the Revolution, and the father of Mr. Bratney served in the War of 1812, under General Jackson. The former with his wife is buried on the farm now owned by our subject. Robert Bratney, the brother of our subject, was shot and killed by his tenant, to whom he had rented his farm near Preston. He was a man of excellent character, and at the time of this sad affair was living in Sparta.

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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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