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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 S. BALTZELL, who for the past two years has been telegraph operator at Percy, has the honor of being a native of Illinois, his birth having occurred in Union County, July 11, 1860. He is the youngest child of John and Rapsy (Lewis) Baltzell. His father was a native of Maryland, and when quite young came to this state with his parents, the family locating in Jonesboro, Ill. The grandfather of our subject, Henry Baltzell, spent his remaining days in this state, and died near Grand Tower. The father carried on a supply store and wood yard on the river near Grand Tower until the great overflow in 1844, when he began school teaching, which profession he followed until his death, which occurred January 1, 1860, a few months before the birth of our subject. Mrs. Baltzell is still living, and has reached the advanced age of seventy-two. She makes her home in Belleville, Ill.

Mr. Baltzell of this sketch received his primary education near Cobden, Union County, Ill., and subsequently attended school in Alto Pass, Ill., for two terms, alternating his studies with farm work in that community. At the age of sixteen he began learning telegraphy in Jonesboro, and has since devoted the greater part of his time and attention to that work. After studying for seven months he started out to seek a position, and going to the south secured employment in Little Rock, Ark. He went from that place to Bismarck, Mo., and thence returned to Alto Pass, Ill. Later he was employed in the general office of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad at St. Louis, Mo., and on leaving the city he went to Millstadt. We next find him in Percy, where he continued telegraph operating until his removal to Cairo, Ill. On leaving that place he again went south, locating in Union City, Tenn., whence he returned to Columbia, Ill. He afterward was again employed in the general office in St. Louis, and later in O’Kean and Olyphant, Ark. A short time was then spent in McNeil, Mo., after which he returned home on a visit and then located in Baldwin, Ill. After being employed as operator in Blackwater, Mo., for a period of four years he then again returned to Baldwin, later he was employed in Alto Pass, and thence came to Percy, where he has now been located for the past two years.

In 1888 Mr. Baltzell was united in marriage with Miss Alice Brown, of Percy, a daughter of David and Elizabeth (Harmon) Brown. Their union has been blessed with two children, Homer and Ethel, who are with their parents. Mrs. Baltzell is a member of the Methodist Church, and is a most estimable lady, who is held in high regard throughout the community in which she makes her home.

Mr. Baltzell holds membership with Blackwater Lodge No. 127, I. O. O. F., of Blackwater, Mo., has filled all of its offices, and is now Past Grand. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, but is busily employed in his profession and has never aspired to public office. He thoroughly understands his business and is recognized as an able operator. In Percy and throughout the community he has many warm friends who esteem him highly for his sterling worth.

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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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