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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - David B. Stayton

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


DAVID B. STAYTON. Mr. Stayton is now the oldest settler in St. Joseph township. He was born in Mason county, Kentucky, June 3d, 1818. Almost all the schooling he ever received was in Kentucky, there being no schools after he came to Illinois, except at short periods through the winter. His father emigrated with the family to Illinois in the fall of 1830, and settled in St. Joseph township, Champaign county, on section 26. He there bought of Jonathan Cazzad for one hundred dollars forty acres of land and an improvement consisting of a small house built of peeled poles and covered with clap-boards, and ten acres of ground broken for cultivation. With the exception of Cazzad, only one other family, that of his father-in-law, Nicholas YOUNDT, had settled previously to the coming of the Staytons in St. Joseph township. Mr. Stayton lived there till he became of age. The first school he attended was established about three years after he came, and was held in the kitchen of William Peters' house. His father continued breaking up land on the prairie every year. He had a farm of 320 acres, one hundred of which were timber and the rest extended out on the prairie. His father died in 1854, and was buried in an old grave-yard on his own land---the first ever started in the township.

As Mr. Stayton remembers the country in his boyhood days, it was a complete wilderness. He was thirteen (13) years old when he came to the county, and his first play-mates were Indians. It was the custom for about five hundred Indians to come the last of October or the beginning of November, and camp on the east bank of the Salt Fork a little below where that stream is now crossed by the state road. One spring these Indians belted the sugar maples, which made the white settlers determine to drive them from the country. Accordingly three men and five boys proceeded to the Indian camp, and gave the red skins orders to leave for other parts, which were obeyed without a word, so completely had the white settlers control over them.

Mr. Stayton left home after he was twenty-one, and worked by the month for a man named David Cox in the Big Grove three miles north of Urbana. He returned home after six months, and, worked his father's farm on shares till 1848. December 28th, 1847, he married Sarah BARTLEY, daughter of Joseph BARTLEY, who settled in Vermilion county, Illinois, in the fall of 1830, and in the spring of 1832 in St. Joseph township, Champaign county. Mrs. Stayton was born April 2d, 1826. The spring of 1848 he moved to the place where he now lives, section 16 of St. Joseph township. He first bought 160 acres of school land at $2.00 an acre for the eighty on which his house stands, and $1.50 for the eighty west. He has since been farming and trading in stock, and now owns 6021/2 acres of land, lying in one body in sections 9, 16 and 21, and 60 acres of timber in sections 23 and 26. Mr. and Mrs. Stayton have four children living. Elizabeth, the only daughter, is the wife of John S. McELWEE; the others are Joseph H., David and William J. STAYTON. His oldest son, Amos G. STAYTON, died from injuries resulting from a fall from a horse in October, 1876. He was twenty-three years old at the time of his death.

Mr. Stayton was elected Supervisor of St. Joseph township in the spring of 1874, and discharged the duties of that position in a business-like and satisfactory manner. He has been Collector of St. Joseph township for twelve years, and for three years has been Assessor. He was first a Democrat in politics, and in 1844 voted for James K. Polk. He voted the Democratic ticket till 1860, when he cast his vote for Abraham Lincoln, and has since been a Republican. Mr. Stayton is a man who during his long residence in St. Joseph township has borne the reputation of a good citizen He has interested himself in public affairs, and the people of the township think that few men could discharge the duties of the office of Collector with so much general satisfaction. No man is better known in his part of the county, and no man better deserves the name of being a reliable citizen and an honest man.

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