This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Judy Simpson. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of John E. Oldham

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


JOHN E. OLDHAM was born in Ross county, Ohio, May 24th, 1834. His father, John G. OLDHAM, removed to that part of Ohio at an early day, where he engaged in stock raising, shipping his cattle to New York and other eastern cities, and continued in that business until the time of his death, which occurred in 1855. In the year ___ he married Miss Annie WARNER, of the same place, by whom he had ten children, six boys and four girls; eight of whom are still living.

The father belonged to the old Whig party. He was an abolitionist of the deepest dye. He was connected with the management of the under-ground railroad, giving aid and comfort to the slave in his flight from servitude, and the cruel lash wielded by the hand of a still more cruel taskmaster.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Oldham married Caleb Williams, of Madison county, Indiana, in the year ___ and in the year 1864 removed, to this county, and settled about two miles east of Urbana, where she still resides, a hale and hearty old lady at the advanced age of.three- score and ten years.

John E., the subject of this sketch, assisted his father in the stock business until 1852, when as clerk, he entered the mercantile business in C. Selma, Clark county, Ohio, and continued in that capacity until 1856, when he embarked in the dry goods business for himself in Fishersburg, Madison county, Indiana, and in which he continued until the year 1864, when he sold out and removed to this county, where he went into the same business with John Gere. He afterwards embarked in the mercantile business for himself, which he carried on in connection with other enterprises until 1874, when he received the appointment of deputy sheriff, under J. D. Johnson which position he has held until the present time.

The Republican party, of which he has been a member ever since its organization, and with which he is most heartily in sympathy, in recognition of his long, and tried fidelity to its principles, and of his fitness for the offices whose duties as deputy he has so well, and acceptably for the past four years assisted to discharge, nominated him at their county convention, held a few months since, by acclamation as candidate for the office of Sheriff of this county. He cast his first vote for Fremont, in 1856.

During his life, from the age of thirteen to that of eighteen, he enjoyed all the advantages afforded by the common school system of Ohio, and in addition attended Green Mount College, Richmond, Indiana, from which institution he graduated after a four years' term, at the age of eighteen years.

Levi OLDHAM, the eldest son, died in Green county, Ohio, in 1866. Jane, eldest daughter, married Isaac DOWNS, and now resides a few miles east of Urbana, in this county. Massy, the second daughter, married Stephen G. WILLIAMS of Madison county, Indiana, and now resides near Urbana, this county. Margaret, the third daughter, married COCKAYNE, of Madison county, Indiana. Abner W., the third son, married Barbers STEPHENS, of the same county, Indiana, and resides at the same place, farming. Joseph W., married a Miss Georgia McDONALD, of this city; as also did James G. — Bell McDONALD.

The parents of Mr. Oldham, were quakers or friends, and as such took a deep interest and active part in the affairs of the church.

Simon W., the fifth child, married a Miss DEAN, of Xenia, Ohio, and still lives there engaged in farming. Elizabeth, the sixth child, married Robt. LUKENS, of Madison county, and still Mr. Oldham is yet comparatively a young man in the prime of life, and vigor of manhood, whose sun has not yet reached its zenith. A man of exemplary life, and temperate habits, a warm friend, a genial companion, a worthy citizen and one who has won the esteem, and confidence of his fellow- citizens. There is one trait in connection with other qualities that he possesses, that points to a successful life as unerringly as the needle to the North pole, and that as a magnet, has attached to him a host of warm and faithful friends. We refer to his social qualities.

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