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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John S. Busey

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


JOHN S. BUSEY - Second son of Col. Matthew Busey, was born in Putnam county, Indiana, on the 16th day of June, 1827, and emigrated with his father from Indiana to this county, April 6th, 1836. From that time until 1845, he was engaged in farming, when he traveled for two years, visiting various places in the South, West and Northwest. Returning home, he again engaged in farming, until after his father's death, whch occurred in 1854, when he took charge of the farm in the spring of 1856. John S. Busey married Miss Caroline SNYDER, daughter of Dr. SNYDER, of Urbana, and settled on Sec. 14, Town 19, Range 9, E., and improved it. The farm is now within the corporate limits of Champaign. He remained there until a few years ago, when he removed to Sec. 31, Town 19, Range 9, E., and at present, still resides there. He is also at present, and has been for the past three years engaged in the sale of agricultural implements, or rather has had charge of the Farmers' Co-operative Association in the capacity of president of this society. Mr. Busey is at present Independent in politics. He may be termed a thorough independent in the true sense, as he has always had sufficient independence of mind and character on all occasions to vote and act for principle rather than for party. In 1868, he cut loose from all the trammels of party organization, as he thought that neither of the parties then in existence reflected the views or represented the wishes of the great West, and as intimated, he has occupied since that time, or, up until the organization of the Independent party, a neutral position, so far as regards the tenets and teachings of the Democratic and Republican parties. He, however, in early life, and up to 1868, voted with the Democratic party, and cast his first vote for Lewis Cass, in 1848. He was a firm believer in the tenets and principles then taught, but when he saw that party depart from its well-grounded principles of right and refuse to recognise the wants of the masses, he cut loose from that organization. Mr. Busey was one of the pioneers in the Independent Greenback party, and in the short space of ten years has lived to see both Democratic and Republican parties adopt, one after another, the ideas and principles as promulgated by those original believers in them, that the best government is that which legislates in the interest of the masses and not in favor of the few. And he hopes to see, at no distant day in the future, the party of his youth and first choice, come back and become, as they were before the era of class legislation set in, a party that he can again co-operate with as in times gone by. In 1862, he was chosen as candidate for Representative to the State Legislature, and was elected after one of the most hotly contested elections ever held in the district. The district then composed the counties of Champaign, Piatt, Moultrie and Macon. The district was, at that time, over 1,000 Republican. Mr. Busey's success in the face of such odds, and against Col. Coler, a man who had just returned from the tented field, with the laurels of victory still fresh on his brow, attests to his popularity, and shows the high favor in which he was held by his fellow citizens. While a member of the Legislature, he voted to accept the land grant for the establishment of agricultural schools by the State, and was particularly active during that session and the following one in 1865 and '67, in locating it in this county. What may seem strange at this day, is that Mr. John S. Busey and his father, Col. M. W. Busey, were the only two Democratic representatives to the Legislature from this district up until the minority plan of representative was adopted. Mr. Busey is one of the pioneers of this section. When he came here the county was comparatively a wilderness - open prairie land. He has lived to see the county grow from a few hundred citizens to a county that ranks in population and prominence, as the sixth county in the State. In summing up Mr. Busey's history, he may be regarded as a representative type of western man. He is thoroughly imbued with the spirit of western enterprise and push. Strong and emphatic in opinion, when once he has made up his mind, he is the last to abandon an idea of what he deems to be right. Strictly honest and upright in his character, he has made friends who are as numerous as his acquaintance is extensive. Mr. Busey is now in the prime of life, and many days of usefulness are yet in store for him. And we trust that his claims will ere long be again recognized as they have in the past, and that he will be called from his retirement to take a position in the councils of the State, where his ability and well known probity and character peculiarly fit him.

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