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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Joseph Maxwell

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


JOSEPH MAXWELL. Amongst the most successful agriculturalists and sterling citizens of his county is Joseph Maxwell. He is the seventh child of Jonathan and Joanna (STERLING) MAXWELL, and was born May 16th, 1824 in Bartholomew county, Indiana. His father was born in North Carolina and his mother in Virginia, and were among the earliest settlers of Champaign county. Their son Joseph was six years of age at that time, and his entire life with but a slight intermission has been spent here. During his youth, owing to the almost total absence of school, he enjoyed few advantages, and his time was principally spent in working upon the farm.

When twenty years of age he commenced life for himself and engaged in farming, at which he continued several years, and was also engaged with his brother in the copper distilling business, in which last, not meeting with success, he abandoned it. He then purchased a farm of one hundred acres, where his homestead now is, and immediately set to work improving it. He married on September 8th, 1852, Miss Rosanna HYDE, daughter of Samuel HYDE, who was a native of Vermont; she was born in Vigo county, Indiana; her parents removed to Illinois in 1844. By this union they have had eleven children, eight of whom are now living, as follows: George F., Charles H., Jephtha E., Sarah M., Mary S., Julia O., Joseph R., and Joanna. Prior to 1856 Mr. Maxwell was a democrat, when he changed his political views, and has since been a staunch republican. During the civil war he was a warm supporter of the Union cause; indeed with his lineage he could scarcely be otherwise, as his grandfather, Elisha MAXWELL, was in active service during the entire war of the Revolution. In 1850 he determined to go to the gold fields of the west, and immediately put the project into execution, and upon his arrival in California he had but fifty cents left with which to commence operations, but he had plenty of` pluck and determination, and after a residence of two years, undergoing all the hardships and privations of a frontier life he returned home, having been moderately successful. He is a man who deserves and receives great credit for what he has accomplished. His life has been a successful one. Starting in life as he did with but a bare pittance scarcely more than one hundred dollars, he has by his force of character and determination risen to an enviable position among his fellow-men. After his return from California he returned to his favorite occupation of agriculture, which he has ever since continued to follow, and is now one of the largest and most progressive farmers in his section. He deservedly ranks as one of the best citizens of the community, and one who, by his strict sense of probity and honor, has won the position for himself. To his children he will leave not only the substantial evidences of his success, but the better heritage of an honorable name.

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