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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Jesse Meharry

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

SURNAMES: DAVIDSON, FRANCIS, MEHARRY, PATTON


JESSE MEHARRY. One of the leading farmers of Champaign county was born in Montgomery county Indiana, October 9, 1835, and is the fourth child of Thomas and Emily (PATTON) MEHARRY, who had a family of seven children, all of whom are living. Thomas Meharry was a native of Adams Co., Ohio, born April 27, 1799. It is here proper that we should make some mention of his father, Alexander MEHARRY; (the grandfather of Jesse).

The ancestors of Alexander Meharry were driven from Scotland during the persecution of Protestants in the reign of queen Mary, and settled and became free-holders in the county Cavan, Ireland; Alexander Meharry and Jane FRANCIS were married in the spring of 1794, and in May l794 they emigrated to the United States of America, and landed in New York after a passage of thirteen weeks. From New York they went to Philadelphia, and from there to New London, Chester county, Pennsylvania, where they remained until the following spring, and then moved to Connellsville, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, at which place they loaned their money to a merchant friend who failed in business, and they were compelled to take goods out of his store in payment, at an exorbitant price. With these goods and all their effects they started for the far west in a family flat boat on the Youghiogheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers, and landed at Manchester, Ohio, April 28th, 1798, and soon thereafter they bought timber land and settled on it. That part of the country on the north side of the Ohio river was then nearly an unbroken wilderness.

Alexander Meharry was killed by the falling of an oak tree on the 21st day of June, 1813, while returning home on horseback from camp-meeting on a calm clear day, while riding along together with a friend: he left a family of seven boys, the eldest fifteen years old, and one daughter, all of whom are still living but three. His widow lived to see all her children married and well settled in life, and died at a good old age in the year 1842.

Thomas MEHARRY (the father of Jesse) was married in December, 1827, to Emily PATTON, the daughter of Robert PATTON, who was a native of Delaware and when he grew up moved to Virginia. The Pattons were of English and Welsh ancestry. Shortly after their marriage Mr. Meharry and wife settled in Montgornery Co., Indiana, where he became a very successful farmer. During the years of 1853 and 55, he entered a large body of land in the counties of Champaign, Shelby, and McLean; most of these lands are now being occupied and improved by his children. He died at his home in Indiana January 29, 1874. His widow still survives, now at the advanced age of seventy-six.

Jesse Meharry received his primary education in the common schools. Being desirous of a more thorough culture, he became a student for a time at Asbury University, Greencastle, Indiana. After leaving college, he continued for a time assisting his father in carrying on the farm. He came to Illinois on a prospecting trip in 1863; and made a permanent settlement where he now resides, on the 14th of May, 1865; he has continued to add to the original tract until now his farm numbers 960 acres in a body. He was married February 27, 1873 to Miss Addie FRANCIS, daughter of Abraham and Mary A. FRANCIS, of Will County, Ill. Mr. Francis was a native of Ireland, emigrated with his parents to Adams county, Ohio, where he grew up and married Miss M. A. J. DAVIDSON, of Brown county, Ohio, subsequently settled in Will county, Illinois, where he turned his attention to farming. His death occurred November 1862. His widow is still living.

Mr. Meharry and wife have been blessed with one son, Jesss Erle MEHARRY, born December 21, 1876. In politics Mr. Meharry is a Republican. He has represented his township as a member of the board of supervisors five terms. In Mr. Meharry we have a gentleman who, since his residence here, has been prominently identified with the agricultural interests of his county. A view of his farm and residence may be seen elsewhere in this work.


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