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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Charles Miner

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


CHARLES MINER, one of the oldest settlers of Hensley township, was born in Fayette county, Kentucky, on the 29th of March, 1808. His father, Rufus MINER, was a native of Connecticut, came to the state of Kentucky in 1799, and married Betsey WHITE who was born in Virginia and came to Kentucky in 1794. Charles Miner was the second of fourteen children. His father moved from Kentucky to Ohio in 1811, and was one of the pioneer settlers of Highland county, where the subject of this sketch was chiefly raised.

His parents were persons of fair intelligence, and to them Mr. Miner is indebted for his education. While spinning at the old-fashioned spinning wheel, his mother taught her son the rudiments of the common English branches, which lessons his father continued at night by the light of a hickory bark fire. Even tallow candles were scarce, and the lamps of the present day were entirely unknown. Three weeks schooling in a log school-house comprised all the instruction he ever had the advantage of, except what he received from his father and mother. When nineteen years of age he went to Hamilton county, Ohio, near Cincinnati, where he lived four years. While here he worked by the month, at first receiving only eight dollars for his services, and made occasional trips as a hand on a flat-boat, down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, disposing of the produce with which the boat was laden either in that city or at the plantations along the river. He also spent two or three seasons in Louisiana chopping cord wood for the steamboats.

In the year 1837 he removed to Vigo county, Indiana, and purchased a small farm eleven miles north of Terre Haute, with the little money he had previously saved. He was married in April 1839 to Asenath MALLORY; her death occurred in l846. He was married again in 1847 to Mrs. Charlotte HAYDEN of Vigo county; she died in August, 1849. His third marriage took place in April, 1850, to Eunice FRANKLIN; she was born in Vigo county, Indiana, on the 17th of August, 1823; and her father, Thomas FRANKLIN, was a native of the state of New York, and her mother of New Jersey.

He came to Illinois in 1849, and entered land in sections 19 and 20, township 20, range 8, with Mexican land warrants, the land thus costing him about eighty-three cents an acre. At that date, that part of the county was thinly settled, and few improvements had been made. Between his house and Champaign there only stood one residence, and it was possible to strike out across the prairie in any direction, without being interrupted by farms or improvements; on the south, Sadorus was his nearest neighbor. Eleven of his fifteen children are now living: Annie, wife of William L. KEMP now living in Nebraska; Elizabeth, who married Levi CHAMBERS, and is now also living in Nebraska; Frank, Thomas, Ellen, Charles, Daniel, Monroe, Grant, John and Seth. The eight last mentioned are children by his present wife.

His oldest son, Rufus MINER, enlisted in company I, 25th regiment, Illinois Volunteers, in 1861, the first year of the war of the recent rebellion. He served first in Missouri and Arkansas, and afterward with the army of the Cumberland. He took part in the battles of Pea Ridge, Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and in every battle, carried himself like a true man, and a brave soldier. In the battle he was shot in the arm and hip, and after suffering severely from these wounds seven months, his removal home was attempted, and not being able to be carried entirely home, he died at the Duane House in Champaign, April 11th, 1864, and was buried from the farm.

Mr. Miner first voted for Henry Clay, for President, and afterward became a Republican. After the organization of Hensley township, he was elected Justice of the Peace, and has held that office ever since, excepting one year when from some misunderstanding an election was not held.

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