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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Alexander M. Ayres

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


JUDGE ALEXANDER M. AYRES. Was born in Washington county, Penn., on the 28th day of September, 1827. His parents, David and Nancy AYRES, were natives of the same State. 0n the father's side the ancestry is English, on the mother's Welsh and Scotch. The parents removed from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and settled in Richland county, about the year 1836, where they lived until the lime of their death, which occurred respectively in 1849 and 1865. There were six children in the family, of which the subject of our sketch was the eldest son. He remained upon the farm, engaged in cultivating the paternal acres until 1846, when at the age of nineteen years he entered the Vermilion Institute, located at Haysville, Ohio, where he took a literary and scientific course. He taught school, and attended the Institution until 1851, when he went to East Feliciana, Louisiana, where he taught school until the fall of 1852. While a resident of the later place he commenced the study of law, and in the fall of the same year returned to Ohio and settled in Mansfield, and entered the Law-office of I. J. Allen, where he continued his studies, and was admitted to practice to the Bar, on the 27th day of May, 1854, and commenced the practice of his profession. Prior to this time, however, he taught in the graded schools of the city. In the fall of 1855 he removed to Urbana, his present home. He returned to Ohio the same year, and married Miss Mary J. GLENN of Jeromeville, Ohio, on the 22d day of November, 1855, and returned with his young wife to his western home, and settled down to the practice of his profession. They have had six children only, four now living. Mary J., the eldest, died at the age of nineteen. Frank died at the age of six years. Laura L. S. Addie, Judson F., and Belle the youngest, are living, the sunshine and light of their home. We have followed down the course of the Judge's life, gathering up the main facts and incidents connected therewith. This now brings us down to the beginning of the war. Fort Sumter has been fired upon, our flag insulted, the laws and authority of our Government set at defiance, and the gauge of battle cast defiantly at our feet. The subject of our sketch, stirred by patriotic ardor, steps to the front, and is mustered in as Quartermaster into the 125th Regiment Ill. vols. The regiment was ordered into camp at Danville, Ill., from thence to Covington, Ky., and next to Louisville, where the regiment reported to Gen. Nelson, and was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. The regiment participated in the battles of Chaplin's Hill, Ky., August 8th, 1862, Chattanooga, Cumberland Gap, Knoxville, Chickamauga. It accompanied Gen. Sherman on his famous march to the sea, through Carlin to Columbia, from thence to Raleigh and to Richmond, Va., on to Washington, participating in the grand reunion, and from thence to Chicago, where, on the 29th day of June, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service. The Judge returned home and resumed his practice. The following November he was elected to the honorable position of County Judge, which office he held until 1869, when he was re-elected, and continued in office until 1873. On the 18th day of December, 1874, he was appointed Postmaster at Urbana, which position he holds at the present time. During all this time, however, he has not relinquished the practice of law. In politics the Judge is a Republican, and cast his first vote for Fremont, and for John Sherman for Congressman. Judge Ayres served also as Quartermaster of the Third Brigade, 2d Division, 14th Army Corps; and part of the time was Division Quartermaster. He was attached to General McCook's Staff, and remained in that position until the close of the war. The 125th was a part of the 3d Brigade, that was attached to Sherman's Army that marched to the sea, as above stated. The foregoing is a brief epitome of the life of Judge Ayres. The main points gathered up and chronologically arranged. He is an old citizen of Urbana and resident of Champaign county, having settled here in 1855. The Judge is a well-read lawyer, an excellent pleader, a clear logical reasoner. He is respected and esteemed by his fellow-citizens, for his sterling qualities of heart and head, and by them been frequently called to occupy positions of trust and responsibility. He is domestic in his habits, quiet and unassuming, a genial companion, and has a great many warm personal friends.

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