This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was submitted by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John L. Cailey

SOURCE: "The Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois," The S. J. Clarke Publishing company, Chicago, 1900


JOHN L. CAILEY. Loyal American citizens never weary of hearing the praises of the brave soldier-boys whose valor saved the Union at the time of its greatest peril, and if for nothing else than his fine army record, the name of John L. Cailey is thrice worthy of being handed down to posterity. But his entire life has been sincere and upright, filled with deeds of kindness and helpfulness to all with whom he has been associated, and he possesses the esteem of everyone.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, George W. CAILEY, was a native of Pennsylvania, whence he removed to Ohio in the early part of this century, and in that state he died while the Civil war was in progress. His son, George W., Jr., father of our subject, was born in Highland county, Ohio, and there passed his youth. He learned the trade of a cabinet maker, and for a number of years prior to his death lived in Ross county, Ohio, where he married Eliza J. Parrott, a native of that section of the state. They became the parents of three children, namely: Mary E., who wedded Garrett GULICK, of Champaign, and died in Garden City, Kansas, in 1891; Fred G., who enlisted in the Fifty-first Illinois Infantry during the war of the Rebellion, and died at Bowling Green, Kentucky, while in the service; and John L., who was an infant of four months when his father died. The mother subsequently became the wife of David CLOUSEN, and in 1854 they removed to a farm near Mahomet, on the Sangamon river. Their four children have grown to maturity, and are living in the west, and the mother died in 1857.

John L. Cailey was born near Lyndon, Ohio, April 15, 1842, and was reared by his maternal grandfather, who became a resident of this county in 1858. He located on section 30, Homer (now Ogden) township, and became quite an influential citizen there, owning four hundred acres of fine farm lands at one time. He died, as he had lived, loved and honored by all, having reached the age of three score and ten at the date of his death, in the summer of 1865. For several years our subject had taken much of the care of Mr. Parrott’s property, and under his whose direction, had mastered the details of agriculture and general business. He had been trained in the duties of citizenship and had received a liberal education.

While the clouds of war were gathering, Mr. Cailey eagerly watched the progress of events, and when the President’s first call came for men ready to battle for their country, he responded at once, but, the quota being filled ere his name was reached, he was not mustered into the service. When the next opportunity presented itself, however, he was ready, and on June 16, 1861, he became a member of Company C, Twenty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and for three years, three months and five days he served in the First Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps. During that time he shared the fortunes of his regiment, bravely and efficiently performing his duties, and participating in the innumerable hardships and privations which our brave Union boys knew in that terrible strife. Before the fall of Atlanta, on August 4, 1864, the commander of his brigade, General W. H. Gibson, addressed the gallant Twenty-fifth in the following words: "Men and soldiers of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, as your time of three years service has expired, and you are about to proceed to your state to be mustered out, it is proper and fitting that your commander should express to you each and all his earnest thanks for the cheerful manner with which, during the present campaign, you have submitted to every hardship, overcome every difficulty, and for the magnificent heroism with which you have met and vanquished the foe. Your deportment in camp has been worthy of true soldiers, while your conduct in battle has excited the admiration of your companions in arms. Patriotic thousands and a noble state will give you a reception worthy of your sacrifices and valor. You have done your duty well. The men who rallied under the starry emblem of our nation at Pea Ridge, Corinth, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Noonday Creek, Pine Top Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahooche, Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta have made history for all time and for coming generations to admire. Officers and soldiers, farewell. May God guarantee to each health, happiness and usefulness in coming life, and may our country soon emerge from the gloom and blood that now enshrouds it, and again enter upon a career of peace, progress and prosperity."

Returning home from the southern battlefields, Mr. Cailey resumed the care of his grandfather’s homestead, and remained there until the spring of 1877, when he purchased seventy acres situated in section 24, St. Joseph township. There he dwelt for nineteen years, at the expiration of that period going to Gray county, Kansas, where, as formerly, he devoted his attention to agriculture. Becoming well known and honored, he was elected and served as clerk of the district court of Gray county for three years. In 1891 he went to the vicinity of Fort Ridgeley, Brown county, Minnesota, and in 1893 he returned to Champaign county. For the past five he has been clerk of the village, and in 1897 he as elected justice of the peace, which office he has held ever since. Always a stanch friend of education, he has often acted as a member of school boards and has been a trustee as well. Politically, he is an ardent Republican. Fraternally, he is an honored member of St. Joseph Post, G.A.R., which he aided in organizing. Of the twenty-seven charter members only three have answered to the final roll-call. For several years he was adjutant of the post and was its second commander. In his religious belief he is a Christian or Disciple, and has been a deacon and elder in the congregation, besides serving as clerk of the official board.

The marriage of Mr. Cailey and Mary M. PATTERSON was solemnized on New year’s day, 1865. She was a daughter of John K. and Catherine PATTERSON, who were natives of Ohio and Kentucky, respectively. The father was one of the earliest settlers of this township, as he came here in the ‘30s, and here Mrs. Cailey was born, April 27, 1839. Of the six children born to our subject and his wife, three survive, namely: J. F., now employed as a telegraph operator at Tolono, Illinois; Maggie, wife of C. C. CURRENT, of Brown county, Minnesota; and Florence, who lives with her father. The mother departed this life on the forty-second anniversary of her birth, in 1881. On the 27th of September, 1882, Mr. Cailey married Mrs. Martha HARMAN, widow of James M. Harman, and daughter of James and Mary CURRENT. She was born in Henry county, Indiana, February 5, 1841, and was summoned to the silent land September 7 1897.

Return to Links Page

Return to Main Page