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Champaign County, Illinois
Biography of William C. Fisher
SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887
SURNAMES: BYERS, COYNER, FISHER, HENSLEY, LAWELL
WILLIAM C. FISHER, a well-known resident of Hensley Township, and one of the honored pioneers of Champaign County, came to this section of country while the greater part of the soil was uncultivated, and was among the first to turn the sod and mark out the path for a later civilization. He is a man possessed of uncommon energy of character, who lays his plans deliberately and seldom fails of execution. Consequently, when he had once decided to build up a permanent home in the Prairie State the result was only a question of time, and he was as confident that it would be carried out as that the sun shone. The fine homestead which he now occupies, and the position which he enjoys among his fellow-townsmen, give ample evidence of what he has accomplished and the manner in which it has been done. During the pioneer days he became intimately accquainted with dangerous difficulties and hardships, but met them all like a man, and held himself in readiness for any emergency. It is hardly necessary to say that he is accorded that peculiar reverence which belongs to all those who ventured into an untried region and were willing to brave its solitude and labors.
Mr. FISHER was born in Ohio County, W. Va., Dec. 15, 1810. His father, John FISHER, also a native of the Old Dominion, grew to manhood in his native State, and was there married and lived until 1811. He then emigrated to Ohio with his family via the Ohio and Scioto Rivers to Chillicothe, where they landed on the 10th of May, 1811. The father of our subject, who was one of the earlier settlers of that region, operated on rented land until 1820, then purchased a farm in Madison County, to which he removed and spent the remainder of his days, departing this life at the ripe old age of ninty-three years. The mother of our subject, formerly Miss Elizabeth BYERS, was also a native of Virginia. She accompanied her husband on his various travels, lived to take up with him their abode in Madison County, Ohio, and there died in about 1850. Of their fifteen children nine grew to become men and women.
William C. Fisher of our sketch was but a babe when his parents removed to Ohio. He grew to manhood in the Buckeye State and was there married. After assuming domestic ties he purchased 100 acres of land in Fayette County, upon which he removed with his bride and lived until 1848, when he sold out. In the meantime his household had been increased by the birth of five children, and with his family he now started for the prairies of Illinois. Their outfit consisted of three horses and a wagon, and they made the entire journey overland, landing in Piatt County after a journey of eighteen days. Mr. Fisher rented land there for the first year, and then coming to this county entered 160 acres on sections 7 and 18 of what is now Hensley Township, in addition to which he purchased fifty acres. His first claim was a Mexican warrant, and the 160 acres cost him $125. He purchased a small log house which stood about one and one-half miles distant, and which he removed to his land and fitted it up so that his family occupied it for several years. There was no grain market for several years, but corn found a ready sale in the field to cattle-feeders at ten cents per bushel. Deer and wolves were plenty, and the family were kept supplied with all the wild meat they could consume.
When Mr. Fisher came to this township there were but three or four persons who had remained here. Their removal hence has been brought about in various ways, some by seeking different localities, and others by passing to the land of the hereafter. There was then but one house between his dwelling and Champaign, and it may be readily imagined that he watched with pleasure and satisfaction the gradual settling up of his adopted county, and the prosperity to which it slowly but surely attained.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Jemima COYNER, took place at the residence of the bride's parents on the 12th of February, 1835. Mrs. F. was born in Ross County, Ohio, Dec. 16, 1816, and is the daughter of John COYNER, of Pennsylvania. Her grandfather was a native of Germany, whence he emigrated in early life to the United States, and spent his last days in the Keystone State. His son John removed from Virginia to Ohio in 1814, being among the earliest settlers of Ross County, where he purchased a tract of land and improved a farm, which he occupied until his death. The mother of Mrs. Fisher, who before marriage was Miss Hannah LAWELL, was a native of Virginia and of Scotch parentage and descent.
Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Fisher there were born eight children, six now living; John, J. Madison and David C. are residents of Hensley Township; Hannah married A. B. HENSLEY, and is now a resident of Kansas; Russell B. and Martin remained on the old homestead. Our subject and his wife identified themselves with the Methodist Church early in life, Mr. F. when twenty-one years old, and Mrs. F. when sixteen. Mr. F. in the old Whig days affiliated with that party, but since its abandonment has cordially supported the principles of the Republican, and cast his vote in support of them.
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