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Champaign County, Illinois
Biography of Eleazer Freeman
SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887
SURNAMES: FREEMAN, HAGER, LOOMIS, OGDEN, SAMUELS, SWEARINGEN, YEAGER
ELEAZER FREEMAN, one of the pioneer farmers of Ogden Township, is in possession of 400 acres on section 17, mostly in the above township. Here, since the spring of 1833, he has labored successfully to establish and improve a comfortable homestead, in which effort he has most admirably succeeded. The land is thoroughly drained, the fields neatly laid off and enclosed, and the farm buildings are a credit to the taste and enterprise of the proprietor. Mr. Freeman is a gentleman of more than ordinary ability, and besides the duties incumbent upon him as a representative farmer, ambitious to keep pace with the enterprise and prosperity about him, he has filled the office of Supervisor of his township, and School Treasurer for fifteen years. In the meantime he also served as Administrator of several estates placed in his hands by those fully aware of his capabilities and integrity. In all respects, as the head of a family and a member of the community, he has acquitted himself in a faithful and creditable manner, and no man is held in greater respect than Eleazer Freeman.
Our subject is a native of the Prairie State, born in Vermilion County, Jan. 3, 1833, and the son of James and Rebecca (OGDEN) FREEMAN, natives of Pennsylvania, and the father of Welsh ancestry. The latter was born Jan. 26, 1801, and departed this life at his home in Homer Township in 1877. He followed both farming and shoemaking, having learned the latter trade in early manhood. He removed from his native State to Ohio before his marriage, and in 1829 emigrated overland to Illinois. Afterward, during the Black Hawk War, he served as a soldier three or four months until the troops were sent home.
When prepared to locate, James Freeman entered land on the State Road in Champaign County. This included but forty acres, which he cultivated industriously and carefully, and by strict economy managed to accumulate quite a little fortune. Both he and the mother were members of the Christian Church. The latter was born in 1803, and in her youth was a woman of much physical strength and great courage, and worked cheerfully by her husband's side in his efforts to secure a comfortable home and a competency. She employed her time when not busy with the ordinary duties of the household, in spinning and weaving, and indeed, labored beyond her strength, so that in later years her health gave way, and she suffered greatly from a broken-down constitution. Her death took place in Homer Township on the 5th of October, 1857. The ten children of the parental household were, Thomas and Mary, twins; Edmund, Lydia A., Eleazer, Andrew, Angeline, Rebecca J. who died when one year old, James L., and Martha who died when four years of age.
The subject of this history remained a member of his father's household during his childhood and youth, and the greater part of the time until reaching his majority. Sept. 13, 1855, after he was twenty-two years of age, he began the more serious business of life by taking unto himself a wife and helpmeet, namely, Miss Keziah A. SWEARINGEN, a native of this State, born Jan. 1, 1837; this lady was a devout member of the Christian Church, and departed this life June 25, 1856.
Mr. Freeman's second marriage was with Miss Margaret A. LOOMIS, and was celebrated Jan. 20, 1859. Mrs. Margaret Freeman was a native of Ohio, born July 14, 1843. She came with her parents to Illinois when a young girl twelve years of age, in 1855. In the meantime her parents had spent some years in Indiana. The latter were William M. and Albina (YEAGER) LOOMIS, natives of Ohio. The father was a miller by trade. His birth took place Dec. 28, 1815, and his death Aug. 24, 1864. The mother was born Oct. 23, 1821. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and both parents were people of much excellence of character. The eleven children included in this family were as follows: Sarah E., who was born July 4, 1838; Joseph Y., Jan. 25, 1841; George N., March 6, 1842; Margaret A., July 14, 1843; John, in 1845; Rebecca A., Jan. 5, 1847; Albina L., July 26, 1848; John C., July 28, 1849; Mary E., Feb. 27, 1851; Elnora, April 29, 1852, and Laura E., April 1, 1853.
The mother of the above-named children passed from earth in the spring of 1854, and Mr. Loomis was again married, to Miss Sarah E. HAGER, and of this union there were three children, namely, John N., born April 20, 1855; William H., Nov. 25, 1857, and Emma A., March 22, 1860. Mrs. Sarah E. Loomis departed this life at the homestead in Homer Township, and Mr. Loomis was married, Feb. 6, 1861, to Miss Margaret SAMUELS. This lady was born Sept. 9, 1836, and died in May, 1866. Her children were, Theodore, born Dec. 6, 1862, and Frank A., Feb. 17,1864. The latter died in June of the same year. Of the sixteen children who owned their paternity to Mr. Loomis, only five are living.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, fourteen in number, were born as follows: James H., Nov. 10, 1860; George N., April 27, 1862; William L., Dec. 11, 1863; Charles Y., June 22, 1866; Joseph C., July 8, 1868; Annie, April 9, 1870; Laura B., Oct. 26, 1871; Florence M., Nov. 5, 1873; Nellie, April 6, 1875; Maude, April 16, 1877; Ida J., Feb. 8, 1879; Della, Dec. 28, 1880; Grant, March 20, 1882; Prince A., Aug. 30, 1884. The estate of Mr. Freeman embraces 400 acres of land, besides a dry-goods store, which was established in Ogden Village March 29, 1887. He is a wide-awake, enterprising business man, actively interested in the welfare of his community, and strongly opposed to the use of intoxicating liquors, being a member of the Sons of Temperance for many years. Politically he is a decided Republican.
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