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 transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Robert Hewerdine

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


ROBERT HEWERDINE, the proprietor of 200 acres of finely cultivated land on sections 17 and 18, Rantoul Township, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1833. His father, William HEWERDINE, was a native of the same shire, where he married, and reared a large family, following the occupation of a farmer. He was possessed of limited means, and at an early age the children went from home to work. Our subject when six years old commenced thus to assist in the support of the family. He was too small to be of great service to anyone, and only earned three-pence per day. He made his home with his parents until twelve years of age, when he went to work for a butcher. The first year he received ten shillings and his board. The second year twenty shillings, and the third year thirty-five shillings and his board.

Mr. Hewerdine continued to work by the year in England, the last two years being occupied as a railroad laborer, until starting for the United States in 1856. After a tedious sea voyage he landed in New York City, whence he proceeded to Toronto, Canada, and after three months spent there returned to the States, and proceeded westward until he reached Indiana. Going into Tippecanoe County, he engaged to work for the meharry family, various members of which are not located in different parts of Champaign County. He remained with them until 1860, then came to this county, and in due time rented a tract of land in company with two brothers, where they engaged in farming until after the outbreak of the late war.

Our subject, naturally of an observant nature, had watched with interest the passing events in this country with the character and customs of its people. The longer he lived here the more he resolved to identify himself with its institutions and interests. Accordingly, soon after the first call for troops to assist in the preservation of the Union he set aside his personal plans and interests, and became a member of Co. I, 25th Ill. Vol. Inf., marching with his regiment to the scene of conflict. He entered with courage upon the life of a soldier, resolved to bear with fortitude whatever hardships were allotted him. His regiment was under the command of Col. Coler, and he participated with his comrades in the battles of Pea Ridge, Corinth, Perrysville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and all the engagements from Chattanooga to Atlanta, being present at the siege and capture of the latter city. He encountered many hairbreadth escapes, and at the battle of Mission Ridge was wounded and reported in the dispatches mortally hurt. He recovered, not long after, however, and at the expiration of his term of service received his honorable discharge and was mustered out with his comrades.

Soon afterward our subject returned home and took up the broken thread of life which he had dropped to enter the army. His first work was a job of cutting corn, for which he received ninety-five cents per day, and after this was finished he worked by the month two years afterward. By close economy he now managed to save a sum of money sufficient to purchase eighty acres of land, about one-half of which had been broken, and upon which stood a small house. He at once energetically engaged in its improvement, and in due time began to enjoy the rewards of industry. What was once a tract of land given to the growth of wild grass, and swept each year with destructive prairie fires, now yields in abundance the choicest products cultivated by the farmers of Illinois. Mr. Hewerdine has added to his original purchase, and has all but sixty acres of his large farm either in pasture or grain fields. The place is supplied with good buildings, and well equipped with the most practical farm machinery. In politics, Mr. H. is Republican.

A lithographic view of the residence and surroundings of Mr. Hewerdine is shown elsewhere in this work.

Return to Links Page

Return to Main Page