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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of William Hewerdine

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

SURNAMES: GARTEN, HERWERDINE, HIRE, JEFFREIS, JOHNSON


WILLIAM HEWERDINE. The subject of this history, who is essentially a self-made man, commenced his struggle with the world at the early age of ten years, when he set out to earn his own living. Thus thrown upon his own resources he soon acquired that habit of self-dependence which has been the secret of his success in life. He soon learned that the surest prop to lean upon was his own strong hands and resolute will, and these he put in force to the best of his ability until he began to realize the happy results of his exertions.

Our subject’s birthplace was across the sea in Lincolnshire, England, and the date thereof March 21, 1828. His parents, William and Ann (GARTEN) HEWERDINE, were natives of the same shire, where they were reared, married and spent their entire lives. Six of their children emigrated to the United States. Thomas, the eldest, lives in East Bend Township, Champaign County; our subject was the second son; Robert is a resident of Rantoul Township; Joseph, of Condit Township; Charlotte married Fred Ackerman, who is farming in Rantoul Township; George resides in Condit Township.

When William Hewerdine started out to do for himself, for the first six months he received nothing but his board. Afterward he was paid two sovereigns for one year’s work. The second year, as his usefulness increased, his wages were raised, until upon arriving at the age of twenty-three years, he was paid L10 per year and his board. About this time he commenced working on the railroad in process of construction from London to York. The next year while still employed there a sand bank caved in, and he came very near being buried alive, but fortunately escaped with only a broken leg. After recovering the use of his limb he resumed work and continued until the road was completed through Derbyshire.

Our subject remained a resident of England until 1856, and in the spring of that year set sail from Liverpool for the United States. After a tedious voyage of seven weeks he landed in new York, with just money enough to pay his fare to Toronto, Canada, where he desired to go. After arriving there he secured employment in a brickyard during the following summer, and in the fall came to the States and located in Tippecanoe County, Ind., where he worked on a farm for one year at $13 per month. This was increased the following year to $14, and the third year he received $15, being employed by the same man three years. The year following he worked for the man’s brother. In 1860 he left Tippecanoe County, and coming to this State commenced work by the month in Condit Township, this county. One year later he rented land there which he cultivated three years with success, and was then enabled to purchase a tract of eighty acres of wild land, which is now included in his present farm. He built a house as soon as practicable, and proceeded with the improvement of the land, adding to it as time passed and his means justified. He is now the owner of 240 acres, and has erected a substantial set of farm buildings. The land is all enclosed with neat fencing, and yields in abundance the best crops of the Prairie State.

The marriage of our subject with Mrs. Nancy J. HIRE, was celebrated on the 15th of June, 1865, at the home of the bride’s parents in East Bend Township, Champaign County. Mrs. H. was born near Jeffersonville, Fayette Co., Ohio, Oct. 14, 1841, and is the daughter of William JEFFREIS, of that same county. Of this union there were three children, two girls and a boy. Her paternal grandfather, Isaac JEFFREIS, was a native of Virginia, and emigrated to Ohio in the pioneer days, being among the earliest settlers of Fayette County; he then moved to Missouri, where he died. There his son William and the other children were reared to become worthy citizens. After reaching manhood William removed to Illinois, in 1860, and located in East Bend Township, Champaign County, where his death took place in November, 1863. In early manhood he had married Miss Ruth JOHNSON, who was a native of Pennsylvania, and whose father, William JOHNSON, a native of Maryland, served as a soldier in the War of 1812. The father of the latter is supposed to have been born in England; he spent his last days in Ohio. William Johnson finally came to the West. He received a pension during the last years of his life, and died in East Bend Township, this county, when one hundred and four years of age. His daughter, the mother of Mrs. H., is still living with the latter.

Mrs. Hewerdine has been twice married. Her first husband, Amaziah HIRE, was born in Fayette County, Ohio, and after the breaking out of the Rebellion became a soldier of the Union army, enlisting in the 90th Ohio Infantry, and died in service near Murfreesboro, Tenn., in 1863. Of this union, there was born one child, a son, William W., who is now married and farming in Condit Township. Our subject and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and held in high respect by all who know them.

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