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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Hiram Lenox

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


, Harwood Township. This gentleman chiefly employs his time in raising the finest crops on one of the best farms in Champaign County. The main points in his career, which embraces a period of about forty-six years, are substantially as follows: He was born in Shelby County, Ohio, July 24, 1839, and was seventh in a family of ten children, the offspring of James and Sallie (WILSON) LENOX. James Lenox, who is supposed to have been a native of Virginia, was one of the early settlers of the Buckeye State, where, in near proximity to his wife's father, he cleared a farm of his own and purchased the farm of the latter, both of which he cultivated afterward until his death. The town of Sidney, which gradually grew up, was finely located about five miles away, and became the seat of Shelby County.

The elder Lenox was one of the leading farmers of that time and locality, and was noted for his thorough knowledge of public affairs and his earnest support of the Union at the time of the Rebellion. He was an extensive reader and possessed a remarkable memory, which served him well during a time when the various political and social questions of the day greatly agitated the minds of men. His ready intelligence and large fund of information caused him to be singled out as a counselor and advisor in both private and public matters. His family and the Wilson family, into which he married, were regarded as the most substantial people of Shelby County. During the war he gave three of his sons to his country's cause, and the Lenox family was represented by seventeen soldiers, who were noted for their bravery and fidelity. The father of our subject rested from his early labors at the age of seventy-one years, and left to his descendants a record which they may justly look upon with pride and satisfaction.

Hiram Lenox left the parental roof when twenty-two years of age, and first spent a short time on the farm of his brother not far away. A year later he was united in marriage with Miss Hattie M. DAVENPORT, the wedding occurring Oct. 31, 1862. Mrs. Lenox was the daughter of Anthony S. DAVENPORT, and she and her husband played together when they were children. They settled not far from the old home of each, and our subject cultivated a tract of land belonging to his uncle for about six years. They then migrated farther westward to this county, and Mr. Lenox purchased eighty acres one mile south of Gifford, in Compromise Township. He there established a comfortable home, and there the wife and mother died on the 7th of June, 1869, leaving two children, namely, Dora Bell and Lulu May. The latter died on the 23d of June, 1882. Dora became the wife of James BARNES, who is carrying on a farm about three miles from the Lenox homestead. The wife of our subject was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church from childhood, and one of the most earnest Christian workers in the community, which, by her death, lost one of its brightest lights.

Mr. Lenox contracted a second marriage, April 18, 1872, with Miss Mary BARNES, daughter of Philip and Nancy (SEIFERS) BARNES, natives of New Jersey, and of German descent. Her grandfather Campbell, was a staff officer of Gen. Washington during the Revolutionary War, and as his name implies, was of Scotch descent. Mrs. Mary Lenox was born in Iberia, Ohio, April 11, 1851, and when a child two years of age came with her parents to Warren County, Ill. In 1865 they removed to this county. Three of her brothers were in the Union army, and subsequently located upon a farm near Gifford, where they remained until 1881, but are now residents of Harwood Township. The seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Lenox were named respectively, Herbert Claude, Elbert Ellsworth, Edna Olive, Alice Mabel, Ollie May, Minnie Myrtle and Mary Elizabeth. Two are deceased, and those surviving are at home with their parents. Elbert died when a lad nine years of age. He was an exceptionally bright boy, fond of his books, and a child of whom his parents had great hopes for the future. Their little daughter Edna, died when two years of age.

Our subject and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. L., politically, votes the straight Republican ticket. He cares little for politics, but at the solicitation of his townsmen has served as Road Commissioner and School Trustee.

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