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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Christopher Reagan

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

SURNAMES: HAMMEL, MCCORMICK, NEWELL, REAGAN


CHRISTOPHER REAGAN. This gentleman whose biography we briefly sketch below, owns a quarter section of land in Condit Township, besides forty-eight acres in Newcomb Township. His home place, which comprises the larger body, is locatged on section 19, where he has a fine residence and all necessary out-buildings for the convenience of a progressive modern farmer. He took possession of his farm in the spring of 1870, and has since been industriously engaged in its cultivation and improvement. Under his skillful manipulation it has become one of the most valuable homesteads in this section, and a spot which the eye delights to dwell upon.

Mr. Reagan is a worthy representative of the warm-hearted Irish race, and was born in County Westmeath, in November, 1835. His parents were Patrick and Mary (MCCORMICK) REAGAN, both also natives of Ireland, where they spent their entire lives. Christopher was a little lad of only six years old when his father died, leaving a widow and three children. He remained with his mother until 1849, then, accompanied by his uncle, William McCormick, emigrated to America and located in New York City. He first found employment in William H. Disbrough’s Riding Academy, corner Fourth avenue and Seventh street, where he remained three years, and then engaged on a steamer on the Hudson River, plying between New York and Albany.

After a part of two seasons thus occupied our subject began to learn the molder’s trade, at which he worked one year, and then went into the employ of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Company, as a boat hand in summer, and in winter took care of the boats which were anchored at New York. In 1851-52 he chartered a boat of this company, and engaged in freighting for two seasons following. During the first he was successful, but the second year met with loss and then abandoned boating, engaging as a farm laborer during the summer seasons, and in the winter occupied himself chopping wood. Afterward he pucrhased a boat and for three summers followed freighting on the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo and New York City.

After coming into Illinois, Mr. Reagan spent the first winter in Logan County, afterward worked two summers on a farm in Polo, Ogle County, and thence changed his location to McLean County, whence he came to Mahomet Township, this county, in 1866. Three years later he purchased a part of the land which he now owns and occupies. In the meantime, however, he had returned to his old home across the sea, and visited for sixteen days among the friends of his childhood and youth, returning greatly pleased and satisfied, and ready to begin with fresh courage the establishment of a home in this county. Here he is accounted one of the most valued citizens, and by his straightforward dealings with his fellow-men has secured the confidence and esteem of all who know him. He takes a genuine interest in all matters relating to the good of the community at large, and although not connected with any religious organization has contributed generously to the support of all.

Mr. Reagan was married, in April, 1870, to Miss Dicy A. NEWELL, a native of New York, and the daughter of William and Patty NEWELL, who removed from Ohio to Condit Township in this county during its early settlement, and located upon the land which Mr. Reagan now occupies. Mrs. R. received a good education and taught the first school established in Condit Township. She departed this life on the 8th of January, 1885. Two years later Mr. Reagan was married to his present wife, who was then Mrs. Emma S., daughter of Samuel and May A. HAMMEL, and the widow of Henry LANE. She was born in Clinton County, Ind., May 28, 1862, and remained with her parents until her first marriage, of which there was born one child, a daughter, Pearl. Mrs. R. is a lady greatly respected wherever known, and with her husband enjoys the society of many friends.

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