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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Clarence L. Baldwin

SOURCE: "The Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois," The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1900


Clarence L. BALDWIN
.  Champaign county has many well-to-do and successful agriculturists whose success in life is due to their own individual efforts.  Prominent among these is the gentleman whose name introduces this review.  He is residing on section 18, Pesotum township, where is industriously engaged in the prosecution of his noble calling and is meeting with far more than ordinary success.

Mr. Baldwin was born in Connecticut in 1847, and is a son of Samuel S. and Mary E. (FAIRCHILD) BALDWIN, also natives of the Nutmeg state, where their marriage was celebrated.  After following farming for a time in Connecticut the father removed with his family to New York state, where he continued to engage in his chosen occupation quite successfully for ten years, and then, in 1856, came to Champaign county, Illinois, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of land on section 18, Pesotum township, which at that time was wild and unbroken prairie land and Sadorus contained but two shanties.  He took up his abode near his tract and immediately began to improve it.  The first house erected was framed in Rome, New York, was shipped by water to Chicago and by rail to Tolono.  By hard work and with the aid of his sons he placed a part of his land under cultivation the first year, and later added much in the way of improvements, building fences and setting out fruit and shade trees, which did much toward beautifying the place.  He was very active through life.  His death occurred in 1874 and his wife passed away in 1876.  Both were consistent and active members of the Methodist Episcopal church.  They were the parents of six children, four sons and two daughter, namely:  Jerome, who was a member of an Illinois regiment during Civil war and is now a resident of Chaco; Melvin, a prosperous merchant of Lower California; Clarence L., our subject; Albert, a farmer of Eastern Kansas; Martha L., wife of Jess Cook, a merchant of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he owns a comfortable home; and Carrie, wife of James Little, who is in the oil business in Girard, Kansas.

The subject of this sketch began his education in the common schools of New York, and when ten years of age came with his parents to this county, where he attended school in the village of Sadorus.  He lived at home and assisted his father in the farm work until of age, and then rented land of his father and engaged in farming for himself.

In December, 1869, Mr. Baldwin was united in marriage with Miss Mary RAWLINGS, who was born in Rush county, Indiana, in 1851, a daughter of Coleman and Elenader (WELLS) RAWLINGS, natives of Kentucky.  Her mother died in Indiana in 1860, and the following year the remainder of the family came to Champaign county, Illinois.  The father is still living at the age of eighty-five years, and now makes his home in eastern Kansas.  He has always been a very hard working man, and has had a very eventful career as a pioneer.  He was three times married and by his first wife had five children, three of whom are still living.  Mrs. Baldwin’s mother was the second wife, and by that union there were also five children, three now living, namely:  Preston, who is living in eastern Kansas; Mary, wife of our subject; and Florence, wife of A. Little.  By the last marriage there is one child.   Of the eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin, one died in infancy; Charles H., proprietor of a livery stable in Sadorus, is married and has one daughter, Alta M.; Edgar S., living upon a part of his father’s farm in Sadorus township, is married and has one daughter, Nellie; Harry M. is an employee of the Vandalia Railroad company at Effingham, Illinois, and Ray L., Walter J. , Nellie E., and Bert P. are all at home attending school.

Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin began their domestic life in a rough house on the site of their present comfortable home.  At that time the land was wild and unimproved, and in order to convert it into a highly cultivated tract he had to begin at the very bottom.  After the death of his father he purchased the interest of the other heirs in the home property, and is now owner of the same, having two hundred and thirteen acres of land in Pesotum and Sadorus township.  Through his active business life he has given his entire time and attention to agricultural pursuits, and has met with most excellent success in his labors, being a thorough and systematic farmer of good business and executive ability. 

Mr. Baldwin is a prominent worker in the Republican party in his community, though he has never been prevailed upon to accept any political position.  He has, however, served as school director in his district for a quarter of a century, and always takes a deep and commendable interest in the welfare of his township and county.  Although not a member of any church, he is a supporter of church work, and is a member of the Masonic Lodge at Sadorus.  He is of a jovial disposition, has the respect and confidence of all who know him, and is very popular with his many friends.

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