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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Capt. George W. B. Sadorus

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


, an honored citizen of the town of Sadorus, is believed to be the oldest living native-born resident of Champaign county, and certain it is that his family was on of the first to permanently locate in this section of the state, and for three-quarters of a century has been prominently identified with the upbuilding and envelopment of its resources.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, Henry SADORUS, born in 1783, served in the war of 1812, and in 1824 came to Champaign county, where he was the second white settler.  He located in the southwestern part of the county, which then included land from which five counties were subsequently formed.  Indians were numerous and wild game abundant, and the pioneers spent considerable time in trapping and hunting.  Sadorus Grove was named in honor of Henry Sadorus, who continued to dwell on the old homestead which he had improved, until he had completed his earthly career, his death taking place in 1878.  Of his four daughters and three sons only two survive, a daughter whose home is in California, and Allen M., of Sadorus.  The latter has several children living in California, to which state he went in company with his brother Henry, in 1849, making the difficult and dangerous trip across the plains, and, during his residence on the Pacific slope he lost his wife by death.

William, the eldest son of Henry SADORUS, Sr., and father of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, was born in Pennsylvania, July 4, 1812.  He was a lad of about twelve years when he came to this county, and with the exception of a few years when he devoted a portion of his time to milling and merchandising, he was occupied in agriculture.  The village of Sadorus was built upon a part of his homestead, and no more public spirited citizen ever dwelt here.  He donated land to each of the three churches, besides subscribing liberally to them, and also gave lots for school purposes.  His influence and means assisted many a local industry and improvement, and when the Wabash Railway was built through here he contributed land for the yard and station.  The high esteem in which his business ability and judgment were held was shown by the number of township offices to which he was elected, and faithfully did he discharge every trust reposed in him.  He was Democrat of the old school, and religiously was a Baptist, an earnest worker, holding different official positions in the church.  Prior to his death he divided over a section of land among his children, for whom he had previously made good provision.  Recognized as the oldest living settler of the county, he was presented with a gold-headed cane in 1890, and this cane he left to his eldest son, George W., with the understanding that it is to descend to the eldest son in each succeeding generation.  His long and honorable life came to a quiet close, Jun 18, 1899, at his old home in Sadorus, and, as he was a Mason of good standing, his funeral was conducted under the auspices of that order.

In his early manhood, William Sadorus married Mary MOORE, a native of Kentucky.  She came to Champaign county when young and died when in her prime, in 1850.   Seven children were born to this worthy couple, one dying in infancy.  George W. B. and Henry are farmers of Sadorus township, and Samuel is a farmer in Nevada.  Margaret is the widow of O. C. MCCONNEY, and lives in Sadorus.  Sarilda J. married Thomas HIXON, and lives on a farm in Jasper county, Missouri, and Sarah S., wife of Charles MILLS, lives in Pana, Illinois.  The second wife of William Sadorus bore the name of Jincey A. BRUMLEY.  She was born in Kentucky and resided in Urbana at the time of their marriage.  Two children were born to them, but lived only a few years, and the mother also soon passed away.  Later Mr. Sadorus married Charity HASTINGS, a widow with three children, and one daughter was born to this union, Ida, who is living with her widowed mother on the old homestead, west of this village.

The birth of George W. B. Sadorus took place in the humble pioneer log cabin of his parents, at Sadorus Grove, December 31, 1838.  As is obvious, his educational advantages were limited, though subsequent observation and experience greatly widened his fund of knowledge.  In 1857 he left the occupation of farming, to which he had hitherto given his energy and time, and embarked in the mercantile business in Sadorus.  When the Civil war came on and patriots laid aside personal ambitions, Mr. Sadorus arranged his affairs, and in 1862 enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Volunteer Infantry.  From that time until the dreadful conflict was at an end, he stood faithfully at his post, nobly performing his duties and winning the admiration and commendation of his superior officers and comrades.  When setting out for the front he was a fifth sergeant, but for bravery and efficiency he was subsequently promoted to a captaincy.  Though he participated in some of the hardest campaigns of the war, and took an active part in about twenty-five engagements, including Perrysville, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Mission Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw, Jonesborough, Burnt Hickory, siege of Atlanta, and went with Sherman on his march to the sea, participating in the battles of Savanna, Averysboro and Bentonville, he seemed to lead a charmed life, as he was never severely wounded.  Twice he was struck with spent balls, and at Kenesaw Mountain he saw a comrade on each side of him fall, mortally wounded.  With his regiment he was in the grand review at Washington, and in that city he was mustered out June 9, 1865, and was honorably discharged at Chicago.  The sword which he carried through his entire service is yet in his possession.

In 1866 Captain Sadorus married Phoebe J. BROWN, daughter of Richard and Rebecca (KRESS) BROWN, and granddaughter of Ethan Brown, who owned the land upon which the city of Buffalo, New York, now stands.  Richard Brown, who died in Indiana, in 1852, was a native of New York state, as was his wife also.  She removed to Champaign county in 1857 with her daughters, two of her sons having come to this locality in 1855, and made a home for them.  Mrs. Sadorus was born in Erie county, Ohio, in 1844, and has two sisters and one brother living.

The union of the Captain and wife was blessed with six children, one of whom died in infancy.  William Elmer, Frank A., Warren and Mary E. are at home.  Enos B., the second son, married Lillian MARSH, and resides in this township.  They had two children, both of whom died in infancy.

When he returned from the south at the close of the war, Captain Sadorus commenced farming on a small place of forty acres, the nucleus of  his present homestead, which comprises one hundred and six acres in the home place.  He has placed all of the numerous improvements here and keeps his buildings, fences and trees in a neat and thrifty condition.  He has engaged in general farming, and has met with success in all his enterprises.  In addition to his country, he owns a house and three acres of land in Sadorus township, which place is occupied by his married son.

For many years the Captain has taken much pleasure in collecting curios and relics, and in his two large cabinets there may be seen extremely interesting articles from all portions of the world.  One of his chief treasures consists of a complete and authentic history of the Civil war, detailing the parts taken by both the Federal and Confederate armies.  There are one hundred and thirty volumes in this set, besides which he is the fortunate possessor of a fine and well selected library, comprising works of the leading standard authors.

With his wife and children the Captain holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church.  He has been honored with nearly all the official positions in the congregation, was class-leader and superintendent of the Sunday-school for years, and has been recognized as one of the most active workers in the church for the past twenty-eight years.  In his home township he has served as a school director for twelve years, and for the same length of time has been a ditch commissioner.  Fraternally he is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, belonging to Sadorus Post, No. 322.  In politics he is a stanch Republican.

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