Pillars of Society
There are several older books that provide details of the lives and families of various figures of note within the community. The biographies relate not only an individual’s life, position and political leanings, but also how they came to America in the first place and just what they had to do to prepare and improve the land they bought to farm. The entries thus reveal a fascinating insight into how our ancestors adapted to their new country. Equally valuable are the details that are often recorded of their parents, as well as their children.
The Biographical Record of Livingston County, Illinois (published by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1900) and the Biographical Record containing Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Saunders and Sarpy Counties, Nebraska (published by the Biographical Publishing Company, 1900) include certain individuals who are related to the Raitt family - usually through marriage - and their entries in these Biographical Records are given below (L before the page numbers indicates Livingston County, S signifies Saunders County).
In Maine Biographies, v1 (originally appearing as Volume 3 of Harrie B. Coe's Maine Resources, Attractions, and its People, published in 1928, we find a biographical essay of Charles A. Raitt.
CHARLES A. RAITT (p361)
The first of the family of Raitt, well-known in the Kittery and Eliot sections of the State, and to which the late Charles A. Raitt, prominent fruit-grower and brick manufacturer, belonged, was Alexander Raitt. He was a Scotchman, born about 1722, who came to America about 1745, settling in Kittery. He married, October 21, 1747. Miriam (Frost) Frost, widow of Eliot Frost, and daughter of Hon. John Frost, of Newcastie. New Hampshire. He was a seaman and made extensive journeys for his time. He died in the West Indies. William Raitt, son of Alexander, the founder, and Miriam (Frost-Frost) Raitt, had a son, John B. Raitt, who married Anna Marsh, and their son, William Raitt, born November 23, 1825, married Louisa Frost, daughter of John and Mary Ann (Seavey) Frost, and they had a son, Charles A., of whom further.
Charles A. Raitt, son of William and Louisa (Frost) Raitt, was born in Kittery, February 5, 1861, and when he was seven years old his parents removed with him from his birthplace to Eliot, where he obtained his education in the public schools. From textbooks he turned his attention to learning the trade of brick-mason, which he followed, together with operation of the home farm until his death. He purchased the land for his farm, set out a large orchard of fruit trees, and built first a three-room house; afterwards erecting the large and beautiful house, where his family resides. About thirty years prior to his death he established a brickyard and developed a large and successful business. His fruit farm was his pride and pleasure, and he made it one of the model places of its kind in that region. He was a man of essentially home interests, and most of his time, away from business, was spent in his orchard planting trees and in the beautification of the grounds about the house.
Actively interested in the affairs of the town, Mr. Raitt always discouraged attempts on the part of the citizens to have him stand for public office. He gave his political allegiance undeviatingly to the Republican party, which was strengthened locally by his personal influence and loyalty. His fraternal relations were with St. John's Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of South Berwick; the Kittery Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men; and Eliot Grange, Patrons of Husbandry. His religious fellowship was with the East Eliot Methodist Episcopal Church.
Charles A. Raitt married Carrie L. Frye, daughter of Josiah and Mary Ellen (Brooks) Frye, of Eliot. Their children: 1. Arthur G., married Susie Shephard and they have four children: Charles S., Oscar E., Gordon M., and Daniel A. 2. Cora E., married A. Earle Hurd. 3. George W., married Elizabeth Hale; they have one child, Frances. 4. Marion L., married Raymond Andrews and had one child, Rae Philice. Mrs. Andrews died October, 1914. 5. Charles Clinton, married Alice Burchill, and they are the parents of two children: Deane B. and Har!ev R. 6. Norman J., married Blanche Cassidy. 7. Roland A., married Irma Spinney; their child is Arlene A. 8. Florence E., married Vincent Trefethen. 9. Verna J. 10. Eleanor C., died April 27, 1907.
JAMES NICOL (L p114-115)
James Nichol is the proprietor of an excellent farm of two hundred and forty acres on sections 11 and 3, Pike township, Livingston county. The well-tilled fields and neat and thrifty appearance of the place testify to careful supervision of a painstaking owner - one who is a thorough farmer and successful business man. He was born in Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland. June 6. 1849, a son of William and Jane (Simpson) Nicol, also natives of that country, where the mother spent her entire life. After her death the father married again. He was born in Forfarshire in 1813, a son of James Nicol, and in his native land was employed as a pattern or model maker. In 1865 he emigrated to the new world and came direct to Livingston county, Illinois, where he had previously purchased eighty acres of land on section 3, Pike township, where our subject now resides. At that time the tract was wild prairie land, but he at once commenced to fence, break and improve it. Later he built a good house and made many other permanent improvements. In connection with farming he also worked at the carpenter's and joiner's trade and built many of the residences in his part of the county. As one of the prominent and honored citizens of his community, he was called upon to fill the offices of supervisor, justice of the peace, school director and clerk of the district some years. He was a man of sterling worth and strict integrity and was pre-eminently public spirited and progressive.
Reared in his native land, James Nicol received the advantages of a good common school education, and served a five-years' apprenticeship to the cabinetmaker's trade after which he worked as a journeyman for two years. In 1868 he decided to join his father in America and sailed from Glasgow to New York, landing in the latter city in September of that year. He proceeded at once to his father's home in this county, and for the first six months of his residence here he worked at the carpenter's trade. The following two years he engaged in farming and then went to Chicago, where he was employed at his trade for six months, returning to this county at the end of that time. He has since devoted his time to agricultural pursuits, and now owns the old homestead, which he has greatly improved, and to which he has added one hundred and sixty acres, making a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres.
In Livingston county, November 24, 1873, Mr. Nicol was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Petrie, who was born, reared and educated in the same town as her husband. and is a daughter of William Petrie, who is still living in Scotland at the advanced age of seventy-nine years. By this union have been born seven children, namely: William P. and James, both farmers of this county; Mabel May, Alfred, Edward Arthur, D. Harry and Annie Edith, all at home.
In his political affiliations Mr. Nicol is an ardent Republican and cast his first presidential vote for Rutherford B. Hayes. He has been a delegate to county conventions, served as township clerk about seven years and was a member of the school board and clerk of the district twelve years. Socially, he is a member of the Modern Woodmen camp of Chenoa, and religiously is a member of the Presbyterian church, to which his wife also belongs. In all life's relations he has been true to every trust reposed in him, and is justly numbered among the valued and useful citizens of his community.
JOHN GUTHRIE (L p115-116)
John Guthrie, who for over a third of a century has been identified with the agricultural interests of Livingston county, and now makes his home on section 10, Pike township. was born in the city of Glasgow, Scotland. December 26, 1827, a son of James and Jane ( McMurtrie) Guthrie, who spent their entire lives in Scotland, mostly in Glasgow, locating there soon after their marriage. There all of their children were born in that city and both parents died. By trade the father was a stonecutter.
Our subject grew to manhood in his native land and obtained a good education in an Ayrshire village school. He served a four years apprenticeship to the weaver's trade with his uncle. David McMurtrie, and then returned to Glasgow, where he worked in a factory, having charge of one department four years. Later he was employed in a wholesale store for three years, and then emigrated to America, in 1850, taking passage on a sailing vessel at Greenock on the Clyde for Montreal, and arriving in the latter city after a stormy voyage of eight weeks. While in the Gulf of St. Lawrence the masts were broken and they were delayed two weeks at Sidney. Cape Breton, while new masts were set up. Mr. Guthrie and two other men worked all one night at the pumps in order to save the vessel from destruction. It was twelve weeks from the time he left home until he reached his destination in Kendall county. Illinois, in September, 1850. There he had an uncle living, while another uncle made the voyage with him. The following year he commenced work in Kendall county gathering corn fur ten dollars per month, and, being unused to such work, the skin was worn from his fingers in a .short time.
In 1852 Mr. Guthrie went to Madison county, Iowa, where he spent one year, and on his return to Illinois settled in Woodford county, where he worked by the month until 1864. During that year he purchased the farm in Pike township. Livingston county, where he now resides, but engaged in farming upon rented land in Tazewell county for two years, at the end of which time he located upon his own land, having since February, 1861, made it his home. He has planted an orchard and considerable small fruit, has divided his land into fields of convenient size by good fences, has erected a pleasant residence and substantial outbuildings and now has a well-improved and desirable farm of eighty acres. In Tazewell county Mr. Guthrie was married, in 1864. to Miss Betsy Nicol, who was born and reared in Arbroath, Scotland and came to the new world with her mother in 1853. She died, leaving no children, and for his second wife Mr. Guthrie married Mrs. Eliza (McCracken) McNeil, who was born and reared in Ireland. By her first married she has three children : Martha, wife of Henry Crabb, of Livingston county; Lizzie, wife of Charles Richardson, of Pike township, and James, a resident of Chicago. Mr. Guthrie has two children by his second marriage : David M. and Maggie May, both at home.
Since casting his first presidential ballot for General U. S. Grant, in 1868. Mr. Guthrie has been a stanch Republican, but has never cared for political honors. Both he and his wife are active members of the Presbyterian church of Chenoa, and are people of sterling worth and strict integrity.
JAMES LILES (S p210-212)
James Liles, whose portrait is shown on the opposite page, is an enterprising and up-to-date farmer residing in Newman precinct, Saunders county, Nebraska, where he is the owner of a fine farm, which he has put under a fine state of cultivation. He was born in Cambridgeshire, England, in 1836, is a son of A. C. and Susan (Challice) Liles, and is one of a family of eight children: Sarah; James; Emma; Matthew; Sophia; Mary Ann; Eliza; and Hattie. Sarah is the wife of Mr. Peachey, a farmer, of New York, and they have a family of nine children: Luke; Becky; James; Thurzy; Sarah J.; Ellen M.; Susie; Florence; and George H. The subject hereof was next in age. Emma married a Mr. Miller, a farmer in the state of New York, and has the following children: E. B.; David, and Mary. Matthew is engaged in farming in Monroe county, New York, and is single. Sophia (Collins) is a widow. Mary Ann is deceased. Eliza is the wife of a Mr. Beardsley, and they have three children: Fannie; Bertha; and Louise. Hattie was wedded to a Mr. Reddy and has two children. A. C. Liles died in Monroe county, New York, December 5, 1892, aged eighty-five years, and his widow died there December 24, 1899, aged ninety-three years.
James Liles settled in the state of New York in 1849. In 1885 he moved to Illinois, where he remained only a short time. On March 1, 1885, he went to Saunders county, Nebraska, with his wife and four children. From W. H. Dickinson he bought the northeast quarter of section 29, township 14, range 5, the purchase price being $15 per acre. E. M. Willis, the first owner of this property, built upon it a small house, of the dimensions of 14 by 16 feet, which was the only improvement made on the land at the time Mr. Liles came into possession. He added several rooms to the house, making a nice two-story frame; he also put up a stable 28 feet square, and adjoining the stable he has a granary 12 by 28 feet in size. The farm contains an orchard consisting of 30 cherry trees, 100 apple, and various other kinds of fruit. A number of shade trees was also put out. In the center of the property there is a strong spring, - probably the only one in Newman precinct, and it sends a stream of water through the farm. In the spring of 1893, Mr. Liles bought 160 acres from J. S. Gregory, of Lincoln, Nebraska, upon which was a house 16 by 24 feet in dimensions, which his son, George H. Liles, now occupies. Mr. Liles also purchased, in 1899, the north half of the northwest quarter of section 29 from J. F. Brown, of Orrick, Missouri, and the farm is under a fair state of cultivation. He is a successful and practical farmer, and he raises much grain and Polled Angus cattle and Poland-China hogs. He is well-known throughout the country as a wide-awake business man and a progressive farmer.
The subject of this sketch wedded Jane Amesbury, a daughter of Benjamin and Esther Amesbury, of England, and they have the following children: Etta, born in the state of New York, who is the wife of Earl Collins, a farmer of Monroe county, New York; Addison J., who married Lucy Hayden, lives in Lincoln, and has three children, - Earl, Minnie, and Edna; George H., who married Tillie Raitt, and has three children, - Ivy, Albert, and Luella; and Emma, who is the wife of T. E. Titus, of Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is in the transfer business; they also have three children, - Etta, Oliver, and Louis.
JOHN T. PHILLIPS (L p390-391)
John T. Phillips, whose farm of one hundred and sixty acres is pleasantly located on section 10. Pike township, Livingston county, six miles from Chenoa, was born in Tazewell county, Illinois, September 14, 1837, and is a son of Alfred and Susanna N. (Cullom) Phillips, natives of North Carolina and Kentucky, respectively. The father was born in 1794. and in 1804 moved to Wayne county, Kentucky, with his father, Cornelius Phillips, who was also a native of North Carolina. In 1830 Alfred Phillips moved to Illinois in company with his brothers-in-law. Richard N. Cullom and William Brown, all bringing with them their families and settling in Tazewell county. where Mr. Phillips opened up a farm, making it his home until his death, in 1875. His wife survived him, but died the same year, at the age of seventy-one years.
The subject of this sketch was reared and educated in the county of his nativity, and in early life assisted in the operation of the home farm. He was married, in Tazewell county, February 28. 1861, to Miss Elizabeth S. Monroe, a native of Scotland and a daughter of William Monroe, who brought his family to this country in 1853, when she was fourteen years of age, and located in Tazewell county, Illinois, where she grew to womanhood. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have nine children living, namely: Lilly is the wife of John H. Sandmeyer, a farmer of Pike township. They have a family of eight children. Edith. Eugene. John, Lillian. Isabel, Avis, Elizabeth and Vincent. Isabel is a well educated lady and has been engaged in teaching for some years. William A. married Sophia Salzman, and they have two children, Llewellyn and Julia A. He is engaged in farming in Pike township. Edward A. is married and is also engaged in farming in Pike township. Lucius C. married Elizabeth Crabbe, and their children are Shelby and Kenneth. Their home is in Pike township, where he is engaged in farming. Margaret is the wife of C. A. Jamison, of Amity township, Livingston county. They have three children. Estella, Harold and Ross. Morris M. married Nellie Blake and they have one child. Mildred. He is also engaged in farming in Pike township. Maud and Ralph W. E. are at home. Those deceased were Nora, who died at the age of three years, and Jane T., who died in infancy.
After his marriage Mr. Phillips engaged in farming upon rented land in Tazewell county until 1870, when he came to Livingston county and purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Pike township. which place he sold in 1875, and now owns the farm where he now resides. He is a thorough and skillful farmer, and the neat thrifty appearance of the place plainly indicates his careful supervision. Since casting his first presidential vote fur .Abraham Lincoln in 1860, he has given his unqualified support to the Republican party and its principles, and has taken an active and prominent part in local politics, serving as a delegate to nearly all the county, state, congressional and senatorial conventions of his party. He filled the office of assessor of Pike township twenty years, and has been a trustee of the township for a number of years. Whatever position he has been called upon to fill, its duties he has always most capably and satisfactorily performed, and he is numbered among the useful and valued citizens of his community. His estimable wife is a member of the Presbyterian church.
RICHARD M. HOLT (L p401-2)
Richard M. Holt, an honored veteran of the civil war and one of the representative farmers of Livingston county, residing on section 6, Waldo township, was born in Peoria, Illinois, June 27, 1843. and is a son of James W. and Ellen (Ingham) Holt, natives of Lancastershire, England. They emigrated to America and settled in Illinois, in 1840, spending the remainder of their lives as farming people in Peoria county, where the father died in 1895, the mother in 1894. They had a family of seven children, namely: Thomas, a resident of Peoria county; Richard M., our subject; Eliza, wife of Henry Morris, of Peoria county; Martha, wife of James Morris, of Peoria; Elizabeth, wife of John Yetter, of Peoria; and John and Frederick, both residents of the same place. Reared on a farm in his native county, Richard M. Holt attended the public schools of the neighborhood and early acquired an excellent knowledge of agricultural pursuits.
On starting out in life for himself he commenced farming in Peoria county, where he was living when the civil war broke out. On the 8th of August, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, Seventy-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, his company being organized in Rosefield township, Peoria county. They were first sent to Cincinnati, and from there went to Louisville, Kentucky, where they were assigned to the Thirteenth Army Corps. They were in a number of skirmishes up the Yazoo river, and took part in the battle of Arkansas Post. They went into camp at Young's Point, Louisiana, and later took part in the siege of Vicksburg, being placed in the rear of the Confederate army during that siege. They were in the engagement at Yazoo river and in the other charges against Vicksburg. After the fall of that city they were given a furlough which they spent at home, and then rejoined the army at Decrase Pount, Texas, where Mr. Holt was discharged on account of disability.
Returning to Illinois, he remained at home one year, and then engaged in farming in Peoria county two years. In the spring of 1867 he came to Livingston county, and settled on section 6, Waldo township, where he has since successfully engaged in general farming. On the 11th of January, 1868, Mr. Holt was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte Morris, a daughter of Henry and Ann (Rigley) Morris, who were natives of England and early settlers of Peoria county. By this union have been born the following children : Mattie, wife of John Roth of Woodford county; Anna, wife of Robert Boyd, of the same county; James, of Livingston county ; Harvey, Harry, Elmer, Ella and Richard, all at home.
By his ballot Mr. Holt supports the men and measures of the Republican party, and for twelve years he has acceptably served as school director of his district. He is one of the progressive and enterprising farmers of Livingston county, and is a man of whom any community might be justly proud.
DAVID E. CAPES (L p146-152)
David E. Capes, a successful ice dealer of Pontiac, is a native of Illinois, his birth occurring June 16, 1862, six miles south of Washington, in Tazewell county. His parents Willoughby and Elizabeth (Milner) Capes, were born, reared and married in Lincolnshire, England, where they continued to make their home until after the birth of three of their children. Then the family, in 1852, came to the new world and settled in Washington, Illinois, where for two years the father supported his wife and children by working as a day laborer at fifty cents per day. The second year he was able to purchase a horse, and the following year bought another, after which he engaged in farming on his own account, operating rented land for eleven years. At the end of that period he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land on section 9, Pike township, Livingston county, for which he paid seven dollars and a quarter per acre. He located thereon in the spring of 1864, and at once turned his attention to the improvement and cultivation of his place, soon converting it into a most desirable farm. In connection with general farming he was also engaged in stock raising, and each fall shipped a carload of hogs to market. He built a fine house upon his place and made many other improvements, costing as much as two sections of land would have cost when he purchased his property. As an agriculturist he met with marked success and was able to assist his sons in getting a start in life. He was one of the early members of the Bethel Methodist Episcopal church at Greymont, which he helped to establish, and was one of the main standbys in the erection of the house of worship. From the first he served as steward of the church, and was recognized as one of the most honest, honored and highly respected men of his community. He was never an aspirant for office, but was always a consistent and earnest Republican, and never failed in his duties of citizenship.
[His father Willoughby Capes] was born at Mar's Chapel, near Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England, October 18, 1819. and died October 4, 1899. He was united in marriage with Elizabeth Milner, in 1844, and they became the parents of thirteen children. She was born in Yorkshire, England, March 13, 1827. In her seventeenth year she was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal church, and her life was freely given to the labors of the church, and her influence upon Bethel community will be felt in the years to come. After a long illness she fell asleep September 4, 1898.
Our subject was the eighth in order of birth in the family born to this worthy couple. During his boyhood he attended the public schools of Pike township, and aided his father in the work of the home farm until he attained his majority. On the 28th of December, 1882, he was united in marriage with Miss Alice A. Piper, of Rock Creek, Illinois, and they now have two children: Delbert R., born January 8, 1884, and Cora Belle, born February 1, 1886. Both are now attending the high school of Pontiac.
After his marriage Mr. Capes remained at home until the fall of 1883, when he purchased eighty acres of raw prairie land only three miles from Pontiac - a rare thing for that late date. He had no money and it was only with the help of his father as security for the first payment that he was able to purchase it. That fall he built a house and commenced breaking the land. He tilled it the next spring and continued the work of improvement and cultivation until he had one of the best farms of its size in the locality, raising as much on it, by working it thoroughly, as many did who owned twice the number of acres. At the age of sixteen he commenced running a threshing machine, which he operated thirteen years, and this helped him out considerably in paying for his land, which was soon free from debt. He was one of the youngest threshers in the county and made a success of the business. He continued to carry on his farm until 1893. when he sold it for ninety-five dollars per acre, having paid forty dollars for it.
Mr. Capes then moved to Pontiac, where he was engaged in different lines of trade for a time, including the implement and milk business. In July, 1895, he turned his attention to the ice business. At that time there were two firms of the kind in the city; one of these he got his brother to buy, while he purchased the other and then, buying his brother's business, he had entire control of the ice trade. His ice houses were located on the Vermilion river near the Wabash Railroad, where he owns two acres of land, on which are six houses, with a storage capacity of eight thousand tons. He puts up a full supply and gives employment to many men in cutting the ice. During the summer he runs four teams and employs nine men in its distribution
to his customers, and for the past three years has controlled the ice trade of the city and done a good business. He has a line property on the south side of the river, opposite the Chautauqua grounds and extending to the river. Here he has a nice home where he can enjoy the results of his labor. He belongs to that class of men whom the world terms self-made, for, commencing life empty handed, he has conquered the obstacles in the path to success, and has not only secured a comfortable competence, but by his efforts has materially advanced the interests of the community with which he is associated. Politically, he is identified with the Republican party and fraternally affiliated with the Knights of Pythias. Modern Woodmen of America, Royal Neighbors and Toilers Fraternity. He attends and aids in the support of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife is a member.
ARCHIE CRABB (L p24-25)
The early home of this well-known and honored citizen of Pike township was on the other side of the Atlantic, and on coming to the new world he was in limited circumstances, but so successful has he been in his business undertakings that he is now able to lay aside all labor and live a retired life upon his farm on section 4, Pike township, Livingston county, about eight miles from Chenoa.
Mr. Crabb was born in Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland, June 18, 1833, a son of James and Cecelia (Monroe) Crabb, also natives of that county, where the mother died. The father. who followed the sea in early life, came to the United States after the death of his wife and spent his last years with a daughter in Illinois. During his boyhood and youth our subject had limited school advantages, and is mostly self-educated.
In 1854 he took passage on a sail vessel, bound for Montreal. Canada, and was seven weeks in crossing the Atlantic, during which time the ship encountered some severe storms. On their arrival in Quebec they were quarantined for two weeks, there being some twenty cases of smallpox on board. Mr. Crabb spent about six months in the city of Montreal, where he worked at his trade, that of a blacksmith. In 1854 he came to Illinois, and first located in Tazewell county, where he worked for his uncle, William Monroe. as a farm hand, for about two years and a half, at ten dollars per month. He next engaged in farming for himself upon rented land in the same county, where he continued to make his home until 1866, and in the meantime purchased eighty acres of land in Pike township. Livingston county, where he now resides. He located here in 1866, and commenced immediately to break the virgin soil, upon which he built a small house. Later he purchased an adjoining eighty-acre tract, and still later another eighty-acre tract, and today has a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation and improved with good and substantial buildings, which stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. After years of faithful toil he can now well afford to lay aside all business cares and enjoy a well earned rest.
In Tazewell county. December 25. 1861. Mr. Crabb married Miss Mary Ann Dorward, who was born and reared in the same neighborhood in Scotland as her husband and came to the new world in 1853, locating in Illinois. To them have been born six children, namely: Florence, now the wife of William Snethen, of Pike township; John Henry, who is married and engaged in farming in the same township: Robert, also an agriculturist of Pike township; Margaret, wife of Lewis Brinkman, of Rooks Creek township: Cecelia, wife of Louis Salzman. of the same township; and Agnes, wife of C. B. Rollins. who operates the Crabb farm.
Mr. Crabb voted for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, but since 1868 has been independent in politics, giving his support to the men and measures that he believes will best advance the interests of the public regardless of party lines. He has taken quite an active part in local politics. and is now serving his sixth term as supervisor, and is now a member of the committees on public buildings, county house and farm, fees and salaries. He has also served as township clerk, assessor and treasurer, which office of treasurer he now holds, and as township trustee eighteen years. He and his wife are active members of the Presbyterian church, and his public and private life are alike above reproach, for his career has ever been one characterized by the utmost fidelity to duty. He and his family receive and merit the high regard of the entire community.
JOHN CRABB (L p129)
John Crabb, who is industriously engaged in agricultural pursuits upon a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 9, Pike township, Livingston county, Illinois, was born in Forfarshire, Scotland. July 1, 1839, a son of James and Cecelia (Monroe) Crabb, also natives of that country, where the mother died. The father was of English descent.
Our subject was reared and educated in his native land and for three years prior to his emigration to America he worked in a foundrv. At the age of eighteen he decided to try his fortune on this side of the Atlantic and took passage on a sailing vessel at Montrose. The voyage lasted six weeks, during which time they encountered two severe storms, but finally landed at Quebec in safety in August 1857, and proceeded at once to Tazewell county, Illinois, where his brothers. Henry and Archie, had previously located. They were joined by their father two or three years later and he made his home in this country throughout the remainder of his life, dying in 1875 at the ripe old age of eighty-one years.
At first John Crabb worked on a farm by the month and later he and his brother, Archie. rented land and engaged in farming together for seven years. At the end of that period the property was divided and our subject came to Livingston county and purchased a tract of raw prairie land in Pike township, to the improvement and cultivation of which he devoted his energies until 1889, when he sold that place and bought his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 9, the same township. At that time it was only slightly improved, but he has remodeled the residence, tilled the land, erected good outbuildings and made many other improvements, transforming it into a most desirable farm.
On the 25th of December, 1865, in Livingston county, Mr. Crabb was united in marriage with Miss Hannah K. Capes, a sister of David E. Capes, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume. She was born in Lincolnshire, England, but was only three years old when brought to this country by her father, Willoughby Capes, who first settled in Tazewell county, Illinois, but later came to Livingston county. Mr. and Mrs. Crabb have a family of seven children, namely: Charles, who is married and engaged in farming in this county; Walter, at home;. Ada, wife of Henry Beeks, a farmer of Benton county, Indiana ; Elizabeth, wife of Lucius Phillips, a farmer of Pike township, this county; Dora, Ethel and Zephyr, all at home.
Politically, Mr. Crabb was originally a Republican, but of late years has supported the Democratic party, and being a friend of temperance he takes an interest in the Prohibition movement. He was an efficient member of the school board for some years and gives his support to every enterprise which he believes calculated to advance the moral, educational or social welfare of the community in which he lives. Religiously, both he and his estimable wife are earnest and consistent members of the Bethel Methodist Episcopal church.