Friday, September 18, 2009

Short biography of Henry P. Cornelius

Last summer I posted about my visit to the gravesite of my third great grandfather, Henry P. Cornelius. Today I was going through some of my father’s mementos and found a photocopy that my uncle Eldon sent him that contained a short biography of Henry. The book was entitled: Portrait and Biographical Album Champaign County, Illinois. It contains “…full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county.” [Note: I guess if you were not included in the book, you must not be very important!] The book was published in 1887 by Chapman Brothers of Chicago. This is what the book says about Henry:
During the early settlement of Central Illinois there came from Kentucky a hardy band of pioneers. That state not only took the lead as to the time of sending its sturdy sons and devoted daughters to settle in the beautiful woodlands which skirted the broad prairies of this section, but in the number of its pioneers it excels all other states. It was characteristic Kentucky hospitality that won for the pioneers such an enduring reputation in this respect, and made life on the frontier happy. We have as our subject one of these veteran Kentucky pioneers who, although not an early settler of Champaign County, is a pioneer of this part of the state. He now lives in Brown Township, where he is the proprietor of a good homestead of Section 16, and employs the greater part of his time superintending the cultivation of 160 acres of improved land. He took up his abode here in 1882, and although not classed among the pioneers of this township, has by his age, experience and most excellent personal qualities, secured the respect and esteem of all who know him. His head has been whitened by the frosts of eighty-one winters, yet he possesses in a marked degree the energy of character which distinguishes him in his youth. Mr. Cornelius was born within seven miles of Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky on March 16, 1806, and is the son of John and Martha (Profitt) Cornelius, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Virginia. After marriage they commenced their life together in Christian County, Kentucky where they reared a family and spent the remainder of their days. The children of the parental family who grew up on the farm in the above county were eight, four of whom are now living. The subject of our sketch removed to Tazewell County, Illinois in 1836 and lived there over forty-five years. He first located in Hittle’s Grove Township, where he lived until the spring of 1877, and from there removed to Minier, where he lived five years, and thence removed to Brown Township, this county, locating upon his present farm. Mr. Cornelius was first married, in his native county in Kentucky, July 17, 1828, to Miss Mary Quissenberry, who was of Southern birth and parentage, her father and mother being natives of Virginia, of which she was also a native. Of this marriage there were born nine children, whom they named as follows: John H.; Edward, deceased; Nancy A.; Gustavus, deceased; Agnes, deceased; Lin; Jesse, deceased; Mary and Levi. The wife and mother, while the family were living in Hittle’s Grove Township, folded her hands for her final rest in 1845. The second wife of our subject, to whom he was married in McLean County, Illinois, in July, 1847, was Miss Catherine Quissenberry, also a native of Christian County, Kentucky, born July 20, 1826. Mrs. Catherine Cornelius became the mother of eight children, all of whom are living, namely, Ann, James, Charles, Millard, Laura, George M., Ida and Julia. Mr. Cornelius is greatly opposed to the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors, and in voting upholds the principles of the Republican Party.
You just don’t find writing like this anymore! By the way, I bolded the name of Henry's son Jesse Cornelius who was my second great grandfather.