JOHN SHANK, a successful farmer, horticulturist and florist, and a prominent citizen of Mount Sterling, Illinois, was born in Franklin, Johnson county, Indiana, July 11, 1843. His paternal grandparents were John and Catherine (Dosing) Shank, the former a native of Pennsylvania and of German descent, while the latter was of French ancestry. The former was an early settler of Ohio, when that State was the frontier of civilization, his last days having been passed at his home in Preble county, near Eaton, that State. His son, William Shank, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Montgomery county, Virginia, in May, 1821, and was twelve years of age at the time of his father's death. After this event his mother removed with her family to Indiana, and located in Johnson county, near Morgansville. Here William Shank grew to manhood, and, in 1842, married Julia E. McCord, a native of Tennessee. Her parents were John and Mary (Brown) McCord, both of Scotch-Irish descent, who emigrated in an early day from Virginia to Tennessee, whence, about the year 1836, they removed to Indiana. They resided in that State nearly twenty years, when finally, in 1855, they removed to Illinois. Here the father purchased land in Moultrie county, near the village of Bethany, on which he and his wife settled, and where his death occurred in 1865, lamented by all who knew him. William Shank and his young wife preceded her parents to Illinois by eleven years, having removed thence in 1844, two years after their marriage. They settled in Pea Ridge township, Brown county, where William bought a tract of land, a portion of which was heavily timbered. Here they resided for many years, the wife, mother of the subject of this sketch, dying in 1889, universally beloved and mourned.
John Shank, whose name heads this biography, was thus about a year old when his parents removed to the Prairie State which was then new and sparsely settled. Here, in the freedom of a wild expanse, he grew to manhood,--physically strong and athletic, and mentally acute and active,--receiving the educational advantages afforded by his surroundings and circumstances.
On the breaking out of the great Civil war, with all the enthusiasm of youth and patriotism, he rallied to the defense of his country's flag, enlisting in Company B, Fiftieth Volunteer Infantry, on August 20, 1861, and serving until the close of the war. The most important engagements in which he participated were the siege of Corinth, Shiloh, Corinth and Resaca. In January, 1864, he re-enlisted or veteranized, and was given a furlough of thirty days. After the battle of Resaca, at Rome, Georgia, he was placed on detached duty in the Commissary Department of General Sherman's army, where he continued until cessation of hostilities. He was honorably discharged with his regiment at Springfield, Illinois, on July 14, 1865.
He then, like thousands of others, resumed his former peaceful occupations, engaging, during the first year of his return, in farming. Later, he embarked in mercantile pursuits at Clayton, Illinois, remaining there for about three years, when he sold his business and acted as traveling salesman for about eight years, making Clayton his home. During the latter period, he bought a part of his father's land in Pea Ridge township, and, discontinuing traveling, he engaged in general farming, making a specialty of horticulture. In 1874 he engaged in the nursery business and raising of small fruits, in which he continued successfully for some time. Finally, in 1884, he removed to Mount Sterling, the county seat, his present home, where he continued the nursery and fruit business, to which he later added that of floriculture. His natural adaptability and careful attention to business have resulted in well-merited success, while his liberal methods and uniform courtesy have secured for him a constantly increasing patronage, until he now realizes a comfortable income from these various industries.
Mr. Shank was married in 1867, to Miss Sue Mead, an estimable lady and a native of Morgan county, Ohio. She was a daughter of Zaccheus and Margaret (Logue) Mead, the former a native of New York, where he was reared and married. He and his wife were prominent and esteemed pioneers of Morgan county, Ohio, where they resided many years, the father finally expiring there, regretted by his family and many friends. The mother still survives, and makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Shank.
Mr. and Mrs. Shank have four children: Jesse E., Samuel M., Nora A. and Joe H.
Politically, Mr. Shank affiliates with the Republican party. Religiously, he is a member of the Presbyterian Church, while his wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal denomination. Both are esteemed residents of Mount Sterling, to the social and financial status of which they have given material aid by their energy, public spirit and sterling worth.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 147-149.
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