NANCY P. SECKMAN was born in Harrison county, Kentucky, August 18, 1814. Her father, James Taylor, and her mother, Katie Bishop, were both born in Maryland, near Snow Hill. They went to Kentucky, when young, were married there, and were well-to-do farmers. They moved to Illinois in the fall of 1832, when this daughter was nineteen years old. They brought ten children with them in a prairie schooner, being twenty-one days on the route. They hired a man to bring them with his five-horse team, and they brought three horses and saddles of their own. They had a most delightful time, a continual picnic of twenty-one days, from the time they left the old Kentucky home until they arrived at grandfather Taylor's in Morgan county. They bought 160 acres in what is now Scott county, and this they made their permanent home. They had two more children in Illinois, making twelve in all, and all but two grew to adult age, Mrs. Seckman being the eldest. The mother died at the age of sixty-five, on the farm in Scott county; the father lived many years after, but finally passed away at the ripe old age of eighty-five years, leaving a fine estate to the ten remaining children.
Mrs. Seckman had very little schooling at the every-day school, as they were then termed. She was married in her twenty-second year to Jonathan W. Seckman, born near Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1810. His father was William Seckman, and his mother, Susan Wright, both from farmer families of Ohio. They came to Illinois after this son came. Jonathan came here a poor young man, and began working for the low wages of those times. He drove teams and broke prairie, and worked and earned and saved, until in his thirtieth year he had two horses, six oxen, and several head of horned cattle, and some hogs. He was married to our subject, March 31, 1844, and began domestic life on an island in Menard County, on lands his father owned. They purchased forty acres in 1842, in Cooperstown township, near the present home of Mrs. Seckman. He traded a good house and his last horse for it. He worked out by the day and paid for the use of a six-horse team, with which he tilled the land for the first crop. Their life on the island for the three years they were there, was a living death from fever and ague, and when they left for Brown county they were reduced in means, having but $40. They bought a log house on an adjoining claim, which they moved on their small farm. The timber was large and dense on this land, and he built his old house on and over several large stumps. They moved into this abode, January 1, 1842, and in about two years he bought eighty acres adjoining. In 1865, they built the present commodious frame house in which Mrs. Seckman now resides. Here he died, August 8, 1885, aged seventy-five, leaving his widow with seven living children. They had buried one daughter when an infant, and one son, John William, aged twenty-eight. He left a wife and son. Mr. Seckman owned at his death 720 acres of land, and several lots in Mount Sterling. These lands are well-stocked and well-improved. He was well and favorably known in this section. His life of toil was not only successful financially, but he left a good record to his devoted wife. His father had been a preacher among the United Brethren, and he also left a large estate to a large and honorable posterity.
The names of Mrs. Seckman's living children are: James R., a farmer of Nebraska, has five children; Kittie J., wife of William Shultz, of Nebraska, has twelve children; Charles H., farmer on part of the old homestead, has six children; George D., also a farmer on the homestead, ten children; Jonathan, farmer in Brown county, eight children; Joseph L., also on the homestead, seven children; Archie, also on the homestead, in the house with his mother, four children.
Mrs. Seckman says that she is a monument of God's mercy and love. She has had great health and strength during life, has worked hard in the house and field, has helped make fence, stack grain, and has done everything in the house from rocking the cradle to spinning and weaving. She is now as strong and vigorous as ever, and her mind is as strong as ever, and in every respect she is a remarkable old lady.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 264-265.
Copyright 2000-2006 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.
Return to Biographical Review index