JACOB S. PRUETT, who for many years has been prominently identified with the agricultural interests of Schuyler county, was born at St. Mary's, Hancock county, Illinois, December 3, 1834, a son of Constant Pruett. His father was a native of Roane county, Tennessee, and his grandfather was a farmer of that State, and spent his entire life within its borders. Constant Pruett was reared and married in Tennessee, and emigrated to Illinois in 1829, accompanied by his wife and one child; they journeyed on horse-back to Kentucky, and then secured a cart in which they completed the trip. They first settled in Cass county, but at the end of a year removed to Hancock county, where Mr. Pruett entered a tract of Government land; on this he built a log house in which Jacob S., the subject of this sketch, was born. In 1835 he sold the place and moved to McDonough county, entering eighty acres of land on what is now section 33, Bethel township; he built a log cabin on the east side of the tract, and a few years later erected one on the west side, in which he lived until his death in March, 1890, aged eighty-nine years. He married Susan Schoopman, of Roane county, Tennessee; her father, Jacob Schoopman, started to Illinois in an early day; he fell ill on the way and died before reaching his destination; his widow came to this county, and died in Bethel township. Jacob S. is one of a family of nine children; he was an infant when his parents moved to McDonough county; he attended the pioneer schools which were taught in the primitive log house, with the yet more primitive furnishing of puncheon seats and desks of the same pattern; the children were dressed in cloth of their mother's own weaving; there were no railroads, and wheat was hauled to market sixty miles distant, and sold at twenty-five cents a bushel. Our subject remained with his parents until he was twenty years of age. He then began life for himself. Having no capital he rented land in Bethel township for two years, and at the end of two years purchased forty acres of his father's original entry, and later he purchased the adjoining land across the county line on section 4, Brooklyn township.
In 1861, at the first call for troops, he enlisted in the Sixteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and reported at Springfield; thence he went to Quincy, but the quota was filled before his arrival; therefore he returned to his home, and in February, 1862, he again enlisted, entering Company I, Sixty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, for a term of three years or during the war; the regiment was organized at Anna, Illinois, and mustered in at Cairo; thence he went to Paducah, Kentucky, and then to Columbus, and then to Kenton, Tennessee, where Companies I and K were detailed to guard a railroad trestle; while on duty here he was taken ill, and was honorably discharged; he returned home and resumed agricultural pursuits.
In March, 1864, he started with four companions overland to Montana; at the end of one hundred and five days he arrived at Idaho Gulch, and there was engaged in cutting hay for three months, at $50 per month; then he and his brother and Solomon Pestel, engaged in the live-stock trade. In the spring of 1866 he disposed of his interest, and began teaming between Virginia City and Salt Lake. In the fall of the same year, he returned to his home, and again took up agricultural pursuits. He was very successful, made investments in land as his means increased, until he is now the owner of 360 acres; this is cultivated by his sons. He resided on the farm until 1882, when he removed to Rushville.
Mr. Pruett was first married March 4, 1855, to Jane Stoneking, who was born in Pennsylvania, August 29, 1833, a daughter of Joseph and Rebecca Stoneking, and died August 1, 1881. Mr. Pruett was married a second time, February 1, 1883, when he was united in marriage to Mrs. Mary J. (Mooney) Eales, a native of Henderson county, Kentucky, and a daughter of Henry L. and Octavia (Kelley) Mooney, and widow of George Eales. Mr. Pruett has five children born of his first marriage: Nicholas, Susan, Eliza A., Harriet and Mary; one child has been born of the second union, named Charles. Mrs. Pruett had by her first union six children: Effie E., Addie E., Edward Clarence, Zelma A., Cora V. and Kate. Politically, our subject affiliates with the Democratic party, having cast his first presidential vote for Buchanan. He was elected Sheriff of the county in 1882, and served in this capacity four years. He was a zealous, capable officer and enjoyed the entire confidence of his constituency. Mrs. Pruett is a consistent member of the Christian Church.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 167-169.
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