JAMES A. TEEL, a pioneerof Schuyler county, and one the most successful farmers and stock-raisersof the State of lllinois, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania,July 19, 1830. His father, Henry P. Teel, was born in New Jersey;and it is thought that the grandfather, John Teel, also was a native ofNew Jersey. The great-grandfather, Captain John Teel, commanded a companyin the war of the Revolution; he spent his last years in Beaver county,Pennsylvania, and was buried with military honors; his widow came to Illinoisand spent her last days here. John Teel served five years in the regulararmy, and participated in the struggle of 1812; he emigrated from Pennsylvaniaand spent the last years of his life in Guernsey county; he married HuldahHaines, a native of the Keystone State; she also died in Guernsey county.Henry P. Teel was a millwright by trade, and followed this vocation inPennsylvania until 1833, when he came to Illinois, accompanied by his wifeand two children; the trip was made via the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinoisrivers to Erie, and thence by team to Rushville; here he lived two years,and then removed to the Territory of Iowa, locating at Fort Madison, wherehe lived one year; he then came back to Schuyler county, and resumed workat his trade. He saved his money, and in 1845 he purchased a tractof school land on section 16, Rushville township; in connection with histrade he superintended the cultivation of this land, and resided on thefarm until his death, which occurred March 21, 1878. He married MarthaAnn Mathews, who was born in New Castle, Delaware, November 11, 1811; herfather, James Mathews was born on the sea when his parents were emigratingto America; Thomas Mathews, the great-grandfather of our subject, was bornin Ireland, of Scotch ancestry; after emigrating to America he settledin Delaware, but later removed to Pennsylvania, locating in Washingtoncounty; he afterward came to Ohio, where he spent the remainder of hisdays; he married Margaret Steward, a native of Ireland. James Mathews,the maternal grandfather, was a papermaker by trade, learning the businessat New Castle, Delaware; after his marriage he removed to Washington county,Pennsylvania, and thence to Kansas, where he spent the last days of hislife in Cherokee county; he was a thirty-third degree Mason, and his funeralwas conducted by that body. Henry P. Teel and wife reared a familyof seven children: James A. the subject of this notice, H uldah A., JohnT., William, Alice, Henry and Cass. The parents are members of the PresbyterianChurch; Mr. Teel affiliates with the Democratic party.
James A. Teel was fouryears of age when his parents came to Schuyler county to reside; settlerswere few, and wild game abounded. At Fort Madison also the Indians werenumerous, Black Hawk and Keokuk being prominent chiefs, well rememberedby Mr. Teel. He attended the pioneer schools of Schuyler county,which were taught in log school houses, furnished in primitive style; theseats were made of slabs with wooden pins for legs, and the desks for theolder scholars were constructed after the same pattern; the pens were madeby the teacher from goose-quills. Cooking was done by a fire-place,and the children were clothed in home-spun of the mother’s own weaving.James A. resided with his parents until he was nineteen, and then, in 1849,he emigrated to California, joining the great throng that pressed to thegold fields of that State; he was one of a company of sixty who made thejourney overland with ox teams, walking the entire distance. He arrivedat Biddle’s Bar out of funds; he soon found employment in the mines, andworked two days and a half at $9 per day; he then began mining on his ownaccount, and remained there until 1851, when he returned to his home viathe Nicaragua route and New York. In 1853 he made another trip acrossthe plains, spent a few months in the golden State, and returned by wayof the Isthmus. He engaged in farming in Rushville township, andsoon turned his attention to the breeding of fine cattle. In 1856 he locatedon a farm which he still owns on section 2, Rushville township; this tractconsists of 570 acres, and is improved with good substantial buildings;Mr. Teel lived there until March, 1891, when he removed to the farm wherehe now resides, one mile north of the courthouse; he owns nearly 1,200acres of land, all in Rushville and Buena Vista townships.
He was married July29, 1856, to Miss Elizabeth Smith, a native of Rushville township, bornDecember 24, 1834, a daughter of Jonathan and Nancy (Skiles) Smith (seesketch of William Wood). Mr. and Mrs. Teel have four children living:Herschel V., Neosho May, Marshall E. and Walter H.: the oldest child, EverettL., was born July 14, 1886; he was graduated from the law department ofthe State University, Madison, Wisconsin, in the class of 1890, and hisdeath occurred in October, of the same year. In early days Mr. Teel belongedto the Whig party, but for many years past has affiliated with the Democraticparty. He has served as collector of Rushville township, and hasbeen a member of the county Board of Supervisors. He is a stockholderin the Schuyler County Agricultural Society, and has made an exhibit atthe second fair held in the county, receiving two silver spoons as premiums;his herd of short-horns has been seen at many county fairs in Illinoissince that time, and has been awarded sweep-stakes and other prizes ondifferent occasions. Mr. Teel is a stock-holder in the Schuyler HotelCompany, and also in the Bank of Schuyler County. He is a man ofsuperior business qualifications, and his judgment in all matters pertainingto agriculture is highly esteemed throughout the county and State.
Biographical Reviewof Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical ReviewPublishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 185-187.
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