DeWitt County Obituaries
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Names In Alpha Order
OBITUARY OF MRS. ELIZA A. NAGELY - 1897
The following obituary appeared in the 23 July 1897 issue of The Clinton Public.
A MOTHER DEAD.
MRS. ELIZA A. NAGELY DIES OF BRIGHT'S DISEASE
She Was Loved by a Large Circle of Old Acquaintances Who Mourn Her Death
Mrs. Eliza A. Nagely passed away at 9:45 P. m- Sunday of Bright's disease, aged 77 years.
Last November she was taken sick and for the last four weeks had been confined to her bed.
During the last hours of her life she was in an unconscious state and death came peacefully
in the presence of the family. Those present from abroad at her demise were Thompson Bosler,
of Los Angeles, Cal., Amos Johnson, of Ellenwood,Kan., both sons-in-law to the deceased, Mrs.
W. H. H. Adams, of Bloomington, and Chas. Nagely, of Chicago.
Mrs. Nagely was born in Madison county, Ohio, on February 14, 1820, being a daughter of Rev.
Eli Adams, who was for fifty years a prominent Methodist minister in that state. On October
4, 1838,she was united in marriage to Aaron Nagely at the home of her parents. With her
husband she continued to reside in Ohio until 18_9, when they came to Illinois and settled in
Clinton, where they have since resided. Mrs. Nagely was a mother of nine children, two of
whom died in infancy and another--Mrs. Wm. M. Phares--died February 18,1896. The names of
the surviving children are: Mrs. Amos Johnson of Ellenwood, Kan.; W. G. Nagely of Denver, Colo.;
Mrs. Pearl Bosler of Los Angeles, Cal.; Jennie Nagely and D. C. Nagely, who reside at home, and
Chas. Nagely of Chicago.
Funeral services of Mrs. Eliza Nagely were held at the family residence at 3 o'clock Tuesday
afternoon, July 20th. There was a very large attendance of her old friends and acquaintances.
Mrs. Nagely became a member of the M. E. church in 1836, in her 16th year. In the summer of 1862
she was baptized, upon confession of her faith in Christ, by Elder Dudley Downs and united with the
Christian church in Clinton, of which she remained a faithful member until death. Her beautiful
life of 77 years was spent largely in Clinton among friends and neighbors and her own home circle.
She was "careful to maintain good works." Her life had been rich in kindly deeds of generosity and
hospitality; many shall rise to call her blessed in the final day. She has left to her children a
heritage that outweighs in value of intrinsic worth anything that money could buy--the pure, beautiful
example of a Christian life in its wifely devotion, its tender mother love and blameless Christian
Rev. L. B. Pickerill, of this city ... conducted the funeral services, assisted by Rev. James
Alvin Clark .... Mrs. Jeanette Edmiston had charge of the music.
The pall bearers were Hon. C. H. Moore, Dr. John Warner, H. H. Morris, H. D. Watson, Philip
Wolf and John Killough.
OBITUARY OF AURELIUS E. NEWMAN -- 1893
The following article appeared in the 12 May 1893 issue of The Clinton Register.
KILLED BY HIS TEAM. A Prominent Farmer of Texas Township Meets Death in a Peculiar Manner.
A. E. NEWMAN, who lived about seven miles southwest of Clinton ... [was] killed by his team
running away. Saturday morning soon after 7 o'clock he started to his son-inlaws, Eiza CRAIG,
about a mile distant, to get a stalk rake. He had only the front wheels of the wagon with
the coupling poie dragging on the ground. On the way, it is supposed, he got on to ride, and
the wagon striking a stump he was thrown forward on the doubletrees causing the horses to run ..
Funeral services were held at the residence at one o'clock Monday, conducted by Rev. L. B.
PICKERILL of this city. ... All the children were present except Eldridge, who is in
California. The burial was at the Texas cemetery Aurelius E. NEWMAN was born in Guilford
county, North Carolina, Oct. 1, 1827, and lived 65 years, 7 months and 5 days. He remained
with his parents until 1847 when he began to make his own way through the world. From his
native state he came to Illinois and worked in Butler county for 62 1/2 cents per day. While
there his finances were so low on one occasion that he only had 37-21 cents which he paid for
his washing in 1848 he went down the Mississippi with a load of ice to Baton Rouge, La.,
returning to La Salle county he remained there until the spring of 1850 when he crossed the
plains to California with an ox team. He remained in that state and engaged in mining until
1852. In that year he returned to North Carolina where he remained only rive weeks, returning
to LaSalle county, Ill. In 1953 he came to DeWitt county, and a year later bought 160 acres
in the southwest part of Tunbridge township. This land he owned until about two years ago,
when he sold it to buy a farm joining his land in Texas township. In 1856 he married Miss
Samantha TROXEL, and made his home on his farm until 1865 when he bought 40 acres in Texas
township and moved there. He had added to his landed possessions until he owned 604 acres
fine land well improved. He also owned 160 acres in Oklahoma which he bought a few months ago.
To Mr. and Mrs. NEWMAN six children were born, two o whom died when young. Ada married Eiza
CRAIG, who now lives on a farm near the NEWMAN homestead. Misses Lute and Fannie reside at
home, and Eldridge has been in California for two years.
Mr. NEWMAN was a life-long Democrat .... He had often been honored with office, having
been collector, and was twice elected supervisor. About twelve years ago he united with the
Christian church ....
OBITUARY OF JAMES O'CONNOR - 1892
The following article appeared in the 4 March 1892 issue of Clinton Public.
Like a Flash Went Out the Life of James O'Connor.
James O'Connor, better known by the name of "Jerry," left his home and wife and baby Thursday
morning to take his regular run as conductor on the south freight that left the depot at 5:15.
The night before, after getting home from a hard day's work on his run, he laid down on the
lounge and complained of severe pains in the region of his heart, but when he got up yesterday
morning he told his wife that he never felt better in his life. After kissing his wife and
baby Jerry went to the depot and started out with his train for Centralia. When nearing Elwin
station, six miles south of Decatur, about nine o'clock in the morning, Jerry was sitting in the
cupola of the caboose with his brakeman, when he said, "They are heading us in, Charley." This
remark was suggested because the engineer was running in on the side track. Hardly had he
uttered the words when he threw out his arms and would have fallen from his seat had not
the brakeman caught him. He never uttered another word. In less than five minutes James
O'Connor was dead. As soon as the train pulled in on, the sidetrack a doctor was called, but
it was too late. Death was caused by the clogging of the flow of blood through the heart.
James O'Connor was born in Sandoval on the 23d of September, 1866. In 1882 he began braking
on the Illinois Central road, and five years ago he was promoted to a freight conductorship.
Two years ago last Thanksgiving he was united in marriage to Miss Jo. Tracey. One child was
born to them, a girl, now about eight months old. His mother is a widow and lives at Sandoval
. . . . He was a member of Plantagenet Lodge, No. 25, Knights of Pythias, and will be buried
by the order on Sunday afternoon, at two o'clock.
OBITUARY OF EZEKIEL PALMER -- 1879
The following article appeared in the 21 March 1879 issue of The Clinton Public.
Ezekiel H. PALMER died at his residence in this city on Thursday morning. Last September, during the term of the
circuit court, he was compelled by sickness to leave his clients and retire to his house. Mr. PALMER started in life in
comparative poverty. He was born near London, Ohio, August 18, 1825, and till the death of his Father, which
occurred when Mr. PALMER was but thirteen years old, he lived with his parents. He then became an inmate of his
uncle's family and learned the carriage and wagon making trade. In his boy-hood days he was very fond of books, and
the great ambition of his young life was so secure or education. While working at his trade he spent his evenings in
study, and without the aid of teachers acquired a good English education. He then became a school teacher in winter
and worked at his trade in a summer, an by careful hoarding every dollar of his earnings saved enough to begin a
He entered as a student in Dennison University, at Granville, Ohio, and continued there till the middle of the junior
year, when he went to Springfield, Ohio, and became a student at Wittenberg College. All these years of his early
college life he had to work during vacations to provide money for the next term. At Granville he found a good
friend in the President, who advanced him money to pay expenses, and thus in 1851 he was enabled to graduate. Mr.
PALMER never forgot the kindness of the college president, and the very first money he earned after going out into
the world was sacredly devoted tot he repayment of his benefactor. After graduating from Wittenberg Mr. PALMER
went to Raymond, Miss., to accept the position of professor of mathematics and languages in an academy in that place
. . . . While at Raymond Mr. PALMER was converted and became a member of the Methodist Church, and from
that time till he came North in 1855 was the superintendent of the Sabbath school. During his stay in Raymond Mr.
PALMER devoted his leisure hours to the study of law, and as there admitted to the bar. In 1855 he returned to the
North, and on his way to Ohio came to this city to visit his old college classmate, Mr. Lawrence WELDON. Mr.
WELDON advised his friend to locate here, telling him that there was as good an opening in Clinton as he could find
elsewhere. Court was then in session over at Lincoln, and Mr. WELDON took Mr. PALMER over there to introduce
him to the members of the bar. It was there that Mr. PALMER first became acquainted with Abraham LINCOLN, and
the welcome given by the large-hearted LINCOLN encouraged the young attorney to afterward cast his
lot in Illinois. Returning to Springfield, Ohio, Mr. PALMER devoted himself with untiring zeal to the study of his
chosen profession. He was married shortly afterward, and in 1857 he came to Clinton and settled down.
... His two eldest sons he sent to college and kept them there till they graduated.
... He will be buried tomorrow afternoon, from the M. E. Church.
OBITUARY OF ALLEN W. PHARES - 1893
The following article appeared in the 5 January 1894 issue of The Clinton Public.
ALLEN W. PHARES.
Within three months the angel of death has visited the PHARES home in Galesburg three times.
On the 6th of October Mrs. Louisa ROGERS, a daughter of Allen W. PHARES, died in Galesburg
and left four children surviving her. On the 27th of November the father died, and on last
Friday, December 29, Mart. PHARES closed his earthly career. This is a remarkable fatality
in one family, the father and two children dying within three months.
The family of Allen W. PHARES will be remembered by the older inhabitants of this county, for
Mr. PHARES came to this city in 1849 and for many years was the leading business man, owning
the largest dry goods and general store and also dealing in lumber and grain. Allen W. PHARES
was born in Greene County, Ohio, in the year 1812, and when he died last November he was
eighty-one years old. His children spent their younger days here, and one of his sons (Abner R.)
has spent his life as a citizen of Clinton. In 1854 Mr. PHARES got acquainted with Henry
MAGILL, father of the present mayor of this city, and took quite a fancy to him. Mr. MAGILL
had a contract for building a section of the Illinois Central road, and Mr. PHARES induced him
to locate in Clinton and sold him his mercantile business. This brought the MAGILL Bros. to
Clinton, and after a successful business career running over twenty-five years the four brothers
died, leaving handsome fortunes to their children.
After selling out his store Mr. PHARES gave his undivided attention to the lumber and grain
business, which he sold in 1857 to John and William BISHOP, and then he moved his family to
Galesburg, Ill., where he engaged in the stock business till a short time before his death.
Only three of that branch of the PHARES family are now living, the aged mother having gone to
her rest ten years ago. Abner R. PHARES lives in Clinton; Mrs. J. P. CONKLIN in Lincoln,
Nebraska; Mrs. Huldah ROWEN in Galesburg.
OBITUARY OF C. M. PHARES -- 1894
The following article appeared in the 5 January 1894 issue of The Clinton Register.
A FORMER CLINTONIAN. Calvin M. Phares is Mustered Out of Service at Galesburg
A. R. PHARES was called to Galesburg last week by the death of his brother, C. M. PHARES,
formerly of this city. The funeral was held last Sunday. The following is from a
C. M. PHARES, or as he was perhaps better known, Mart PHARES, died at the Water Cure of Dr.
HUMPHREY, aged 58 years ... The deceased was born in Ohio in May, 1835 where he remained with
his parents until he was about 12 years of age, when the family removed to Clinton, this
state. He attended school there for a time, but in 18571 and two years before his parents
came to Galesburg, Mart came here and for two years attended Lombard. When the war broke out
the young man went to the front as a volunteer enlisting at Clinton. He was three years in
the service and while there contracted a disease that made him a mere skeleton and from which
it is believed he never fully recovered When a mere boy, and before the family left Ohio, Mart
evinced a great liking for music. On every occasion possible he would get hold of a violin
and soon became quite an expert. Seeing the inclination of the son, his father bought for
him a violin and he began to take lessons. He carried with him into the war his music box
and many a lonely hour was made brighter for his companions by his playing. When he came out
of the army he returned at once to this city and was soon recognized as the leading violinist
of this part of country. No dance was complete unless Mart PHARES was present to furnish the
music. He was known in all of the towns within a radius of 100 miles. Many of the older
residents of this city can testify to his efficiency for in those days the dancing schools
were held and sleighing parties went to Wataga, Knoxville and other places for a dance and Mart
was always one of the central figures. There survive him two sisters, Mrs. H. J. ROWEN, of
this city, and Mrs. J. R. CONKLING, of Lincoln, Neb., also one brother, A. R. PHARES OF
OBITUARY OF MRS. ELIZABETH PHARES - 1900
The following article appeared in the 7 December 1900 issue of The Clinton Register.
ANOTHER MOTHER CALLED. Mrs. Phares Called to Her Heavenly Home After a Short Illness.
Mrs. Elizabeth R. Phares died this morning at her home in South Clinton, aged 59 years,
11 months and 8 days of lung trouble. She visited her son Paul in Kansas, and was taken sick
a week ago. She returned home Tuesday evening, not being able to walk alone, and was at once
confined to her bed, but was not thought dangerously ill until last night when she became worse.
Elizabeth R. McPherson was born in this county June 29, 1841, and had always lived here. She
was married to Frank M. Phares in 1868. Her husband and four children, Mrs. Amy Walters, of
Maroa; Paul of Topeka, Kan.; William, of Clinton; and Mrs. Ina Kerr, of Memphis, Tenn.,
survive her. Also three brothers and three sisters, Judge J. B. F. McPherson, of Fredonia,
Kan.; Mrs. Milan Moore, Farmer City; Mrs. Barbara Rogers, Chicago; J. W. McPherson, Samuel
McPherson and Mrs. G. T. Hume, of Clinton.
OBITUARY OF SAMUEL C. PHARES -- 1901
The following article appeared in the 1 March 1901 issue of the Clinton Register.
NEARLY A CENTURY. DeWitt County's Oldest Citizen Gone To His Final Rest.
Was Born Before Lincoln, and Had Lived in This County Over Fifty-Four Years.
Samuel C. Phares was born in Cincinnati, O., Aug. 15,1808, and died the afternoon of
Feb. 23, being 92 years, 6 months and 8 days old. He was the last of ten children to "quit
the shores of time." The family moved to Xenia, O., where he was married to Miss Sarah
Marshall, Feb. 21, 1828. She was born in Virginia and belonged to the famous Marshall
family of that state.
Thirteen children were born to them, one of whom, Robert H., who was a twin of
William, died about twelve years ago in this city. Those living, in the order of their ages,
are as follows: Wm. M., near Maroa; Elizabeth Hall, of Hamilton, Mo.; John A. of
Clinton; Henry C. of Weldon; Frank M. of Clinton; Melissa J. Waldo, of Breckinbridge,
Mo.; Amy E. McGraw, Sarah L. Payne, Juliet A. Wilson, of Clinton, Margaret Mattix, of
Lane; Mary E. Harrison, of Leadville, Col.; and Samuel C. of Monarch, Ill. All attended
the funeral, except the two living in Missouri and one in Colorado.
It is seldom there is a family so remarkable for numbers and longevity. The eldest child
of the deceased is 72 and the youngest 50 years old. There are 65 grandchildren and 86
great-grand children, making a family of 163 descendants who are yet to follow the aged
pilgrim to the tomb.
Many years beyond his allotted days this old man was spared to mingle with those who to
him were most dear. For thirty-one years the anniversary of his birth had been celebrated
in some park or grove where his descendants, representing three generations, gathered
about him to spend a day happily in thankfulness that the father, grand-father and
great-grandfather was yet permitted to join them in happy reunion. At first these
meetings were for the family and intimate friends, but later all friends and acquaintances
were invited to attend, and the number present sometimes was near one thousand. At the
last few celebrations programmes were rendered, the three generations being represented
while the head of the large family smiled as a grandchild or great-grandchild recited a
poem or sang a song, or some of his children danced almost as spryly as when they were
in their teens. All of these fancily reunions he attended ....
Mr. Phares followed farming and school teaching in Ohio. He was a member of the state
militia and became colonel. He enlisted for the Mexican war but was not called to the
front. In 1847 he moved to Illinois locating at Waynesville, but soon moved near Maroa.
This county had since been his home. Many years were spent farming in the south part of
the county. He hauled to Maroa the first load of corn that was unloaded on a "dump" in
that place. E. P. Bowden who was in charge of the elevator, the Crocker, at that time, is
still employed at the same place.
Mr. Phares answered his country's call during the Civil war, serving in the 68th Illinois
regiment, and served his country faithfully and well.
In Sept. 1877 his companion was taken from him by death. Since that time he had lived
with his children, for several years with William, and for the last few years with Mrs. Lou
Payne in Clinton. He was a member of the Christian church many years. He had "so
lived that when the summons came he wrapped the drapery of his couch about him and
lay down to pleasant dreams.
Funeral services were held Monday at 2:00 in the Christian church conducted by Rev. E.
A. Gilliland, who preached an impressive sermon on the transition from life to death.
The G.A.R. and W.R.C., attended and conducted their usual services at the cemetery. Six
old soldiers, H. G. Beatty, Wm. Monson, Geo. Ely, Thos. Ewing, Geo. Aughinbaugh
and E. Sylvester were pall bearers. Interment was in Woodlawn.