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Living the quiet life of the agriculturist, conscientiously and ably performing the daily duties which devolved upon him, the years passed and John Marion Buckles wrote upon the pages of life's history an honorable record which causes his memory to be cherished by all who knew him. He had a wide and favorable acquaintance in Logan county, where he always made his home.

His birth occurred in Mount Pulaski township, March 16, 1858. His parents were John and Esther Jane (Scroggin) Buckles. Although nothing is definitely known concerning the founding of the family in this country, it is determined from the disposition and character of their descendants that the ancestors of our subject were akin to the sober-minded Pilgrims of New England or the industrious Puritans of the middle and southern colonies. "They were a substantial, religious, industrious and self-reliant people," writes a contemporary biographer. "His immediate ancestors were good representatives of the average men and the energetic, strongminded middle class who settled the wilderness of the Prairie state. They belonged to a family who were never reduced to a state of poverty and who have never acquired great riches, although they have always been comfortably situated according to the times as far back as tradition extends."

The first of the name of whom we have definite record was John Buckles, who is thought to be of English lineage. He was born in Virginia, in 1782, and married Anna Vandeventer. Their children were Robert, Abraham, Abigail, Sarah, Thomas, Andrew, William, James and Washington, four of whom were a born in White county, Illinois, when this state was still under territorial rule. In 1822 John Buckles became a resident of Logan county and ten years later removed to McLean county, residing near the village of Le Roy until his death in 1842. His wife passed away in 1857.

Another of the great-grandparents of John M. Buckles was Jeremiah Birks, who was born in Georgia and married Elizabeth Brown, by whom he had eight children, Polly, Rial, Riley, Levina, David, Rolland, Sarah and Betsey. His second wife was Rhoda Collins, daughter of Hugh Collins, and their six children were Isom, Sarah, Riley, Ann, Permelia and Richard. Jeremiah Birks removed to White county, Illinois, in 1812, and four years later went to Missouri, but in 1822 returned to Illinois, settling in Logan county, where he lived until his death.

Robert Buckles, grandfather of John M. Buckles, was born in Tennessee, April 29, 1796, and with his father came to Illinois when the state was largely a wilderness. In 1818 he wedded Mary (Polly) Birks, who in 1812 had accompanied her parents to White county, Illinois. When they removed to Logan county in 1822 there were only six families living within its present boundaries. Many Indians still inhabited the state and the forests and prairies were the haunts of wild beasts and of wild game. Robert Buckles was fond of hunting and was particularly skillful with the rifle. The family met the usual experiences and hardships of frontier life. Mrs. Buckles did all the cooking in the open fireplace, made all the clothing for the family from the raw material, and when her husband was necessarily away on long trips taking stock to market she would split the wood for the fireplace. The death of Robert Buckles occurred when he was seventy years of age and twenty-three years later his wife was laid by his side in Steenbergen cemetery, where the words "Father" and "Mother" upon their tombstones indicate the affectionate remembrance of their children. They had a family of fifteen sons and daughters: William R., Jeremiah B., John, Elizabeth, Levina, Andrew, Peter, Chalton C., Mary, Robert, Wiley, Henry H., Sarah J., Elmira and Lucinda M.

John Buckles, father of John Marion Buckles, was born in a small log cabin in White county, Illinois, October 7, 1822, and three weeks later his parents removed to Logan county, the father erecting a cabin in the forest near the stream now known as the Lake Fork ditch. Roaming over the prairies and through the woods, he spent his boyhood days and learned to use the rifle to good effect, his prowess being indicated in the many coons, prairie chickens and other game which he killed. His educational privileges were extremely limited, probably covering not more than a year altogether. In school he sat upon the log bench with the ground for a floor, whip the knees of the pupils served as their desks. It was thought that the only thing necessary for instruction for the boy was arithmetic and his real training came to him in the school of pioneer experience -- a school that develops force and foresight, strengthens courage and resolution, cultivates sagacity, teaches independence of judgment, promptness of action and anticipation of danger -- in fact, it brings forth all the qualities of mind necessary to a frontiersman or a successful trader. In 1846 he was employed by John Slaughter to aid in driving cattle to New York and for this service he received twelve dollars per month. A similar trip was made the following year, one hundred days being required on the outward journey and thirty days on the return. Previous to this he had assisted his father in driving hogs to Racine, Wisconsin, and sheep to St. Louis, Missouri, for Chicago at that time had not become recognized as a stock market.

On his return from New York in 1847 John Buckles wedded Esther J. Scroggin, a daughter of Carter T. Scroggin, who was born in Kentucky in 1796. When fifteen years of age he went to Gallatin county, Illinois, and later married Phebe Shelby, who had settled in Pope county with her parents a few years before. In 1828 Mr. Scroggin and his wife removed to Logan county, where he built a log cabin and began the development of a farm. He and his wife were devoted members of the Baptist church and he was a firm supporter of democratic principles. He was of Scotch parentage and his wife of Welsh descent. His death occurred in 1859 and Mrs. Scroggin passed away in 1876. Their ten children were Leonard K., Mary A., Russet L., Humphrey, Esther J., Sarah E., Carter T., Pleasant M., Thomas J. and Ellen C.

A few days after the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John Buckles they removed to a small frame house, which he had built -- one of the first frame buildings in the country. It stood on a tract of forty acres, three miles southwest of Mount Pulaski, which had been entered by him in 1843 at a cost of a dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. He made the rails that fenced the land, the shingles that covered the house and, in fact, all of the improvements upon the place. In limited financial circumstances at the outset of their married life, they achieved success in the course of years, their land grew in value and in time they came to be recognized as among the most substantial citizens of the county. From time to time Mr. Buckles added to his land and as opportunity offered secured the comforts of the older east. Clapboard roofs, a fire-place, the walls of which were made of clay, hickory bottom chairs, a slab table were all features of the pioneer homes. As there were no gristmills corn was ground in a hollowed out block, honey and maple sugar served for sweetening purposes and corn husking was one of the favorite amusements of the people. All clothing was homemade, tallow candles were generally used and, in fact, the settler had to provide almost all of the necessities of the household. As time passed on John Buckles began raising and dealing in cattle and in time became one of the most prominent stockmen of this section of the state, shipping thousands of cattle and hogs to different markets throughout the entire country.

At the age of nineteen he became a member of the Christian church, remaining one of its loyal advocates and liberal supporters from that time forward. He has been interested in every department of church work and in 1890 he donated two thousand five hundred dollars for the founding of Eureka College for the education of ministers. Until 1875 he was a firm advocate of republican principles but in that year became a stanch prohibitionist, supporting the party which upheld his opinions concerning the temperance question. A biography written of him in 1897 said: "He is of a robust constitution, invigorated by long outdoor occupation, rigid temperance and orderly habits. In all business transactions he is and has been just and impartial. His friends are innumerable, made as fast as acquaintances, and whenever a name is added to his list it is taken therefrom only by death. Though nearly seventyfive years of age, he still assists in driving stock and makes one daily trip to the city of Mount Pulaski, a distance of three miles." His wife was born in Logan county, February 29, 1828. Her duty in girlhood was the spinning of seventy cuts of wool per day or in weaving cloth from early morning until late at night. Always a lover of the beautiful in nature, she has ever cultivated fine flowers, has done much fancy work and has secured an excellent collection of beautiful shells and rocks on her travels in this country along the seashore.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. John Buckles were born four children. Elias, born in 1848, was married in 1868 to Betty Dyer, and they became parents of ten children. Elias Buckles is now in the grain business, his residence being near the old home farm. Derias, who was born February 18, 1850, is an extensive stock-dealer and shipper of Niantic township, Macon county. Phebe C., the only daughter, born in 1851, was married in 1851 to Louis Phipps, who took his own life probably in a fit of temporary insanity. His widow in 1876 became the wife of Ode Turley, and to them were born two children, the surviving child being Elmer, who owns and occupies a good farm in this county. The death of Mrs. Turley occurred in 1889. John Marion Buckles was the youngest son of the family.

When success had crowned his efforts the father allowed himself the privilege and pleasure of travel and, accompanied by his wife, made various trips to different parts of the country, visiting the expositions at Philadelphia, New Orleans and Chicago in 1876, 1885 and 1893 respectively. In 1894 he visited the Pacific coast and previously had visited various noted winter resorts of the south. The commodious two-story brick residence which Mr. Buckles erected in 1864 is still one of the finest and most substantial farm residences of the county. The place which John Buckles has ever occupied in public regard is a most enviable one. His name is associated with all that is honorable in individual relations and in citizenship and his business integrity has never been questioned. He has thus provided for his family not only a handsome competence but also that good name which is rather to be chosen than great riches.

The youthful days of John Marion Buckles were not unlike that period in the lives of other farm boys. When age and strength permitted he worked in the fields and was trained to all the practical and arduous duties connected with the cultivation of the crops. In his early boyhood he attended the district schools arid afterward received the benefit of instruction in the Lincoln high school. Subsequently he spent two years as a student in Notre Dame University and when his education was completed he returned to the farm with his father. After his marriage he assumed the management of the home place, consisting of six hundred and sixty-six acres of rich and productive land. He was a grain farmer, devoting his attention largely to corn. Acre after acre was planted to that cereal until the stretch of well kept fields formed a sea of billowy green. Soil and climatic conditions being favorable, and intelligent discernment being brought to bear in his labors, he won success in his undertakings and continued to engage in farming until April, 1909, when he took up his abode in the handsome new residence which he had that year erected, at the corner of South Spring and Marion streets in Mount Pulaski. As the years passed and he prospered he made judicious investment in property until he possessed many landed interests.

On the 24th of December, 1879, Mr. Buckles was united in marriage to Miss Alice G. Rankin, who was born in this county in 1860 and is a daughter of Isaac N. and Nancy (Heaton) Rankin, early settlers of Logan county. Her father devoted his attention to farming for many years but afterward became a merchant of Mount Pulaski. He was a Kentuckian by birth, while his wife was a native of Missouri. Their family numbered five children, including Mrs. Buckles, who, since her husband's death, has continued to occupy the handsome new residence which he erected and which is one of the finest homes in this part of the county.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Buckles held membership in the Christian church, taking an active part in its work and contributing liberally to its support. Mr. Buckles was also a loyal member of the Modern Woodmen camp and the local lodge of the Odd Fellows society, while his political allegiance was given to the republican party. He never allowed the accumulation of wealth in any way to affect his relations toward those less fortunate and he enjoyed the respect of all who knew him. The character of the individual is determined by his utilization of opportunities, his employment of his powers and his fulfillment of his obligations to his fellowmen, and in these respects Mr. Buckles at all times measured up to the highest standards. His death occurred on the 8th of March, 1910.

Source: History of Logan County, Illinois, by Lawrence Stringer. Chicago: Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911. Vol. II, pp. 18-25.

This biography is notable for the number of family histories included, perhaps a method of including them even though they were deceased.

Submitted by Cheryl Rothwell who shares all ancestors with John Marion Buckles.