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Among the highly respected citizens of Mount Pulaski who have laid aside all business cares and expect to spend their remaining years in ease and quiet is John McDonald Gasaway, whose early life was successfully devoted to farming. He was born upon a farm in Ross county, Ohio, January 19, 1827, and is the son of Nicholas and Sophia (DENSON) GASAWAY, the former of Scotch, and the latter of Welsh decent. His Grandfather, Thomas Gasaway, was a native of Virginia (sic), and was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. He married Miss Jane KELLY and they reared a good sized (sic) family. The father of our subject was also born in the Old Dominion, in 1893, and when a young man went to Ohio where he was married. Settling in Ross, he became one of the prosperous farmers of that locality, but deciding to come further west removed with his family to Logan county, Illinois, in 1855, and settled in Lake Fork township, where he engaged in farming for many years. He died on the old home farm in 1879 at the age of eighty-five and his wife in 1880, at the age of 79. Both were devout members of the Methodist church and were highly respected and esteemed by all who knew them. Of the 10 children born to them, eight reached years of maturity and came to Logan county, namely: Mary, James D., John M., Jane, William H., Thomas D., Sophia and Nicholas. Only three of this family still survive.
John M. Gasaway was reared in much the usual manner of farmer boys of his day, his time being divided between the work of the home farm and attendance at the district school of the neighborhood. At the age of twenty-four years old he was united in marriage with Eliza POE, of Ross county, Ohio, a daughter of Hiram and Mary (GASAWAY) POE. They had six children, of whom four are still living: Mary widow of Abram McKENNY and a resident of Mount Pulaski, Sophia HORN, deceased; Hiram N., a constable of Mount Pulaski; and Arthilda, wife of B. F. SCROGGIN a banker of Oak, Nebraska.
After his marriage Mr. Gasaway followed farming in Ohio until 1853, when he came to Logan county, Illinois, and purchased three hundred acres of land in Lake Fork township, in partnership with his cousin I.W. Gasaway. Later he bought a farm of two hundred and eighty acres in the same township, which he still owns, and upon that place he made many valuable improvements, which still stand as monuments to his thrift and industry. He gave considerable attention to the raising of a good grade of cattle and hogs, and fed all of the products of his farm to his stock. Renting the farm in 1886 he moved to Mount Pulaski, and has since lived a retired life enjoying the fruits of former toil. Here he has a good modern residence on East Cook street.
By his ballot Mr. Gasaway always supports the men and measures of the Democratic party, and while living on the farm took a prominent part in local politics. He served nine years as township trustee, was assessor of Lake Fork township, and highway commissioner; and for twelve years was also commissioner of the drainage district of Lake Fork township. He and his wife are among the leading members of the Christian church of Mount Pulaski, in which he has served as elder for seven years. They have celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, having traveled life∆s journey together for over half a century, and are among the most highly respected and honored citizens of their community. Upright and honorable in all things, Mr. Gasaway has gained the confidence of all with whom he has been brought in contact, and well merits the high regard in which he is uniformly held.
Transcriber's note: This is the only early document I've seen where the children of Nicholas and Sophia (Denson) Gasaway are listed as a group. Transcribed by the late Penny Husler.
Biographical Record of Logan County, published in 1901 Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co.