Neely Withrow

Neely Withrow, deceased, was a pioneer of Henry County , of 1835. He arrived here in August of that year, and was a resident of the township of Phenix ever after until his death, which took place Jan. 25, 1839, and which was the result of an accident. He was born near the city of Louisville , Ky. , Feb., 15, 1810, and was brought up a farmer. William Withrow, his father, removed with his family to Shawneetown , Ill. , in 1828. Mr. Withrow of this sketch was married in that place to Polly Eveleth. She was a native of Pennsylvania , and was born Feb. 12, 1806. Their marriage occurred May 20, 1830.
   Mr. Withrow was the owner of a tract of land in White County , and they were its occupants until 1833, when they came to Henry County . They came hither in company with several other families, and all traveled in the primitive manner in vogue in those days, there being no method of public conveyance, and the days of railroads in unsettled regions being things of a later period of civilization. But the long tedious progress was not without its benefit, and families became closer knit together in the days that were of necessity wearisome; and their new homes did not seem so desolate and remote from the limits of civilization left behind, when contrasted with the monotonous journey that extended through several weeks. Their means of locomotion included both horse and ox teams, and all the ins and outs of the domestic machinery were kept in operation. The cooking was done by the wayside, and at night they slept in their wagons. Mr. Withrow stopped a few months at Knoxville , and in the month of August pushed on to Henry County . He made a stop at Red Oak Grove, where he took a claim and prepared to establish a permanent residence. He built a pioneer’s cabin of logs in the primitive method of those that wrought with such facilities as the times and place afforded, and covered the structure with clapboards and laid a floor with puncheon, there being no lumber in the State. In the fall of the next year he came to what is now Phenix Township . He sold his claim in Red Oak, and secured another on section 20 of the township named.

He made the same preparations for living, and followed the same plans in his building. The roof, as in the other instance, was of clapboards, and the floor and doors were of puncheon. He was the owner of several head of cattle, and he did his first breaking with oxen. He was killed by being thrown from a sleigh. His widow was married Feb. 24, 1841, to Harvey Hickox. He died Nov. 34, 1853, and she is a member of the family of her son Amariah. The children of her first marriage are Amariah, James N., John Wesley, Lucy and Neely. Two of three children born of the second marriage are not living. Eunice, the only survivor, is the wife of Asaph King, of Central City, Mo.

   Neely Withrow was the first Justice of the Peace in the township of Phenix . There was no county jail, and he had a big block in his house in which he drove staples, to which he was in the habit of chaining prisoners. They could then reach the fire and go to bed with occasion demanded. Mr. Withrow is recorded as one of the first voters at the first election held in the county, June 19, 1837. The oldest son married Mary Houston and lives in Phenix Township . James married Mary Allen, and they reside at Geneseo. John W. married Arvilla Allea, and is a citizen of Hanna Township . Lucy is the wife of Robert Barge, of Central City, Neb. Neely married Ellen Paddock, and they live at the place last named.

1885 Portrait & Biographical Album of Henry Co., Illinois page 544


Transcribed by Jan Roggy

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