John Catton

Stark County News, Stark Co., IL, Wednesday, February 21, 1912
Submitted by Barbara Miroslaw 


John Catton, for many years a resident of West Jersey township, Stark county, Illinois, past away last Saturday at his home, after an illness of several years. The funeral services were held Monday at 2:00 o'clock in the West Jersey Methodist Episcopal church and were very largely attended by old neighbors and friends.

Mr. Catton was born in Lincolnshire, England, October 27, 1832, a son of Thomas and Mary (Clark) Catton, and was reared to the occupation of a farmer under his father's direction. At the early age of seven years, he began life for himself, at first receiving only eight cents a day and having to board himself. At the age of twelve his wages had been increased to sixteen cents a day, and later he received seven dollars and a half and board for six months. He then began working by the year for twenty dollars, later receiving twenty-five dollars and twenty-seven dollars and a half, and for his last year's work in his native land obtained seventy dollars. Saving enough money to pay his passage, Mr. Catton and a brother-in-law crossed the Atlantic in 1855, during the year of the Crimean war, and first stopped at White Pigeon, Michigan, having then only twenty-five cents with which to pay for breakfast upon reaching that place. He found employment at Sturgis, Michigan, at fourteen dollars a month and considered himself rich at once. During his ten month stay at that place he saved one hundred dollars in gold. He then came to Brimfield, Peoria county, Illinois, where he took a contract to grub forty acres of land, which he accomplished with the aid of another man, receiving one dollar and a half a day and boarding himself. Later he engaged in digging wells for six months, during which time he cleared four hundred dollars and for the followings ix months he rented a coal mine at Brimfield, which he operated by means of hired help but this venture did not prove a success. Subsequently he rented a mine of Mr. Riggs, which he operated for seven years during which time he erected a stone house in Brimfield, in company with another person, which he later traded for one hundred and twenty acres of land near Algna, Kossuth county, Iowa, but never resided thereon, although he owned the place for twenty years.

While a resident of Brimfield, Mr. Catton was married at Peoria to Miss Alice J. Bently of the former place, who was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Henry H. and Grace W. (Whatmough) Bently, natives of England, born near Roachdale, where their marriage was celebrated.

Eight sons and two daughters were the fruits of this union, of whom two sons have gone on before. Those living are as follows: Arthur, Alfred, George, Fred, Carl, Francis, Alice (Plankael), Grace (Williams).

Mr. Catton continued to reside in Brimfield until 1873 when he moved to West Jersey township, Stark county, at first purchasing eighty acres, and in connection with farming also engaged in mining coal. A few years later he bought out his brother, and added eighty acres to his place and still later traded his Iowa land for another eighty acre tract. In this way he added to his original purchase until he had several hundred acres of good farming and mining land. During the gold excitement he made a trip to Pike's Peak to dig for the precious metal, but as he did not meet with wonderful success and got home-sick, he soon afterwards returned home, satisfied to make his money in a slower but surer way, upon the farm and in the coal mines. He was an ardent supporter of Republican principles, having voted with that party since 1860 when he supported Lincoln. He and his estimable wife were active and prominent members of the West Jersey Methodist Episcopal church, and leading and influential citizens of the community and have always had the respect and esteem of all who knew them.

Brimfield News, Brimfield, IL., Thursday, February 22, 1912
Submitted by Barbara Miroslaw

John Catton died at his home at West Jersey, the latter part of the week. The funeral services were held on Monday. Many relatives and friends from here were in attendance.

Stark County Home

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