MRS. MARIA CLAYTON, widow of the late John Clayton, is a daughter of Isaac L. and Nancy (Jackson) Martin, deceased, and at the present time resides in township 11, range 6, Pope County. Her father was a native of Tennessee, and his wife of Hardin County, Ill. In 1824, when a lad of twelve years, he came to Illinois with his parents, and here lived and died on his own farm. He was a brave soldier in the Black Hawk War and married a lady by the name of Nancy Jackson, who had been previously married to George Doctorman, by whom she had two sons, one of whom grew to mature years. She bore Mr. Martin four sons and four daughters. One daughter died in infancy, and there are now living but four of the eight children. George, the second child and first son, was a volunteer in Company A, Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, under the command of Capt. Terrell, and later under Capt. Howard. He enlisted when seventeen years of age, in 1862, as a private soldier, and was taken prisoner near Natchez, Miss., where he was confined one year, and died of scurvy and starvation in November, 1865, in his twentieth year. The family could learn nothing of his fate until a long time after his death. Franklin P. died in March, 1872, in his eighteenth year, of pneumonia; John died in 1874, in his twenty-second year, of fever. The surviving members of the family are Mrs. Maria Clayton, of this sketch; Anna, wife of Marshall Iliff, a farmer of Hardin County; Izora, widow of John Keeling, residing on her farm near Elizabethtown; and Isaac L., a farmer of Hardin County. The mother of these children died in 1860, leaving the youngest child two years old, and Mrs. Clayton, the eldest of the family, had the responsibility of the family upon her hands for ten years.
When she was twenty-six years old, our subject married Isaiah Ragan, of Ohio, in 1869, in Hardin County, where they lived two years, and then lived in Livingston County, Ky., for the same length of time. In January, 1873, they removed to the present home of Mrs. Clayton, where she has lived ever since. They had but little to begin with, but at that time had saved up some money and bought two hundred and fifty acres of land with fair improvements for $l,250, paying all down but $200, the rest within one year. After three years they bought eighty acres more, making the present farm three hundred and thirty acres, situated on section 34, township 11, range 6. Mr. Ragan died in July, 1877, at the age of thirty-five, leaving his widow with two sons and two daughters, viz: William Henry, a young man at home; John, twenty years old; Narrissa, a young lady; and Mollie, fifteen years of age. They are all at home, the sons working on the farm, and the daughters attending school. The father of these children, Isaiah Ragan, was the son of William and Mary (Leper) Ragan, the former of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. They came to Illinois from Ohio in 1856, and settled on a farm near the parents of Mrs. Clayton, and their children grew up together.
Mrs. Ragan was married to the late John Clayton, a son of John Clayton, of Kentucky. The latter was a carpenter by trade, and followed that occupation very profitably for many years. He married Eliza Hill, of Kentucky, then the widow of a Mr. Sloan, and removed to Evansville, Ind., about 1840, and in 1804 to Elizabethtown, Ill., where they died, the mother in middle life, leaving five children by Mr. Clayton and two by her first husband. Mr. Clayton lived some years afterward, and died in 1892, at the age of seventy-seven. Three of his children are still living. John Clayton was a carpenter by trade and was married to Mrs. Ragan in 1877. He died in November, 1891. Mrs. Clayton has the sympathy of many friends in her affliction, which she is bearing with great fortitude and resignation.
Extracted from Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, published in 1893, page 481
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