JAMES T. COLBERT, a well-to-do farmer, living near Equality, Gallatin county, Ill., was born in the neighborhood where he now lives, May 3, 1827. His father, James Colbert, was born in Alabama about 1792. When he was a young man he came with his brothers, Henry, Drury, and Hiram, to Illinois, and after working for a while at the salt works entered eighty acres of government land and passed the rest of his life as a farmer. This farm is now in the possession of the subject of this sketch, and it was there that he was born. James Colbert fought in the Black Hawk war and died in 1834. His children were: Allen B., William, Nancy J., Elisha, Hiram, James T., Thomas and Frances. Allen died at the age of thirty-five years; William lived to be seventy-seven; Nancy married Robert Pinson and after his death Johnson Kanady, and died at the age of seventy-five; Elisha died in 1862 while serving in the One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois infantry; Hiram died in 1834; Thomas died in 1890; and Frances is the wife of Calvin Baker. The mother of these children died at the age of seventy-six years. James T. Colbert commenced life on his own account when he was twenty years old, his only capital being an ax, a fiddle, and a determination to succeed. His education had been acquired in the old subscription schools, in a log house with no floor but the ground and split saplings for seats. From the time he was twenty until he was thirty years of age he followed farming during the summer seasons and worked at the Illinois Iron Works in the winter time, devoting all his leisure time to self-study, until today he is one of the best informed men in his locality. He has also prospered in the accumulation of this world's goods. When he was first married in 1847 he went to housekeeping in a log cabin, about a mile from where he now lives. He remained there until 1891, when he removed to his present location, where he has a well improved farm, all the improvements having been made by himself. He now owns eight hundred acres of fine land, five hundred acres of which are under cultivation, and has given something like four hundred acres to his children. As a stock raiser Mr. Colbert has been quite successful, though the greater part of his attention has been devoted to a general farming business. He takes an interest in public affairs and has served as county commissioner, to which office he was elected on the Democratic ticket, having affiliated with that party ever since he became a voter. Mr. Colbert has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Mary J. Seets, a native of Tennessee, and to this marriage there were born the following children: Lucy A., wife of Jefferson Vinyard, of Hardin county; Allen B., who died at the age of ten years; Frances, wife of Robert Taylor, living near Harrisburg; Sarah, wife of Joseph Vinyard; James, who lives near his father; Mary L., who married Henry Hamp and afterward died; Aaron, who lives in the vicinity; Margaret, widow of Isaac Jennings, who was a farmer in Eagle Creek township; Thomas J.; Isabelle, who married Robert White and died some years ago as his wife; Prudence, wife of George Leadbetter, and John B., who died in 1893. The mother of these children died in 1875 and on Oct. 29, 1879,. Mr. Colbert was married to Mrs. Mary A. Frohock, widow of Lucien Frohock, and a daughter of Josiah Hull. Three children have been born to this second marriage, viz.: Virgie, wife of George Blackman, of Eagle Creek township; Virgil, on the farm with his father, and Paul, at home.
Extracted 2016 May 15 by Norma Hass from Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, Personal and Genealogical with Portraits, published in 1905, Volume 2, page 389
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