Hardin County

John Samuel Hufsey

CAVE-IN-ROCK, Ill. (June 27, 1935) — John Samuel Hufsey of near Cave-in-Rock will be eighty-one this fall.

On the list of Hardin County citizens who have counted their four score years or more, we may include the name of John Samuel Hufsey, who was born and has spent his entire life in the vicinity of Cave-in-Rock. Mr. Hufsey was born on the 11 October 1854, and hence within a few months will pass his 80th milestone. He comes from one of the sturdy pioneer families who settled in this part of Illinois during the early period of her history. His great-grandfather was a German sailor who left the sea and with the adventurous spirit which characterized our forefathers, made his way across the wilds of a new country and sought a home in the hills of what is now known as Hardin County. Among the prized possessions of some of the members of the Hufsey family are relics from off the ship on which he sailed.

Here his children were born and here they made their home and raised their families. One of the sons was Samuel who was born on the farm which is the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Tyre. It was the farm home for a time and on it the old grandfather was buried. Samuel Hufsey became the husband of Matilda Sawyer, who was a native of Gerogia, but who was brought by her parents to Illinois when quite a child.

To their union were born ten children, the 4th one being John Samuel Hufsey, the subject of this narrative, of these ten children. Two brother and one sister died in infancy and another sister at the age of four, one brother Charlie, died in his early manhood and another one George, passed away about eight years ago. There are two brother and a sister still living. They are W. F. Hufsey, who lives about four miles north of Cave-in-Rock, Dennis Hufsey, who is 76 years of age and who lives on what is known as the Sam Winn farm and Mrs. Mary Ledbetter, who lives near Cave-in-Rock with her son Charles. All of the family have spent their years in Hardin County to which their great grandfather came so many years ago.

When John Hufsey was a little lad of four, his parents moved from the farm on which he was born to Haney Creek below the Charlie Ledbetter place and five miles north east of Cave-in-Rock. After a short time they moved again to a new home at which place they built on the hill which is now Mr. Ledbetters home and where they remained the greater part of their married life. He attended the Old Round Top school now known as Martin School and recalls the Old Webstyer Blue Backed Spelling book which was the chief text book of those days. He also well remembers the men who were teachers of the school. Perhaps some of these names are familiar to some of the older readers of this sketch. The first instructor was John T. Simmons, another one was William Jackson, father of Mrs. Dora McDowell of Cave-in-Rock. John Jenkins who was mentioned as a brother of the late William Jenkins in the history recently published, also included was mentioned Henry Winders.

He also remembers that his father used to go to work at the old Paper Mill at Sellars Landing. One morning on his way to work, the father found a wolf among the sheep, and, after killing it, came back to tell his boys about it. In those days deer and wild turkey was plentiful and the family owned a pet deer.

Mr. Hufsey helped his father to clear the land, remaining with him until he was past thirty years of age. He recalls the old-time log rollings at which the neighbors gathered in those days. He and his father raised potatoes which they shipped on the boats plied the river furnishing the chief means of transportation. On February 4, 1885, he married Miss Anna Okerson at the home of her parents who were the late Albert and Mary (Winn) Okerson. He first built a little home on his father;s farm, the present Charlie Ledbetter place, but remained there but a few months. They moved then to the George Boyd place where they lived for about one year. The next two years were spent on the farm where Mr. Dewey Green now lives. They then went to the farm which he still owns and where he lives, about four miles north of Cave-in-Rock. His son John now manages the farm for the last 18 years. Mr. Hufsey has been unable to do such active work.

He and his good wife lived together for forty-eight years, though their lives were saddened by her failure in health soon after their marriage. For thirty-four years she was almost an invalid and for the last fifteen year of her life she was confined to her bed.

Five children were born to them, two of whom died in infancy. Those who are still living are Mrs. Mamie Crow whose home is about four miles north of Cave-in-Rock, Mrs. Eunice Gibbs, who is near the Lambert school, and John who lives on the old home place. There are also eleven grandchildren.

Mr. Hufsey has been an industrious and thrifty farmer and during his active years took a deep interest in everything pertaining to the success of his farm. While he is now unable to do the hard work, he still takes an interest in it, the care of the chickens being his special task. For one of his age, he is fairly active, his hearing is good and he can see to read without glasses. He is a quiet and home-loving nature but greatly enjoys the companionship of his friends and neighbors. Their visits are a source of much pleasure to him and occasionally he is able to take short trips to see them. The present generation owes much to families such as this to which Mr. Hufsey belongs and we are sure all join in a wish that he may live to enjoy many more years in the county to which his forefather came so long ago.

Thanks to Wanda H. Reed for contributing this article to the Hardin County ILGenWeb site. The Hardin County Independent first published this article on June 27, 1935.

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