Calhoun County

1891 Biography - John Borrowman

JOHN BORROWMAN. In Lanarkshire, in bonny Scotland, where purple heather forms an unbroken carpet, John Borrowman made his first appearance in the world on the 6th of March, 1827, and has inherited much of the poetic love of the beautiful that characterizes the natives of the land of thistles and oatmeal. His parents, John and Jane Borrowman, were also natives of Scotland, and emigrated with their family of children to America in the year 1838. They took passage at Liverpool in a sailing vessel, and after an ocean voyage of thirty days landed in New York City. From that point they went immediately to St. Louis, Mo., where the mother died, in 1840. The father breathed his last in Calhoun County, in 1849.

Mr. Borrowman came to Calhoun County when only sixteen years of age, and as the county at that time was new, the hardships of pioneer life reigned on every side. His father was the first settler of Farmers' Ridge, and he saw the first furrow turned in that place, in fact, he has watched the wilderness of trees and brush transformed into valuable and highly cultivated farms by the skillful hands of man. He, like all pioneers, was forced to labor faithfully and well. He received a common school education, but the times afforded none of the educational advantages offered young men of the present day. However, his natural ability and perseverance have enabled him to succeed where many a man would have failed utterly, and his fondness for reading enabled him to acquire a large amount of useful information that the rude schools did not impart.

Our subject was first married in 1857, to Miss Julia Harpole, daughter of Adam Harpole, deceased. Their union was blessed with one son — Charles — who is now dead. The wife and mother died in 1858, and in the following year Mr. Borrowman married Miss Sarah E. Ball, a daughter of Travis and Elzila (Skidmore) Ball. Her birth occurred in Franklin County, Ohio, May 19, 1840, and she was about twenty-three months old when her father died. Her parents were born in Virginia and had eight children, six of whom are living, viz.: Travis, Daniel, Robert, James, Ruth, wife of Nelson Whitney, and Sarah, Mrs. Borrowman. The latter moved with her mother to Calhoun County when about fifteen years of age, settling in Belleview Precinct while the country was still in its primitive state, and there Mrs. Ball died, in 1862. Mr. and Mrs. Borrowman are the parents of eight children, six of whom are living — John W., Mary A., James A., Robert N., Edward and Ruth A. Those deceased are Elva E. and Isabel.

Mr. Borrowman made a permanent settlement where he now lives in 1857, and owns two hundred and eighty acres of land. This property was originally covered with timber, but has been transformed into valuable farming land by our subject, and is a lasting monument to the hard labor he did so cheerfully in the past years. In his efforts he received the assistance of a devoted wife and the other members of the home circle. Mr. and Mrs. Borrowman are numbered among the pioneers of Calhoun County, and share the admiration and respect accorded those who by their industry and good habits have made this one of the most desirable counties in the prosperous State of Illinois. Mr. Borrowman is a self-made man, having achieved both popularity and wealth by means of his own ability, and is generally looked upon as one of the most substantial men in Belleview Precinct. He is a member of the Democratic party, and is at all times a hearty supporter of worthy causes and of every measure that has for its object the advancement of the community in which he resides.

Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 677-678

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