Calhoun County

1891 Biography - George Cresswell

GEORGE M. CRESSWELL was born in Point Precinct, Calhoun County, February 21, 1851, and is now engaged in farming in the same precinct. He is an industrious man, keeps himself well posted on topics of general importance, and is looked upon by his fellow-citizens as one of the reliable members of the community. He began his life's labors when but sixteen years old, working by the month on a farm until after his marriage. For some years he has been tilling the soil on rented land and in so doing is gaining a very comfortable maintenance. His education was acquired in the public schools of Calhoun and Macoupin Counties and his principles of life from the instruction and example of his good parents.

Going back in the paternal line we find Robert Cresswell a native of Scotland, and a pioneer of St. Louis County, Mo., and later in Calhoun County, Ill., where he located in 1832. The next in the direct line of descent was a second Robert Cresswell, who was born in Kentucky or Maryland in 1798. Following him came James Cresswell, whose birth took place in Lincoln County, Mo., in May, 1820. The last-named was fourteen years old when he came to Callioun County with his parents. At that time this county was a wilderness, with here and there a small clearing, all kinds of wild game were plentiful and Indians still lingered here. After James Cresswell had grown to manhood he engaged in the lumber business, buying large tracts of land from which he would clear the timber, and devoting a part of his time to farming.

In 1853 James Cresswell engaged in the sale of merchandise at his home in Point Precinct and in 1856 opened a branch store in Monterey. During the panic of 1857 he became financially embarrassed but as he was not pressed by his creditors he came through the struggle all right. He continued his store at Monterey three years and at his old home twelve years, dealing at the same time in grain and all kinds of livestock. In 1865 he removed to Macoupin County, bought six hundred acres of land one mile east of Girard, and began the improvement of the five hundred and sixty acres of wild prairie which formed a part of the farm. That was the home of the family seven years, when Mr. Cresswell again became embarrassed and returned to Calhoun County. He bought two hundred and fifty acres of land on Dardainee Island on the Missouri side of the river and took up the business of rafting. He had followed this three years when he was prostrated by a paralytic stroke and was incapacitated for business. He survived until 1883 when he entered into rest.

The wife of James Cresswell and the mother of our subject, bore the maiden name of Sophia C. Lutze. Their marriage was solemnized in 1846 and was blessed to them by the birth of seven children, five of whom are now living. Mrs. Cresswell was born at Cape Girardeau, Mo., about 1824, and died in Calhoun County, Ill., March 26, 1862. Her father, George Lutze, was born in North Carolina and went to Missouri when a young man. He married Shielda Critz and they made tlieir home in Calhoun County in 1832, being among the earliest settlers in Point Precinct. Mr. Lutze entered one hundred and sixty acres of Government land, and although well-to-do, built a log cabin, as was the custom of the time, and began the work of improvement. He had not been living here long ere his dwelling was burned and $3,000 in gold and silver was melted in the conflagration. Mr. Lutze improved his estate and resided upon it until his death. The frame house which he erected in 1840 is still standing in a good state of preservation.

From the facts above noted it will be seen that our subject is descended from men and women of energy and indomitable spirit. He is assisted in his life's labors by a capable and devoted companion with whom he was united in marriage December 15, 1872. Mrs. Cresswell bore the maiden name of Mary P. Freeman, was born in the county in which she now lives and is a daughter of Oliver and Mary Freeman. She and her husband are the happy parents of five children, Almina M., Alta C., Mattie M., Louisa E. and Irene N.

Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 521-522


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