JOHN FOILES is numbered among the old settlers of Calhoun County, his residence here dating from 1851. He settled in the woods on a small clearing and has done considerable pioneer labor in bringing his land into a good condition and opening up other tracts which he purchased from time to time. Like others under similar circumstances he and his faithful companion endured hardships and privations, but they are now able to enjoy all the comforts of life, the recreations suited to their tastes, and such a degree of rest as they desire. They have witnessed much of the gradual growth of the county, not only in material prosperity but in civilization, and have aided by their personal efforts in elevating the status of moral and intellectual life.
Mr. Foiles is a descendant of an old Virginian family and in the Old Dominion he was himself born, his natal day being in May, 1817. His father, John Foiles, Sr., was a native of the same State and fought during the War of 1812. The mother of our subject died during the childhood of the boy and the father subsequently married again and removed to the western part of the State. The parental family was quite a large one and the following are known to survive: James, Joseph, John, Daniel, Benjamin, Isaiah, Amanda, Margaret and Mahala.
Our subject was ten or twelve years old when he went from his native county of Jefferson to another part of the State, where he attained to his majority. He had practically no educational advantages but was reared to farm pursuits, taught habits of industry and observation and good principles of conduct. In Ohio he contracted a matrimonial alliance with Nancy White, who bore him three children. One has crossed the river of death, but a son and daughter are yet living. They bear the names of Columbus and Harriet, the latter being the wife of William Beech.
April 28, 1858, Mr. Foiles was united in marriage with Sarah Defoor, who was born in Cabell County, Va., May 14, 1827. Her parents were James and Nancy (Cox) Defoor, both of whom were born in the Old Dominion, and she is of French ancestry in the paternal line. She is one of ten children, of whom the other survivors are Benjamin, James, Martha A. and Nancy. Her educational advantages were limited, as school privileges were few in the region in which she spent her girlhood. When in her twenty-first year she accompanied her parents to Lawrence County, Ohio, where she resided a number of years. Her happy union with our subject was blest by the birth of three children, but the parents have been called upon to part with the sons — John and Lewis. Their daughter Norah is now the wife of John Reed.
From the Buckeye State Mr. Foiles came to Calhoun County, his first purchase of land being one hundred and sixty acres at $5 per acre. He has added to this by subsequent purchase until he has become the owner of various tracts scattered throughout the county. His financial affairs are on a solid basis and he is a sturdy representative of the energetic and honest class to whom the present condition of Calhoun County is due. Mr. Foiles is a believer in the principles laid down in the Republican platform and never fails to cast his ballot on election day. Mrs. Foiles was formerly a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She is an active member of society, kindly in her associations with her neighbors and making her influence felt in the community. Mr. Foiles enjoys the esteem of his fellow-men in a degree that will cause many to echo the wish that "Uncle John" may see the return of many summers.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 381-382
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