GEORGE F. HAPER is a native-born citizen of Calhoun County and is classed among its skillful, prosperous farmers and stock-raisers. His farm is a fine tract of very fertile land under admirable cultivation and well improved, lying pleasantly on section 8, Gilead Precinct.
Mr. Haper was born in Hardin Precinct, May 29, 1838, and is a son of Abel Haper, who was one of the early pioneers of this State, coming here in territorial days. He was of New England stock and was born and reared in Vermont. He removed from there to the State of New York and thence to Hamilton County, Ohio; he married Rebecca Ingersoll in Calhoun County who is supposed to have been a native of the Buckeye State. In the year 1816 Mr. Haper came to Illinois making the journey by water, and as there were no steamers plying on the rivers, he floated down the Ohio in his boat and then had to propel it up the Mississippi, sometimes pushing with poles and at other times walking on the bank and drawing his boat forward with a rope. He was one of the first settlers of what is now Calhoun County, and after living a few years in Point Precinct, moved to what is now Gilead Precinct. The land was not yet in the market but Mr. Haper made a claim to a tract which has since been known as the Church farm, situated on section 17. He erected a log house and after clearing a few acres of the land, sold his claim for $700 and moved to what is now Hardin Precinct. He made a claim there of a tract of land on section 27, erected a dwelling and when the land came into market, entered it from the Government, the patent being signed by Gen. Jackson as President of the United States. This is the farm that is now and has for some years been owned by Judge Mortland.
Mr. Haper resided on that place until 1854 and then started westward once more and journeyed overland to Adams County, Iowa, of which he became a pioneer. He bought and entered Government land, built upon it, and lived there until 1857. In that year he sold his property in Iowa, and made his home with our subject. He died in Montgomery County, in 1861 at a ripe old age. His wife had preceded him to the better land many years before, her death occurring in this county in 1844.
The subject of this notice gleaned his education in the pioneer schools of this county, his school days being passed in a rude log schoolhouse furnished with slab benches, and lighted by an opening made, where a log was cut out and glass inserted in its place. He was sixteen years old when he accompanied his father to Iowa, and he remained there until 1869, when he took up his residence in Morgan County, Mo. He bought a farm and lived there until 1861 when the place became too warm to hold a man of his well-known sentiments concerning the war and the slavery question, and he returned to Iowa. He resided in Montgomery County two years, in Bates County one year, and then lived in Bourbon County, Kan., two years. He has since made his home in his native county, and in 1874 bought the place where he now lives in Gilead Precinct.
Mr. Haper was first wedded in 1859 to Emily A. Rundell, a native of St. Louis County, Mo. She died in 1863, leaving one child — Olive M. Mr. Haper's second marriage was celebrated in 1863 and was with Mary Red, a native of this county, who died in 1872. Our subject was married to his present wife, formerly Mary E. Church, a native of this county and a daughter of William B. Church, of whom see sketch, on March 16, 1873. To them have come three children — George A., Maud and Nona. Two of the daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the family is held in high estimation. Mr. Haper is a true follower of the Republican party, and as a good citizen he is always deeply interested in whatever concerns his native county and uses his influence to promote its welfare wherever possible.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 638-641
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