Calhoun County

1891 Biography - Alexander Hemphill

ALEXANDER HEMPHILL. The agriculturists of Pike County have a worthy representative in the gentleman above named, who is one of the leading farmers of Pleasant Hill Township. His home is on section 27, where he now owns one hundred and sixty acres of bottom land, whose practically inexhaustible soil yields abundantly and secures to him a good income. The estate is well improved and bears a full line of good farm buildings, including a comfortable and homelike residence.

Mr. Hemphill was born in Calhoun County, November 18, 1847, was reared on a farm and received his education in the district school. He made his home under the parental roof until the spring of 1877, when he established his own home, locating on forty acres of the land which he now owns. As his worldly affairs prospered he added to his acreage and surrounded himself and family with more and more of the conveniences and comforts of life. Mr. Hemphill deposits a Democratic ballot on election day, but otherwise takes no special interest in politics. His social and benevolent qualities find a certain outlet through the workings of the Odd Fellows fraternity to which he belongs.

The capable housekeeper and devoted helpmate and mother who presides over the home, bore the maiden name of Eliza Jane Turnbaugh, and became the wife of Mr. Hemphill April 11, 1877. She was born in Pike County, February 16, 1853, her parents being Joseph and Adeline A. (DeCamp) Turnbaugh, very early settlers in Pleasant Hill Township. Mr. Turnbaugh was born in Lincoln County, Mo., and his wife in St. Louis. To Mr. and Mrs. Hemphill four children have come, upon whom have been bestowed the names, Hattie May, Joseph Franklin. Annie A., and Fanny L.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was Alexander Hemphill, a native of Tennessee, who accompanied his parents to Pike County, Mo. There he married Margaret Wilson who bore him four sons and two daughters, all of whom lived to rear families. Mr. and Mrs. Hemphill came to Calhoun County, this State about 1840, thence removed to Pike County, where the husband was occupied as a merchant until his death, September 7, 1868, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife died at the home of a daughter, August 1, 1874, aged sixty-five years and nine months. Mr. Hemphill served as Justice of the Peace many years, and was also Supervisor. In politics he was a Democrat. In the early days he operated a ferry at Clarksville. He was quite active in public improvements and charitable enterprises.

The father of our subject was Aaron F. Hemphill, whose birth took place in Pike County, Mo., October 22, 1824. His first wife was Jane Ann, daughter of Robert and Jane (Turner) McConnell. She was born in the same county as her husband, January 16, 1828. Their first home was made in Calhoun County, Ill., and to them were born six children, our subject being the only one who was reared to maturity. Grandfather McConnell was born September 28, 1795, was married November 19, 1821, and had fourteen children, eight sons and six daughters.

The second wife of the father of our subject was Martha Jane Chapin, a native of Missouri but living in Calhoun County, Ill., at the time of her marriage. She became the mother of three children two of whom grew to maturity, Mary L., and Samuel W. Mary was twice married, her first husband being William Cooper, and her second Andrew Freeman. The second Mrs. Hemphill died on the farm now occupied by the family. The third wife of Aaron Hemphill was Matilda Autry. She became the mother of five children, two of whom were reared to maturity: Sarah A., wife of Aaron F. McConnell; and Austin H. The fourth wife of Mr. Hemphill was Mrs. Mary Ann Turpin, nee Cloninger, who bore him one child that died in early life.

In 1856 the father of our subject removed from Calhoun County to Clarksville, and in 1857 located on section 27, Pleasant Hill Township, where he owned two hundred and forty acres at the time of his decease. He had accumulated his property by his own industry and economy, having begun his career without capital other than his natural abilities and determination. He first occupied himself in making and hauling staves, and afterward as he was able bought land and engaged in farming. He passed away June 28, 1889. He had served as Collector and Supervisor of the township and as Road Commissioner. He was one of the most prominent and active Masons in the community. Politically he was a Democrat, and religiously a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 430-431

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