SAMUEL J. MERIDA is a man of much enterprise and is extensively engaged as a farmer, nurseryman and fruit raiser in Calhoun County, carrying on his operations on section 2, Hamburg Precinct. He is a native of Bollinger County, Mo., and was born March 4, 1851, to Samuel and Margaret (Pauterbaugh) Merida, natives respectively of Tennessee and Ohio. His father was left an orphan at an early age and subsequently went to Missouri, settling in Bollinger County in 1845 and becoming one of the pioneers of that region. In the fall of 1856 he came with his family to Calhoun County and settled on the farm now occupied by our subject.
The father of our subject first purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land for which he paid $1200 in gold. About four acres of it were cleared, the remainder being covered with underbrush and timber. He moved into the log cabin that stood on the place, beginning at once to clear his land and in time developing a good farm. His death occurred here May 26, 1890, at the venerable age of seventy-nine years, five months and one day. Thus closed the life of one of Calhoun County's respected pioneers and good citizens. His wife preceded him in death, passing away March 3, 1879. They were the parents of seven children, of whom four survive: Samuel J., Caroline, wife of Wesley Bovee, of Belleview Precinct; Julia, wife of E. L. Bess, of Belleview Precinct, and Sarah A., wife of Henry Darr, of Hamburg Precinct. The father was one of the first settlers of Fox Creek, and did his share in developing that region. He was a Democrat in politics and in religion a strong Baptist and a member of the church of that denomination.
Samuel J. Merida, of whom this biographical review is written, was quite young when his parents brought him to this county and here he was reared under the influences of a pioneer life and has witnessed much of the growth of the county. He received his education in the early subscription schools of this region and for the limited advantages of his boyhood he has made up by reading and observation, so that he is quite well posted on all topics of general interest. On the 23rd of May, 1869, his marriage with Lucy Blackorby, a native of Lincoln County, Mo., took place. One daughter was born to them — Arlettie, who is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Merida have for years had living with them a niece, Miss Mollie Blackorby, whom they have adopted and who is now known as Miss Mollie Merida. Mrs. Merida was born April 9, 1852 and is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Sanders) Blackorby, natives respectively of Kentucky and Virginia. At the early age of eleven years she accompanied her sister to Calhoun County and here her union with our subject was solemnized.
Mr. Merida owns two hundred and two acres which are under excellent tillage. He is carrying on a large and lucrative nursery business, and besides having from fifty to seventy-five thousand trees carries much other nursery stock, and has a large orchard of about three thousand apple trees of the leading varieties, all in bearing. He has served as Justice of the Peace for nine years, and in 1836 was a candidate for Sheriff but was defeated by only twelve votes. He is quite prominent in Democratic circles and lakes a genuine interest in whatever will promote the welfare of Calhoun County. He and his wife are among the most active members of the Christian Church, in which he holds the office of Deacon.
Mr. Merida is a man of much energy and has been very successful in the various enterprises which he has undertaken. He makes a specialty of cattle and hogs and during the apple season usually engages in buying and shipping apples. Samuel J. Merida & Co., shipped from Mosier Landing during the season of 1890, eighteen thousand barrels of apples, from which they realized from $3 to $3.25 per barrel. In whatever enterprise Mr. Merida engages he devotes to it his accustomed energy and consequently is known as one of the leading citizens of Hamburg Precinct, holding an assured position among its substantial residents.
Extracted 13 Feb 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 326-328.
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