Thomas B. Echols
p. 1613THOMAS B. ECHOLS is a native of Pulaski county and has been a resident of Southern Illinois all his life. Since 1881 he has been a resident of New Grand Chain, where he has carried on a general real estate business with undeniable success, and where he has come to be recognized as one of the foremost citizens of the community. He has been justice of the peace since 1869 with a break of ten years and he is now serving as president of the village of Grand Chain with all satisfaction to the residents of the place. Mr. Echols was first commissioned a notary public by Governor Altgeld and he has been similarly commissioned by each succeeding governor since that time. His war record is one of which he may be justly proud. He was in the military service from the first call of the government for troops in April, 1861, until the 28th day of January, 1863, and even after discharge from the army he was in the revenue service of the government for a considerable period. Born at Lovers Leap, in old Caledonia, on April 29, 1842, Thomas Benton Echols is the son of Benjamin F. Echols, who was born near Savannah, Georgia, October 12, 1812, who came to Illinois in 1834 in company with his father, Jesse Echols. They settled near Caledonia where the elder Echols died. The widow of Jesse Echols was Sarah Elliott, before her marriage, and they were the parents of five children, namely: Joseph W.; Benjamin F.; Betsey, who was twice married,—first to a Mr. Fallette, and then to Thomas DePoyster; Nancy became the wife of James M. Timmons and Mary A. first married Gilbert Leroy and later Thomas Frazier, now deceased. Benjamin F. Echols was a young man of twenty years when he came to Illinois with his parents. He was untutored, save for the primitive work done at intervals in the country schools of the town where he was reared, and his life thus far had been in the main given over to manual labor, rather than to educational pursuits. When the Black Hawk war broke out Benjamin F. Echols was among the first to respond to the call for troops and he took an active part in the work of quelling the uprising. In civil life he was known principally as a merchant in and about old Caledonia, at which business he was as successful as were the average country merchants of his day. He was a Democrat of ardent faith and enthusiasm, and early in the history of Pulaski county he was elected circuit clerk and recorder of the county, being chosen in 1846 and serving until 1849 with an efficiency and capability which won from his fellow citizens praise of a high order. Mr. Echols was a warm personal admirer of Thomas H. Benton, the great Missouri statesman, and was for many years his staunch supporter. In later years, however, he experienced some differences of opinion with the gentleman from Missouri, and so great was the feeling between them that Mr. Echols threatened to change the name of his son, Thomas Benton Echols, who had been named in honor of the friend of former days. Benjamin F. Echols married Sarah R. Arter, a daughter of Daniel Arter, M. D., who came to this P. 1614 section of Illinois from Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1832. Mr. Echols died in 1850 leaving a family of six children. Ann, the eldest daughter, had been twice married,—first to Thomas J. Green and second to Benjamin Pearson; Victoria married Josephus Moss and is now deceased; Thomas Benton; Daniel A., who served in the Seventy-seventh Illinois Infantry and is now an inmate of the Soldiers Home in Danville, Illinois; Sarah E. married Legrand Wood, and after his death she became the wife of H. A. Hannon and now resides at Cairo, Illinois, and Benjamin F. is a resident of DuQuoin, Illinois. Mrs. Echols contracted a second marriage in later years, her second husband being Louis Jaccard, and the children of her second marriage are Adelle J., the wife of Lewis Miller, and Louis E. Mrs. Jaccard passed away in 1885. When Thomas B. Echols was a boy of school age, educational methods had advanced but slightly from their primitive conditions in his father’s youth, but he was permitted to partake of such opportunities as the occasion afforded and he attended the proverbial cabin-school with the oft-described slab benches, and in common with the youth of his day and age, smarted under the rigorous discipline of the hickory rod of the pioneer school-master who concurred in the wisdom of Solomon and proceeded not to “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Those years passed by all too quickly, however, and he was still but a lad when he volunteered at the first call for troops to put down the rebellion. He enlisted from Pulaski county in April, 1861, in Company G, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, with Captain Rose and Colonel W. H. L. Wallace in command of the regiment, who later fell at Shiloh as a general in command of a division.
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