In such men as Mr. Telford there is peculiar satisfaction in offering
their life histories justification for the compilation of works of this
character-not that their lives have been such as to gain them particularly
wide notoriety or the admiring plaudits of men, but that they have been true
to the trusts reposed in them, have shown such attributes of character as
entitle them to the regard of all.
J. D. Telford was born in Marion county, Illinois, September 2, 1848. He is the son of Samuel G. Telford, a native of Jefferson county, Illinois. Grandfather James Telford, a native of South Carolina, came to Jefferson county as early as 1822, and moved to this county in 1836, when the father of the subject was nine years old, and like most of the sturdy pioneers of that early time, was compelled to undergo many privations and do much hard work in establishing a home, but being a man of sterling qualities and indomitable energy he conquered the many obstacles that confronted him and led a useful and influential life as a farmer there, as did also his son, father of our subject, who seemed to inherit much of the older Telford's better traits, and, indeed, the family characteristics have come on down to our subject, who is carefully ordering his life so as to carry out the early praiseworthy characteristics of his ancestors. Samuel G. Telford spent his life on the farm, having lived on the same farm for sixty years. This was taken out of the new prairie land, but the wild soil was soon transformed into highly productive fields. He was a soldier in the Union army, having enlisted in the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and rendered gallant service until the winter of 1864. He is still living in 1908 near Cartter, Marion county. The mother of the subject was called to her rest in 1882. Her maiden name was Mary Baldridge. She was a native of Illinois, but her people came from North Carolina.
James Telford was an Abolitionist and was an historic character in his day, having played an important part in the famous underground railway when Illinois was admitted as a free state in 1818. He came to this state because he was opposed to slavery. His wife's maiden name was Kell, and she was also a native of South Carolina. They were the parents of eight children, five of whom are living at this writing, the father of the subject being the only one of the boys living.
Samuel G. Telford and wife were the parents of nine children, named in the order of their birth as follows: J. D., subject of this sketch; Joseph, of Alma township, Marion county; Margaret J., deceased; Eva, who is married and living in Ashville, North Carolina; Alice, the wife of William Wyatt, of Durant, Oklahoma; Kate, wife of Doctor Richardson, of Union City, Oklahoma; George B., who is living in Kansas; Arthur, a farmer of Marion county; Belle, who became Mrs. Arnold, is deceased.
J. D. Telford, our subject, lived with his father until he was twenty-three years old, assisting with the work on the old homestead and attending the country schools during the winter months. Having applied himself well to his textbooks he became fairly well educated, and later has added to this by home reading and coming in contact with the world. The happy and harmonious domestic life of the subject dates from January 19, 1872, when he was united in marriage to Sarah A. Wyatt, the estimable daughter of John and Margaret Wyatt, a highly respected family of Marion county, natives of Tennessee, who came to Marion county in 1860.
The following children have been born to the subject and wife, all of whom are well established in life and give promise of successful futures: Dr. A. T., who lives at Olney, Illinois; E. D., is an attorney at Salem, this county; Ula, is a stenographer in the Life Savings Station at Chicago; Omer F. is a farmer in Marion county; Oran is a member of the family circle at their home in Salem, as is also J. D., Jr. The Telford residence is modern and always cheerful.
The subject is engaged in farming and real estate, largely interested in fruit growing, at which he is highly competent, having long taken an abiding interest in horticulture. He has two large orchards containing six thousand and five hundred apple trees of excellent variety and quality. He de-votes much of his time to the care of his orchards, which are among the most valuable in this part of the state, and useless to add that the financial returns from the sale of his fruit are usually quite satisfactory. Politically Mr. Telford is a stanch Republican and having been actuated by a laudable desire for political preferment, his friends elected him to the important office of Sheriff of Marion county, the duties of which he faithfully performed to the satisfaction of all concerned for a period of four years, having been elected in 1882 and serving until 1886. He is well grounded in his political convictions, and always lends his aid in supporting his party's principles, endeavoring to place the best men possible in local offices. He is a well-informed man, not only on political matters and current events, but he is well read on scientific, literary and diverse subjects which make his conversation interesting as well as instructive, and he is generally regarded as one of the substantial men of Marion county.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 270-272.