Nearly a century has dissolved in the mists of time, the most remarkable
century in all of the history of the race of mankind, since our honored and
venerable subject first saw the light of day. Heaven has bounteously
lengthened out his life until he has seen the crowning glory of this the
most wonderful epoch of all the eons of time, rewarding him with an unusual
span of years as the result of virtuous and consistent living in his youth
and years of his manhood, until now in the golden evening of his life,
surrounded by comfort and plenty as a result of his earlier years of
industry and frugality, Mr. Andrews can take a retrospective glance down the
corridors of the relentless and irrevocable past and feel that his has been
an eminently useful, successful and happy life, a life which was not devoid
of obstacle and whose rose held many a thorn, but with indomitable courage
he pressed onward with his face set in determination toward the distant goal
which he has so grandly won; a life of sunshine and shadow, of victory and
defeat, but nobly lived and worthily rewarded as such lives always are by
the Giver of all good and precious gifts, who has given our subject the
longest span of years of any citizen in Marion county, Illinois, a great
gift, indeed, of which Mr. Andrews is duly grateful. He was one of the hardy
pioneers, a member of the famous band of "forty-niners" who crossed the
trackless plains that stretched to the "sundown seas," whose courageous
feats have been sung in song and exploited in story, for "there were giants
in those days."
Seymour Andrews was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, January 17, 1825, the son of Nelson and Jane (Gaston) Andrews, the former a native of Oneida county, New York, where he was born in 1799. There were ten children in his family, an equal number of boys and girls, of whom our subject is the oldest in order of birth. The subject's mother, who was born in South Carolina, was one of a family of eight children. Nelson Andrews came west with his parents in 1819, and settled in Jefferson county, Illinois. They built a raft in Olean, New York, constructed a rude cabin on it and floated down the Monongahela river to Cincinnati. This was in 1818. They stopped and made shingles and sold timber and rafts. They made a flat boat there and floated to Shawneetown, where they hitched their two ponies onto a large wagon and drove to the vicinity of what is now known as Dix, Jefferson county. Arra Andrews, brother of Nelson Andrews, who is the father of Seymour Andrews, made the first plat of Salem and surveyed it. Jane Gaston's father, Samuel Gaston, the grandfather of Seymour Andrews, was one of the first commissioners appointed by the government to locate the county seat of Clinton county, which is Carlyle, Illinois.
During the days of Nelson and Jane Andrews a company of Rangers visited this part of the state between the years 1820 and 1825. They drove out the Goings family from Jefferson county by whip. Members of this family were said to be noted counterfeiters, horse thieves and harbored all such people at their home near that of Samuel Gaston, the maternal grandfather of our subject.
Seymour Andrews was married to Martha C. Hendrixon, of Jefferson county, Illinois, August 15, 1844, and they are now, 1908, the oldest married couple in this county, having enjoyed a harmonious wedded life of over sixty-four years; they are both in fairly good health and enjoying a serene and comfortable old age. The following children were born to them: Harvey T., deceased; Elizabeth J., deceased, married John Morsman and had one son, Charles, a dentist in Minnesota; Truman B. married Amanda McClellan and has three children, all married; Sidney W. married Belle Mathews and is living in Arkansas, where he is postmaster at Walnut Ridge, and is the father of two children; Margaret married G. J. Goetch, of Centralia, Illinois, and she is the mother of two children; Ida L. married T. L. Baltzell, who lives in Los Angeles, California; Altha married G. C. Matsler, of Centralia, and lives with her parents, her husband being a telegraph operator on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; the eighth and ninth children both died in infancy.
As already indicated Mr. Andrews crossed the plains to California before the days of the trans-continental railways. This was in 1850 and the trip was made with an ox team, in company with John Parkinson, James Parkinson and Preston McCullough. They left Walnut Hill April 3, 1850, with four yoke of oxen and arrived in California after much hardship and adventure August loth, the same year, having been on the road over four months. They wintered four miles from the famous Sutter mill and crossed the old ditch where gold was first discovered many times.
Having been a hard worker and an industrious man all his life, Mr. Andrews always made a comfortable living and was enabled to lay up a competency to insure his old age free from want. He has faithfully and ably served his community as Justice of the Peace for the past sixteen years. He is also a notary public and handles a successful line of fire insurance.
The parents of the subject belonged to the Christian church, but our subject is not a member of any orthodox church. However, he is a believer in the principles of the golden rule and in good to all men. In politics he cast his first Democratic ballots in 1848 and 1852, but upon the organization of the Republican party became a stanch supporter of the same and has always maintained the same political faith.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 533-535.