Marion County

Biography - J. E. Castle

Those who belong to the respectable middle classes of society, being early taught the necessity of relying upon their own exertions, will be more apt to acquire that information and those business habits which alone can fit them for the discharge of life's duties, and, indeed, it has long been a noticeable fact that our great men in nearly all walks of life in America spring from this class. The subject of this sketch, whose life history we herewith delineate is a worthy representative of the class from which the true noblemen of the Republic spring.

J. E. Castle was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1845, the son of George W. Castle, also a native of the Buckeye state, where he was born in Zanesville in that conspicuous year in American history, 1812. He came to Illinois with his family in 1861, settling at Salem. By profession he was a contractor and builder, but he was in the drug business while in Salem, and was also interested in farming, however, he did some contracting here, and in all made a success, for he was a man of much business ability. While a resident of Ohio he was for some time a Justice of the Peace, having always taken considerable interest in political and public affairs. He was called from his earthly labors in 1872 after an active and useful life.

George Washington Castle was the subject's grandfather, of Irish ancestry. He was loyal to the American government and was a captain of a company in the War of 1812, having met his death while gallantly leading a battalion of volunteers at Fort Erie in 1812, the same year the father of our subject was born, as already indicated. The original Castle family is related to the Newtons, a prominent and influential family of Cincinnati, Ohio. Grandfather Castle's family consisted of three children, two sons and one daughter.

The mother of our subject was known in her maidenhood as Eliza Bing, a native of Gallia county, Ohio, her people being natives of the Buckeye state. She was a woman of many praiseworthy traits, and she was united in marriage with George W. Castle about 1832. She was called to her rest in 1858 while living at Gallipolis, Ohio. Six children constituted the family of this couple, of whom our subject is the only survivor. The names of these children follow in order of their birth: Dr. W. H., who died in St. Louis in 1882; Captain George E., who died in Salem, Illinois, in 1887; Eva M., who died at Tonti, Marion county, June 30, 1903; Dr. Charles E., who died at Great Bend, Kansas, in 1897; John E. died at Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1859, when eight years old; J. E., our subject, was the fourth in order of birth.

J. E. Castle spent his boyhood in Gallipolis, Ohio, where he attended the public schools and received in part a good education, for he was always an ambitious lad and applied himself in a commendable manner to his textbooks. He came to Salem, Illinois, in 1861, and in the spring of 1862, immediately after the battle of Shiloh, he enlisted in the Union army, believing that it was the duty of loyal citizens of the Republic to sever home ties and do what they could in saving the nation's integrity. He was in the Fifteenth Army Corps under John A. Logan, with General James Stewart Martin in Company H, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, having been sergeant of the company of which his brother, George E. Castle, was captain. He served with distinction in this regiment, the operations of which is given in detail in the sketch of General Martin in this work, until the close of the war, and he passed in the grand review in Washington City before the President and all the generals of the army. He brought home a Confederate flag.

On June 27, 1864, the subject was in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain when the whole of Sherman's army charged the forces of General Johnson entrenched on the mountain.

He took part in two months of continuous fighting about Atlanta, July 22 and 28, 1864, being memorable dates in that city's history. On the first mentioned date, General McPherson was killed and on this date, General James S. Martin, of Salem, was made a brigadier general. On July 28th was fought a desperate battle lasting all day, on which day General Martin's line received seven terrific charges and never moved a foot. On August 3rd another hard battle was fought in the siege of Atlanta, when Sherman's army escaped from Hood.

On August 31st the subject was in the capture of Atlanta, after which he went with Sherman on his march to the sea. On December 14th, following the battle at Fort McAllister was fought and captured by Hazen's division, which meant virtually the capture of Savannah, as Johnson then evacuated this place. The army then went on to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and then Columbia, South Carolina, was captured. At Fort McAllister our subject and his brother captured a Confederate flag and many other relics, which they brought home.

After his career in the army Mr. Castle returned to Salem and took a course in the high school, after which he went to Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, taking a three years course in the sciences and making a brilliant record in the same. Upon his return to Salem he went into the hardware business in which he remained until 1878, building up an excellent trade in the meantime. He then traveled for ten years for the Champion Harvesting Machine Company, giving entire satisfaction to this company, the patronage of which he caused to be greatly increased. Then, much to the regret of his employers, he severed his connection with the Champion people and engaged with his brother, Captain George E. Castle, in the cattle business in Southwest Kansas, which enterprise was continued with the most gratifying results up to the time of the latter's death. Since then our subject has been farming. He has an excellent farm property which is kept in a high state of improvement, and which yields a comfortable income from year to year through the skillful management of the subject. On this farm is to be found an excellent orchard of thirty acres, Mr. Castle having been an enthusiastic horticulturist for several years. He has a substantial dwelling house and many convenient out buildings on his farm, which he oversees, but does not live on.

The domestic life of Mr. Castle dates from 1897 when he was united in marriage with Arabella Whittaker, the refined and affable daughter of R. H. Whittaker. The parents of Mrs. Castle were both born in Ireland. They came to Salem, Illinois, in 1852, the father of our subject's wife having been one of the civil engineers that surveyed the route for the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern Railroad, at that time known as the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. R. H. Whittaker passed away in June 1889, at Salem, his life companion having preceded him to the silent land in 1881.

The subject's wife was the only child of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Whittaker. She is a highly accomplished woman, well educated and talented. She is an able and noted teacher of both music and painting, being the only art teacher in Salem. She is regarded by every one who has seen her work as being a finished and accomplished artist and she has a beautiful studio in connection with her home. She reveres the memory of her parents and likes to tell of the happy days when R. H. Whittaker was station agent for the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern road at Salem, which position he held for several years. He was also fuel agent for many years and had a wide acquaintance among railroad men. He quit railroad business several years before he died, and engaged in the lumber business in Salem, which he was engaged in at the time of his death.

Mr. and Mrs. Castle have no children.

Mr. Castle is a member of the ancient and honorable order of Masons, also the Knights Templar and the Grand Army of the Republic. And Mr. and Mrs. Castle are both ardent members of the Episcopal church. Our subject was a member of the building committee that erected the handsome new edifice in Salem, and he takes a special interest in all the affairs of this church.

In the modern, substantial and beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. Castle which stands on Whittaker street in Salem, is to be found many curios and relics, especially of the Civil war. The beautiful art treasures of Mrs. Castle are numerous, the walls being hung with many excellent pictures, the handiwork of Mrs. Castle, and their elegantly furnished home is regarded as a place where hospitality is always unstintingly dispensed.

Extracted 06 Jun 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 169-172.

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