Eighty years have dissolved in the mists of time since the venerable subject
of this sketch first saw the light of day and they have been years of failures
and triumphs, victories and defeats, sorrows and joys, but withal, satisfactory
as most lives of honest endeavor as his has been.
Lewis Combs was born in Dubois county, Indiana, November 20, 1828, the son of John Combs, of Tennessee. His mother's name was Delila Vancouver, a native of Scott county, Indiana. John Combs went with his parents when a boy to Dubois county, Indiana, where they were pioneers. They secured wild land which they cleared, made a comfortable home and on which they died. John Combs lived to about 1842. He came by wagon, bringing seven head of horses to Walnut Prairie, Clark county, Illinois, and later to Marion county, settling in Meacham township on Scritchfield Prairie, where he stayed two years and went back to Indiana, remaining there one year when he returned to Marion county, Illinois, where he remained for six years. Then he went to Missouri where he remained for two years, moving then to Arkansas, where he died. His wife died in Indiana. They were the parents of six children, as follows: Lewis, our subject; Starling; Wesley, Smith, Minerva Lytle; the last four named are all deceased.
Lewis Combs, our subject, had no chance to go to school and learn to read and write. He remained with his father until twenty years old when he began working out at various places. He first bought forty acres of land in Omega township, Marion county, Illinois, in 1864. He sold this the following year and located where he now lives in section 35, Meacham township, then known as Miletus township. He served as postmaster for a period of fourteen years. He was married three times, first to Martha Schritchfield, a native of Indiana. His second wife was Isabelle Simonds, a native of Kentucky, and his third wife was Caroline Melton, a widow of Christopher Melton and a daughter of Charles and Rebecca Lockhart. The latter was a native of Orange county, Indiana. The subject's wife was born in Clay county, Illinois, in 1841. Her parents located in Oskaloosa, Illinois, and in 1860 went to Arkansas. Her husband in 1862 enlisted and was taken sick at Helena, Arkansas, and died at St. Louis in a hospital in October, 1862. The family came to Clay county, Illinois, and the mother died in March, 1895. Three children were born to them, namely: Martha, who died in April, 1862; Caroline, the wife of our subject; May, who died April 10, 1863. Our subject has six children by his first wife, namely: Frances, widow of Thomas Garner, and she lives near Salem, Illinois; Louisa married Austin Hanks, of Omega township; Logan is a farmer in Meacham township; Julia is the wife of Lorenzo Phillips, of Omega township; Austin is a farmer in Clay county, Illinois; Samuel, the sixth child, is deceased. The subject had four children by his second wife, namely: Nellie, the wife of Frank Dravance, of Effingham county, Illinois; Ella is the wife of Henry Smith, living near Salem, Illinois; Lee is a farmer in Omega township; Edgar died when young. Two children have been born to the subject and his third wife, namely: Mae, who is the wife of Jesse Payon, a teacher of Marion county; Bessie is the wife of Loyd Hanks, of Meacham township. Mrs. Combs had eight children by her first husband, six of whom are still living, namely: Louisa, who married Allen Smith, of Clay county, Illinois; Belle is deceased; Emma married Edward Threewit, of Meacham township; Lockhart, of Sharpsburg, Illinois; Martha is the wife of Walter King, of Meacham township; Franklin is living in Macoupin county, Illinois, and he is engaged as engineer in the coal mines; James is deceased; Ellen is also deceased.
The subject of this sketch purchased eighty acres of land where he now lives and first started to make a home. He kept adding to this by thrift and economy until he now has a farm of two hundred and sixteen acres, in Meacham and Omega townships and where he carries on a general farming in such a manner as to stamp him as one of the leading farmers of the township. He has always been a stock dealer and is regarded as one of the best judges of stock in the county. His farm has always been kept to a high standard of excellence and the soil has been so skillfully manipulated by the proper rotation of crops until it is as rich today as when he first took possession of it.
Mr. Combs has always been a loyal Democrat but he has never aspired to office, being content to devote his time to his work of the farm. Both he and his wife are faithful members of the Christian church.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 392-393.