Marion County


It is with a degree of satisfaction that the biographer has an opportunity at this juncture to write the following biographical memoir of the well remembered citizen, whose name appears above, now deceased, who was for many years prominent in the affairs of Marion county, for the readers of this book will doubtless gain inspiration from perusing these paragraphs to lead more industrious, kindlier and worthier lives, seeing what the life of the subject accomplished not only individually but generically, affecting the whole community in an uplifting manner. He came to this section of the state in pioneer times and he assisted in bringing about the transformation of the county in the wild condition in which it was found at the time of his arrival to its later day progress and improvement.

Daniel S. Holstlaw was born in Barren county, Kentucky, November 15, 1813, the son of Richard and Mary (Smith) Holstlaw, the former a native of Virginia, who came in an early day to Indiana, settling in Orange county and later came to Marion county, Illinois, in 1830. Richard Holstlaw took up government land and set about making a farm of his holdings with very flattering prospects ahead of him, but his life was brought to a close August 18, 1834, at the age of forty-six years. Mary, his wife, continued to live on the farm where she reared the children and made a comfortable living, being a woman of many sterling traits and of indomitable courage. Their children were eight in number, seven of whom grew to maturity and named in order of birth as follows: Henry E., Daniel S., our subject; Lucinda, John Andrew, Elizabeth Ann, Malinda H., and Richard V. All of these children have now joined their parents in the eternal sleep of the just.

Daniel S. Holstlaw was sixteen years of age when he came to Illinois and located in what is now known as Stevenson township, where he spent the remainder of his long, busy and useful life, having been called to his reward by the Shepherd who giveth his beloved sleep, on December 2, 1905, conscious of the fact that his life had not been lived in vain; that he had fought a good fight and kept the faith, as did the great Apostle, Saint Paul, in the days of our Saviour, and that there was laid up for him a reward in the Father's house which was not made with hands.

Mr. Holstlaw upon coming to this county bought a claim, having that rare foresight and sagacity that penetrated into the future years, bringing them within his horoscope, and which enabled him to see the great possibilities that lie ahead. This first purchase was added to from time to time until he owned a large tract of land, which, under his able management was developed into one of the best, most productive and most highly improved farms in this locality. He was a hard worker, and, believing that it was his duty as well as his privilege to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, never ignored any task that he found awaiting disposition at his hands. He split the rails that fenced his land and also put up a log house, and, in fact, did the usual work of the pioneer. But having prospered by reason of his indomitable energy and good management he was soon enabled to erect a more substantial nine-room house, which was comfortable, cozy and well arranged, and in which the family now resides.

The subject was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a liberal supporter of the same; he and his worthy life companion both having professed religion the same night at a camp meeting held on Tennessee Prairie. In 1862, when the local Methodist church with which they were affiliated was divided upon the question which precipitated the Civil war this intensely religious couple united with the Cumberland Presbyterian church in which the subject remained an active and faithful member until his death.

Our subject was a staunch Democrat and took considerable interest in political affairs, having had the interest of his community at heart and lending his support at all times to whatever proposition that presented itself looking to the betterment of the community whether in a political, educational, religious or moral sense. He was school director at one time and materially aided the local public school through his advice, counsel and influence.

Mr. Holstlaw was united in marriage with Ruth W. Middleton on June 9, 1836. She was a native of what later became Campbell county, Tennessee, and the representative of an influential old family, the date of her birth falling on January 23, 1819, the daughter of William and Sarah J. (Harris) Middleton, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of South Carolina. After their marriage they moved to Tennessee and in 1831 came to Marion county, Illinois, locating three miles east of Iuka, in what is now Iuka township. They were sterling pioneers and made a most comfortable living in the new country where they became known as honest, hard working people. Their family consisted of fourteen children, named in order of birth, as follows: Thomas L., Lydia P., Harvey, William H., Elizabeth, John B., Joel, Martha, Jane, Sarah, James A., Josephus W., Ruth W., the wife of our subject; Lucy and Dicy E.

Mr. Middleton was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church, having become well known as an able expounder of the Gospel and doing a vast amount of good in his work here. His wife was also a faithful worker in this church.

To our subject and wife eleven children were born, six sons and five daughters, named in order of birth as follows: Richard J., who was first married to Mary A. Jagger, and later to Rachel Berry; John H., who married Lucy Downing; Thomas, who married Aleatha E. Hite; Hattie, who is living at home; Mary is also a member of the home circle at this writing, 1908; Sarah became the wife of Omer Squibb; Daniel W., married Clara Stevenson; Joel W., married Lucretia Stevenson; Ruth Emma is the wife of Daniel Crayton Stevenson; Marion C. married Lelian Brubaker; Martha A. is single and living at home; the last two children named are twins.

The widow of our subject, a gracious old lady of beautiful Christian character and praiseworthy attributes, is living on the old homestead, being idolized by her children, and much admired and loved by a host of friends. Many are the homes in the surrounding country where she has nursed the sick and brought sunshine and happiness. She takes a great interest in the lives of her children, her eighteen grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren. On the old home place, which is still well kept and in an excellent productive state, live three of the daughters with their beloved mother, the family being well known in Stevenson township and highly respected by all. In this home are to be found many old and interesting relics of the pioneer days, such as spinning wheels and machines for spinning flax, and many similar things.

Extracted 08 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 184-186.

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