Biography - Catherine Fitzjarrell

CATHERINE M. FITZJARRELL. The venerable lady whose honored name opens this sketch is affectionately known in the county of Montgomery as "Grandma." She has so endeared herself to the people among whom she has passed her long life, that none are more respected or more dearly loved than this pioneer woman.
Catherine Fitzjarrell was born in Jefferson County, Tenn., November 13, 1820, and was the daughter of Joseph and Julia (Brown) Skeen, natives of Tennessee. Sometime in the '30s, the family emigrated to Greene County, Ill., whence, after residing there a short time, they removed to Macoupin County, and were among the very first settlers of that county. Her father entered Government land there and the family settled down upon the raw prairie. The face of Nature was very beautiful, with flowering prairies and belts of forest trees by flowing streams, but there were other things to think of beside the pleasures of the eye. From those unpromising fields must come the sustenance of the little family, and perhaps it was partly discouragement that caused the death of the father in one year from the time of the removal. The poor mother could also endure hardship no longer, and in three weeks more the children were orphans. The biographer would love to give to interested readers the details of the life of the subject of our sketch, but within the present limits he must be brief.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Skeen who still survive are as follows: John, Catherine, Henry, Marion, and Ellen, who is the wife of John Chism. None of these children had any educational advantages, as they grew to maturity in the pioneer times of the county, but they all have become people of prominence and have conducted their lives and affairs with fully as much success as has attended many of a younger generation who have had more advantages.
Catherine was married March 11, 1841, to Daniel K. Fitzjarrell, who was born in Ohio in April, 1818, and was the son of Eli and Tabitha Fitzjarrell. When a boy he came to Illinois with his parents, and the first location of the family was in Greene County, but later Macoupin County became their home. To Mr. and Mrs. Fitzjarrell ten children were born, and five were reared: Ellen, the wife of Columbus Reno; Celia, Mrs. Wiley Hines; Joseph; Sarah. Mrs. Roach, whose husband is deceased; and Emma, the wife of A. Miller. For many years after marriage our subject resided in Macoupin County, but just before the Civil War the family moved into Montgomery County, and for several years lived on the farm now owned by C. H. Barton, in Pitman Township. Thence they moved to the farm where Mrs. Fitzjarrell now lives, and where, in the spring of 1863, occurred the death of Mr. Fitzjarrell, who was one of the men of a community who can be ill spared. He was respected by all, and the sterling traits in his character made him a man to whom all looked for guidance. He was active in the forwarding of all county interests, and was lamented as a kind father and husband and an obliging neighbor.
Mrs. Fitzjarrell is well known among her pioneer neighbors and is beloved wherever known. Her ready sympathy is always extended to those in trouble, and she understands how to lighten heavy burdens. Her tales of pioneer life are most entertaining, and all wish that she may long live to relate them. She owns one hundred and fifty-eight and one-fourth acres of land, this being a part of what she and her husband worked for and earned. Her home is now with her daughter, Mrs. Miller, and four dear grandchildren here claim her care and affection: Francis Z., Catherine E., Ellen and Eli L. Another daughter, Mrs. Roach, lives on the farm, and in her family are two grandchildren, Laura E. and Arthur A., in whom "Grandma" Fitzjarrell renews her youth.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 227-228.

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