Biography - James McDavid

JAMES B. McDAVID, President of the Coffeen Coal Company, and a prominent agriculturist, stock-raiser and large land-holder of Montgomery County, Ill., may be truthfully said to know and be known by almost every individual in his section of the country. He is a native of the soil, and was born in East Fork Township, March 31, 1821, and for over sixty-five continuous years resided upon or within a few miles of the old family homestead, which his father located in 1819, and which has since been known as McDavid's Point.
The ancestors of our subject settled at an early day in Virginia. His grandfather, Patrick McDavid, was a millwright by trade, and was supposed to be a Scotchman by birth. William McDavid, father of James B., born in 1790, left the Old Dominion when about sixteen years of age and went to Missouri, journeying afterward to Tennessee. During the next twelve years, he passed much of his time in warfare. He was a man of strong principles, earnest in his convictions and unswerving in duty. Those who are familiar with the record of his life know he fought bravely in the War of 1812, and again in 1815 at the battle of New Orleans, nor did he fear to face the savages in the noted Black Hawk War.
Peace having been declared, William McDavid took unto himself a wife, and, traveling by slow stages to Montgomery County, entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in East Fork Township. He paid the Government for his claim in two installments and built a little log house in which James B. was born. In this humble home the old pioneer lived for forty-six years, and died there in February, 1866. His death was a loss to the entire community, with whose public affairs he had so long been identified. He was a County Commissioner two terms, always took an active interest in politics, and was ever a firm Jackson man. In religious belief he was a Presbyterian.
The maiden name of our subject's mother was Elizabeth Johnson. She was born in Ohio, September 20, 1800. Sharing all the privations of a pioneer life, she yet lived to a good old age, passing peacefully away October 11, 1883. Her father, Jesse Johnson, was a Virginian and fought bravely in the Black Hawk War. William and Elizabeth McDavid had nine children and all but one grew to manhood and womanhood in the little log cabin. William C., the eldest, resides in East Fork Township, near his birthplace. James B. is the subject of our sketch. John T. has a pleasant home in Irving Township. Jesse J. and Nancy were twins, and the former fought in the Mexican war. In 1852 he crossed the country to California. For nine years no tidings of him have reached his early home. Nancy was the wife of John H. Barringer. Emily J. married Joshua H. Wilson. Harriet M. became the wife of William B. Polland. Thomas W. is yet living on the old homestead. The daughters are all dead.
James B. obtained a rudimentary education in the subscription school of the pioneer settlement. He assisted his father at farming until twenty-seven years of age. He was married February 29, 1848, to Miss Mary A. Burke, daughter of Andrew and Rachael Burnett Burke. Mrs. McDavid was born in Smith County, Tenn., December 26, 1827. Her parents removed to Montgomery County when Mary was but two years old. Mr. and Mrs. McDavid settled upon a farm within sight of the old home, but in 1887 removed to Hillsboro where they now reside.
They have but one child, William A., born in 1854. This gentleman manages a Keeley Institute at Carbondale. His wife was Miss Martha J. Wilson. Their son Joseph is about seventeen years old. Our subject is a large stockholder in the Loan and Trust Company's Bank of Hillsboro and together with his son and nephew holds the controlling interest in the Coffeen Coal Company. Mr. McDavid has three fine farms all under cultivation and owns one hundred and sixty acres of timber. He presented his son with a one hundred and sixty acre tract some time ago.
James B. McDavid is a Democrat and held the official position of County Treasurer ten years. He was County Assessor the same length of time and was the Township Assessor for two seasons. In the discharge of his public duties he was ever prompt and faithful. Our subject is a Mason, member of Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 51, Hillsboro. He and his wife are Presbyterians and in both social and church relations occupy a high position.

Extracted 29 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 142-145.

Templates in Time