THOMAS J. FREELAND, a dealer in grain, located in Dalton City, Moultrie County,
came here in 1871, and was the first man to engage in business in the place. he shipped the
first grain and the first cattle from that station, and has since continued in this line of business here,
thus constituting himself the pioneer and the oldest business man in Dalton. he was born in Orange
County, N. C., June 29, 1838, his honored parents being John J. and Mary B. (Craig) Freeland,
both of whom were natives of North Carolina. James Freeland, an uncle of our subject,
came to Illinois in 1835 and settled in what has since been known as Freeland's Point. To that
place he was followed in 1856 by the parents of our subject, and there they undertook the business
of farming, and made it their permanent home until death called them to another and better
world, which call came to the father in July, 1877.
All but one of the eleven children of John J. and Mary B. Freeland grew to reach their majority,
and are named as follows: Charles J., who is a member of the medical profession, and resides
at Rogers, Ark.; Elizabeth C., married Dr. S. D. Schoolfield and makes her home at Macomb, Miss.;
Catherine J. resides in Moultrie County; Carolina married J. B. Knight, and died in Moultrie
County; William J. was Major in the Sixth North Carolina Infantry, and was mortally
wounded at Fair Oaks, dying at Fortress Monroe; Mary A., who married the Rev. Clark Louden, a
Presbyterian clergyman of Pierre, S. Dak.; Thomas J., our subject; Sarah J., who resides in Moultrie
County; John A., who was Captain in the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry, and now resides in Moultrie
County; Emma T., wife of J. A. Roney, of Decatur.
The father of our subject was a Whig in his political views, and while living in North Carolina
was Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Orange County, and Mayor of the town of Hillsboro,
where he engaged in the mercantile business, and was a slaveholder, he was an Elder in the Presbyterian
Church, which in those days and in that latitude was not considered inconsistent with holding
in bondage his fellow-creatures. After coming to Illinois he became a Republican, and
ever stood by the political doctrines of that party.
Our subject had very good school advantages in his native State, and came with the family to Illinois
in 1856. In 1862 he raised a company of volunteers to fight for the old flag, but being taken
sick, was unable to accompany this company to the seat of war. Later he enlisted as a recruit, and
was assigned to Company C, Fifty-ninth Illinois Infantry, under the command of Gen. Henderson.
He served until November, 1865, and was present and took part in the battles of Franklin and Nashville,
but most of the time was detailed in the field hospital department.
After the war this young man engaged in farming and trading in Moultrie County until he established
his present business, and was associated with Mr. J. A. Roney as partner for some ten years,
after which he undertook business alone. He has been successful in his efforts, and is accumulating
a handsome property, as he now owns ninety acres of land, besides some excellent property in Dalton
and Decatur. He was married in 1875 to Cora S. Dickey, daughter of J. W. and Nancy Dickey.
This lady was born in Marshall, Ill., where she received her early education and training, and she
has become the mother of one child, John F. Like the father, our subject has become devotedly attached
to the Republican party, and although he usually gives all his time to private business, he
took time during the early days of Dalton to serve the village as the first President of the Village
Board. He is identified with the Knights Templar, and is a prominent and useful member of the
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 372/373
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb