GEORGE W. VAUGHAN. Prominent among the public men of Sullivan, and eminent as a
church and Sunday-school worker is the gentleman whose name heads this paragraph. He
is no office seeker but an earnest worker in the rank and file of the Democratic party and has at the
earnest request of his fellow-citizens, filled the offices of Supervisor and Deputy County Treasurer.
His work in the line of Sunday-schools, has brought him before the best people of the county, as he has
been President of the county organization and sits as delegate in most of the State Sunday-school
conventions. He is now the President of the County Sunday-school Association.
Mr. Vaughan is a retired farmer and stock-raiser, residing in a comfortable home on Jackson Street.
He removed to the city from his large farm in Sullivan Township in October, 1886, leaving an
estate which he had materially decreased in extent by gifts to his children. The well-improved tract
which he still retains comprises two hundred acres, most of which he has brought from its native condition
to a well drained and highly cultivated state. He has been a successful farmer in this
county where he has lived since 1842 and now enjoys the benefits of his labors.
Our subject was born in Shelby County in 1833 his parents having settled in Shelbyville in 1829.
His father, James W. Vaughan was a soldier in the Black Hawk War and served as a private under
Gen. Atkinson, and helped to bury the dead after Maj. Stillman's defeat near Dixon's Ferry. After
peace was concluded and the Indians were sent beyond the Father of Waters, Mr. Vaughan came
back to Shelby County, and there devoted himself to his trade. He was a mechanic and gunsmith and
at the same time operated a farm. In 1842 he removed from Shelby County, where he had been
a pioneer, to Whitley Township, Moultrie County, and later came to Sullivan but in January,
1864 removed to Coles County where he continued active in his trade and upon the farm until his
death which occurred June 21, 1890, when he was past eighty-four years old. He was born in Virginia
December 8, 1805, and was the son of Woody Vaughan who died when James was only eight
years old. The family is of English stock with some German admixture and came to this country
prior to the Revolutionary War. The mother of James W. Vaughan was a Miss Farrer, who
was of German descent and who came with her family to Illinois in 1829 and died in Shelby
County at a very advanced age, passing away as did her husband in the enjoyment of a beautiful
James W. Vaughan was eight years old when his mother moved to Tennessee and in 1829, after
his marriage to Jemima McNealy a native of Tennessee he came to Illinois. This noble and lovely Christian
wife died in Moultrie County at the age of fifty-four years. She had been a member of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church most of her life.
The second matrimonial union of Mr. Vaughan was with Mrs. Melinda A. Ellis, nee Phillips, who is
yet living and now at the age of seventy-three years makes her home in Coles County. She is a
member of the Free Will Baptist Church, in which her husband, James W. Vaughan was for almost
fifty years a minister. He was an earnest and hard working servant in the vineyard of the Lord, and
filled many pulpits in this State. He was universally recognized as an earnest pioneer minister and
rode from point to point on horseback to meet appointment and to minister to the spiritual wants
of the people in the days when neighbors were twenty miles apart.
Of the children of this pioneer preacher one, Samuel is a Baptist minister at Decatur, Ill.; three,
William, John and George, were soldiers in the Union army, John being Lieutenant of his company,
and being killed in the battle of Shiloh during the great charge of the Union forces. He
and William belonged in Company B, Forty-first Illinois Infantry. William served for three years
and escaped unhurt and is now living near Bethany.
Our subject enlisted in Company C, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, under
Capt. A. N. Smizer of Sullivan and Col. Richmond of Mattoon. This regiment took part in the siege
of Vicksburg, holding the key to the city in the rear, keeping the rebels from entering through the
Yazoo Valley. Later they went to Arkansas doing service at Duvall's Bluff and Little Rock. Our subject
was commissioned Second Lieutenant at the time the company was organized, but owing to
sickness was forced to resign and received his honorable discharge before the expiration of his
term of service.
The first marriage of Mr. Vaughan united him with Miss Beulah Rhodes, who was born and reared
in Shelby County and died in December, 1880. She was the mother of two children now living: Arthur
L. a farmer, who has married Nancy Hughes; and Ida the wife of Arthur Hampton, of Demorest,
Ga. A daughter now deceased, Olivia, was the wife of S. F. Corley, a Dakota farmer. Our subject
was again married at St. Joseph, Mo. to Miss Nancy C. Henry, who was born in Macon County, Ill.,
May 13, 1851. Her parents were John and Sybil (Truit) Henry. She resided in St. Joseph at the
time of her marriage. She is the mother of three children one son Jay, having passed away. Leslie
H. is afflicted with loss of hearing and is a student in the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Jacksonville and
Donna M. the baby of the household is the delight of her parents, both of whom are active members
of society and useful in their church relations being connected with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 585-567
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb