THOMAS E. MAYES. The wonderful success which has crowned the efforts of thousands
of farmers who came to Illinois in poverty, is worthy the annals of the historian.
The wealth in the soil of the Prairie State like the gold hidden in the dross, responded magically to
the alchemy of the earnest effort, enterprise and industry of the pioneer farmer, and astonished the
world by its splendid results. The farming community of Dore [sic] Township, Moultrie County, gives
many instances of this success in agriculture and one of its farmers who resides within the limits of
Dalton City, is the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch.
Our subject owns fifty-five acres of land within this corporation, besides two hundred and forty
outside. He settled in Moultrie County in the spring of 1865, and has since been a resident of
Dore [sic] Township. He was born in Mifflin County, Pa., April 7, 1837, being a son of Matthew T. and
Martha (Ewing) Mayes, the father of our subject being a tanner by trade. The paternal grandparents
came from Maryland, and the parents of our subject lived and died in Pennsylvania, and during
their later years resided on a farm, where the father died August 31, 1845, being then only forty-two
years old, while the mother survived until the spring of 1869, and passed away at the age of
The four children of Matthew and Martha Mayes are as follows: James, who is a resident of
Lewiston, Pa.; Eliza, who married Mr. G.W. Soult, and resides on the old home in Mifflin County,
Pa.; William E., who resides in Strawn, Kan., and our subject, who is the third in order of age. His
early life was passed upon the farm, and after taking a public school education he received instruction
in the academy, and in 1857, took a business course at Pittsburg, Pa., after which he clerked in
different business houses.
The marriage of our subject took place December 26, 1861, and he was then united with Isabel
Laugton, who was born in Pennsylvania, and is a daughter of Joseph I. and Catherine Laugton.
They continued to reside in Pennsylvania until 1865, when they came to Illinois and purchased
one hundred and sixty acres of slightly improved land, and proceeded to carry on the business of
stock-raising. In 1874, Mr. Mayes removed to Dalton City, as he had been some time prior to
this movement appointed station agent, and he was also carrying on the lumber business. He continued
as station and express agent for two years, after which he was for three years not employed in
the former capacity, but in 1878, he took the position again and still continues in it. At the same
time he has carried on his farm successfully, but in May, 1875, he disposed of his lumber business.
Mr. and Mrs. Mayes have had seven children, one daughter, Harriet O., having died in her thirteenth
year. The others are as follows: Martha C., wife of Lowell A. Smith, of Macon County; Anna M.,
who now has charge of the railroad station at Dalton City; Eliza E., wife of James Freeland,
of Macon County; Joseph I., Matthew T., and James W., who are at home. In 1875, Mr. Mayes
erected upon one of the prominent sites of the town a fine store building, and established a drug
business which he conducted for some three years. He has held a number of local offices and is a devoted
adherent to the principles and policy of the Democratic party. He ia identified with both the
Knights of Honor and the Masonic fraternity. Mrs. Mayes is a woman of devoted Christian character
and a leading member in the Presbyterian Church. Her pleasant home is the center of a true
social life and her gracious hospitality affords a hearty welcome to every guest.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 363/364
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb