ZACHARIAH B. WHITFIELD. As the city of Sullivan is the center of a rich,
highly cultivated and prosperous county, it is not surprising that within its bounds may be
found a large number of retired farmers who have gained sufficient wealth by the labors of their
early years to give themselves the luxury of rest and ease in their declining days. These retired
farmers are not so old and decrepit as to have lost their interest in matters outside their homes,
but are active and useful citizens, employing their energies more fully in the line of public improvements
than they were able to do in the days when they were more heavily burdened.
Among such citizens of Sullivan we find the prosperous man whose name appears at the head
of this present writing. His fine farm in Whitley Township consists of two hundred and eighty-eight
acres, which has upon it a complete set of farm buildings, and the acres are well improved
and finely stocked. He came to Whitley Township in 1858 with his parents, having been born
January 15, 1847, in Shelby County. His father, Willis Whitfield, was a native of Tennessee, whose
parents were of Scotch-Irish descent. He became a farmer in his native State, and was there first
married to Alementra Rhoads, a Tennessee lady. This worthy pioneer couple soon came to Shelby
County, Ill., settling near Shelbyville when there was but one house in that place, and taking up
Government land. This was about the year 1832, and one year later Mrs. Whitfield died of the
Asiatic cholera, in 1833, being then in the prime of life. Her three children, Emeline, Louisa and
Silas have all now passed to the other world, although they lived to mature years and established
families of their own.
The Rev. Willis Whitfield was a second time married in Shelby County to Miss Martha Pugh,
who was born in Kentucky and came when a child with her parents to Shelby County. Mr. Pugh
was killed when in middle life by a bolt of lightning when planting corn. In 1858 Willis Whitfield
and wife came to Whitley Township and there took a farm, and making good improvements
upon it, remained in this home through life. The father passed away in 1869, having reached the
age of sixty-four years. The mother tarried five years longer, and then died at the age of sixty-four.
They were active members of the Separate Baptist Church, and for many years Mr. Whitfield filled
the pulpit in that church. He was a prominent church worker in both this and Shelby Counties.
His political views were Democratic, and he was an earnest worker for that cause.
Our subject has one sister living —- Elizabeth, the wife of M. L. Wagoner [sic: Waggoner], of Whitley Township.
He remained with his parents until their death, his mother passing away under his roof. He received
a fairly good education in his youth, and is a genial man, and possesses the esteem of his neighbors
on account of his intelligence and integrity. He has been a leader in the local politics of Whitley
Township, and has been placed by turn in all of the offices of the township, having been Supervisor
for five years. He is a favorite not only in the Democratic party, but in all political circles.
The marriage of our subject in Whitley Township to Miss Hannah D. M. Baker gave him a companion
who has proved of inestimable value in his battle with life. She was born in Whitley Township,
and is the daughter of William K. Baker, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser here, whose wife
bore the maiden name of Lucinda Carter. Mrs. Whitfield was one of a numerous family, and herself
has become the mother of six children, viz.: William K., Zachariah B., Martha L., Willis H.,
Lydia E. and C. Fred.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 566/567
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb