Cattron, Nancy nee Smith b Mar. 14, 1818 Tn. d May, 11, 1881 Pleasant Twp., Fulton Co., Il.w/o James Bohannon Cattron md Dec. 30, 1841 Fulton Co., Il.
1908 HISTORY OF FULTON COUNTY ILLINOIS PAGES 833-823
CATTRON, James B.—To the man whose life began on the prairies of the Central West, eighty-seven years ago, has been vouchsafed a wealth and diversity of experience beside which that of those active in the beginning of the twentieth century pales into insignificance. If the men of the frontier suffered, they also lived, and their existence was turned to far higher purpose than the mere getting and parading of wealth and its luxuries. In those days a code of honor prevailed which made it possible for a man to borrow money without putting up gilt-edged collateral, and instances were rare in which the debt was not repaid as agreed upon. These, and other advantages of a non-commercial era, are recalled by James B. Cattron, whose earthly pilgrimage has led by eighty-seven mile posts, and who yet retains his faculties and ready access to the great storehouse of his brain.
Mr. Cattron, who is the father of Mrs. Benjamin F. Bedwell, of Table Grove, was born in Washington County, Ind., January 17, 1819, a son of Valentine and Frances (Bohannon) Cattron, natives of Virginia and Tennessee, respectively. Subsequently the family lived in Fountain County, Ind., where the mother died, and later the rest of the family moved to Laporte County, where the father died at an advanced age. James B. Cattron came on horseback to Fulton County in 1841, and instead of proceeding to Oregon, as he had originally intended, settled near Fairview, where, a few weeks later, in December, 1841, he was united in marriage to Nancy Smith. The following year he removed to Bernadotte Township and built a rude saw-mill on Spoon river, in the meantime occupying a small log house fourteen feet square, without windows, a comfort being used at night in place of a door. The church at that time was five miles distant, and worshipers attended regularly, as that was the sole diversion of the settlers. They were driven to church inc arts drawn by sturdy oxen. The operation of his farm and saw-mill kept Mr. Cattron busy from morn until night, but he enjoyed his work, and was on especially good terms with his neighbors. Referring to the confidence between man and man at that time, he recalls having borrowed $400 from Colonel Bronson, without a vestige of security, a fact which would be almost impossible at the present time. In 1850 Mr. Cattron purchased 160 acres of land on what was known as the Ipava Prairie, and to this he added until he owned 580 acres in Pleasant Township. He next bought 1,280 acres of land in Texas, but after he had lived in his Southern home ten years, was obliged to return North owing to the failing health of his wife. Giving 800 acres of his Texas land to his son, he resumed farming in Fulton County, and in all has been thus associated with Fulton County sixty-five years, with the exception of the ten years spent in Texas.
The first wife of Mr. Cattron was born March 14, 1818, died at the old home in Pleasant Township, May 11, 1881. On September 22, 1882, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Smith, who died in 1901. Of the first marriage there were nine children, of whom Frances, Savannah and Wesley died in infancy, and Belle, wife of Benjamin F. Bedwell; Mary, wife of Thomas O. Bohannon, of Bernadotte Township; and Rachel, wife of R. K. Bohannon, are living. Mr. Cattron has been a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since early boyhood, and for forty years was a class-leader in the local church. In politics he is a Republican, and one of his ruling passions is a deep and unalterable admiration of Abraham Lincoln. His life has been a broad and useful one, and his serene old age is crowned with the love and respect of all who know him.
Submitter: Janine Crandell