Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
Among the names of those men who, in both a public and private capacity, have become a part and parcel of Menard County, and have most thoroughly identified themselves with it in all its interests, none is more conspicuous or more deserving of honorable mention than that of John Tice. Jacob Tice (whose name was originally spelled Theis), grandsire of Mr. Tice, was a German by birth, and was engaged for a considerable length of time in the war of persecution against the Waldenses; and at one time his party made an attack upon them while holding divine service, but they heroically endured the destructive fire till the close of their exercises, and then, rising, poured such withering volleys into their assailants that hundreds were killed and wounded and the entire army completely routed. Mr. Tice himself narrowly escaped death, having four horses killed under him, but escaped on the fifth.
After this signal defeat by the handful of Protestant Waldenses, Mr. Tice became convinced that he was engaged in an unholy cause, and, effecting his escape from the country, came to America, landing in Maryland, probably about 1756. Here he was soon after married to Miss Susannah M. Querie (originally Queirsin), and here Nicholas Tice, father of the subject of this sketch, was born, March 8, 1786. While yet a child, Nicholas Tice removed from Maryland to Shenandoah County, Virginia, and settled on the now classic stream of Cedar Creek. Here he remained, cultivating the soil in the beautiful and now famous Valley of the Shenandoah, till about 1806, when he emigrated to Floyd County, Virginia, at that time a part of Montgomery County, and here he remained as a farmer till 1815, near the close of the war of 1812, when he enlisted as a soldier; but while enroute for the field, news of the declaration of peace was received, and his regiment was soon after disbanded and returned home.
About the year 1822, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Thomas, a lady of Welsh descent, daughter of Pleasant and Mary Thomas, residents of Patrick County, Virginia. Mr. Tice remained in Floyd County till the autumn of 1831, when he emigrated to Menard County, Illinois, driving across the country in an ordinary road-wagon, and arrived at Athens, November 3 of the same year - Menard being then a part of Sangamon County. In the spring of 1832, he purchased a farm at what is now Tice Station, on the Springfield and Northwestern Railroad, where he resided, tilling the soil, till his death, which occurred October 11, 1856, his wife having died at the same place, March 14, 1845.
The subject of this biography is the eldest of a family of eight children, six sons and two daughters, and was born February 22, 1823, in Floyd County, Virginia, where he remained till 1831, when he came to Illinois.
Mr. Tice passed his youth and early manhood at the old homestead at Tice Station, engaged in the peaceful avocation of agriculture during the farming season, and teaching school during the winter.
For many years he was so situated that the great burden of providing for and educating his brothers and sisters devolved upon him, and nobly and fearlessly did he meet the responsibility, his solicitude and devotion to them never ceasing till all were amply able to face the pressing responsibilities of life. During the fall of 1849, Mr. Tice was elected to the office of Associate Judge of Menard County, and continued in that capacity till 1853, having previously served as Justice of the Peace for two years. In 1855 he assumed the arduous duties of Deputy Surveyor of Menard, and for thirteen consecutive years did he perform, vigorously and accurately, the duties of Surveyor, almost the entire responsibility of the office resting upon him.
In 1857, Mr. Tice was elected to the office of Assessor and Treasurer of Menard County, the duties of which office he continued to perform to the entire satisfaction of his constituents for a period of eight years, serving by re-election, four consecutive terms. On the 26th of March, 1857, Mr. Tice was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Bowers, an amiable and accomplished lady of German extraction, daughter of John and Hannah Bowers, of Rockingham County, Virginia. In appreciation of the previous public services of Mr. Tice, in the fall of 1866 the people of Menard elected him to the responsible and remunerative office of Sheriff and Collector of the County, the duties of which office he performed with signal ability and success till the expiration of his term of office in 1868; since which time till the present, he has been connected with that office in the capacity of Deputy. In all, Mr. Tice has served the people of Menard County in some public capacity for more than twenty-five years; and to-day no man can show a purer, more honorable record than does he. He stands unimpeached and unimpeachable. Although for so long he has borne so prominent a part in the public affairs of the County, his educational advantages have been of a very limited character. The entire time he has ever been under the tuition of a teacher does not exceed a year, and then he was taught only a little arithmetic and less reading and writing, in an old-time log school-house, with a log cut out of one side for a window, the entire end of the building for a fireplace, slab-seats, and all the surroundings, probably including the teacher, of the same character. Yet, notwithstanding his early disadvantages, he is not an uneducated man, but by intense application, steady perseverance, and unswerving determination to succeed, he mastered arithmetic, history, grammar, geography, the elements of algebra, and is today one of the best practical surveyors in the County. All this he accomplished without the assistance of an instructor, at night, after a fatiguing day s work; not by the brilliant light of a gorgeous chandelier, but by the flickering and uncertain light of a hickory-bark fire. In his politics Mr. Tice has always been a staunch Democrat, although liberal and generous in his views of men and things. His benevolent and social qualities are finely developed, making him a good neighbor and a jolly boon companion. By a long and systematic course of careful economy, diligent attention to business, and honorable discharge of public duties, he has amassed a handsome fortune. Having once been one of the humble, patient, struggling multitude, he feels deeply for the poorer classes, who, by a laudable ambition, are striving to better their condition in life. He is indeed the poor man s friend.
Mr. Tice is too well and favorably known in Menard County to need any eulogy from his biographer. No man sustains a higher character for moral integrity, industry, and enterprise than he. He arose from the humble and obscure walks in life by his honorable dealing, his integrity of character, and fine business capacity.
He is emphatically a self-made man.