Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois

Page 38

Among the young men of Menard County of the greatest enterprise and promise, is Albert G. Nance, the Democratic candidate for Representative in the Legislature, in the political campaign of 1874, for the district in which Menard County is embraced.

His grandfather, Zachariah Nance, was born in Virginia, Charles City County, in 1760. He served three years in the Revolutionary War. He married in Virginia, and at the age of forty-five he emigrated to Kentucky and settled in Greene County. He was the father of two daughters and ten sons, of whom Thomas J. Nance, the father of Albert, was the ninth son.

Thomas J. Nance was born September 17, 1811. He was one of the earliest settlers of Menard County, arriving here in 1832, and occupying the farm now owned by Mr. Albert G. Nance. He was recognized as a prominent and influential citizen, took a marked part in the politics of the day, and in 1840 represented Menard County in the State Legislature. Two years after, in 1842, the party of which he was a member recognized his fitness for public service by giving him the nomination for State Senator. He was a gentleman of great popularity with the people, and no doubt existed of his election; but, unhappily, in July of that year, he was taken ill and died, and the value of his services was lost to the District. Though his death, occurring but little more than one week before the election, left but little time for the nomination of another candidate in his stead, yet the gentleman who was selected to supply his place on the ticket was triumphantly elected.

Albert G. Nance was born March 17, 1842. The family comprised three children, of whom he was the youngest and the only son, and is now the sole survivor. His father died when he was only four months old, and he was left without a father's care during childhood and through the years when his character was being formed; yet the guidance of an affectionate and careful mother in a great degree supplied the want. The educational advantages of the neighborhood where Mr. Nance received the elements of his education partook of the rude character common to the country schools of more than a score of years ago; but rude as they were, they were diligently improved by young Nance, who showed himself an apt scholar, quick to learn, and manifested a liking for study that has characterized all his after-life. His first teacher was Mr. W. W. Lynn. As was customary in those days, his schooling was confined to a few months in the winter, and in the summer he engaged in farm labor. His boyhood and youth were thus passed until his eighteenth year, when he became a student at the Indian Point Academy, at that period the most celebrated institution of learning in the County. He remained here two years. His tastes led him to particularly like the study of mathematics, in which he showed great proficiency, as well as in the other branches of an education. At the time of his attendance as a student a literary society was maintained by the members of the Academy, in which frequent debates were held. Mr. Nance was a constant attendant upon the sessions, and was deeply interested in the exercises. Though always possessing a taste and inclination for public speaking, his confidence at this time in his own abilities seldom allowed him to participate in the oratorical discussions. His diffidence, however, he subsequently succeeded in overcoming in a great degree, and he is now well known as a fluent, dispassionate, and interesting speaker on the topics of the day.

After the death of his father, his mother continued to reside on the farm, and at an early age Albert evinced great capacity for managing its interests. The business of carrying it on was intrusted to his hands, and amid such responsibilities as these he developed those traits of manly independence and habits of enterprise which have made him one of the most public-spirited citizens of the County.

His marriage occurred on the 25th of October, 1866. His wife was formerly Miss Laura Orsburn, a native of Menard County.

Mr. Nance's father was a Democrat, and it was at the hands of the Democratic party that he received the political trusts with which his life was honored. It might naturally be expected that the son of a father so intelligent and firm in his political convictions would imbibe the principles of the faith to which his sire had given allegiance. Such was the case. Mr. Nance early became attached to the Democratic party, and gave his enthusiastic adherence to its measures. There were some questions, however, on which he differed from the great mass of the party to which he belonged. When the close of the Rebellion left the black race freed and the country at peace, Mr. Nance was one of the men in Menard County who earliest advocated negro suffrage. He was irresistibly led to this position by the principles of Democracy itself, and by the teachings of the Declaration of Independence, whose author was Thomas Jefferson, one of the purest expounders of Democratic principles. The record of Mr. Nance in this instance well illustrates his habits of thought and independence of mind in arriving at his own conclusions. In the campaign of 1872 he was one of Mr. Greeley's strongest and most enthusiastic supporters, and zealously worked for his election. In the present political campaign (1874) he received the Democratic nomination, at the convention held at Havana, as Representative in the Legislature for the Counties of Menard, Brown, Cass and Mason. He is an advanced thinker on the issues of the day, and active, enterprising citizen, and his ability would honor his constituency in the Halls of Legislation.


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