Petersburg Democrat, Friday December 5, 1930

W B Power was the eldest son of pioneer parents who came here from Kentucky in 1830 and settled at the edge of the prairie, 5 miles east of Petersburg.

His birth, September 3, 1839 was attended by the music of the drumming prairie chickens, punctuated with the staccato of the bull whip urging reluctant oxen to turn the tough prairie sod of his father’s broad acres. But there was no click of telegraph instrument, or corn planter; no hum of sewing machine or reaper, for these instruments of modern life had not yet been invented. Nor were his infant slumbers disturbed by the whistle of the locomotive. For he was a young man when the first railroad came to Menard County. In fact there was no Menard County then, and no public schools, yet he secured a liberal education for those days, having been a student at the famous North Sangamon Academy at Indian Point.

His boyish eyes looked out to the north, to the east and to the south from his father’s yard upon unnumbered acres of waving prairie and to the west, almost from the door step spread the primeval forest, clear to the Sangamon River. Lincoln surveyed the original town of Petersburg only 3 years before his birth, and as a boy and man he often took the "grist" to Salem Mill along the winding through the forest, then little more than a trail, that followed the general direction of what is now road 43A.

He married when he was 21 years old and settled near Little Brick Schoolhouse, which was upon his land. He was a successful farmer, retiring from that business when 65 years old and moved to Petersburg, where he lived for 26 years until his death on Thanksgiving afternoon November 27, 1930, over 91 years old. While never a wealthy man, he was always "well to do" and dies possessed of "land and houses". His long life allowed him to enjoy the rare distinction of knowing 5 eldest sons of his direct line; viz: his father E D Power; himself, his son George C Power of Petersburg’ his grandson Paul W Power of Chicago and his great grandson Kent W Power of Tours, France.

He was married 5 times and was the father of 13 children, three of whom; Nettie, Surrency and Roma died in early life. Of his 10 remaining children all are living except William D Power who died in 1927. They are, in order of their seniority: George C Power of Petersburg, Illinois; Fannie M Cogdill of South Haven, Michigan; Mary T Estill of Memphis, Missouri; Emma V Custer and Martha L Holmes, both of Chicago; Edgar D Power and Oran Guy Power of Los Angeles; Opal and Zelia Power of Chicago. He is also survived by 33 grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.

He was a member of the Christian Church of Petersburg for about 50 years and always in his place of Sundays until extreme deafness and the infirmities of age made attendance at church impossible. Yet up to the Sunday preceding his death he tried very hard to hear some pulpit orator over the radio, but without success.

He was also and Odd Fellow, having joined the Salem Lodge No 122 in 1883, whose members officiated at his burial in Rose Hill Cemetery.

After a brief service at his late home, funeral services were conducted at the Christian Church by the pastor the Reverend L R Cronkhite and the Reverend W M Groves, who delivered the sermon. The choir was composed of Mrs Pearl Apken, Fern Pond Irwin and Edgar Watkins, who sung most touchingly one of Uncle Wood’s favorite songs, " Heaven is my Home", requested by his son Edgar D Power of Los Angeles and which was also sung at William D Power’s funeral from the same church and choir in 1927.

His pallbearers were E A Holmes of Chicago, his grand son-in-law J W Cheaney of Springfield, his grandson Paul W Power of Chicago and three young friends of Petersburg who he loved and admired, Herman G Wilms, Sidney J Shaw and William Small.

Much could be said about his character and sterling business integrity, but he was a modest unassuming man and encomiums would not be in keeping with his wishes so let his virtues be silently enshrined in the hearts of his children who loved him in life and who revere his memory in death.

Submitted by: Denny Custer


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Illinois Ancestors