Putnam County


Jasper Cecil, the present efficient sheriff of Putnam county, and a representative of the industrial interests of Hennepin, where for many years he has engaged in blacksmithing, was born here on the 22d of October, 1843. His father, Isaac Cecil was a native of Pennsylvania, born April 16, 1807, and in 1835 he came to Hennepin, where he established a shop and engaged in blacksmithing. He was an expert workman at any kind of iron work and for years was the leading blacksmith of this part of the county. He was also a crack shot with the rifle and could hit a turkey in the head at each shot, though he often missed one intentionally in order to prevent him from being barred from the shooting contests. He was a very temperate man in all his habits, never using liquor nor tobacco in any form nor using profane language. Well-developed both physically and mentally, there was not an ounce of superfluous flesh on him, though he weighed two hundred and ten pounds. His great strength made him always captain of a gang at log rollings in the early days, and it is said that he could shoulder a log twelve feet long and a foot thick. In his later years, however, the effects of the hard work which he did in earlier life were evident. He resided almost continuously in Hennepin from the time of his arrival in Illinois until his death, save for the period between the years 184!* and 1862, which he spent in Peru, Illinois, where he was engaged in blacksmithing. In the latter year he returned to Hennepin, where he continued to reside until called to his final rest on the loth of July, 1871. His political allegiance was given to the democracy but he never aspired to nor held office.

Isaac Cecil was twice married, his first wife being killed by lightning in Hennepin. On the 20th of November, 1842, he wedded Amanda Zenor, who was born February 27, 1823, and passed away February 10, 1895. They became the parents of eight children, of whom four died in infancy, the others being Jasper Stephen, who was born September 21, 1854, and is now working in the car shops at Plattsmouth, Nebraska; Isaac, who was born September 17, 1857, and is a boilermaker at Plattsmouth; and Anna, who was born October 15, 1864, and is now the wife of Virgil Mullis, of Plattsmouth.

Jasper Cecil, reared under the parental roof, spent his early life in Hennepin and in Peru, returning to the latter city in 1862 when in his eighteenth year. He has since made his home here. His education was acquired in the public schools and he learned the blacksmith's trade under the direction of his father, since which time he has followed that pursuit, becoming an expert workman. He has lived a life of industry and enterprise and whatever success he has achieved is attributable entirely to his own efforts. Never ambitious to attain wealth he has, however, provided a comfortable living for his family and has taken time to enjoy life and its social relations.

In 1866 Mr. Cecil was married to Miss Jennie Mullin, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Joseph Mullin, one of the early settlers of Putnam county. They now have a beautiful home in the southern part of the city which was erected by Mr. Cecil and is always kept in a state of good repair, being one of the attractive residences here. Two children have been born of this marriage: Marzella, who is the widow of F. B. Neal and lived in Peoria until her husband's death, May 19, 1906, but is now making her home in Hennepin: and Florence, now the wife of John P. Church, proprietor of the Cecil Hotel of Hennepin, by whom she has two interesting children, Cecil and Jennie.

Mr. Cecil is regarded as one of the prominent representatives of the republican party in Hennepin. He served for several years on the village board and always worked faithfully and indefatigably for improvements which have benefited the city. He was a member of the board at the time the artesian well was dug and was termed the father of the project, so zealously did he labor for its adoption. He served for the second year as president of the board, a place which he filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. In the fall of 1906 he was the candidate for county sheriff on the republican ticket and was elected by a large majority. He deserves this honor at the hands of his fellow citizens, for he has always been most loyal to the public good and has contributed in substantial measure to the improvement and progress of the county.

Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 394.

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