Few men have more vivid recollection of the early days in Putnam county than has Jonathan Long, an honored pioneer settler whose memory forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present. He came to Illinois when it was upon the frontier and when wolves and catamounts were numerous in the forest and upon the prairie, while herds of deer could be seen almost daily. Little change had been made in the surface of the country, which largely remained just as it came from the hand of nature. The few homes of the settlers were scattered over the prairie and there were no railroad facilities to connect the district with the outside world. The country was crossed and recrossed with sloughs and in many places was swampy, it being necessary to drain before much could be done in the way of cultivation. Into such a district came Mr. Long, casting in his lot with the early settlers and sharing with them in the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. At the same time he bore his full share in the work of improvement and progress, and thus deserves classification with the founders and upbuilders of the county. He now resides on a farm on section 15, Senachwine township, Putnam county, and has passed the eighty-first milestone on life's journey, having been born in West Virginia, February 26, 1825. His father, Levi Long, was also a native of that state, born August 9, 1779, while his death occurred in Putnam county, May 12, 1851. His wife, who in her maidenhood was Lydia Stiles, was born in West Virginia, February 16, 1783, and died October 6, 1833, in the Old Dominion. For his second wife Mr. Long chose Sua Dunn, who was born in Virginia, February 10, 1806, and died in Putnam county.
Jonathan Long was the youngest of a family of nine children, and as far as he knows is the only one living. Lyle, born December 12, 1803, passed away in Iowa. Elizabeth, born June 19, 1805, also died in the Hawkeye state. Mary, born July 21, 1808, died in this county. Levi departed this life in Ohio. Stephen died in infancy. Sarah passed away in Indiana. Lucretia died in infancy, and Lyda has not been heard from in some years, so that it is not known whether or not she is living.
It was in 1844 that Levi Long brought his family to Illinois, settling on a tract of land of eighty acres that is now the home of his son Jonathan. All was timber, and in the midst of the forest they built a little log cabin, in which they lived for several years, when a more modern and commodious house was erected. The land was purchased from the government, and, in consequence, was in a raw condition, not a furrow having been turned nor an improvement been made. Mr. Long continued to reside with his parents until they passed away, after which he carried on the home farm on his own account and has since resided here. He was early trained to the arduous work of developing a new farm at a time when much of the labor was done by hand. The scythe and sickle figured as important farm implements, and all of the corn husking now done by machinery was done by hand.
On the 4th of August, 1850, Mr. Long was united in marriage to Miss Helen Frazie, who was born in New York, May 17, 1831, and has now for more than a half century been to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey. Their marriage was blessed with the following children: Almedia, who was born August 2, 1852, and is now deceased ; Mary, who was born November 26, 1855, and is the wife of Henry Linkier, a resident of Baldwin, Montana; William, who was born June 9, 1858, and is carrying on the work of the home farm ; Rachel, who was born June 21, 1861, and is the wife of Elijah Montgomery, who resides at Bureau Junction, Illinois; Viola, who was born May 7, 1864, and is the wife of Perry Kane, living in Bureau county; and Beldon, who was born December 28, 1870, and wedded Mary Williams. He, too, is living on the old homestead.
For many years Mr. Long continued actively in the farm work and is now the owner of one hundred and eighty acres of land in Bureau county. He likewise has two hundred acres where he lives on section 15, Senachwine township, and another tract of one hundred and sixty acres a mile east in the same township. His possessions are therefore extensive, and from his farm property he derives an excellent income. His realty is the visible evidence of his life of industry, thrift and capable management, for all that he possesses has been acquired through his own labors. In the early days he aided in cutting down the timber and in breaking the prairie. He did not care to indulge much in hunting, but it would have been possible for him to obtain a deer any day. The first log house built upon the farm was constructed of hewed timbers cut from his place, and it was necessary to clear away the trees and brush before the plowing could be done. Mr. Long has witnessed remarkable changes in the methods of farm life as modern machinery has been introduced and scientific investigation have brought a broader knowledge of the needs of the fields and the best methods of carrying on farm work. He has also kept abreast with the work of improvement and has long been accounted one of the substantial and prominent agriculturists of his community. In politics he has ever given his support to the democracy, yet has always been without desire for office.
Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 270.