Enoch STRAWN, residing in section 32, Hopewell township, is one of the oldest living settlers in the southern part of Marshall county. His father, Colonel John STRAWN, was a native of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and was a son of Isaiah and Rachel (REED) STRAWN, both of whom were also natives of Pennsylvania. The grandfather, with his family, came to Putnam county, Illinois, about 1835, locating on a farm where the parents both died. Their remains were interred in the cemetery south of the present city of Hennepin.
John STRAWN grew to manhood in his native state and married Mary McCLISH, of Scotch descent, but born in the Scioto valley of Ohio. They were married in Pennsylvania, and in 1813, moved to Perry County, Ohio, locating in Hopewell township, where he improved a farm of four hundred acres given him by his father. He built an immense barn there and otherwise improved the place, subsequently selling out, and coming to Marshall county in 1828. After selecting his land he returned to Ohio, and brought his family to this county in grand style with a six-horse match team. The outfit caused great astonishment all along the route.
The family arrived in Marshall county in August, 1829, and located on section 4, Richland township, where Colonel STRAWN pitched a tent in which the family lived all winter. At the time of their settlement there were no other white families in this locality. Indians were numerous and flocked in to see the family in great numbers. In the spring of 1830, the colonel built a double log cabin and lived in it for ten years. He made brick on the farm, and built the brick house, still standing, in 1839. It is the oldest brick house in the county.
Colonel STRAWN mainly gave his attention to his farm, improving an entire section of land. From the very first he was prosperous and added to his possessions until he became one of the wealthiest men in Marshall county. His wife was truly a helpmeet to him. She was a noted woman in this locality, and was well and favorably known throughout Marshall and surrounding counties. To Colonel and Mary STRAWN were born eleven children – William, who married Helen M. BROADDUS, who is now deceased; Rachel, the deceased wife of Jesse B. BANE, also deceased; Mary Ann, widow of James THOMSPON; Enoch, the subject of this sketch; Caroline, the deceased wife of William THOMAS, of Lacon; Emily, deceased wife of D. HOLLAND, also deceased; Salome, the deceased wife of William ORR, also deceased; Susan, the widow of Enoch OWEN; Levitia, the deceased wife of A. PICHEREAU, of Lacon, and two who died in infancy. The mother of these children dying, Colonel STRAWN married Miss Mary HOSKINS, by whom one son was born – John, who lives in Chicago. This wife dying, he married Miss Ellen CALVERT, by whom he had two daughters, Mary, the deceased wife of Eugene WATROUS, and Helen, wife of Henry HART, living in Chicago.
Colonel STRAWN was a noted man in the early history of Marshall county, which he assisted in organizing. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which body is first wife was also a member, and was a class leader in the same for many years. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and also commanded a regiment in the Black Hawk war, where he received his title as colonel. Politically, he was a democrat, but never an office-seeker. No man in Marshall county occupied a more prominent position during the first and second decades of its history. He assisted in the organization of both Hopewell and Richland townships, giving names to each. During his life he accumulated three thousand five hundred and twenty acres of land, and as his children went out from under the home roof, he gave to each a farm.
The subject of this sketch, who is the only son now living of Colonel and Mrs. STRAWN, was born in Hopewell township, Perry county, Ohio, January 18, 1822. When but seven years of age he came with his parents to Marshall county, and grew to manhood on the old homestead in Richland township. His school life was of short duration, having attended but eleven days after his removal to Illinois. He remained at home until thirty-two years of age, assisting in the cultivation of the farm. On the 7th of April, 1853, he married Hester Ann VanBUSKIRK, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Joseph VanBUSKIRK, a pioneer of Marshall county. Immediately after marriage, with his bride he settled on section 33, Hopewell township, where he lived until he built his present residence on the Four Corners. His wife died January 10, 1857, leaving two children – Mary, the deceased wife of John HOLLAND, of Iowa, and Mrs. Hessie ONG.
For his second wife, Mr. STRAWN married Julia GORE, of Lacon, a daughter of John GORE, who was also a pioneer of Marshall county. By this union were ten children – Ada Cora, who married Edgar MYERS, is now deceased; Enoch Landen lives in Iowa; Clara Alice, wife of Charles DAY, lives in Hopewell township; George W. is at home; Milan is deceased; Marion is at home; Glenn is also at home; Levisa Julia is at home; Pearl is deceased; Matilda Myrtle is also under the parental roof.
Politically, Mr. STRAWN has always advocated the principles of the democratic party. He has been justice of the peace for a period of thirty years, and has performed the wedding ceremony of more couples than any other man in Marshall county. His farm of eighty acres is carried on by his sons, while he practically lives a retired life. A continual residence of sixty-seven years in Marshall county has brought him into contact with more persons than any man now residing within its borders.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 273.