John Wade, Police Magistrate for the city of Carlyle, was born in Dauphin County, Pa., October 21, 1811. He is of immediate Irish descent, his grandfather, Richard WADE, having been born in Dublin. From the Emerald Isle he emigrated to America in early manhood, and settling in Pennsylvania, there followed his trade of a shoemaker. He and his wife had a family of four sons and one daughter; two of the sons, Henry and William, were soldiers in the War of 1812.

The father of our subject, Richard WADE, Jr., was born in Dauphin County, Pa., and there spent the years of boyhood, his time being devoted to hard manual labor, and few opportunities being offered for acquiring a good education. Learning the trade of a shoemaker in his youth, he embarked in the business for himself, and was thus engaged continuously in Dauphin County until his death, at a ripe old age. He and his estimable wife, who bore the maiden name of Barbara SCHRIDE, and was born in Pennsylvania of German parentage, had a family of fourteen children, of whom nine attained manhood and womanhood, and five are now living. Of these, John is the second in order of birth. The others are, Levi B., who follows the trade of a stone mason in Pennsylvania; Samuel, who is connected with the iron works in Dauphin County, Pa.; George W., a farmer by occupation, and Mrs. Mary MOTTER, also a resident of the Keystone State. The father of this family was a man of influence in his community, a stanch advocate of Whig principles, and an upright and honorable citizen, who was highly esteemed by all with whom he came in contact. His death occurred in 1839, and his widow passed away five years later.

The boyhood years of the subject of this sketch were passed in a manner similar to that of the majority of lads in the opening years of the present century. He grew to manhood in Dauphin and Perry Counties, Pa. His entire schooling consisted of eight months' attendance at the primitive "temple of learning" in the home locality. The building was constructed of logs, presenting on the exterior an unattractive appearance, while the interior was equally unsightly in aspect. There was no furniture save a few benches, a large fireplace in one corner of the room, and some boards utilized for writing desks, placed on the side of the building.

It will thus be seen that Mr. Wade had none of the advantages which the children of to-day enjoy. However, being a man of close observation, retentive memory and studious habits, he made up for the lack of early opportunities, and gained a broad range of information upon historical and current events. When a mere lad he learned under the tutelage of his father the trade of a shoemaker, and followed that occupation in Dauphin County from 1828 until 1847. In the year last-named he came to Illinois and settled upon a farm five miles northwest of Carlyle, where he entered one hundred and twenty acres of Government land, in what is now Wheatfield Township. A pioneer in this part of the country, he began the pioneer task of breaking the prairie and tilling the soil. At first he was obliged to endure many hardships, and the task of improving a farm from the raw prairie was by no means an easy one, but being a man of energy and perseverance, success was his.

In Dauphin County, Pa., in 1834, Mr. Wade was united in marriage with Miss Annie ASHLEYMAN, whose father was a native of Dauphin County, Pa., and accompanied Mr. Wade to the west. At the time of removing to this state our subject had six children, and six more were added to the household after settling in Clinton County. Of these, seven sons and four daughters attained manhood and womanhood, and eight of the number are now living. They are, Richard, a shoemaker residing in Baxter Springs, Kan.; John, a carpenter by trade, and a resident of Carlyle; William, who is engaged in the restaurant business in Centralia; Lyman, who is engaged in farming in Irishtown Township, Clinton County; Jacob, a grocer in Carlyle; Caroline, who married Cyrus DAVIDSON and lives in Kansas; Elizabeth, the wife of Benjamin LINKS, of East Fork Township, Clinton County, and Martha Ann, the wife of Robert PIERCE, of Carlyle.

The removal to this state was made by canal to Pittsburg, thence by steamboat to St. Louis, and from there by wagon to Clinton County. To the original entry of land he added by purchase until he owned one hundred and sixty acres in Wheatfield Township, upon which he placed first-class improvements in the way of buildings and farm accessories. In 1866 he disposed of his property, and in the spring of the following year removed to Buxton, this county, where he engaged in the manufacture of shoes for about eleven years. During the entire period of his residence on the farm in Wheatfield Township, he had followed his trade, though not giving his entire attention to it.

Coming to Carlyle in 1877, Mr. Wade has since made this city his home. Politically, he is a Jacksonian Democrat, and has been loyal to that party ever since the days of Andrew Jackson. For twenty years he was Justice of the Peace, and for five years he has filled the office of Police Magistrate. In religious belief he is identified with the Baptist Church. His first wife dying in 1859, he was again married in 1862, choosing as his wife Mrs. Ellen OGLE, who died three years later. One child was born of this union, but it died in infancy. He took for his third wife Mrs. Rebecca (RIPLEY) ASHLOCK, who still survives. Mr. Wade owns ninety acres in Wheatfield Township, which is in a high state of cultivation.

Few citizens of Clinton County have resided here longer than the venerable gentleman of whom we write. It has been his privilege to witness the wonderful transformation of the county during the past half century, and in the development of its resources he has been a prominent factor. For years he has been an influential member of the Old Settlers’ Association, the annual meetings of which he attends and enjoys, though there is also something of sadness mingled with the pleasure of the occasion, for each recurring reunion is marked by the absence of one or more of the pioneers, who, having labored long and well, have been called to their final rest.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Submitted by: Connie Albers

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