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Chrysup, George W.
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Chrysup, George W.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 273-275


George W. Chrysup, who since 1901 has lived a retired life in Barry, previous to which time he was closely associated with its mercantile interests, was born in Florence, Pike county, Illinois, February 1, 1845. He was the only child of William L. and Jane (Barney) Chrysup, who in 1826 became residents of Pike county, where they resided until 1850. In that year the family removed to California, making the long and tedious journey across the plains, over the hot stretches of sand and through the mountain passes to the Pacific coast. In 1857 they started on the return voyage, and the parents were lost in the explosion of the steamer St. Nicholas, which occurred April 24, 1859, about one and a half miles below Helena, Arkansas.

George W. Chrysup, who was left an orphan by this disaster was reared by his maternal grandfather, Colonel Benjamin Barney of Pike county, Illinois. When seventeen years of age he responded to the county's call for troops, enlisting in 1861 at the first call for seventy-five thousand men. He joined the army under Captain McWilliams for three months service with the Tenth Illinois Infantry and on the expiration of that period when it was seen that there would be a long and hotly contested struggle between the north and the south he re-enlisted for three years in August, 1862, becoming a member of Company B, Twenty-eighth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. On the 19th of January, 1864, he once more enlisted, becoming a veteran and serving as corporal sergeant, orderly sergeant and first lieutenant by successive promotions. Eventually he was raised to the rank of first lieutenant and next became captain of Company B, Twenty-eighth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was in the army for over four years and was honorably discharged on the 16th of March, 1866, having made a splendid military record, unsurpassed for loyalty or bravery. He participated in many important battles, including the engagements at Fort Henry, Vicksburg, Jackson, Spanish Fort and Whistler's Station, and he was always found at his post of duty whether upon the firing line or on the lonely picket line.

Following the close of the war Captain Chrysup returned at once to his home and on April 18, 1867, was married to Miss Katie Harvey, of Pike county, a daughter of Lewis and Lucy Harvey. Unto them were born two children, who are yet living, and two who have passed away. Those who yet survive are: Jennie, now the wife of H. T. McCarrel, of Barry; and Helen, who is the wife of Dr. R. H. Main, of Barry.

After the war Captain Chrysup engaged in farming for three years and then embarked in merchandising, which he carried on for six years, dealing in both groceries and hardware and also conducting a marble business. He was then appointed postmaster and filled the office for ten years. He has likewise filled other official positions, having been justice of the peace for eight years, during which time he discharged his duties with strict impartiality, his decisions being biased by neither fear nor favor. Upon his retirement from that office he put aside all business cares and since 1901 has not been connected with any official or business interests. In his political views he is a stalwart republican, standing by the party as loyal to-day as he did with the Union in the dark days of the Civil war. He belongs to the John McTucker post, No. 154, at Barry and when able to attend its meetings - greatly enjoys meeting with the "boys in blue". In matters of citizenship he ever manifests the same loyal spirit which characterized his long service on the southern battle-fields and won him promotion from the ranks to the grade of captain in recognition of his meritorious conduct on the field of battle.

It will be interesting in this connection to note something of the history of Colonel Benjamin Barney, by whom Captain Chrysup was reared. He was a son of Benjamin Barney, whose birth occurred in Taunton, Bristol county, Massachusetts, in the year 1760 and he served throughout the Revolutionary war under General Washington, enlisting in April, 1776. He received an honorable discharge in 1781, after which he located land upon which he made improvements in Berkshire county, Massachusetts. In 1782 he married Miss Deborah Crapo and took up his permanent abode upon his farm, his death there occurring in the year 1821. He always maintained a warm devotion and love for his country, leading a quiet and useful life and died a devoted Christian. His wife passed away in 1822.

Colonel Barney was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, September 21, 1795, and there remained through the period of his minority, removing in March, 1817, to Huron county, Ohio, where he spent the succeeding eight years as a farm hand. In 1820 he was married to Miss Minerva Harris, who was the daughter of William Harris, and was born in Pennsylvania in 1800, accompanying her parents in their removal to the Buckeye state in 1818. The year 1825 witnessed the arrival of Colonel and Mrs. Barney in Illinois. They first located at Shawneetown, and in 1820 their home was established at Atlas, which was then the county seat of Pike county. He was there variously employed for nine years, being first engaged at cutting and cording wood, for which he was paid twenty-two cents a cord. On that sum he had to support himself, his wife and two children. He afterward engaged in keel-boating on the Ohio river at fifty cents per day, which he regarded as a very good wage. He was thus employed in the summer and fall of 1826, and during the succeeding winter lived at Atlas, where was the only postoffice in Pike county. At one time on account of high water and bad roads there was no mail for three weeks. The legislature was then in session, and the citizens of Atlas and vicinity being anxious for news, hired Colonel Barney to go to Carrollton, a distance of over forty miles to get the mail. He did so, making the journey in three days, crossing streams in canoes, on logs and sometimes having to wade. Thus through unbroken paths where the snow in many places was above his knees, he made his way, carrying upon his back the mail, which weighed over sixty pounds; and for this journey he received the sum of ten dollars.

Colonel Barney continued to reside in Atlas until 1834, when he invested his earnings which he had saved in a small tract on section 31, Barry township. Upon that place he built a cabin in which the family took up their abode, and continued to reside there for many years, giving the remainder of his active business career to general agricultural pursuits. In April, 1832, he enlisted for service in the Black Hawk war, and was mustered in at Rock Island under General Whiteside, being at that time elected colonel of the regiment, which was the Second Illinois Mounted Riflemen. After serving fifty days he and his regiment were mustered out of service at Ottawa, Illinois. He was then honorably discharged and received the remuneration for his military service, after which he rejoined his family in Barry township and resumed the work of farming and stock-raising. He had in his early years served an apprenticeship to the blacksmith trade, but after a few years his health compelled him to abandon that pursuit, but was able to do much mechanical work upon his farm. As the years advanced and as his financial resources increased as the result of his careful management and unfaltering diligence, he invested more and more extensively in land until his property holdings became very large and valuable. He possessed a generous disposition, was a man of warm heart and willing hand, and ever ready to assist others less fortunate than himself and exemplifying in his life those sterling traits of character which work for the development of man's best nature. He was called to various local offices, the duties of which he discharged with promptness and fidelity, and no man enjoyed more fully the trust and good will of those with whom he was associated. While in business affairs he wrought along lines resulting in the acquirement of a handsome property he at the same time conducted his relations with his fellowmen in such a manner as to deserve their high regard and unfaltering trust. His death occurred September 14, 1882; and the community mourned the loss of one of its representative and honored pioneer citizens.

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