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Daigh, Harrison
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Daigh, Harrison
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 741-742


It is a noticeable fact that a great majority of the successful men are those who have planned their own advancement and have accomplished it in spite of obstacles and difficulties which they have encountered. Labor, however, in America is unhampered by caste or class, and in due time will find its just reward: and it is by reason of his untiring activity that Mr. Daigh has won a creditable position in financial and social circles, enjoying the good will and trust of all with whom he has been associated.

A native son of Perry, he was born February 10, 1845, and was educated in the public schools. His parents were James M. and Elizabeth (Pool) Daigh, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of South Carolina. Leaving the Old Dominion, James M. Daigh came to Illinois in the '20s, settling in the midst of the wilderness in Christian or Sangamon county. He afterward came to Pike county and was one of the pioneers of this portion of the state, and aided in its early and substantial development. However, attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he crossed the plains in 1849. In 1852 he returned to Illinois, but in 1853 again went to California, this time by way of New York city, whence he took passage on a sailing vessel bound for San Francisco. He was engaged in merchandising in the Golden state until the spring of 1855, when his life's labors were ended in death, he being then fifty-five years of age. His wife passed away in this county in 1853, at the age of forty-five years. They were earnest and faithful members of the Christian church, and Mr. Daigh was also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His political views were in harmony with the principles of the whig party. In the family were twelve children, five sons and seven daughters, but only two are now living, Harrison and Martha, the latter the wife of J. J. Smith, a farmer of Chambersburg township.

Harrison Daigh lost his mother when nine years of age, and was left an orphan when a youth of ten. Three years later he left Pike county and went to Dewitt county, Illinois, where he was employed as a farm laborer during the summer months, while in the winter seasons he fed cattle for his board and the privilege of attending school. He was thus occupied until 1862, when his patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union, and, although only seventeen years of age, he enlisted on the 27th of July as a member of Company F, Ninety-ninth Illinois Infantry, remaining with that regiment until honorably discharged in August, 1865, being mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He took part in a number of important engagements and manifested valor and loyalty equal to that of many a veteran of twice his years. He made a creditable military record, and when his aid was no longer needed he returned to his home to resume the pursuits of civil life.

He was again engaged in farm labor up to the time of his marriage, which was celebrated on the 25th of April, 1867, Miss Margaret Turner becoming his wife. She was born June 25, 1849, and was a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Haughey) Turner, both of whom were natives of Ohio, in which state they were married. Their children, eleven in number, were born in Ohio. Five of these are yet living, Charles, Isaac, Mary, Jane and Margaret Elizabeth died January 10, 1906. The wife and mother passed away September 21, 1858, and Mr. Turner was afterward again married, his second union being with Rebecca Shelton, who is also now deceased. There were four children of that marriage, George, James, Albert and Laura, all of whom are yet living. On removing from Ohio to Illinois, Mr. Turner settled in Perry township, Pike county; where he secured a tract of land and carried on general farming until within a few years prior to his demise, when he lived retired in the village of Perry. He was a member of the New Light church in Ohio. His political endorsement was given to the whig party until its dissolution, when he joined the ranks of the republican party. His death occurred in Perry, September 21, 1888, when he was seventy-six years of age.

Following his marriage, Mr. Daigh carried on farming in Perry township until the spring of 1868, when he removed to Dewitt county, Illinois, there residing until the fall of 1869, when he returned to Pike county and once more became identified with its agricultural interests. In 1875 he removed to the village of Perry, where he now lives. At the present writing he is engaged in farming, and he also has charge of the mail route between Perry and Griggsville. At the same time he has been active and influential in community affairs, and has served as constable and town marshal, as street commissioner, as school director and road commissioner.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Daigh was blessed with thirteen children: Estella; Charles; Frank C., who died October 17, 1904, in his thirty-third year; Nellie; Lillian; Harry L.; Clarence; one who died in infancy; Russell; Grace; Louise; Joseph F.; and Marie. The members of the family are well known in the community where they reside. Mr. Daigh belongs to Perry lodge, No. 95, A. F. & A. M., with which he has affiliated since March, 1878, and he is now a past master. He likewise belongs to Perry chapter, No. 35, R. A. M.; and in politics he supports the men who are pledged to give their allegiance to the republican party. Dependent upon his own resources from an early age, whatever success he has achieved is attributable to his earnest and indefatigable industry. He possesses a genial disposition and kindly nature that have gained him many friends in social circles, as he has a very wide and favorable acquaintance in this part of the county.

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