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Baldwin, Lewis H.
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Baldwin, Lewis H.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, 1891; Page 469 – 470

LEWIS H. BALDWIN. A goodly number of the pioneers of Pike County have been called from the scene of their earthly labors, leaving behind them a record of usefulness in the material and moral world which makes their names highly honored by the present settlers. One of this number is the subject of these paragraphs, whose portrait appears on the opposite page. He was born near Litchfield, Conn., in 1810, and died at his home on section 25, Fairmount Township, March 6, 1876. He came of an old New England family, presumably of English ancestry and through birth and training possessed the sterling qualities which have become typical of the New England character.

The parents of our subject were John and Sarah (Gunn) Baldwin, who spent their entire lives near Litchfield, Conn., being members of the agricultural community. John Baldwin died when in the prime of life, his son, our subject, being then but three years of age. Sarah Baldwin survived her husband some years and died when quite old. Both parents were of the old Presbyterian faith, strict in their belief as was the habit of the dwellers in New England. They had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, all but one of whom lived to maturity, came West and the greater number died in the Prairie State.

The gentleman whose name introduces this sketch was reared at the place of his birth and during his youth learned the trade of a blacksmith. As that work did not agree with his health he did not follow it after he became of age but adopted the occupation of a farmer, in which he has been very successful. He was unmarried and still young when he turned his footsteps westward; making his home for a time in Harrison County, Ind., and thence, in the fall of 1835, journeying to Pike County, Ill. Here he made a settlement in New Salem Township and began the labors of a pioneer, taking up the burdens which belonged to that time with the energy and cheerfulness which ever characterized him. After a few years he sold his purchase of eighty acres and rented land in Perry Township, residing thereon about three years.

At the expiration of that time Mr. Baldwin bought and moved on to another new farm, which was his home until the day of his death. From a small beginning his possessions grew to the extent of three hundred acres of fine land, upon which the various improvements had been made which stamped it as the abode of taste and plenty. Mr. Baldwin was a practical farmer, making of his calling hath an art and a science. He was a friendly and obliging neighbor, generous alike to all, and identified himself with the best interests of the section. He was not an office-seeker but was a stanch supporter of Republican principles. Better than all else he was an exemplary Christian, having for some years prior to his demise been identified with the United Brethren Church.

In Griggsville Township the solemn rites were celebrated which united the lives and fortunes of Mr. Baldwin and Miss Maria J. Elledge. The parents of the bride were Boone and Rebecca (Bell) Elledge, both of whom were born in the Carolinas but accompanied their parents to Kentucky while yet unmarried. In Clark County they were joined in wedlock and in 1817 removed to Harrison County, Ind., making that their home until 1836, when they came to Pike County, Ill. Their journey hither was performed overland and their settlement was made in Griggsville Township on an almost unbroken farm. Five years utter their arrival Mr. Elledge died at the age of sixty odd years. Mrs. Elledge survived him some years, breathing her last in the same township when about seventy years old. They possessed in a high degree the kindly traits which were so characteristic of the pioneers and were much liked by all who knew them. Both belonged to the Baptist Church.

Mrs. Baldwin and four other members of her parents' family were born in Clark County, Ky., the date of her birth being November 14, 1816. She was quite young when her parents came to the Prairie State and here much of the training which fitted her for usefulness was received. She was a true helpmate to her husband and a wise and loving mother to her children. An earnest Christian, she has endeavored to faithfully discharge every duty which lay before her, and has won the high esteem of many friends. She is the mother of nine children, of whom Charles W., Sarah A., and Thomas P. died young, John B. and Rebecca J. are also deceased, both having left families. S. David was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun, leaving a widow and one child; James married Luella Williams and operates a farm in Fairmount Township; Elizabeth is the wife of William Gray, a farmer in New Salem Township; Abigail G. is the wife of William Smith, who now owns and operates the Baldwin homestead.

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Submitted: 11/21/09

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