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Dorsey, Alexander
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Dorsey, Alexander
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, 1891; Page 616 - 617

ELDER ALEXANDER DORSEY. Among the old residents of Pike County who have been successfully prosecuting the occupation of a farmer and stock-raiser may be mentioned Mr. Dorsey, who is now living in the town of Perry. The township of that name has been his home for more than half a century and he is the fortunate possessor of one of the fine farms for which it is well known to agriculturists. The land is located partly within the limits of the town and is supplied with all the conveniences with which the progressive modern farmer surrounds himself.

Mr. Dorsey is of Scotch ancestry, being a lineal descendant of one of three brothers who emigrated from the land of Bruce in Colonial times, settling in Maryland not far from Baltimore. In that city, William Dorsey, grandfather of our subject, was born, but losing his mother when quite young, he was taken to North Carolina by an aunt. After reaching years of maturity he fought during the Revolution, afterward marrying a native of North Carolina and settling in that State. His companion died and after contracting a second marriage he and his family removed to Tennessee, making their home near Murfreesboro. There William Dorsey spent his last days. He was a man of prominence having many friends and much influence.

In the family of William Dorsey was a son Charles, who was born in North Carolina and was yet a boy when the family removed to Tennessee. There he grew up and after he became of age was engaged for seven years as a teamster crossing the mountains from Murfreesboro to the Alabama River. He won for his wife Miss Elinor Broiles, who was born and reared near Murfreesboro. They made their home in that section until after the birth of two children, our subject and a brother William, then bade adieu to their old home with the intention of locating in Missouri. They traveled with teams and wagon, crossing the Ohio and later the Mississippi River, but after reaching Missouri they learned that the Indians were troublesome, particularly in respect to horse stealing. Mr. Dorsey therefore determined to locate in Illinois and without having made any settlement in Missouri came hither.

A home was founded in Detroit Township, Pike County, which was reached by the little family in December, 1828. A rude dwelling was made of clapboards which ran from the ground to a jack rafter a few feet above and here the little family spent one of the severest winters ever experienced in the State. The next spring Mr. Dorsey put up a log house on a claim that he had secured when he first came to the county. Three years later, in order to better his surroundings, he sold that property and removed to Perry Township, buying an unbroken farm on section 24, near the present site of the Perry Springs. The land on which the springs are located was also owned by him for some time.

After occupying the farm for some years, Mr. Dorsey removed to a farm one-half mile north of the village of Perry where he died about 1856. He was then sixty years old. He had not only succeeded in his personal affairs, but had upheld the interests of the township and taken an active part in religious work, being a member of the Christian Church. He held the office of Trustee in the organization. In politics he was a Whig. Mrs. Dorsey survived her husband a year and a half, dying when fifty-three years old. She also was a member of the Christian Church. She was a friendly neighbor, a kind, affectionate mother, and a woman or genuine goodness.

The subject of this sketch is the eldest in a large family, six of whom are yet living and all in Perry Township. He was born near Murfreesboro, Tenn., November 29, 1824, but has lived in this county since he was four years old. He was reared as farmer's sons usually are in a sparsely settled country where the opportunities to obtain an education are limited, but those for hard work are abundant. He grew up a thoughtful and practical youth, armed for the battle of life with general intelligence, industrious habits find physical vigor. With these weapons he has conquered fortune, advanced the interests of his fellow-citizens in official positions, and been instrumental in extending the cause of morality and Christianity in this section of the State.

At the bride's home near Murfreesboro, Tenn. the marriage rites were celebrated between our subject and Miss Jane Fox. This amiable lady was born and reared in the section where she was married and is one of a large family born to Mathias and Jemima (Broiles) Fox. Her mother died when past sixty-five years of age, but Mr. Fox is still living in the Turpentine State, being now about eighty-four years of age. Both parents became identified with the Baptist Church many years ago. Mr. Fox has always been a farmer and stock-raiser and his property lies at Hoover's Gap, where once the soldiery of the North and South contested with all the strength of their arms.

The family of our subject consists of six sons and daughters of whom we note the following: Elinor is the wife of David Chenoweth and occupies a farm in Perry Township; William A. married Susan Huddleston and is farming in the same township; John W., also a farmer in Perry Township, married Sarah J. Ham and after her decease Ella Blake; Charlie married Ada Chenoweth and their home is on a farm in Monroe County, Mo.; Anna is with her parents; Isaac married Mary E. Burns and lives on the old Dorsey homestead.

Mr. Dorsey gave his first political adherence to the Whig party and since its disintegration has been a Republican. He was a School Director for nine years, and has held nearly all the local offices within the gift of the people. He has been an active member of the Christian Church since 1843 and his wife for nearly as long a period. For many years Mr. Dorsey was a Deacon and for fifteen he has held the office of Elder. He has given liberally of his means to the support of the church in all the departments of its work and has been a pillar therein since he has lived in Perry.

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