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Daniels, S. W.
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Daniels, S. W.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 701-702


S. W. Daniels has the honor of being the oldest living pioneer of Bedford, Montezuma township. He was born in this township in 1829, and therefore through seventy-seven years has been a witness of the great changes which have occurred in the county, his memory encompassing the period of pioneer development, latter-day progress and of the modern improvements and prosperity. His parents were James and Olive Daniels, the former a native of the state of New York and the latter of Vermont, James Daniels was one of the first settlers of Montezuma township, Pike county. On emigrating westward he and his wife became residents of Madison county, Illinois, and in 1823 came to Pike county, settling in Montezuma township, where he entered one hundred and twenty acres of land, upon which he reared his family. There he remained until called to his final rest and he carried on farming until overtaken with the infirmities of age. Both he and his wife died on the old Daniels homestead, where their son S. W. Daniels was born. The father was a soldier of the war of 1812 and there was not a braver or more gallant soldier who fought for the preservation of the interests of the states in the war with England. He became one of the earliest settlers of the county and aided in subduing the wilderness and in conquering the conditions of pioneer life. His name is inseparably interwoven with the early records of this part of the state and with pleasure we pay our tribute of respect and honor to his memory because of what he accomplished in behalf of public progress here.

S. W. Daniels was reared upon the old farm homestead amid the environments and conditions of pioneer life. He can remember the time when almost all of the houses in the county were log cabins and has noted the progress that has been made as these have been replaced by more commodious and substantial residences built in modern style of architecture. The land, too, was raw and uncultivated and the entire county presented almost the same appearance as it did when it came from the hand of nature, the forests being uncut and the prairies being uncultivated. There were few indications of the work of man in the county in his early boyhood and he shared with others in the hardships and trials incident to pioneer life. As his age and strength permitted he met and more largely assumed the duties of improving the home farm and performed the arduous toil incident to the cultivation of new fields. In early manhood he also engaged in milling and continued in business for many years. Subsequently he turned his attention to merchandising, conducting a store in Bedford, being a partner in the firm of Merchant & Miller. The relationship was maintained for a considerable period and they received from the public a liberal and gratifying- patronage. During this time Mr. Daniels also ran a ferry, which was then located in Bedford. For several years he has been retired from active life but yet resides upon the old homestead farm.

In early manhood Mr. Daniels was united in marriage to Miss Frances French and they have since traveled life's journey most happily together. She was a daughter of John French and the wedding was celebrated in her father's home in 1846. Unto this union were born five children, three sons and two daughters, namely: Wesley P., George, Julia, Thomas and Rozella. Mr. Daniels and his good wife have shared each other's joys and sorrows for more than sixty years. Their lives have been tranquil and like a river flowing quietly but steadily on have enriched the community as the river does its valley lands. They are now living in quiet contentment and in the evening of life are enjoying the fruits of their former toil which has supplied them with all of the comforts which go to make life worth the living.

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Submitted: 07/02/09

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