George Redfearn, Sr.


The personal appearance of this sturdy old veteran who has summed up more than his four-score years, is such as invariably attracts attention as indicative of a character a little above the ordinary. He is of fine physique, erect in stature, and as the result of a correct life and temperate habits, possesses all his faculties unimpaired. He is numbered among the oldest settlers of Council Hill Township, and has proved one of its most useful citizens, active in all public enterprises, and one whose name will be held in kindly remembrance long after he has been gathered to his fathers.

The offspring of substantial English ancestry, our subject was himself born on the other side of the Atlantic, near Middleton, in Durham, May 29, 1808. He had only three months' schooling until twenty years of age, then attended night-school, where he completed his education. He was employed in the lead mines from a boy up, and married at the age of twenty-two years. Immediately afterward he started with his bride for America, embarking at Liverpool on the sailing-vessel "Howarth", on the 3d of August, 1830. After a voyage of forty-one days, they landed in New York City, then went to Pottsville, Pa., where they remained until the following spring, and our subject employed himself in the coal mines. Their next residence was in Schuylkill County, where they lived until the spring of 1834. Upon leaving Pennsylvania, they made their way to St. Joseph County, Mich., and located among the early settlers of White Pigeon. Mr. Redfearn purchased 160 acres of timber-land, a part of which he cleared, and engaged in stock-raising. He left there in the spring of 1838, coming to this county and locating in Council Hill Township, making the journey with team. He purchased 160 acres of land, cleared a farm, and also engaged in mining. He added to his first purchase until he was the owner of 640 acres in Council Hill, and 240 acres in Wisconsin, all of which he brought to a thorough state of cultivation. In 1873 he turned the farm over to his sons, and retired from active labor, reserving for himself eighty acres. He purchased a residence in Council Hill, which he occupied until 1878, then removed to his present homestead; an improved farm of 112 acres. Upon this there are groves and orchards, trees of the small fruits, all the requisite farm machinery, a wind-mill and water-tanks, a comfortable residence with the barns and out-buildings, which combine to make the whole premises a most desirable place of residence. The farm is largely devoted to stock-raising - good grades of cattle, horses, and swine. Two teams are required to carry on its cultivation. The labor is performed mostly by his grandson, George W. White.

Mr. Redfearn was married in England near the place of his birth, in June, 1830, to Miss Ann Tuard. This lady was born in the same neighborhood as her husband, and departed this life at her home in Council Hill, September, 1874, when seventy-two years of age. They were the parents of eight children; one of whom, a daughter, Adeline, is the wife of William Walton, a retired farmer of Shullsburg, Wis.; Margaret is the wife of William Lupton, a farmer of Council Hill Township; Hannah married Charles Vick, who is farming in Rush Township; Thomas, during the late war enlisted in the 45th Illinois Infantry, serving from 1861 until the close. He was wounded in the knee at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, but not seriously. He returned home safely from the strife, and is now farming in Council Hill Township. John and George are also carrying on agriculture in this township; William operates a farm in the vicinity of Galena; Mary A., the eldest, died when fifty years of age. Mr. Redfearn has thirty-six grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.

The father of our subject was Robert Redfearn, who married Miss Mary Robinson, and both were natives of Durham County, England. Little is known of their ancestry, although it is supposed they mainly followed agriculture. Robert Redfearn during early manhood was engaged in lead mining, then operated a butcher-shop at Middleton, and later a farm. He was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he officiated as Class-Leader. He died in England in 1835, at the advanced age of eighty years. The mother passed away four years later at the age of seventy-nine. Of their ten children eight lived to mature years. Our subject is now the only survivor. They were named respectively: Thomas, Robert, John, George, Peggy, Mary, Hannah, and Dorothy. Thomas was the only one besides our subject who came to America, and he died in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Redfearn, politically, is a Republican of the first water. He has served many times on the Grand and Petit Juries, and was Commissioner of Highways for twenty years. He was a member of the first School Board organized in his district, and assisted in organizing the township. In religious matters he inclines to the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church. To this he has given a liberal support, being a charter member of the society at Council Hill, assisted in the erection of tile church edifice, and has officiated as Steward and Trustee. It will thus be seen that he has filled the

measure of a busy life, in which he has sought to do good as he has had opportunity. He has been the privileged witness of the remarkable changes occurring during his long residence in this county, and in as far as he was able, has contributed his quota to the promotion of its best interests.

Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)