Council Hill Township has been the home of this gentleman since his earliest recollection. Consequently his interests have centered in Jo Daviess County, with the history of which he is more familiar than most of its residents. He is a man of more than ordinary intelligence, has been successful in business, and has a remarkably pleasant home, presided over by an attractive and cultivated lady. He owns and operates 160 acres of land, lying on section 29, under a good state of cultivation, and embellished with modern improvements.
In the biography of George Redfearn, found on another page in this volume, the reader will notice facts in relation to the ancestry of this family. John, our subject, was the fourth in a family of eight children born to his parents, and first opened his eyes to the light in Pennsylvania, April 1, 1838. Three weeks later his parents came to this county, when the land around Council Hill was in a comparatively wild state, and there still lingered a fewIndians. He grew up on the farm, receiving a limited education under the imperfect school system of that day, walking two and one-half miles to the temple of learning. He assisted his father in clearing the farm, and remained under the parental roof until 1864. After a time he studied a few months in a college at Aurora. He and his father purchased land in partnership, and in 1865 our subject removed to his present place, when there hadbeen but little attempt at improvement.
All the improvements which we behold today uponthe farm of Mr. Redfearn were effected by himself. The land is finely located, and watered bya never-failing spring. He has built fences, planted forest and fruit trees, put up the present residence and all the out-buildings, and of late years has given considerable attention to live-stock, graded Short-horn cattle, full-blooded Norman horses, and Poland-China swine.
The wife of our subject was in her girlhood Miss Mary, daughter of Henry and Mary James, and they were married Nov. 20, 1864, in Galena. The parents of Mrs. Redfearn were born in Cornwall County, England. Her maternal grandfather was a man of note in his native shire, and the owner of a large property. Her father was a miner by occupation, and came to this county in 1840, purchasing land, and engaged in farming and mining combined. He only lived, however, a few years, departing this life in 1846. The mother still survives, and makes her home in Jefferson, Grant Co., Wis. She is sixty-eight years of age; both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their family consisted of five children, namely: John, employed in a smelting furnace at Hazel Green, Wis.; Elizabeth, who died at Waverly, Iowa; Henry, first, deceased; Mary, Mrs. R.; and Henry, second, deceased.
Mrs. Redfearn was born in Council Hill Township, this county, July 9, 1844, but was reared in Hazel Green, where she received a common-school education. Later she learned dressmaking, and mainly supported herself until her marriage. Of her union with our subject there are four children, namely: George H., Percival A., Bertha C., and Johnny U. George H. operates a ranche (sic) in Gallatin County, Mont. The others are at home with their parents. Mr. Redfearn, politically, is a strong Republican, warmly interested in the success of his party. He has served as Commissioner of Highways three years, and been a member of the School Board a period of sixteen years. He has also served on the Grand and Petit Juries. In religious matters he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church at Council Hill, of which he is a Trustee, now serving his fourth year. He distinctly remembers the time when stages supplied the place of railroads, passing his father's farm, which was on the highway from Chicago to Galena. Mrs. Redfearn is a very excellent lady, and connected with the Ladies' Aid Society, of which she has been President.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)