Sergeant Thomas Redfearn



In the subject of this sketch we have a gentleman who has been a resident of Council Hill Township since 1838, having been brought here with his parents when a little lad three years of age. The family is recognized as among the best in the county and is quite largely represented along its northern line. The father of our subject was George Redfearn, a native of Durham County, England, and a sketch of whose ancestry will be found in the biography of George Redfearn, Sr., on another page in this volume.

Our subject was the third of eight children born to his parents. His native place was in the vicinity of White Pigeon, St. Joseph Co., Mich., where he first opened his eyes to the light, Aug. 23, 1835. He studied his first lessons in the log school-house, in Council Hill Township, and spent his early years amid the quiet scenes of country life, assisting his father in developing the homestead and becoming familiar with agricultural pursuits. He remained at home until the outbreak of the rebellion, and then at the age of twenty-six years enlisted Sept. 19, 1861, in Company C, 45th Illinois Infantry, being mustered into service at Galena. His regiment was assigned to the 3d Division, 1st Brigade, 17th Corps, Army of the West, and was the first ordered to Tennessee, where he participated in the battles of Ft. Doneleon, Shiloh, Corinth, and the various other engagements of that campaign. Later he was on guard duty. At Jackson, Tenn., he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and later participated in the siege of Vicksburg. Afterward followed the battles of Thompson Hill, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, and at the latter p]ace Sergeant Redfearn was wounded by a rifle ball, which passed through his leg above the knee. On account of this he was taken to an improvised hospital on the battlefield, and the whole hospital were taken prisoners, but were paroled soon afterward. Three weeks later they were sent to St. Louis, and then home to recruit. In another three weeks he joined his regiment at Vicksburg, where they remained two months, and then embarked on the Yazoo expedition. They skirmished all along the way to Meridian, Miss., and when the place was evacuated started to Vicksburg, and at Black River went into winter quarters. In the spring they were transferred to the Army of the Tennessee under command of Gen. Sherman, and were ordered to Marietta, Ga., skirmishing this time also all the way. Not long afterward the term of enlistment expired, and our subject was mustered out and received his honorable discharge Sept. 26, 1864, having served three years.

After the war Mr. Redfearn resumed work on his father's farm, where he continued until 1869. He then removed to his present place, where he has 200 acres of good land which he purchased from his father, and the most of which he cleared. He put up a neat, and commodious residence, and with the exception of a barn, has made all the improvements which are now upon it. The land is supplied with running water, is finely located, and in an excellent state of cultivation. Mr. Redfearn in 1878 purchased 120 acres adjoining, and has now a half-section, including eighty acres of forest. The farm is mostly devoted to the raising of grain and stock, graded Short-horn cattle, Norman horses and Poland-China swine. Mr. R. buys and feeds a goodly number of cattle each year, usually about sixty head. He usually has about seventeen head of horses, and utilizes four teams in his farm operations. He is somewhat interested in sheep-raising,

having about sixty head of Shropshires.

Our subject was married, March 7, 1869, in Shullsburg, Wis., to Miss Sarah J., daughter of William and Hannah (Temple) Robson. The parents of Mrs. Redfearn were natives of Durham County, England, the father a butcher by trade, and lived in Bonny-castle until coming to America, about 1840. He first located in Benton, Wis., engaged in mining, and was accidentally killed by the caving in of a mine, in 1852. He was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and officiated as Class-Leader. The mother survived her husband twelve years, dying in 1864. The maternal grandfather, Henry Temple, was a miner by occupation, and spent his entire life in his native England.

The mother of Mrs. Redfearn was married a second time to William Shaw. Of her first union there have been born five children: The eldest, Thomas T., died at Benton, Wis.; William is engaged in mining and stock-raising in California; Mary A. is a resident of Grant County, Wis.; Sarah J., Mrs. R., was next to the youngest; John H. is living in Benton, Wis.; Thomas served eleven months in the Union Army during the late War. Of the second marriage there were born four children: Matthew is in Marysville, Cal.; James is occupied as a railroad engineer, at Hampton, Iowa; Jacob died when about three years old; and one child died unnamed in infancy.

Mrs. Redfearn was born in LaFayette County, Wis., April 26, 1850, and was but two years old when her father died. She remained with her mother until the death of the latter, then went to live with an uncle at Scales Mound. She completed her studies in the High School at Shullsburg, in 1869. Of her union with our subject there have been born seven children, namely: Charles W., Eddie C., ,Thomas H., Effie A., Mary Hannah, Jennie Lee, and Sarah M. who died when two months old. They are all at home with the exception of Charles W., who is attending the German English College at Galena. Mr. Redfearn, like most of the male members of his family, uniformly supports the principles of the Republican party, and has done good service therein, being frequently sent as a delegate to the County and State Conventions. He has served as Tax-Collector a period of five years. In religious matters he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he is a Trustee.

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