William H. Puckett


William H. Puckett, Supervisor of Nora Township, is numbered among its most prominent and reliable men, and has a very pleasant and attractive home located on section 6. Within it presides a most amiable and estimable lady, who is in all respects the suitable partner of her husband. They represent the intelligence and progress of this portion of the county, having uniformly given their support and encouragement to those things which would elevate the people. The record of the earlier residents of Jo Daviess County would by no means be complete without reference to the history of this family.

The early years of our subject were spent under a modest roof-tree in New Garden Township, Wayne County, Ind., where his birth took place June 22, 1838. He came to this county with his parents a few years later, they settling in Nora Township, where he developed into manhood, and received a practical education in the common schools. He took kindly to farming pursuits, and to these has given his attention the greater part of his life.

The breaking out of the Civil War turned the thoughts of young Puckett in an unlooked (sic) for channel, and stirred his inborn patriotism into action. He watched the conflict until the latter part of 1862, and then there seeming little prospect of its close, laid aside his personal plans and interests, and enlisted as a Union soldier in Company I, 14th Illinois Cavalry. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, and he gave a brave and faithful service until the National troubles were over.

With his comrades our subject met the enemy at Cumberland Gap, and later under the command of Gen. Stoneman proceeded to the vicinity of Macon, Ga. This regiment, as the history of the late civil strife will always show, saw much hard and dangerous service. We cannot in this brief sketch rehearse the daring deeds of its men, but all the experiences of war were theirs. Could they be disclosed there would be a tale sometimes of reverses, disappointments, gloomy forebodings (sic) for the future, sickness in camp and hospital, suspense, the midnight march, the deadly ambuscade, the labor in trenches, or the dreary, enforced idleness of the camp. It would be pathetic, too, with a story of privation willingly endured, dangers voluntarily incurred, and death chivalrously encountered. The record of the private soldier is too often hidden behind that of the epauletted (sic) officer, who, were it not for that same soldier, would invariably witness defeat. Mr. Puckett was mustered in as a private, and went up through all the grades to First Lieutenant, with which rank he was mustered out at the close of the war, and received an honorable discharge. He looks upon this epoch in his life as one reflecting upon him the most honor of anything he has ever achieved.

Upon returning to the peaceful pursuits of civil life Mr. Puckett resumed farming in Nora Township, this county, but a year later became interested in mercantile pursuits, which he followed three years in partnership with Nelson Crowell, at Nora, Ill. At the expiration of this time he gladly returned to farm life, and to this has since been content to give his time and attention. His homestead comprises 164 acres of good land with modern buildings erected by himself, and all the conveniences required by the progressive farmer of to-day.

The marriage of our subject with Miss Emerancy Crowell was celebrated at the bride's home in Nora, Oct. 28, 1862. This lady is the daughter of Nelson and Zilpha M. (BuckIey) Crowell, who were natives of New York State, and were married in Allen, Allegany County. Soon afterward they took up their residence in Belfast, that county, whence they came to Northern Illinois in May, 1850, settling in Nora Township upon the land which constitutes the present farm of our subject. Mrs. Crowell departed this life at her home in Nora Village, Aug. 10, 1880. The father is still living. They were the parents of two children only, of whom, Mrs. Puckett was the elder, and is the only living child, her sister having died at the age of two years. Mrs. P. was born in Allen, Allegany

Co., N. Y., June 6. 1843, and remained a member of her father's household until her marriage. She is now the mother of a daughter and two sons - Emeroy L., Nelson C., and Harry C. The eldest is twenty-three years old, and the youngest fourteen, and they remain at home with their parents.

In view of his war record it is hardly necessary to state that Mr. Puckett is a Republican dyed-in-tile-wool. He has occupied his present office as Supervisor for several terms, and also officiated as Township Assessor for many years. He takes an active part in educational matters, serving as School Director in his district, and giving his support to all the enterprises calculated for the elevation of the people. Socially, he belongs to Warren Post, G. A. R., and to the I. O. O. M. Aid, of Nora.

Cyrus Puckett, the father of our subject, was a native of South Carolina, and married Miss Betty Thomas, who was also born in North Carolina. The parents of each emigrated to Wayne County, Ind., at an early day, where the young people were reared to years of maturity, and where they were married in the church of the Society of Friends to which they both belonged. They remained residents of Wayne County until 1848, then coming to Northern Illinois settled in Nora Township the latter part of December, that year. They sojourned here until about 1868-69, then moved to a farm in Rush Township, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the father dying in April, 1870, and the mother in April, 1878. They were the parents of eleven children, of whom William H. was the second son and fifth child. His brothers and sisters are: Daniel, Anna J., Dean, Lovina R, Felt, Cyrus J., Benjamin T., John H., and N. T.


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