Benjamin Franklin Heap, living in section 23, Olney township, was born
January 26, 1847, in this township. He is the son of Isaiah and Rachael
(Powell) Heap, the former 3 native of Guernsey county, Ohio, where he was
reared. When a young man he came to Richland county, Illinois, and entered
government land in Olney township, where he lived until his death, April 27,
1881, having improved a farm. He was among the pioneers of that section.
Isaiah Heap was a soldier in the Union army in the Civil war, for about a
year, having been a member of Company E, Sixth Illinois Cavalry. His wife
survived him, dying February 23, 1905. She was born in Chester county,
Pennsylvania, in 1824, and when two years old was taken to Winchester,
Guernsey county, Ohio, where she was reared. When ten years old she was left
an orphan. In 1840 she came to Richland county, Illinois, with James Wilson
and family, who were relatives. She entered land with a warrant issued to
her by her father for services in the War of 1812. She joined the United
Brethren church in 1842, at a log school-house, a short distance from her
home and in the winter of 1877 united with the Methodist Episcopal church at
Calhoun. She lived to see four generations of her family living. She was a
woman of beautiful characteristics.
Benjamin F. Heap, our subject, was reared on the old homestead, where he remained assisting with the work until eighteen years old, attending school in the winter months. Like his father he was patriotic, and on March 28, 1865, enlisted with the former, becoming a member of Company E, Sixth Illinois Cavalry. A year earlier he quit school and offered his services, but was rejected on account of his youth. He was mustered out at Selma, Alabama, and was discharged December 25, 1865. He was on the march most of the time during his service in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. After the war he was sick about a year as a result of his exposure in the service, then he began work as a farm hand, later renting land and began for himself. He now owns a farm of eighty acres, three and one-half miles south of Olney, where he has lived many years and which he has improved and which produces excellent crops from year to year under his efficient management. He devotes considerable time to the manufacture of brooms, finding a ready market for his product which is of fine quality and excellent workmanship. He raises large quantities of broom-corn on the farm.
Mr. Heap was united in marriage March 6, 1870, to Mary D. Wilson, who was born March 19, 1847, in Guernsey county, Ohio, then living in Coles county, Illinois. Mrs. Heap is the daughter of William J. and Mary (Powell) Wilson, the former a native of Virginia, who emigrated to Ohio with his parents, his wife having been born in Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio with her parents when seven years old. The subject's great-grandfather Powell was a soldier in the Revolutionary war and Grandfather Powell was a soldier in the War of 1812. The latter also had three brothers, David, John and Benjamin, in the War of 1812. Two brothers of Mrs. Heap, Abel and William Wilson, served in the Civil war, William dying in the service of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, at Little Rock, Arkansas, about a year after his enlistment. The parents of Mrs. Heap emigrated to Coles county. Illinois, in 1861, where her father died at the age of sixty years. The mother died in Wright county, Iowa, at the age of eighty-four years. Mrs. Heap is from a family of long longevity. Her grandfather lacked but a few days of being one hundred years old when he died.
Three children have been born to the subject and wife: Carrie, who was born April 22, 1871, is the wife of Owen Hudson, of Vancouver, Washington; Mark O. was born March 8, 1874, is a carpenter in Richland county; Karl L., born September 22, 1876, is a veteran of the Spanish-American war, and a farmer in North Dakota. He served one year in Cuba with Company H, Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Mr. Heap is a stanch Republican and a member of the Ed. Ketchell Post, No. 662, Grand Army of the Republic. He is honest in his dealings with his fellow men and one of the well known citizens of the county.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 484-485.