Richland County

Biography - Edwin Hedrick

The student interested in the history of Richland county does not have to carry his investigations far into its annals before learning that Edwin Hedrick has long been a leading representative of its agricultural interests, and that his labors have proven a potent force. More than half a century has passed away since he came to the county. There was much difficult work before the early settlers, like the Hedricks, in clearing the land for improvement and for many decades Edwin has successfully carried on the various lines of farming, and while he has prospered in this he has also found ample opportunity to assist in the development of the county.

Edwin Hedrick, whose farm lies in Decker township. Richland county, was born in Ohio county, Kentucky, January 23, 1830, the son of Samuel and Sarah (Lucas) Hedrick, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of South Carolina. Grandfather Philip Hedrick was born in Germany, where he was reared and where he married. He came to the United States and settled in Clark county, Ohio, where he entered a great deal of land, and became very wealthy. He reared a large family of fifteen children and carried on a big dairy. He made large quantities of cheese which he hauled to Cincinnati by the wagon load every two weeks. He continued to buy government land, and acquired many sections dividing it among his children, giving each a large farm. He was a German to the core, and did not acquire much English education. His cousin was Colonel Hedrick in the Revolutionary war. After the war the colonel returned to Germany, where he had invested money and became a millionaire. He never married and his fortune finally went to the German government. Philip, the father of the subject, acquired a farm from his father and considerable money from the estate. He sold out in Ohio, and went to Kentucky, where he married and engaged in farming for several years. He then sold out and in 1841 came to Richland county, Illinois, settling in Decker township, where he entered about one thousand acres of land, paying one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. It was a wild, unsettled country at that time, and later he went to Palestine to enter land. There were no roads at that time, and there was plenty of wild game of all kinds, turkeys, deer, by the hundreds. He lived only five years after coming here, having died in 1846, at the age of fifty-three years. He had been a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian church for several years. His wife survived him twenty-five years, and she married a second time, her last husband having been a Mr. Harrison. She was seventy-six years old when she died on the old homestead in Decker township. She became the mother of eight children by her first husband, of which number our subject was the third in order of birth. Three of them are living at this writing; a younger brother, Mason Hedrick, was a major in the Union Army during the Civil war, in the Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry, having enlisted from Davis county, that state, and served until the close of the war. He is now living at Odin, Illinois.

Edwin Hedrick was eleven years old when he came to Richland county. Reared on a farm he received what education he could in the public rural schools, which was somewhat limited, school having been taught in the primitive log cabin, with rude furnishings. He attended only a few months during the winter. However, after the death of his father he went to Kentucky, and lived for several years, where he secured a good education and taught school in that state in an acceptable manner for a period of eight years. He was a fine penman and taught penmanship during vacations. In 1857 he returned to Richland county and settled on the old homestead, having bought the interest of the other heirs and he has since lived here. But few improvements had been made on the place. About that time he got married and began housekeeping in a small log cabin. There were but few roads through the country, and he endured all the privations and hardships of frontier life. Forty acres having been left him by his father, he bought forty acres more from his mother, going in debt for the same. He prospered from the first and bought more land, which he improved, and is now the owner of six hundred acres, comprising one of Richland county's model farms, besides having given six hundred acres to his children. For forty years he was widely known as an able farmer, trader and stockman, dealing in livestock on an extensive scale. He was a large dealer in mules for many years and usually had from one hundred and fifty to two hundred head of cattle every year for many years. He has been unusually successful in whatever he has undertaken.

Mr. Hedrick was united in marriage June 23, 1857, to Mary A. Adamson, a native of Union county, Kentucky, the daughter of Aaron and Martha Jennings (Thompson) Adamson, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Tennessee. She moved to Edwards county, Illinois, with her parents, when young. Her father died in Kentucky when about forty years old. The subject's wife's mother died in Wayne county, Illinois, when she had attained the advanced age of eighty-four years. Grandfather Thompson served in the War of 1812. He was a native of Louisiana, and came to Edwards county, Illinois, among the early pioneers and located here.

Eight children were born to the subject and wife, seven of whom grew to maturity. They are Elvira; Francis Marion; Samuel Aaron, Eva McClelland, Mara Martha, Mary Elizabeth, Edwin, a prominent lawyer in Chicago. All these children are living except Eva McClelland, who died when thirty-six years old. These children have received good educations.

In politics Mr. Hedrick is a Democrat, and has always been very active, being one of the local "wheel-horses" for many years in local affairs, and was for quite a long time very influential in his township, but since he has reached old age he does not take much part in political matters. He has never aspired to positions of public trust, preferring to give all his attention to his business and in rearing and educating his children.

In June 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Hedrick celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on the homestead. There were sixty-five relatives present. Both our subject and his wife received beautiful gold watches in remembrance of the occasion, which they prize very highly. Mr. Hedrick has been a faithful member of the Presbyterian church for sixty-five years and he was an elder of the same for many years. Mrs. Hedrick has also been a member of that church for many years.

Our subject deserves the great credit which he is given for his success, for not a dishonest dollar ever passed through his hands, and his lands, money and stock aggregate from forty to fifty thousand dollars, all the result of his own efforts, for he started in life with only forty acres of wild land.

Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 373-375.

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