Richland County

Biography - Perry Sayre

Action is the keynote of the character of all who achieve success on this planet of ours - action subtilly planned and carefully carried out. The successful life story of the subject of this sketch is a case in point, being one of a determined struggle for a definite purpose.

He is now comfortably established on his farm of two hundred and forty acres, which he has wrested from a resisting nature and improved year by year, and which through his efforts is now as good land as Richland county contains.

He was born in November 1857, a short distance from Waverly, in Ross county, Ohio, and was the son of David O. and Frances Sayre. His mother, whose maiden name was Lee, belonged to an old Virginia family. His father came at an early age from Virginia with his parents, who settled on a farm in Ross county. Here he assisted his parents on the farm until his marriage with Perry's mother, at which time he purchased a farm of forty acres in the same county. There Perry was born and there his life was spent until the family, including the grandparents, who also wished to come further afield, migrated to Illinois. As no railroad communication was established at the time the itinerary was made overland, the tedious journey was not performed without a mishap, however, for in the accidental breakdown of a light wagon Grandmother Sayre sustained injuries from which she never completely recovered. The two families finally landed in Jasper county, Illinois, where they bought farms and settled in the vicinity of Newton, Perry being then in his seventh year. Shortly afterwards his grandfather and grandmother passed away, the space of three or four weeks only separating their demise. They were buried near Newton. In the spring of 1865 - the following year - his parents sold their property and removed once more. Claremont township, Richland county, was the destination on this occasion. Here the parental farm consisted of forty acres which continued to increase until it comprised one hundred and twenty-eight acres. The land they settled was mostly unimproved. At first the buildings thereon consisted of a small log house and stable, and only eight acres had been cleared for cultivation. Clearing the land, making important improvements and building a substantial homestead were the occupations of the following years, a period in which the youthful Perry underwent a strenuous apprenticeship.

The subject of our sketch is the third member of a family of four children. The other members living are Ellen and Henry Clinton. Another brother, named Harrison, died a few years ago. On February 5, 1900, his father died at the age of seventy-two. The family burial lot at Antioch contains the remains of his father and brother. His mother is still alive, being in her seventy-fourth year and enjoying good health.

Perry had two uncles who saw active service in the Civil war, each one sacrificing his life for the Union cause. Their fate was very sad. One languished as a prisoner of war in Salisbury prison, where he was allowed to starve to death; the other was killed in battle. Both served in Ohio regiments, and in General Grant's division.

We have already touched upon his mother's antecedents. She was born in 1834, and like her husband, came to Ohio from Virginia with her parents in early life. Her mother died in 1885 and her father in 1890. She was the fourth eldest of a family of nine children - three boys and six girls. Her eldest brother also is a Civil war veteran.

Perry remained with his parents on the farm up to the time of his marriage to Amanda E. Chaplain on September 9, 1882, when he moved onto the farm he now occupies. The property had then a very primitive appearance. It boasted a log cabin and the land around was almost totally uncleared. The soil was marshy and in the springtime it closely resembled a frog-pond. Then it was that Perry Sayre performed by far the most strenuous work of his life. He cleared, drained and ditched the land. In time he was repaid for his efforts. It became as good a farm as any in the vicinity. An instance of his industriousness at this period may not be amiss. In wintertime when farm work was at a standstill he cut and made railroad ties and fence posts, etc., selling the posts at three cents and the ties at twenty-eight cents a piece. In the course of time he built a substantial frame structure wherein he still lives. Each year has seen improvements, which go to make his the home of a prosperous farmer.

His family life has been happy. Two of his children have grown to maturity, the only other dying in early life. His two sons, Clarence and Roy, live in St. Louis, where they are skilled workmen, and a constant source of comfort and satisfaction to their parents on the farm in Illinois.

Mrs. Perry Sayre was the daughter of Perry and Ellen Chaplin, Ohio folk, who came to Illinois in the year 1851. Her mother died some years ago, but her father still survives at the age of seventy-five. She is the fifth in order of succession of a family of ten children, six of whom grew to maturity. In the regular order her living sisters and brothers are: Otis O., Milton F., Nanna B., Ellen and Curtis.

Outside of agricultural pursuits, Mr. Sayre is a good business man. As a boy he attended the Claremont common schools, attending whenever possible until his twentieth year, and receiving all the education that the institution could give him.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first President for whom he voted. Though not aggressive in politics he takes a passing interest in the game, and when election time comes he is always found solidly Republican. In the spring elections of 1908 - pressure being brought to bear upon him to come forward as a candidate. He did so and came within a vote of being elected Township Supervisor of Claremont. Strange to say he was himself responsible for his opponent's victory. He chivalrously recorded his vote for him, thereby placing him in office by the slender margin of one. Perry Sayre and his wife have been ever active in Methodist church affairs.

Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 390-392.

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