Jackson County

Biography - George Will

GEORGE G. WILL, the son of an early settler of Jackson County, may also be denominated one of its pioneers, as he had a hand in developing its great agricultural resources and assisted in laying the foundations of its wealth. He is to-day one of the foremost farmers of Somerset Township, and is a man of considerable importance in the public life of the community. He owns a fine farm comprising two hundred and forty acres, located on sections 26, 27 and 35. The land is under excellent cultivation, and is supplied with roomy and conveniently arranged buildings and all the appliances for facilitating farm work, while everything about the place betokens order and superior management.

Our subject is a native of Illinois, having been born in Sangamon County, September 3, 1836. His parents, Peter and Mary (Gebhart) Will, were born in Pennsylvania, and some time during the '30s emigrated from Somerset County, that state, to Illinois, where for a few months they sojourned in Sangamon County. Thence in the year 1836 they came to Jackson County and settled upon the farm now owned by George G. At that early day wild animals roamed unmolested through the trackless forests and the wide-reaching prairie. The country was sparsely settled, and the hardy pioneers who braved the dangers of that undeveloped district were subjected to great privations and hardships.

The first home of the Will family in Jackson County was a double log cabin, which with its puncheon floor and primitive furnishings resembled the other buildings of pioneer days. After living there for a short time the father erected a better and more substantial structure, which still stands on the old homestead and is now used for a granary. The lumber used in this house was sawed with a whip-saw. At the time of locating here about fifty-two acres had been cleared, and to the improvement of this tract and the clearing of the remaining acres the father devoted his attention until 1859, when he passed away. His widow survived him for several years. Of their children the following survive: John, who served in the Union army during the Civil War and is now a resident of Ava, Ill.; Daniel G., living in Campbell Hill, this state; Benjamin F., mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume; Mary M., the widow of Logan Wheeler, and George G.

In the death of Peter Will the county lost one of its honored pioneers and representative citizens. During the entire period of his residence here, covering a period of twenty-three years, he was intimately associated with the development of its best interests, and was a man whom to know was a pleasure and a privilege, his sturdy integrity winning for him the confidence of his associates during the early days of the history of Somerset Township. He and his wife were industrious and economical and exerted a good influence upon the people of the community.

Brought by his parents to Jackson County in his infancy, the subject of this sketch grew to manhood amid scenes of pioneer life and aided in the task of clearing the home farm. Frequently in those early days he saw wild deer, turkeys and foxes, and game being abundant, it formed no unimportant addition to the larder. His education was gained in the subscription schools in the home neighborhood, and the knowledge there acquired has been supplemented by reading and self-culture. Having been reared upon a farm, and being thoroughly informed concerning agriculture, it was natural that he should choose it as his life occupation, and succeeding events have proved his choice a wise one.

November 17, 1859, Mr. Will was united in marriage with Miss Arah A. Bouscher, who was born in Pennsylvania, being the daughter of Samuel Bouscher, now a resident of Somerset Township. Twelve children were born of this union, of whom six now survive: Samuel G., William L., Ida E., Solomon S., Maggie and Nora. In politics a Republican, Mr. Will has for several years served as Treasurer of the Board of Highway Commissioners of Somerset Township, and has also been identified with the School Board for a long time, being clerk of the board. In religious connections he is a member of the Lutheran Church and a generous contributor to its support.

Extracted 22 Feb 2017 by Norma Hass from 1894 Biographical Review of Jackson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 536-539.

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