Biography of Charles Chenoweth

Charles Chenoweth. The name of Chenoweth is one held in high regard in Champaign County because it has always been borne by men of sterling traits of character who have led honorable and useful lives. A worthy and well known representative of this old pioneer family is found in Charles Chenoweth, who resides on his well improved farm of eighty acres, which is situated in Newcomb Township. Peace, plenty, thrift and prosperity are in evidence both within his hospitable residence and on the farm, and here may be found convincing proof that farm life in modern days may be wholesome, profitable and happy.

Charles Chenoweth has lived in Illinois since he was a boy, but his birth took place March 15, 1857, in Pike County, Ohio. His parents were James P. and Maria (Eagen) Chenoweth, the paternal ancestry being traceable to England. James P. Chenoweth was born in Darke County, Ohio, September 8, 1829, and died in Illinois, October 24, 1915. He grew to manhood in Darke County and in boyhood had some school advantages, but as he was one of a family of thirteen children, self-support early became a necessity. He learned the tanner’s trade and worked on a farm in Ohio up to 1859, when, with his family, he came to Illinois, making the long journey in a covered wagon in pioneer style, bringing along the household goods. Mr. Chenoweth rented land at first in Logan County, about six miles from Lincoln, but in 1868 he came to Champaign County and purchased forty acres in Newcomb Township, although forced to borrow the money to pay for it. This land he improved and later sold to advantage and subsequently, in partnership with his sons, purchased 308 acres in McLean County, a fine body of land which the family still owns. He was alive to every favorable movement in his section, political, religious or educational. He was a Republican from principle and frequently was elected by that party to local offices, in which he served honestly and faithfully. For years he was a road commissioner when that office meant providing for the construction of highways through forests and over brawling streams that overran their banks in times of freshets, and also for their preservation in good order. He also was a school director in those days when schoolhouses were few and far apart, when teachers were difficult to secure and when the people were apt to consider school taxes unnecessary burdens. These conditions in some sections have not been altogether changed, but more stringent laws now stand behind the officeholder. In Ohio he had joined the fraternal order of Odd Fellows and he maintained an interest in the organization until the close of life. His remains were interred in Riverside Cemetery in Mahomet, Illinois.

James P. Chenoweth married in Ohio Maria Began, who was born in Pike County, that State, May 15, 1833, and died January 18, 1902, and was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, where a beautiful stone marks the family burying ground. She was a woman of many virtues and was a devout member of the Shiloh Methodist Episcopal Church. To this marriage two sons and three daughters were born, the surviving children being: Lydia E., who is the widow of W. H. Hubbard, lives at Conway Springs, Kansas; Charles; Bertha, who is the wife of W. M. Hinton, who carries on a hardware and implement business in Rockwell City, Iowa; and Lillian, who is a resident of McLean County, Illinois. She is a highly educated lady, a graduate of the State Normal University, and has spent a number of years in educational work. She, like all other members of the family, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Charles Chenoweth was eleven years old when he accompanied his parents to Champaign County and he attended the public schools in boyhood, afterward remaining with his parents until his marriage, giving them filial care and attention.

Mr. Chenoweth married April 21, 1897, Miss Maria M. Lanam, who was born in Newcomb Township, Champaign County, Illinois, December 14, 1871. Her parents were Stewart and Eliza Jane (Wyant) Lanam, the former of whom was born in Noble County, Ohio, July 20, 1836, and died in Illinois, an honored veteran of the Civil War, April 4, 1916. His early boyhood was passed in Ohio and afterward he lived in Indiana, and from that State enlisted for service in the Civil War, becoming a member of the Third Indiana Cavalry, which was attached to the Army of the Cumberland. He served under General (“Pap”) Thomas, a beloved commander, and took part in the battles of Chickamauga and Stone River and also accompanied General Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea. After three years of valorous service, during which he was fortunate enough to escape both wounds and imprisonment, he was honorably discharged. In 1868 he came to Champaign County and acquired 240 acres located in Newcomb and Brown townships. In his early manhood he was a Democrat in his political views, but later became a Prohibitionist, as he was an earnest advocate of temperance. He had membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church and belonged to the post of the Grand Army of the Republic at Fisher. He married Eliza Jane Wyant, who was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, August 24, 1845, and died in Champaign County, July 15, 1916. They had five children, one son and four daughters, all of whom reside in Champaign County. Mrs. Chenoweth was the second born and was educated in the public schools. She is a lady of most engaging personality, good, true, kind and womanly, and makes her home a place of content and comfort for all who come within its walls. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Chenoweth, Russell L. and Ruth A. The son at the time of writing has already passed one year of his high school course and is much interested in his studies, particularly mathematics and history. The daughter has advanced to the eighth grade in the Fisher public schools and is also being instructed in music, it being the intention of Mr. and Mrs. Chenoweth to give their children every possible advantage.

In politics Mr. Chenoweth has always been identified with the Republican party. He cast his first presidential vote for James A. Garfield and since then many other noble public men have had his support. He takes an interest in all that concerns his township and neighborhood and is especially active in the matter of public schools and has served as a school director for many years. With his family he belongs to the Shiloh Methodist Episcopal Church and all are willing helpers in promoting its various avenues of usefulness.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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