G. W. Hartsock. The record of a true and upright Christian gentleman, a man of more than ordinary business acumen fortified by years of industry, is that of G. W. Hartsock, who with his noble wife is now spending years of retirement at their home on Belle Avenue in the City of Rantoul.
Mr. Hartsock was born in Greene County, Ohio, son of David and Sarah J. (Cornell) Hartsock, both natives of Ohio. His grandfather, Sylvanus Cornell, was a soldier of the War of 1812 under General Harrison, and for many years he drew a pension until his death. G. W. Hartsock had a district school education. He was one of the following families of sons and daughters: Jessie L., Sylvanus, Ruth A., Elizabeth, Flora, Eli and G. W. Flora and Eli are both deceased.
As a young man G. W. Hartsock, hoping to obtain better conditions in the region of cheaper lands, made a visit to his uncle at Clinton in DeWitt County, Illinois. His investigations extended as far as Rantoul, where he was particularly impressed with the outlook, and he bought eighty acres of land at $13.50 an acre. Having made this purchase he went back to Ohio and then came on with a covered wagon and his only companion was “Dash,” an English terrier dog. This dog was a most faithful animal and in a way was the foundation of Mr. Hartsock’s fortune. Mr. Hartsock had a French neighbor who possessed a large store of grain, but much of it was being destroyed by the rats. He succeeded in persuading young Hartsock to exchange the English terrier for twenty bushels of rye, and thus the ownership of the dog changed hands and the rye was put to, good use by Mr. Hartsock.
Soon after starting from his Ohio home Mr. Hartsock met the man who had made his wagon. This wagon maker volunteered the information that within three months the youth would be back at home asking for bread and butter from his parents. To this the young pioneer rejoined: “Jake, sink or swim, survive or perish, I’ll never do that. I’m going to stay.” While a boy at home Mr. Hartsock was very much attached to his mother and had to bear considerable ridicule on that account. Some of his companions also called him “General,” and said they wondered at his willingness to leave home, though they admired his pluck.
On June 5, 1871, Mr. Hartsock laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Miss Emogene Soper. She was born in Lake County, Illinois, a daughter of Orange P. and Jerusha I. (Abell) Soper. Her grandfather, Remember E. Soper, was also a soldier of the War of 1812. After a very determined courtship Mr. Hartsock had won the consent of this young lady to become his wife and they started away from the vicinity of Gifford for Urbana, the county seat, to obtain a license and get married. After making the trip they learned that the only minister in town was away at the conference. Finally, after hunting around some time, they discovered MT. McElroy, a minister of the Methodist Church, who solemnized their bonds.
The young couple began housekeeping in the northwest quarter of section 26 of Harwood Township. They had hope and faith, unlimited industry, and the years have fully justified them in all their plans and ambitions. Their means enabled them to buy another eighty acres, then forty acres, and they finally bought six acres adjoining the town of Rantoul. Mr. Hartsock’s landed estate now comprises 240 acres of as fine land as can be found in the State of Illinois and worth $250 an acre.
Seven children were born into their home, two of whom died in infancy.
Sylvanus L. Hartsock, the first child, is now deceased. He married Anna Lapham of Indiana and she survived with two children, Charles Walter and Esther Ruth,
Olive M., the oldest of those living, is now Mrs. Reynolds and the mother of the following children: Lula L., Hurley, Emogene, Volney, Gladys, George, Flossie, Teddy, Orange, Lucy May, Belzoria, Velma Doris, and Floy Myrul and Loy Bural, twins, but Loy Bural is deceased. Orange and Lucy May are both now deceased. Lula is married and has a child named Marvin, and Emogene is also married. Gladys is now Mrs. Leon Conley and Hurley E. is a soldier in the United States army in the First Cavalry, Troop D, and stationed with his troop at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming.
The next child, Asa, died in infancy. David O. lives in Pocahontas County, Iowa, and by his marriage to Tillie Gehrt of Peoria has two children, Raymond and Hazel.
Sarah A. Hartsock is the wife of Isaac Funkhouser and has a son, Marion.
Caroline E. is the wife of R. L. Carr, and they live on an eighty-acre farm belonging to her father in Champaign County. Their children are two in number, Evelyn and Layton.
Amos S. Hartsock, the youngest child, is a farmer in Pocahontas County, Iowa. He married Sadie Shaveland and has a bright little son named Harlan, now four years of age.
Mr. G. W. Hartsock has been a sturdy supporter of the Republican Party for fully half a century. His first presidential vote was given to Stephen A. Douglas. He has reared his sons to support the principles which he has believed right and just and to respect and honor all those things which are the essential elements of good citizenship and good character. Mr. Hartsock has been public spirited in all his community actions, has served as road commissioner and school director and his liberal prosperity has not been for himself alone, but for the benefit of the community in general. Since retiring from the farm he and his good wife have enjoyed the comforts of a pleasant home in Rantoul.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of their long and worthy lives has been their devotion to church and Christianity. Mrs. Hartsock was the first to join the Christian Church at Gifford, while Mr. Hartsock and their two children followed her into the church the next fall. At that time the people of the Christian denomination worshiped in a schoolhouse. Mr. Hartsock soon took the lead in circulating a petition for the building of a church at Gifford. This petition met with hearty response and in a few years they were able to dedicate a fine church and the little organization has been growing in all the years. Mr. Hartsock has served as an elder and trustee and has ordered his entire life to conform to the principles of true Christian manhood. After coming to Rantoul he encouraged the building of an addition to the local church, and gave $300 for that purpose. He has filled the office of elder and trustee in the Rantoul church and is now one of the elders. For many years Mr. Hartsock and wife have made it a rule to pay out one-tenth of their income for church purposes, and the payment of this tithe has constituted one of the most enduring satisfactions of their lives. Along with active work in the church Mr. Hartsock has given equally ardent advocacy of the cause of temperance, and he has never neglected an opportunity to work for the fulfillment of that cause. The record of such a man is above all value and estimate as an example and a source of good to his community and particularly to his children and descendants.