Biography of J. E. Nye

J. E. Nye. By reason of long residence in Champaign County, for a period of sixty years, by the ability shown in varied undertakings and by the honesty and high character of its members the Nye family is one of the best known in the county and the name is everywhere spoken with respect and esteem which are their due.

Of this family is J. E. Nye, who came to Champaign County when a boy of two years of age and is now able to take life somewhat at leisure in one of the fine country homes south of the village of St. Joseph.

He was born in Gallia County, Ohio, April 7, 1855, a son of Arius and Rebecca (Gardner) Nye. Both parents were natives of Ohio and the Nye ancestry goes back to the New England states. The grandfather, Nial Nye, served as a colonel in the War of 1812. Arius Nye brought his family to Illinois in 1857, arriving in Champaign County in the month of September. He had three children, J. E., Louis E., now deceased, and Mary E., Mrs. S. N. Prather of Deland, Florida. These children were educated in the Allen school of Champaign County.

J. E. Nye grew up in this locality and was well trained to habits of industry in addition to the lessons he learned from school books. On December 9, 1879, at the age of twenty-four, he married Miss Ella E. Ford, who was born in Union County, Ohio, youngest daughter of William J. and Catherine (Birely) Ford. The Ford family came to Illinois in September, I860, first settling on a farm near Mansfield in Piatt County, but in the fall of 1863 moving to Urbana. There were three children in the Ford family, Sarah E., Louis E. and Ella E. They received their early educational advantages in the Marriott school north of Urbana and also at the Allen school, in which vicinity Mr. Ford had bought a farm.

After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Nye they rented a farm in Somer Township during the spring of 1880 and having the equipment of industry and energy they worked to such good advantage that year that they were then able to buy forty acres of land for their own. They paid $30 an acre, subsequently adding another forty acres. They had confidence that their labors would be rewarded and were not afraid to undertake responsibilities beyond their immediate resources. Later they sold their first farm at a good profit and bought a place in section 4, Somer Township, two miles south of Thomasboro.

Mr. and Mrs. Nye had four children, one son and three daughters. The son and the daughter Nettie E. died in infancy. The other two (laughters are Kate and Maude. They were well educated in the local district schools, the high school at Thomasboro and the Urbana High School. Kate finished a course in Brown’s Business College. She is now the wife of Albert Stonestreet, a prosperous farmer in Kerr Township. Mr. and Mrs. Stonestreet have one child, Leslie, born June 24, 1908. He is now attending the public schools at Penfield, and is taking his education very seriously and is showing much proficiency in his studies. He rides back and forth from home to school on his black and white pony, Prince, which is the gift to him from his Grandfather Nye. This pony is the cherished companion of the boy and it performs its part well like a faithful friend in carrying its young master back and forth to school. The daughter Maude married Walter C. Wood, a practical farmer who lives on part of Mr. Nye’s estate. Mr. and Mrs. Wood have two sons, Paul and Maurice, the former born May 20, 1913, and the latter April 13, 1915, both fine boys and great favorites of their grandparents.

Mr. and Mrs. Nye lived at Thomasboro twelve years, then at Urbana five years, having in the meantime sold their Thomasboro property, and they then bought their present farm of 240 acres in sections 27 and 28 of St. Joseph Township. Mr. Nye for years has been successfully engaged in the raising of Poland China hogs and Plymouth Rock poultry, and handles only thoroughbred stock. His farm is known as the Timber View Farm and in point of improvements and general value it ranks as one of the very best anywhere in Champaign County.

Mr. Nye is a stalwart Republican, having cast his first vote for Hayes in 1876. He is a public spirited citizen, served as justice of the peace while living at Thomasboro and has always been willing to take his place in the ranks and fight for any cause that reflected the welfare of the community.



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

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