Jacob S. Coons. For nearly sixty years Jacob S. Coons has been a resident of Champaign County. He knew the county when it was wild prairie and swamp, and knows it as one of the garden spots of the world. He came here in the flush of young manhood, with little more than his native thrift and industry, and has found all those rewards which satisfy the ambitious man in material well being, family, home and community esteem.
Mr. Coons was born in Tompkins County, New York, eight miles from the University City of Ithaca, a son of William and Christina (Smith) Coons. His father was also a native of New York State and his mother of Virginia. Jacob was the second in a family of six children, all of whom were educated in the public schools of New York and of the state of Ohio. Jacob was a small child when the family removed to Ohio.
After reaching young manhood he went back to his native state, remaining there six years, and in 1858 came to Illinois. He settled in St. Joseph Township and found work with a farmer.
Mr. Coons married for his first wife Sarah Cowden, a native of Illinois. After her death he married Angela Cox. She was the mother of two children. Addie L. is now Mrs. Nelden, living in Oklahoma City and the mother of one child, Hazel Armstrong. Arthur Clement, the second child of this union, is a successful farmer, now occupying his father’s old homestead in St. Joseph Township. He married Ollie Deer of Sidney, and they have four children, Ethel, Gilbert, Nora and Jacob S.
For his third wife Mr. Coons married Emma Z. Crowell, who was born in Indiana, a daughter of John and Diantha (Jennison) Crowell. She was only two years of age when the family came to Illinois, and as one of eight children she grew up and received her education in the public schools of Champaign County. Mr. and Mrs. Coons had two children, Edith and Walter. They were well educated in the local schools and the high school at St. Joseph. Edith also took a course in Brown’s Business College at Champaign and is now the wife of Charles Morris, a farmer in St. Joseph Township. Mr. and Mrs. Morris have three children, Charles, Jacob and June Emeline.
When Mr. Coons came to Champaign County the land comprising the “Flats” in Compromise Township were all a vast stretch of wild prairie. He bought for his first purchase forty acres of this land and applied his youth and energy to its development and cultivation. Years brought him increasing success and he finally bought 160 acres in St. Joseph Township and was successfully engaged in farming and stock raising until about fifteen years ago, when he and his wife removed to the village of St. Joseph, leaving the farm in the hands of his son Arthur. The other son, Walter, is still at home and a barber at St. Joseph.
Mr. and Mrs. Coons are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at St. Joseph, and have been among its most liberal supporters for thirty-five years. In politics they are both strongly of the Republican doctrine and believe that party is the best equipped to insure the permanent prosperity and integrity of the country. Mr. and Mrs. Coons maintain a most hospitable home, and throughout their careers they have endeavored to instill the principles of true American citizenship in their children. Mr. Coons had two brothers, William and John, who were soldiers during the Civil War, and William died while in the service of his country. Mr. Coons has always practiced the Golden Rule, and in his declining years he has the pleasing retrospect of the past and looks forward to the future confidently and without fear.