Biography of James H. Umbanhowar

James H. Umbanhowar. It may be cited as proof of the stable character of the people of Champaign County that many of the finest farms here are owned by direct descendants of the original settlers, and the land has never been out of the family since it was secured from the government a half century or more ago. The Umbanhowar farm is a case in point. Its owner is James H. Umbanhowar, who was born on this place, situated in section 17, Homer Township, September 25, 1853.

The parents of James H. Umbanhowar were Samuel and Julia Anna (Spencer) Umbanhowar, the former of whom was born in either Virginia or Pennsylvania and the latter in Ohio. They came to Champaign County in 1840 and settled on this farm in 1852, a wild tract at that time, but favorably situated and well watered. Its choice illustrated the good judgment of Samuel Umbanhowar, which has been a characteristic of his descendants. During his subsequent nine years of life he worked hard to clear and improve his land but he died April 15, 1861, hence much of the laborious work fell to his sons. He was survived by his wife until August 20, 1876. They were the parents of eight children, as follows: a son who died in infancy; Margaret Anna and Mary, both of whom are deceased; Matthew, who is deceased; Samuel, who is a resident of Hoopston, Illinois; Elizabeth, who is the wife of Z. T. Moran, of Hartford, Nebraska; James H.; and Abigail, who is deceased.

James H. Umbanhowar attended the district schools in boyhood when he had the chance, but the early death of his father made it necessary for him to assume responsibilities while still young, and as soon as possible he took over the management of the farm and continued to operate it for his mother until her death in 1876. He continued to work the farm and his sister Mary kept house for him until her death in 1883. Mr. Umbanhowar received twenty-four acres as his part of the estate. He now owns 172 acres of finely improved land, it being the fruits of years of toil and self denial, combined with good judgment. The time has come when he can rest and for some years he has been retired, his second son being a capable and practical farmer and carrying on all the farm industries very profitably.

Mr. Umbanhowar was married February 16, 1888, to Miss Elizabeth Hall, who is a daughter of Edward and Sarah (Yeazell) Hall, and they have four children, three sons and one daughter: Charles E., a railroad man with the Big Four, lives at Indianapolis, Indiana; Fred S., who rents and operates the home farm; Audry O., who is a member of Battery F, Tenth Artillery, United States Army, now stationed at Douglas, Arizona; and Julia Anna, who is with her parents. Mr. Umbanhowar and family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he is a sound Republican, believing firmly in the principles upon which this organization was founded. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, attending lodge at Homer, and for many years has belonged to the Masonic fraternity.



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

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