Biography of Joel Wood Pinkston

Joel Wood Pinkston. A portion of the Blue Grass State, long famous for the cordiality and southern hospitality of its inhabitants, may be said to have been transferred bodily to central Illinois in the beautiful rural home of Mr. and Mrs. Joel W. Pinkston, who are in every way representative of the best traits of their Kentucky origin. Mr. Pinkston is a former supervisor of Newcomb Township, and his farming interests are there, while his postoffice is Mahomet. Along with the hospitality that characterizes this place there is a high degree of business efficiency. The Pinkston home is known as the Gaywood Stock & Grain Farm. It is three and a half miles northwest of Mahomet, and fourteen miles from Champaign. Mr. and Mrs. Pinkston have come to disregard old time standards of distance, since they now enjoy and deserve the luxury of one of the latest models of the National touring car.

In the state whose earliest historical character was Daniel Boone, Joel W. Pinkston was born, March 31, 1860. He was the eighth in a family of ten children, three sons and seven daughters, born to John Wesley and Amy (Parham) Pinkston. The Pinkstons are lineal descendants from a family of Scotland. Of the ten children nine are still living and eight are residents of Champaign County. John W. Pinkston was also a native of Kentucky was reared and educated there, and prior to the war was owner of some slaves. Politically he was an active Democrat. He died in April, 1886. He and his wife were both Methodists. His wife was born in Kentucky, March 30, 1824, and spent her last years at Mahomet, Illinois, where she died, April 7, 1905. Her lineage was English, since the name Parham is strictly English in origin. She was a noble mother and always maintained very complete discipline over her home and children. With her home and church were the chief interests of her life. She was always devout in the performance of her religious duties. She and her husband now rest side by side in the Riverside Cemetery, where a beautiful monument stands to their memory.

Joel Wood Pinkston grew up in Kentucky, secured his education there and lived at home until he was twenty-one, when he came to Champaign County and began as a farm laborer at wages of $18 a month. Thus the prosperity of his later years has been won by much self denying exertion and the diligence which makes men successful in every vocation. As a wage earner he continued three years, and for ten years was a tenant farmer in Mahomet Township. He finally contracted for the purchase of eighty acres in section 32, of Newcomb Township. He made that deal in 1893, the year of financial panic, and went in debt for a large part of the purchase money. By persistent effort and never ending vigilance and toil he paid out and then went in debt to the extent of $10,000 for another eighty acres. At the present time Mr. Pinkston’s home, the Gaywood Stock & Grain Farm, comprises 320 acres, all rich and fertile lands, with exceptional improvements in the way of buildings and barns, and there is not a dollar of indebtedness on the place. Mr. Pinkston also owns city property in Champaign, a short distance from the State University Buildings.

On March 25, 1884, soon after coming to Champaign County, he married Miss Julia Maxwell. To this union were born five children, four sons and one daughter. Jesse Earl, the oldest, has a clerical position in St. Louis, Missouri. He pursued his early studies in the Mahomet High School and also took a business course in Brown’s Business College at Champaign. He is a Democrat and a member of the Knights of Pythias. Willie Lee, the second child, attended the Mahomet High School, Brown’s Business College at Champaign, and by profession is a civil engineer. At present he is serving as auditor for the Pacific Fruit Express Company, with home and head-quarters at Grand Island, Nebraska. He is a member of the Elks Lodge at Denver, Colorado, and politically is a Democrat. Susie May, the only daughter, spent four years in the Champaign High School and is now the wife of Ira Carl Abbott, a successful young farmer in Mahomet Township. Both she and her husband are members of the Baptist Church. They have two children, grandchildren of Mr. Pinkston, named Edwin Pinkston and Julia Ruth. Ervin J., the fourth child, graduated in 1912 from the Mahomet High School and followed agriculture at home with his father until death claimed him on September 23, 1917. He lies buried in the Riverside Cemetery. He was a Democrat and a member of the Baptist Church. Julian O. has for the past two years been a cadet student in the Missouri Military Academy at Mexico, and belongs to the class of 1919. He has taken great interest in his work and military training. He has membership in the Baptist Church at Mahomet.

The mother of these children died November 9, 1899. Mr. Pinkston was married December 6, 1905, to Miss Harriet Gay Norton. Mrs. Pinkston was born in Missouri, but when four years of 1 age her parents removed to Piatt County, Illinois, and eight years later to Champaign County. Mrs. Pinkston is a woman of culture and unusual education. For three years she was a student in the Champaign High School, spent one year in the Decatur High School and one year in the State University. For fourteen years she was a popular and successful teacher in Champaign County, and during the latter part of that work she was connected with the grade schools of Champaign. Mr. and Mrs. Pinkston are members of the Baptist Church at Mahomet, and he is one of the deacons of the church. She served as president of the Domestic Science Club at Mahomet, and since her marriage has devoted herself to the interests of her home, her community, and has proved an invaluable business counselor to her husband in his business affairs. In 1909 Mr. and Mrs. Pinkston made an extended tour through the great Northwest and down the Pacific Coast, stopping at the cities of Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. They also visited the Yellowstone National Park, Colorado Springs, and Denver. The outgoing trip was made by the Canadian Pacific, which took them through some of the most grandly scenic region on the American continent. At Salt Lake City, they entered the Mormon Temple, and were given a practical test of its wonderful acoustic properties, when a lead pencil dropped at the extreme end of the building could be heard plainly from where they stood. For seven weeks Mr. and Mrs. Pinkston enjoyed the delights of this tour.

Mr. Pinkston is a Democrat and first voted for Grover Cleveland. He has always supported the principles of the party and at different times has been a delegate to county conventions. His official record is that of a public spirited and thoroughly progressive citizen. For fourteen years he served as school director and in June, 1905, was appointed township supervisor and thereafter was elected for each successive year until he had filled this important office, the highest in the township, for twelve years. Mr. Pinkston is a member of Castle Hall Lodge of Knights of Pythias at Mahomet.



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

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