Biography of Reuben Roughton

Reuben Roughton. Among the many beautiful country estates which are to be found in Champaign County one of the most attractive and valuable is the farm of Reuben Roughton, which is located in section 27, Ludlow Township, one and one-half miles north of Rantoul. The owner of this property is one of the progressive agriculturists of the county, a skilled and industrious representative of his vocation, and a citizen who in many ways has contributed to the advancement of his locality. He was born at Attercliff, near Sheffield, England, but has been a resident of the United States since he was one and one-half years of age.

John Roughton, the father of Reuben Roughton, was born in England, where he received his education, and as a young man learned the trade of blacksmith, which he thoroughly mastered and which he followed for many years. In his native country he was united in marriage with Eliza Gilbert, who was born at Leicestershire, England, and they became the parents of ten children, all of whom died in infancy with the exception of Reuben. When this son was one and one-half years of age the family immigrated to the United States and first settled at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, but in 1854 removed to Urbana, Illinois, and subsequently settled at Big Grove in Champaign County, where they were residing at the outbreak of the Civil War. John Roughton enlisted in the Seventy-sixth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, a famous fighting organization, under Colonel Busey. In the army it was soon found out that he was a skilled blacksmith and a mechanical genius as well, just the kind of man needed on hand on various occasions. Detailed to Jackson, Tennessee, a special order was obtained from General Grant to have him remain at that point and at Memphis to assist in the work of the ordnance department, where it was felt that he was of greater value than he would be at the front. In the latter part of his three-year service, however, he went to New Orleans and into Alabama, and took part in the victorious charge of the Union forces on Fort Blakeley. At the end of the war, with an admirable record for faithful service to his adopted country, John Roughton received his honorable discharge and returned to Champaign County. Later he became well known in public life and had numerous friends among the prominent men of his day and locality, among them Judge Cunningham. At various times he was called upon to perform public service, being elected official census taker from the township of Ludlow in 1880, and subsequently serving ten years as justice of the peace, five years as road commissioner and several years as overseer of highways. He was also secretary and superintendent of the Rantoul Maplewood Cemetery Association. Mr. Roughton preempted, upon his arrival in Champaign County, 160 acres of land in section 27, Ludlow Township, and there resided during the remainder of his long, busy and useful life. He made himself a beautiful home, where hospitality ever reigned, and built up an enviable reputation for solidity and sterling probity of character. He and his faithful helpmate were laid to rest in the same grave.

Reuben Roughton’s parents were desirous that he should enter upon life’s battles fully prepared by good educational advantages, and he was accordingly granted good facilities in this direction. As a youth he attended the public schools, subsequently was a student at the Urbana High School, and then went to Memphis, Tennessee, where his father was employed in the ordnance department of the Federal Government. During the first year of the existence of the University of Illinois, at Urbana, he studied in that institution, going there with Professor T. J. Burrell, and after the completion of his studies returned to the homestead to assist his father in its work and management.

On January 27, 1876, Mr. Roughton was married to Miss Eliza H. Genung, who was born and educated at Rantoul, a daughter of E. N. and Julia A. (Shank) Genung. They began their wedded life on the home farm with his parents, and here there were born to them three children: Ada Maud, Roy John and Hazel N. The children were all given good educational opportunities, and Hazel X. graduated from the Rantoul High School with creditable honors. She married Ira Crane, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits near Rantoul, and has two bright and promising sons, Wendell Lowell and Maurice Roughton. Roy Roughton married Miss Mattie Lindsey, who was educated in the district schools and at Champaign and Rantoul, a daughter of Felix G. and Mildred Lindsey, and they have two children, Mildred Helen and John Addison. Mildred, who is in her second year of high school and expects to finish her course, is a studious and progressive young lady, with creditable ambitions. The first child of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Roughton, Ada Maud, after a brief illness with typhoid pneumonia, died when but eleven years of age.

The Roughton home is one which exemplifies the highest type of comfortable country dwelling. It is situated in a grove of beautiful maple, ash and evergreen trees, which Mr. Roughton planted as a boy, and one of the features of the farm which at once attracts the notice of the visitor is a mammoth brown boulder in the front yard of the home, which has probably rested there for ages, this curious rock formation now being set attractively in the midst of a circle of flowers and plants and covered with vines. The beautiful lawns and drives remind the visitor of the old English estates, the pride of Great Britain, and the other improvements have been so installed that they not only please the eye, but are also placed so as to give the greatest amount of practical service. Mr. Roughton carries on general farming and stock raising operations and has been very successful in both directions. He has been industrious in his work and modern in his methods, while his honorable dealings have served to impress the community with his integrity and probity. Politically he is a Republican, and he and Mrs. Roughton are members and liberal supporters of the Christian Church of Rantoul.



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

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