Routt, father


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  • Name  Routt, father 
    Gender  Male 
    Person ID  I5218  Poore Maddox
    Last Modified  24 Aug 2012 

    >1. Routt, Sarah,   b. Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Mar 1844
    Family ID  F2038  Group Sheet

  • Notes 

    • Do NOT KNOW if this is the correct family Taken from History of Mclean Co Illinois
      Hon. John L. Routt.

      John L. Routt was born April 25, 1827, in Eddyville, the
      county seat of Lyon County, Kentucky. While he was an in-
      fant, his father, who was a farmer, died, leaving Mrs. Routt with

      m'lean county. 859

      four children, in rather straightened circumstances. Mrs, Routt
      moved to Trigg County, Kentucky, where she lived a widow until
      1834, when she was again married. In 1840 John Routt Avas ap-
      prenticed to his cousin, Samuel B. Haggard, of Bloomington,
      Illinois, to learn the carpenter's trade. The lad applied himself
      industriously to his trade for two years and a half. But at this
      time Mr. Haggard wished to become a farmer, and young Routt
      Avas left free to work on his own account. He was very success-
      ful, and soon received the highest wages paid, which were
      seventy-five cents per da}^, and board himself. He worked for
      Mr. O. Covel in building a mill, for carding and cloth dressing.
      The latter became interested in the lad and induced him to learn
      the carding and cloth-dressing business. Mr. Covel's establish-
      ment consisted of a grist mill, a saw mill and complete cloth
      dressing machinery. At the end of one jesir Routt could, in the
      absence of the proprietors, take charge of the establishment in
      all its details. The mill was in a great measure the center of
      local, political and social interest, and young Routt soon became
      familiar with the ways of the world. But he soon saw the
      necessity of an education. He went to school during three
      months in the year, and in addition to this employed all his leis-
      ure time in study. At the age of nineteen he married Hester
      A. Woodson, one of the noblest and gentlest of women, who
      died two years since. The stock of worldly goods belonging to
      these juvenile "old folks" consisted of twenty dollars in money
      and a few clothes suited to their station. They married because
      they thought themselves suited to each other, an old fashioned
      reason somewhat fallen into disuse. Mr. Covel's mill was de-
      stroyed by fire, and Routt returned to his trade as carpenter and
      machine worker. In 1854 he was elected alderman of Bloom-
      ington. About this time he borrowed twenty-five dollars from
      his friend, Lyman Ferre, and purchased a quarter of a block of
      ground and built on it a small house. He tried the life of a
      farmer for a short time, but returned to his trade. He took a
      lively interest in politics, was originally a Whig, but upon a re-
      arrangement of parties in 1856, became a Republican, and has
      remained so ever since.

      In 1856 Mr. Routt had accumulated a little money, and in
      common with many others began to speculate in Western lands.

      860 ? OLD SETTLERS OF

      In 1856 and '57 the great financial crash came. But a more
      serious disaster resulted to Mr. Routt. He had purchased land
      on the bank of the Missouri River, but the shifting current
      changed its course and all of Mr. Routt's domain became the
      bed of the river, and his rich soil was washed away to be added
      to the accretions at the mouth of the Mississippi.

      In 1858, when township organization was effected in McLean
      County, Mr, Routt was elected collector, and as the office was
      entirely new, the work required much skill. He was re-elected
      without opposition. In 1860, Mr. Routt thought of being a can-
      didate for sheriff, and while he was hesitating, it came to his
      knowledge, that one of his opponents had said : " It would be
      folly for little Routt to run," and he immediately determined to
      make the canvass. He was materially assisted by William Mc-
      Cullough, who was candidate for circuit clerk. The convention
      met, and while it was in session, Judge Davis, then circuit judge,
      and now associate justice of the United States supreme court, said
      to Routt in his peculiar way : " Look here, John, McCullougli
      tells me that you are going to get this nomination. How is it,
      John ? You are going to get it, ain't you ? Of course you are
      going to get it; McCullough says so and that is enough." Mr.
      Rontt was nominated on the second ballot and elected.

      In 1862, when the second call for volunteers was made, John
      Routt decided to go to the war. He assisted in recruiting and
      organizing the Ninety-fourth Illinois, and was chosen captain by
      acclamation. Judge Davis presided at the organization of the
      company in the old Phoenix Hall, and it was made the color com-
      pany of the j^inety-fourth. Captain Routt left the sheriff's office
      in charge of a deputy, and went to the war. In the fall of 1862,
      the regiment made the most wonderful march on record, from
      Wilson's Creek battle-ground to the battle-ground of Prairie
      Grove, a distance of one hundred andtwent}^ miles, in a little more
      than three days. There the army of General Herron, to which
      the regiment belonged, fought the battle of Prairie Grove, one
      of the sharpest contests of the war. . After this. Captain Routt
      and many others were sent home to recruit soldiers for the regi-
      ments. In the spring of 1863, he went back to the army. In the
      meantime, Colonel W. W. Orme had been made a brigadier
      general for his services at the battle of Praire Grove, and the

      m'lean county. 861

      army went into camp at Lake Spring. Here Captain Routt was
      detailed to act as quartermaster, and held the position until after
      the capitulation of Yicksburg. After this he was commissioned
      as quartermaster, and served as chief quartermaster in the army
      of the Rio Grande, commanded by General Herron. After the
      disastrous Red River expedition of General Banks, Colonel Routt
      was assigned as post quartermaster at Baton Rouge, and continued
      in this position until he left the army in 1865. On arriving home
      he was made treasurer of McLean County, and immediately began
      the payment of the county bonds and interest as they became
      due, and in a short time they rose to par in the market and re-
      mained so. At the expiration of two years he was nominated by
      a decided majority and re-elected.

      At the commencement of President Grant's administration,
      General Giles A. Smith, of Bloomington, was appointed second
      assistant postmaster general, and Colonel Routt was selected as
      chief clerk of this bureau, but did not accept the position until
      his term of office as treasurer had expired. He filled the place
      with credit until he was appointed U. S. Marshal for the southern
      district of Illinois. The duties of the office during that year
      were especially difficult as the census Avas then taken. This work
      Avas one of great difficulty, and required the best judgment; but
      his returns were accurately and speedily made out, and he re-
      ceived a well merited compliment from the Commissioner of the
      census. In the fall of 1871, General Giles A. Smith was obliged
      to resign his position on account of failing health, and Postmaster
      General Cresswell immediately selected Colonel Routt as Smith's
      successor. Col. Routt resigned his office as marshal', and entered
      upon the duties of his office as second assistant postmaster gene-
      ral, October 17, 1871. To his office belongs the charge of all the
      mails throughout the country, and he has performed his duties
      Avith marked ability. He comes in immediate contact with all
      the great corporations, and in dealing with them he is firm and
      decided. When the railroads threatened to throw off the mails,
      if the former did not receive increased compensation. Col. Routt
      was determined that the postffice department should not be in-
      timidated by these giant monopolies.

      Col. John L. Routt tells the following anecdote of our citizen^
      John E. McClun. He says that he recently met a Col. McCleave

      862 OLD SETTLERS Of

      in his office in Washington City, who, as soon as he learned that
      Col. Routt was from Bloomington, Illinois, enquired after his
      former schoolmate, John E. McClun, saying that they had been
      boys together, and without any further ado related to him the
      following anecdote. He said : " Young John was often sent to
      Winchester market by his energetic and excellent mother, with
      the products of her dairy, garden and poultry-yard, and he opened
      out his butter, eggs, chickens, etc., generally with fine success,
      and became very expert in selling. One day, however, the young
      marketer was at his wit's end, for among other articles in his
      stock was a pair of dressed geese, which remained on his hand
      long after everything else was disposed of. At length, when he
      almost despaired of getting rid of this remnant of his cargo^ — for
      the geese were evidently old and tough — an old lady offered him
      a certain price for one of them; but John, after making her a
      polite bow, and thanking her for the ofier, assured her that he
      was opposed upon principle to selling one without the other, for,
      said he, with seeming earnestness : ' My dear madam, these poor
      old geese have been united together in life in the most amicable
      relationship for twenty years, and it would be sad to part them
      now.' This shrewd statement — which linked a financial effect
      with a humanitarian thought — had the desired result on the old
      lady, for she at once bought both geese ; but how much boiling
      and roasting she afterwards bestowed upon the venerable pair,
      John never learned."

      Col. Routt, after having related this incident to me, added, in
      a humorous way : " As Judge McClun for many years sold goods
      in Bloomington, in early times, I have no doubt many old set-
      tlers here could be found to testify that he was as successful in
      many instances in disposing of ancient articles of merchandize
      in McLean County, as he was in the sale of the tough old geese
      at Winchester."

      In personal appearance Col. Routt is slightly below the me-
      dium height, stoutly built, has a large, well-shaped head with
      prominent forehead, black hair, dark hazel eyes, and strongly
      marked features. He is courteous and affable, though firm and
      decided, and has a pleasing address, which wins him friends
      wherever he goes. His political common sense enables him to
      grasp a subject and comprehend it at once in all its bearings, and

      m'lean county. 863

      his decisions always promptly made, are, nevertheless, more than
      usually safe and correct. He reads human nature with remark-
      able accuracy, and seldom has occasion to revise his first estimates
      of character. He is ever ready to lend a helping hand to the
      worthy and deserving, but has a thorough contempt for all pre-
      tenders and shams, whether the shams be men or measures.
      There is not in Illinois, perhaps, among our active politicians, a
      more outspoken man or sincere friend, than John L. Routt.

      Col. J. L. Eoutt married. May 21, 1874, Miss Lila Pickerell,
      of Decatur, Illinois.

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