By Charlene Shields
Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."
Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."
While reading microfilm of an old newspaper (The Carmi Courier, Feb.
1892) I came across this obituary under the headline "An Old Land Mark
Removed." It is quoted here:
In the death of Solomon Charles, one of the most prominent men is lost
to White County. The writer of this article made his acquaintance more
than sixty years ago, hence I am familiar with his life before he
reached his majority.
I must say he has been one of the most remarkable men of the early
settlers in Southern Illinois. His parents removed from North Carolina
and settled on the northeast portion of White County, near the present
village of Phillipstown.
His father departed this life when Solomon was a small boy; his mother
was left in very destitute circumstances, with five children, viz.,
Daniel, John, Solomon, Sally and Joseph. The boys all became very
prominent and useful citizens. The mother re-married with one Samuel
Hensley, by this union four or five children was the result.
Solomon survived all his full brothers and sister, as well as his
half-brothers. In his boyhood life he was engaged in farm work and no
more industrious young man ever lived in White County, and his integrity
was never brought to question. In 1832, when the Black Hawk War broke
out, Solomon Charles volunteered in Capt. Solomon Hunter's Company,
which was attached to the regiment commanded by Col. Hosea Pearce. He
made a faithful soldier and was one of the gallant men that captured the
Indian Chief Black Hawk and his band. After the close of the war, he
returned home and resumed his vocation as a farmer.
On Jan. 21, 1833, he was married to Miss Ann Higdon, daughter and only
child of the late Walter Higdon. She was a most estimable young lady
and made him a charming wife. He and his young bride commenced
housekeeping in a log cabin, situated near the amphitheater of the fair
grounds at Grayville. Here they resided for one season when they located
on his own farm, now occupied by Doss Endicott one mile south of
Phillipstown, where he lived until his death.
He was unfortunate in the death of his first wife. On Aug. 18, 1842,
married Sarah Davenport. By this union, five children were born viz.
Henry, the late Mrs. Clifford, Mrs. Woolford Jones, Walter, who died
when a boy, and Daniel. He again married, this time to Jane Davenport on
Aug. 17, 1847. She was the daughter of Aquilla Davenport. By this
marriage the following children were the result: Mrs. Belle Fitzgerald,
Mrs. Fanny Bell Johnson and Frank Pierce. After the death of his third
wife, the old gentlemen remained upon the homestead where the latch
string always hung from the outside of the door. For its genuine
hospitality, the Charles homestead was famous. It was a grand place of
resort for the prominent men of Southern Illinois. His charity was
unbounded, no person was ever turned away from his door. He was always
ready to clothe the naked and feed the hungry....
A short time before his death I had a long conversation with him upon
the future of man. I saw a marked change in his feeling upon the
Christian religion. He was a regular Baptist in faith. I am satisfied
he was prepared for the passage beyond the dark valley. I believe he was
prepared to exclaim when the hour of dissolution came, "Farewell,
Farewell, vain world. I am going home."
There are numerous descendants of Solomon Charles living in White County
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