Biography - Hazard Clendenen

Hazard Perry Clendenen is a native of Bourbon county, Kentucky, where he was born October 12th, 1812. He is the youngest of two sons of George W. and Mary Clendenen. The elder son, Theodore, has been dead several years. George W. Clendenen was born in Greenbrieer county, Virginia, about the year 1779, and is one of a large family of Robert and Margaret Clendenen. Robert Clendenen was a descendant of the Scotch Highlanders, and his wife was of Irish extraction, though the ancestors of both were among the primitive settlers of Virginia. He was a soldier during the revolutionary war, and, after the termination of that contest, made a settlement on the Ohio river, in what is now West Virginia, where the pioneers built a fort for protection against the Indians, at a place called Gallipolis, and, by unanimous consent of the settlers, Robert Clendenen was made commander of the fort. On one quiet afternoon, the sentinel announced that he saw an Indian on the opposite bank of the river, where he was mending a moccasin, under cover of the dense foliage of a sugar tree. The commander took his trusty rifle, crept down to the edge of the water, and, peering through the leaves, got sight of his dusky foe. A second after, the report of his rifle rugh out over the water, and the Indian leaped into mid air and fell to the ground a lifeless corpse. After residing in the neighborhood of the fort a few years, Mr. Clendenen settled in Bourbon county, Kentucky, where he passed the remainder of his days, the death of the old veteran of the revolution occurring at the green old age of ninety.

George W. Clendenen spent his early boyhood in Virginia, and when thirty-eight years of age, he was married to Miss Mary Reynolds, daughter of Anthony Reynolds, a native of Antrim county, Ireland. Mr. R., immediately after landing at Philadelphia, volunteered in the defense of his adopted country, and served bravely to the end of the revolutionary war. The marriage of Mr. Clendenen took place in Bourbon county, Kentucky, where his occupation was that of a farmer. In 1817, he left Kentucky, and removed with his family to St. Charles county, Missouri, arriving there in the fall of that year. The trip was made with a one-horse Dearborn wagon. While residing in Kentucky, Mr. C. frequently met Henry Clay, whom he greatly admired, and for whom he voted whenever an opportunity was presented. Mr. Clendenen reside in St. Charles county until the spring of 1820, when he removed to Greene county, Illinois, settling in what is now Woodville Precinct, on the tract of land embraced in the farm on which Henry Houdashelt now resides, near the point where Macoupin Creek breaks through the bluff. He was, according to the best information we can obtain, the first settler in township 9 – 13, and was the first magistrate in that part of the county, and settled, without the usual process of law, many of the disputes that arose among the early settlers. In his early youth he was in a measure deprived of the advantages of common schools, yet, through his untiring industry, he succeeded in obtaining a good store of knowledge. He lived a moral and upright life, and died at his residence, on the farm where his son now resides, in 1841. His widow survived his death until November, 1869.

Hazard P. Clendenen received his early education in Greene county, principally under the tuition of his father. In his early boyhood, he laid the foundation of a common education, on which he has been continually building, until now we find him to be a gentleman well informed on the political and other leading topics of the day. When he first came to this county with his parents, there was scarcely a settlement between their place and the prairies to the eastward, near where Kane is now situated, and wild deer and Indians were yet roaming over their accustomed haunts. The famous Indian chief, Blackhawk, and his family spent one winter on Diamond Island, situated in the Illinois River, about three miles from where Mr. Clendenen resided with his parents. The old warrior frequently visited the whites along the bluff, with whom he was friendly and peaceable. They always considered Blackhawk a man of the strictest honor and integrity, and his word could ever be relied upon. In those days game abounded in great profusion, and was the principal article of food of not only the Indians, but also of many of the settlers. Mr. Clendenen having been raised in the primitive days of the county, was early inured to the perils and hardships of a backwoods life. A large portion of his early boyhood was employed in assisting in the farm labor; and when about thirty years of age, realizing the truth of the divine injunction that it was not good for man to live alone, and acting upon that truly commendable maxim, he was married, on the 20th of December, 1842, to Miss Maria A. Clark, daughter of Absalom and Lydia Clark, who were formerly from the state of Ohio, though early settlers in this county, having located near the mouth of the Macoupin Creek in the fall of 1819. They were of English descent. Mr. Clark was a soldier during the war of 1812, and took part in the battle of the Maumee and several other engagements. Mrs. Clendenen was born in Greene county, Illinois, November 16th, 1823.

Several years prior to his marriage, when about the age of twenty, Mr. Clendenen made several trips to New Orleans on flat-boats, loaded with farm produce and live stock, and, after making his sales, would return home on a steamer. He was employed in this capacity chiefly for about fourteen years. He would build the flatboats on Macoupin Creek or Illinois River; but, unlike his illustrious predecessor, the immortal "rail-splitter," he did not rise from his flat-boating operations to the office of President of the United States.

Mr. C. and wife had a family of six children, two of whom died when quite young, while tow sons and two daughter ware yet living. Their eldest daughter, Mary A., is the wife of Robert King, who is now residing in Lincoln county, Mo.; their second daughter, Jennie M., is the wife of James Ellis, now living in Montgomery county, Illinois; and their sons are residing at the old homestead.

Mr. Clendenen started in life with scarcely anything but a strong determination to do something for himself, and, being of industrious habits, has succeeded in acquiring considerable property. He has a farm of about seventeen hundred acres, located on the Illinois Bottom.

In early boyhood, Mr. C. became identified with the whig party, of which he remained a consistent and active supporter until its disorganization. His first vote for President was cast fo Henry Clay, and at every subsequent presidential election he was found at the polls, voting for the candidate of his party. On the formation of the republican party, he became a strong supporter of its principles, and voted both times for that peerless statesman, Abraham Lincoln. During the war, when party spirit was at its height, and dissension and discord were frequent even in families, and when disunion sentiments sat like a horrible nightmare upon the panting, bleeding breasts of the defenders of American liberty, the Union cause had in Mr. Clendenen a true supporter. His eldest son, Oscar C., in 1862, at the age of fifteen years, enlisted in the sixty-first regiment Illinois volunteers, and, after serving three years, re-enlisted. He took part in the hard-fought battle of Pittsburg Landing and many other engagements, never flinching from the post of danger, and after the expiration of his term of service he received an honorable discharge and returned home. Mr. Clendenen's son-in-law, Robert King, was a member of the sith Missouri infantry, and remained in the service about four years, during which time he participated in the battles of Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Dalton, Resaca, Lost Mountain, Altoona, Kenesaw Mountain, in the latter of which he was wounded. After becoming convalescent, he accompanied Sherman's army in their grand march to the sea, and took part in the battle of Fort McAllister. Thus it will be seen that two of Mr. Clendenen's children assisted in preserving the supremacy of the old flag.

On the 5th of December, 1862, Mrs. Clendenen died at their residence, leaving her husband and children to mourn an irreparable loss.

In summing up the life of Mr. Clendenen, we find much in his career to commend. According to the opinions of his old neighbors, he is entitled to the appellation of "an honest man." He early learned the importance of economy and industry as the means of success. By the careful management of his business, he has proved himself a successful farmer, and has the warm respect and esteem of those who have acted with him in the growth and development of this county for over half a century.

Extracted 05 Jan 2017 & 06 Jun 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 35.

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