Biography - Randolph Witt

RANDOLPH WITT is a native of Jefferson county, Tennessee, born December 30, 1810. He is the third of a family of eleven children of Eli and Nancy Witt, the former also of Jefferson county. Eli's father was born in Virginia, from English parentage. At the age of twenty-one years Eli Witt married Miss Nancy McNealy, who was of Scotch descent. He transferred his occupation, farming, from the scenes of his native state to the wilds of primitive Illinois, settling in Greene county, December, 1829, on the farm now owned by the venerable pioneer Samuel Thomas. Afterward he sold his farm and moved to Texas, and again returned and bought a farm east of Carrollton, where he resided until his death, which occurred in October, 1851. He was one of the soldiers of the war of 1812 between the United States and England, serving under Gen. Taylor at McIntosh. His wife survived his death until 1857.

Randolph Witt, the subject of this sketch, received his education in the common schools of Tennessee and Illinois, attaining a fair business education. In those early times when he came to this country the facilities were very poor for scientific and classic education, such as we have so plentifully before us at the present day. After coming to Greene county his first work was done for Franklin Witt, and he also worked for Samuel Thomas, the first settler of Greene county, who came here in 1810. On the 18th of August, 1836, he was married to Miss Polly Tunnell, daughter of Calvin and Jane Tunnell, early pioneers of this county, who formerly were residents of Anderson county, Tennessee. Mrs. Witt was born in Madison county, Illinois, March 25, 1820. By this union they became the parents of five children, four of whom are yet living. Andrew Jackson Witt, their eldest son, is married, and resides on his farm in Montgomery county, Illinois. Jane Elizabeth is the wife of John Bell, residing in the adjoining county of Macoupin, near Girard. William and Eliza are single, and reside with their parents on the home farm. After his marriage Mr. Witt moved on the farm previously purchased, and where he lives to the present time. When he began life he had no capital except a pair of stout hands and an indomitable energy. With his characteristic perseverance, by toiling early and late, and by careful management of his business, he has succeeded in carving out for himself a handsome competence, in the substantial shape of seven hundred and sixty acres in farm lands in the counties of Greene, Macoupin, and Montgomery. We mention this fact to show what can be accomplished by well directed and unceasing efforts. He early learned the importance of energy and industry in his acquaintance with wealthy parties of those former days, from whom he derived the great axioms which, followed out, lead to honor and success. At the time he settled in the West, the country in its forest and wild prairie state, abounded in deer, wolves, wild turkeys, prairie chickens, and other wild game, which could often be easily shot from the open cabin door. In early life he became the supporter of the old Jeffersonian and Jacksonian principles of democracy, of the "right straight-out" kind. He has always voted for the national democratic nominations. His first vote was cast for Martin Van Buren, in 1836, and he has voted since then at every presidential election. Mr. Witt is a member of the Baptist Church.

Extracted 07 Sep 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 51.

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