Hancock County ILGenweb
Transcribed by Marcia Siegfried Redding
James Stark was born in the town and parish Auchtermuchty, Fifeshire,
Scotland, about 1817. Parents were James and Jessie (Dron) Stark, both natives of the same place in Scotland. When his mother died,
his father came to the United States, in 1837, locating in Hancock county, where he died, aged about 42. Our subject came to
America in 1836, locating at Jacksonville, Ill., and afterward at this place. In 1838 he was married to Miss Mary York, who was
born in 1820, in Kentucky, a daughter of Newman York.
Of this marriage were born James W., John N., Ellen M. (now the wife of D. P.
Coffman, of Augusta, this county), and Mary J. In 1842 the subject of this sketch first came to Hancock county, locating at
Augusta, where he immediately established himself in the mercantile business, and may be classed among the very first merchants who
sold goods at that place; has continued to carry on a mercantile business at Augusta from the date of his first establishment in
1842 until the present time, without intermission. The style of the firm is now J. & G. Stark, his brother George being the
partner. They now carry on an average of $6,000 stock of general goods, and employ four clerks. Our subject had but very little of
this world’s goods on arriving in America, but with that indomitable pluck and perseverance which is a characteristic of his
countrymen he set to work to make a competence for himself and posterity, and with nothing but his hands and a fair education to
start with, his success has been complete. He is the owner of one of the pleasantest residences in Augusta, in which he lives with
his family, and has some 640 acres of fine farm lands in the vicinity. Mr. Stark is a member of the Christian Church, of which he
has been an Elder, or preacher, for nearly 40 years, and is now acting in that capacity each alternate Sabbath in Augusta. Mr. S.
has served as Supervisor eight or ten years in Augusta tp. He was elected to the Illinois Legislature in 1846-‘7 on the
Anti-Mormon ticket, in which capacity he served with honor to himself and the general satisfaction of his constituents. Since the
organization of the Republican party he has acted with them. He served as Presidential Elector of this district in 1860, when
President Lincoln was elected. He has taken a decided and active part in political affairs, having “stumped” the county
on several occasions in the interests of Republicanism. As one of Hancock county’s pioneer citizens and an honorable,
upright, Christian gentlemen, we give Mr. Stark’s portrait.
Some 11 years since Mr. S., in company with his wife and daughter, made the tour of
Europe, visiting his native country (Scotland) on the round. The trip occupied some six months. Again, in 1876, he visited his
native place, making a five months’ visit, accompanied by his wife and daughter.
Page: 524 & 525
Title: 1880 History of Hancock County, Illinois
Author: By TH. Gregg
Published by: Chas. C. Chapman & Co.
Copyright 2007 Susan Cheney; all rights reserved.