Submitted by Norma Hass.
Biography from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1896.
James STRATTON, deceased, was for many years one of the leading agriculturists and respected citizens of Marshall county. He came from over the sea, his birth occurring May 29, 1820, at Ramsay, new Fenn, Huntingtonshire, England, and was the fifth in the family of ten children born to John and Sarah (WOOLEY) STRATTON. When thirteen years of age he accompanied them on their emigration to America, coming in a colony who had clubbed together to make the trip. In Vanderburg county, Indiana, near Evansville, the father purchased land on the old state road, and there spent his remaining days, dying in August, 1845. He brought enough gold with him from England, which, if judiciously invested, would have made him a rich man, but he settled in a thicket upon a tract of land which would take a lifetime to clear and develop.
Amid pioneer scenes James STRATTON grew to manhood, with no school advantages, all the education that he received being obtained in the schools of his native land before coming to the United States. The children were all kept busy by aiding in the development and improvement of the farm, where James remained until nineteen years of age, when he obtained work in a brickyard in Evansville. On the death of his father he came into possession of eighty acres of land, but, owing to its being heavily mortgaged, derived but little benefit therefrom.
In 1846 Mr. STRATTON became acquainted with Miss Marcia CHALCRAFT, of Posey county, Indiana, who was on a visit to a sister in Evansville, and on the 24th of December of that year they were joined in marriage. She was born in Tillford, near Fanham, Surrey, England, November 13, 1826, and was nearly twelve years of age when she came with her parents, James and Mary (EAD) CHALCRAFT, to the new world. They located in Posey county, where the father had come two years previously and rented land, but in 1844 he removed to Edwards county, Illinois, where he spent his remaining days. Mrs. STRATTON obtained a good education for those early days, which she has greatly supplemented by an extensive course of reading in later life, and would often read aloud to her family on the current issues and events.
In 1853 Mr. STRATTON, with his wife, two children and mother, came to Marshall county by way of the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Lacon, where they landed on the 19th of March. By team they proceeded to Bennington township, where he located a land warrant, and also purchased government land at two dollars and a half per acre, in all a tract of one hundred and twenty acres, to which he later added eighty. He was an energetic, enterprising man, but never enjoyed robust health.
Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. STRATTON, of whom nine are still living: Ruth Ann, widow of William BALL, by whom she had four children: James Henry, who died at the age of eight years; William R., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume; David M., of Memphis, Missouri, who is married and has four children; Mary E., wife of Marion J. FRENCH, who lives near Wenona, Marshall county, and by whom she has three children; Sarah E., wife of John LITCHFIELD, of Toluca, by whom she has two children; Louise Marcia, wife of Frank CARITHERS, of Bennington township, by whom she has three children; Ada Naomi, wife of Robert LITCHFIELD, by whom she has four children; and James Lemuel and Emma M., both at home.
Politically, Mr. STRATTON was originally a whig, and later supported the republican party. He passed away October 2, 1892, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of Rutland, Illinois. It is but just and merited praise to say that, as a citizen, he was honorable, prompt and true to every engagement, as a man he held the honor and esteem of all classes of citizens, and as a husband and father he was worthy of all imitation. He was a man of the time, broad-minded, public-spirited and progressive, and in his daily life and action was ever genial and affable. Mrs. STRATTON was always his close companion, aiding and cheering him in his work, and was truly a model helpmeet. Like her husband, she is surrounded by many warm friends and has the respect of all who know her.