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Alexander Trotter


Who is engaged in general farming on section 25, Antioch Township, has for fifty-two years been a resident of Lake County. He has seen its wonderful growth and development, has watched with interest the progress it has made and has aided in its upbuilding and transformation. One by one the pioneers have passed away until few are left to relate the history of Lake County in its pioneer days. The sketch of Mr. Trotter furnishes us with many facts of interest concerning that time. He is a native of Scotland, having been born in Berwickshire, July 3, 1832. His father, George Trotter, was born in June, 1800. On the 4th of June, 1826, he married Jane Purves, who was born July 18, 1800, and their union was blessed by three children ere they left Scotland. In 1833 they sailed for America and after a long and tedious voyage of eight weeks reached their destination. Three years were spent in New York City and during a similar length of time Mr. Trotter had charge of a farm on Long Island. He then determined to try his fortune in the West and traveling by way of the Erie Canal and Great Lakes, reached Kenosha, Wis. in 1839. He then traveled across the country to Lake County, and located land in Newport Township. It was unsurveyed and had not been cleared of the brush and was entirely destitute of improvement. He and his family began in a little log cabin in true pioneer style. When the land was surveyed he obtained an eighty-acre tract lying partly in Newport and partly in Antioch Townships, and in return for the care and cultivation he bestowed upon it yielded him a livelihood. Many hardships and privations were borne in those early days. The first barrel of flour which the family had cost $10 and another $10 to transport it from Chicago to their home and for three days they had nothing but bran in the house. There was a mill in Burlington, Wis. but no road had been cut through. Ox-teams were used for farm work and for the necessary journeys to and from market. The farming implements were very crude in comparison with the improved ones of today and the work was much harder owing to the land being new. We have mentioned some of the hardships yet this life was not without its pleasures. There were merry-makings in which the whole neighborhood took part, the pioneer homes were proverbial for their hospitality and one could amply indulge a love of bunting as wild game was very plentiful.

Mr. Trotter continued to reside upon the farm which he entered until his death on the 8th of May, 1862. During his last years he was blind. His wife died December 21, 1876, at the age of seventy-six years. Both were reared under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church but after coming to this county became active and faithful members of the Congregational Church. The members of the family were: Isabella who died of cholera in New York; Helen, wife of John Strang whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Alex of this sketch; Joanna, who was born in New York City, became the wife of William Hughes, deceased, and now resides in Missouri; Emily M. is the wife of William Judson of Evanston, Ill.; and Elizabeth J., married William Robertson, moved to Iowa and died leaving three children, George A., Grace J. and Helen E.

Alex Trotter was but a year old when brought by his parents to America, and when a lad of seven summers came to this county. His educational advantages were limited to those afforded by the district schools of the neighborhood. When blindness came upon his father, the management and care of the farm devolved upon him, he being the only son, and with a gravity, thoughtfulness and business ability seldom seen in one so young, he looked after its interests. He has devoted himself assiduously to his business and left home on no account for a journey of as much as one hundred miles until seven years ago when he paid a visit to Iowa.

A marriage ceremony performed June 7, 1855, united the destinities of Alex Trotter and Oliveia L. Ames who is also a representative of the early families of the County. They became parents of a numerous family, including George, now deceased; William, a resident of Hamilton County, Iowa; Frank, deceased; Helen S. at home; Fred in Chicago; Albert M. of Iowa: Richard G., Mary L., John. P., and Lucy D., all of whom are still under the parental roof. Frank was drowned by attempting to cross a stream on a log and George lost his life in trying to save his brother.

Mr. and Mrs. Trotter are members of the Disciples Church and in politics he has been a Republican since the time he cast his first Presidential vote for John C. Fremont. From early life he has been a strong temperance man and does all in his power for the advancement of that cause. His business is that of general farming and dairying and he is the owner of the eighty-acre tract of land upon which his father settled more than half a century ago. We find Mr. Trotter a person who is not only self-made financially but is also self-educated. By careful and thorough reading of standard works in his leisure hours he has become well informed, and can now converse intelligently and in an interesting manner upon all subjects of general interest; notwitbstanding his training in text books was limited.


 

 


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