Reformatted 4 November 2019 by Lawrence Eugene Vaughn Jr


Page 289 Johnson County Portrait and Biographical Review (date of publication unknown)

REV. JOHN S. WHITTENBERG was born in Blount County, E. Tenn., in 1823 and now makes his home in Tunnel Hill Township, Johnson County. His father, William Whittenberg, was born in 1803, on the same farm, and was a son of Henry Whittenberg Sr., who was born in Wittenberg, Germany, and came to the United States in an early day. He was a man of limited means, and settled in Blount County, Tenn., on wild land soon after the Revolutionary War, while Tennessee was still a Territory.

He married Mary Pate, of Germany, with whom he lived happily for many years and reared five Sons and four daughters. Three of the former were soldiers in the War of 1812 under Gen. Jackson. The names of these nine children were as follows: Henry, Daniel, Joseph, Matthew, William (father of Rev. John S.), Mary, Sarah, Betsy and Margaret, who all became heads of families and lived to a good old age. The grandfather of our subject removed to Illinois in 1840 or 1841 from Tennessee, where he had acquired six hundred acres of land, out of which he gave each of his sons a farm.

Their son Joseph, and daughter Sarah, wife of John Phillips, were the first of the family to come to Illinois, which was soon after it had become a State. John Phillips was the Representative of his county, Washington, several years, and was one of the framers of the Constitution of the State. Joseph Whittenberg went back to Tennessee and brought his aged parents to Illinois on a visit, but they liked Illinois equally as well as Tennessee and sold their property in that State and made this their home the rest of their lives, the mother dying at the age of eighty one years, being followed to the land of rest by her husband a few years later.

Both were intelligent people retaining their strength and mental faculties to the last, and belonged to the Methodist Church, of which they were active members for a number of years.

William Whittenberg

William Whittenberg, the father of our subject, married Nancy Smith, daughter of John M. Smith, a Methodist clergyman possessed of much ability and a classical education. Mrs. Whittenberg was born March 7, 1800 in Virginia, in which state her mother, Nancy Dyson, who was related to William Henry Harrison, President of the United States, was also born.

The parents of Rev. John S. Whittenberg were farmers in Tennessee, where the father died in 1842, only 39 years old, leaving his widow and eight children, four sons and four daughters, and having previously buried two infant sons. About 2 years after the death of the father and remained of the moved to Henry County, Tennessee, and in the winter of 1845 came to Johnson County, Ill.

Their first home was in Grantsburg Township, where they entered forty acres of land and bought 36 acres, upon which there was already a little improvement, a few acres cleared and a small log cabin. Here they made a good farm, which remained the home of the mother until her death, June 24, 1868, in her 69th year, when her remains were interred in the Salem Cemetery. Her husband and two children are buried in Tennessee, and one son and a daughter are buried in Grantsburg Township.

Rev. John S. Whittenberg and his sister Malinda, wife of Elihu Vaughn, reside in this township on good farms. Sarah, widow of Kit Petersen, resides in Goreville Township, and Matthew is a well-to-do farmer of Pope County. Our subject was reared a farmer and had but nine months schooling before he was 12 years old, and attended school but fifteen days during his fifteenth year. His mother, however, was well educated and taught her children the common branches, which helped them considerably, and all are at the present time well informed young men and women. One brother, William P., is a wealthy farmer in Bloomfield Township.

Rev. Mr. Whittenberg taught a term of school when he was 23 years old, and afterward taught during the winter months for 35 years, becoming very proficient in that profession. He was School Superintendent of Johnson County two terms, and organized the first school institute in the county, conducting it himself for four years. He has also been a local preacher in the Methodist Church for 32 years.

He was married February 15, 1853, to Isabella Gregg, of Kentucky, but who was a resident of Metropolis, Massac County, Ill, and a daughter of William and Dorcas (Clayton) Gregg, who were the first settlers of Massac County. Mr. Gregg was a farmer, and for some years a hotel keeper at Metropolis, and it was at his hotel that Rev. Mr. Whittenberg met Isabella and his fate.

They began married life in a log cabin on the same farm where they now live, which comprised forty acres of new land. He added to the forty acres from time to time until he owned over three hundred acres, some of which he has since sold, and now owns only one hundred and eighty-five acres, one hundred of which are under good cultivation.

Living in the log cabin a few years, Mr. Whittenberg built, in the fall of 1861, a part of the present house. which, is a good two-story building, partly frame and partly hewed logs, weather boarded and ceiled inside. He lived economically and worked industrially until enabled to make an improvement on it in 1867, and twenty five years later added an addition. Rev. Mr. Whittenberg has taken ten degrees in Masonry and has been connected with the Order of Odd Fellows since l877. He has represented the Grand Masonic Lodge some fifteen times and takes a strong stand in politics, being one of the organizers of the Republican Party in this county.

He could not well avoid being a Republican, for he had stood on the slave markets in the South and seen families separated, at which all the finer sensibilities of human nature must revolt. Mr. and Mrs. Whittenberg have lost four infant children, and one son, John W., who died in his eighteenth year, and was a teacher one year before his untimely death in May, 1887. Our subject and his wife have eight children living.

Page 396 Johnson County Portrait and Biographical Review (date of publication unknown)(Some clarification to change “Subject” to given names is added)


William P. Whittenberg, a prominent farmer of Bloomfield Township, was born in Blount County, Tenn., October 25, 1831. His father, William Whittenberg, was born on the same farm, and the latter’s father, Henry Whittenberg, was it is thought, born in Pennsylvania, of German ancestry.

Henry removed from Pennsylvania to Tennessee. and bought a tract of timber land in Blount County, in the locality known as the Middle Settlement, which he improved and lived upon for many years. He at length removed to Illinois, lived with his children, and died in this State a few years later, having reared a large family of children, all of whom except William settled in Washington County, Ill. The maiden name of Henry’s wife was Mary Pate.

Our subject was reared and married in his native state and in 1831 started on horseback to visit Illinois and there seek a location for a home. Reaching Illinois he visited his brother-in-law, but starting on his return trip he was in some way lost, and never again heard of, though his horse returned to the home of his brother-in-law.

His wife was thus left a widow with nine children and in very limited circumstances, and in 1841, accompanied by her family, she removed to Henry County. Tenn., the removal being made by team. After living in Henry County two years she removed by means of oxen and a cart to Illinois, bringing with her all the family and all her earthly possessions. She settled in what is now Grantsburg Township, Johnson County. and made a claim to a tract of Government land, upon which she built a log cabin; but, unable to pay $1.25 per acre for the land, she held it as a claim for a number of years, at the end of which time William P., by working on the Illinois Central Railroad earned the money and paid for the land. Mrs. Whittenberg resided there until a short time before her death, and then lived with her children, and died at the home of the eldest son, John S., in Tunnel Hill Township, at the age of sixty-six years. She reared nine children, viz: Polly A., John S., Sally D., Henry H., William P., Melinda, James, Matthew F. and Daniel W.

William P. was twelve years old when his mother brought him to Illinois, where he was reared and educated in Johnson County. He began when very young to assist with farm work and lived with his mother until he was twenty-three years old, when he married and settled in Elvira Township, where he purchased eighty acres of timber land, built a log house on the place and resided there until 1861.

He then rented the farm out and enlisted in Company K, First Illinois Light Artillery, and served in that command three years and three months, in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. He was wounded at Wolf River Bridge, Moscow, Tenn., in December, 1863, and received a furlough home for forty days, which was afterward extended to one hundred days.

He then rejoined his regiment and was with it until December 10, 1864, when he was honorably discharged and returned home. In 1866 he settled on the farm he now owns and occupies. This farm contains one hundred and sixty-nine acres, on which he has erected a good set of frame buildings, and improved a great portion of his farm for general farming and stock-raising.

Our subject was married in 1854 to Zana Evans, a native of Middle Tennessee, and daughter of Thomas Evans. The lady survived but three years and died in 1857. In 1866, Mr. Whittenberg was married to Martha A. (Crenshaw) Benson, who was born in Gallatin County, a daughter of Frederick Crenshaw. Mr. and Mrs. Whittenberg have six children , viz: William H., Daniel W., Ignatius M., Viola, James F. and Lulu May. The mother of these children is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the father is a Republican in politics. He is a member of Vienna Lodge No 150 AF&AM, and also of Vienna Post No 221, Grand Army of the Republic.

Next Chapter: W.T. Vaughn and The Great World War



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.