James G. Chalfant

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

JAMES G. CHALFANT, one of the honored veterans of the late war, and a prominent and highly respected citizen of Oquawka, where he is now engaged in the practice of law, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, for he was born in Coshocton County, August 30, 1837. His father, John R. Chalfant, was a native of the same county, and by occupation was a farmer. Having attained his majority, he was united in marriage with Miss Delilah Hayes, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Hayes, and their union was blessed with six children. David Y., who was a physician, is now deceased; James G. is the second in order of birth; Henry M. is living in Coshocton County, Ohio; Phoebe E. is the wife of George Elliott, a resident of Forest City, Mo; Nancy J. is the widow of Israel McConnell; and Mary E., twin sister of Nancy J., is now deceased.

Mr. Chalfant whose name heads this record acquired his early education in the district schools, and afterward completed the scientific course of study in the Ohio Wesleyan University of Dela- ware, Ohio. He then engaged in farm work for a time, and devoted his leisure hours to the study of law, for he did not wish to follow agricultural pursuits throughout his life. In September, 1859, when twenty-two years of age, he left the Buckeye State and came to Illinois, locating in Morgan County, where for two years he engaged in teaching. He then responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting with the hundred-day men of the Eleventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. When this term had expired he returned home, and on the 1st of August, 1862, joined the boys in blue of Company D, One Hundred and Sixth Illinois Infantry. He participated in the siege of Vicksburg, the battles of Yazoo River and Helena, and the Red River expedition. Near Moscow, he was taken prisoner, and, though unmounted, he was compelled to keep up with his captors, who were on horseback. He continued in the service until August 1, 1865, when he was honorably discharged. For three years he had been at the front, and was ever found faithful to the Old Flag and the cause it represented.

After his return, Mr. Chalfant took up his residence in Lincoln, Logan County, Ill., and in September, 1865, he was nominated as County Superintendent of Public Instruction for a term of four years. He won the election, and during that period faithfully discharged the duties of the office. Having in the mean time studied law, he was admitted to the Bar on the 9th of March, 1870, and engaged in the practice of the legal profession until November, 1873, when he was re-elected County Superintendent of Schools. From 1877 until 1883 he again practiced at the Bar of Logan County, but in the latter year went to Pierre. S. Dak., where he made a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of Government land, which he still owns. He made his home upon it for four years, and then, in 1887, came to Oquawka, where he has since resided. His time and attention have been given to the cause of education and to the practice of law, and along both lines he has met with good success.

On the 2d of February. 1867, Mr. Chalfant wedded Man A. Carroll, a daughter of Thomas Carroll, of Amboy, Ill. They became the parents of four children: Hallie S. and May E., both of whom are engaged in teaching in Monmouth; William P., who is serving as Police Magistrate of Oquawka; and Frank, who is attending school in Monmouth. Mr. Chalfant is independent in politics, supporting the man whom he thinks best qualified for the office, regardless of party affiliations. He holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and belongs to Ellsworth Post No. 172, G. A. R., in which he has held various offices, including that of Commander. During his service as County Superintendent he organized the Institute of Logan County, and in many ways advanced the educational interests of the community. The cause has ever found in him a warm friend, and he has done much for its upbuilding. He has now become quite widely known in Henderson County, and is highly esteemed by his many warm friends.