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.
ROBERT PENCE, one of the extensive landowners of Henderson County, who now carries on general farming and
stock-raising on section 15, Lomax Township, claims Pennsylvania as the State of his nativity. He was born near
Williamsport, in Lycoming County, June 3, 1830, and is a son of John and Hannah Pence. The family is of German
lineage. Our subject was one of eight children, namely: Robert; Martha J., who died at the age of four years;
Philip, a farmer of Henderson County; Susan, wife of Hinton Smith, an agriculturist of this community; Harriet, who
died in 1882; Louisa, wife of James Harwood, of Benton County, Iowa; Annie B., wife of Eli Pickering, a ranchman of
Kearney, Neb.; and one who died in infancy.
Mr. Pence of this sketch has been connected with agricultural interests throughout his entire life. He was
reared to manhood upon a farm, and early became familiar with all the duties connected with its cultivation. With
his parents he came to Illinois from Pennsylvania in 1838, the journey being made by canal and river. The family
located where our subject now resides, the lather purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 15,
Lomax Township, which he secured from the Government with a soldier's claim. It was a wild and unimproved tract of
prairie, but he at once built a log cabin upon it, and began its further development. In course of time the land
was transformed into rich and fertile fields, and the farm became one of the best in the neighborhood. There John
Pence made his home until his death, which occurred April 12, 1860. He was a leading and influential citizen, and
aided in organizing the schools of this community and in laying out the roads. His wife passed away in 1881.
In the usual manner of farmer lads Robert Pence spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and became familiar
with all the experiences of life on the frontier. He walked three miles to a log schoolhouse, where a school was
conducted on the subscription plan, and in that way he acquired his education. At the age of twenty -three he
started out in life for himself, pursuing the occupation to which he was reared. For a few years he operated the
home farm, but on his marriage removed to another farm.
On the nth of December, 1862, Mr. Pence was joined in wedlock with Miss Ann Harwood. Their union has been
blessed with ten children, and the family circle yet remains unbroken. They are: James R.: Thomas L.; Estella M.,
wife of Newton H. Vaughan; P. Edward; Charles H. ; Hettie A., wife of Charles Smiddy; Mattie J.; Orville F.; Olive
B.; and Harry F.
Upon his marriage Mr. Pence removed to a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 9, Lomax Township, and
engaged in its cultivation and improvement for a period of four years, when he returned to the old homestead, where
he has since resided, except for eight years, when he lived upon a farm close by. He owns altogether five hundred
acres of land, and receives a good income therefrom, owing to the care and cultivation bestowed upon it. His
well-directed efforts and good business ability have brought for him a handsome property and made him one of the
substantial citizens of the community. In politics, he was for many years a supporter of the Democratic party. He
has served as School Director and Road Supervisor, and has always been a wide-awake and enterprising citizen, ready
to aid in the advancement of those interests calculated to prove of public benefit. His sterling worth and strict
integrity have won for him many friends, and it is with pleasure that we present this record of his life to our