Illinois: History of Cass County, Illinois, ed. William Henry Perrin. O. L. Baskin & Co. Historical Publishers, Chicago, 1882.Cass County.
THE EPLER FAMILY is of German origin. Abram Epler, was born in Lancaster (now Dauphin) County, Penn., Feb. 28, 1769. He was married in 1791, to Miss Anna Oldweiler. She was born Oct. 26, 1768. In 1798 he migrated to Kentucky, and settled near the falls of the Ohio, from whence he removed across the Ohio river,into what is now Clarke [sic] County, Ind. He was a man of
commendable enterprise and industry, a miller, distiller and farmer, and disposed of the products of his varied business in
southern markets, principally New Orleans, transportation being by flat boats, steamboats not yet having been introduced on
Western waters. In 1832, Abram Epler removed to Illinois, settling on Indian Creek, in Morgan County, Ills., on section
two, township sixteen north, range nine west, of the third principal meridian, where he died Jan. 22, 1837. Abram Epler was the father of six sons and five daughters, who widely scattered, settling in various parts of the West. John, Jacob, David and Isaac preceded him to Illinois, and settled on farms now embraced within the limits of Cass County. George, the youngest son,remaining with his parents, attending them in their removal to Illinois, resided at the old homestead until his removal to Sangamon County, near Farmingdale, where he died Sept. 5, 1867.
John and David are deceased, Jacob resides at Pleasant Plains, Sangamon County, Ill., which prosperous village he settled and
founded about the year 1848. Isaac resides in Otoe County, Neb., near Nebraska City. The above named, John, Jacob, David, Isaac
and George were enterprising and eminently successful farmers, and were among the leaders of that noble class of men, who by
their industry, morality and exemplary citizenship, laid the foundations of our social and civil institutions, with credit to
themselves, and with honor to their country. Anna, the mother of this family, died may 3, 1847.
John Epler, the oldest son of Abram, was born in Lancaster County, Penn., April 15, 1795, being about four years of age when
his parents settled in Clark County, Ind., and being the oldest son, was always his father's right hand business man. Early in
youth he assumed the more weighty responsibilities of his father's heavy river transportation, and often made long and
profitable trips down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, with the cargoes of the product of his father's business. Closing out, perhaps, at New Orleans, he would purchase a saddle horse, and return home across country. He married Miss Sarah Beggs, a daughter of Captain Charles Beggs, a pioneer of 1829, of Morgan County. She was born at the falls of the Ohio, April 28, 1800.
John Epler came to Cass County, located at Little Indian, in 1831, and up to the time of his death, which occurred in Cass
County, May 26, 1876, was one of the most active citizens, and enterprising farmers of that county. He was no scholar, yet his
reading took a wide range, an but few in busy life possessed the historical information which he did. In Biblical, Ancient and Modern History he was considered an authority by all who interested themselves in such studies. He raised a family of twelve children: Charles B., who married Miss Mary Lurton, daughter of Dr. Lurton, of Jacksonville, Ill.; died 1855, leaving no offspring. Abram, the second, died Aug. 7, 1847, unmarried. Cyrus is a resident of Jacksonville, and Judge of the judicial district, of which Morgan County is a part. Mary, and the fourth child, married Richard Barnett, of Sangamon County. She died in 1859. Sarah is now Mrs. D. W. Fairbank, a merchant of Jacksonville; Elizabeth the sixth child, married H. H. Hall, now of Jacksonville. She died at Faribault, Minn., in 1869, leaving five children.
John M., one of the prominent farmers of Cass County, was in early life one of the main stays of his father's family. He
attended the common schools of the county, and at twenty-one years of age, purchased a portion of the land now comprising his
estate of [illegible] acres. He has for years past devoted much time to the breeding and raising of short-horn cattle, of which
he has a fine herd. Has twice been chosen a member of the State Board of Agriculture, and has for twenty years been connected
with Cass County Agricultural Society, and for five years a presiding officer of the organization. March 29, 1855, he married Miss Nancy A., daughter of Hon. David and (Rachel R.Johnson) Epler. She was born Oct. 27, 1833, and is a mother of seven children, viz.: Edward E., Laura, Mary A., John W.,
Frankie, Charles and Frank, who died in infancy.
[Note: A handwritten correction on the printed copy indicates that Frankie, not Frank, was the one who died in infancy.]
Mr. Epler is one of the charter members of the Knights of Honor of Virginia, and is identified with the Democratic party.
William, the eighth of the family, now a prominent citizen of Virginia, is a grain dealer and shipper. At the age of
twenty-eight was a member of the first Constitutional Convention of the State of Nevada, held at Carson City in 1863, in which
State he was for eight years engaged as Civil Engineer and Deputy U. S. Land and Mineral Surveyor and during a part of that time connected with the engineering department of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, of California. In 1869, he returned to Cass County and settled on his farm near Little Indian. In 1874, was
elected Sheriff of Cass County, where he has since resided. He married Miss Jennie Woodman of Paw Paw, Van Buren Co., Mich. The
ceremony took place April 12, 1859, at Duluth, Minn., and was the first marriage of white persons pronounced in that city. Mrs.
Epler died at Star City, Humboldt Co., Nevada, Oct. 2, 1863, leaving one daughter, Miss Nellie W. Mr. Epler again married,
Miss Ellen Conover July 5, 1870. Ellen is daughter of Levi Conover (of whom see sketch elsewhere in this volume), and they have two children, Florence and Myron.
David was the ninth child of the family, and died at the age of two years.
Myron, the tenth child, lived to acquire an excellent education, and a thorough knowledge of the law, and located in
Chicago. Hard study had shattered his constitution, and in spite of much travel and strenuous efforts to regain his health, he died at Helena City, Montana, Sept. 5, 1866.
Margaret E. received a Seminary education at Monticello, Ill.; married John W. Price, a prominent druggist of Princeton,
Bureau Co., Ill.
Albert, the youngest of the family and the present Mayor of Virginia, was born Jan. 22, 1845 at the Epler homestead. After
receiving his rudimental schooling at home, he took a course of study at the Wesleyan University, at Bloomington, finishing in
1864. He then engaged in farming until 1871, when he entered the livery business for two years. Since that time he has been
engaged in the sale of agricultural implements and farm hardware, and dealing in grain. In 1880-81, he served as alderman of his ward, and in the fall of 1881 was elected to the city Mayorship. He married Miss Martha J. Vance, daughter of Samuel S. Vance (deceased), who was a prominent farmer and stock man of Cass County. Mrs. Epler was born in Morgan County, Aug. 9, 1845.
They have seven children, viz.: Nellie, Edgar, Lizzie, Ada L., Frederick, Jessie, and Ralph, of whom Frederick is deceased.
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