Friday, June 4, 2010

William Venard

Birth:   Jan. 29, 1816
           Harrison County, Kentucky

Death:  Jun. 5, 1881
            McDonough County, Illinois


Above, the William and Sarah Jane Venard stone as it appeared about 1973. Photo by Dan Venard of Macomb (now deceased).

Green vegetation covered the cemetery in the summer of 1994 when the stone was still upright yet tilting.  Fourteen years later in March 2008 (below), the stone was on the ground, embedded in mud with the top of the stone further displaced.

One of the pioneer farmers in McDonough County, William Venard was the only son born to John and Sarah (Wilson) Venard. He moved with his parents, sisters, several uncles, aunts and cousins to Illinois around 1830, settling briefly in Morgan County before moving to Bethel Township in 1831. Upon his father's death, he bought out the interest of the other heirs, ultimately owning 200 acres of fully improved, mostly prairie, nearly all under cultivation in the southeast quarter of section 14. In the 1840's he was part of the McDonough County militia serving in Illinois' "Mormon War."

In 1836 William Venard married another native Kentuckian, Sara Jane McClure, daughter of Greenup & Mary (McComsey) McClure. Theirs was the first wedding in Bethel Township. They were the parents of nine children: Isabel, John F., George Greenup, Sarah Jane, James William, Perry Wilson, Robert Y., Thomas Webster, and Josephine.

He shares a large granite stone with his wife (her inscription is on the opposite side).  The stone has been knocked off its base it is lying sideways in the cemetery.  The grave photos above are among the most striking depictions of the manner in which this cemetery has deteriorated over the past 30 years. It will take a great deal of assistance to replace this very heavy granite stone on its pedestal.

William Venard's parents, several daughters, and his in-laws are also buried in this cemetery.

His obituary appeared in the Macomb Journal on June 9, 1881:
"An early settler of McDonough county, William Venard died at his home in Bethel township on June 5th, 1881. He was born in Harrison county, Kentucky in 1816, came to Morgan county, Illinois in 1821, and then to McDonough county. He was married to Sarah Jane McClure in 1836. He is survived by his wife, 6 sons and 2 daughters. The funeral was Monday, and he was buried in the burial ground near his residence. Attending the funeral of their father and brother-in-law were J.F. Venard and Robert McClure of Carroll county, Missouri and J.W. Venard of Cherokee, Kansas."

Primary sources: "Venard-Van Antwerp-. . . McClure . . . etc. Genealogy," by Daniel Lloyd Venard, 1983, Macomb, Illinois, and "Corrections & Additions for Venard-Van Antwerp Genealogy" by Daniel Lloyd Venard, 1988.

Additional biographical information comes from historical newspapers, census records, vital statistics, and marriage records from Ancestry.com, the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, and from Duane Lester's, "Rural Cemeteries of McDonough County, Illinois, Volume II, Bethel-Industry."

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1 comment:

Juli Jarvis said...

I just came across your website. My husband is descended from Nancy Ann Fugate, who married James E. Jarvis. Her father, James Martin Fugate, was a brother to the Isaac Quincy Fugate buried here. I'm so glad that you posted this website. I have spent years on my family tree and am just starting to get my husband's family into my database.