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Rankin Family History Project

James T. Christian


James T. Christian, of Lithium, Mo., is a native of the “Old Dominion,” having been born in Amherst County in that State on March 5, 1824. He is the son of Wesley E. and Lucy (Pendleton) Christian, the latter of whom died when James was eight years of age.

His father married again, and with his family removed to Washington County, Ill., where after the death of his second wife, he married Mrs. Mahala Gison. Later he removed to Massac County, Ill., where his death occurred.

James received his education in the public schools, and on April 2, 1846, was united in marriage with Malinda J., daughter of Hartwell Moore, of Washington County, Ill. Soon after he enlisted in Company A, Second Illinois Infantry, E. C. Coffee, captain, and William H. Bissell, colonel, and served with the regiment until it was mustered out. This service in the Mexican War greatly impaired his health, but he returned home and was engaged in milling until the beginning of the Civil War. When the call to arms was made Mr. Christian was again among the first to enlist, and joined Company A, Eighteenth Iowa Infantry, of which he was elected second lieutenant.

In 1863, after having participated in several engagements, he was discharged for disability, but after a year’s recuperation, like the true patriot that he is, he enlisted in Company E, Forty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and was commissioned first lieutenant. At the expiration of his term of service he returned home, and, although practically incapacitated by disease contracted during his army life, he has since worked some at his trade.

In June, 1882, he came to the neighborhood of where Lithium now is, and by chance discovered the medicinal qualities of this celebrated spring. When the town was laid out he was agent for the sale of lots and erected the first residence, completing it in December 1882.

Mrs. Christian died on September 19, 1879 and he subsequently married Clara C. Gillespie, a daughter of Judge James Gillespie and sister of Col. David Gilespie. She was born at Shiloh, Ill., in 1837.

Mr. Christian’s children are all residents of Illinois: John H. and Calvin S. are operators on the Illinois Central Railroad, Josephine, the elder daughter, is the wife of Harrison H. Pursell, of Pinckneyville, and Araminta J. The younger daughter is the wife of Charles Sawyer, of the same town.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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