Iroquois County Genealogical Society
Old Courthouse Museum
103 West Cherry Street
Watseka, IL 60970-1524
Biography of John M. De Puy.
JOHN M. DE PUY, one of the prominent citizens of Cissna Park, was born in Vermillion County, Ind., May 16, 1854, and is a worthy representative of one of the early families of this county. His father, John De Puy, was born in New Jersey, August 11, 1804, and is of French descent. The great-grandfather of our subject was a native of France, and the grandfather was a hero of the Revolution.
John De Puy, Sr., when eight years old removed with his parents from New Jersey to Ohio, and three years later went to Vermillion County, Ind., becoming one of its first settlers. That winter was spent in old Ft. Harrison. In that locality he resided for fifty years, or until 1869. Throughout the greater part of his life he has followed farming and stock-raising. He drove cattle to Chicago in an early day, and improved a number of farms. In 1869, he brought his family to Iroquois County, where he has since lived. Soon after he sold his farm of two hundred and forty acres, and later bought a tract of three hundred and twenty acres of prairie land in Ash Grove Township at $3.25 per acre and resided thereon until 1891, since which time he has lived at Cissna Park. He added to his lands until he owned eleven hundred and fifty acres, but has recently sold. His life has been a busy and useful one. He has acquired a handsome property and to each of his sons he has given good farms. He was married in Vermillion County, Ind., to Miss Scott, and unto them were born three children, one of whom died in infancy. Abraham is now a resident physician of Chicago, and Albert is a farmer of Vermillion County, Ind. For his second wife, Mr. De Puy chose Miss Jane McKee, who was born Kentucky in 1817, but came to Edgar County, Ill., about 1831. She is still living. Two children were born of this marriage, John M., and Oliver M., who resides with his father and mother.
Mr. De Puy has taken a very active part in church work. He united with the Baptist Church in Vermillion County, and aided in the organization of the Bloomfield Baptist Association. He built a church at Cissna Park, which formerly stood on his farm, and later donated it to the people of Cissna Park as a union church. He has often paid the ministers from his own pocket and has ever been liberal to missionary work. In manner, he is plain and unassuming and cares nothing for dress. It is said that on one occasion he went to Paxton in a homespun suit to the dedication of a church, but when pledges were called for the plainly dressed farmer gave $500. In 1840, he voted for William Henry Harrison and supported the Whig party until the organization of the Republican party, with which he has since affiliated. He took great pride in having a fine farm and fine stock arid is numbered among the highly respected and valued citizens of the community.
John M. De Puy, whose name heads this record, had very meagre educational advantages, as in early life his health was poor and he could not stand the confinement of a school room. At the age of fifteen he came with his parents to Illinois and had to begin buying stock and taking charge of this part of the work. He used to herd cattle at an early age and was almost raised in the saddle. He afterward attended school for a year in Onarga. Throughout his entire life he has engaged almost exclusively in farming and stock-raising and has met with excellent success in his business dealings.
April 30, 1881, at the age of twenty-seven years, Mr. De Puy was united in marriage with Miss Jennie Fleming, and unto them have been born two children, Carl and Maud, aged ten and eight years respectively. The parents of Mrs. De Puy reside with them. Her father, William Fleming, was born in the North of Ireland, October 29, 1816, and in 1832 began teaching school, having acquired a good education previous to that time. His father died, and as he was the eldest child, he aided in the support of a large family. In 184l, he crossed the Atlantic to Pittsburgh, Pa., and became Assistant Cashier in a bank. He was there married in 1844, to Jane Cullen, also a native of the Emerald Isle, and the following year they emigrated to LaSalle County, Ill., where Mr. Fleming entered a claim and developed a good farm. He was a civil engineer by profession and was County Surveyor of La Salle County much of this time. In 1870, he removed to Wheaton in order that his children might attend college, and in the fall of 1873 came to Iroquois County, locating on a farm in Pigeon Grove. He there resided until 1889, since which time he and his estimable wife have resided with their daughter, Mrs. De Puy. He has held a number of local offices and for sixteen years served as Supervisor in La Salle County and seven years in this county. To some extent, he still engages in surveying. He has been a great reader all his life and keeps well informed on all questions of interest. His business career has been one of success. In politics, he was an Abolitionist and afterward a Republican.
The Fleming family numbered eight children but one died in infancy. The others are: Alice, wife of J. L. Westgate, of Cissna Park. James H., who was educated in Wheaton College and is now a lawyer of Hastings, Neb. He served as County Judge for six years and is now serving as County Treasurer. Dora is the wife of Dr. Van Doren, of Saybrook, Ill. Albert is the next younger. Jennie is the wife of John M. De Puy. Jessie resides in Hastings, Neb.; and Will is employed in the Electric Railroad Company, in the State of Washington.
Mrs. De Puy was educated in Wheaton College and is a lady of culture and refinement. In 1891, our subject and his wife left the farm and removed to Cissna Park, where they now have a comfortable home, which is the abode of hospitality. In social circles, they rank high, and their friends throughout the community are many. Mr. De Puy engages to some extent in loaning on mortgages, but is practically living a retired life. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican and is a well-informed man, both politically and otherwise. He is a member of the Baptist Church and his wife of the United Brethren. He well deserves representation in this volume and it is with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of his life.