The farmer, after years of strenuous endeavor, during which he rises early and toils through the long days until after sunset, thoroughly earns the years of rest he takes when he feels that he has accomplished enough to entitle him to such relaxation, and some of the most representative men of Gallatin county belong to the retired class. Having plenty of time on their hands, they are able to probe deeply into civic matters and look into affairs generally, so that during these years of seeming inactivity they are really most useful, for they are rendering their comniunity a service that cannot be overestimated. One of the men whose agricultural operations once assumed proportions of considerable acreage is William Wisehart, a retired citizen of Shawneetown, who is widely known and universally respected. Mr. Wisehart was born three miles north of Shawneetown, Gallatin county, Illinois, January 7, 1832, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Miller) Wisehart, natives of Pennsylvania, and grandson of Michael Wisehart, who came from Germany.
John Wisehart spent his youth in his native state, and. then went to Lexington, Kentucky, but after spending two years there came to fllinois in 1828, crossing the Ohio river at Shawneetown. He took up land three miles from that village, and there died in 1836, when but forty-four years of age, leaving his widow with seven children, of whom William is the only survivor. Mrs. Wisehart died on the old farm when eighty-two years of age. The children were: Richmond, who was engaged in farming, began to preach at an early day as a minister of the Christian church, and for fifty years was well known in this connection all over Southern Illinois, his death occurring when seventy-nine years of age; Mary, who married James Rice, passed away in Gallatin when forty-two years of age, he also being deceased; John, a farmer of Gallatin county, died when sixty-five years of age; Samuel, a farmer and stockman of
this section, died when fifty years of age; William; Ellen, who married William Byrd, died when fifty years of age; and Hannah, who married Albert DeWitt, died at the age of thirty-five years.
William Wisehart grew up on the old homestead farm and was reared to agricultural pursuits, having charge of the family tract until he was twenty-five years of age, at which time he went to live on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the original purchase. He continued to cultivate this land until his retirement in 1905, at which time he had accumulated 800 acres, in addition to the home place, his total holdings being 960 acres in six farms, most of which land he rented. For a number of years he was extensively engaged in stock feeding and raising, having cattle, hogs, sheep, jacks and horses. A Democrat in politics, his public life was confined to holding public school offices, but he has always taken an interest in anything that pertained to the welfare of his county, and was ready at all times to give his influence or financial aid to movements of a progressive or beneficial nature. Although not a member of any special denomination, Mr. Wisehart is a believer in Christianity and supports the churches of all creeds.
At the age of twenty-five years Mr. Wisehart was married to Miss Sarah Gill, who was also born in the vicinity of Shawneetown, daughter of Henry and Caroline (Thomasson) Gill, who came to Illinois about 1830. Mrs. Wisehart is the only survivor of three children, and she and Mr. Wisehart have had the following children: Laura, the widow of William Mattingly; Albert, a stockman and farmer near the old home; Anna, who married James Pursey, a well-known miller at Equality; Marshall, formerly a teacher and attorney and for two years cashier of the City National Bank at Shawneetown; and Lucy, who married William Powell, of McLeansboro, Illinois. Mrs. William Mattingly, together with her daughter, Carrie Elizabeth (Mattingly) Woods, and grandson, William Lawrence Woods, live with Mr. and Mrs. Wisehart, and one of the valued possessions of the family is a photograph in which are shown the four generations of the family. During his long and active career Mr. Wisehart has seen many changes take place in this part of the state, and he has done his full share in bringing these changes about and in developing his section of the county. He can now look back over his active years with a sense of duty well done, and may justly feel that what success has come to him is well merited as the results of his own industry and hard labor.