JOHN D. BRAMLETT, of Saline county, Illinois, bears a name that has been a familiar one in this part of the country since back in the days when Illinois was a territory.
Benjamin Bramlett, eldest brother of Nathan Bramlett, John D. Bramlett's father, helped to survey Saline county, in company with John Rector, who in 1805 was killed by the Indians, and was in the same squad with him. Benjamin at the time of the survey selected a tract of land for his father, Reuben Bramlett, of Kentucky, and hither in the fall of 1816 came Reuben's two sons, John and Nathan; aged respectively nineteen and seventeen years, to begin the work of clearing and improving. They cleared a portion of the land and the following year put in a crop, after which they returned to Kentucky and that autumn, 1817, piloted the rest of the family to the new location. In the spring of 1818, by the payment of two dollars and fifty cents per acre, Reuben Bramlett received territorial certificate for the land and later secured deed from the state. Benjamin Bramlett made settlement one mile north of the present town of Eldorado. He lived in this county to a ripe old age, and died here, of measles. The son John above referred to became insane. He died here, unmarried. Their father, Reuben, was ninety-seven years of age at the time of his death. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary, war, had served under Washington, and was rich in war and pioneer experience. Many were the interesting and thrilling stories he related to his children and grandchildren. He died here and was buried at Wolf Creek.
Nathan Bramlett was born in Kentucky, in 1799, and, as above outlined, came to Illinois in 1816. Here in 1820 he married Mary Up-church, daughter of Samuel Upchurch, one of the early settlers of Saline county, at the time of their marriage he being twenty-one years of age and she nineteen. He bought forty acres near his father's homestead, and lived on it for a number of years, until during the Mexican war he sold out with the intention of going to Texas. His son John D., then a soldier in the Mexican war, prevailed upon the father to remain in Illinois, and he spent the rest of his life here. He died in Pope county, in 1859, at the age of sixty years.
Another brother of Nathan who owned land and made his home here was Coleman, the youngest of the family. Coleman Bramlett lived on a farm adjoining that of his father. He bought his father's homestead of eighty acres, and John D., in 1848, bought it from him.
John D. Bramlett was born on the site of the present Eldorado High School or one hundred yards to the north of it, April 8, 1824, and in this vicinity he has spent his long and useful life, with the exception of the time he was absent serving in the Mexican war. It was in May, 1847, that he enlisted, and he went to the front as a member of Company H, First Illinois Volunteers, under Captain Hampton and Colonel
James Newby. Going to Santa Fe, New Mexico, over the old Santa Fe trail, the regiment met Colonel Doniplan coming back; were in skirmishes with the Indians and guarded the citizens against the Indians. Mr. Bramlett was in this service seventeen months. Another Saline county man who was in his regiment was Benjamin Sisk, who survived until October 22, 1911, and was in his eighty-sixth year at the time of his death. Mr. Sisk and Mr. Bramlett attended together many of the Mexican war soldier reunions.
Returning to Saline county after the war, Mr. Bramlett purchased the farm upon which sixty-three years of his life have been spent. When he married he and his wife agreed to save one-third of what they made, and from time to time they invested their savings in land, buying before the price was much advanced, and they reared their children to be economical. The home place, now a valuable farm, he purchased at three dollars, twelve and one-half cents per acre, and the highest price he paid for any land was twenty dollars per acre. He has given some of his land to his children, and still retains three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is underlaid with coal. It has never been mined, however, and holds great future value.
In 1850 John D. Bramlett and Serena Gates were united in marriage, and they became the parents of fourteen children, thirteen of whom lived to adult age. Of this number ten are still living, five sons and five daughters. The eldest son, Francis Marion, lives near his father, the others, Nathan N., Meeks, John M. and Ambrose, having gone West, the last two named now being residents of Sherman, Texas. Nathan N. is a farmer, merchant and postmaster in New Mexico. Of the daughters, we record that Rebecca, wife of Frank Farmer, lives in Fannin county, Texas; and the others, Ann Eliza, wife of Harrison Wise, Rosa, her father's housekeeper, Nancy, wife of William Dunn, and Mollie, wife of W. R. Joyner, all live in the vicinity in which they were born and reared. The mother of this family died in 1906.
Religiously Mr. Bramlett is a Baptist. When he was twenty years of age he united with Union Grove church, near his home, of which he has since been a consistent and worthy member.