Reader, Jeptha - Macoupin County Illinois
©1996 Don Reader

READER, Jeptha

A First Family of Macoupin County IL

 Jeptha READER (1776-1839) + Winney HARRISON (1777-1853) Married 1803 in Mecklenburg Co., VA Moved to Overton Co., TN by 1824 Moved to Macoupin Co., IL in 1830
Jeptha READER, and his son Paschal, came to Macoupin County with his family in 1830 from Overton County (now Pickett), TN. We have the family bible pages of Paschal, in which Paschal recorded all the birth dates and death dates in the family including his parents, siblings and children up through the 1850's. Alas, no marriage dates were recorded. Jeptha took up farming as he had done in TN, and also served as an officer in the state militia during the Black Hawk war. He died in 1839 and his grave is in the Reader cemetary, just outside of the village of Reader, west of Carlinville.


Nancy R. READER (1804-1834) + Williamson BROWN

Elizabeth G. READER (1806-1864) + Thomas ARNETT (1804-1874)

Sisley B. READER (1808-1857) + ??? BARRIS

Martha H. READER (1810-1835)

Paschal L. READER (1812-1867) + Margaret RAFFERTY (1816-1889)

Margaret H. READER (1814-18??) + Jesse P. PEEBLES

Sarah A. READER (1816-1864) + William MARSHALL (1814-1856)

Jane W. READER (1819-18??)

Rebeca L. READER (1821-1836)

James H. READER (1823-18??) + Possibly: Rebecca BOOTH

2. Paschal L. READER (1812-1868) + Margaret RAFFERTY (1816- ) Moved to Macoupin Co., IL in 1830 Married 1837 in Macoupin Co., IL

Paschal READER was born in 1812, possibly in TN or VA. He came to Macoupin County with his parents in 1830 when he was 18 years old. He met and married Margaret RAFFERTY and they had 10 children, of whom 6 lived to adulthood. The boys who carried on the READER name were James K. Polk, George Washington, and William Donelson READER.

Paschal was a well-to-do farmer in what became Western Mound township, acquiring a large amount of rich farmland from the federal government. He was an officer in the state militia along with his father Jeptha, taking part in the Black Hawk war. He later became a Justice of the Peace, and a state legislator. He was called "Squire Reader" and was known to be a firm but fair dispenser of justice, settling many local disputes with an iron hand. He was also very active in Democratic politics. Although having a large family himself already, he took in two young Gillmore boys, John and Ephriam, whose mother had died and whose father left them with an uncle who was unable to care for them. Paschal raised these two boys as his own. But that is another story.

The Civil War proved to be the downfall of Paschal, as he was very much against it. Whether it was because of his Tennessee origins, his Democratic party affiliation, or concern for his three young sons, he took an active part in protesting the Union Army recruiters. When the Army recruiters came to the area, Paschal would find out where they were and show up. Waiting until the recruiters had finished their appeal, Paschal would stand up and ask the gathered crowd if he could say a few words so they could hear "the other side". Eventually he was arrested for "anti-Union" activities by the sheriff of Macoupin County. While being held at the jail in Carlinville, some hotheads got wind that a Souther sympathizer had been arrested and formed a mob to break into the jail, presumably to lynch him. While the mob battered down the door of the jail with a telegraph pole, the quick-thinking sheriff got Paschal out the back door and onto a train to take him to Springfield. However, the mob heard about this and tore up the tracks in front of the train. The train then backed up all the way to Litchfield before switching to another track to go on to Springfield.


Jeptha H. READER (1839-1842)

Elizabeth T. READER (1840-????) + A.B. PEEBLES

Nancy Jane READER (1842-1899) + John HAGAMAN (1836-1912)

Martha Emaline READER (1843-????) + George ORR

Mary Virginia READER (1845-1845)

James K. Polk READER (1846-191?) + Lou(ise?) E. Poley

George Washington READER(1847-1930) + Emily SMITH (1857-1926)

William Donelson READER (1848-19??) + Lucy J. ALBIN

Harriet Caroline READER (1851-1853)

Joeseph READER (1853-1853)

My grandfather, Ernest READER, son of G.W. READER, wrote that Paschal was held in "the Old Capital Prison in Washington, DC" but I suspect that he was not taken any further than Springfield. In prison he proudly refused a parole for many months, but eventually acceeded to the wishes of his captors and signed it. He returned home a broken man, in both spirit and health. Resolving to leave IL after the war, in 1867 he left by wagon to visit his brother-in-law Joseph RAFFERTY who had already moved to Lancaster in the Dallas area and to seek land for his family in Texas. However, he caught pneumonia there and died. He was buried in Texas, but his monument was erected in the Reader Cemetery on the old homestead and is the tallest one there. We have the 1868 diary of G.W. READER in which he describes not only the day his father left Macoupin County, but also his own trip to Texas a few months later after the family got word that Paschal was ill.

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