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Biography of Alexander Pettis, Pike County, Illinois

Memorial Record of Southwestern Minnesota
1897, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois

Alexander Pettis bears a name that belongs in the list of prominent early settlers of Lesueur county, the date of his arrival here being May, 1855. His present home is on a fine farm on section 24, Kasota township, and St. Peter is his post-office address. Thus as a pioneer and leading citizen of his locality his history is of interest in this work, and briefly is as follows: Alexander Pettis was born in Albany, Vermont, March 21, 1823, and comes of a family of Scotch descent, long resident in this country, prominent in peace and valiant in war. His father, Stephen Pettis, a colonel in the war of 1812, was a native of Connecticut and a son of Scotch parents who had settled in New England previous to the Revolutionary war. Their household of faith was Presbyterian. Colonel Pettis married a Miss Olive Hutchins, a native of Vermont and a member of a family long settled in New England. She was a most excellent woman, bright in intellect, amiable in disposition, and loved by all who knew her, and her untimely death in 1830, in the prime of life, was a sad blow to her family and many friends. She died at Mecca, near Warren, in Trumbull county, Ohio, and left a family of four little children, namely: Alexander; Almira, now Mrs. Judds, of Iowa; Matilda, now Mrs. Wing, of Pike county, Illinois; and Mary, who married Mr. Davis, and died in Pike county, Illinois. Previous to his removal to Ohio Colonel Pettis lived for some time at French Mills, Canada, where he built a mill. He left Ohio in 1835 and moved to Pike county, Illinois, settling upon a large tract of land he had purchased, becoming one of the pioneers of that county and developing there a fine farm. He died in Illinois, settling upon a large tract of land he had purchased, becoming one of the pioneers of that county and developing there a fine farm. He died in Illinois, aged seventy-six years, having lived out more than the average life of man. For many years he was identified with the Masonic fraternity and was prominent in the circles of that high order. Of high intellectual powers, wide business experience, broad and generous nature, he was an important factor in his locality and was as highly esteemed as he was well known.

Alexander Pettis was a boy of twelve when he accompanied his father and other members of the family to their new home in Pike county, Illinois, and there he was reared and educated, and was for a time engaged in teaching. He was married in Pike county, in 1850, to Miss Louisa Davis, whose life has been blended with his for a period of forty-six years and who still presides over his home, her presence and cheerful companionship having made bright many of the dark places along their pathway in life. She was born in Canada and reared and educated in Pike county, Illinois, her parents being Orange and Adalaide (Barlow) Davis, natives of Canada and pioneers of Illinois. Both her father and mother lived to a ripe old age, the former being eighty and the latter eighty-five at the time of death.

In 1855 the spirit of emigration led the subject of our sketch to seek a home in Minnesota, and in the spring of that year he came up the river by boat to Lesueur county, selecting a location on section fifteen, Kasota township, and there building a cabin and establishing himself and family in pioneer style. Subsequently he sold this place and purchased his present farm, one hundred and twenty acres of valuable land on section 24 of the same township, and with the exception of ten years, when he resided in St. Peter in order to give his children the benefit of good educational advantages, he has maintained his home on this farm. Here he has a beautiful rural home, carries on general farming and stock-raising, and is comfortably situated to enjoy life.

Mr. and Mrs. Pettis have three children: Orange Stephen, of Chicago, Illinois; Mary, wife of R. Volk, of St. Peter, Minnesota; and Cornelia May. Both of the daughters were formerly engaged in teaching and Miss Pettis is now at her parental home.

In his political views and affiliations Mr. Pettis is strongly Republican and in favor of the "gold standard." For years he served as justice of the peace and as such rendered general satisfaction. He is a man of broad views, firm convictions, progressive spirit, and has a character that is above reproach, his word ever as good as his bond. His genial manner and his fine conversational powers make him companionable and welcome wherever he goes. (pages 434-435)

Contributed by Doug Peterson