Freeland, John A.

Born: 1818-02-22 Orange County, North Carolina

Died: 1897-09-03 Sullivan, Illinois

Flourished: Sullivan, Illinois

John A. Freeland was a teacher, county government official, farmer, and long-time resident of Sullivan, Illinois. As the oldest of eleven children, Freeland was needed on the farm to help support his family, so what little education he received came by his own efforts. At the age of twelve, he lost partial use of his arms and legs. In February 1836, Freeland moved with his family to Maury County, Tennessee, and in April, he found a school where he taught in the summer of 1836. In the fall of 1837, Freeland moved to Shelby County, Illinois, where he taught school for two years. From 1839 to 1841, Freeland taught school in Macon County, Illinois. In November 1841, he married Mary Law, with whom he would have two children. He subsequently taught in Marrowbone Township in that part of Shelby County that would become Moultrie County. Upon the creation of Moultrie County in 1843, Freeland won election as county clerk and recorder. He remained county recorder until the Illinois State Constitution of 1848 made the circuit clerk the ex-officio recorder, and he held the position of county clerk until 1857. In 1850, he owned real property valued at $2,500. By 1860, he was living and farming in Sullivan and owned real property valued at $10,000 and had a personal estate of $500. Freeland's physical challenges prevented him from serving in the military during the Civil War. Politically, Freeland aligned with the Whig Party, but once that party disintegrated, he moved toward the Republican Party. In 1856, he represented Moultrie County at the Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention that gave the impetus for the formation of the Republican Party in Illinois. Freeland was a Presbyterian and long-time member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Sullivan.

Combined History of Moultrie and Shelby Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, 1881), 74, 191; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Macon County, 11 November 1841, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Moultrie County, IL, 400; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sullivan, Moultrie County, IL, 22; Gravestone, Greenhill Cemetery, Sullivan, IL.