Quite a colony of enterprising citizens came to Randolph County early in the present century, 1804 from South Carolina whose ancestors were from the northern part of Ireland, and yet earlier from the mountain portions of Scotland, among them was the grandfather and father of the subject of this sketch

William McBride, the father, was a substantial farmer, who had, by his industry acquired a good competency, and was always considered as one of the leading men in his section, in everything pertaining to schools and the general interest of society, leaving to his children the valuable injunction—“Be useful and you will be happy.” He filled various offices of trust and honor, among others, that of Capt. of a Company of Rangers in 1812; County School Superintendent; Member of County Board; and represented his district in the State Legislature. He died in 1856, in the seventy second year of his age, and was laid by the side of his wife, Eliza, daughter of William Nelson, who was also an early pioneer settler, in the Nelson Cemetery, four miles south of Red Bud.

John T. McBride, was born March 15, 1838, on his father’s homestead in the western part of Randolph County. He was the ninth in order of birth of a family of ten children. His earlier years were passed upon the farm attending school during the winter months. In 1858 he taught school; about this time an accident befell him which caused him to use crutches much of the time for three years. A horse running with him fell backwards upon him crippling him in the ankle. Rheumatism set in with the above result. During this time he taught school and in 1860, was elected Assessor and Treasurer of the county and re-elected without any opposition in 1862. In 1864 he was elected Sheriff, and again in 1868.

In 1873, his brief rest from public service was broken by his being elected County Clerk, during which time, at the urgent request of many friends he served a term as Mayor of the City of Chester, but could not be induced to agree to re-election. At the end of his term as Clerk, he refused being a candidate for re-election, preferring retiring in order to devote himself to his private business. But in 1878 at the strong solicitation of many friends, and against his own wishes at the time, he consented to accept the nomination of his party for Representative, and was elected a member of the State Legislature from this district.

John T McBride
John T McBride

In 1880 he received the nomination of his party, for State Senator, and was only defeated by a small majority, caused by too great a confidence of himself and friends at the election, and the general political Tidal Wave, of that year, which in many places swept away large majorities; in each of these various positions, he acquitted himself with market ability, being universally regarded as an efficient and faithful public officer.

He was married to Miss Mary A. Wilson, a daughter of one of the early settlers, April 21st, 1859; she died December 28th, 1861. By her, he had a daughter, Eliza G. who is now a highly respected teacher in the Red Bud schools.

His second marriage took place March 4th, 1873. Mary C. Smith was the former name of his second wife; she was born and raised in Chester and was the daughter of Davis Smith; a son by this union survives, William K. S. McBride. She died Jan. 20th, 1876.

Mr. McBride was the third time married to Mrs. Mary E. Givin [Gwin], March 1st, 1882. She was a Brown, and like himself this is her third marriage. Her first husband, having been A. V. Burk and her second James Givin [Gwin], both highly esteemed and early settlers of Randolph County.1

Mr. McBride has been a steadfast Democrat in politics, and has always taken an active interest in public affairs. His honest and integrity of character together with a general disposition to make himself useful, by being a live active worker in everything to advance the interest, and promote the prosperity of his county and section, and his frank, jovial manner, with his friends form the basis of his popularity. He is a man who never betrayed a trust; he has been faithful to the interests of the county, to his party and every confidence reposed in him.

And although generous to a fault, he has by his industry and perseverance, acquired a good competency, and is to-day one of the substantial citizen of the county, occupying a worthy place, among those in the front rank who are enjoying the highest marks of popular esteem.

Source: Combined History of Randolph, Monroe, and Perry Counties Illinois – Biographical Sketches of some of their Prominent Men and Pioneers, Published by J. L. McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1883 Pages 300 & 301.

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  1. We were informed by a descendant that John T. McBride’s third wife was Mary Emeline Brown, the widow of James GWIN. They had one daughter, their great-great grandmother, Zoe Gwin, born Feb. 2, 1875. []