Mrs. Sarah Hamrick Wilkes, whose home is on section 33, Camp Point township, was born in this township February 16, 1835, her parents being Farrow and Polly (Wilkes) Hamrick. Her grandparents were Virginian people and her father was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, January 1, 1806. He came to Adams county, Illinois, in September 1831, driving across the country in a wagon, and on the 3rd of January, 1833, he was married to Miss Polly Wilkes, who was born in Jefferson county, Kentucky, July 24, 1811, and also came by wagon to this county in 1831. This was the year following the “deep snow” and the county was a pioneer district, where everything was wild and unimproved, the work of development and progress seeming scarcely begun. Mr. and Mrs. Hamrick began their domestic life on a farm and and for many years he carried on general agricultural pursuits, but finally removed to Camp Point, where he died on the 1st of May, 1891.
Mrs. Wilkes, spending her girlhood days in her parents’ home, acquired her education in the public schools and was trained in the duties of the household by her mother. She gave her hand in marriage to John Wilkes, February 16, 1853. He was born September 15, 1830, in Kentucky, and was a son of Coleman and Margaret (Smith) Wilkes, the former born in Virginia in 1794, and the mother in Pennsylvania in 1790. They came to Illinois in 1831, journeying by way of the water route to Quincy, Illinois, and they made their home in Columbus township. It was in that township that John Wilkes was reared and educated, and there he engaged in farming, living on the old Wilkes homestead. He died March 7, 1904, after an active, useful and honorable career of more than seventy years.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes were born eleven children: Mary E.; Margaret A., who was born August 11, 1855, and is the wife of Josiah Taylor, of Columbus township; James M., who was born April 30, 1857, and died December 20, 1894; George W.; William H.; Florence Arvilla M.; Mattie E.; Johnnie and Sissy, twins; and Frank M., who was born July 12, 1876, and married Ella Walker, their home being in Camp Point.
In his political views Mr. Wilkes was a democrat, unfaltering in his support of the party, and took an active part in political affairs. He served as township commissioner, was school trustee and was president of the county central committee of his party, his labors in its behalf proving effective 9n promoting its growth and extending its influence. He was always interested in public progress and improvement and never withheld his support from any measure which he believed would advance the general welfare.
Mrs. Wilkes is now the owner of one hundred and sixty acres on section 33, Camp Point township, and one hundred and ninety-one acres on sections 29 and 32, Columbus township, where her husband first located. This property returns to her an excellent income, being now very valuable owing to the many improvements which have been placed upon it. She is numbered among the worthy pioneer ladies of the county, having for seventy years been a witness of its growth and development, and her mind bears the impress of many of the early historical events of the county, from the time when it was largely a region of log cabin homes, widely scattered over broad prairies, much of the land being still uncultivated.
Source: Past and present of the city of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois, p. 681; by William H. Collins, Cicero F. Perry, joint author; John Tillson. History of the city of Quincy, Illinois. [from old catalog]. Chicago, S. J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1905.