Alfred Preston Bayler is now a retired farmer living in Roberts. For many years his life was one of intense and well directed activity as he carried on general agricultural pursuits and the years of his labor brought to him the competence that now enables him to live in well merited ease. He traces his ancestry back to Jacob Bayler, his great-grandfather, who was born in Germany and came to America with his son John on a sailing vessel. Before embarkation he agreed to pay a certain sum provided they crossed within a given time, and if not, to pay for the extra time required to make the voyage. They were much delayed on the passage because of rough seas and as Mr. Bayler was unable to pay the extra money, he sold his son John's time to one who would pay the passage for him and required the least length of service in return. Finally the arrangements were concluded whereby John Bayler was to work for seven years for a blacksmith at York, Pennsylvania. Jacob Bayler died at Hanover, Pennsylvania, in 1788. He crossed the Atlantic accompanied only by his son John, but brought the others of the family as he was able to do so, earning funds for their passage money. At his death he left six children: Jacob, Joseph, John, Mrs. Clowes, Mrs. Elizabeth Shultz and Mrs. Barbara Shaffer.
John Bayler, who had come with his father to the new world, was married, after attaining his majority, to Miss Katharine Kuhn, in 1813. He served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812 and was present in defense of Baltimore. His death occurred May 30, 1832. His children were: Jacob Elder, now deceased; John, who died in Tazewell county, Illinois; Mrs. Elizabeth Stumbaugh, deceased; George, William and Katharine, who died in childhood; Henry, deceased; Joseph, who now resides in Oregon; and Mrs. Comfort Reader and Mrs. Amanda Smith, both of whom have passed away.
Of this family, George Bayler, the father of our subject, was born in Hanover county, Pennsylvania, September 22, 1819. At the age of four years he removed with his parents to Columbus, Ohio, where he remained until 1841. While there the father died and the family then came to Illinois in 1841, settling in Tazewell county, where George Bayler aided in the pioneer development of the locality. In 1845 he returned to Ohio and was married to Miss Elizabeth Flenniken, who was born March 6, 1823, a daughter of Andrew Flenniken, who served in the regular army during the battle of Lundy's Lane in the war of 1812, and was wounded by the explosion of a shell, which tore his arm to pieces. His wife bore the maiden name of Anna Mahan. All his life George Bayler followed the occupation of farming, and at his death left a good property of a half section of land. He died April 1, 1897, while living with his son Alfred at Emington, Illinois, and the mother died in January, 1908, at the home of Mr. Bayler in Roberts. There was one other child of the family, Joseph, who is now deceased.
Alfred Preston Bayler is a native of Illinois, having been born in Tazewell county, September 16, 1846. He was six years of age when his father removed from the timber to the prairie, and upon the home farm he remained until his marriage, assisting in the work of the field and meadow as the years went by, and gaining the practical experience and knowledge which well qualified him to carry on a farm of his own in later years. In October, 1869, he began operating part of his father's land and so continued until 1881, when he removed to Emington, Livingston county, and purchased one hundred and fourteen acres on section 17, Broughton township. There he lived until the spring of 1899, when he came to Roberts and, having sold his land in Livingston county, he bought two hundred and forty acres on section 27, Lyman township. a mile south of Roberts. His time and energies were then devoted to its further development and improvement until two years ago, when he built his present fine home in the village and has since lived retired, deriving a good income from his property and invested interests. He has made good use of his opportunities as the years have passed and, more than all, his success has been based upon unremitting labor.
In 1869 Mr. Baylor was married to Miss Nancy Elizabeth Van Meter, who was born in Tazewell County, Illinois, July 2, 1851, a daughter of Nathaniel and Corinna (Dorsey) Van Meter, who were natives of Kentucky and were reared and married there. They afterward resided in Indiana prior to taking up their abode in Tazewell county, Illinois, where the father died in 1865. The mother then came to live with Mr. and Mrs. Bayler, with whom she continued until her demise. Their family numbered six sons and four daughters.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bayler have been born the following named: Carrie Belle, who was born in July, 1870, became the wife of James Collins of Forrest, Illinois, and died June 2, 1901; Laura Alda, born January 27, 1874, became the wife of William Walden and died in Phoenix, Arizona, February 17, 1903; Jesse Gilbert, of Roberts, who was born July 2, 1875, was married February 26, 1902, to Carrie E. Stutzman and unto them have been born three children: Ruth, Florence and Gladys Marie. Lizzie Lenora, born February 2, 1878, is the wife of S. O. Burnett, living near Webster City, Iowa, and they have three children: Pearl, Grace Marie and Clifford Earl. Una Myrtle, born July 10, 1880, died when about fifteen years of age. Hattie Lucretia, born January 8, 1882, died when about three years of age. George Raymond, born October 9, 1883, and now following farming near Roberts, wedded Maude Stonebreaker and has one daughter, Ethel Evaline. Ernest Lee, born June 22, 1886, learned telegraphy and was an operator for a time, but is now a fireman on the Illinois Central Railroad in Iowa. Clarence Elton, born January 21, 1889, is now attending the State Normal School at Normal, Illinois. Clifford Earl, born March 9, 1891, died in infancy; and Edith Mary, born June 8, 1892, died in February, 1900.
Since his retirement Mr. Bayler and his wife have traveled quite extensively, visiting points of interest in this country. He has been a life-long republican, and while residing in Livingston county, served for seven years as township assessor. He was serving his first term there as supervisor of the township, when he sold his farm and removed to Ford county. He was one of the drain commissioners of the Little Lyman drainage district and of the Lyman and Wall townships district. He was also one of the township school trustees and the cause of education has found in him a stalwart and earnest champion. Since his marriage in 1869 he has continuously been a school official with the exception of three years and prior to his marriage he taught school for two years, beginning in 1867. His early education had been supplemented by two years' study in the Northwestern College at Plainfield, and reading, experience and observation have also broadened his knowledge, making him a well informed man. That he is personally popular is indicated by the fact that while living in Broughton township, Livingston county, he polled a majority of thirty as the republican candidate, while the township usually gave a democratic majority of twenty. His worth as a citizen is widely acknowledged and it is a well known fact that he always stands for improvement and progress. He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since 1865 and his life, ever upright and honorable, has gained for him the warm esteem and unqualified confidence of those with whom business or social relations have brought him in contact.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 741-744.

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