Arby D. Read, who has extensive farming interests in this county, is a native of Chautauqua county, New York, where he was born on the 14th of April, 1854, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Read, further mention of whom is made in the sketch of Thomas Read on another page of this work. Our subject was one of a family of eleven children, six of whom still survive: Edwin T., of LaSalle county, Illinois; Franklin and Henry, who have passed away; Helen, the widow of Henry Morse, living in Indiana; Harriet, deceased; Thomas, who makes his home in Piper City; John, who also resides in Indiana; Theodore, deceased; Charles, of Pella township; Arby D., of this review; and James, who has also departed this life.
When he was nine years of age Arby D. Read accompanied the family on their removal to Illinois, working in company with his brothers until he had attained his majority. He then followed farming in connection with his brother Charles for fifteen years, on the expiration of which period he bought the old homestead, where he still resides. He has, however, greatly improved the place, having added all the accessories and conveniences of modern farming, and in addition to the erection of n tine fifteen-room residence he has also built a large barn. His landed holdings comprise eight hundred and thirty acres in Pella township, Ford county, and seven hundred acres in Mississippi. He is a self-made man, who has worked persistently and earnestly for the success which has come to him, for although he started out in life empty-handed he has gained the prosperity which is the reward of untiring perseverance and executive ability.
In 1876 Mr. Read was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Long, a native of Pennsylvania, who was one of a family of eight children. She also became the mother of eight children, six of whom are still living: Dora and Edwin, both deceased; Melvin, who follows farming in Iroquois county; Edna, a school teacher of Mississippi; Ethel, Wilbur, Mary E. and Ruth, all at home.
In his political views Mr. Read is a republican and has served as school director for several years. He was also drainage commissioner and is interested in all those movements and measures which tend to promote the general welfare. Fraternally he is connected with lodge No. 608, A. F. & A. M., at Piper City, and with the chapter at Fairbury, Illinois. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and are highly esteemed throughout the community by reason of their genuine personal worth and sterling traits of character. His life has been one of continuous activity, in which has been accorded due recognition of labor, and today he is numbered among the substantial and prosperous citizens of his county.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 470-473

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