Thomas Read, now living retired in Piper City, was for a long period closely, actively and successfully connected with agricultural interests, and the rest which he is now enjoying is well merited. He dates his residence in the county from 1870, having in the previous year purchased property here. A native of the Empire state, he was born in Chautauqua county, September 26, 1842, of the marriage of Thomas and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Read. The father was a native of Saratoga county, New York, but was married in Chautauqua county, where he lived for many years. He was a farmer by occupation and alwavs employed that means in order to provide for his wife and children. He died in July 1861, and two years later, in 1863, the family came to the middle west, settling in La Salle county, Illinois, where they first rented land for a year. Thomas Read then purchased eighty acres, making payment for same with two crops. In 1868 he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Iroquois county, which he sold the following year, at which time he bought a quarter section in Ford county on section 11. Pella township. In 1870 he came to the county and broke one hundred acres of wild prairie land. He then planted sixty acres of sod corn and thus was begun the development of his farm. In 1871 he and his brother took up their abode upon the farm in Ford county and kept "bachelor's hall" for two years.
In 1874 Thomas Read was united in marriage to Miss Emma Spaulding, of Cook county, Illinois, and unto them were born two children but both have passed away. The wife and mother died in 1881, and Mr. Read afterward married again, his second union being with Miss Katherine Hench, a native of Perry county, Pennsylvania. They became the parents of twins and also lost these children and Mrs. Katherine Read died in 1895. In 1898 Mr. Read was a third time married, his present wife, Mrs. Margaret Read, being a native of Scotland, who came to America with her parents at an early day.
While Mr. Read carried on farming he made a specialty of raising stock and always kept on hand good grades. From time to time he has added to his property and he now owns six hundred acres of valuable farm land in Ford county and seven hundred acres in Mississippi, both being good income property. As a farmer he was diligent and persevering and transformed his home place into a very valuable and productive farm, from which he annually harvested good crops, while his sale of stock also added materially to his income. He was always watchful of opportunities pointing to success and through legitimate business methods won his prosperity.
In his political views Mr. Read has always been a republican and is interested in the growth and success of his party. He has served as school director, as road commissioner and as drainage ditch commissioner, filling the last named position for several years. He holds membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as a trustee and his life is in harmony with his principles. In all of his business undertakings he has been thoroughly reliable and straightforward and in every relation of life has been found worthy the regard and confidence of his fellowmen. Though he had no capital when he started out in life he realized the fact that labor is the basis of success and feared not that laborious attention to detail and that unremitting industry which always secure advancement in business circles. Mr. Read has many warm friends in the county and is well known in this part of the state, where he has resided for thirty-seven years.

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 583-585.

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