E. J. AYRES, fruit-grower and merchant, Villa Ridge, was born in Utica, N. Y., October, 1832. He is the son of E. J. and Mary Ayres, he, born in New Jersey, she in New York. Both died in New York. Up till 1848, our subject resided on the farm in New York; he then came West, first to Ohio, where he clerked in his uncle's store. Since that time, his life has been spent most all the time in the West. In 1854, he went to Springfield, Ill., where he remained till 1860, when he moved to Iowa. There he and his brother, O. C. Ayres, were in the mercantile business in partnership. At his country's call, O. C. entered the service, while our subject attended to the business. At the battle of Allatoona Pass he was killed. In fall of 1866, our subject came to Illinois, and for one year remained at Cairo, and in 1867 bought his present farm near Villa Ridge. At the time of his purchase, but little of the farm was improved, but Mr. Ayres gave his time and energy to the improving and developing of the farm. He now has 170 acres of land, and of this about sixty acres are in fruits of various kinds. Previous to coming to his farm, Mr. Ayres had been engaged in the mercantile business most of his life, so he had to begin by experimenting in order to make fruit-growing a success; but through his close attention to business he has succeeded. For some years past he has also been engaged in the mercantile business, in partnership with Mr. E. M. Titus, of Villa Ridge, but still gives most of his thought and care to the fruit culture. In Springfield, Ill., December 14, 1858, he was married to Miss S. Ardelia Wheelock. She was born in Grafton, Mass., March 31, 1841, to Solomon B., and Ruth (Hall) Wheelock. He was born in Grafton, Mass., September 1, 1817, died May 3, 1858. She was born in Rhode Island March 20, 1820, and still survives. They were married in Grafton, Mass., February 18, 1840. Mr. and Mrs. Ayres have three children — Phillip W., Minnie and Jennie. In religion, Mr. Ayres is Baptist, and in politics, Republican.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, page 282.