SAMUEL DEBERRY PEELER. One of the foremost citizens of Cache township, Johnson county, and a man whose activities in public and agricultural life have made his name well known all over this section is Samuel DeBerry Peeler, chairman of the board of commissioners of the Cache River Drainage Project, and the owner of Lincoln Green Stock and Grain Farm, a magnificent tract of 634 acres of well-cultivated land. Mr. Peeler was born August 8, 1861, on a farm in the southwestern part of Johnson county, Illinois, and is a son of William DeBerry and Catherine Elizabeth (Bishop) Peeler.
William DeBerry Peeler was born in North Carolina, and as a boy of ten years was taken to northern Alabama by his father, John Peeler. While in that southern state he was married to Catherine Elizabeth Bishop, a lady of Puritan descent, who is still living on the old homestead farm, and in 1860 they came to Southern Illinois and settled on a farm. In the spring of 1862 William D. Peeler enlisted in Company E, Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, for service in the Civil war, and continued with that organization until the spring of 1865, participating in Stoneman's raid through Tennessee after Hood, barely escaping capture at Nashville and seeing much hard fighting. His record was one that would honor any man, and he was known as a brave, cheerful and faithful soldier, popular with his comrades and respected by his officers. On his return from the army he engaged in farming and became very successful as an agriculturist, accumulating some 1,500 acres of land. He was elected to various township offices by his fellow-townsmen, who recognized and appreciated his many admirable qualities, and was for a long period tax collector of Cache township. Three children were born to William D. and Elizabeth Peeler, namely: Samuel DeBerry; William Olin, a farmer on the old family homestead; and Mrs. Mary F. Wilhelm, who resides in Cache township. William D. Peeler died May 17, 1899.
Samuel DeBerry Peeler was educated in the district schools and the Southern Illinois State Normal University at Carbondale, finishing his course in 1882. During this time he taught school for six years in Belknap and at various other points in Johnson and Pulaski counties, but in 1882, on account of the failing health of his father, he returned home and became superintendent of the home farm, and thus continued for seventeen years. In 1886 he purchased a small farm of his own, and also managed a merchandise store on his farm, which was owned for thirty years by father and son, and resided near his father until 1899, keeping the Lincoln Green postoffice in addition to looking after his farm and store. In 1899 Mr. Peeler removed to a farm residence about one-half mile south of the old home, selling his first farm to his brother, William Olin, and then purchased what is known as the old Andrew Jackson Axley farm, consisting of 282 acres, to which he has since added until he now owns 634 acres, 500 of which are under cultivation. This he operates as a livestock and grain farm, under the name of the Lincoln Green Stock and Grain Farm, and his annual production, for which he has no trouble in finding a ready market, is as follows: Thirty head of cattle, one hundred and fifty hogs and ten horses and mules. His net income from his farming operations averages from $2,000 to $3,500 per year. He was one of the original organizers and promoters of the Cache River Drainage Project, and his administrative abilities were recognized in his election to the position of chairman of the board of commissioners of this great enterprise. A Republican in politics, in 1890 he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners, serving on that body until 1896, and for fifteen consecutive years he was road district clerk of Cache township. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic lodge at Belknap, the chapter at Vienna, and the Knights Templars at Cairo; and with the Knights of Pythias, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America at Belknap. He and his family are active members and liberal supporters of the Methodist Episcopal church.
On March 9, 1884, Mr. Peeler was married to Miss Mary D. Rees, daughter of Dr. Alonzo P. and Jane (Krews) Rees, the former of whom is deceased, and six children have been born to this union: Seth H., who died at the age of twenty years; Bertie, Carl, Doris and Mabel, who died m infancy; and Ralph D., who is eighteen years old. Mr. Peeler is certainly a man who merits the esteem of all who appreciate progressiveness, industry, enterprise and honest dealing, and his personality is such that he has made many warm, personal friends in his community, who have watched with a gratified interest his rise to a foremost place among the men of this section.
Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 3, pages 1414-1415