JOSEPH ESSEX, farmer, P. O. Villa Ridge, was born in Davidson County, N. C., March 23, 1817, to Joseph and Susan Essex, he born in Kentucky. His father (the grandfather of our subject) was one of the early explorers of Kentucky, but the Indians becoming so bad, had to leave the State, and on his return to North Carolina Joseph Essex, Sr., was born. The mother of our subject died in North Carolina, but his father came to Illinois, and died in Union County. They were the parents of five children who reached maturity, our subject and one brother and sister now living. September, 1839, he came to Illinois, and settled in Wetaug Pulaski County, but in the spring of 1847 came to his present farm, which contains 105 acres, nearly all in cultivation; on this he does general farming and fruit-growing. By trade, Mr. Essex is a tanner and shoe-maker, and while at Wetaug had a small tannery. At Wetaug, December 25, 1842, he was married to his first wife, Catherine Sowers, daughter of David and Margaret Sowers. They were from North Carolina, but came to this State at an early date, and died here. Mrs. Essex died January 18, 1866. By her, he had nine children, Alexander (deceased), Amanda Jane, James W., Mary E. (deceased), Charlotte L., Madora Ann, Emma Adelia, Joseph Warren and Thomas D. August, 1867, he was married to Jane Elizabeth Parker, widow of William Parker. She was born in this county to Joseph and Lucinda Lackey. Four children have been the result of this union — Ida Lucinda, George Harrison, Catherine T. and Noah H. (deceased). Mr. and Mrs. Essex are members of the Baptist Church.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, page 286.