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Chidester Families of Mercer County, Illinois

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Alternate Spellings - Chidister, Chidderster, Chidster, Chidesten, Chidestor

Links - Stewart

Contacts - Barbara Chidester (apparently not related to the Mercer County families?)

Chidester Families

In addition to several spellings found there were apparently a number of Chidester families who immigrated to the United States, starting in the 1600's. We of course will concentrate on the families found in Mercer County, Illinois. For those interested in other families there are microfilms at the Family History Library including #1036026 and #159517, 1597518, and 1597519.

The Mercer County families appear to be children of Hezekiah and Lydia Chidester of Trumbull County, Ohio. A newspaper article in the Moline Dispatch on November 12, 1994 about the New Boston Museum states that one of the centerpieces of the museum displays is an antique dresser, brought to New Boston in 1838 in the Chidster family's covered wagon. Despite this information we do not find them under any spelling in the 1840 census. We do find land purchases as early as 1845 in Oxford township by Lafayette and Nelson Chidestor.

Sidney Chidester Family of New Boston

In 1850 in the town of New Boston we find: #306 Sidney Chidister, 34, carpenter, born Ohio; Rachel A., 26, born Ohio; William, 7, born Il; Lydia Ann, 1, born Il; Mary Stewart, 38, born Pa (sister of Rachel) and Samuel H. Stewart, 39, laborer, born Ohio (brother of Rachel). Rachel A., wife of S. Chidester, no dates, is buried in New Boston Cemetery next to son William. Rachel is deceased by the 1860 census: New Boston Township #1747 Sydney Chidester, 42, farmer, born Ohio; Mary Stewart, 48 (sister of Rachel), Pa; Wm. Chidester, 17, Il; Lydia, 11, Il; Rachel, 7, Il. Sidney is on the May 14, 1861 Tax List in Township 14N Range 6W for lot 8 in Section 13 for 46.69 acres for which he paid 58 cents in taxes. Range 6W may be an error for 5W as S. Chidester is shown on the New Boston plat map owning a small parcel in Section 13. There is a short biography of Sidney Chidster in the 1882 History of Mercer County. It tells us he was the fourth child of Hezekiah and Lydia Chidster born April 1, 1816. He worked with his father at the carpenter's trade until 22 years of age when came west to Mercer County (this is the line that appears to bring out the incorrect date of their coming to Mercer by 1838? He was a republican until 1875 when he joined the greenback party. He was elected school trustee in 1845 and served 25 years. In 1847 he was elected justice of the peace, serving three years. In 1849 he was elected county associate justice for three years. He was the first supervisor of New Boston township, and served as chairman of that board. In later years, he served ten years as township collector. In March 1842 he married Miss Rachel Stewart, daughter of William and Nancy Stewart who was born August 10, 1823 in Trumbull County, Ohio. Rachel died August 10, 1853.

Son William Chidister served in Company C, 124th Illinois Infantry. He apparently returned home safely as he is with the family in 1870 at #118 New Boston Township: Sydney Chidester, 52, farmer, born Oh; William, 27, farmer, born Il; Lydia, 21, born Il; Rachel, 17, born Il; Mary Stewart, 50, born Ohio. William is buried in New Boston Cemetery next to his mother with a death date of August 26, 1929 and his service record on his tombstone. Daughter Rachel married Milton F. Weeden and had a son Sydney Weeden named for her father born 1878 in Illinois.

Chidester Families of Oxford Township

Sydney's brother Horatio Nelson Chidester is found in 1860 in Oxford Township at #1022: Nelson Chidester, 48, farmer, born Ohio; Rebecca (Stewart, sister of Rachel above?), 43, Pa; Laura, 33, born Oh; Royal, 16, born Il. Nelson and Rebecca also had a daughter, Loama Susan Chidester, born March 1836 who married William Powell in Mercer County and had children Nelson and Emma, twins, born 1858. They also had a son Lafayette Chidester, who married Elizabeth Snyder 9/5/1854 but they are not found in Mercer County in 1860.

At #1005 in Oxford Township is William N. Chidester, 26, farmer, born Ohio; Martha E., 22, In, Carrie G., 1, Il. This is William Norval Chidester, born 1834, married Martha Ellen Titus, who was a younger brother of Sidney and Nelson. Daughter Carrie Geneva married Alonzo Barr in Mercer County. A daughter Flora Eva (born 1863) married Harrison Doran Thomas. A daughter Adda J., born 1864, married Columbus D. McPherson. These daughters all migrated to Jefferson County, Iowa where their children were born. William and Martha also had twins Lydia and Willie, born 1862 and died within days, buried at Swedona West Cemetery.

There is also a Charles Chidester in N. Henderson Township #144, 31, laborer, born Il who could also be a younger brother to Sidney and Nelson.

Nelson (May 21, 1822-Feb 13, 1893) and Rebecca (3-29-1817-____) and son Royal (10/11/1843-9/15/1922) are buried in Hopewell Cemetery in Rivoli Township.