Franklin Auxier, SR
A Bum Rap?
by Carol Lee Yarbrough
This wilderness area in
Illinois presented many challenges for the Abraham Auxier family, not so
unique to other early pioneers. All
but one challenge, that is, that threatened the financial security of
this family. Soon after
their arrival the Auxier family had a brush with the law that probably
influenced young Benjamin for the rest of his life.
On November 12, 1816, an intruder entered their home and stole 28 Spanish milled dollars, a string of colored beads, two rings and other items. Abraham, along with friend Archibald Standifer and young son Benjamin, felt sure they knew who the culprit was. They soon visited the home of Thomas Mays and he reported that Salley Compton had given him 10 Spanish dollars in payment for a debt. Abraham recognized the coins and after a search of Salley’s room, the other items were found.
Now, the case would seem
to be cut and dry but it, instead, became the focus of the community
that pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Those involved in the incident were Thomas Mays, Archibald
Standifer, Thomas Rutledge, George McKenzie, Isham and Lydia Harrel,
John Farmer, Daniel Hay, John Armstrong, Samuel Craig, Henry Hall, James
Young, John B. Compton, Andrew Vance, John M. Graham, and John Taylor.
By the time the case
made it to the early Court at Carmi, Illinois on May 5, 1817, at risk
was the financial security and reputation of the Auxier family and the
future and reputation of Sally Compton and that of one, John B. Compton.
In the end, Salley Compton was found not guilty of the theft and John B.
Compton was found guilty of perjury. 2.
Benjamin Auxier may have
perceived the trial as a far cry from justice.
He may have learned to become more reliant on his own initiative
when it came to “justice”.
In Goodspeed’s History
of Hamilton County, Illinois, the unknown author states “Benjamin
Auxier is well remembered from a difficulty he had with a man named
Grant, occasioned by jealousy of the latter with reference to some woman
whose name is not to appear in this history.
In connection with the affair Grant swore he would kill Auxier,
and Auxier, wishing neither to be killed nor to kill Grant, caught him
in the woods, bound him to a log with a strong withe across his neck,
and put out both his eyes.” 3
Did this statement assure Benjamin’s place in history? Or did
he get a bum rap?
Benjamin married Elizabeth the daughter of his father’s friend,
Archibald Standifer and his wife, Priscellah Bolin, on April 22, 1819 in
White County, Illinois. Shortly
after his father died in 1830, Benjamin and many other relatives decided
to make a new beginning – in Shelby County Illinois.
Among those families were Archibald and Priscellah Standifer and
their children, except for Job Standerfer who remained in Hamilton
County. Job was married to
Mary Daily, daughter of John and Polly Maulding Daily, and she probably
wanted to remain close to her family.
Others were the John Taylor family, Evan and Eli Waller families,
and the young James Bolin family. (James was married to Nancy Taylor in
November 28, 1821 in Wayne Co., IL. She was the sister to Polly Taylor who married Nathan
Garrison). Benjamin Auxier’s young siblings accompanied him. They were Desiah A., John, Matilda, and Rachel.
His brother Samuel was married by 1830 to Nelly Harris in
Hamilton County was found in Shelby County at an early date also. He and
his wife may have made this trip with the other family members in 1830
also. These families were
all related in some way. 4 &
Among the group were several young children and infants.
No doubt their wagons were heavily loaded with their personal
belongings. Since it was
winter, their food supply may have been short and certainly they
weren’t prepared for what lay ahead.
Snow began falling and continued throughout the winter.
The conditions were so terrible, it became known as the “winter
of the deep snow”. In
some places the drifts were from six to seven feet.
The roads disappeared in the winter wonder, as did fences and
land marks. People all over
Illinois were freezing and starving to death – kept prisoners in their
But our little group of hearty pioneers, slowly moved forward to
the north. They drove over
“stakes and ridered fences” toward their final destination –
Jonathan Creek township in Shelby Co., Illinois.
On their way, they passed an Amish settlement.
The women and children were suffering and needed shelter and
food. The Amish farmer turned down the men of the group when they
asked for help. But
Benjamin Auxier would not be denied!
After spending a few minutes alone with the farmer and
“threatening to throw him down”, the Amish man and his wife became
the most amicable hosts. Benjamin
saved the families and the children were given milk. 6
Benjamin Auxier and his family continued to live in Shelby County
for many years. We find him
on the 1830 Census in the 5th precinct. In 1835/1836 he is
listed as a customer of the Gordon and Thornton Co. Store of
Shelbyville. In 1840, he is
still in Shelby (no township listed).
He has not been found on any 1850 census. But by 1860, he had returned to Dahlgren, Hamilton County. 7
Benjamin purchased government lands in Shelby County.
In August 10, 1838 he bought land which was located in W1/2 NE,
22/12N/4E (80 acres); NENE , 22/12N/4E/N (40 acres) and NWNW,
23/12N/4E/N (40 acres) for a total of 160 acres.
Later on October 10, 1840 he purchased 80 more acres located at
W1/2 NC, 26/12N/4E/N and 40 more acres in SWSE 14/12N/4E/N 3rd
In Shelby County, Illinois probate records, it is noted that
Benjamin Auxier purchased property from the estate of Jacob V. Sawyer
who died intestate about October 29, 1843.
His estate was appraised and his personal property sold on
January 10, 1844. Also,
purchasing property from that estate was Daniel G. Carter, Benjamin’s
son-in-law. On November 13, 1844, Benjamin purchased property from the
estate of Joseph Carter, SR. who died intestate and who estate was
appraised October 22, 1844.9
In other probate records we find that Benjamin purchased property from
the estate of Jane Dazel, whose Will was probated November 16, 1846 in
Shelby County. Benjamin’s
brother, John Auxier, posted bond for the estate. 10
Upon his return to Dahlgren (his father Abraham is buried in the
Shelton Cemetery there) before 1860, Benjamin purchased land from Joseph
Shelton. Shelton had bought
the land from the Federal Government.11
It was in this
same vicinity that Benjamin had spent his youth.
Benjamin and Elizabeth Standifer Auxier reared two fine sons who
served honorably in the Civil War. Benjamin Franklin Auxer, JR. was
known as “Frank”. He
served as private in Company K of the Illinois 50th Infantry
from December 1, 1864 until July 13, 1865 when he was mustered out at
Louisville, Kentucky. His residence at that time was given as Okaw, Shelby County,
Benjamin’s son Samuel Benton Auxer, known as “Benton”
enlisted in July 1862 at the Cisco Grocery, north of Shelbyville, in
Shelby County. He served in Company I of 126th Illinois Volunteer
Infantry as a private. 13
At the time of Benjamin’s death in 1867, a woman named Art Green was
living with Benjamin and Elizabeth in Dahlgren.
Nothing is known of this woman except that she was 42 years old
and had a sizeable estate for the times.
She was also “insane”. Benjamin
made provisions for this lady in his hand written Will, which were
carried out by his son, Benjamin “Frank” Auxier.15
Benjamin did not leave a formal Will; instead eight few days
before he died he wrote down “on a sheet of paper” the last requests
he would make in this life and only when it became obvious to him that
he was not going to win this last fight.
On February 4, 1867, he left a hand written Will and Testament
that provided for his wife, Elizabeth, and all of his children: Frank,
Benton, James Madison, Sarah Mahoney and Polly Ann Craig and Cynthia
Carter. His long time
friend and brother-in-law, Job Standerfer, administered his estate.16
Benjamin died in Hamilton County on February 4, 1867 and, like
his father, is buried in Shelton cemetery.
Elizabeth died two years later in Hamilton County on November 18,
1869 and is buried in Jonathan Creek cemetery,
Moultrie County, Illinois.
And so ends my story of Benjamin Auxier.
A bum rap? You
The Founding Pioneers
Abraham Auxier – Incident in Illinois by Judith Tickel
Goodspeed’s History of Hamilton County, Illinois; pub.
1887; p. 249
History of the Bolin Family; 1939 by H. E. Bracken; p. 107.9/107.10
Combined History of Shelby and Moultrie Counties – pub.
History of the Bolin Family, ibid.
Illinois: 1820 White Co. Census; 1830 Shelby County Census;
1840 Shelby County Census; 1860 Hamilton
Illinois Federal Land Grants
Shelby County, Illinois Probate Journal I 1839-1849; by
Shelby Co. Historical Society, Journal I, pp. 32, 40
Shelby County, Illinois Probate Journal II 1843, 1845-1850, Part I;
by Shelby Co. Historical Society; p. 19
History of Belle Rive and Dahlgren, Illinois And Surrounding
Territory Prepared by Continental Historical
Illinois Civil War Data
13. Illinois Civil War Data from Auxier Homepage.
Illinois Civil War Data
15. Illinois 1870 Census; B. F. Auxer, Jr.
16. Benjamin Auxier Will; Probate File, Hamilton Co., IL; Box 19, File#4 – April 18, 1867. (See Wills - this website)
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