Ira G. CARPENTER was born in upper New York State January 13,
1824. The first family records indicate that he traveled from New York
City to Panama via sailing ship and overland to Pacific Ocean and ship
to San Francisco, taking part in the great gold rush of 1849. Returning
to upper New York State in early 1850's, he married Emily SYMONDS
and operated a general store for a short time. Being caught up in the lure
of the westward migration, he and his bride came to Mt. Vernon, Illinois,
about 1852, where he owned and operated a Wheelwright Shop until the start
of the Civil War. At that time the Union Army conscripted his help and
sent him to Cairo, Illinois, to work their trade in the army depot there. 

He sold the shop and settled on 80 acres of land, in Grand Prairie Township, on Walnut Hill Richview Road, near the highest point in the county. The farm was to specialize in fruit, consisting of apples, pears, cherries, plums, quince, strawberries, and gooseberries. He operated a berry box and basket shop, making them for their own use, and selling surplus to neighbors. His death came at 63 years of age February 16, 1887, and he is buried at Gilead Metho dist Churh Cemetery. 

Four children were born to Ira G. and Emily SYMONDS CARPENTER: Jennie, February 29, 1856; Edward F., November 20, 1868; Nellie, 1869; Frank, 1870. Jennis S. was married to a Copple for a brief time around the early 1880's, but later seperated and changed her name back to CARPENTER. She stayed on the farm until her mother's death March 4, 1903. Her death came in 1940, and burial is in Hillcrest Cemetery, Centralia, Illinois. Edward F. married Nellie REED of Wayne County and built a house a few rods west of home place in 1886. To them four children were born: Gussie, Anne, Earl R. and Albert E. In 1881 the family deeded a plot of land for a Methodist Episcopal Church, for the sum of $3.00. A church called Ridge Chapel was built and regular services were held there until the early 1920's. Submitted by: Sharlet Bigham LaBarbera Jan 24, 1998

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