Hurd, Jay Montgomery (b. 1809). Memoirs, 1809-1874 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
In 1830, Jay Montgomery Hurd moved from Madison County, N. Y., to Greene County, Illinois. He worked for his uncle, Dr. Silas Hamilton, who purchased slaves, freed them, and helped them settle in Illinois. Hurd later became a farmer, storekeeper, and constable. An active local Democratic politician, he was instrumental in the formation of Jersey County, and became known to prominent figures such as Stephen A. Douglas and John M. Palmer. In 1858, Hurd moved to Christian County, but maintained a residence in Jerseyville, where he served as a judge, 1847-69. In 1872, Hurd moved to Johnson City, Nebraska.
In 1874, Hurd wrote this 124-page memoir "A Few Incidents in the Life of a Sexagenarian." He primarily discusses farming operations, politics, and his many pleasure trips, which included several visits to major eastern cities. Especially interesting are Hurd's descriptions of farming in the pre-mechanized era, and the changes wrought by the onset of mechanization. Other topics discussed by Hurd are abolition, Anti-Masonry in New York, frontier life, genealogy, the Millerites, religion, and travel on the Ohio River. Curiously, he hardly notes the Civil War.
Dr. David P. Bailey of Winston-Salem, N. C., donated the item to the Library in 1982.