John was described as an active and energetic farmer/cattle raiser. He owned 626 acres of which 619 was in 1 body. His wife's obituary states: "(They) went to house keeping in an humble home a short distance south of Sullivan. By their combined industry and good
management they prospered and accumulated a good farm, adjoining the southeastern limits of (unreadable) to Sullivan in the spring of 1872."
Residences & events:
12/26/1841 Shelby Co, IL. Apparently John and Simon inherited some land from their father. When a judgment was made against them in favor of Byrd Monroe, assignee of George M Hanson, for $42.86 plus $5.56 for the cost of the suit, the sheriff found they had no personal property with which to pay it so he sold 40 acres of their land to Joshua
Patterson as highest bidder for $43.
1846 John and Sarah joined the First Christian Church of Sullivan, IL, meeting in a log house used as the school during the week.
1847 Moultrie Co, 1 mi SE of Sullivan, IL. One reference said he and Sarah settled in Moultrie Co in 1879, however, his daughter's date of settlement confirmed the 1847 date.
1850 Moultrie Co, IL. John was the only Powell listed in the county census, the rest being still in Shelby. His property = $375 and his brother, William, was living with him. He served as administrator of William's estate 2 years later. Next door was George and Mahala Purvis and 3 doors down was Peter Harbaugh, Sarah's relatives.
3/1857 He was mentioned in the county treasurer's report, and again on 9/3/1860.
1860 At census time, John had a large household. He was 36, Sarah was 37, and their children were: Mary A, 15; Sarah S, 13; Angeline, 11; Martha A, 6; nephew, James Bathe, 13, besides a David Niele, 18, farm hand, and George Thompson, 21, boarder. John's occupation was farming and his property = $4000/1600. In the same area was William Bathe, 10, living with the David Patterson family next door to David Harbaugh.
John was mentioned in the McPheeters family letters during the Civil War:
6/4/1863 - "The war has broke out again betwixt John Powell and Old dad (McPheeters). As usual Old dad is wrong and acting the fool - carry his revolver, but is too big a coward to use it."
8/20/1863 - "The copperheads are down on Smyser for coming out and approving conscription act. Smyser wrote to John Powell and he had Smysers letter published (in the newspaper at Sullivan)."
1865 He was included on the road district list.
6/3/1870 Sullivan, Moultrie Co, IL. John's property value had increased considerably to $15,000/500 and he was still farming at age 48. Sarah was 49 and 3 children were still at home: Angie, 21; Mattie A, 16; and Charlie M, 9 (?). Next door neighbors were the Bupp and Hoke familes.
1880 Same place. Son, Cash, was the only child still at home and John was a retired farmer at age 57.
In the 1900 census, Cassius reported his father was born in Ohio and
his mother in KY. However, John may have been born in Moultrie Co, 1
mile SE of Sullivan, per History of Shelby and Moultrie Counties.
His will was dated 3/26/1883 and filed 5/4/1891. Heirs included:
Mary A Green, Elizabeth McDonald, Martha A Harris, Cassius M Powell,
and Angeline Wright, and his wife, Sarah.