John and Sarah Eleanor “Ella” Evans Petry Family
Contributed by Suzanne Petry Jones *my second cousin
Ester Petry was
a sister to John Newell Allen, my grandfather
There were just the two of them that autumn day—a tall
slim young man with a Mustache and his bride, a short, spirited
young lady with a keen sense of humor. The Date was October 12,
1881. In the 35 years they were married, they would bring eight Sons
into the world. Their names were
H. Petry Sr.
Sarah Eleanor Evans.
Thanks to the research of Eleanor Petry Thomas, we have the
following facts about the family*:
John H. Petry Sr.
born on March 15, 1856 in Millersburg, Ohio, and died Sept. 20,
1916. His parents were
(born in Germany in 1813) and
Elizabeth Stuber Petry
(born in Germany in 1816), who were married on April 16, 1839.
Sarah Eleanor “Ella” Evans
born Aug. 28, 1855, in Gosport, IN to
Amanda Hutton Evans.
She died Dec. 31, 1942.
The couple had eight sons,
Walter, Herbert, Lloyd, Lawrence, John, George, Louis and Donald.
are buried in Hoopeston’s Floral Hill Cemetery.
None of us actually remembers John Petry Sr., so
we have to rely on written accounts About his life. His detailed
obituary (note the lengthy sentences written in the style of the
Times) in Hoopeston’s Daily Chronicle states:
“John Petry, secretary and manager of the
Hoopeston Grain & Coal Company, one of Hoopeston’s substantial
business men, died yesterday morning on a C.&E.I. Train just this
Side of Saint Anne, while on the way to the Hahnemann hospital in
Chicago for an operation For a lesion or knot in the intestines,
from which he had been suffering severely for about Forty hours. The
body was brought to Hoopeston on the 3:07 train yesterday to be
prepared For burial, which will not occur until the arrival of his
son Lloyd, sergeant in Company B, From San Antonio to Austin, Texas.
“At three o’clock Monday afternoon Mr. Petry
was seized with a pain in his intestines, and attributed it to some
peaches he had eaten a short time before. He was assisted to his
home, 638 Honeywell Avenue, and a physician summoned. Not being able
to bring relief, the physician advised an operation at a hospital,
and accordingly the sick man was taken to the train Wednesday
morning, accompanied by Mrs. Petry, his sons Walter
and George and Dr. A. M. Earel. He began to sink after
leaving Watseka and died just before the train
Reached St. Anne.
“John Petry was born at Millersburg, Ohio,
March 15, 1856, and was consequently a little past sixty years of
age at the time of his death. He lived through boyhood in Ohio, and
when a young man he came to Chillicothe, Illinois, where he was
employed by Lott & Murphy in the grain business. He came with the
firm to Hoopeston in the latter seventies and remained in the
business, through its different changes in ownership until he and
H. L. Bushnell organized the Hoopeston Grain & Coal Company more
than thirty years ago, And he has been with it ever since. Mr.
Bushnell died last March, and the business will now be run by their
“Mr. Petry was united in marriage to Miss
Ella E. Evans (sic) October 12, 1881. Eight sons were born to them,
all of whom are living but one, Lawrence, who died a few years ago.
They are Walter, Herbert, Lloyd, John, George, Lewis (sic) and
Donald, all of whom live in Hoopeston but Herbert, who is
engaged in the drug business in Chicago. Besides the wife and
children there is one sister, Mrs. Robert McDowell of Ames,
Petry was an excellent citizen and a good business man. He
had an extended acquaintance with the farmers for many miles around
Hoopeston, for he had done business with them for nearly forty
years, and not one but who has a good word for him. He served the
city as city clerk and city treasurer. He was honorable and upright
in all his dealings and had the respect of everybody. He was
essentially a home man, thinking more of his
Home and family than anything else on earth, and he will be long and
Family lore says that John Petry Sr. Died when the train gave
a sudden lurch near St. Anne. Although that occurrence most likely
was coincidental, it does add a bit of drama to his death. We can’t
help but reflect on the shock and pain suffered by Grandma
Petry, Walter and George as the train continued to
move north. Other Daily Chronicle clippings State that “the body was
carried to Momence where it was placed in charge of an undertaker.
Following the death of the husband and father and the sad
interruption of their journey
Mrs. Petry and sons returned to Hoopeston.”
We know that John Petry Sr. was of German descent,
that he had an eighth-grade
education, and that he appreciated good music and the theater. He
raised roses as a hobby
was honest and charitable to the poor.
Sarah Eleanor Evans
was born Aug. 28, 1855, in Gosport, IN, to James and
Amanda Hutton Evans. Her siblings were George
Evans and Eva Evans Lyons, and she was of
A widow for 26 years, she lived to see all 13 of her
grandchildren and, sadly, outlived her four oldest sons. Her eight
sons were born during an 18-year span. The first place she went
after her last son, Don, was born was to the high-school
graduation of her oldest son, Walter.
She had an eighth-grade education and attended Illinois
State Normal. An active lady who contributed to the society in which
she lived, she served as president of the Mary Hartwell
Catherwood Club, twice president of the Ladies’ Aid Society of the
Univeralist Church and secretary of the history and literature
department of the Woman’s Club. She died of a stroke on New Year’s
Eve in 1942.
Those who remember her have called her a wonderful cook
and a lively person with a great sense of humor. She thoroughly
enjoyed attending her club meetings and listening to her favorite
soap operas and Cubs ball games on the radio.
The Eight Sons
1. Walter Evans Petry,
born Dec. 2, 1882, and died April 1, 1936. Professional musician.
Married Bess Harper.
2. Herbert Arthur Petry,
born Jan. 21, 1885, and died April 1940. Druggist. Single.
3. Lloyd Philip Petry,
born April 13, 1888, and died March 27, 1940. Clothing store
proprietor, government distillery inspector. Married Beryl
4. Lawrence Hutton Petry,
born Oct. 14. 1889, and died on Aug. 6, 1909, just before his
twentieth birthday. Single.
5. John Petry,
born March 15, 1892, and died July 19, 1963. Jeweler and Post
Master. Married Floy Hickman.
6. George Emmett Petry,
born July 19, 1894, and died Aug. 24, 1970. Cooperator, Hoopeston
Grain & Coal Company. Married Lois Wicks.
7. Louis Victor Petry,
born Aug. 8, 1897, and died June 9, 1977. Co-operator, Hoopeston
Grain & Coal Company. Married Esther Allen.
8. Donald Richard Petry,
born April 30, 1900, and died Jan. 2, 1971. Treasurer, Hoopeston
Grain & Coal Company. Married Josephine Overton.