John Payne, a veteran of the Civil war, who has been residing in Sheboygan since 1849, during which time he has been identified with various public offices, was born in Schenectady, New York, on the 28th of May, 1839, and is a son of John and Susan Maria (Clarke) Payne.
The father was born in County Kent, England, in 1808, and there he was also reared and educated and learned the shoemaker's trade. He emigrated to the United States in 1836, locating in the state of New York, where he met and subsequently married Miss Clarke. In 1844 they removed to the west, locating in Peoria, Illinois, and there the mother died the following year.
Mr. Payne subsequently married Miss Margaret McMurphy, a native of Batavia, New York, and in the spring of 1846 they went to New London, Canada, and lived for about two and a half years. Three years later they returned to the United States and on the 16th of November, 1849, located in Sheboygan, where the father followed his trade until 1854. In the latter year he withdrew from the shoe business and removed to the western part of the county and located on a farm, remaining there a year. He next located in the village of Cascade, where he bought a hotel and shoe shop, both of which he conducted until his death in 1876. Of Mr. Payne's first marriage there were born four children, two of whom are living: John, our subject; and Susan J., the widow of Major Shaw, who was living in Lima, this county, and was a member of the state assembly at the time of his death in 1878. Mrs. Shaw is a resident of Grand Forks, North Dakota, at the present time. To Mr. Payne and his second wife there were born three children, two of whom are living, Mary and Frances, who make their home in Grand Forks. Charles Henry is now deceased.
The education of John Payne was acquired in the district and private schools of the United States and Canada, his student days being terminated at the age of fourteen years. He lived at home and assisted his people until 1864, and on February 18, that year, he enlisted as private, being later promoted to corporal and sergeant in the Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was subsequently, on the 19th of October, 1864, promoted to the office of second lieutenant commanding the company and later was assigned to brigade headquarters as aide de-camp on the general staff and later at Jeffersonville, Indiana, was assigned to the regimental staff as acting quartermaster of said regiment and made final settlement with the state when the regiment was disbanded. During the period of his enlistment he participated in seventeen different engagements and was mustered out at Jeffersonville, Indiana, on the 12th of July, 1865. After receiving his discharge from the army he returned to Cascade and resumed his duties as postmaster, to which office he was first appointed in August, 1860, continuing to serve in this capacity for eighteen years.
He subsequently located in Winnebago county, and for a year was in the chair business at Menasha, Wisconsin, after which he engaged in the real-estate and insurance business. He was also justice of the peace, a member and clerk of the board of education of Menasha, and for a number of years served as secretary of the Soldiers Relief Commission for Winnebago county, being identified with the interests of said city and county for fourteen years. In April, 1901, he returned to Sheboygan county and has here made his home ever since.
On the 15th of April, 1866, Mr. Payne was married to Miss Esther J. Greeley, a niece of Horace Greeley, who passed away eight months after their marriage, On the 29th of July, 1869 he married Miss Elizabeth McKillip, a native of this city and a daughter of Worthy and Arethusia McKillip, both of whom are deceased. the father having died on the 13th of February, 1895, and the mother on July 31, 1899. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Payne, three of whom are living: Worthy J ., a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Beavers, who is living at home and assisting his father with the cultivation of the farm; Clara, who married Charles S. Dayton, by whom she has had one child and is living at Beaver Dam, this state; and Nellie F., the wife of Robert McClure, an electrician of Sioux City, Iowa, who also has one child. Mrs. Payne passed away on the 14th of October, 1900, and is buried in Wildwood cemetery, in Sheboygan.
Mr. Payne is a republican in his political yjews. While residing in Cascade he served as justice of the peace and town clerk of Lyndon for the years of 1869 and 1870. He has alwaays taken an active and helpful interest in all matters pertaining to the veterans of the war and for five years he was secretary of the Soldiers Relief Commissien of Winnebago county, resigning this office when he returned to Sheboygan. In the discharge of all public duties Mr. Payne has manifested the same loyalty and fidelity of purpose that characterized him as a soldier on the battlefields of the south, and he is spoken of by those who know him in the highest terms. He has been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic for a great number of years, joining at Sheboygan about thirty years ago. Later he joined the Post at Menasha, Wisconsin, and still later, became a member of the Post at Sheboygan Falls, having passed through all of the chairs with the exception of that of commander.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL