Biography Xavier Carlen (Rosella Saxbury)
Past and Present of Pike County (Illinois)
by Capt. M. D. Massie
Page 368 & 369
Xavier Carlen, better known as Charles Carlen, is an enterprising agriculturist of Pleasant Vale township, and is also an honored veteran of the Civil war. He was born on the Rhine in France, June 3, 1832, and was the only child of Charles and Catherine (Lougel) Carlen. The father was a farmer by occupation and both he and his wife were members of the Lutheran church. They died many years ago, Mr. Carlen at the age of fifty-two years and Mrs. Carlen when forty-three years of age.
Charles Carlen of this review was educated in the common schools of his native country and continued his residence there until twenty-five years of age, when, attracted by the favorable reports that he had heard concerning business opportunities and advantages in the United States, he came to America in 1857, landing in New York. He traveled for a number of years before taking up his abode permanently in Pike county. He was first married to Polly Meeks of this county, the wedding taking place in 1866. They had four children; Lewie, the wife of William Battie, who is living in Eldara; Lizzie, the wife of Jacob Moyer, a resident of Hadley township; Charles, at home; and Emma, the wife of George Watson, a resident of Peoria, Illinois. The wife and mother died in 1873, and it was not until 1891 that Mr. Carlen was again married, in which year he wedded Mrs. Rosella Fox, nee Saxbury. She was born in New Canton, Pike county, August 17, 1857, was the widow of William Fox and is the daughter of Edison Saxbury. He was a schoolmate of Martin Van Buren and was one of the first white men to establish a home within the borders of this county and aid in its reclamation for the uses of civilization. Edison Saxbury became a farmer and devoted his attention to the tilling of the soil until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when, on the 13th of August 1862, he enlisted as a member of Company C, Ninety-ninth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers under Captain M. D. Massie. He was with the army for three years, and was then honorably discharged July 31, 1865, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Following his return to Pike county he resumed farming and spent his remaining days here. His birth occurred in 1827 and he departed this life May 25, 1895, at the age of sixty-eight years. By her first marriage Mrs. Carlen had four children; Walter and Edward both living near our subject; Stella, the wife of Fred Wilson, of Eldara; and Lena, the wife of Frank Strater, who is assistant postmaster at Carthage, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Carlen has been born one son, George.
Mr. Carlen had been a resident of the new world only four years when the country became involved in the Civil war. He informed himself concerning the conditions of the times and the great questions under discussion and believing in the justice of the Union cause he enlisted on the 1st of August, 1861, as a member of Company H, Tenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until honorably discharged, December 31, 1863, at Larkinson, Alabama. He re-enlisted there as a veteran on the 1st of February, 1864, and was appointed fifth corporal of Company H, Tenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, receiving the appointment on the 5th of November, 1864, from Colonel P. P. Henderson, who was in command of the regiment. While at the front Mr. Carlen participated in the movements of the armies under Generals Grant, Sherman, McPherson, Logan, Howard and Dodge, taking part in a number of hotly contested engagements, and on the 15th of August, 1865, was honorably discharged at Little Rock, Arkansas.
Following the close of hostilities Mr. Carlen took up his abode in Pleasant Vale township, where he purchased eighty acres of land from Captain Massie’s father-in-law. This was in the midst of the forest and there with the green woods all around him he began the arduous task of clearing and improving a new farm. He first lived in a log shanty and there he put forth strenuous effort to develop his land and to care for his family, for his wife left him with four children, whom he reared himself, putting forth every effort in his power for their welfare, comfort and happiness. As the years passed he prospered in his undertakings and in addition to the tract of land which he now owns he also operates one hundred and twenty acres adjoining his place. He has good buildings and improvements upon his farm and a glance will serve to indicate to the passerby the careful supervision of a painstaking effort of a practical and progressive owner. In his political views Mr. Carlen is a republican. He belongs to Amos Morey post, No. 617, G. A. R., at New Canton and his wife is a member of the Christian church.
There is no more loyal citizen in Pike county than this adopted son from the early years of his residence in America has manifested a sincere and deep attachment to the stars and stripes. Local advancement as well as national progress is a cause dear to his heart and his cooperation has always been depended upon in matters of general improvement and progress here. The hope that led him to seek a home in America has been more than realized for he has found good business opportunities here, the utilization of which has resulted in the acquirement of a comfortable property and at the same time he has won many warm friends among his neighbors and fellow townsmen in Pike county.
Note: Statement in the second paragraph of the biography above reading “He was a schoolmate of Martin Van Buren and was one of the first white men to establish a home within the borders of this county and aid in its reclamation for the uses of civilization” is actually referring to Edison’s father, Peter J. Saxbury.
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