CHAMPAIGN [written in 1885]

JAMES W. LANGLEY was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, January 17, 1837. He is the son of James and Jane (Weston) Langley, who were pious and industrious people, and early pioneers of western Pennsylvania, where they pursued an agricultural life and raised a family of twelve children.

Judge Langley is eminently a self-made man, and one for whom the country has great esteem. His early life was that of a farmer boy, during which time he, by industry, obtained a fair education from the common schools. When about fifteen years of age he went to an academy at Waterford, Pennsylvania, where he remained for nearly two years.

In the fall of 1854 he removed to the West, his first occupation being that of a pedagogue, and settled near Girard, Macoupin County, Illinois. Here he taught school for three years, at the same time continuing his studies, and in August, 1857, he began reading law under the instruction of Hon. John M. Palmer, ex-governor of Illinois, and January 8, 1859, was admitted to the bar by the supreme court. In the spring of the same year he located in Champaign, and at once commenced the practice of his profession.

His practice was constantly on the increase, being that of general law, and he was engaged in many important cases of various kinds, and was in a very prosperous condition when, in August 1862, feeling his services were needed in the defense of his country, he enlisted in the Union army for three years. He entered as captain of a company, and at the organization of the [125th Illinois] regiment was elected lieutenant-colonel, in which capacity he served for three years, being twice breveted, once as colonel United States volunteers and as brigadier-general. He took an active part in many important battles, among which were Perryville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Buzzard Roost, Resaca, Rome, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesborough, Savannah, Averysburgh and Burtonville. He was in the campaign of Atlanta and around the city, Shermanís march to the sea, and was present at the surrender of Johnsonís army to General Sherman, and marched his brigade to Washington and participated in the grand review of all the armies, and was mustered out June 9 at Washington, receiving his final discharge in Chicago July 1, 1865, having never been voluntarily absent from his command a day during his term of service, although being under almost constant fire and at the head of many severe struggles, one horse being shot from under him. Four slight wounds only attest the many perils of his long and arduous service. One very severe conflict in which he suffered severe loss was the battle of Kenesaw Mountain. Here his forces suffered great loss, one company going into the battle with some sixty men and coming out with but fifteen. Immediately after the war he resumed his former practice, increasing his clientage and doing a very fine business, in which he continued to prosper until 1870, when he was elected on the republican ticket to the state senate. Here he was brought prominently before the citizens of the state, after which he again returned to his practice and became widely known throughout eastern Illinois, and in 1877 was nominated by the republican party and overwhelmingly elected judge of Champaign county, an office in which he gave such universal satisfaction that he was reelected in 1882.

In politics the judge is a stanch republican, and has at times taken quite an active part in political affairs, but has never aspired to high office. In local elections he is independent in his views. He was a delegate to the national convention, held in Chicago in 1868, which first nominated General Grant for the presidency.

June 4, 1861, he was married to Miss J. J. Young, of Champaign, a lady of fine accomplishments and most excellent family. His religious connection is with the Methodist church, in which he is a consistent and active member. Personally, Judge Langley has rare qualities, and by his upright course of life, his manly deportment and independence of character, has made for himself an honorable reputation. Few men have more devoted friends that he; none excel him in unselfish devotion and unswerving fidelity to the worthy recipients of his confidence and friendship.  

Note: Clicking the links on this page will take you to photo's of the people mentioned. Photo's of James and Jeanette J. (Young) Langley were taken in 1888.

Submitted to Illinois Civil War Project by Ken L. Slauson tiresias@earthling.net

Great-Great Grandson of Colonel James Weston Langley 

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