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Mahon fought in Revolutionary War

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By Linda Hanabarger

Thomas Mahon did not come to Fayette County until he was quite up in years. At age 76, he cut his ties with old Virginia and settled his family on the Illinois prairie of Wheatland Township.


Thomas was a son of Irish immigrant, John Mahon, who after coming to America in the mid-1700’s settled in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, Va. The name of his wife has not been proven, but was thought to have been Jane Byrd.
A family tradition in the Mahon family, and one that has been handed down from generation to generation is that John Mahon was killed by a British soldier who demanded the silver knee buckles on his breeches and the silver buckles on his shoes.
To Thomas, as the eldest son, fell the burden of helping his mother care for the family, including five brothers: James, Pleasant, Doctor, Barnett and Dennison.
Thomas served throughout almost the entire Revolutionary War in various enlistments. At one time, he was captured and taken to Canada. In those days, both the Indians and British marched their prisoners to Canada and bargained for their release.
Thomas later was returned home in an exchange of prisoners, and he re-enlisted.
He did not marry and start a family until 1795, when he and Susan Johnson took their vows in Amherst County, Va. Their six children were all born in Pittsylvania County, Va., and when the move was made to Illinois in 1835, their children and families accompanied their parents to Fayette County.
Among their known children were William Pope, Susan (Mrs. Robert Goodman), Thomas Delaware, Pliant, John Johnson and Elizabeth Mahon, who married Charles Duncan in Fayette County.
Brother Thomas Delaware Mahon, as told by the family, was somewhat addicted to the “demon rum,” and while his industrious brothers remonstrated with him about his habits, he continued in his ways. They finally told him that they would not take him to Illinois with them if he did not change.
The day came when the family was to start off, and Thomas was nowhere to be found. When he came to his senses, he realized that his family had taken off without him. He immediately took off alone, and when the brothers and parents reached their land in Fayette County, Delaware was there to greet them.
Land records tell that all of the brothers entered land in Wheatland Township in March of 1837.
Several of Thomas and Jane’s children moved to Missouri, including William, who settled in Osage County, as did his sister, Susan, and her husband, Robert Goodman. John Johnson also moved to Missouri, it is said, so he could keep slaves.
Thomas Mahon died around 1840 and was buried in the cemetery that held the remains of his wife, Sarah, who had preceded him in death. That cemetery is commonly referred to as Mahon-Stephens Cemetery, and is located in Section 31 of Wheatland Township. For nearly 140 years, field stones marked their graves, until descendents obtained a veteran’s marker for this old veteran.
His youngest daughter, Elizabeth Mahon Duncan, is also buried there, without a stone.
In 1976, the local chapter of the Old State Capital Chapter, National Daughters of the American Revolution, marked Thomas Mahon’s grave in a public ceremony, and long-overdue recognition was paid to this veteran of the American Revolution.