Elizabeth Ann Chaney Sheaff

"November 27, 1837--February 14, 1922:
Elizabeth Ann Chaney, daughter of Phineas and Mary Jane Berry Chaney, was born in Bureau County, Illinois, November 27, 1837, and died February 14, 1922, aged 84 years, two months, and seventeen days. The parents were natives of Virginia and pioneers of Illinois, coming to Bureau County in 1836 and to Ogle County in 1838. In 1853 she was married to Simon Sheaff. Their residence was on their farm west of Holcomb until about 25 years ago at which time they purchased a home in Holcomb where the family residence has since been. Four children were born to them, two sons and two daughters. Mr. Sheaff and the two sons, John and Joseph, predeceased Mrs. Sheaff.

Her life was so quiet and unabtrusive [sic] one cannot measure its influence. She was always interested in whatever was for the betterment of humanity. Her sympathies were always with the suffering of unfortunate. With willing heart and skillful hands she fashioned many garments that went into obscute homes adding to the comfort of many little ones. A strong sense of justice caused her to look upon the world with its seething turmoil with great pity and sorrow. Possessed of a wonderful memory, she took much pleasure in reading, but of late had been unable to read much because of failing sight. The faithfulness of her daughter in reading aloud kept her informed as to current events in which she took an active interest. Throughout life she had read much. Whatever expressed beauty in nature, literature or art brought much joy into her life. Her reading was a source of perpetual interest, for she kept what she read indelibly impressed on her memory. Incidents of history with dates, poems and other worth while matters in literature were easily recalled. At her advanced age it was wonderful to hear her recite long poems or quote a passage from some author she admired. She often spoke of the gift of memory as one of our most wonderful possessions. The recalling of memory pictures gave her much comfort as these years were slipping away.

Mrs. Sheaff was very hospitable, extending a cordial courtesy to all who entered her home. Loyal to her convictions of what was her duty, constant in friendships, a lover of home and family. Hers was an example worthy of emulation. Ambition never flagged. She kept her finger on the pulse of home to the last, planning an helping as far as strength would allow in the conduct of home duties. She will be greatly missed. No one can measure the loss to family and old time friends.

There survive two daughters, Eudora M. Sheaff, who resides in the home, and Mrs. Alice Countryman of Madison Wisconsin; one sister, Mrs. Woodburn of Berkeley, California; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

The funeral was held from the home Friday, the 17th, and was largely attended by friends from her own community, Rochelle, Oregon, and Rockford, whose love and respect were expressed by many beautiful floral tributes. The simple and beautiful service so in accord with her wishes was conducted by the Rev. Dr. John Gordon, pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Rockford. Three beautiful selections were sung by Mrs. Edna West Carlson of Rockford.

Contributed by Juli Chaney Jarvis

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