Nathan Brill, a substantial farmer of Grant Township, living four and one-half miles northwest from Fairport, was born in Patton, Miscisco County, Lower Canada, on February 24, 1834. He is the second of nine children born to David N. and Rachel (Peabody) Brill, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of New Hampshire. The paternal grandfather was David Brill, who was born at Pigeon Hill, Vt. The maternal grandfather was Francis Peabody, who was an uncle to George Peabody. Both great-grandfathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Grandfather Peabody and six of his sons were with Gen. Washington when the Delaware River was crossed, and the Hessians surprised. David N., the father, served in the Civil War, being in the Eighth Regiment of Vermont Infantry. He was in the siege at Port Hudson on the Mississippi River, where he died in 1863. Four sons, Nelson, Oliver, Albert and Henry, were also soldiers of the Rebellion. Nelson was a member of the Sixtieth New York Infantry, and was wounded at the battle of Ringgold, Ga. He now resides in De Kalb County, Mo. Oliver was also in the Sixtieth New York Infantry, and was captured at Harper's Ferry, and confined in Libby prison. He died soon after being exchanged from the privations endured there. Albert was a member of a Vermont regiment, and was wounded in the right hand and shoulder at the battle of the Wilderness. Henry was in Crott's Nine Hundredth Cavalry, and died at Washington City from typhoid fever. The mother died in 1855, near Ogdensburg, N. Y. Nathan was reared on the farm, and attended the common schools of Vermont and Canada, securing a fair education. During the war he served through 1864 in the construction corps under Gen. Neagley, with headquarters at Nashville, Tenn. He assisted in the erection of Forts Neagley, Morton and others in that city. At the close of the war he built bridges for the Iron Mountain Railroad in Missouri. In 1865 he removed to Dallas Township, De Kalb County, where he worked at the carpenter's trade. In 1869 he purchased a farm in Grant Township, where he has since resided. He owns 163 acres of land, and in the summer of 1885 erected a large, handsome frame residence on his farm. He has never sought or held public office. On December 9, 1863, he wedded Emma Simons, who was born near Oswegatchie, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., on December 8, 1846. She is the daughter of Valentine and Phebe (Whitney) Simons. The father was born in Wilmington County, and the mother in Bennington County, Vt. To Mr. and Mrs. Brill seven children have been born as follows: Norman, August 11, 1866; Furmer, October 7, 1869, died September 22, 1870; Laura, September 4, 1872, died February 6, 1877; Horace, March 16, 1875; Viola, September 25, 1877; Lemuel, October 14, 1881, and Ida, February 14, 1884. Mr. Brill is a member of the Methodist Church.
Source: History of Andrew and DeKalb Counties, Missouri (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888), pp. 550-551.