|Other People | Frank J. Bradley | Olive Rambo Cook | Jerry Litton ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
B. C. Lightner, a progressive and enterprising agriculturist, as well as an extensive stock-raiser and feeder, owns several fine farms, one of hundred and eighty acres and one of one hundred and sixty-six acres in Livingston county and another of five hundred and sixty acres in Linn county. He was born and reared upon a farm and has never engaged in any other pursuit, his success justifying his choice of a life work and placing him today among the active factors in the agricultural development of this section of the state. He was born in Linn county, October 12, 1870, and is a son of Chap and Nancy (Yates) Lightner, the former a native of Virginia. The father's history is interesting and furnishes many excellent examples of the power of industry and determined resolution in the accomplishment of success. He came as a pioneer to Linn county fit 1860 entirely penniless and upon his death left thirty-three hundred fertile acres to be divided among his children. The early period of his residence here was filled with hardships and poverty, for he was obliged to accept any work that would bring him an income and often split rails at twenty-five cents a hundred and walked five miles to do it. His average income at this time was sixty-two cents a day, but nevertheless it was out of the proceeds of this work that he purchased his first forty acres of land. With this as a beginning he gradually prospered, adding to his holdings from time to time, following progressive agricultural methods and above all managing his business affairs with the shrewdness, foresight and keen discrimination of a true financier, It is told of him that in the early days of his poverty he tried to buy an ox on credit and was refused by a man who afterward attempted to borrow money of Mr. Lightner in the days of his prosperity. He died in 1896, one of the wealthiest men in Livingston county, and his death was a great loss to the section in the ranks of her progressive and successful men. He was a veteran of the Mexican war and a man upright, honorable and loyal in all the relations of his life. He had survived his wife since 1882, her death having occurred when she was fifty-six years of age. Both are buried in the Wallace cemetery.
B. C. Lightner attended district school in Linn county, but laid aside his books at the age of seventeen in order to assist his father with the work of the farm. At the age of twenty-one he began his independent agricultural career, farming on one his father's properties and continuing to develop it until after his father's death. Under the will he inherited two hundred and forty acres and he has added to his holdings by the purchase of seven hundred and sixty-six acres located in Livingston and Linn counties. Part of the property he is farming himself and the remainder is rented out. Mr. Lightner is a practical and able agriculturist, a firm believer in modern methods and in modern machinery to facilitate the work of the fields, and his well directed efforts have been rewarded by abundant success. He is an extensive stock-raiser, feeding six hundred swine, one hundred mules and large herds of cattle.
Mr. Lightner married, in Medicine township, January 8, 1890, Miss Media Owens, a daughter of J. H. and Sarah (Kennedy) Owens, the former a pioneer farmer of Livingston county. He and his wife reside in Chula. Mr. and Mrs. Lightner have one daughter, Flo, who is the wife of John West, Jr., a prominent farmer in Sullivan county. Mr. Lightner owns an attractive residence and is a director in the Exchange Bank of Chula. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party. He has ably carried forward the work of development which his father began and by his own labor, enterprise and good management has become the owner of a valuable property and is widely and favorably known for his many sterling traits of character and his business progressiveness.