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Biography - William Donnell

WILLIAM N. DONNELL, who for many years was connected with the agricultural interests of this community, but is now living retired in Greenville, has the honor of being a native of Bond County, and is a worthy representative of one of the prominent pioneer families. He was born November 1, 1821. Two years previously his parents, George and Anna (McLean) Donnell, had come to this county from North Carolina. They were natives of Guilford County, that State, and mention is made of them in the sketch of Joseph Donnell, which appears on another page of this work. On reaching this county they located on a farm five miles southwest of Greenville.

At one time the father was acquainted with every man in the county, for the settlers were few at that early day. Subsequently he removed to La Grange Township, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of timber land and sixty acres of prairie. Later he removed to Greenville, and spent the remainder of his days retired from labor, and died in 1877, when about eighty-four years of age. His wife was called to her final rest in 1888, at the very advanced age of ninety-live years. The family numbered ten children, six of whom are now living, as follows: Joseph M., William N., James M., George W., Henry C. and Mrs. Emily McCord.

William Donnell spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the usual manner of farmer lads. He was educated in Hillsboro Academy, and afterward engaged in teaching school for two terms. He took a trip to North Carolina on horseback, some eight hundred miles, and while on his return visited Gen. Jackson in Tennessee. He also heard Henry Clay speak for two hours in Raleigh, N. C. In 1847, Mr. Donnell was united in marriage with Miss Luticia J. White, of Greenville, daughter of Samuel and Cynthia White, who were pioneer settlers of this village. By their union have been born seven children: Delia, now the wife of W. C. Ingram, of Kansas, by whom she has three children, Nellie, Lotta and William; Mary E., Samuel H. and Calvin M., at home; Albert O., who married Ella Wallace; William D. and Ellen W.

Throughout the greater part of his business career, Mr. Donnell engaged in agricultural pursuits. Entering one hundred and twenty acres of land from the Government, upon which not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made, he began farming in La Grange Township, and to the development and cultivation of his land devoted his energies until he transformed it into an excellent farm. He also extended its boundaries until it now comprises four hundred acres. The improvements upon it are in keeping with a model farm, and in all its appointments the place seems complete. He continued to engage in the operation of his land until 1875, when he removed to Greenville, in order to better educate his children, and has since made his home here.

The cause of temperance has ever found in Mr. Donnell a warm friend, and he votes with the Prohibition party. He has never been an office seeker, but served as Treasurer of his township for twenty years, a fact which indicates his personal popularity and the high regard in which he is held. He has long been a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church, and for thirty years has been one of its Elders, serving as an Elder of the church at Greenville for twelve years. The history of Bond County is well known to him, and he is numbered among its honored early settlers.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 246-247.

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