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Biography - William McCaslin

WILLIAM G. McCASLIN, a successful farmer of Mills Township, resides near Dudleyville. He belongs to one of the old families of the State, and has witnessed almost all of the improvements of his section. No residents of this county receive more respect than he and his excellent wife. He was born at this place July 13, 1829, and has therefore been identified with the progress of Bond County for many years.

The grandfather of our subject, James McCaslin, was born ten miles south of Dublin, Ireland, and came to America with his parents when he was six years old. The family settled in North Carolina, where the father of James died two years later. The latter became a farmer and moved into South Carolina, and from there to Kentucky, where he reared his family in Caldwell County. In 1828 he removed by wagon to this county and bought the farm now owned by our subject. He lived to be eighty years old, and before his death witnessed many improvements in the surroundings of the home he had selected for his family. At that time the wolves and deer still roamed over the prairie and through the timber at will, and were often troublesome visitors near the log cabins of the early settlers.

The father of our subject was twenty years of age when he came North, and in the same year in which that removal occurred his marriage took place. To him is due the most of the clearing and developing of the farm. At the time of his arrival here there were only a few log cabins where the flourishing town of Greenville now stands, and close was the friendship of these isolated neighbors. The grain which Mr. McCaslin raised, he was obliged to haul to St. Louis, and this trip required four or five days to accomplish. Camping out by the way was a necessity, but altogether the young farmers did not object to the little outing. It gave them a peep at the outside world, and after one of those journeys the man of the house felt very cosmopolitan.

On these rich lands Mr. McCaslin, Sr., harvested large crops of grain, and became one of the largest stockmen in the county. About the last of the Black Hawk War, he was drafted into service, but was not called out. After fifty-one years of honorable, industrious living, he died at his home. In politics he was a Whig and a firm believer in his opinions, when he was sure he was right. The mother of our subject was before marriage Mary M. Mills, and was born in Tennessee, coming here with her parents at the same time as did the McCaslin family, the two fathers having fallen in with each other on the way to the State. Her father, William Mills, was a native of Tennessee, and combined farming with that of Methodist minister. He did much toward establishing that denomination in this section, and gave his house as a meeting-place where he taught the people. In his old age he went to Texas, and died there at the age of eighty years.

The mother of our subject reared nine children: William, Elizabeth A., David M., Nancy I., Cordelia, Rebecca, John W., George W. and Martha E. The mother died at the age of sixty-six years, lamented by family and friends. She had been a valued member of the .Methodist Church. Our subject was born and reared in the same house in which he now lives. He was educated in the log school, house, which now only serves to adorn the landscape of some rural artist. It was not beautiful, but served its purpose at the time. There were only three months of school in the year, and very many of the self-made men of to-day had only one term at the best. Deer were plentiful in those early times and venison did not have to come on ice from the far West. The wolves made it a necessity to pen up the sheep securely.

Our subject began life for himself at the age of twenty-one, and in March, 1851, he married Miss Mary J. Steel, who was born in Morgan County, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. McCaslin have reared eleven children, namely; John W., Catherine I., Clara A., Harriet M. (deceased), James, Uretta B., Warren E., Henry W., Mary F., Alonzo A. and Cary H. Mr. McCaslin first rented a part of the home place for one year, and then bought a small tract of land in Okaw Township, where he lived for two years, but at the end of that time he returned here, and now owns two hundred and eighty acres of the home place. Upon this he has made the most of the improvements and has cleared eighty acres, rebuilt the house, and added two barns and a granary. He carries on mixed farming and raises cattle and horses. Originally our subject was a Republican, but now he is a member of the People's party, and is identified with the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association. He has served as Road Commissioner for a year, and was School Director for a long time. He and his wife command the respect of the neighborhood as honorable, progressive people.

Extracted 20 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 400-402

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