Deceased, he was formally
years a leading agriculturist of Palmyra
Township, and when called to his final rest
his death was deeply mourned by many
friends. A native of the Emerald Isle, he was
born in County Monoghan, April 25, 1832. He lost
his father, John Duffy, when only seven years of
age. The death of Mr. Duffy, Sr., occurred while
in the prime of life and resulted from injuries received by causing his horse to jump a picket fence.
He was a farmer and followed that occupation in
pursuit of fortune. His wife, whose maiden name
was Ellen Lenon, died when Bernhard was eighteen
years of age. Both she and her husband were
members of the Catholic Church.
Our subject, with his brother Patrick, who is
now living in the South, and his sister Bridget, now
Mrs. Engel, of Clinton, IL came to this country
together soon after the death of the mother. From
Dundalk they went to Liverpool and thence sailed
to New York. From that city Mr. Duffy came to
Dixon. The year 1851 witnessed his arrival and
the commencement of his life in the West. As he
was in very limited circumstances, he began to
work at farm labor which he continued until he
had saved a sufficient sum to purchase land and
begin farming for himself. He further completed
his arrangements for a home by his union with
Miss Mary Williams, celebrated in Dixon in 1878.
The lady was born in Bilston, Staffordshire, England, in 1862, and is a daughter of William and
Mary (McCuen) Williams. Her father was born in
London in 1828, and in Staffordshire wedded Miss
McCuen, a native of Ireland, who was reared and
educated in England. After the birth of their two
children the parents came with their family to the
United States in 1868, locating first in Massachusetts. Subsequently they removed to Pennsylvania, and some years later came to Dixon, Ill., Mr.
Williams purchasing a farm near that city where
he and his wife spent the remainder of their days.
Her death occurred October 3, 1884, and about two
years later, on the 22d of July, 1888, the husband
was called to his final rest. Both were consistent
Catholics and were well and favorably known
throughout this community. Their three children
are yet living, namely: Mrs. Duffy, of this sketch;
Agnes, who is employed as a saleslady in the store
of Stearns Brothers, of Dixon; and William, who
also makes his home in that city.
After his marriage, Mr. Duffy resumed his farm
labors and the land which he purchased his placed
under a high state of cultivation, also placed many
improvements upon it which greatly enhanced its
value and its attractive appearance. The farm,
which comprises one hundred acres, is still the
property of Mrs. Duffy, under whose management
it is operated. She is a capable business woman,
energetic and industrious, and her property yields
her a good return. The home of this worthy
couple was blessed with two children, sons. John
and Edward, who are still with their mother.
On the 1st of July, 1890, Mr. Duffy met with an accident which resulted in his death. He was thrown from a load of hay by the fork failing to act aright, and falling to the floor was partially paralyzed. The accident, resulted in complete paralysis and he died thirty-six hours later, his family lost a faithful husband and father, the Catholic Church a consistent member and active worker, and the county a public-spirited and valued citizen who always bore his part in public affairs and took an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare and upbuilding of the community. Mrs. Duffy has recently built a beautiful home on Peoria Avenue in Dixon, where she now resides with her two sons. She is a member of the Catholic Church and has many warm friends throughout this community.
Portraits and Biographical 1892
Hugh Duffy has shown marked ability as a farmer by transforming the one hundred and thirty-eight acres of land now included
in his homestead, situated on section 15, Nelson Township, into a fruitful, highly cultivated
farm, which is amply supplied with modern improvements and all the appliances and machinery
for facilitating agricultural labors. Mr. Duffy devotes his farm partly to the dairy business, which
is quite an important source of income, and partly to raising grain and stock, he has also for many years conducted a lucrative business as a well digger.
Our subject was born in October, 1829, in County Monaghan,Ireland, in the parish of Anna Mullen, in the town of Carntree, his birthplace being within a mile of the ancestral home of Gen. Jackson’s father and grandfather. The parents of our
subject, Philip and Ann (Coyle) Duffy, were life-long residents of that Irish county and were descendants of the old Celtic stock. Both died when
comparatively young, his death occurring in 1840, at the age of forty years, and hers at the age of thirty-live years. They were members of the Catholic Church and were true Christian people, who were greatly respected by their neighbors. The father was a farmer by occupation.
Our subject was but ten years old when his mother died, and only eleven years of age when his father closed his eyes in death. This sad bereavement left him dependent on his own resources
for a livelihood. Fortunately, the little Irish lad was made of good stuff that could withstand the buffets of the world, he had a resolute will, an
unfaltering courage and a cheerful, hopeful disposition. He was active and healthy, had been trained to industrious habits, notwithstanding his youthfulness, and was ready at all times to perform any kind of honest labor. To a mind like his, the United States presented many attractions, and in 1847 he carried out his determination to emigrate to this country, sailing from Liverpool March 22, in the “Wisconsin,” which was commanded by
Capt. Mumford. He landed in the city of New York on the 20th of April, after an unusually quick passage for those times. The next two years of his life were passed at Warwick, R. I., and he then came Westward in the year 1849, and has since lived in Lee County. He was well equipped for the pioneer life of those days, as we have seen, and has made his mark as a pioneer to whom all honor is due. He has not only witnessed the great
changes that have taken place since he first set foot on this soil, but he has had a hand in bringing about the gradual development of the county into a rich and highly improved agricultural center.
In 1851 Mr. Duffy made his first purchase of land, to which he has since added other land. The fine farm that he now owns is the result of his untiring labors. He has erected a substantial, commodious barn, fitting it up with all the conveniences in general use to-day, and he has put up other well-arranged buildings. Together with his farming he carries on quite an extensive dairy business, using thirty cows for the purpose. For many years he has been a well-digger, having all the necessary machinery, and has dug overdone hundred deep wells. As in all things else, Mr. Duffy is independent in politics, having a mind of his own, and is bound by no party ties. He is a thoroughly good citizen, loyal in thought and act to his adopted country. His fellow-townsmen always find him genial and obliging in his intercourse with them and fair in his dealings. The religion of his ancestors is dear to him,and he and his family are Catholics.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Isabel Hammill was solemnized at Dixon. Mrs. Duffy was born and reared in the same county where her husband bad his birth, her parents, Patrick and Catherine (Dailey) Hammill lived and died in Ireland, her father attaining the venerable age of ninety- seven years, while her mother was in the prime of life when her death occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Duffy have experienced sorrow in their wedded life in the death of six of their children, all dying quite young, who were named Mary A., Philip, Patrick, Katie, Isabel and Frank. The children spared to bless and cheer their declining years are John, Alice, Patrick and Henry. John, who works in the condensed milk factory at Dixon, married Miss Kate McManus. Mrs. Duffy departed this life at her home in Nelson Township, December 28,1891, aged sixty-three years.
Portraits and Biographical 1892