Lee County Biography

William H. Anderson
East Grove Twp.


The native born citizens of Lee county have in William H.Anderson one of the finest representatives of their class. He is a young man of marked enterprise and business capacity, and is one of the most extensive farmers and stock-raisers in East Grove Township, where he makes his home on the old homestead in the house in which his birth occurred March 8, 1857.

Our subject is the son of Fenwick Anderson, who was born in 1818 and was one of the foremost and most successful of the Pioneers of this part of the county, who did much to encourage its growth, and is now living in retirement in the village of Ohio, in the adjoining county of Bureau, enjoying the wealth that he accumulated in former years, and looking after his property. He is a native of Scotland, but his parents, who were also natives of that country, emigrated to Canada when he was young, and settled on a farm near Ayr. Of his brothers it is recorded that Robert came to Illinois and died in Lee County; Fergus still lives on the family homestead in Canada; and William is in Australia.

Fenwick Anderson grew to a vigorous manhood under the pioneer influences of the Canadian settlement in which his parents located when they came to America. After he had attained his majority, he crossed the border line between the Queens dominion and the United States into New York, whence he subsequently came to Illinois in the early years of the settlement of this northern part of the State, and stayed awhile in Ogle County. He there met and married Janette Peake, a native of Vermont, and to them have been born thirteen children, of whom these ten grew to man hood and womanhood: Alice, wife of William Balcom; Fenwick; William H.; Frank; Albert; Emma; Fergus; Hattie, wife of John Neiss; George and Charter.

When Mr. Anderson first made his appearance in this State the country in these parts was but thinly inhabited by whites and the Indians still lingered around their old hunting grounds. He used to encounter them frequently, and once met and talked to the noted chief, Black Hawk. Mr. Anderson decided to locate permanently in Lee County, and selected a suitable site for his future home on section 34, East Grove Township. He erected a log cabin and commenced to till the soil, and later manufactured brick on his own farm, and built a substantial residence of that material. He prospered exceedingly, and in time became one of the wealthy men of the county, as he was successful in everything he undertook, he at one time owned about a thousand acres of land, and still retains seven hundred acres. He was an extensive stock-raiser for many years, and he managed his large farming interests until 1887, when he removed to Ohio, in Bureau Coantv, two miles from his farm, and is living retired. An idle life would by no means suit a man of his active temperament, and as his health is good and he still retains much of his physical vigor, he daily rides on horseback, chops wood, splits posts, or does any work that he desires to accomplish. He is a man of sterling worth and generous nature, and holds a warm place in the hearts of many whom he has befriended. In the early days of the settlement of the country many a man who came here burdened by a heritage of poverty owes to him a start in life, as he used to furnish such settlers with team, wagon and seed-grain, allowing them to pay for the same when convenient. He was prominent in public life as Supervisor and Justice of the Peace for many years, and in him the Republican party has had one of the most stanch supporters, who has advocated its principles since the early days of its organization.

William H. Anderson was reared on the farm that is still his home, and received a common-school education. He early evinced a taste for agriculture, and is now successfully engaged in large farming operations, having five hundred acres of land under his management. He has every convenience for conducting his work after the most approved methods, and his pastures are well stocked with cattle and horses of the best breeds. He is bright, prompt and alert, keeping-pace with the times in all things, and, besides hieing a thorough going farmer, has a record as a public official, as he has been a School Direetor, and has represented his township on the County Board of Supervisors. In politics, he, like his father, is a Republicain to the heart's core.

We should leave this review of the life of our subject incomplete did we not refer to his marriage and to his household. In January, 1883, he was married to Miss Kate O'Neil, a daughter of Thomas and Mary O'Neil. She is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and her parents are now well-known resideints of the village of Ohio in Bureau County.

Mr. and Mrs. ANderson have a home that is attractive in its appointments and surroundings, and three children complte their pleasant family circle, whom they have named William F., Seth and Nettie.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County Pg 447

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