Lee County Biography


Rev. William H. Clatworthy, an honored minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who has practically retired from his profession, and now devotes himself to farming and stock-raising, has a pleasant home in Harmon Township, and is numbered among the most respected citizens of Lee County. He was born in Cornwall, England, April 4, 1839, one of the eleven children of John and Jane (Jefford) Clatworthy, seven of whom grew to maturity, and of those, two came to the United States: our subject and his sister Martha, now Mrs. Wixom, of Harmon. The father was a civil and mining engineer, and was employed in the mines of England. Both he and his wife were earnest members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the father being leader of the choir.

Our subject worked in silver, iron and copper mines in his native country in early life. He received careful religious instruction from his parents, and at the age of seventeen became a member of the church. He manifested a great interest in the church, and was soon recognized as one of its most active and efficient workers. Wishing to consecrate himself more entirely to the cause of religion, he studied theology, fitted himself for the ministry, and at the ago of twenty-four, entered upon the duties of his sacred calling, he preached the gospel on circuits in Devonshire and Cornwall until 1869, when he left England and came to the United States, landing at New York, October 2. He was accompanied hither by his family, and making their way directly to Chicago, they buried a little daughter there who had sickened and died after arriving in this country. From Chicago the family proceeded to Libertyville, Lake County, where Mr. Clatworthy worked as farm-hand during the season of 1870. In the fall of that year, he resumed his ministerial duties, and was assigned to the church at Sycamore. A year later, he took charge of the work at Indian Creek and Ophir, where societies of his faith had been established, and he preached very acceptably to the people of those places for six years. He then went to Harmon, and for six years filled the pulpit at that place.

While he was actively engaged in the ministry, Mr. Clatworthy purchased one hundred and sixty acres of his present farm in 1879, removed to it and devoted his leisure to tilling the soil. He has made many improvements, and has greatly increased the attractiveness and value of the place since it came into his possession by planting many beautiful shade trees, some of which have attained a diameter of from twelve to fifteen inches. He has a neat and substantial house, and necessary farm buildings, and has his farm well stocked with cattle and horses of good grades. In the fall of 1885, he went from his old pastorate at Harmon to Lyndon, and for two years hail charge of the church in that village. He then retired from active work in the ministry to his farm, and has since been exclusively engaged in its management, occasionally filling the pulpit in different parts of the vicinity.

The Rev. Mr. Clatworthy was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth A. Crocker, in Devonshire, England, in 1863. She is a native of that English shire, born March 26, 1839, and a daughter of Richard and Mary (Decker) Crocker. She had two brother's who came to the United States: William, a farmer in Webster County, Iowa; and John, who died in Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Clatworthy have been greatly blessed in their marriage by the birth of ten children, of whom seven are living. Their son, William H., is a Presbyterian minister in Hastings, Neb.; their daughter Mary is the wife of Charles Woodburn, of Sterling, IL who is reporter of the Circuit Court; Emily is the wife of David T. Hill, of Harmon; and Alfred, Carrie, Rosena and Ernest G. are at home with their parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Clatworthy are very pleasant, intelligent people, whom it is a pleasure to meet, and they are very highly thought of by the people among whom they have made their home. A man of true piety and deep religious convictions, a Christian in word and deed, Mr. Clatworthy has not only done good work in the church, hut he has thrown the weight of his influence on the side of morality and right living at all times, and has made the community better for his residing in it. He has never sought public office, but has taken a sincere interest in the politics of his adopted country, and is a sound Republican.

Source: Portraits and Biographical 1892 Pg 534


Lee Co Bios Home