Lee County Biography

HUGH FITZPATRICK
May Township


May Township is settled principally by people who were born on the Emerald Isle, and when the question is asked, who is their leading citizen, the answer invariably is, Hugh Fitzpatrick. And verily this is so. He is not only one of its foremost farmers and stock-raisers, but he is first among its office-holders as its representative on the Lee County Board of Supervisors. Mr. Fitzpatrick was born in County Cavan, Ireland, in the month of April, 1828. His parents were James and Mary (McBride) Fitzpatrick. Both were life-long residents of their native land, the former dying in 1848, and the latter in 1835. There were three children in the family, and all came to the United States. Bernard enlisted during the War to fight for the stars and stripes in the Sixteenth New York Heavy Artillery, and yielded up his life for his adopted country while in the service. Ann came to America in 1845 and was married in Hollidaysburg, Pa., to John Keefer. She is now a widow and resides in Chicago.

Our subject is the oldest of the family. He was I reared to the life of a farmer, on his native soil, and in the opening years of his manhood sailed away from the. Old Country to try life in the New World. He landed at New Orleans after a voyage of several weeks and made a stay of four months in the Crescent City. He subsequently wended his way to Broome County, N. Y., and for some years thereafter was connected with the construction of railways in various capacities. He was I first employed on the New York and Erie Railway when that was being built, and later was engaged on the Pennsylvania Central Railway as foreman of a construction gang. Nearly ten years of his life was given to that kind of work, and then Mr. Fitzpatrick joined the pioneer farmers on the prairies of Northern Illinois, coming to Lee County in 1857 and locating j in May Township upon the place where he still I resides. He at first purchased only eighty acres of land, but is now the owner of the south half of section 29, and has become one of the leading stock-raisers of this section, his rich pastures affording sustenance for fine herds of cattle and horses of the best grades. Mr. Fitzpatrick was happily married in 1850 to Miss Ann De Lacy, and for more than forty years they have been together through the sunshine and shadows of a wedded life, that has brought them much joy. Grief has also fallen to their lot in the death of their two children James, who was born in October, 1850, and died in 1889 in Montana; and Bernard, who was born in January, 1852, and died in infancy. Mrs. Fitzpatrick is also, like her husband, a native of County Cavan, Ireland. She came to this country when a young woman, braving the dangers of the ocean alone.

Our subject is a good example of our so-called self-made men, as he began life in this country under circumstances that would have been depressing to any of a less buoyant and self-reliant nature. When he landed at New Orleans two cents was all the money that he had in his possession. But he had better capital in his strength, courage and brain, and has made his way successfully to a competency. His active, enterprising spirit, his good sense and native ability, together with his ready tact and his geniality, early elicited the favor of his fallow-townsmen, who have repeatedly called him to fill local offices, and he has held some of them twenty years. He has been a member of the County Board of Supervisors no less than ten years, and in that position as in all others, has nobly fulfilled his duties as a public-spirited citizen. Religiously he is a Roman Catholic and is an exemplary member of his church. 

Source: Portraits & Biographical Lee County 1892

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