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Lee County Biography

Henry W. Hillison


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Henry W. Hillison is one of the most successful of Lee County's native-born cit­izens who are devoting their energies to sustaining and extending her great agricultural interests. He is prominent as a farmer and stock-dealer, who is ably managing an extensive business in his line in China Township, and he is also known for the honorable part he has taken in the administration of public affairs and in local politics. Mr. Hillison was born in Bradford Township, September 12, 1850. His father, Omen Hillison, who was a native of Norway, came to this country in 1838, and was a pioneer of Lee County. He first settled in Lee Centre Township, but subse­quently took up a claim in Bradford Township, of which he thus became an early settler. He was married after coming to this county to Miss Catherine E. Reinhart, a sister of Andrew Reinhart, and their wedded life was passed on his homestead in Bradford Township, which was too early deprived of his services by his untimely death. Two children were born to him and his wife; Henry W. and Betsy J., the latter of whom is the wife of Conrad Bnandau. A sketch of the mother, Mrs. C. E. Aschenbrenner, who married again after the death of the father, is given on another page of this volume.

Our subject grew to mans estate in his native township, and made his home there until his marriage in 1873, when he settled on section 25, China Township, where he has a farm of two hundred and forty acres, which, under his super­vision, has become a valuable piece of property, ranking among the best improved estates in the locality. The land is well cultivated and very productive, and Mr. Hillison has erected a fine set of farm buildings, and has all the conveniences of a model farm for carrying on his operations. Besides tilling the soil, raising grain and other farm products, he is engaged in buying and shipping live stock, a business which he makes exceedingly I profitable, as his keen judgment is seldom at fault in making his purchases, and he is quick to take advantage of favorable opportunities to sell at any sudden rise in prices, or when the markets are active.

The marriage of Mr. Hillison with Miss Elizabeth Roth was celebrated at Dixon, May 8, 1873. In their cozy home, five children complete their pleasant household, whom they have named John H., Christie E., William C., Reinhart A. and Celia. Mrs. Hillison is a native of Germany, born on the 18th of February 1853. Her parents, John and Barbara (Barnhart) Roth, were also of German birth. They came to the United States in 1860, and have ever since been residents of Lee County.

The fellow-citizens of our subject, appreciating the fact of his ability to handle his own affairs so as to make the most of his resources, and knowing him to be utterly trustworthy, have twice elected him to the office of Supervisor, and both terms that he was a member of the County Board he worked earnestly to secure public improvements that would not only be of advantage to the township that he represents, but would benefit the county at large. He is a true Republican, an ardent supporter of the principles of his party, and is active in political matters. He and his wife are members in high standing of the Lutheran Church.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Pg 725
**The first Norwegian to come to Lee county was Ommen Hillison, Americanized from Amund Helgeson, a Hardanger who left Norway in 1835. In 1837 he walked from New York to Chicago with the avowed purpose of taking up land which he had heard wsa to be thrown open to settlement and sale. Hillison finally located in Bradford Twp. and after a few years married Miss Catherine E. Reinhart.

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