Lee County Biography


William C. Wooley, a trusted employed of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, now filling the position of ticket-agent at Dixon, is of English birth, he and a brother being the only ones of his family who ever crossed the Atlantic to America. He was born in the city of Manchester, and is a son of Thomas and Margaret (Calland) Wooley. His father was born in Rugely, Staffordshire, where he was reared to manhood and became a mason and a mechanic. When a young man he went to Manchester, where he built a number of the machine shops of that city, including the large shops of Avrenn & Bennett. His death there occurred at an advanced age, having survived his wife some years. She was born in Manchester and her people were early settlers of that city. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wooley were excellent musicians and sang in the choir of the Congregational Church for many years. The lady especially was particularly gifted in this line and with her beautiful voice often held her audience en≠tranced. Two of the children of the family are yet living in EnglandóJohn and Sarah A., both of whom are married and reside in Manchester.

Under the parental roof our subject spent the days of his boyhood and in the schools of his native city acquired his education. After he had attained to mature years he was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Mary Webb, also a native of Manchester, where her parents, David and Nancy Webb, spent the greater part of their lives, although they were both born in Warrington, England. Mr. Webb was a glass-blower in the employ of the firm of Mollinaux, Webb Si Co., who were engaged in the manufacture of glass in Manchester. Both he and his wife lived to advanced ages but are now deceased.

It was in 1853 that Mr. Wooley, accompanied by his wife and little daughter, came to America. They took passage on a sailing vessel at Liverpool and after a voyage of seven weeks and one day, landed at New Orleans. On the vessel "George Collier" they went up the Mississippi to St. Louis, from whence they made their way to Fultonville, and on to Dixon, 111., where they have since re≠sided. For almost forty years they have now been identified with the city and its social, religious and educational interests. Their home has been blessed by the presence of three childrenóMary, wife of Stephen Youngman, a farmer residing near Dixon; Gertrude, wife of W. C. Jones, who is also living near this city, and William W., the present baggage master of Dixon, on the Illinois Central Railroad. His wife was formerly Miss Nora Edleman, of this city.

For more than thirty-six years Mr. Wooley has been in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad, and during that time has never lost a day's pay. He was first engaged on the construction of the road from Rock Island four miles north and after its completion, when trains began to travel over it, February 17,1855, he accepted a position in the freight department, where he remained until 1890, when he resigned to take charge of the passenger department. He has now full control of the same and well merits the confidence reposed in him b}' the company. To retain a position in the employ of the railroad company one must be faithful and also prompt and exact in the discharge of his duties. That Mr. Wooley has complied with these requirements is attested by the fact of his long continuance with the road. In politics he is a Re≠publican and his wife is member of the Episcopal Church.

Transcribed by Christine Walters "Portrait and Biographical Record of Lee County, Illinois,

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