Biography - William L. Donnel

WILLIAM L. DONNEL, one of the most prominent and intelligent gentlemen residing in Shelby County, who is thoroughly public-spirited and capable of being leader of thought and action in his township, resides on section 21, Ridge Township. His father was John M. Donnel, a native of Tennessee, as was also his mother, Elizabeth Jerregan. After marriage this couple settled in Rutherford County, Tenn., and thence emigrated to Montgomery County, Ill., about the year 1827. They afterward made their home in Vandalia, this State, where the life of Mrs. Donnel terminated near that place. Her husband who survived her, died in Williamson County, this State.

He of whom we write was the eldest in a family of twelve children, and was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., January 22, 1820; he came to Illinois with his father who was in limited circumstances and in order to assist his parents he worked out when he was a boy doing farm labor. During the winter of 1839-40 he moved the goods and press of the editor of the State Register with whom he had pleasant relations, as the older man appreciated the bright qualities of the boy. In March, 1840, he came to Shelby County, Ill., and engaged in farming upon his own account in Ridge Township. In June, 1846, he settled on section 21 of the latter township where he has since been a resident.

Mr. William Donnel was married January 6, 1842, to Miss Mary Ann Roys, a daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Roys) Roys, both natives of Kentucky. Daniel Roys passed away from life in Ridge Township, but his widow still survives him and is now at the advanced age of eighty-seven years and makes her home with our subject. Mrs. Donnel was born in Rush County, Ind., April 13, 1825. Mr. and Mrs. Donnel have had eleven bright and interesting children, three of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are: Elizabeth J., the wife of John H. McDonald; Mary Ann, who married J. J. Himes; Sarah H., the wife of Charles Small; William L. Jr., who took to wife Miss Nettie Busby; George W., a clergyman of the Missionary Baptist Church in Oregon, whose wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Neal; James W., who married Sarah Killam; Charles H. and Dora E. are at home.

Our subject has held the office of School Trustee for seventeen years and during that time has been very efficient in forwarding the educational interests of the township. He has also taken an active part in political affairs, casting his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk and being a worker in the Democratic ranks. In his religious connection he was formerly identified with the United Baptist Church but is now a member of the Christian Church. He has always been engaged in farming and stock raising and has erected upon his farm a first-class set of buildings and has two hundred acres in fine shape. He is a man keenly alive to the necessity for progress in the affairs of the neighborhood both social and industrial, and is truly appreciative of all good things whether intellectual or material.

Extracted 12 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, page 398.

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