Biography - William E. Killam

WILLIAM E. KILLAM. Over half a century has been spent by our subject in upward growth. He was born in the early part of the nineteenth century, when advantages for culture and education were not thrust upon a young man, but had to he sought by those who had an inclination therefor. William Killam was born in Ridge Township, Shelby County, March 7, 1838. He was a son of John and Mary M. T. (Bowen) Killam, and a grandson of Peter Killam. He now resides on section 28, of Rural Township, Shelby County, and has been successful in making a pleasant home and amassing a competency.

When our subject was a lad he attended the country schools, which were very different from the schools of to-day. Technical training was at that time no part of the school curriculum. Each boy learning from his father the duties to be done in agricultural life. Neither was there any attention paid to modern languages, although Lindsley Murray was conned from first to last pages, so that every pupil could at least parse an English sentence correctly, which is more than many can do at the present day. The few who had the proud acquisition of a knowledge of Latin, made it theirs for life, and where a Latin student of to-day cannot remember from one day to another, a single sentence of his translation, the old time Latin students can recite page after page of Caesar's Commentaries and of Virgil. Our subject laid a thorough foundation for the education that he afterward acquired by much drill in the three R's, and in English grammar, at the district schools. He completed his education at the old seminary at Shelbyville, which at the time was considered a very fine institution of learning. While here, George R. Wendling was his classmate and associate. After finishing at Shelbyville, our subject was engaged as a teacher for two terms.

On October 31, 1861, Mr. Killam was united in marriage to Levicy Tolly, daughter of Robert and Jemima (Denton) Tolly. She was born in Flat Branch Township, Shelby County, this state, February 16, 1838. She was an admirable woman and made a pleasant home for her husband and the six children which she left on her death, to her husband's care. Her decease took place in 1889. Her children's names are as follows: Mary R., Morris F., John H., Clara A., William E., and Mabel G. During her life Mrs. Killam was a consistent and conscientious member of the Baptist Church.

Previous to his marriage he of whom we write had built a house on the land where he made his home. The young couple at once settled here, spending the happiest days of their marital life in the making of a home in its truest sense, that is, not four square walls that should be merely an abiding place, but the sanctuary of love, sympathy and encouragement. Our subject now owns two hundred acres of land that is under a good state of improvement. He has always followed mixed husbandry, finding that to be in the end more profitable than attention to specialties. Our subject is a member of the Baptist Church, as was his wife. While the political inclinations of Mr. Killam are toward Democracy, like most men who have breadth of thought he is rather independent, leaning however toward Prohibition. He has held several local offices in the township, having been Assessor, Supervisor, School Assessor, and Town Clerk. He is a charter member of the Rural Township Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, and since its organization has always held an office. This company insures farm property in six townships, namely: Tower Hill, Rural, Flat Branch, Pickaway, Ridge and Todd's Point.

Mr. Killam has taken great interest in the education of his children. Two of these, Mary R. and Morris E., have attended the State Normal University at Normal, Ill., where they finished the course with high honor to themselves. Mary taught school for several years, and Morris E. was likewise engaged for three terms. Clara E. has devoted herself to becoming proficient in the art of music, having attended the Jacksonville Musical Institute, and being a fine pianist. The young people are intelligent and accomplished and their father is justified in the pride which he takes in their progress.

Extracted 29 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 625-626.

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