Biography - William Reighley

WILLIAM REIGHLEY. This venerable and highly-esteemed citizen of Moweaqua owns and occupies a large and valuable farm, finely located, a part of it in the village and the remainder near by. Our subject was born ten miles east of Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pa., November 22, 1810. His father, Matthew Reighley, was born on the Irish coast, at a point where it approaches nearest Scotland, and he was of Scotch blood. During some period of his life he emigrated to this country and was engaged at his occupation as a farmer in Mifflin County, when his death occurred in October, 1814. He married after coming to the United States, Susan Close, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Adam Close, becoming his wife. She survived her husband many years and finally died in Adams County, Ohio, in 1852. She was the mother of eight children.

He of whom this sketch is written was in his fourth year when his father died and he was reared by his mother on the old farm that was his birthplace, and he remained with her until he was twenty-one. He then rented land in his native county and farmed it until October, 1839, when he removed to Ohio, going there by canal and rail to Johnstown, thence by canal to the Ohio River, on which he proceeded to Wheeling, where he took a stage for Adams County, Ohio. He bought a tract of improved land and gave his attention to its cultivation as long as he remained a resident of the Buckeye State, which was until 1852. In that year he came to Illinois, making the removal with a pair of horses and a carriage. He located at Chena Grove, McLean County, where he bought a section of land, having entered it from the Government on a previous visit, said land including the present site of the village of Belle Flower.

Mr. Reighley lived in McLean County five years and then, renting his land, took up his residence in Ford County, buying property near Paxton. Three years later he removed to Drummond's Grove, near Gibson City, and remained there until 1874, when he came to Shelby County and invested in four hundred and forty-five acres of land, located as previously mentioned, in and adjoining the village of Moweaqua, where he has ever since made his home. He has here a fine piece of property, substantially improved, and its possession places him among our most solid citizens.

Fifty-one years ago, March 24, 1840, our subject celebrated his wedding with Miss Rachel Bailey, who has been to him a loving and faithful wife during all these long years that they have shared life's joys and sorrows. Children have come to them, of whom these three have been spared to comfort their declining years: James Quincy, William Selkirk and John Wilson. Their only daughter, Susan Mary, was born July 12, 1844, grew to womanhood, married Wallace P. Zook. and died in 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Reighley are sincere Christians, holding membership in the United Brethren Church, and have all endeavored to be true to their religious obligations, including their duties as parents, neighbors and friends.

Mrs. Reighley was born amid the pioneer scenes of Adams County, Ohio, July 18, 1820. Her father, Eben Bailey, was a native of Kentucky and was a son of one Joel Bailey, who was born and reared in England. He came to this country when a young man and was married on his arrival here to Miss Rachel Perkins, who was born in Ireland and was of English ancestry. They removed from Maryland to Virginia and thence to Kentucky, in the early years of its settlement. Mr. Bailey was opposed to slavery, so he crossed the Ohio River into the Northwestern Territory and settled on the present site of Cincinnati, where he bought a tract of timber land that is now included within the city limits. Later he disposed of that and removed to Adams County, of which he became a prominent pioneer. He bought a large tract of forest-covered land, platted the village of Winchester and built the first house there. It was made of hewn logs and in it he opened the first store in the township. At that time his dwelling was one mile from there. He was a resident of that place until his death and his enterprise helped to advance its growth. His wife also died there.

Mrs. Reighley's father was reared on his father's farm in Ohio and always gave his attention to farming. In 1850 he became a resident of Fountain County, Ind., where he bought a farm, upon which he dwelt until his demise in 1859, at a ripe age. He was married in 1818 to Rhoda Prather Odell, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Thomas and Grace (Austin) Odell. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey reared a family of nine children. Mrs. Reighley's mother was an expert in the art of weaving and spinning and she taught her daughter those useful accomplishments and in her early married life Mrs. Reighley manufactured all the cloth used by her family with her own deft hands.

Extracted 09 Apr 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 463-464.

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