Biography - Thomas M. Wilmer

THOMAS M. WILMER. Many prosperous farmers and stock-raisers are to be found within the bounds of Oconee Township, Shelby County, and perhaps no one of them is more notable for general intelligence and worth both in his person and his family than he whose name appears at the head of this paragraph. He was born in Warren County, N. J., August 25, 1835. His parents were William A. and Catherine (Morrell) Wilmer. The father was a native of Pennsylvania, born in Philadelphia in 1805 and the mother was born the same year in Essex County, N. J. Five children came to cheer this home, of whom our subject is the eldest.

The brothers and sisters of our subject are as follows: William R., born in 1838, enlisted as a private in Company B, Seventy-third Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to be Hospital Steward of his regiment and afterward Adjutant of the regiment and was killed in battle at Franklin, November 30, 1864; Francis M., born in 1840, enlisted in Company G, Fifth Illinois Cavalry. He participated in many maneuvers and engagements but died at home in 1864, of sickness while on a furlough. He had been promoted to the office of First Sergeant of his company; Theodocia R., born May 25, 1841, was also one of the victims of the war. Her affianced was the Captain of a company in the Fifth Illinois Cavalry and died in service. Miss Wilmer, never very strong, took to her bed upon hearing the news of his death and never recovered from the shock but died in September, 1865; Lambert, born November 9, 1844, married Miss Maggie McConnell in Shelby County in 1867, and engaged in farming. He had a bronchial or lung trouble and removed to Colorado in 1881, hoping for relief but died at Ft. Morgan in that State in 1887.

The removal of our subject from New Jersey to Illinois, occurred in March, 1857, and he was then a young man under the parental roof, which was located on the farm where he now resides. His father was an itinerant minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Thomas Wilmer was married in September, 1865, to Miss Lydia A. Reed who was born in Mercer County, N. J., June 3, 1847. Her parents came from New Jersey to this county in 1857 and located in Oconee Township where they died, both in one year — 1883. In their family there were eleven children, namely: John, Abram, Winchester B., Achsa, Lydia A., Alice, Willard, Charles, George, Mary and Emily.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer five children have been born: Catherine M., who first saw the light March 2, 1867, has been a teacher in the public schools of Shelby County, for several years: Anna E., born March 4, 1869, is also following the same profession; Francis, born December 17, 1874, is also qualified as a teacher, having passed a successful examination; Clara G., born August 10, 1874, and Classena, born February 6, 1880, are at home.

Mr. Wilmer has always followed the business of farming, although he was educated for the profession of a surveyor. He is a Republican in politics and takes an interest in public affairs, making an effort to keep himself informed on the current events of the day. He is a thorough and sytematic leader. Mr. Wilmer is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, although his preference is for the Congregational body. Both the paternal and maternal grandfather of our subject were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The maternal grandfather, Thomas Morrell, held the rank of Major in the Fourth Regiment of New Jersey Continentals and was wounded at the battle of Long Island and left on the field for dead. Clinton B. Fisk in the New York Independent states that Gen. Washington detailed four soldiers to carry Maj. Morrell to his father's house at Elizabeth, N. J. On recovery he rejoined the army and remained with it until after the battle of Brandywine when his wound broke out afresh and he was compelled to leave the service. He spent twenty years of his later life as a Methodist minister. He was born in New York City in 1747 and died in Elizabeth, N. J., in 1838.

Extracted 11 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 299-300.

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