Joseph CALEY is identified with the development of the natural resources of Marshall county and is now operating in the coal fields, being a well known representative of the mining interests of Whitefield township. His home is on section 22 of that township and in this locality he has spent the greater part of his life. He was born in Staffordshire, England, on the 22d of February, 1843, and was a son of John CALEY, also a native of England, whence he came to America about seven years prior to the arrival of his son Joseph. The year of his emigration was 1851 and he made his way into British America, where he accepted the position of foreman for the London Coal Company. He afterward returned to the United States and located midway between Lacon and Peoria, where he opened coal mines. Subsequently he removed to Marshall county and again was connected with the development of the rich coal fields of this part of the state. As soon as he took up his abode in this country he took out naturalization papers and was ever most loyal in his citizenship, being a stalwart champion of the institutions of our free republic. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal church and in its work took a most active and helpful part, while his life was characterized by his faithful following of its teachings. He died about twelve years ago at the age of seventy, having long survived his wife, who died when their son Joseph was only two and a half years of age.
The subject of this review is a self-educated and a self-made man and an understanding of his intellectual progress and his advancement in the material things of life awakens admiration and respect. He has, by reading, observation and experience, continually broadened his knowledge and is today a well informed man. Moreover, he has prospered in his business undertakings and he certainly deserves much credit for what he has accomplished. He came to America in 1858 when a youth of fifteen years and from that time to the present has been dependent upon his own resources. When the Civil war was in progress he felt that his duty to his country was paramount to all other interests and in 1862 he enlisted as a private, becoming a member of Company K, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, joining the regiment at Pontiac, although his enrollment was at Moline, Illinois. He then served until the close of the war and participated in many hotly contested and sanguinary engagements. He was wounded in the battle of Goldsboro, South Carolina, and he faced the rebel fire on many another battlefield, including Perryville, Stone River, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the siege of Atlanta. He had many narrow escapes from injury and death and it was on the 16th of March, 1865, that he sustained a wound.
When the country no longer needed his military aid Mr. CALEY returned to the north and has since been a factor in the business life of this portion of the state. He now owns thirty-six acres of rich coal lands on which he has opened mines that are now being successfully operated and the output finds a ready sale on the market, bringing to him a merited and gratifying financial income.
On the 25th of December, 1867, Mr. CALEY was united in marriage to Miss Augusta OWEN, a lady of German birth. The wedding was celebrated in Rock Island county, Illinois, and unto them have been born nine children: Elizabeth Ann, who was born August 20, 1868, and is the wife of Dennis FARLIN, a fanner of Kansas; John Frederick, who was born March 9, 1871, and died March 9, 1885; Augusta Owen, who was born July 7, 1872, and is the wife of Hiram MONIER, who lives near Bradford, Illinois; Tama Jane, who was born May 12, 1874, and is living in Kansas; Sarah Alice, born October 1, 1876, and now deceased; Mary Josephine, who was born June 18, 1879, and now the wife Clark C. RIGHTHOUSE, a farmer residing near Bradford, Marshall county; Mrs. Clara Belle MOTELL, who was born March 9, 1881, and lives south of Sparland; Joseph Sherman, who was born January 23, 1885, and died on the 9th of March of the same year; and Rosa Emma, who was born October 27, 1888, and is now the wife of Roy ROWE, living in Whitefield township. Mr. and Mrs. CALEY have reared a family of whom they have every reason to be proud and have lived to see them become comfortably situated in life. In politics Mr. CALEY is independent and he has always been so busy that he has had no time to take part in political work. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is as true and loyal in his duties of citizenship as when he followed the old flag upon southern battlefields. His is a most creditable record and should serve a& a source of emulation and encouragement to others, for starting out in life empty-handed when a young lad he soon came to a realization of the fact that success is the reward of enterprise and diligence and it has been along these lines that he has made advancement, from a humble financial position to one of affluence.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.