Marshall County


Robert C. McWILLIAMS, the popular and efficient postmaster of Henry, Illinois, was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, August 19, 1851, and is a son of John and Margaret J. (ALBIN) McWILLIAMS, natives of Beaver and Mercer counties, Pennsylvania, respectively. The father was born April 24, 1824, and died September 23, 1888. He was an extensive farmer of his native state, was widely and favorably known throughout the community in which he lived, as an upright, honorable man, and justly deserved the high regard in which he was universally held. His wife, who was born November 18, 1825, was called to her final rest November 22, 1883. She was an earnest Christian and ardent church worker, belonging to the Methodist Episcopal church, of which her husband was also a consistent member. Her father, William ALBIN, was local minister of that denomination and a very devout man, who rendered most acceptable service to his church in pioneer days. He and his wife, Sarah ALBIN, have long since passed to their reward.

Our subject is the second in order of birth in a family of ten children, of whom the others are as follows: Martha, wife of Robert McCUNE, a resident of Pennsylvania; William, who died at the age of twenty years; Sarah, wife of John McCONNEL, of Chicago; Horatio Seymour, who married Jennie BELL, of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and is now serving as postmaster of Abingdon, Knox county, Illinois; John, of Chicago, who married Nellie SCOTT, of Chicago; Alice, wife of William J. HAYES, of Crawford county, Pennsylvania; Edward, of Chicago; James, who died at the age of six years; and Anna, wife of Henry HAYES, of Crawford county, Pennsylvania.

Robert C. McWILLIAMS is indebted to the public schools of his native state for his educational privileges, and after completing his own education he engaged in teaching for one term. He became familiar with the duties of an agriculturist upon the home farm, and after coming west in April, 1875, worked upon a farm in Knox county, Illinois, for one summer. Going to Galesburg, he secured employment in the corn planter factory of George B. Brown, where he worked at he painter’s trade for a year and a half, and was later a clerk in a store. For about twelve years he made Galesburg his home, but in the meantime he had clerked in the Fair of Chicago one year, and had engaged in business for himself in Monmouth, Aledo, Geneseo and Moline. Finally be bought out his old employer, Mr. Pratt, in Galesburg, and there dealt in fancy goods for two years. Subsequently he followed the same business both in Ottumwa and Fairfield, Iowa.

On the 14th of June, 1887, Mr. McWILLIAMS settled in Henry, Illinois, when he embarked in the notion business, which he successfully carried on until appointed postmaster May 2, 1894. The first of June, following, he assumed the duties of the office, and disposed of his stock of notions to J. M. POWERS, who still conducts the store. Mr. McWILLIAMS devotes his time exclusively to the duties of his office, which he discharges in a most satisfactory manner, and it is seldom that one meets with a more pleasant or accommodating official. Although his residence in Henry is of comparatively short duration, he has gained many warm friends and acquaintances, and all who known him have for him the highest regard.

In Galesburg, January 4, 1877, Mr. McWILLIAMS led to the marriage altar Miss Mary J. LAWRENCE, a daughter of William and Eliza (PARKER) LAWRENCE, natives of Lincolnshire, England, who emigrated to the United States together in 1821, locating in Ohio first, where they were married in 1832. From Ohio they went to Indiana, then in 1852, to Illinois, settling near Knoxville, Knox county, where the father died in 1866, at the age of fifty-six years, and the mother died January 8, 1888, at the age of seventy-three years. Both were earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which Mrs. McWILLIAMS also belongs. Our subject and his estimable wife have one son, Fred R., born May 2, 1887. In politics Mr. McWILLIAMS is a democrat.

Extracted May 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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